Online Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice

Impact patient care from a leadership level.

You became a nurse because you’re committed to helping people. And you’ve continued in your education and professional development because you understand that the more you learn, the greater the effect you can have on the lives of patients.

Now you’re ready to take your career even further.

The online Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program from the University of North Dakota can prepare you for new clinical leadership opportunities where you can impact the future of nursing. This program offers two tracks Leadership or Advanced Practice Nursing — for nurses who strive to achieve better outcomes for individuals, families and underserved or vulnerable populations.

By earning this degree, you can position yourself to:

  • Help shape health care policies and procedures
  • Provide enhanced levels of direct patient care
  • Manage health care systems
  • Train the next generation of nurses
100% Online

Complete coursework 100% online

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Graduate in as few as 5 semesters

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Seamless transition from master’s coursework

Specialized Tracks

Two specialized tracks available

Why choose UND’s online Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program?

Our College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines (CNPD) produces some of the finest nurse leaders in the nation — and has for more than a century. All of our programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, which underscores our commitment to high-quality nursing education.

UND’s distance learning program took shape in 1911 through mail correspondence and has evolved ever since, allowing us to offer technology-based distance education to thousands of students around the world and help them achieve their educational goals from wherever they live. Our innovative spirit has carried through to our graduate nursing programs, where we’ve spent the past 30 years offering online education to CNPD students. We know how to personalize your experience and make sure you’re ready to perform in the field — wherever you decide to practice.

We’re on a mission to prepare nurse leaders like you for advanced roles in health care where you’ll have an opportunity to influence policy change and make patient outcomes even stronger. Our Post Master’s online D.N.P. leadership programs are designed for leaders who are ready to take action, and as a trusted nursing, medicine, health sciences and social services institution, we’d like to help you.

You’re already a health care provider. Now become a health care leader.

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UND is recognized for quality and chosen for excellence:

University of North Dakota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
CCNE Accredited
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Nursing Schools Almanac Top Public Nursing School badge Recognized School badge

What can you do with your Doctor of Nursing Practice degree?

Health care is complex, and this complexity is only growing as new factors are introduced, like technology and the diversity of patient populations — from the elderly to the underserved. The best way to navigate such an unpredictable environment is through advanced training and leadership development beyond a typical APRN program.

With your D.N.P., you can:

  • Provide direct patient care
  • Manage the care of patients and entire patient populations
  • Administrate in nursing and health care organizations
  • Develop and implement health policy

Lead advocacy for quality patient care.

Expanding your nursing skills to focus more on quality improvements and influencing health policies can broaden your impact on individuals, families and underserved populations. Here are some top roles and average salaries in the field, according to PayScale:

Director of Nursing

Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Midwife

Nurse Anesthetist

Hospital Chief Executive Officer

Chief Nursing Officer

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What can you learn?

D.N.P.-educated nurses are recognized for their ability to critique nursing practice and design care delivery programs that are economically feasible, locally acceptable and that significantly impact health care outcomes. With this degree, you’ll extend your skills from practical and hands-on to statistical and research‑based.

Enroll in our online Post-Master’s D.N.P. program, and we’ll teach you how to apply research to enhance diagnostic accuracy and interpret data to analyze care — all while working collaboratively with other professional nurses who are expertly trained in advanced practice certification areas.

We offer two online tracks to help you specialize your career.

  • The Advanced Practice Nursing track is designed to help APRNs build the confidence and tools needed to advance into practice-focused leadership roles that work toward the Improvement of population health, patient care processes and outcomes.
  • The Leadership track can help you develop the skills needed to provide education and lead the transformation of health care organization practices, system-wide improvements and health care policy at the local, state and national levels.

You’ve already built your foundation in nursing, now use it to expand your master’s-level education and grow as a leader. Focus the next phase of your career on quality improvement, evidence-based practice and systems leadership.

Do more than learn from our expertise. Build your own.

