Fairfield University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a clinically-focused degree that prepares graduates to evaluate and apply existing evidence to improve practice outcomes. Taught as a cohort program, students are educated in the fundamental skills necessary to make a difference in healthcare: population-level healthcare, organizational systems, leadership, business management, clinical scholarship, information technology, and policy-making. With this knowledge, DNP Family Nurse Practitioner graduates are prepared for leadership roles in a variety of settings—as executives in healthcare organizations, directors of clinical programs, or faculty programs with a clinical focus, to name a few.
Come meet our deans and faculty to learn more about our graduate programs.
Dear Prospective Student,
The decision to pursue a doctoral degree is an exciting step in your career. At Fairfield, we offer a rigorous program with a personalized approach to education. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at Fairfield University allows you to select or build on a specialized clinical focus as a family or psychiatric nurse practitioner, and to investigate a practice concern that intrigues you.
In choosing to earn a DNP, you'll be on the cutting edge of the profession. In 2004 members of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) endorsed the DNP as the preferred degree for APRN practice. The AACN membership expressed their commitment to moving the current level of preparation necessary for APRNs from the master's degree to the doctoral level by the year 2015. Why is this necessary?
A DNP education offers APRNs:
As a DNP student at Fairfield's Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, you'll be encouraged to achieve the highest level of advanced clinical nursing practice possible through course work, seminars, and tutorials as well as clinical experiences, immersion opportunities, and a scholarly DNP Project. As with all education at Fairfield, yours will be rigorous, experiential, and inspirational. You'll be expected to develop a broad and thorough understanding of the:
Feel free to explore the possibilities of a Doctor of Nursing Practice at Fairfield University on our website. Please contact me by e-mail or the Track Coordinator to clarify any questions you may have about the program. I look forward to hearing from you about your educational and career goals soon.
Joyce Shea, DNSc, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
Family Nurse Practitioner Track Coordinator
Jaclyn Conelius, PhD, FNP, APRN-BC
Phone 203-254-4000, ext. 2757
Upon completion of the Fairfield University DNP program, graduates will possess the following competencies:
DNP graduates will be prepared to be practice leaders in a variety of roles, including:
Visit our online catalog for more information.
Foundation Core Courses
DNP Core Courses
Advanced Practice Core Courses
Family Nurse Practitioner (25 credits)
* A total of 1,000 practicum/immersion hours are required for the DNP.
Family Nurse Practitioner - Rolling Admission until March 1
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner - Rolling Admission until July 1
Nurse Anesthesia Program - Rolling Admission until August 1
Nurse Midwifery Program - Rolling Admission until August 1
There are 4 tracks available in the BSN-DNP program: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwifery and Nurse Anesthesia. Admission procedures vary by program. Applications are reviewed by the Graduate Admission Committee.
BSN applicants for the DNP at Fairfield must hold a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher overall and in the nursing major. RN applicants who have a non-nursing bachelor's degree will be considered on an individual basis and may be required to complete select prerequisites to be eligible for admission to the DNP program; however, RN applicants who have a non-nursing bachelor's degree are not eligible for the Nurse Anesthesia track.
All DNP programs except Nurse Anesthesia
Students seeking admission must complete the following procedure. Submit:
Students from non-English speaking countries are required to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report. A TOEFL composite score of 550 for the paper test, 213 for the computer-based, or 80 on the Internet-based test (IBT) is strongly recommended for admission. Fairfield's ETS code is 3390.
Applicants who meet the above criteria will be invited in for an Admission interview.
For additional information, contact the Office of Graduate Admission at Fairfield University, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824-5195; telephone: (203) 254-4184.
Measles and Rubella Immunization
Connecticut Law requires that students born after December 31, 1956 provide proof of immunization or titre for measles and rubella. This proof must be provided prior to course registration to the University Health Center.
At Fairfield, our dedicated faculty play a critical role in our student’s personal and moral development as healthcare providers. Meet the faculty and staff at The Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies.
What is the DNP?
The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a practice-focused doctorate comparable to advanced clinical degrees in other health disciplines such as Medical Doctor (MD), Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). The degree represents the highest academic preparation for nursing practice, focusing on expanded scientific knowledge related to providing comprehensive direct care across all settings. Grounded in clinical practice, the DNP moves the focus of advanced practice nursing from the level of the individual patient to the population level by using a cross-population perspective to assess, manage, and evaluate common problems.
