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College of Nursing

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Plan of Study

The DNP program is designed to prepare nurses as clinical practitioners and scholars to assume advanced practice clinical and leadership roles.

In addition to traditional master’s education and preparation for advanced practice in nursing, students will learn to evaluate and apply research to improve patient care and participate in a nursing leadership program. Graduates will be eligible to take a national certification exam in an area of advanced practice nursing or leadership.

Students can enter USC’s Doctorate in Nursing Practice program with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing. Bachelor’s degree entrants will have to take a minimum of 60-75 hours for a degree depending on the track chosen. There are three concentrations for Baccalaureate seeking students.  Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.

Those with a master’s degree will have a minimum of a 33-hour course of study.  Masters prepared students holding a certificate in advanced practice nursing may choose the APRN concentration and all students may choose the Nurse Executive concentration. The DNP program can be completed online however campus visits may be required for project proposal defense and final project defense.

Degree Requirements

To earn a degree, the student must

  • Complete graduate residency of at least 18 graduate hours for three consecutive semesters
  • Complete an approved program of study 
  • Complete a DNP final project
  • Complete program within six years
  • Complete a minimum of 500 clinical hours (1,000 clinical hours for those entering the program with a bachelor's degree)
  • Have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and earn a 3.0 or better in all required classes and courses number 700 or higher

Contact the Nursing DNP Program Office

Have additional questions about the DNP Program? Call us at 803-777-7412, email an adviser today, or stop by our office:
Williams-Brice Building, Room 208
1601 Greene Street
Columbia, SC  29208