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Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Practitioner


The online DNP-NP degree program is delivered through Penn State’s World Campus and taught by Nese College of Nursing faculty. The DNP-NP program is delivered part-time or full-time with courses based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s DNP Essentials and national Nurse Practitioner competencies. Our devoted team of graduate faculty and staff provides support and guidance throughout the program.

Graduates of the program will be prepared and eligible for national NP certification examinations and to assume leadership roles as advanced practice registered nurses in a variety of organizations.

Why a DNP?

As the industry evolves, so has Penn State Nursing. A DNP is the industry standard for nurse practitioners and those who want to assume clinical leadership or specialty roles. A DNP is the highest level of nursing practice for clinicians and clinical leadership. Graduates from our program will be well prepared to deliver expert clinical care and improve health care outcomes.

Why Penn State Nursing?

Choice clinicals. Academic excellence. Expert faculty. World-renowned University.

Our graduate team is comprised of expert faculty and staff dedicated to student success through individualized mentorship and guidance. Our students are prepared to deliver expert clinical care and improve health outcomes. Penn State is a leader in online education with innovative and engaging classroom experiences designed to enhance your learning.

What are my career options with a Penn State DNP?

A Penn State DNP positions you to become a nurse leader in a variety of capacities. For example, a DNP-prepared nurse can become a nurse practitioner (NP), with a specialty, or assume responsibility as a high-level administrator with the ability to influence clinical training or nursing policy.

DNP-NP Options:

Acute Care Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

This option prepares nurses for advanced practice roles caring for individuals who are acutely and critically ill across the continuum of acute care services. The curriculum gives students a strong background in advanced assessment, therapeutics, and technological interventions. Emphasis is placed on integrating didactic knowledge with patient management and advanced technical skills. After successfully completing 66 credits and 1,200 practicum hours, graduates will be eligible to take the national certification examination as an Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.  

Primary Care Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner

This option prepares nurses for advanced practice roles as primary care providers to manage the health of individuals from adolescence through adulthood and the end of life. AGPCNPs work in a variety of settings, including long-term care, hospital-based clinics, and private practice. After successfully completing 65 credits and 1,200 practice hours, graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination as an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner.  

Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner

This option prepares nurses for advanced practice roles to deliver comprehensive primary care to individuals from infancy to adulthood in a variety of settings. The curriculum emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration and strategies for meeting primary care needs through a family-centered approach to health promotion and illness prevention/intervention. After successfully completing 67 credits and 1,200 practice hours, graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination as Family Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner.

Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

This option prepares nurses for advanced practice roles in assessing and managing individuals with mental illnesses across the lifespan. The curriculum emphasizes all aspects of mental health and substance use disorder services to diverse populations across the lifespan. Using multivariate evidence-based interventions, including individual and family psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and medication management, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners diagnose and treat mental health and substance use disorders. After successfully completing 75 credits and 1,200 practice hoursgraduates are eligible to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner examination (Across the Lifespan).

The DNP options are offered online, making them perfect for working professionals and allowing students to experience Penn State from the comfort of their homes. They are available for both full- and part-time study. All the DNP programs begin and end with in-person intensives, hosted at University Park or Hershey campus. Delivered over a few days, you’ll get to experience Happy Valley while meeting your academic adviser who will support you throughout the entire program. This responsive, low-residency format is intended to meet the needs of today’s nursing students. Juggling your professional and personal responsibilities is no easy feat, we can help you achieve your goals without pressing pause on the rest of your life.

*Applicants to any of the Nurse Practitioner options of the DNP program must also have a current license to practice professional nursing in the state of Pennsylvania and complete their clinicals in Pennsylvania. These requirements are temporary but in place until further notice. Sign up here to receive updates on this program.

Requirements for enrollment:

Students enter the program with a minimum of a BSN degree. Students with a graduate degree in nursing will have an individualized plan of study developed upon enrollment. Program completion generally requires three years of full-time or four years of part-time study. Students with an MSN can also be admitted to the program however, we cannot guarantee all previous coursework and credits will transfer.

Costs and Financial Aid:

2023–24 Academic Year Rates
$1,017 per credit

Tuition rates are assessed annually.

Financial Aid and Military Benefit Opportunities

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential education benefits and financial aid opportunities.

Apply now!

Priority application deadlines – March 1, June 30, October 1
Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, to receive priority status apply by the previously listed deadlines. 

Program details, including information on courses, can be found on the Penn State World Campus website.

For more information


Nese College of Nursing named a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence