Doctor of Nursing Practice

Ranked as one of the top 100 graduate nursing programs in the US by US News and World Report, the PLU Doctor of Nursing Practice is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree at the highest level of nursing practice. According to a recent issue brief from the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation, titled “Nurse Practitioners to Meet Rising Demand for Primary Care“, demand for Nurse Practitioners is set to increase to alleviate health care shortages.

The PLU Doctor of Nursing Practice degree prepares graduates in one of two advanced practice specialty areas:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)*

Graduates are able to develop and evaluate quality within a health system, collaborate with inter-professional teams to improve health outcomes, and be leaders in the nursing profession.

*Pending board of regents and nursing commission approval

PLU offers three pathways to earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice degree


  • Nurses with a BSN complete the DNP FNP program in three years full-time or a four years part-time .
  • Successful completion of the program qualifies students to sit for national certifying exams for Family Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, making them eligible under Washington State law for Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) licensure.


  • The post-Master’s DNP FNP program is designed to prepare expert level clinicians.
  • Nurses with a master’s degree in nursing complete a Gap Analysis to determine what courses from their master’s degree can be applied to the DNP program, and an individualized program of study is developed.
  • Usually two years of full-time study is required to complete the DNP FNP or DNP PMHNP.


  • The post-master’s DNP program for nurses who are already advanced practice nurses is designed for the ARNP to complete their doctorate in two years of part-time study.
  • Post-master’s ARNP students retain their specialty and earn their doctoral degree.

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