Our low student-faculty ratio means you can work closely with experts in the field and graduate equipped with the insights to lead and the tools to make a tangible impact.

Program Outcomes & Essentials

Graduates earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) D.N.P. Essentials, our D.N.P. graduates will demonstrate the following abilities.

  • Essential I: Scientific Underpinnings for Practice
  • Essential II: Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement and Systems Thinking
  • Essential III: Clinical Scholarship and Analytical Methods for Evidence-Based Practice
  • Essential IV: Information Systems/Technology and Patient Care Technology for the Improvement and Transformation of Health Care
  • Essential V: Health Care Policy for Advocacy in Health Care
  • Essential VI: Interprofessional Collaboration for Improving Patient and Population Health Outcomes
  • Essential VII: Clinical Prevention and Population Health for Improving the Nation’s Health
  • Essential VIII: Advanced Nursing Practice

“I earned my D.N.P. to support all of the projects I was working on at the time and become an even more recognized leader and expert in the field. Completing my doctorate exemplified my dedication to the profession, commitment to quality and improved patient outcomes.”

— Heidi Bender, D.N.P., F.N.P.-C.

Meet Our Faculty

We’re leaders in nursing and would like to help you become one, too. There’s nothing we enjoy more than sharing our holistic approach to nursing and health care advocacy techniques with eager nurses like you. Take advantage of our experience — it can help improve your performance as a nurse.

Mary Jane Rivard, D.N.P., R.N.-B.C.

Post-Master’s D.N.P. Program Director and Clinical Associate Professor

Mary Jane Rivard, D.N.P., R.N.-B.C. is a clinical assistant professor and director of the Post-Master’s D.N.P. program in the College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines at the University of North Dakota. She began teaching at UND in 2014, where she discovered her passion for teaching.

Rivard began her nursing career when she earned her B.S.N. in 1991. She had the privilege of working in multiple areas of nursing throughout her career, including hospital, ambulatory and home health. She held a variety of roles from bedside nursing to managerial roles. Rivard’s passion surrounds nursing informatics and how to harness expanding technology to improve patient care. This passion led her to pursue her D.N.P. degree with a focus on informatics through the University of Minnesota, graduating in 2013. In 2015 she received her certification in informatics through the ANCC.

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Admission Requirements

To qualify for the online Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Earn a master’s degree or higher from an accredited nursing program
  • Achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 from a previous graduate nursing program
  • Have a current unencumbered R.N. license — valid in the U.S.
  • Advanced Practice Nursing track only: Hold an active national certification in an advanced practice registered nurse specialty; such as clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife or nurse practitioner

In addition, you must provide the following:

  • Online application and $35 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from every institution attended
  • Nursys license verification report
  • Professional resume or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of goals (two-page summary describing professional goals and how the DNP will contribute to those goals)
  • Three letters of recommendation*
  • An interview (via web, phone, or in person) may be required

Upon offer of admission, the following will be required:

  • Successful passage of criminal background check and drug screen
  • Satisfaction of current health and immunization policy of the Department of Nursing

For international students:

  • Satisfy the School of Graduate Studies’ English language proficiency requirements in one of the following ways:
    • Receive a bachelor’s degree or higher from a recognized institution where English is the primary language of instruction in the United States and U.S. territories, Australia, Canada (except Quebec), England, Ireland, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Scotland, Wales, Commonwealth Caribbean or New Zealand.
    • Earn an overall band score of at least 6.0 on the IELTS.
    • Earn a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which depends upon the type of TOEFL taken:
      • Paper-based TOEFL (PBT) score of at least 550.
      • Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) score of at least 76.
    • Successfully complete the English Language Service (ELS) Language Center’s Intensive Level 112.

*Reference providers are notified as soon as they are added to the application and can be added before the application is submitted.

Upcoming Application Deadlines

Application Deadline

Classes Begin

Spring 2022


Fall 2022