Pennsylvania Nursing Doctorate Degree Programs


Carlow University: DNP Program Review
Carlow University, 3333 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
Carlow University is a private Catholic institution. The university grants undergraduate and graduate degrees. In both the undergraduate and graduate student population, women comprise approximately 90% of the student body. Carlow University was founded in 1929 as Mount Mercy College by the Sisters of Mercy of Carlow, Ireland.

Students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program at Carlow University can complete their degree in as little as 16 months. The doctoral nursing program is also offered on a part time schedule that allows students to take one course each semester. The DNP offers a hybrid online, in-person format, which requires nursing doctoral students to attend classes on the weekends.

It is recommended that students apply to the nursing doctoral program by April 1. Documents to be submitted included a personal statement, three letters of recommendation and proof of RN licensure. To be admitted to the DNP program at Carlow University, students should have a BSN, and an MSN or masters degree in a related healthcare field with a 3.0 or higher GPA.

In addition to federal financial aid which is provided through grants and loans, students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program may apply for a graduate assistantship. Graduate Assistantships provide tuition assistance and in some cases a living stipend in exchange for teaching undergraduate students, assisting with faculty research or performing administrative tasks. Financial aid in the form of graduate assistantships is available to a limited number of students.

Chatham University: DNP Program Review

Chatham University
College for Continuing and Professional Studies
Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Formerly a women’s college, Chatham University is now a co-educational higher education institution, which admits both male and female students. Chatham University was established in 1869 and is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Chatham University is a small institution with a student to faculty ratio of 10:1 and just over 2,200 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs combined.

A low-residency, online program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice allows nursing students to complete their degree primarily through distance education. The DNP program at Chatham University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education along with the BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing) and MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) degree programs.

The admission cycle period for the DNP program for the fall and spring terms is in April and September respectively. Along with their application, prospective doctoral nursing students should submit transcripts from all previous schools attended and two letters of recommendation. The DNP program is for masters prepared nurses with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

A limited number of scholarships are available for doctoral nursing students in addition to federal financial aid. Students interested in aid to complete the DNP program should complete the FAFSA. The DNP is a 27 credit program that can be completed in three to five semesters of study. The Doctor of Nursing Practice program can be completed on a full or part time basis.

DeSales University: Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Review

DeSales University
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

A private Catholic institution, De Sales University was founded by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. The mission of the university is to offer a quality higher education in the Catholic tradition. Just under 2,500 students are enrolled at DeSales University.

DeSales University based in Central Valley, Pennsylvania offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program for working nurses. The DNP has a focus in leadership. A key aspect of the program is the value that the nursing department places on developing professional relationships with faculty and colleagues. Students in the DNP program will benefit from scheduled mentoring opportunities with nursing faculty.

Admission requirements to the DNP program include possessing a BSN and MSN from a program accredited by a nursing body, GPA of 3.3 or higher, valid nursing license and at least one year of clinical nursing experience. Prospective students should have completed several undergraduate and graduate prerequisite courses. An undergraduate course in statistics should be completed with a grade of “C” or better and graduate prerequisites to be completed with a “B” or better include epidemiology with biostatistics, advanced pharmacology and physical assessment and pathophysiology.

The nursing department of DeSales University does not have DNP scholarships at this time, and most students fund their education through loans. It is recommended that doctoral nursing students view scholarships resources listed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and other external organizations.

Drexel University: DNP Program Review

Drexel University

3141 Chestnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104

Drexel University is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, known as the “City of Brotherly Love.” Drexel University was established in 1891, and has a focus on cooperative and hands on learning opportunities for it students.

Four specialization options are offered in the Dr.NP program at Drexel University. Students can choose from an educator, clinical scientist, clinical executive or practitioner role. Applicants should note that the Dr.NP offered at Drexel University is a clinical research degree that differs from the DNP in that it requires a dissertation, though it is still a practical degree. The Dr.NP program is one of very few offered in the country.

Though delivered online, the Dr.NP is a rigorous doctoral program with features similar to the PhD in Nursing. The doctoral nursing program requires a dissertation, though not quite the scale of a doctoral research program. Students in the Dr.NP program also have the option of participating in a short term study abroad program in their second year of study.

In order to be considered for admission to the Dr.NP students should submit copies of all transcripts and certifications including the nursing license along with a personal statement, resume or curriculum vitae and two letters of recommendation. International students and students whose first language is not English must have licensure as an RN in the USA and take an English placement exam.

