DNP vs. PhD: Program Comparison

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Emphasis Expertise as a clinician, application of clinical evidence in practice. Expertise as a researcher and generator of new knowledge in nursing.
Objective of the curriculum To prepare leaders of interdisciplinary health care delivery teams. To translate research evidence into practice. To prepare leaders of interdisciplinary research teams. To gain expertise in the design, implementation, and dissemination of research and creation of new knowledge for nursing and related disciplines.
Focus of coursework Health assessment, pathophysiology, pharmacology, evidence based practice, applied statistics, improving healthcare outcomes.

 

Philosophy of science, theory development, quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research methods, applied and advanced statistics, data analysis.
Clinical hours BSN to DNP: includes 1000 post-baccalaureate experiential hours with 624 direct clinical hours. Also includes 4 credit hours of specialty project plus 4 credit hours of professional development activities.

MSN to DNP: includes 4 credit hours of specialty project and 4 credit hours of professional development activities.   No additional direct care hours are required.

None
Culminating work DNP project: related to student’s clinical focus area.
DNP residency: provides professional development activities in the student’s area of expertise.
Research dissertation in the student’s focus area of scholarship, dissemination of new knowledge.
Distance learning Yes, almost exclusively on line with the exception of clinical experiences. No
GRE required Yes Yes
Program length 2-3 years 3-4 years
Program credits 73-79 (BSN to DNP)

35 (MSN to DNP)

90 (BSN to PhD)

62 (MSN to PhD)

Part time study available Yes Yes
Financial support Varies based on program and student demonstration of financial need. Available to first and second year students, some availability for subsequent years based on student demonstration of financial need.