Doctorate of Nursing Practice Frequently Asked Questions

What is the admission process into the DNP program?

We accept applications for a fall program start.

Currently we are taking applications and will accept applicants in the order of application completion, assuming criteria are met.

You can apply on line.

Criteria includes:

  • Licensure as a Registered Nurse.
  • MSN (Master’s of Science in Nursing) degree from an accredited master’s of nursing program. 
  • A 3.20 GPA or higher on 4.0 scale in MSN program. 
  • Official Transcripts from MSN program.
  • A graduate level statistics course within the last 5 years.
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume.  
  • Completed Application Form.
  • Three (3) letters of professional recommendation or reference.
  • One writing sample, such as an APA formatted paper from MSN program.
  • Successful phone interview.
  • International Students: TOEFL – minimum score of 550.

What specialty focus is offered in the DNP?

The FSU DNP is a leadership-focused DNP. It is open to MSN prepared nurses with specialties in: administration, informatics, education, and advanced practice nursing such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse anesthetists.  

How long is the program?

The DNP at FSU is a cohort-based program and is 6-8 semesters. The actual number of semesters and credit hours will be determined based on the number of post BSN supervised clinical hours the student comes into the program with.  

The program is 6-7 credits per semester with back to back courses. Therefore, students will only be taking one class at a time, except potentially during part of the clinical residencies. Then there may be either a summer residency or the integration along with the residency.

Is this program considered full time or part time?

While students only take 6-7 credits a semester, it is graduate level credit and is considered full time.

What is a cohort-based program?

A cohort based program is when a group of students progress through the program together at the same pace. This enables learning communities that foster student support, student-to-student relationships and interaction, and mutuality in learning. This program is a cohort-based program, but we also understand that at times flexibility is needed and there are circumstances where students will not be able to continue with their original cohort. We are committed to our students’ success and will be flexible on the occasion when students need to proceed at another learning pace.

What do I do if I have not taken a graduate level statistics course in the last 5 years?

FSU offers an online graduate level statistics course through the Masters in Public Health Program. This course is: PUBH 510 Biostatistics in Public Health.

There are also several online statistic courses offered through various universities. These courses will be considered with verification of completion. 

What are the intensive courses?

The intensive courses are 3 days of face-to-face time on campus for each cohort. This time provides for 1 credit of educational content that centers on scholarly writing and writing for publication, portfolio development, role transition and skill development, professional and health care issues, and project advancement. The intensives also include networking time and relationship building. The intensives will take place in August, typically at the top of the fall semester. 

What are the residencies?

Residencies are clinical time spent in an organization with the guidance of a mentor or preceptor. The purpose of residences is to work with a clinical population in order to develop and implement a translational project.

All DNP students will complete a cumulative total of 1000 post BSN supervised or mentored clinical hours. MSN clinical hours count towards the 1000 hours. The DNP residencies are arranged to fulfill the 1000-hour requirement over a three-semester period, but the actual semesters and credits will vary on an individual basis depending on the MSN hours the student comes into the program with.

DNP residencies are scholarly project-related clinical leadership experiences in the student’s area of specialty or advanced practice. Students will identify both the clinical setting and preceptor/clinical expert for their residencies. The residency experiences will be under the guidance of an agreed upon preceptor/clinical expert or mentor and will culminate with the delivery of a clinical project. Preceptors will be experts in their clinical areas and while preceptors with DNP qualifications are preferred, expert MSN or transdisciplinary expert preceptors will be considered. Projects will be proposed prior to the beginning of the residencies and refined and implemented during the residencies.

 The expectation is that students will complete their residencies in an area outside their current agency/facility, and should be prepared to dedicate the number of contracted hours to complete the residency experiences during the semester taken.

Can I use my current work environment for my residencies?

The expectation is that residencies take place in a location other than your work environment. Ideally, residencies would take place at a location other than your place of employment, but we understand real-life limitations and will consider exceptions. 

What is the project like?

The project is a process of development, implementation, a plan for evaluation and follow-up, and the dissemination of knowledge or ‘diffusion of innovation’. It is not research, but the planning and implementation of practice change that comes from already completed research. It is not the generation of new knowledge but the generation of new clinical practice from that knowledge.

What is the integration course?

The integration course is where the student puts it all together and demonstrates mastery of the DNP knowledge. It is a synthesis of the course work and the residency work and consists of:

  • A written defense of the student’s project.
  • A presentation and oral defense of the project.
  • Project dissemination or ‘diffusion of the innovation’.
  • A critical analysis that includes a plan for project evaluation and future directions.
  • The submission of the final DNP portfolio of the student’s scholarly work.

If I have my MSN in nursing education, can I get my DNP at FSU?

Yes, nurse educators can get their DNP at FSU. The DNP is a practice doctorate and not a doctorate that focuses on education or the development of education. It focuses on clinical leadership for those with clinical expertise. What this means for the person with a specialty area of education, is that you can get your DNP at FSU but will need to establish a clinical population to focus on. With a specialty in education, the MSN hours in education will not contribute to the DNP clinical hours. Therefore, the person with an education specialty will likely need more residency time while in the DNP program.

How many hours can I expect to commit to each course per week?

With online learning, students need to think differently about the total amount of time they spend completing a course. Where success in a traditional classroom-based course often requires 3 hours of classroom time each week, travel time, and perhaps 7 to 10 additional hours for reading, research, and projects, the total time may remain the same in online courses but be distributed differently. In online learning, there are usually increased student-student and student-faculty electronic communication as well as an individualized time schedule for the student to complete the online learning assignments. Whether students can take 1 or more courses concurrently really is an individual decision. This decision is dependent upon the amount of time the person is committed to school work and time outside of work that is dedicated to professional and personal activities. Finally, there is personal perception. What one person may feel is manageable, may not feel manageable to another person.

Is online learning easier than in a face-to-face class

Online learning is time-intensive for both faculty and students. Although there is more flexibility in the online learning environment, it is not easier than a face-to-face class. Instead, learning is different. In online courses, students are more accountable for and more self-directive of their learning and faculty are facilitators to guide students in meeting their learning needs. It is important for students to learn effective time- management strategies and communication to guide them in this new, flexible environment. 

Can I transfer other DNP graduate courses to FSU?

When admitted, students can submit syllabi from previous graduate coursework to be reviewed and considered for transfer credit allocation. These courses must be equivalent to courses within the MSN program curriculum. A minimum of 70% of the MSN program credits must be from FSU.

What does the portfolio requirement entail?

The portfolio is built and developed over the duration of the program. It is related to the student’s area of expertise and reflects personal professional experiences and academic work. It projects the student’s DNP capacity and role readiness and preparation. The intent is for the portfolio to be a formative and summative educational tool and a useful tool for job accruement as a DNP.

 Does FSU offer scholarships for graduate work?

FSU offers scholarship opportunities as they are presented to our university. Over the last several years, we have been able to offer scholarships on an annual basis for graduate students. FSU also offers endowment scholarship based on need and performance. In the future, we hope to offer grant monies and nurse-faculty loan-grant monies, but due to the newness of the program, we are unable to offer these at this point. Students are encouraged to contact their professional organizations because there are many additional scholarship opportunities available through state and national nursing organizations, such as the Michigan Organization for Nurse Executives, Sigma Theta Tau International, or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, to name a few.