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Simmons University Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) online

Simmons’ online DNP program is designed for RNs who have earned their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). The online DNP program prepares learners to reach the highest level of professional nursing practice, and emerge as nurse leaders who are capable of transforming healthcare systems.

About the program

  • Contemporary DNP program: The online DNP program prepares learners to take on the greatest challenges of today’s changing healthcare landscape.
  • Practice-based curriculum: Learners will advance their practice through hands-on experiences including interactive coursework, in-clinic research, and clinical hours.
  • CCNE-accredited degree: The online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

About Simmons University 

Simmons University began in 1899 as a small liberal arts college with a revolutionary mission to prepare women to earn independent livelihoods and lead meaningful lives. This mission expands with Simmons’ coeducational online doctorate programs that prepare professionals to reach the highest level of practice in their fields. As the nation experiences an ever-changing healthcare environment, Simmons offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program that prepares MSN-educated nurses to manage it.

Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees are subject to change and may increase each academic year. Tuition does not include student fees, technology platform licensing, or support services. Learners are also responsible for travel and accommodation costs related to any in-person immersions or residentials.

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The 30-credit online DNP curriculum combines evidence-based practice with analytical and leadership principles. Learners master how to use informatics, data, and technology to design policies and establish interventions that improve patient outcomes. As a learner in the online DNP program, you will:

  • Develop skills through interactive coursework and clinical hours: which will help you master the eight core competencies by the AACN in their Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice.Footnote 1
  • Complete a research- or practice-based final project: during which you will investigate problems, test solutions, and implement changes to solve a problem of practice within the field.
  • Participate in the Doctoral Symposium: where you will present your research to classmates, Simmons faculty, mentors, and experienced practitioners.
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Applicants must hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree from a regionally accredited U.S. postsecondary institution. Applicants must also have a current RN license and either a clinical license or a position as a nurse manager. They must also have a minimum of two years of professional experiences as a licensed RN.

In addition, you must have and/or submit:

  • Current curriculum vitae (CV)

  • One- to two-page personal statement

  • Transcript(s) of your academic record

  • Two letters of recommendation

  • Application fee

  • Supplemental documents from your professional portfolio (optional)

Simmons’ DNP project


The online DNP program culminates in a final project, which highlights a learner’s synthesis of course material, research, and clinical learning — and lays the groundwork for a learner’s future practice and scholarship in the field. 

As a learner, you will develop your DNP project over the course of three terms in a DNP Project Seminar. Throughout your DNP project, you will be able to directly apply your newfound knowledge to your clinical work. 

The final project can take a variety of forms, such as a practice portfolio, a research utilization project, or even a practice topic dissemination.

Below are three examples of DNP projects Simmons graduates have completed in the past:

  • “Survivorship Care Plans: Exploring Lymphoma Patients”

  • “Perceptions of Clinical Nurses About Professional Development”

  • “Nurse Leaders: Levels of Resilience”

Frequently asked questions

A DNP degree prepares board-certified nurse practitioners (NPs), who have previously earned their MSN degree, to reach the highest level of professional nursing practice. DNP-educated nurses have the advanced skills needed to assume leadership roles in a variety of health settings, to improve patient outcomes, and to enhance healthcare delivery systems.

No. A nurse practitioner (NP) is a job title that refers to a nursing professional with graduate-level training. A DNP — or a Doctor of Nursing — is a terminal academic degree awarded to a nursing professional who has completed the highest level of training in nursing practice.

A DNP degree does not grant authority to write prescriptions. To write prescriptions in any of the 50 U.S. states, nurse practitioners (NPs) — some of whom hold an MSN alone, while others also hold a DNP — must be board-certified. (Note that in certain states, NPs must be supervised by a physician to write prescriptions.)

A DNP degree allows you to add the academic title of “doctor” to your name. However, it does not give you the professional title of “doctor,” which is reserved to physicians/medical doctors. Some states have strict legislation about where and when a nurse can be referred to as a “doctor.”

This depends on your current experience level. Different DNP programs offer different paths of study — which can take anywhere between two to four years to complete — based on a candidate’s current credentials, such as an RN license, a BSN, or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN).

No. Nurse practitioners (NPs) undergo a distinct nursing-focused training, averaging six to eight years of postsecondary education to obtain licensure and begin practicing. Medical doctors/physicians (MDs) undergo four years of medical school, which is followed by an accredited residency training program; their postsecondary education averages 11 years.Footnote 2

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