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School of Nursing

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed to prepare experts in specialized advanced nursing practice. In our program, DNP students are educated to integrate the art and science of Nursing; formulate health promotion, disease prevention, and treatment strategies; and implement system-wide healthcare changes. Upon completion of the program students will be prepared to independently practice, engage in Nurse leadership, and transform Nursing practice through research and action. Students focus heavily on innovative and evidence-based practice, carrying out a research project that translates evidence into practice. Additionally, interested students may apply for a graduate teaching assistantship, which, if awarded, can substantially reduce the cost of attendance.

The School of Nursing offers two options for completing the DNP. We offer a hybrid post-baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice program with Concentrations as a Family, Adult/Gerontology or Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and a track in Health Systems Leadership. We also offer an on-line post-masters Doctor of Nursing Practice track, which is open to all Nurses with a masters degree.

More information about the objectives of the DNP program and plans of study can be found in the handbook.

  • Post-Baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice

    The post-baccalaureate DNP is a full-time, 74-credit hour program. All course work will be provided in a hybrid format (some on campus, some virtual, plus clinical rotations). Students complete didactic coursework focused on evidence-based practice, leadership, healthcare policy and advocacy, inter-professional collaboration, and expert clinically advanced nursing practice over at least 9 semesters. Graduation is based upon successful completion of all coursework and a DNP project. DNP graduates must complete a total of 1000 clinical hours. The DNP program will prepare advanced practice nurses (APRNs) at the highest level of practice for leadership roles applying and translating research into practice with the goal of producing expert clinical leaders for positions in practice.

    Post-baccalaureate students choose a specialty area upon their entry to the program. The specialty areas available are:

    • Family NP (primary care)
    • Adult/Gerontology NP (primary care)
    • Pediatric NP (primary care)
    • Health Systems Leadership
  • Post-Masters Doctor of Nursing Practice

    The post-masters DNP is a 35-credit hour program. All course work will be completed in an online format over a minimum of 6 semesters. Graduation is based upon successful completion of all coursework and a DNP project. DNP graduates must complete a total of 1000 hours, including precepted hours earned in the MS Nursing Program. 

    The post-masters DNP program focuses on evidence-based practice, leadership, healthcare policy and advocacy, inter-professional collaboration, and expert clinically advanced nursing practice. The DNP program will prepare advanced practice nurses (APRNs) at the highest level of practice for leadership roles applying and translating research into practice with the goal of producing expert clinical leaders for positions in practice.

  • Research

    All students will complete a DNP Project. The DNP Project is designed to synthesize knowledge and evidence-based initiatives to investigate and change nursing practice or policy to resolve an issue or problem that affects patient outcomes. The aim of the project is to elicit system wide or population-based change through assessment, translation, and application of evidence to practice. The project is not a typical research-based study but rather an in-depth analysis or test of interventions for an issue or problem. DNP students may design the project to make a system more efficient, analyze a local, state, regional or national healthcare policy, or initiate other system wide changes to improve patient outcomes, or others based on committee approval. The project should bring recognition to the student, committee members, School of Nursing, the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, and Clemson University. Students are required to attend the annual Translational Research Day at CU Nursing where graduating students will present a poster on their project.

    Published DNP Project Examples:

    Deem, M. Screening for Diabetic Kidney Disease in Primary Care: A Quality Improvement Initiative

    Wallace, L. The Impact of an Educational Program on School-based Telehealth and Parent Willingness to Use Telehealth

    Fisher, B. Transition Care of Childhood Cancer Survivors: Initiation of a Formal Transition Process: A Pilot Study

  • Application Information

    ** Priority Deadline - November 15 **
    ** Final Deadline - February 15 **

    ** Orientation to be held late March/early April **

    The following requirements need to be met for an admission application to be considered:

    For both post-baccalaureate and post-masters:

    • Completion of the on-line application at Online Application
    • Official transcripts from all previous programs.
    • Cumulative (All college credits) GPA of 3.25 or higher - applicants who attended a program with mostly or all pass/fail grades will not be considered competitive
    • Official TOEFL/IELTS scores for International Students. TOEFL score may be required by applicants for whom English is not their first language.
    • Three letters of Recommendation addressing academic ability and practice knowledge/skills from masters or doctorally prepared individuals (supervisors, MDs, NPs, etc.).
      • Prefer one from a nursing faculty from your undergraduate program, one from a supervisor, and one from a health care professional who is familiar with your clinical skills.
    • Professional Resume or Curriculum Vitae
    • Personal statement – background, career goals and how the DNP program will support fulfillment of your goals

    In addition, post-baccalaureate applicants will need:

    • A bachelors degree in Nursing from a nationally accredited program
    • Minimum of 600 clinical hours

    In addition, post-masters students will need:

    • Masters degree in Nursing from a nationally accredited program
    • Unencumbered, active nursing and/or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse license throughout the duration of the program for state in which DNP Project will be completed
    • Current NP/CNS national certification in specialty area (throughout duration of program) if applicable

    Post-Admission Requirements 

    • Background Check. Negative results from a background check may preclude students from completing the clinical requirements thus preventing completion of the program.
    • Professional liability insurance with the non-direct care rider
    • Nursing practice verification of hours
      • The verification of hours refers to any faculty-supervised direct or indirect hours related to your Master’s degree completion. This is not limited to hands-on direct patient care experiences. The form should be completed by a designated official from your program and returned. Please note that a gap analysis will be performed on an individual basis to identify how many additional practice/project hours will be required for the DNP program.
    • Master’s program verification of hours (only for post-masters students)
    • Letter of support from practice or healthcare institution/system for DNP Project
  • State Reciprocity