Duquesne University: DNP & PhD in Nursing Program Review

Duquesne University

School of Nursing
5th Floor Fisher Hall
600 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15282

Duquesne University is composed of 10 schools and nearly 200 degree programs. The university enrolls more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year.

Duquesne University was established in 1878 by Spiritans and continues in the Catholic tradition today.

Both the Doctor of Nursing Practice and PhD in Nursing programs at Duquesne University are online. If you are considering pursuing a DNP or PhD in Nursing out of state, consult the College of Nursing and Health Professions as students from certain states are restricted from online degree programs.

In order to ensure the nursing PhD student’s learning experience is a success it is essential that the student find a faculty mentor with similar research interests. Prior to applying, prospective nursing students are invited to contact faculty members regarding their research interests.

Though delivered primarily online, the PhD program does have on-campus components, including a mandatory orientation. To be admitted to the nursing PhD program, students should have a nursing license, BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing) and ideally a masters degree in nursing earned with a 3.5 GPA or better.

Applications to the DNP program at Duquesne University are accepted annually each February. Admission requirements include a BSN and MSN with a minimum 3.5 GPA. Prior to entering the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program, students should have completed several prerequisites including statistics and nursing research methods. The DNP is a full-time program which requires in-person attendance twice during the course of the program.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania: PhD in Nursing Program Review

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

1011 South Drive

Indiana, Pa. 15705

Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) is a private university established in 1875 in Indiana, Pennsylvania. The campus boasts a performing arts center, arboretum and a picnic and concert every Wednesday among other extracurricular socialization opportunities for students.

IUP offers a PhD in Nursing program with a focus on Nursing Education. Students in the doctoral nursing program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania are prepared for a career in academia by studying quantitative and qualitative research methods. The nursing PhD program is delivered online and holds classes twice each month, which allows working nurses to pursue higher education while maintaining their nursing career.

Each year 15 to 20 nursing students comprise a nursing PhD cohort. The cohort program allows nurses to pursue PhD education with the same group of students. Admission requirements to the nursing PhD include GRE scores, a GPA of 3.5 or higher, submission of a writing sample, transcripts and letters of recommendation. Applicants to the PhD in Nursing program should have an MSN (Masters of Science in Nursing) or masters degree in a related field.

Nursing students can pursue an employment position as a graduate or teaching assistant to offset the cost of tuition and receive a stipend. Assistant positions are limited. Scholarships and federal aid are also usually available.

La Salle University: DNP Program Review

La Salle University

1900 West Olney Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19141

La Salle University is a private, Catholic school founded in 1863. The university was founded by St. John Baptist de La Salle who founded the Christian Brothers organization, which operates La Salle University. More than 7,000 students are enrolled at La Salle University. Nursing is among the university’s top three graduate programs with the highest enrollment.

La Salle University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice program with a full or part time option. Clinical practicum experience is a key part of the nursing program. The doctoral nursing program at La Salle University is designed for masters prepared nurses with 750 or more hours of clinical practice experience.

Students may be admitted to the DNP program based on two different study patterns, an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) with APRN certification or an MBA or MHA (Masters of Health Administration) with an APRN certification. Applicants with a minimum GPA of 3.7 are not required to submit GRE scores. Letters of recommendation are also required.

Nurses who have completed their MSN education before certain curriculum requirements and the 500 clinical hour practicum requirement should consult with the DNP director regarding their particular case. In addition, nurses who have been out of graduate school for more than five years should seek letters of recommendation from professional colleagues rather than their former nursing professors.

Penn State University Hershey: PhD in Nursing Program Review

Penn State University Hershey

500 University Drive

Hershey, PA 17033

Penn State University Hershey is one of 24 campuses in the Pennsylvania State University system, known more commonly as Penn State University. The Hershey campus offers nursing and other healthcare programs including a School of Medicine. The Penn State University Hershey campus was established in 1963 with funding from the Hershey foundation.

Both a BSN to PhD and Traditional PhD program are offered at the Penn State School of Nursing. The nursing PhD program is interdisciplinary in nature and offers the opportunity for each student to develop an individual plan of study in the PhD in Nursing program which focuses on a specific area of study.

