Post Masters DNP Programs

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Program Overview

Post Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Advanced Practice DNP is a practice-focused doctorate in an advanced specialty of nursing practice, comparable to clinical doctorates in other health disciplines such as pharmacy, physical therapy, and medicine. The Advanced Practice MSN-DNP will give you the skills you need to excel in today's complex, challenging and ever-changing healthcare environment.

The E-DNP is a practice-focused doctorate for current nurse executives/administrators focusing on leadership and specifically designed in a flexible, hybrid format for the working professional. This program, which is based on the DNP core, offers specialized leadership courses and integrates the content throughout the students' immersion experiences in hospitals, healthcare systems and businesses.

The Advanced Practice DNP/PMHNP is the Advanced Practice DNP with a specialization focus in advanced practice psychiatric nursing for the non-psychiatric Nurse Practitioners who want the certification as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). This expanded MSN-DNP Program includes the didactic and clinical courses required to sit for the ANCC certification as a PMHNP.

Information Session

Come meet our deans and faculty to learn more about our graduate programs.

Message From The Associate Dean

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 Post-Masters Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at Fairfield University allows you to build on a specialized clinical focus as an advanced practice nurse or to investigate a systems-based practice concern that intrigues you as a nurse executive.

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 advanced practice nursing.

A DNP education offers APRNs and Nurse Executives:

  • The ability to appraise and apply scientific evidence to improve practice
  • The capacity to use a cross-population perspective to assess, manage, and evaluate common problems
  • A terminal degree in an advanced clinical specialty practice
  • Parity with the educational preparation of advanced practitioners in other health professions

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:

  • Scientific and ethical foundations of reflective practice
  • Environmental, social, economic, political, and regulatory forces that affect the delivery of quality healthcare and shape public debate
  • Translation of research into practice by designing and evaluating innovations in care to improve the health status of individuals, families, and populations

Feel free to explore the possibilities of a Doctor of Nursing Practice at Fairfield University on our website. Please contact me by e-mail to clarify any questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you about your educational and career goals soon.

Associate Dean and Post-Masters DNP Program Director

Course Offerings

Visit our online catalog for more information.

Foundation Core Courses

  • NS 601 Epidemiology and Biostatistics (3 Credits)
  • NS 605 Advanced Healthcare Policy (3 Credits)
  • NS 608 Research Methods for Evidence-Based Practice (3 Credits) Prereq: NS 601
  • NS 609 Role Reflective Practice for MSN-DNP Students (1 Credit)

DNP Core Courses

  • NS 602 Healthcare Economics and Marketing (3 Credits)
  • NS 611 Population Health (3 Credits)
  • NS 612 Research Translation for Clinical Practice (3 Credits) Prereq: NS 608
  • NS 614 Information Technology for Healthcare Improvement (3 Credits)
  • NS 615 Leadership & Interprofessional Collaboration (3 Credits)
  • NS 687 DNP Immersion * (1-5 credits)
  • NS 697 DNP Seminar I (1 Credit)
  • NS 699 DNP Seminar II (1 Credit)

 * A total of 1,000 practicum/immersion hours are required for the DNP.  

PMHNP Concentration

In response to the overwhelming demand for mental health care today and frequent requests from non-psychiatric Nurse Practitioners for education in psychiatric-mental health care to better meet the needs of their clients, the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies offers an expanded MSN-DNP program that includes the didactic and clinical courses required to sit for ANCC certification as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). Individuals who currently hold certification as a non-psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (e.g. FNP, ANP, PNP, etc.) and are interested in achieving additional certification as a PMHNP may apply to the Advanced Practice MSN-DNP program with a specialization focus in advanced practice psychiatric nursing.


Admission Policy

Post Master's DNP

Application Deadlines:
Advanced Practice DNP - Rolling until August 1
Executive DNP - Rolling until August 1

Nurse Anesthesia has a summer entry only.
All other programs are for fall entry only.

MSN applicants for the DNP must hold a master's degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) with a grade point average of 3.2 or higher overall and in the nursing major. Advanced Practice candidates must be eligible for APRN licensure in the state of Connecticut. Applications are reviewed by the Graduate Admission Committee.

