Earn your DNP in as few as 2 years

Lead the Change in Healthcare

DNP Elective Focus Areas

Healthcare Systems Leadership

The Healthcare Systems Leadership elective focus area is designed for registered nurses with a master’s degree in nursing who have indirect care roles such as nurse executives, nurse informaticists, and healthcare policy leaders. Each DNP student will focus on the application of translational science to identify problems, propose solutions, and implement change for healthcare systems as a whole.

The program begins with online DNP degree core courses. You’ll take your elective courses in tandem with your didactic coursework, learning from top nurse educators as you prepare for the highest level of professional practice.

After completing your coursework, you’ll move on to your five-part project and practicum*—the capstone of your degree. 

Chamberlain's DNP program prepares graduates to lead in today's increasingly complex health care environment on the front lines of clinical practice, administration and education.

Have questions about the online DNP program? We're here to help.

Educational Leadership

The Educational Leadership elective focus area is designed for nurses with experience or advanced education in teaching nursing academics or continuing education. This program prepares you to impact nursing practice and patient outcomes through the design, implementation, and evaluation of educational initiatives across various settings. 

You’ll begin your elective coursework alongside your DNP degree core coursework, learning from leaders in nurse education as you prepare to educate the next generation of master and doctoral-level nurses.

Finally, your instructive coursework will lead you into a five-part project and practicum*, often directly related to your focus area.

Have questions about the online DNP program? We're here to help.

Advanced Practice Leadership

The Advanced Practice Leadership elective focus area is designed for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and prepares you to lead, analyze and influence a nursing practice. Students will focus on leadership development and the application of translational science in the direct care of populations across an illness-wellness continuum.

Beginning with online DNP degree core courses, your elective courses are designed to complement your core coursework, delving deep into topics relevant to owning your own nursing practice, including business management and navigating healthcare regulatory environments.

Your coursework culminates with a five-part project and practicum* where you’ll explore a topic of your choosing.

Have questions about the online DNP program? We're here to help.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Admission Requirements

How do I get started? 

Get started on earning your DNP degree during one of six program starts per year at Chamberlain. For your doctorate degree in nursing application, you should have the following:

  •  Current, active, unrestricted RN license in the U.S. or in a jurisdiction that is an associate member of the NCSBN
  • A degree in nursing at the master’s level or higher OR a bachelor of science in nursing degree, and a degree in a discipline outside of nursing at the master’s level or higher. A minimum CGPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required. 
  • Completion of the following courses, or evidence of attainment of each course outcome through transfer credit, a portofolio or coursework completed at Chamberlain: 
    • NR-500: Foundational Concepts and Applications 
    • NR-501: Theoretical Basis for Advanced Nursing PRactice 
    • NR- 505: Advanced Research Methods: Evidence-Based Practice
    • NR- 506: Healthcare Policy
    • NR-512: Fundamentals of Nursing Informatics


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Our online DNP admissions team is available to walk you through the application process and answer any questions on DNP program requirements.

DNP Admission Criteria FAQs

What if I have nurse licensure outside the U.S. that is not affiliated with NCSBN?

Chamberlain requires a current, active, unrestricted RN license in the U.S. or in a jurisdiction that is an associate member of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).

Chamberlain reserves the right to admit candidates with nurse licensure from countries outside the U.S. that are not affiliated with NCSBN but where equivalent standards can be demonstrated. These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis according to the general academic principles of integrity outlined by the Academic Standards Committee.

How do I complete a Chamberlain portfolio?

Chamberlain provides qualified DNP Preparatory applicants and students with the opportunity to receive course waivers through completion of a Chamberlain portfolio. To complete the Chamberlain portfolio process for NR-500, NR-501, NR-505, NR-512 and/or NR-506, applicants or students must successfully document and provide sufficient evidence, to reflect attainment of each course outcome. The faculty will assess each course portfolio submitted to determine if attainment is achieved for each course outcome. In order to receive a course waiver, evidence of all course outcomes must be met. Students interested in this portfolio process should contact their academic support advisor immediately upon admission for more details.

Students with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and a non-nursing master’s degree may submit a portfolio for any or all of the courses listed above to earn qualifying course waivers. Find out more about our DNP Preparatory Course - Waiver Portfolio option or request more information

What if I have a degree in nursing at the master’s level or higher from an institution outside the U.S.?

Chamberlain requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and a degree in a discipline other than nursing at the master’s level or higher. You must also have a minimum CGPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from an institution accredited by either a regional accrediting agency or an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or the NLN Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA)*
Chamberlain reserves the right to admit candidates with equivalent educational qualifications, from institutions outside the U.S. that are not recognized by CHEA, CCNE, or CNEA as determined by an independent transcript evaluation.


Accreditation, State Authorizations & Approvals

Chamberlain has university accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and Doctor of Nursing Practice program accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA). † Chamberlain continuously earns new approvals from respected agencies across the nation.

Chamberlain University confers online degrees from its Main Campus in Addison, IL.

For a complete list, check out our authorizations or view our approvals in your state.

CCNE Accredited logo
"NLN CNEA Accredited"

DNP Degree FAQs

What is a DNP degree?

A DNP degree, otherwise known as the Doctor of Nursing Practice, is designed to help prepare experts in the nursing field. If you want to expand your clinical practice into a high-level leadership position or become a clinical educator, this could be a great option for you. The DNP is a terminal degree, meaning you will have completed the highest level of nursing education. If you’re exploring how to become a DNP, we encourage you to speak with an admissions representative, who can walk you through the DNP program requirements and process.

How long is a DNP program?

Online DNP programs usually consist of 32 to 40 credits and at least 512 clinical practice hours. Chamberlain’s DNP program is two years full-time, taking one course at a time each 8-week session for a total of 12 courses. The first eight courses are didactic and the last four are practicum courses.

What does the DNP practicum entail?

The focus of the DNP degree practicum is completing a practice-change project in partnership with their organization's practicum location and their organizational needs. This can be a process improvement, quality improvement or something else that impacts patient care outcomes. Many students will use their current workplace, where they can benefit from the impact of their DNP project. 

Are campus visits required to earn a doctorate degree in nursing

No. Coursework is completed 100% online.

How often will I go to class?

There are no mandatory login times for our Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Most DNP online classes require that you log in two to three times per week.

Chamberlain has several resources to help you become acclimated and comfortable with the online classroom of our Doctor of Nursing Practice program. You can also ask your admissions representative for a personal tour of the DNP online environment. We also have a view series, Online Classroom Demonstration, to learn about what you can expect when you log into your class.

How do I go to class?

You go to class by logging into your course from a device connected to the internet such as a computer, tablet or smartphone. Request more information to have an admission representative provide you with a comprehensive full course tour.

Can I teach with a DNP degree?

At Chamberlain, we require our faculty to hold a DNP or Ph.D. in nursing to teach at the master’s level and above. While you can teach at Chamberlain with a DNP degree, requirements may vary by educational institution - so if you have a specific school in mind, explore their requirements for faculty. 

I am a registered nurse but I hold a non-nursing master's degree. Am I able to complete the DNP program?

Yes! Chamberlain provides registered nurses with the opportunity to enroll in preparatory coursework to prepare for admission to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and a master’s degree in a field other than nursing must transfer in or complete at least five designated Chamberlain courses (15 credit hours) prior to being admitted to the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program. See the admission requirements below for more details.

Can I transfer any prior courses/credits into the DNP degree program?

Chamberlain does not accept transfer of credit toward the didactic courses to protect the integrity of our CCNE-accredited DNP program. We will review and consider hours earned in your MSN degree program for transfer of credit towards the practicum credit and hour requirement.