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Graduate Degree/Certificates

Doctor of Nursing Practice | Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
Post Graduate Psychiatric Nursing Capstone Certificate | Nurse Educator Certificate

Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The purpose of the DNP program is to prepare nurses for leadership roles in advanced nursing practice. The practice doctorate is focused on nursing practice as defined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN):

any form of nursing intervention that influences health care outcomes for individuals or populations, including the direct care of individual patients, management of care for individuals and populations, administration of nursing and health care organizations, and the development and implementation of health policy. (AACN 2004)

The program of study is congruent with the AACN's Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice

At the UW-Madison School of Nursing, students prepare for leadership roles as clinical nurse specialists or nurse practitioners in their selected population focus. Those interested in dual preparation as an advanced practice nurse and nurse educator may add a nursing education focus.

The post-BS option is designed to be completed in three years of full-time study or five years on a part-time basis. A minimum of 71 credits is required for the post-BS DNP. The post-MS option is designed to be completed in three years on a part-time basis. A minimum of 32 credits is required for the post-MS DNP. Students admitted to either option will follow the course sequence designated in the program plan and progress as a group. DNP courses are offered in a combination of online and face-to-face formats.

The curriculum is organized around three core components: systematic evaluation of practice, leadership/policy, and practice. These core components prepare graduates with the requisite knowledge and skills to influence health care practice for the future. In addition to formal course work, students complete supervised clinical hours and a scholarly project.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program does not require students to complete a doctoral minor, however the option is available to those who wish to do so. Acceptance of the minor requires the approval of the student adviser and respective department in which the minor is administered.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)

The purpose of the PhD program is to prepare researchers to assume major roles in the development, evaluation and dissemination of new knowledge in nursing and health science. The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing is awarded in recognition of deep and detailed knowledge in nursing and a comprehensive understanding of related content together with a demonstration of independent investigation. Our training provides nurses with the foundation to become leaders in research that advances the scientific basis of nursing and contributes to the health of the public. We prepare graduates for roles as academic and clinical nurse scientists, with expertise in the theory and practice of nursing, health policy, and leadership.

Through our mentorship model, PhD students work closely with faculty in designing individualized programs of study and participating in guided research experiences. Students develop the knowledge and skills of a nurse scientist through course work, regular one-on-one consultations with faculty mentors, and participation in multidisciplinary research groups. In recognition of the central importance of socialization to the role of nurse scientist, students have early and ongoing involvement in research, initially in the research programs of their faculty mentors and eventually working in their own programs of research.

Post Graduate Psychiatric Nursing Capstone Certificate

Nurse Educator Certificate

The goal of the Nurse Educator Certificate Program (NECP) and the Nurse Educator Certificate Capstone Program (NECCP) is to prepare nurses in the science of nursing education. Students who complete the certificate are eligible to sit for the National League for Nursing (NLN) Certified Nurse Educator Examination. NLN recognizes the nurse educator role as a specialty area of practice.

This program is for nurses interested in the science of nursing education and the nurse educator role in academia andin nursing practice. This program offers two pathways:

  1. Nurse Educator Certificate Program; for students currently enrolled in a nursing doctoral program (DNP or PhD)
  2. Nurse Educator Capstone Certificate Program: for masters- or doctoral-prepared nurses who are not currently enrolled in a nursing doctoral program

This program offers three courses of graduate-level foundational and practicum work. These courses cover the foundation of teaching/learning and curriculum in nursing education with an emphasis on evidence-based teaching. Practicum course work is arranged and directed in collaboration with expert preceptors. Students are required to complete 250 clock hours of clinical practicum


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