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Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP - Doctor of Nursing Practice

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Take the lead in health care transformation

You’re committed to nursing. You’ve been on the front lines of patient care. You’ve earned your MSN. Now you’re ready for the next level. With our DNP*, you can enhance your leadership, administrative, and organizational skills to improve patient care and outcomes. Our online DNP program offers a professionally relevant curriculum that explores health care delivery, patient advocacy, and health care policy development, implementation, and reform. If you’re driven to reach the highest level of education and lead health care transformation, this CCNE-accredited** program is for you. 

*The DNP is not designed to prepare advanced practice registered nurses for roles as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse midwives, or certified nurse anesthetists.

**The BSN, MSN and DNP degree programs at Capella University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education  (

At a Glance

  • Online
  • CCNE accredited**
  • 9 Core courses
  • 4 Capstone courses with practicum (minimum)
  • 52 Total credits

Classes Start April 13th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo SPRING)

DNP Program highlights

Interprofessional education

Share courses with other health care professionals to learn about, from and with industry colleagues.

Reduce your tuition by $10,000

Enroll in a qualified program and apply for a $10K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help fund your doctoral degree.

Apply now »

Industry aligned

Capella partners with top health care organizations to structure a robust and relevant curriculum that reflects industry standards.

Exclusive learner success lab

Our Learner Success Lab provides program-specific content and offers time-management tools and other resources to help you thrive throughout your program.

96% of Nursing alumni are satisfied with their Capella education.

S­ource: Alumni Outcomes Survey, 2017-2018

Capstone & practicum

Investigate a real organizational issue and collaborate with an interprofessional team to find an evidence-based solution.

25 years of online doctoral experience

With over 25 years of experience in online doctoral education, we understand the unique needs of doctoral students, and have designed our programs to meet those needs. We've structured our programs to help you reach your goals and obtain critical skills—with our expert faculty, support teams, and online resources to help guide you every step of the way.

Cost & learning format

A more structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. We’ll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$800 per credit, 52 total quarter credits, 0 max transfer credits

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

$10K toward your doctorate

Apply for a $10K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help you fund your doctoral degree.

Employer & association discounts

If your employer or organization is a partner with Capella, you may be eligible for a tuition discount.

Employer reimbursements

Many employers offer tuition reimbursement to employees. Ask your manager about options.

DNP sample courses

Our competency-based DNP program is designed in conjunction with respected employers and  professional associations to offer a robust, professionally relevant education with immediate, real-world applications.

Show course with description
NHS8040 *
21st-Century Health Care Improvement

Learners in this course build foundational knowledge and skills needed to shape the future of health care. Through the lens of a 21st-century health care leader, learners use critical thinking, analysis, and creative insights to examine a problem, gap, or opportunity for improvement within a health care or public health delivery system. Learners also complete a culminating project charter to further develop a coherent quality improvement plan for 21st-century health care. Prerequisite(s): NHS8002. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer. 

4 quarter credits
Management in Advanced Contemporary Nursing

The focus of this course is on the management skills needed to create valuable, proactive change in health care settings and within complex health care delivery systems. Learners use conceptual and analytical skills to evaluate the links among practice, organizational, population, fiscal, and policy issues and apply this knowledge to professional practice.

4 quarter credits
Nursing Technology and Health Care Information Systems

Learners in this course apply information technology and research methods used within the health care environment. In particular, learners evaluate the use of technology in health care information systems for the purposes of monitoring outcomes of care and assessing quality improvement.

4 quarter credits
DNP8014 *
Global Population Health

In this course, learners analyze epidemiological, biostatistical, occupational, and environmental data and use it to develop, implement, and evaluate health promotion and disease prevention efforts in global populations. Throughout the course, learners focus on preparing themselves to lead the development and implementation of institutional, local, state, national, or international health care policy. Prerequisite(s): DNP8010. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
NHS8070 *
Evaluation and Interpretation of Data in Health Care

In this course, learners explore underlying concepts and reasoning related to the collection and evaluation of qualitative and quantitative data in health care research. Learners apply appropriate statistical techniques and practice interpreting frequently encountered statistical outcomes. In addition, learners assess the quality of statistical and qualitative research methods reported in peer-reviewed health care literature. Prerequisite(s): NHS8060. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits

What you’ll learn

The curriculum for our online DNP program will prepare you to lead, influence, and advance health care transformation.

  • Leadership
  • Policy-making processes and influences
  • Health care technology
  • Health care delivery models
  • Health care quality assessment and improvement

Meet your faculty

Our distinguished faculty—industry leaders—bring real-world relevance into the courseroom to enrich your education, and career.

Bridget Roberts, DNP, CNE, BC

Associate Dean

Dean, School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Dean, School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Corinne Cochran DNP, NNP-BC

DNP Core Faculty


You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Doctoral advising

Doctoral programs are specific and challenging. That’s why you’ll have access to expert support at every step along the road to your degree.

Capstone mentors

For the culminating project of your doctoral degree, you’ll be paired with a mentor who can support and assist you along the way.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

The BSN, MSN, and DNP programs at Capella University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

"I found the structure of the [DNP] program so helpful—the way even my very first courses built on one another to help me reach the very end."

Robin Ely*
Doctor of Nursing Practice
*Actual Capella student who agreed to appear in Capella promotional materials.

Chart your nursing success

Practice Experience: What to Expect

Learn what it is, and why it’s important.

Interprofessional Education in Health Care

What it is and why it matters.

How Nurses on Boards Impact Health Care

Nurses today make up only 5% of hospital boards—here’s a look into what’s being done to increase that number.

DNP professional opportunities

Here are just some of the careers you could explore with a DNP.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Nurse manager
  • Full-time nursing faculty
  • Adjunct or part-time nursing faculty
  • Director of nursing
  • Chief nursing officer

Employment settings to explore

  • Ambulatory care office
  • Hospital
  • College or university
  • Health insurance company
  • Government - local, state, federal

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Three career paths to explore with a DNP

By earning a terminal degree, such as a doctorate, you can position yourself to reach the highest level of leadership in nursing. While the nursing field offers a variety of career paths and focus areas, here are some of the more common paths:

Be a decision-maker, assisting in patient care and managing the day-to-day responsibilities regarding personnel and facility administration.

Prepare for a nurse manager role in hospitals or in other health care facilities.

Supervise the nursing staff and the care of their patients, as well as oversee administrative responsibilities like record keeping and budgeting.

Prepare for a director of nursing role in hospitals or in other health care facilities.

Lead at a high level by overseeing a nursing department and coordinating its daily operations in order to maintain an environment in which patient care is the best it can be.

Prepare for a chief nursing officer role in hospitals or in other health care facilities.

Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes, and Capella does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, or other career growth.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the next step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.