Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
Columbia Campus    
2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
  May 22, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Nursing Practice, D.N.P.


Students in the D.N.P. program acquire skills to a) manage health care of individuals and/or communities in complex health care systems, b) conduct research utilization/evidence-based practice studies to innovate practice, c) influence health care policy at the local, state, and national levels, and d) assume leadership roles in health care.

The D.N.P. is a practice degree designed to prepare nurses as clinical practitioners/scholars to assume advanced practice clinical and leadership roles. The D.N.P. program has two entry points, depending upon prior educational experience. The curricular plan is designed for the student who has a B.S.N. or a master’s degree in nursing. The curriculum consists of course work equivalent to that of a master’s degree in nursing plus additional course work (beyond the master’s degree requirements) that extends the leadership skills and provides preparation for a variety of leadership roles in the health care arena. Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates are eligible to apply to take national certification examinations in at least one area of advanced practice.

The D.N.P. degree program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will apply scientific and theoretical knowledge to the practice of advanced nursing in the clinical or leadership emphasis areas.   
  • Students will adopt a population health persepective in the analysis of health needs and design of interventions for individuals, families, and communities; and in striving to meet national and global health care goals.
  • Students will enhance patient outcomes in complex health systems through analysis, strategic thinking, and effective management of quality, cost, and consumer satisfaction in the context of financial, political, ethical, and social issues.
  • Students will collaborate with health care providers and administrators in the formulation, modification,  implementation, and evaluation of management plans (including pharmacological controlled and non-controlled medications, and alternative therapies) for clients/families or groups across the delivery continuum in a various clinical areas.
  • Students will demonstrate effective information literacy and management skills in analyzing the strength of evidence in the scientific literature as the basis for implementing a research utilization project or designing evidence-based protocols for advanced practice.
  • Students will analyze policy formulation and development in complex health care systems to enact policy that benefits population health.


The admission process attempts to identify individuals who have a high probability of successfully completing the program. All factors are considered in combination. 

Admission requirements for students with a B.S.N. or a master’s degree in nursing:

  1. A B.S.N. or master’s degree in nursing from a program that is nationally accredited;
  2. Transcripts of all previous college studies. Grade Point Average criteria (50% weighted). (The mean GPA for recently admitted students was 3.57);
  3. Current authorization to practice as SC Registered Nurse or possession of an unencumbered license in the state in which clinical practice will occur;
  4. Completed application to The Graduate School with the College of Nursing supplement;
  5. Three references written by doctorally prepared nurses who are able to evaluate the academic potential of the candidate;
  6. An admissions interview with writing sample (30% weighted);
  7. Evidence of writing competence, which will be evaluated through the candidate’s prepared written statement submitted with the application, as well as by written response to an essay question given during the admissions interview.
  8. Applicants with a master’s degree in nursing must be certified as an advanced practice nurse or hold a master’s degree in nursing administration;
  9. Applicants with a master’s degree in nursing must present a professional portfolio of knowledge, skills, and expertise acquired through education and experience to include documentation of RN licensure or unencumbered license in the state in which clinical practice will occur, documentation of advance practice certification, and an official letter from master’s program documenting number of clinical hours completed.

Degree Requirements (33 Post Masters Hours)

  1. doctoral residency of at least 18 graduate credit hours for three consecutive major semesters. Enrollment in a summer term is not required to maintain continuity, but credits earned during summer terms (including May session) will count toward the 18 hours required for Residency. The residency requirement may be met only after admission to the D.N.P. program.;
  2. completion of an approved program of study;
  3. comprehensive assessment through defense of project proposal;
  4. completion of a research utilization / evidence-based practice project and oral defense.
  5. Applicants applying to the post-masters DNP in Nurse Executive Leadership with a BSN and a non-Masters in Nursing (MBA, MPH, MHA, etc.) will be evaluated on an individual basis.


The D.N.P. curricular plan totals 33 credit hours for students who enter with a master’s degree in nursing. Students must choose either the clinical concentrations (FNP, AG-ACNP, or PMHNP) or the Nurse Executive Leadership concentrations.

Students choosing the Nurse Executive Leadership Post-Master’s Entry concentration will take:

Students choosing the clinical concentrations (FNP, AG-ACNP, PMHNP) will take:


Students who enter with a B.S.N. in nursing must take the above 33 hours in addition to one of the following advanced practice emphasis areas.

Credit hours required for graduation with a D.N.P. degree vary depending on the advanced practice emphasis area chosen by the student.

Advanced practice concentration areas:

Complete one of the following advanced practice concentration areas:


* Emphasis area course.