DNP: Doctor of Nursing Practice (Online)

  • DNP
  • Doctoral
  • Online
  • Nursing & Health Professions

Improve patient outcomes and become a nurse leader with an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Rivier University. This clinically focused degree, with a choice of two tracks, will help you advance to the highest level of nursing practice.

Program Details

  • Next Start Date:  September 3, 2024
  • Est. Program Length:  2.5 years
  • Format:  Online coursework and four face-to-face meetings
  • Credit Hours:  39
  • Course Length:  14 weeks
  • Cost Per Credit:  $857

Rankings and Accolades

Rivier ranked #1 Nursing School in New Hampshire

Nursing Schools Almanac has once again ranked Rivier University as the #1 Nursing School in New Hampshire and #10 in New England. Rivier also ranks #47 nationwide among private nursing schools.

Why Earn Your DNP at Rivier?

Due to changes in healthcare delivery and recent reforms, more Americans have access to healthcare, exacerbating the shortage of primary care providers. Nursing leaders are needed to not only help meet the demand for doctors and nurses but to advocate for change to improve the healthcare environment. Graduates of the DNP program will be prepared to lead interdisciplinary healthcare teams and improve systems of care, patient outcomes, quality, and safety.

Students in the program learn how to conduct complex diagnostic and treatment modalities, utilize informatics to enhance clinical decision-making and critically evaluate scholarly research. Through online courses and field practicums, the program emphasizes (1) direct care of individual patients, (2) care of patient populations, including community health nursing, and (3) practice that supports patient care.

Choose from Two Tracks

The DNP Professional Practice Track is designed for advanced practice nurses (APRN’s) who have earned a master’s degree in nursing, and have passed a certification exam. Typically, these students enter the DNP program with 500 hours of supervised practicum hours earned in their previous master’s degree program, and will complete an additional 500 hours in the DNP program working towards the completion of their DNP Scholarly Project. The Professional Practice Track can be completed full-time in 2.5 years (5 semesters), or part-time in 4.5 years (9 semesters).

The DNP Systems Leadership Track is designed for registered nurses who have earned a BS in Nursing in addition to a master’s degree outside of nursing (MBA, MPH, etc.), or an MS in Nursing.

  • In the BS to DNP Bridge option, students will earn 1,000 clinical hours as part of their degree, as required by national standards. This option can be completed full-time in 5 years (15 semesters), and part-time in 6.5 years (19 semesters).
  • The Post-Master’s to DNP option allows student who have already completed an MS degree in nursing to receive credit for the previously completed practicum hours as part of their MS degree, and their program of studies individualized so the total number of practicum hours earned towards the DNP degree is 1,000 hours. This option can be completed full-time in 2.5 years, if entering with 500 hours of previous supervised practicum hours (5 semesters), and part-time in 4.5 years (9 semesters).

The DNP Scholarly Project

A required DNP Scholarly Project is designed to address complex practice issues that affect groups of patients, healthcare organizations, or healthcare systems utilizing informatics, technology, and in-depth knowledge of the clinical and behavioral sciences. Over the four clinical practicum semesters, a DNP student will form a Scholarly Project Team, minimally including the student, a faculty guide, and an external expert who has expertise in the student’s identified topic of interest. The student will develop, implement, evaluate and disseminate a sustainable, evidence-based project targeted to improve patient safety and quality of care, in a complex healthcare system.

Advance Your Career and Education

Designed for working professionals, this program allows students to pursue their doctorates while continuing in their current positions, affording them the opportunity to apply what they learn as they work through the program.

The DNP provides flexible courses and guidance from nursing leaders who hold a variety of doctoral degrees, including research-driven and clinically-focused clinicians who are actively engaged in clinical practice to improve patient outcomes. In addition, this program offers the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through a required practicum.

Nurses are taking on greater roles in patient care, and healthcare system and policy creation. Changing healthcare needs and shortages of providers are being addressed by an increasingly educated and engaged nursing workforce.

Licensure and Accreditation

Rivier University is unable to accept students from some states due to the post-secondary higher-education requirements. There are also some restrictions for programs that lead to professional licensure due to the various requirements of individual state boards of nursing. See State Guide.

For further information on Professional Nursing Licensure at the state level, please use the following contact list (also available on the NC-SARA website).

Commitment to Quality

Rivier’s ASN, BSN, MSN, Post Master’s Certificates, and DNP programs located in Nashua, NH are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). 3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30326, (404) 975-5000.

The most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the doctoral nursing program is Continuing Accreditation. View the public information disclosed by the ACEN regarding this program.

Where Will Your Degree Take You?

Graduates of the DNP program will be prepared to lead interdisciplinary healthcare teams and improve systems of care, patient outcomes, quality and safety.

Potential Job Roles

  • Managing other nurses and staff
  • Leadership roles in providing patient care
  • Development of policies and procedures
  • Improving patient safety and population outcomes
  • Educating patients and the public on health care issues

Where Can I Work?

  • General medical and surgical hospitals
  • Public health offices
  • Research facilities
  • Independent practice
  • Physicians’ offices

Dr. Tracy Hardy, DNP, APRN-BC, was honored with the 2016 Presidents' Good Steward Award by Campus Compact for NH in recognition of her service contributions to state communities and her efforts to advance public service on the Rivier University campus. Dr. Hardy, Assistant Professor of Nursing, serves as the community health screenings coordinator for Rivier’s graduate nursing programs. She leads health screenings at local schools and non-profit organizations and coordinates Rivier faculty and students to staff grant-funded clinics at St. Joseph Hospital.

Take the Next Steps


Office of Graduate and Professional Studies Admissions

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Take your nursing career to the next level with a Doctor of Nursing Practice.