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Doctor of Nursing Practice Preparatory Program Doctor of Nursing Practice

School of Nursing & Health Sciences

Nursing leadership at the highest level

Your strength, your passion as a nurse touches the lives of so many. You can make an even greater difference when you reach for the highest level of the nursing profession with an online DNP from Capella University.

Designed for nurses with a non-nursing master’s degree, this online DNP preparatory pathway program* offers a three-course pathway that provides the essential skills and knowledge needed to start our CCNE-accredited** DNP program.

*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 DNP degree program at Capella University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org).

At a Glance

  • Online
  • 3 preparatory program courses
  • 9 core courses
  • 4 capstone courses with practicum
  • 64 total quarter credits

Classes Start July 8th

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 Preparatory 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, apply for a $10K scholarship, and meet the eligibility requirements.

Apply now »

Industry aligned

More than 600 organizations—including corporations, health care organizations, and community colleges—invest in their employees by partnering with Capella to offer discounted education programs.

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.

Meet your DNP faculty

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

Constance Hall, DNP, MSN, BSN

Faculty Chair

Georgann Weissman, DNP, MSN, MPS

DNP Core Faculty

Corinne Cochran DNP, NNP-BC

DNP Core Faculty

Get the support you need for success

Our dedicated support teams guide and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

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.

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.

Cost & learning format

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. 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
$435 per credit, 64 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.

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 (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org).

Ways to save

Affording your education shouldn’t be an obstacle to reaching your goals. We can help you find ways you can save

Reduce your tuition by $10K

Enroll in your doctorate degree, apply for the scholarship, meet eligibility requirements, and receive up to $10K.

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 online DNP preparatory pathway program can help you increase your mastery in assessing and applying theory, building therapeutic relationships, designing and implementing therapeutic interventions, and leading and managing in the health care environment.

Show course with description
MSN6013 *
Principles of Advanced Nursing Practice

This course provides learners with an overview of the diverse roles and practice credentials of a master’s-prepared nurse. Learners gain insight into various aspects of master’slevel nursing practice, such as interpersonal collaboration, use of technology, and cultural competency, as well as ethical, regulatory, and legal principles as they relate to advanced nursing practice. Learners also identify the theoretical foundation(s) of current and future practice in nursing. Prerequisite(s): MSN5007. DNP Preparatory Program learners are exempt from this prerequisite.

4 quarter credits
MSN6014 *
Advanced Leadership for Contemporary Nursing

Learners in this course explore the leadership skills necessary for today’s nursing leaders. Learners develop and demonstrate the ethical, legal, and critical decision-making skills needed to support organizational and systems change and to promote critical high-quality safe care for the people they serve. Other leadership skills include addressing the needs of diverse populations, providing quality improvement and resource management, bolstering team and interprofessional relationship building, and participating in strategic planning. Throughout the course, learners also evaluate the leadership styles vital to effecting and sustaining change in today’s health care system. Prerequisite(s): MSN6013. BSN-toDNP learners must have completed or be concurrently registered in MSN6013.

4 quarter credits
DNP8012
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 right education can change everything. Discover your path to gaining real-world skills to lead at the highest level of the nursing profession.

  • Build leadership skills for creating health care delivery models with a focus on quality improvement.
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based health care delivery models.
  • Broaden your understanding of a wide range of health care professions for mastery that can help you achieve common goals.

  • Apply a science-based, theoretical foundation to develop and evaluate new practices and approaches to health care delivery.
  • Develop, implement, and advocate for health care policy that meets the needs of specific populations.
  • Plan for and implement health care technologies that improve quality for specialized areas of practice.

DNP career insights

Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society Membership Benefits Nursing Students

The international honor society allows Capella nursing students to join a professional organization of more than 135,000 members.

The Value of Interprofessional Education in Health Care

What is interprofessional education, and why is it especially important in the health care field?

How Nurses on Boards Impact Health Care

Nurses today make up a small percentage of those serving on hospital boards—here’s a look into what’s being done to increase the number.

DNP professional paths

Your education can help you reach your goals, professionally and personally. Here are some of the jobs and employment settings to consider with a DNP.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Chief nursing officer
  • Nursing administrator
  • Nursing director
  • Nurse manager
  • Nursing operations director
  • Health care director
  • Education consultant
  • Nurse educator
  • Nursing professor
  • Nursing instructor

Related employment settings to explore

  • Hospital
  • Medical clinic
  • Health care organization
  • Insurance company
  • Home health care services
  • Government—local, state, federal
  • Community health agency
  • Nursing care facility
  • Social service agency
  • Land-based or online college or university
  • Self-employment

*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.

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.