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Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Virtual Open House

Wednesday, October 21st 5-7pm

Join us at one of our upcoming virtual Graduate School Open House events on Zoom! You'll have the opportunity to learn more about Western Carolina University,  understand the Graduate School application process, and meet key program representatives.

Register Today

The School of Nursing at Western Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte have partnered to offer a post-masters Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (DNP). 

DNP students


Our DNP program offers a full-time and part-time course of study. As a student, you will take courses online and attend a three-day immersion (alternating between Universities) each semester. Currently, we are working on offering immersions online, so that studnets will not have to travel to campus for immersions.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the terminal practice degree in Nursing. This degree builds upon the student's current knowledge of clinical practice. Graduates of the program will be able to analyze systems of care and provide high level leadership to improve patient safety and to implement evidence-based culturally competent care practices. 

Degree Requirements

The Dual DNP requires 42 credit hours of coursework and completion of a total of 1,000 clinical practice hours (includes 500 from MSN program). Click here to review the Dual DNP Curriculum (Full-Time and Part-Time).

Admission Requirements

Applications submitted by April 1, 2020, will be given priority consideration for Fall 2020 admission.

  • Earned an MSN or applicable graduate degree in an advanced nursing practice specialty from a nationally accredited program
  • Overall GPA of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in the MSN program
  • Current RN licensure in the U.S. at the time of application with eligibility for NC licensure
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNS) must provide evidence of current national certification and meet the state requirements for practice in their state of licensure
  • An essay that addresses advanced practice expertise, career goals, how earning the DNP degree will foster achievement of these goals, and plans for a DNP project
  • Resume/curriculum vitae
  • Three professional recommendations (should address the practice capabilities of the candidate)
  • For international students, submission of TOEFL scores with a minimum score of 557 for the paper test and 220 for the computer test
  • Additional evidence for consideration of the application can be uploaded to the online application (e.g. publications, posters, evidence-based practice projects)
  • Evidence of 500 supervised/precepted clinical hours or documentation of an approved national certification*

Students must submit a complete, notarized Clinical Hours Documentation form with the Graduate School application or provide documentation that they have received one of the approved national certifications listed below. Students with less than 500 hours should request a meeting with the DNP Program Director to develop a clinical plan.

  • AACN or AANP National certification as a Nurse Practitioner in specialty
  • NBCRNA as a Nurse Anesthetist
  • AONE Certification in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP)
  • ANCC Nurse Executive-Advanced
  • ANCC Clinical Nurse Specialist in specialty
  • CNC as a Clinical Nurse Leader

Application Process

Visit the Graduate School website to create an online graduate program application.

University tuition and fees

Program Director

Mark Kossick



Interim Program Director:

Mark A. Kossick, DNSc, MS, APN
Full Professor/Director of Graduate Programs

The Clinical Residency and DNP Scholarly Project

Students will complete a DNP Scholarly Project during their clinical residency courses. The DNP Scholarly Project brings together the practice and scholarship aspects of the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. It is designed to address complex practice issues that affect groups of patients, health care organizations, or health care systems while utilizing informatics, technology, and in-depth knowledge of the clinical and behavioral sciences. The clinical scholarship required in the DNP Scholarly Project reflects mastery and competency in the student's area of expertise.

The DNP Scholarly Project begins in the first semester of study and continues throughout the program, culminating in a scholarly public defense and manuscript prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The DNP Scholarly Project requires students to demonstrate expert practice, the use of evidence-based practice, translational research, and use of skills necessary to lead interdisciplinary teams to improve patient/client outcomes and health status individually, organizationally, or within a community.

Students may choose to complete the required 500 clinical practicum hours in a private practice, clinic, inpatient unit, hospital system, or other institution or community. These hours will be a component of the assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of outcomes of the DNP Scholarly Project.

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