Feb 27, 2021  
2016-2017 Graduate Academic Catalog 

Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.)

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The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree prepares advanced practice nurses in the current healthcare environment to practice with a strong scientific foundation, emphasis on evidence-based practice, leadership, and the ability to create change to improve patient and organizational outcomes. In addition, the BSN to DNP degree program prepares a registered nurse to practice as a family nurse practitioner (FNP) after completing the designated 52 credits (generally three years), certification, and licensure.

Program Requirements

The DNP degree program at Saginaw Valley State University consists of a minimum of 79 credits for BSN to DNP applicants and 37-39 credits for MSN to DNP applicants. Students in the BSN to DNP program will be awarded a MSN with a concentration as FNP after successful completion of designated 52 credits (*courses noted below). Students are then eligible to take the certification examination to become licensed as a FNP. DNP degree students may also complete a certificate program in Nursing Education by completing the three required nursing education courses (NURS 652 , NURS 654 , & NURS 656 ). Both BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP students complete a minimum of 300 clinical hours while completing the capstone courses and the DNP Immersion course. MSN to DNP students may require additional clinical hours after MSN transcript analysis so that the minimum total of 1,000 clinical hours are completed upon completion of the DNP program. The time limit for completing the DNP degree is seven years from the beginning of the first course in which credit was earned toward the DNP degree at SVSU.

Academic Regulations:

The following regulations will apply unless otherwise specified.

  • In required graduate nursing courses, students must earn a grade of “B” or better to remain in good standing. If a grade of “I” is earned, course requirements must be satisfied prior to beginning additional required courses.

A required course can be repeated only once. Failure of a repeated course or a second required course results in dismissal from the program. Candidacy status will be achieved with the appointment of the capstone advisors and completion of the formative candidacy evaluation process as outlined in the Graduate Nursing Student Handbook.

Admission Requirements for BSN to DNP Applicants:

  • Completed application for graduate admission to the DNP Degree program
  • Graduated from an accredited BSN program with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale on all nursinng and prerequisite coursework with all official transcripts.
  • Employed as a RN with current license in Michigan by start of the program.
  • Detailed curriculum vitae or resume with current job title and description, employment history, education, scholarship, service and professional involvement.
  • Three graduate recommendation forms from previous faculty member, supervisor, and/or professional colleague. One must be from a doctorally-prepared academician.
  • College chemistry with grade of C or higher, 3 credit course, general, organic or biochemistry.
  • College statistics course with grade of B or higher equivalent to approved SVSU courses.
  • DNP Essay Goal Statement with literature support - 1000 to 1250 words in length following APA format including four scholarly references from the literature.

    • Provide your reason(s) for pursuing a FNP/DNP practice degree. Identify your professional plans and career goals. Include your focused area of clinical interest for the doctoral project if known. Explain why you chose to apply to the program at SVSU.

    • Explain your understanding of the FNP/DNP role in today’s complex health care arena/settings and how clinical nurse scholars can influence, lead, or change healthcare/patient outcomes..

  • Interview for successfully screened applicants. May be conducted by video-call.

Admission Requirements for MSN to DNP Applicants:

  • Graduate from an accredited MSN program.
  • Current NP certification, continued eligibility for continuing certification, and current license in Michigan.
  • Detailed curriculum vitae or resume with current job title and description.
  • Two (2) graduate recommendation forms from previous faculty member, employer, and/or professional colleague. One must be from a doctorally prepared academician and one from clinical practice.
  • Grade point average (GPA) in graduate course work: minimum required is 3.3 on 4.0 scale with all official transcripts.
  • Masters level statistics/research course with grade of B or higher equivalent to approved SVSU courses within last 7 years or demonstration of proficiency.
  • Essay goal statement - see BSN to DNP.
  • Interview for successfully screened applicants. May be conducted by video-call.

International Student Admission Requirement - Additional Requirements Include:

  • Completed international application for graduate admission.
  • An academic report is required by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (http://www.cgfns.org/)
  • Official TOEFL results with a score of 92 (Internet based) or an IELTS score of 7.0.
  • Evidence of financial support.

Additional admission criteria may be required for any applicant based on record review.

Upon admission for all applicants, finger printing is required.If special accommodations are needed for learning, they must be identified and discussed with the program coordinator prior to the submission of the application.

Prior to clinical courses, a criminal background check, immunizations, physical exam, and drug testing are required as described in the Graduate Nursing Handbook. 

BSN to DNP Program Curriculum

All students in the BSN to DNP program complete the following Core Courses, the Capstone Courses, and the immersion sequence (79 credits required which includes a total of 1,080 clinical hours).


Capstone and Immersion (9 cr, including 300 practice experience hours)

MSN to DNP Program Curriculum

Capstone and Immersion (12 cr, including 360 practice experience hours)

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