The University of San Francisco: School of Nursing

MSN to DNP/Family Nurse Practitioner

A number of societal, scientific, and professional developments have stimulated a major paradigm change in graduate education in nursing. The rapid expansion of knowledge underlying practice; increased complexity of patient care; national concerns about the quality of care and patient safety; shortages of nursing personnel; demands for a higher level of preparation for nurses to design and evaluate best practices; shortages of nursing faculty; and the increasing educational expectations for the preparation of other health professionals have lead to the establishing the standard that by 2015 all advanced practice nursing specialty preparation should be at the doctoral level (American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)).

The next cohort begins in Spring 2014.


Application deadline for Spring 2014 is Tuesday, October 15, 2013.


Fall Entry - Curriculum Pattern


Spring Entry - Curriculum Pattern




DNP Projects

Program Description

The University of San Francisco, School of Nursing is the first university in the Bay Area to offer the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), admitting the first students in Fall 2007. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the professional organization for higher education in nursing, has recommended that by 2015 all nursing specialty preparation should occur at the doctoral level.

The MSN specialist to DNP Advanced Practice Nurse is designed for the MSN prepared nurse who is already specialized as a Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwife, CNS, or Nurse Anesthetist but would like to receive an additional certification as Family Nurse Practitioner.  The program meets every other weekend on Friday evenings and all day Saturday.  The program is 64 units and can be completed in approximately 2 years.  The program for the MSN specialty prepared nurse takes into account previous academic coursework and clinical experiences and the required number of units are adjusted accordingly.  Course schedules are designed for both full time and part time students and are responsive to the needs of the working nurse professional. Please contact the School of Nursing for specific schedule information.

The DNP degree appeals to nurses with an MS or a BS degree in Nursing who are interested in a practice-focused doctorate. DNP graduates will be prepared as clinical leaders who will design models of health care delivery, evaluate clinical outcomes, identify and manage health care needs of populations, and use technology and information to transform health care systems. The DNP degree has also been identified as a way to increase the number of doctoral prepared nursing faculty.

The DNP Program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Program Objectives

  • Integrate nursing science with knowledge from ethics, the biophysical, psychosocial, analytical, and organizational science to develop and evaluate nursing practice and care delivery models.
  • Develop and evaluate effective strategies for managing the ethical dilemmas inherent in patient care, the health care organization, information technology, and research.
  • Use analytic methods to design, implement, and evaluate best practice models for patient care and systems of care delivery
  • Effectively develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based approaches to advance nursing and health care.
  • Demonstrate leadership in the development and implementation of institutional, local, state, federal, and international health policy
  • Advocate for social justice, equity, and ethical policies within all healthcare arenas.
  • Effectively lead quality improvement and patient safety initiatives.
  • Advance the effective use of health care information systems to assure high quality health care outcomes.
  • Employ effective communication and collaborative skills in the development and implementation of practice models, health policy, standards of care, and organizational issues.
  • Analyze and synthesize epidemiological, biostatical, environmental, cultural elements related to individual, aggregate, and population health.
  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of health and illness parameters in complex situations, incorporating diverse and culturally sensitive approaches in order to design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based interventions.
  • Develop and sustain therapeutic relationships and partnerships with patients and other professionals to facilitate optimal patient outcomes.
  • Analyze the links among practice, organizational, population, fiscal, and policy issues in order to effective education individuals and colleagues.
  • Satisfy the course and clinical requirements for specialty certification.
  • Advance the mission and core values of the University of San Francisco.

Admission Criteria
Admission to the program is based on an overall appraisal of the applicant’s ability to undertake doctoral study and of their contributions to the discipline of nursing.

Use the online application form to upload copies of transcripts and all documents required below, and to provide names and email addresses of recommenders. Mailed materials will not be accepted, everything should be submitted online.

  • Copies of transcripts from all colleges/universities attended showing that the student has completed either an baccalaureate or master’s degree in nursing
  • Grade Point Average of 3.0 (B) or higher
  • 3 letters of recommendation (submitted online)
  • Statement of professional goals
  • Resume
  • Documentation of RN license
  • A completed application form and fee;
  • TOEFL scores if needed

Highlights of the School of Nursing

  • The first private university nursing program in the State
  • Accredited by the California State Board of Registered Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Admission of DNP students occurs on a rolling admission basis for the fall, spring and summer semesters
  • The Graduate School of Nursing was ranked in the top 40 best nursing programs in the nation by US News and World Report
  • Financial Assistance Programs for those who qualify

KT Waxman, DNP Department Chair

For more information, contact our program recruiter at (415) 422-2806.