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2022-2023 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Post-M.S.N. Health Systems Leadership Doctor of Nursing Practice

Grand Valley State University's Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) is offered through the university's Kirkhof College of Nursing and is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice. It is the only program of its type in West Michigan.

The D.N.P. curriculum is consistent with the national agenda to transform American health care through interprofessional collaboration, health care policy advocacy, patient-centered care, quality/safety initiatives, and use of informatics. The program offers two emphasis areas: advanced nursing practice (child/adolescent or adult/older Adult) and health systems leadership.


The post-M.S.N. health systems leadership (HSL) Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) program is designed for nurses who have earned an M.S.N. degree. The D.N.P. degree builds on the foundational knowledge, skills, and competencies of the M.S.N.-prepared nurse. Students must complete the assigned coursework with a grade of B (3.0) or better. The post-M.S.N. Doctor of Nursing Practice courses are offered in a hybrid format that includes online coursework with two-five classroom learning sessions on campus/semester. Applied learning experiences through clinical practicum occur in the final year. The courses are offered primarily on the Health Campus. State-of-the-art facilities support the use of technology to enhance student learning.

Mission: The mission of the Kirkhof College of Nursing is to provide quality nursing education to a diverse population of students. Kirkhof College of Nursing strives to improve the well-being of people through leadership in nursing education, professional practice, and scholarship.

Accreditation: The D.N.P. program is accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), a national accreditation agency.

Minimum number of hours for graduation: The post-M.S.N. HSL D.N.P. program consists of 38 credits completed over five semesters. An additional 8 credits will be granted in recognition of clinical practicums/courses that were completed in the M.S.N. degree (360 clinical hours; 1 credit = 45 clinical hours), meeting the university requirement of 45 earned credits for a doctoral degree.


  1. Complete the GVSU graduate application available at specifying the D.N.P. option.
  2. Select the Post-MSN HSL program
  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.

Program Location: The D.N.P. degree program is offered at the Health Campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Nurse Executive Certification

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


Graduate Nursing Core (19 credits)

Leadership Core (19 credits)

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