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

Aims and Assumptions

Yale School of Nursing’s founding dean, Annie W. Goodrich, wrote that nursing combines “the adventure of thought and the adventure of action.”* The post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) program, like the Yale Ph.D. and master’s degree programs, is built upon this rich history and tradition of encouraging innovative and progressive thought as a guide for adventurous action and practice. The Yale School of Nursing’s D.N.P. program focuses on aggregates, systems, and health care organizations. Nursing practice, within this focus, provides for interventions that influence health care outcomes for individuals and populations, administration of nursing and health care organizations, and the development and implementation of health policy.

All competencies embody YSN’s philosophy that nursing has an ethical and social significance, and the curriculum is designed to prepare transformational leaders with the knowledge and skills to improve health care delivery and policies that are essential to insure patient-centered, culturally responsive, safe, and high-quality outcomes for diverse populations within and across health care systems and organizations. Faculty work with students to create forums for reflective action(s) essential for translating evidence into guidelines for best practices across health care systems or other organizations that affect health care delivery or policy.

This part-time, three-year program is tailored for midcareer, working, master’s-prepared nurses. Specifically, the D.N.P. combines online course work with intensive on-campus experiences culminating in a third-year project.

*Annie Warburton Goodrich, The Social and Ethical Significance of Nursing (New York: Macmillan, 1933).

Upon completion of the YSN D.N.P. program, the graduate will demonstrate success in the areas of health systems services, scholarship, and leadership, as defined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s DNP Essentials. Specifically, the YSN D.N.P. program focuses on the following key competencies:

Health Care Services

  • Develop, apply, and evaluate new patient care approaches based on conceptual models and policies to ensure culturally responsive, safe, and high-quality health care outcomes for diverse populations.
  • Incorporate data, informational systems, and technology in the design, implementation, and quality improvement of health care and outcomes across diverse populations.
  • Integrate evidence-based nursing practice with other related disciplines to lead the transformation of health care delivery across the spectrum of health systems and other organizations.


  • Collect and integrate all levels of evidence to give meaning to isolated facts and make connections across disciplines to advance policy, practice, and population health.
  • Use analytic methods to critically appraise existing literature and other sources of evidence to determine and implement the best evidence for practice.
  • Translate and disseminate knowledge, findings, and applied research to improve health care outcomes.


  • Provide transformational leadership in which the nurse acts as an advocate and catalyst for change from a system’s perspective to a diverse, patient-centered, and population health perspective.
  • Assure accountability for high-quality and sustainable health outcomes for diverse populations across the spectrum of health systems and other organizations through interprofessional collaboration.
  • Advocate for local, state, national, and international policies, programs, and practices that are culturally responsive and have the potential to transform the spectrum of health care services from health promotion through palliative care.
  • Employ principles of business, finance, and economics to develop and implement effective plans for practice-level, system-wide practice; population health practice; and administrative initiatives that will improve the quality of care delivery.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a master’s degree in nursing or a related field (i.e., M.P.H., M.B.A., M.H.A.) and a current license to practice as a registered nurse, advanced practice nurse, or certified nurse midwife in the United States (Connecticut licensure is not required). If the applicant’s bachelor of science degree is not in nursing, the master’s degree must be in nursing. Prior to enrolling, all candidates are required to have taken and passed (or to take and pass) a graduate-level statistics course.

Non-nursing master’s degree applicants are required to have a portfolio review conducted by no fewer than two members of the Yale School of Nursing’s Admissions Committee to determine the number of additional clinical hours that may be required.

A total of 1,000 practicum hours is required for the D.N.P. Those who entered with a master’s degree in nursing generally earned a minimum of 500 clinical hours. By portfolio review, clinical hours prior to entry into the D.N.P. program for those with a non-nursing master’s degree will be determined by (1) the number of faculty-supervised hours in a health care management or policy experience, and (2) the number of faculty-supervised hours in a management, policy, or clinically related project or experience. Applicants who completed fewer than the hours needed to meet the required 1,000 hours must fulfill those hours during the first two years of the D.N.P. experience through one or more of the following mentored/supervised leadership practica:

  1. Teaching assistant hours (1 full term for 1–2 credits, 45–90 hours)
  2. Independent study (1 credit equals 45 hours)
  3. Development of a clinically based protocol
  4. Outcomes evaluation of a clinical problem
  5. Mentored practicum.

Individual plans of study will be developed to include additional hours. These additional credit hours must be completed by the end of the second academic year of the program.

Application Procedures

The following application materials are required:

  1. Online application form
  2. Nonrefundable application fee ($100)
  3. Current résumé/curriculum vitae
  4. Personal statement/essay
  5. One official transcript from each college or university attended (Note: Applicants with an international degree transcript must submit a course-by-course evaluation conducted by a credentialing agency such as World Education Services [] or Educational Credential Evaluators []. In addition, a certified English translation must accompany all non-English transcripts.)
  6. Three letters of recommendation (clinical, academic, and/or professional)
  7. Scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are required of all applicants for whom English is a second language. This requirement can be waived if the applicant has completed a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university in the United States or other English-speaking country.
  8. Applicants are required to upload an academic writing sample to the online application.

The Graduate Record Examination is not required.

Application information is available online at More information about the program can be obtained by visiting; writing to the Office of Admissions, Yale School of Nursing, Yale University West Campus, PO Box 27399, West Haven CT 06516-0974; or calling 203.737.1793.

The application deadline is January 15, 2020. All application materials must be received by the YSN Office of Admissions by this date. Applications submitted after January 15, 2020, will not be considered for admission in the upcoming fall term.

Applications will be reviewed only after all application materials are received. Incomplete applications are not forwarded to the Admissions Committee for consideration. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all materials are received by the Office of Admissions in a timely manner.

Students are admitted to degree programs without regard to their ability to pay. D.N.P. candidates are eligible for financial aid in the form of loans and scholarships (Diers Scholarships, Jonas Nursing Scholarships, Gruber Scholarships, and Diers Opportunity Funds). U.S. citizens must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at All students wishing to receive financial aid must also complete the School of Nursing Financial Aid Application, available on the School’s website. D.N.P. applicants must complete these applications by March 1, 2020. All financial information and files are kept strictly confidential.

D.N.P. Project

All students are required to complete a D.N.P. project. All D.N.P. projects must be evidence-based and may comprise executive leadership practice, systems/organizational clinical guidelines or clinical practice innovation projects, safety/quality projects, or policy analyses. The student will implement the evidence-based D.N.P. project in a final-year immersion experience.

Program Requirements

Requirements for the D.N.P. degree include successful completion of the courses listed in the curriculum template below. The progression to graduation is contingent upon satisfactory completion of all courses, practica, a D.N.P. project, and a public presentation to the YSN community. Students must maintain a High Pass average to qualify for the final year. The D.N.P. program uses the same grading system as the rest of YSN’s programs.


The following courses constitute the D.N.P. curriculum:

  • 957a, Evidence for Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • 963b, Transformational Leadership: Innovation and Implementation
  • 967b, Quality and Safety in Health Care Organizations
  • 969c, Uses of Data in Decision-Making
  • 971a, Health Care Policy, Politics, and Process
  • 972a, Health Care Policy, Politics, and Process Practicum
  • 977b, The Business of Health Care
  • 981b, Leadership Development
  • 982b, Leadership Development Practicum
  • 985c, Achieving Population Health Equity
  • 989b, D.N.P. Project Seminar, Part 1
  • 990a, D.N.P. Project Seminar, Part 2
  • 998a/b, Leadership Immersion (final year)
  • 999a/b, D.N.P. Project: Evidence-based Practice Change (final year)