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University of Colorado College of Nursing

College of Nursing

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Program Info

DNP Program Info

In the fall of 2005, the University of Colorado College of Nursing became the first school in the Rocky Mountain region to initiate the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of Colorado College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

The post-master's DNP degree appeals to nurses with an MS or a BS degree in nursing who are interested in a practice-focused doctorate. DNP graduates will be prepared as clinical leaders who will design models of health care delivery, evaluate clinical outcomes, identify and manage health care needs of populations and use technology and information to transform health care systems. The DNP degree has been suggested as a way to increase the number of doctoral-prepared nursing faculty.

The College of Nursing DNP outcome competencies are as follows:

Students will

  1. Implement ethical, competent nursing practice with individuals, families and communities based on understanding the human experiences of health, illness, healing, and dying.
  2. Use technology and information systems to promote health, facilitate appropriate and ethical decision-making, support collaboration, and foster communication.
  3. Promote health and safe environments of local to global populations and communities through the development, implementation, and evaluation of models, programs, and policies.
  4. Manage care ethically with individuals, families, and populations to achieve quality, cost effective outcomes.
  5. Advocate for social justice initiatives that enhance access, quality, and socio-cultural acceptability of health care for all.
  6. Provide leadership in the delivery and management of health care for diverse populations and environments across the continuum of care.
  7. Practice relationship-centered caring based on the human experience of health, illness, healing, and dying.
  8. Practice nursing reflectively, guided by theory, based on best evidence.
  9. Participate in generating and testing knowledge regarding nursing science, nursing practice, and health care delivery.
  10. Engage in professional stewardship to improve interdisciplinary collaboration and nursing practice, education, research, and health care delivery

To read more about the DNP, visit the American Association of Colleges of Nursing website.  The College of Nursing DNP Student Handbook can be found here.

DNP Pathways

There are two major pathways to the DNP*:

  1. For applicants with a BS in nursing, the MS to DNP pathway offers the MS in nursing with an advanced practice specialty. The MS in nursing is awarded prior to matriculation into the post-master's DNP program. Or, for students with a MS and specialty certification, post-masters course work will complete the DNP degree. Applicants with a BS in nursing apply through the MS program. For more information, review the MS to DNP page to review specific requirements.

  2. For students with a MS in nursing in an advance practice specialty and a specialty certification (in that advanced practice area), graduate course work at the post-MS level will complete the DNP program. Applicants who already have an MS in nursing will follow the application procedures outlined in the DNP admissions pages.

Nationwide, award of the DNP requires 1,000 post-baccalaureate academically-supervised clinical practicum hours as defined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Your transcript will be evaluated to determine the number of clinical hours required for the DNP program.

The DNP/MPH and DNP-PHN degree options are now available.


In addition to studying at the new state-of-the-art Anschutz Medical Campus and attending one of the nation’s highest ranked nursing programs, the College of Nursing DNP students will work with a nationally and internationally recognized faculty. Renowned for mentoring and expertise in research and scholarship, the nursing faculty is dedicated to the pursuit of expanding nursing knowledge through empirical research and providing a high level of education.

Our distinguished faculty has made significant contributions to school-based health care and nursing informatics, as well as research into pain management, rural health and pediatric nursing. As we look to the future, we are advancing the development of additional research strengths in public health, health care of children, those with chronic illness and clinical health care. Our strong faculty practices with children, pregnant women and their families, adults and elders allow our students to combine world-class research with real-world education. Most faculty teaching in the post-master's DNP program are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who are actively engaged in clinical practice.

As a DNP student, your clinical focus will align with the focus of one of our faculty scholars. For more information about our renowned faculty's clinical and research interests, visit and review the College of Nursing faculty pages and bios.

Clinical Experience

As a DNP student at the College of Nursing, you will be required to complete credit hours in a clinical setting under the supervision of a nursing professional. These clinical experiences are an integral part of our mission as a college and provide students with a comprehensive education, functioning as integration of practice and course work. Students have a wide variety of clinical settings and nursing environments in which to complete their clinical hours. Instructions for signing up and more information on the clinical experiences are available the in student clinical education section.

Please note, all students completing clinical hours must meet very specific requirements concerning immunizations, background checks, etc. For more information about what is required before participating in any clinical experience, please review all of the clinical experience requirements.

Course Work

The course offering plan details which courses are offered in a particular semester, and whether classes are online or in the classroom.

DNP Course Offering Plan

The course descriptions offer a concise description of the DNP courses offered at the College Of Nursing.

Each capstone course has a mandatory all day intensive at the beginning of the semester.  Students unable to attend the intensive will need to withdrawal from the course and begin the sequence the following year.

Doctor Of Nursing Practice (DNP) Courses

NUDO6052 Context of Patient Population and Practice Management 6.0 cr.
NUDO 6055 Applied Evidence-Based Practice Fall/Spring 3 cr.
NUDO 6057 Designing Theory-Guided Models of Care Fall 2.0 cr.
NUDO 6058 Practice Epistemology: Expanding Ways of Knowing for Reflective Practice Summer 3.0 cr.
NUDO 6059 Cultural Competence for Advanced Practice Summer 2.0 cr.
NURS 6286 Foundations of Health Care Informatics 3.0 cr.
NURS 6303 Epidemiology & Environmental Health Fall 3.0 cr.
NURS 6493 Inferential Statistics in Nursing Fall 3.0 cr.
NUDO 7018 DNP Capstone Proposal 2.0 cr.
NUDO 8010 DNP Role Residency 4.0 cr.
NUDO 8018 DNP Capstone Project 4.0 cr.
NUDO 6800 Leadership, Management, innovation and Entrepreneurship Fall 3.0 cr.

ND Graduates

The College of Nursing recognizes the tradition of excellence set by graduates of the nursing doctorate (ND) program over the past decade and the contribution of ND-prepared nurses to clinical care, nursing leadership, education, and care management across settings. The ND degree remains a valid academic degree from an accredited program, and has intrinsic value. Our nursing doctorate (ND) program continued to graduate students through May 2009. No new students have been admitted to the ND program since 2004 as the College of Nursing converted the ND program into a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program.

Graduates of the ND program are welcome to visit our alumni page and send us information about who they are and what they are doing. National evolution in the preparation of nurses with clinical or practice doctorate preparation has led graduates from the University of Colorado College of Nursing ND program to seek the DNP degree. The portfolio review process has been put in place to allow for preparation of individualized DNP degree program plan for ND graduates who, in addition to the ND, hold a master's degree and certification as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). Please contact the graduate program office for more information at 303-724-8503.

Students wanting to convert the ND to DNP must be admitted by Fall 2015 to complete their portfolio by December 2015.  The portfolio process will no longer be available after December 2015.