To apply to the Traditional PhD in Nursing program for nurses with an MS in Nursing, applicants should have a 3.5 in their bachelors and masters level nursing programs. Three letters of recommendation and a valid nursing license in Pennsylvania, another state or a country abroad are also required. References submitted on behalf of the applicant should be positive and not allude to any reasons why the applicant would not succeed in the doctoral nursing program.

A curriculum vita which demonstrates the nurse’s professional experience and scholarly writing sample that shows a strong writing ability though does not necessarily need to be published is also part of the admissions criteria to the nursing PhD program.

Pennsylvania State University: PhD in Nursing Program Review

Pennsylvania State University

201 Old Main, University Park

Pennsylvania 16802

Founded in 1855, Pennsylvania State University is one of two flagship public universities in the state of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania State University, which is more commonly known as Penn State University offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Penn State University began as an agricultural college and has grown to over 24 campuses and holds a reputation as one of the most well-respected academic institutions in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania State University offers two nursing PhD programs, a nursing PhD for BSN to PhD students and a PhD in Nursing with a focus in interdisciplinary studies. The interdisciplinary studies nursing PhD includes courses in research methods, statistics and nursing science. Students take interdisciplinary courses related to an area of specialization or pursue independent nursing study with a faculty member.

Admission requirements for the nursing PhD program include a BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) depending on the track the student is applying to enter. In either case, students should have a GPA of 3.5 or above and GRE scores above the 50th percentile. Letters of recommendation should ideally come from both professional and academic settings from a person with higher academic qualifications than the applicant.

The BSN to PhD program is for exceptionally qualified baccalaureate prepared nurses. The nursing PhD is composed of an individualized plan of study for each student. The Post BS to PhD program requires approximately 5 years of study.

All doctoral nursing students are eligible to receive full funding for the first two years of the nursing PhD program by working as a faculty assistant.

Robert Morris University: DNP Program Review

Robert Morris University

6001 University Blvd.

Moon Township, PA1510

Robert Morris University was founded in 1921 for its namesake Robert Morris, the man believed to have funded the American Revolution. The university was first established as Pittsburgh School of Accountancy. The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Robert Morris University was the first in the state to be certified by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.

Two tracks are offered in the DNP program at Robert Morris University. A BSN to DNP degree program prepares nurses with training as an FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner), Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP) or Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (FPMHNP) and awards the DNP degree. Masters prepared nurses with an advanced practice certification such as NP, CNA, CNM or CNS can enter the DNP Completion program to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

To apply for the DNP completion program, nurses should have a BSN and MSN earned with a 3.25 GPA or higher, at least one year of experience as a nurse and advanced practice certification. Admission requirements for the BSN to DNP program include a minimum 3.25 GPA in a BSN program and at least one year of professional nursing experience.

Information provided by the School of Nursing and Health Professions at Robert Morris University indicates that highly qualified nurses are and will likely continue to be in high demand. There is currently a nursing shortage both in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. NPs with a doctorate degree can earn more than $80,000 dollars a year, and have an average annual salary higher than most bachelors prepared nurses.

Temple University: DNP Program Review

Temple University

2129 North Broad Street

Philadelphia, PA 19122

Temple University is a public university that serves over 30,000 students in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The university awards associate through doctoral degrees including professional practice degrees in dentistry and medicine. Additional Temple University campuses are located in Fort Washington, Harrisburg and Center City. Temple University was founded in 1884 as Temple College.

A Post BSN DNP is offered for the bachelors prepared nurse as well as the Post APRN DNP for masters prepared nurses with Advanced Practice Registered Nurse certification. Either DNP program can be completed full or part time. Students complete their DNP with an Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP) or Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) certification.

The application deadline for the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program is April 15 of each year. Students should have a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) with a minimum 3.0 GPA for consideration to the Post BSN DNP track and an MSN (Masters of Science in Nursing) with a minimum 3.0 GPA to be admitted to the Post APRN track. Applicants with a GPA below 3.33 should submit competitive GRE scores in the 50th percentile or above for admission consideration.

Prospective DNP students who do not meet admission criteria or who would like to take up to two courses in the program as a non-degree student may do so through a separate admission process.

Thomas Jefferson University: DNP Program Review

Thomas Jefferson University

1020 Walnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19107

Founded in 1824, Thomas Jefferson University was first called Jefferson Medical College. The university offers a variety of healthcare degree programs. The university was renamed in 1969 to represent the inclusion of two additional colleges and the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree offers several completion options, including a two, three and four year program of study. The DNP may be completed over five years of study if required. The doctoral nursing program requires 36 academic credits.