Why a DNP?
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), safe nursing practice in today's increasingly complex health care system requires improved translation of scientific evidence into practice. With a DNP, you'll be able to assume a leadership role in an increasingly complex healthcare system during this critical era of healthcare reform.
The future of nursing rides on the DNP, and the shift in the industry is occurring right now. Members of AACN voted in 2004 to support advanced practice nursing at the doctoral level. This means that the DNP is the preferred degree for students wishing to be a nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), nurse midwife (CNM), or nurse anesthetist (CRNA); it will soon be required in some areas of advanced practice such as nurse anesthesia. For more on the DNP, visit AACN.
What is the difference between the DNP and the MSN?
The DNP is the preferred degree for advanced practice nursing (AACN, 2004). While programs are still available at the master's level, the DNP is expected to become the standard in the nursing practice.
What is the difference between the PhD and the DNP?
The primary difference between the two is that a PhD is research-focused and the DNP is practice-focused. The PhD is specifically designed to teach students how to conduct original investigation that advances the knowledge of a discipline. In contrast, a DNP is comparable to clinical doctorates in other health disciplines such as pharmacy, physical therapy, and medicine. DNP students focus on advanced practice areas of specialization, acquiring a population perspective in addressing common patient problems within a specialty. DNP students complete a practice dissertation that applies existing knowledge to address a clinical problem. The practice dissertation results in a publishable paper that demonstrates the effectiveness of a clinical innovation on patient outcomes.
Why a DNP at Fairfield?
Fairfield University offers:
Which advance practice roles do we offer for BSN to DNP students?
If I am a BSN, how long will it take for me to become a DNP, and how much will it cost?
BSNs who pursue the DNP on a full-time basis will take three years; four years if they do so part-time. The approximate cost is $70-75,000 for the program, depending on the tuition rate per credit which could change slightly over the course of those years.
Can DNP students be part-time?
Yes, the many of our students attend school part-time while working full-time; we have both full-time and part-time curricular plans available.
What are the admission requirements for the DNP?
View the Fairfield's Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies graduate admission requirements.
Who develops the specific competencies for nurse practitioners graduate education?
The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties is responsible for developing the nurse practitioner competencies. This is true for both MSN and DNP preparation.
Can a Family Nurse Practitioner work only in primary care and with what age of patients?
A certified Family Nurse Practitioner is prepared to work with patients across the life span except for patients in critical care and high risk pregnancy areas. Family Nurse Practitioners can work in primary care or specialized areas of medicine such as cardiology, infertility, interventional radiology, oncology, and pediatrics at this time. The program at Fairfield University prepares the graduate to be able to work with all age groups. Clinical practica are arranged to prepare the student to gain experience in primary care and, if desired, in one or two specialty areas.
Will I be better off obtaining a Family Nurse Practitioner degree if I know I want to work in pediatrics only?
The Family Nurse Practitioner degree will prepare you to work as an FNP in pediatric settings as well as with adults of all ages in case you change your mind as your career evolves. Primary care is being offered in many family practice centers so being a FNP prepares you for both adult and pediatric practice. If you feel you want to specialize exclusively in pediatrics, you should seek information at institutions offering a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner track.
I am interested in working with older adults, but should I be prepared as a Family Nurse Practitioner so that I can be more flexible depending on what type of setting I get hired for practice?
Being a Family Nurse Practitioner will make you most marketable and enable you to work in any practice setting with patients of all ages [except critical care and high risk pregnancy].
Can I transfer graduate credits? If so, how many?
Students can transfer up to 6 core credits if the courses are similar. Evaluation of transfer credits are approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.
Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to apply?
The GRE exam is not required for Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Anesthesia Tracks; however, for BSN applicants that have earned a GPA below 3.0., or MSN applicants that have earned a GPA below 3.2, GRE scores may strengthen your application by demonstrating your ability to achieve the academic standards required at the doctoral level.
Who can I call if I have more questions about the DNP for Family Nurse Practitioner program?
Call or email Dr. Jaclyn Conelius , (203) 254-4000, ext. 2757 for more information.