Doctor of Nursing Practice (Post-Master's DNP)


The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a terminal professional degree representing the highest level of clinical nursing competence. The DNP program is designed to provide students the opportunity to assimilate and utilize in-depth knowledge of nursing, biophysical, psychosocial, analytical and organizational sciences, with sophisticated informatics and decision-making technology to develop collaborative strategies that optimize the health of individuals, families, communities and systems. Grounded in the Mercy and Jesuit traditions, the DNP program emphasizes the student’s development as an expert clinician with strong leadership capacity, a commitment to service, and skills to act as change agents, translating clinical research into improved health care. 

The post-master’s DNP curriculum is designed to admit master’s-prepared certified APRNs in the following clinical specialties: nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and clinical nurse specialist and MSN-prepared nurses in specialty areas such as nurse administration, executive leadership and nursing informatics. The DNP program curriculum is based upon the AACN (2006) Essentials of Doctoral Education. 

The DNP builds upon the Master of Science in Nursing degree and requires 36 credits. The curriculum includes formative coursework that culminates in a practicum and a doctoral project. The program is offered as a hybrid model. We have an online virtual classroom that also supports student participation from remote locations.

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    Admission Criteria

    1. A Master of Science in Nursing or Nurse Anesthesia from an accredited school** with a graduate degree GPA of 3.2 or higher.
      1. RNs with a baccalaureate degree in nursing and a master’s degree in another field could qualify for the DNP program.  Each application will be individually assessed to determine courses needed to bridge into the DNP program.  This gap analysis will determine what additional courses will be required to ensure they have met the prerequisites necessary for DNP.
    2. A current unencumbered Michigan Registered Nurse license (or state of residence) and privilege to practice as a registered nurse not limited in any way by an employer.
    3. National Board Certification in area of clinical specialization if applicable.
    4. Recognized in Michigan (or state of residence) by the Board of Nursing with specialty certification as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) if applicable.
    5. Evidence of current clinical practice.
    6. Three professional letters of recommendation.  Letters of support from doctorally-prepared individuals are preferred, including at least: one professional who can attest to the applicant’s clinical practice performance and one professional who can attest to academic ability, such as the dean or a faculty member from the previous graduate degree program.
    7. Official transcripts from each institution of higher education.
    8. A professional portfolio including curriculum vitae/resume and an essay (500-1000 words) addressing the applicant’s goals for doctoral study and focused area of clinical interest for the doctoral project.
    9. An interview with graduate faculty.

    **Applicants may require prerequisite coursework to meet the master’s level essentials in nursing.


    DNP Program Objectives

    1. Demonstrate professional role practice consistent with the competencies of the Doctor of Nursing Practice.
    2. Formulate innovative theoretical and conceptual frameworks that ensure optimal health care quality and patient safety outcomes.
    3. Translate evidence to produce innovative models of care that integrate informatics, health care technology, and interpersonal collaboration to affect population health, outcomes, and support health care policy initiatives.
    4. Lead health care systems and policy innovation with a focus on preventative care, quality improvement and patient advocacy.
    5. Integrate the Mercy and Jesuit traditions in providing culturally competent, compassionate, holistic and person-centered care with a commitment to human dignity in the contemporary world.

    DNP Curriculum Sample Plan

    Semester 1

    • NUR 7000 Advanced Theory and Knowledge Development for Clinical Nursing Practice (3 credits)
    • NUR 7500 Evidence-Based Nursing Practice: Theory, Design & Methods (3 credits)

    Semester 2

    • NUR 7300 Transformational Leadership and Innovation in Advanced Clinical Practice (3 credits)
    • NUR 7450 Analytics for Evidence-Based Practice (3 credits)

    Semester 3

    • NUR 7400 Information Management and Decision Support (3 credits)
    • NUR 7200 Epidemiology and Population Health (3 credits)

    Semester 4

    • NUR 7800 Project Proposal Development (3 credits)
    • NUR 7350 Business Management to Ensure Quality in Health Care (3 credits)

    Semester 5

    • HLH 7100 Health Care Policy, Economics and the Law in Clinical Practice (3 credits)
    • NUR 7900 DNP Practicum and Project Implementation (3 credits)

    Semester 6

    • ETH 7010 Ethical Issues in Advanced Nursing Practice (3 credits)
    • NUR 7920 DNP Doctoral Project (3 credits)

    Doctorate of Nursing Practice: Consortium with Madonna University


    As part of a consortium with Madonna University, eligible University of Detroit Mercy Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) students may take up to 12 credits at Madonna University (MU) while paying their home institution’s tuition rates. Likewise, eligible Madonna University DNP students may take up to 12 credits at Detroit Mercy while paying MU tuition rates. This agreement is limited to the four courses determined to be equivalent by the graduate Nursing faculty at both institutions as well as the collaborative elective courses developed as part of a HRSA grant.

    Equivalent Courses

    Detroit Mercy Course

    • NUR 7000 Advanced Theory and Knowledge Development for Clinical Nursing Practice (3 credits)
    • NUR 7300 Transformational Leadership and Innovation in Advanced Clinical Practice (3 credits)
    • NUR 7350 Business Management to Ensure Quality in Health Care (3 credits)
    • ETH 7010 Ethical Issues in Advanced Nursing Practice (3 credits)

    Equivalent Courses

    Madonna University Equivalent Course

    • NUR 7000 Advanced Scientific Perspectives Informing Nursing Practice (3 credits)
    • NUR 7300 Transformative and Collaborative Leadership for Promoting Innovation (3-4 credits)
    • NUR 7290 Quality Improvement Methods to Maximize Health Care (3 credits)
    • NUR 7100 Global & Culturally Relevant Ethics in Contemporary Health Care (3-4 credits)


    The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, Master of Science in Nursing degree, Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, and post-graduate APRN certificate at University of Detroit Mercy, McAuley School of Nursing are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW Suite 750, Washington, DC  20001. Telephone: 202-887-6791.


    Program Contact Information

    Karen Mihelich, DNP, MSN, BSN
    HP 324
    McNichols Campus
    Telephone: 313-993-2441 

    Graduate Nursing Recruiter and Admissions Coordinator
    HP 121
    McNichols Campus
    Telephone:  313-993-1828