Applicants to the DNP program at Thomas Jefferson University should have an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) earned with a 3.2 or higher GPA. Applicants that do not meet the GPA requirements should also submit scores for the Graduate Record Exam. Three letters of reference and a portfolio demonstrating scholarly work are also required for consideration in the DNP program. Applicants will be required to complete an interview for the final round of consideration.

To obtain more information about the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program, prospective students may register for an information session on campus. The event will allow prospective DNP students to tour the campus, discuss prerequisite and admission requirements as well as the DNP curriculum.

University of Pennsylvania: PhD in Nursing Program Review

University of Pennsylvania

1 College Hall 34th St

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104

The University of Pennsylvania is the only Ivy League university in the state of Pennsylvania. The university was founded in 1749 with the urging of Benjamin Franklin’s Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth. Over 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students pursue full time studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Nursing programs at the University of Pennsylvania have been in operation for over 125 years. The university offers undergraduate through post doctoral academic programs.

Admission requirements to the Penn School of Nursing are highly detailed. A letter of recommendation is required from an academic, professional and employment reference. GRE scores, an RN license and transcripts from all previous universities must be submitted as part of the admission process. International applicants to the nursing PhD program whose first language is not English must take an English proficiency exam. Nurses with an MSN may apply to the nursing PhD program, though applicants with a masters degree in a related field may also be considered.

Students in the doctoral nursing program may also choose to pursue a joint Masters degree in Bioethics or Masters of Business Administration (MBA). Nurses pursuing a masters degree may concurrently enroll in the nursing PhD program. Teaching and research residencies are among the financial aid opportunities that can assist doctoral nursing students in funding their education.

University of Pittsburgh: DNP & PhD in Nursing Program Review

University of Pittsburgh

738 William Pitt Union,

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Initially a private university, the University of Pittsburgh has been a public institution since 1966. The university was established in 1787, and is located on a132 acre campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The School of Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh holds several accolades and honors such as being ranked in the top 10 of best graduate schools and top of 5 of institutions that receive research funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Nearly a quarter of nursing faculty members are Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing. The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of Pittsburgh is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Nurse Practitioner (NP), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and Nurse Administrator specializations are offered in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of Pittsburgh. Admission criteria to the DNP program include an RN license and BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree with an above average GPA. Applicants with a masters degree in nursing (in any area except anesthesia) and a GPA of 3.5 or higher are not required to take the GRE. Applicants to the BSN to DNP program should take the Graduate Record Exam.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program has entry tracks for both bachelors and masters prepared nurses. Areas of research study in the PhD program include behavior management, patient management, genetics, informatics and technology. A variety of teaching, research and assistant positions are available to provide tuition assistance and a stipend to doctoral nursing students. Admission requirements include a BSN or MSN from a program accredited by a nursing body and a competitive GRE score from an exam taken no more than five years prior.

Villanova University: DNP & PhD in Nursing Program Review

Villanova University

800 E. Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Villanova University was founded in 1842 by the Augustinians, a religious group affiliated with the Catholic religion. The university continues educating students in the Catholic tradition to this day. More than 10,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs at the university.

The School of Nursing at Villanova University is designated a Center of Nursing Excellence by the National League for Nursing. Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice degree programs are offered at Villanova University. Established in 1953, the School of Nursing was recognized by the National Student Nurses Association as a Stellar School.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice at Villanova University is a four semester degree program delivered in a hybrid format, in which students take online and campus-based courses. The DNP is designed to be completed on a full-time plan of study plan. To be considered for admission to the DNP, nurses should have an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) with a 3.5 or higher GPA and also an advanced practice certification.

The PhD in Nursing is a 51 credit program which offers evening courses and distance learning opportunities. International students have the option of attending an on-campus PhD in Nursing program at the Villanova University campus. Loans and nursing traineeships are forms of financial aid available for nursing students.