    South Carolina is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and Clemson University (CU) is an approved SARA institution, which means we adhere to established standards for offering post-secondary e-learning programs. State authorization allows CU the ability to offer online programs to students who live outside of SC OR enroll students in learning placements that will take place outside of SC (such as internships, clinicals, practicums, and student teaching). CU must meet all of the regulatory requirements, including those from licensure/certification boards, of the state where the student physically resides or where an activity will take place. IT IS IMPERATIVE YOU UNDERSTAND THE REGULATIONS FOR YOUR STATE PRIOR TO ENROLLING IN ANY ACADEMIC PROGRAM OR COURSE. Please review our state authorizations to determine if specific program offerings or learning placements are available in the state which you will be physically located while enrolled. If you experience difficulty finding the requirements for a specific state, please email for help.

    If you are expecting a change in your physical location, contact the State Authorization office as soon as you know the anticipated location(s). Physical presence in a location where we do not meet state regulatory requirements can negatively impact our ability to offer you federal financial aid, military tuition assistance, or your continuation within the program. These restrictions extend to courses taken online over the summer, internships, clinicals or other forms of learning placements if they are conducted outside of an approved state. Students are responsible for providing accurate and updated information about their physical presence to the institution. Early notification allows the institution to minimize, but may not prevent, the possibility of program delays/offerings.

  • Financial

    The School of Nursing offers a limited number of graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs), which includes financial support in the form of stipends and tuition remission. Students must be enrolled fulltime each semester to qualify for a graduate assistantship and must also commit to working a minimum of 20 hours a week in a teaching or research role or performing other tasks assigned by the School of Nursing. Graduate assistantship responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

    • Leading a clinical group of undergraduate students (GTAs must have a minimum of two years RN work experience for this position).
    • Assisting the simulation lab manager with set up and execution of lab assignments
    • Working with faculty on research projects and/or assisting them with undergraduate teaching assignments.
    Nursing Scholarships

    Nursing scholarships are available through Clemson University and the School of Nursing.

    Please visit the Financial Aid website for Clemson University scholarship information.

    Additional scholarships and awards are available in the Spring semester through the School of Nursing. Details and application forms are emailed directly to students in the spring. Please see the list below and contact Mrs. Angie Newton for more information. 

    External nursing scholarships can be found on the AACN website.

    Elizabeth Ashley Gillespie ('03, M'06) Annual Travel Grant-in-Aid


    Study abroad travel aid for nursing students.

    Eugene Edwards Memorial Award


    Award for outstanding nursing students.

    Gracie Evelyn Boggs Jameson Endowed Scholarship


    Scholarship for nursing students interested in oncology nursing.

    Hearst Annual Scholarship


    Scholarship for underrepresented nursing students pursuing BS or ASD degree.

    Herbert N. Shearin, Jr. Award for Excellence in Nursing


    Award for junior or senior nursing students.

    J.C. Hubbard Endowment Educational Fund


    Scholarship for undergraduate nursing students.

    Judy Yvonne Robertson Memorial Scholarship


    Scholarship for nursing students at all levels.

    Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Annual Nursing Scholarship


    Need-based scholarship for nursing students who are residents of AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, or VA.

    Reva W. Burns Endowment Scholarship in Nursing


    Scholarships for junior or senior nursing students.

    Viola M. Wolf Nursing Annual Scholarship


    Scholarship for U.S. citizen junior or senior nursing students with minimum GPA of 3.0.

  • International Students

    If you are an international student, please review this information carefully as it will tell you how to have your information evaluated and also how to obtain the proper licensure:

    As you know, in order to apply for CUSON graduate nursing programs, an applicant must hold an earned bachelor's/baccalaureate degree in nursing and an unrestricted Registered Nurse license in South Carolina and the states where students will be completing clinical hours.    We also need the verification of clinical hours form completed.

    Earned Bachelor's/Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing:  You will submit your transcripts as the Graduate School will affirm that foreign nurse graduates have graduated from a bachelor's degree program in nursing in their home country. 

    Licensed as a Registered Nurse in the United States

    The Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools was established to support graduates of foreign nursing programs in their pursuit of lawful credentialing as Registered Nurses in the United States.  

    Below is a brief description and links that provide detailed information, you will work with CGFNS to provide us with the information needed.  

    About CGFNS International, Inc.

    Founded in 1977 by the American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National League for Nursing (NLN) and based in Philadelphia, the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) International is an immigration-neutral not-for-profit organization proudly serving as the world’s largest credentials evaluation organization for the nursing and allied health professions. CGFNS International is an NGO in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is a member of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO). For more information, visit and

    CGFNS International is an immigration neutral nonprofit organization that helps foreign educated healthcare professionals live and work in their country of choice by assessing and validating their academic and professional credentials.  We provide foreign students and healthcare professionals with a comprehensive assessment of their academic records to facilitate their successful admission to schools in the US and other countries.  We help protect migrating healthcare professionals by advocating for ethical recruitment practices and continuously monitoring the global landscape for developing trends in employment recruitment and workplace norms.  CGFNS International is an NGO in Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which serves as the central forum for international and social issues.

    Once you have obtained the information from CGFNS for evaluation, authentication and verification, please include with your application for review.

  • Contact

    Ellen B. Chiles, M.Ed
    Student Services Coordinator
    Office: 467 CU Nursing building
    Phone: 864-720-2052

School of Nursing
School of Nursing | 414 Edwards Hall