Nursing (DNP), Doctor of Nursing Practice

Program Location
Distance Education/Online
Program Credits
36 Credits
Program Length*
6 Trimesters, 96 Instructional Weeks
Time to Complete
24 Months

*Program length may vary.  WCU distance education programs may not be available to residents in all states.  

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Code: 11-9111.00

Mission Statement

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program exists to promote foundational competencies that are core to all advanced nurse practice in an ever-changing and globally reaching healthcare environment.  Academic, practicum, and interpersonal preparation are characterized by increased depth in organizational and systems' leadership within a culture of integrity and personal accountability.  Standards of ethical behavior and decision-making are essential foundations that guide individuals to distinguish ethical principles and to understand the consequences and implications beyond personal and organizational self-interest.  By pursing more effective and innovative methodologies through which students utilize administrative expertise with the ability to analyze problems, structure and facilitate development, and find and implement solutions, WCU graduates can make a positive impact on society.  


Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Evaluate new practice approaches based on scientific knowledge and theories from nursing.
  2. Adapt organizational and systems leadership for quality improvement and systems thinking.
  3. Demonstrate clinical scholarship and analytical methods for evidence-based practice. 
  4. Analyze critical elements necessary to the selection, use and evaluation of health care information systems and patient care technology. 
  5. Influence health care policy at institutional, state and/or federal levels. 
  6. Lead interprofessional teams in the analysis of complex practice and organizational issues. 
  7. Analyze epidemiological, biostatistical, environmental, and other appropriate scientific data related to individual, aggregate, and population health. 
  8. Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment, systems thinking, and accountability in designing, delivering, and evaluating evidence-based care to improve patient outcomes.  

Admission Requirements

Applicants for the Doctor of Nursing Practice must meet the following admissions requirements: 

  1. Complete an online application for admission.  
  2. Have a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree OR a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a master's degree in a business or health-related field supporting nursing or healthcare leadership. 
  3. Official transcripts (from all previous colleges/universities).
    1.  Graduate research methods course with a grade of C+ or better. Applicants who have not taken a graduate research methods course may take NURS 540 and earn a minimum of C+ to receive credit.  
  4. Have a cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. 
    1. Applicants with a cumulative graduate GPA of 2.7 to 2.99 may be admitted with the condition that the student achieve a "B" (3.0) or better in the first nine (9) credits in the program. Students who do not achieve a "B" or better in the first nine (9) credits will be dismissed from the program. 
  5. Provide a current unencumbered license as a registered nurse required in the state in which practice will occur. 
    1. A minimum of one year of full-time RN experience required. 
  6. Current Curriculum Vitae.
  7.  Submission of two (2) letters of recommendation from most recent employer (supervisor) and/or from a professor who can address the applicant's clinical expertise and academic preparation for the program. All recommendations must be current, typed on letterhead, and signed.
  8. Program applicant Personal Statement of at least 500 words.
  9.  West Coast University requires proof of English Proficiency. Applicants submitting non-U.S. or non-English transcripts should refer to the International Admissions section of the catalog.   
  10. West Coast University offers conditional admission to DNP applicants who are academically qualified but have not met all the conditions for admission. 
  11. A virtual interview will be conducted as part of the admission process.

Recommendation for admission following an interview with the Admissions Committee. Past academic performance and professional activity will be evaluated, e.g., community, organizational, and volunteer service, and creative professional accomplishments. These qualifications will be evaluated using a rubric to determine the applicant’s level of qualification.

Prerequisite Progression Requirements

As a prerequisite, students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) are required the following grades in order to progress in the program. (See Curriculum)

Residency requirement 27 hours (See Transfer Credit).

DNP Progression Requirements

GPA Requirement

A cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0 is required for all 700 level courses for graduation.  Students are also required to meet all requirements under the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy. 

Academic Warning

Students must maintain a CGPA of at least 3.00. Students falling below a 3.00 CGPA will be placed on Academic Warning. Students on Academic Warning will have one semester to raise their CGPA to 3.0 or above, failure to raise their CGPA above a 3.00 will result in dismissal. Students may only be placed on Academic Warning once in the DNP program.

Clinical Requirements

Students will complete 1000 post-baccalaureate practice hours;    Students will complete experiential hours that support the focus of the DNP.  The DNP student will identify a practice problem and a site that will support application-oriented learning for implementation of the DNP project. These sites will require approval by the Clinical Practice Coordinator and the student’s nursing faculty advisor must approve the project.  Each student will have a preceptor, a healthcare leader at the project site where the student will be completing practice hours and their DNP project.

Program Information and Disclosures

RN License Disclosure

RNs who are not licensed in California, will be required to apply for a California RN license if their clinical practicum is to be completed in California. RNs wishing to complete their clinical practicum in their state of residence (where they resided when they enrolled at WCU for their current program of study) must identify a clinical site in their state of residence with which the university can execute a clinical affiliation agreement.  The RN license must be active and unobstructed.

DNP - Online


Graduate Nursing Core

NURS 710Scientific Foundations of Nursing


NURS 715Translation of Research and Analytical Methods


NURS 720Biostatistics


NURS 725Leadership I Organizational


NURS 730Informatics in Nursing and Healthcare


NURS 735Health Status Outcomes: The Individual and Family


NURS 740Clinical Prevention and Population Health


NURS 745Leadership II: Leadership in Complex Healthcare Organizations


NURS 750Social Ethics and Health Policy


NURS 755Economics and Decision Making


NURS 760Advanced Nursing Practice I


NURS 761Advanced Nursing Practice II


NURS 762Advanced Nursing Practice III


Total Credit Hours:36

DNP Program Costs

For program costs, please see the Tuition and Fees section.