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Doctor of Nursing Practice FAQs

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Q: How does the DNP program at SMU differ from other doctoral nursing programs?

Q: Which program is right for me - Post-Master's DNP or FNP-DNP?

Q: Is the DNP Program at Samuel Merritt University taught in an online or face-to-face format?

Q: When is the deadline for applying?

Q: When does the program start?

Q: How long is the program?

Q: What are the academic prerequisites for admission?

Q: What if my Statistics course is older than three years?

Q: What makes Samuel Merritt University special?

Q: What accreditation does Samuel Merritt University have?

Q: Are there clinical requirements?

Q: Does the DNP program prepare me to teach?

Q: Do SMU BSN or MSN graduates have an advantage in the admission process?

Q: Is the GRE required?

Q: Is an interview required?

Q: How many students are admitted into the DNP program?

Q: What does the DNP program cost?

Q: Is financial aid available?


Q: How does the DNP program at SMU differ from other doctoral nursing programs?

A: A graduate from our DNP program will be a valuable counterpart to colleagues prepared in a PhD nursing program. The DNP focuses on research application, while PhD nursing programs tend to focus on knowledge generation.

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Q: Which program is right for me - Post-Master's DNP or FNP-DNP?

If your highest level of nursing education is a BSN and you'd like to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner, the FNP-DNP is the appropriate option. If you have a Master's degree in an advanced practice nursing specialty (CRNA, NP, CNM), the appropriate choice is the Post-Master's DNP. Nurses with Master's degrees in other nursing specialties or some health related fields can also be considered for the Post-Master's DNP program; however, if the student's goal is primary care practice, the FNP-DNP program would be required.

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Q: Is the DNP Program at Samuel Merritt University taught in an online or face-to-face format?

A: The Post-Master's DNP program is offered online with the exception of one 3-day session on campus each year in December. The FNP/DNP curriculum includes blended online and face-to-face learning modalities.

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Q: When is the deadline for applying?

A: Applications for the FNP-DNP and Post-Master's DNP are accepted on a rolling basis. 

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Q: When does the program start?

A: The Post-Master's cohort is admitted every spring (January) and FNP/DNP students begin in summer (May) or Fall (September).

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Q: How long is the program?

A: The Post-Master's DNP program consists of 36 semester units and can be completed in a two-year period for full-time students. The FNP/DNP program consists of 79 semester units and can be completed in ~3.5 years.

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Q: What are the academic prerequisites for admission?

A: A college or university level Statistics course must have been completed within the past three years ago with a grade of "B" or higher.

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Q: What if my Statistics course is older than three years?

A: If your Statistics course is older than three years, you have two choices: you may choose to take another Statistics course or you may choose to provide verification of successful completion (CE Certificate) of the KLIMES Institute statistics courses at http://cecourses.org/statistics/ (S101 & S201).

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Q: What makes Samuel Merritt University special?

A: Samuel Merritt University is a premier health science institution with a reputation for educating outstanding clinicians. With more than a decade of experience in distance education, we have the technology, faculty expertise, and support to effectively deliver an online curriculum.

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Q: What accreditation does Samuel Merritt University have?

A:SMU is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The DNP program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Senior Commission of WASC.

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Q: Are there clinical requirements?

A: Yes. At the conclusion of the DNP program, you will have obtained 1,000 clinical practice hours accrued between your Master's (if applicable) and doctoral programs. These hours are completed in a supervised educational environment with an expert mentor.

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Q: Does the DNP program prepare me to teach?

A: While the DNP program will include educational components that are central to both education and practice, it is not specifically designed for preparing educators.

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Q: Do SMU BSN or MSN graduates have an advantage in the admission process?

A: While we welcome and encourage SMU BSN or MSN graduates to apply to the DNP program, all students will be evaluated equally in the admission process. SMU alumni are, however, eligible for 20% tuition discount if admitted to the DNP program within 2 years of graduation.

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Q: Is the GRE required?

A: No, the GRE is not required.

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Q: Is an interview required?

A: An interview will be scheduled when your application is complete. The interview's purpose is to assess "fit" between your career goals and the DNP program at SMU. Additionally, your leadership, communication, academic writing, and decision making skills will be evaluated. The interview also provides an opportunity for you to address questions you may have about the program. Interviews may be conducted by phone or in person.

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Q: How many students are admitted into the DNP program?

A: The maximum size for any cohort is approximately 18-20 students.

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Q: What does the DNP program cost?

A: Please visit the tuition page for the costs.

Q: Is financial aid available?

A: Yes. More information about financial aid is available on the financial aid page on the SMU website, www.samuelmerritt.edu/financial_aid. See also: Tips for Funding Your Doctoral Education

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