DNP vs PhD

A DNP degree is a doctorate of nursing practice. A PhD is a research doctorate.

Graduates of PhD programs are prepared to conduct independent research and disseminate their findings. PhD graduates are preferred for academic faculty positions, but DNP graduates are also recruited for academic and leadership positions emphasizing evidence-based clinical practice and teaching.

A DNP will provide graduates with the skills and tools necessary to assess the evidence gained through nursing research, evaluate the impact of that research on their practice and, as necessary, make changes to enhance quality of care.

Scholarship is an integral part of both doctoral degrees.

DNPPhD

Focus:

Nursing practice

Focus:

Nursing research

Goal:

To perform at the highest level of nursing practice; assume leadership roles in healthcare delivery systems; critically appraise existing literature and evidence to determine and implement best practices; and improve patient outcomes by expanding knowledge of evidence-based practice.

Goal:

To prepare scholars with expertise in selected substantive areas to contribute to nursing theory and practice through systematic inquiry.

Focus of courses:

  • Expanding practice expertise to the highest level
  • Theory related to practice
  • Health care delivery systems
  • Quality improvement methods
  • Health policy
  • Advanced nursing practice leadership

Focus of courses:

  • Philosophy of science
  • Theory construction & analysis
  • Statistics
  • Research methods, qualitative and quantitative
  • History of health care and historical methods
  • Instrumentation and measurement

Point of entry:

  • BSN pathway (student earns a master’s degree)
  • MSN with specialty focus

Point of entry:

  • BSN
  • MSN

Length of program:

3 to 7 years

Length of program:

3 to 7 years

Clinical requirements:

500 clinical hours post-MSN (1,000 post-BSN)

Clinical requirements:

none

Scholarship opportunities:

  • Some partial scholarships available
  • Loan forgiveness programs for those who become full-time nursing faculty after graduation

Scholarship opportunities:

  • Two (MSN-entry) or three (BSN-entry) years of support through appointment as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (full scholarship plus stipend)
  • Loan forgiveness programs for those who will become nursing faculty after graduation

Job prospects after graduation:

  • APRNs with an enhanced skill set
  • Academic and leadership positions emphasizing
  • Leadership positions in health organizations
  • Directors of clinical nursing at health facilities and systems




Job prospects after graduation:

  • Academic faculty positions
  • Primary investigator for research grants
  • Director of research at health systems
  • Leadership positions in health organizations
  • Academic and leadership positions emphasizing research and teaching

The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record is the official repository for academic program requirements.