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2023-2024 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Doctor of Nursing Practice


The changing demands of this nation's complex health care environment require the highest level of scientific knowledge and practical experience to assure high-quality patient outcomes. The Kirkhof College of Nursing (KCON) offers programs of graduate study leading to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree. The D.N.P. programs prepare nurse leaders who will contribute to the nursing profession and improve the health of society with an emphasis on the advanced practice registered nurse (adult/older adult primary care, pediatrics primary care, or psychiatric/mental health) or health systems leadership (HSL) roles. KCON D.N.P. graduates are prepared to

  • provide advanced and complex nursing care within their chosen area of specialization that is scientific- and evidence-based and incorporates the science of nursing and other disciplines to optimize the functioning of individuals, families, and communities;
  • use organizational and systems leadership, information technology, interprofessional collaboration, and policy advocacy to improve and transform health care; and
  • contribute to the practice of nursing through clinical scholarship for evidence-based practice and active leadership in local and national professional groups.


The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Grand Valley State University's Kirkhof College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Minimum Number of Hours for Graduation

  • Completion of 75-87 credits (depending on the chosen emphasis) is required for the D.N.P. degree.
  • Completion of 38 credits is required for the Post-M.S.N. D.N.P. degree.


The DNP program is designed for nurses that hold either a B.S.N. or M.S.N. All applicants must have earned their degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA). Applicants who have not completed a BSN must do so before enrolling. One year of full-time nursing experience in an acute care setting is required for the applicants in the child/adolescent acute care nurse practitioner emphasis.

  1. Complete the GVSU graduate application available at specifying the D.N.P. option.
  2. Select one of four program emphases: child/adolescent primary care nurse practitioner, adult/older adult primary care nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, or health systems leadership.
  3. Submit transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework outside of GVSU.
  4. Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for all undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  5. Educational and professional goal statement. Statement must articulate how attaining a graduate nursing degree will facilitate goal achievement. Statement should be approximately two typed, double-spaced pages.
  6. Submit a current curriculum vitae/resume.
  7. Submit a scholarly writing exercise, using the guidelines in the online application.
  8. Participate in a qualifying interview with KCON faculty.
  9. International student applicants must meet TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), or IELTS (International English Language Testing System), MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery), PTE (Pearson Test of English Academic) or Duolingo.

Additionally, full admission is contingent on successful completion of the following:

  • Current licensure to practice as a registered nurse in Michigan.
  • Criminal background check and drug screen.
  • Compliance with health record, immunization, and other KCON graduate program requirements.

New D.N.P. program cohorts begin each fall semester. The application and supplemental materials must be received by May first of the calendar year in which the student desires entry. Applications received after May first will be considered based upon program capacity.

Nurse Executive Certification

Students completing the leadership emphasis will be qualified for and encouraged to sit for national certification as a nurse executive.

Advanced Practice Certification

Post-B.S.N. students pursuing the advanced practice registered nurse emphasis must complete the didactic and clinical courses in a selected population/specialty (child/adolescent primary care, adult/older adult primary care, or psychiatric/mental health), which will qualify them to sit for national specialty certification (pediatrics, adult gerontology, or psychiatric/mental health).

Program Location

Devos Center for Interprofessional Health

Program Requirements

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.