Waynesburg University: DNP Program Review

Waynesburg University

51 W. College Street
Waynesburg, Pennsylvania 15370

Waynesburg University is a private university affiliated with the Presbyterian tradition of the Christian faith. Established in 1849, the university is based one hour from Pittsburgh in Waynesburg and also has three off campus centers including the Monroeville Center, North Hills Center and Southpointe Center. Service learning and study abroad opportunities are important at Waynesburg University as the university is only one of two institutions in Pennsylvania affiliated with the Bonner Scholar program that provides scholarships for community service learning projects.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program is 36 credits and can be completed in three or four years of study. The doctoral nursing program is for masters prepared nurses and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Distance education is utilized throughout the program, which meets one weekend bi-monthly each semester. Nursing students will have the opportunity to build relationships with other students, as classes meet with cohorts of 8 to 15 students.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Waynesburg University admits nurses with a BSN and MSN in nursing or a related healthcare field. Nurses with doctoral degrees in other areas are particularly encouraged to apply. Admission criteria include a minimum 3.0 GPA, a portfolio of professional experience and letters of recommendation. Applicants to the DNP program that meet all admission criteria will be interviewed.

Widener University: DNP & PhD in Nursing Program Review

Widener University

One University Place

Chester, PA 19013

Widener University is a private research university established in 1821. The university was recognized by Newsweek for its commitment to civic engagement and various service learning and spring break service programs. The campus, located less than a half hour’s drive from Philadelphia, is based in Chester, Pennsylvania. Widener University has additional campuses in Wilmington, Delaware and Harrisburg and Exton Pennsylvania.

The School of Nursing at Widener University was established in 1966. Students in the School of Nursing will benefit from a student to faculty ratio of 8:1. Both the DNP and PhD in Nursing are offered at Widener University. The DNP and PhD programs at Widener University are offered on a full and part time schedule in order to accommodate the working nurse. While the DNP is for nurses seeking to remain working in a clinical setting, the PhD in Nursing focuses on training nurses for careers in research, academia and teaching.

Masters prepared nurses are ideal candidates to the DNP program. Admission requirements to the DNP include a 3.2 or higher GPA, one reference letter each from an employer and educator and a prerequisite course in epidemiology. In addition to holding an RN license, applicants to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program should have licensure as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).

Graduates of the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program at Widener University have gone on to hold senior academic posts in academia both in the USA and abroad. Admission criteria for the PhD in Nursing program include graduation from a nursing masters degree program accredited by a nursing body with a 3.5 or higher GPA. Applicants should also submit competitive scores on a GRE exam taken no more than five years prior to applying to the nursing PhD program.

Wilkes University: DNP Program Review

Wilkes University

84 West South Street

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766

Wilkes University is based in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, less than 3 hours from Manhattan, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The university is named for John Wilkes, a supporter of the cause of the Revolutionary War who lived in England. Wilkes University is a private institution founded in 1933.

Prospective students in the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program can choose from five specialization areas- Adult Nurse Practitioner, Adult Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology CNS, Psychiatric/Mental Health CNS and Nurse Executive. There are two tracks, both a BS-DNP (Bachelor of Science to Doctor of Nursing Practice) and Post Masters DNP for nurses with a masters degree.

All students in the DNP program at Wilkes University will benefit from one-on-one advising in a small private school setting. The doctoral nursing program is online and can be completed in 30 to 70 credits of study depending if the student has a bachelors or masters qualification when entering the program.

Applicants to the DNP with an MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) should have a 3.5 GPA and APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) certification as an Nurse Practitioner (NP), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Nurse Anesthetist (CNA) or Nurse Midwife (CNM). Bachelors prepared nursing applicants should have a BSN earned with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

York College of Pennsylvania: DNP Program Review

York College of Pennsylvania

441 Country Club Road

York, PA 17403-3651

Based in York, Pennsylvania, York College of Pennsylvania is located two hours from Philadelphia and four hours from New York City and Pittsburgh. The college has been nationally ranked for its affordability compared to other private colleges in the area. York College of Pennsylvania was founded in 1787 as York County Academy, a teacher training institution.

The DNP Program at York College of Pennsylvania is a six semester, 37 credit program. Nurses in the doctoral nursing program will complete a minimum of 240 hours of clinical practicum experience during the course of the program depending on the number of clinical hours they hold when entering the program. Classes are divided into intensive sessions throughout the semester.

In order to apply to the DNP program at York College of Pennsylvania, prospective nursing doctoral students should have an RN license and a nursing degree from a program accredited by a nursing body, either the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Nurses seeking to enter the graduate program should have at least 12 months of professional experience as a nurse.

As a final component in the DNP program, nursing students are required to complete a scholarly project. The scholarly project can be performed in the nurse’s current healthcare setting and must demonstrate the nurse’s knowledge of evidence-based practice.

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