Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at PLU is the perfect program for professionals seeking to advance their career with doctorate in nursing. The DNP nursing degree prepares graduates in one of the following advanced practice specialty areas:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • Nurse Executive (DNP/MBA) NEW!

The PLU Nursing difference

  • PLU is known for its high quality nursing education.
  • Cohort sizes are small to ensure a high quality, personable PLU experience.
  • All clinical placements are arranged by the PLU faculty.
  • There are full-time and part-time options

Sometimes called a Doctor of Nursing Practitioner, our DNP 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.

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, and three years of full-time study to complete the DNP/MBA Nurse Executive.


  • 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, or choose to complete the DNP/MBA Nurse Executive program in five years of part-time study.

DNP first cohort

The DNP program trains nurse practitioners for lives of leadership. Learn about how graduates improved patient outcomes through partnerships with major health care organizations: Shaping Health Care

Molly Martin, earned her BSN, MSN, and DNP at PLU. Watch the video to hear about her experience.

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The School of Nursing is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and is approved by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission. The Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and post-graduate APRN certificate programs at Pacific Lutheran University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education ( The Care and Outcomes Manager MSN curriculum meets requirements for the Clinical Nurse Leader national certification examination. The Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner tracks meet requirements for national certification examinations.

Looking towards the future

Nursing jobs in Washington state are increasingly in demand. A growing health sector is ready for PLU graduates to fill much-needed positions in our communities. For more information about our DNP program cost, or how students can earn DNP scholarships, please explore our website and contact us with any questions.