Frequently Asked Questions

  1. A doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) is a research intensive doctoral degree. Research-focused programs are designed to prepare nurse scientists and scholars, and focus heavily on scientific content and research methodology. PhD programs typically require an original research project and the completion and defense of a dissertation. In contrast, a practice- focused doctoral program is designed to prepare experts in specialized advanced nursing practice. The focus is heavily on clinical practice, one that is "innovative and evidence- based, reflecting the application of credible research findings" (AACN, 2006, p. 3). Practice-focused doctoral programs require a practice application-oriented D.N.P. project rather than a knowledge-generating research effort (AACN, 2006, p. 3). The two types of doctoral programs differ in their goals and competencies, and hence, their coursework. However, they represent complementary approaches to the highest level of preparation in nursing. Both are considered terminal degrees in nursing, one in clinical practice, one in research, according to the AACN.

  2. No, the scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses will not change. Scope of practice is determined by state nurse practice acts that differ from state to state.

  3. No. The title of doctor is common to many disciplines and is not the domain of any one group of health professionals. Many who practice as NP, CRNA, CNS or CNM currently hold doctoral degrees and frequently addressed as "doctors." Other health care providers are addressed as "doctor", including clinical psychologists, dentists, and podiatrists. APRNs and nurse leaders should retain their specialist titles after completing a doctoral program.

  4. Yes, but the DNP degree does not prepare educators per se any more than a Ph.D. program does. Graduates from all doctoral programs (D.N.P. and Ph.D.) who want to teach in schools of nursing should have additional preparation that adds coursework in education to their base of clinical practice. It is important to remember that an expectation of faculty in terms of scholarship, i.e. - research and publications, and how scholarship is defined, varies widely across institutions.

  5. Students will primarily continue to work in the same healthcare areas where they are already employed. However, within the DNP program students will be exposed to a variety of other settings that can open new avenues ofemployment.

  6. Yes, applicants should have an earned MSN from a CCNE accredited institution.

  7. The DNP Program is designed to be completed in 28 months. Core DNP courses will be completed prior to starting the DNP Project. The majority of experiential engagement time is devoted to development of the DNP Project at the end of the program. However, nurse leaders will need to complete additional experiential engagement time concurrently with DNP core courses. A total of 1,000 post-baccalaureate hours must be completed to earn the DNP, as required by the AACN.

  8. The sequence for study is the same for September, May, and January admission. The DNP program is available 100% online with no on-site requirements. Two to three virtual optional synchronous sessions are available during each course to facilitate interaction with the students and course faculty. Students have the option to present their final project in person or virtually. The course of study is available on the WilmU website: http://

  9. Yes, a significant number of our students utilize the Guaranteed Student Loan, which is based on need.The University’s Financial Aid Office can provide you with information about their loan program. Many students have benefited from this low interest program. Alternatively, several grants and scholarships are available through this website: http://

  10. Yes! Wilmington University’s DNP program received the maximal accreditation term for a new program: 5 years. All nursing programs in the College of Health Professions are fully accredited by the Council for Certification of Nursing Education (CCNE).

  11. A maximum of six credits may be transferred into the program from doctoral-level courses that are deemed equivalent to the courses in the DNP program. All transfer credit must be approved by the DNP Program Chair.

  12. Students have a five-year time limit to complete the program. From time to time some students need to take a leave from the program and go on inactive status for a short period of time. Students must contact their faculty academic advisor if there is a deviation from their program of study including becoming inactive. If the student’s status is inactive for more than one year a new application only is required by WilmU policy. Students must then contact the Chair of the DNP program to discuss their status. Students who leave the program for an extended length of time may lose their spot; however, this is decided on a case-by-case basis. All students needing more than 5 years to complete their program of study must reapply for admission to the DNP Program. Exceptions to the 5-year policy can be made in extenuating circumstances.