skip to content
  • Calendar
  • Maps

Post Master's to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Executive Leadership Program

Why Choose Our Post Master's to DNP Executive Leadership Program?

The Post Master's to DNP Executive Leadership degree prepares you to be an expert nurse leader within the interdisciplinary health care teams at the systems level working to improve quality of care, patient safety, and patient outcomes. 

Advantages to WSU DNP program: 

  • A comprehensive online orientation
  • Online coursework with one on-campus meeting to disseminate DNP Project 
  • Ability to work while pursuing a DNP degree
  • DNP Project completed within your community or place of employment
  • Accommodate BSN prepared nurses who have earned a masters degree in public health, health administration, or business administration
  • Faculty with broad experiences in nursing practice, research, scholarship, leadership, informatics, patient safety, and quality improvement 

Additionally, if you are an active APRN you can take advantage of our preceptor benefits and earn up to 6 credit hours per semester of tuition reimbursement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I work during the program? Yes. The DNP program, like any doctoral program, is intensive—even at part-time. WSUs DNP program is designed for working individuals.

How does a DNP degree differ from a Ph.D. degree? The DNP is a practice doctorate that focuses on nursing competencies and improves health outcomes through advocacy, management, and the application of research-based evidence into practice. The Ph.D. is a research-focused degree that generates new science/knowledge and focuses heavily on scientific content and research methodology.

Do I need a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) to apply? No. A great thing about WSUs Post Master's to DNP Executive Leadership program is that registered nurses who have earned a BSN and possess a masters in health administration (MHA), public health (MPH), and business administration (MBA) are welcome into the DNP program. Additionally, this program supports mastered-prepared APRNs (nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives) to earn their DNP.

What are “practice hours”? The AACN defines the curricular elements that must be present in DNP programs. These are called the DNP Essentials. It is through the DNP Essentials that AACN states graduates must have a minimum of 1000 post-baccalaureate practice hours that allow students to understand, perform, and refine professional competencies at the DNP level. Practice hours refers to any experience that affects health care outcomes. The practice hours are above and beyond the coursework.

What is a DNP Project? The DNP Project is a scholarly project that integrates the AACN DNP Essentials into practice. DNP students focus on planning, implementing, and evaluating a change that impacts healthcare outcomes either through direct or indirect care at systems level or population level. DNP students are guided through this process almost immediately after starting through the program. In addition, professional writing is critical in communicating your DNP Project (and practice).

What is the structure of the program? WSU offers two entries into the DNP program—the Post BSN to DNP – Family Nurse Practitioner and the Post Master's to DNP – Executive Leadership. The Post Masters is a five (5) semester part-time program. A sixth semester may be required for individuals who may need more time to attain their practice hours. During all the semesters, the student will work to achieve the practice hours. 

Contributions of the DNP

The DNP prepared nurse has the skills to facilitate any form of nursing intervention that influences health care outcomes for individuals or populations at the organization/systems level. The DNP nurse assumes advanced leadership roles advocating for, developing, and implementing healthcare delivery changes at the systems level. The DNP nurse provides interdisciplinary leadership, develops and implements local and national health care policies, promotes standards of patient care and safety, uses information technology to affect change, and critically analyzes and applies current research for best practice. 

Advising and Resources


Prior to acceptance, you should direct advisement questions to our enrollment director.

Robert Holt, MS
Enrollment Director
Marriott Allied Health Building, Room 431


How to Apply


  1. Review the information listed on the DNP Executive Leadership Applicant Checklist (PDF)
  2. Complete the Post Masters to DNP Application (see Application Information below). Available in October 2023 for fall 2024
  3. Deadline for application: the fall 2023 cohort has reached its capacity. August 1, 2024 or earlier if program reaches capacity.

Application Information