Admission Procedures

All DNP programs except Nurse Anesthesia

Students seeking admission must complete the following procedure. Submit:

  • A Completed application (apply now)
  • A Non-refundable $60 Application fee (paid online)
  • A Professional Resume. Applicants are required to submit a current resume that includes employment and educational history.
  • A Personal Statement
    • Discuss a practice problem in your field that, in your experience, has a broad impact on patient care outcomes.
    • State professional goals for the next 5-10 years.
    • Explain how a DNP degree will aid you in reaching your goals.
  • Official transcripts verifying completion of an undergraduate degree (BSN entry) and Master's degree (MSN entry). All foreign transcripts must be evaluated by an approved evaluating service.
  • Two Recommendation Forms and Letters, one of which must be from a current supervisor or professor who can assess one's clinical expertise and academic potential, accompanied by the University recommendation forms.
  • Copy of current RN License; licensure to practice in the state of Connecticut will be required upon admission.
  • Copy of APRN License and certificate of national certification in an advanced practice nursing specialty (for Nurse Practitioner MSN-DNP applicants only)

International Students

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.

Interview Process

Applicants who meet the above criteria will be invited in for an Admission interview.

For additional information, contact 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.

Career & Professional Opportunities

Post Masters DNP Programs‌Upon completion of the Fairfield University DNP program, graduates will possess the following competencies:

  • Independently provide culturally sensitive and evidence-based care to individuals and populations in a defined area of advanced nursing practice.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking at the highest level of practice and accountability in the management of healthcare systems, considering ethical, legal, and socially just patient-centered care.
  • Translate research into practice through critique of existing evidence, evaluation of outcomes, and implementation of projects that contribute to the development of best practices.
  • Integrate science and theory from nursing and related disciplines within a reflective practice framework to inform clinical judgments, resolve dilemmas in healthcare, and serve as a patient care advocate.
  • Evaluate patient, population, and healthcare system outcomes using fiscal analysis and cost-effective strategies to achieve quality improvement.
  • Analyze the use of healthcare information systems and patient care technology to assure high quality healthcare outcomes.
  • Lead collaborative interprofessional relationships and partnerships to transform healthcare delivery systems and improve health.
  • Assume a leadership role in the analysis, development, implementation, and evaluation of policies to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes at the local, regional, national, and international levels.

DNP graduates will be prepared to be practice leaders in a variety of roles, including:

  • Quality management executives in healthcare organizations
  • Advance practice caregivers in acute, community, and long-term care settings
  • Directors of clinical programs
  • Faculty responsible for clinical program delivery and teaching


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.


Frequently Asked Questions

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 by 2015. 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). For more information on the DNP, visit AACN.

Why a DNP at Fairfield?

Fairfield University offers:

  • Personalized attention & strong faculty-student mentorship opportunities
  • A rigorous, experiential, and inspirational academic experience
  • A reputation for graduating highly skilled nurse practitioners
  • Stellar on-site technological resources
  • A state-of-the-art simulation laboratory
  • Exceptional media resources available onsite and remotely
  • In keeping with our Jesuit mission, an emphasis on the ethical, legal, and socially-just implications of patient-centered care

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 clinical-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, including nurse executives, acquiring a population perspective in addressing common patient problems within a specialty area. DNP students complete a final Project that applies existing knowledge to address a clinical problem. The DNP Project results in a publishable paper that demonstrates the effectiveness of a clinical innovation on patient outcomes.

Who can apply to the MSN to DNP program?

Nurses with a Masters degree are eligible to apply for the MSN to DNP students. Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Anesthetists should select the advanced practice track (ADNP). Other Masters-prepared nurses who currently hold leadership positions in healthcare are eligible to apply for the Executive MSN to DNP (EDNP) program. Please note that 1000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours are required for the DNP degree.

Can DNP students be part-time?

Yes, many of our students attend school part-time while working full-time, but 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 admission requirements.

Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to apply?

No, the GRE exam is not required for admission to the Post-Masters’ Advanced Practice track or the Executive track. However, for 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 Post-Masters DNP program?

Call or email Dr. Joyce Shea, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2575 for more information. 

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