Online Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

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. Well, your search for a transformative online D.N.P. program stops here.

The University of North Dakota’s online D.N.P. program can help you develop leadership strategies to have an even greater impact on the future of health care.

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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

What is the online D.N.P. program?

The online Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program from the University of North Dakota can prepare you for leadership in the nursing field, giving you the opportunity to increase your impact on patient care. Our D.N.P. courses are designed for nurses who strive to achieve better outcomes for individuals, families and underserved or vulnerable populations, and our D.N.P. faculty members leverage their own professional experience to ensure you’re getting a degree relevant to the real challenges you’ll face as a nursing leader.

Working directly with patients isn’t the only way to make a difference as a nurse. By enrolling in the online D.N.P. Leadership program, you can develop the skills to lead systems and organizational transformations in health care — whether as a nurse educator or by creating health care policy.

By earning a D.N.P. online, 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

“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.

D.N.P. Program Careers

Health care is complex, and that complexity increases each year as new technologies are introduced, patient populations become more diverse and new illnesses spread. That’s why you need a post-master’s D.N.P. program like UND’s to give you the skills and strategies to lead health care organizations through the unpredictable world of medicine.

When you earn your D.N.P. online, you can:

  • Provide more efficient direct patient care
  • Manage the care of entire patient populations
  • Develop and implement health policy
  • Become a leader in nursing and health care organizations

Lead through the transformative nature of health 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. Some top roles and average salaries in the field include:

  • Director of nursing: $91,900
  • Patient care director: $102,500
  • Chief nursing officer: $133,500
  • Hospital chief executive officer: $153,400


Additional Career Opportunities with a Focus on Leadership

When you specialize your D.N.P. in nurse leadership, you can prepare to make top-down changes in health care by forming policy and administering care for organizations of all sizes.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment of medical and health services managers will grow 32% between 2019 and 2029 — much faster than the national average (4%). UND’s Leadership-focused can help you qualify for roles such as:

  • Health care lobbyist
  • Professor of nursing
  • Executive nurse leader
  • Nurse educator
  • Public health program director
  • Health policy specialist
  • Informaticist

D.N.P. Courses

Nurses who complete online D.N.P. programs are recognized for their ability to improve the nursing practice by reforming care delivery systems to be more cost-effective, locally acceptable and impactful on health care outcomes. With UND’s online D.N.P. program, you can add to your practical skill set with research‑based tactics and leadership strategies.

Enroll in our online 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 nurses who are expertly trained in advanced practice certification areas.

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

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D.N.P. 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

D.N.P. Faculty

We’re leaders in nursing and would like to help you become one, too. We enjoy nothing 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.

D.N.P. Program Director;
Clinical Assistant 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. In 2014, she began teaching at UND, where she discovered her passion for education.

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

Get to Know Us

Why choose UND’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice?

Our College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines (CNPD) has produced some of the finest nursing leaders in the nation for more than a century. Our online graduate nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, underscoring 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 improve patient outcomes. Our online Post-Master’s D.N.P. program is 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.

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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The master’s degree program in nursing and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of North Dakota are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (


What can I do with a D.N.P.?
Earning your D.N.P. allows you to have a greater impact on patient care as a nurse leader, whether through clinical, administrative or political means. You’ll develop more advanced clinical care and leadership strategies that will prepare you to pursue a wide range of new career opportunities, such as patient care director, health policy specialist or chief nursing officer.

What is the average salary for graduates of an online D.N.P. program?
According to PayScale, the average salary for D.N.P. holders was around $98,800 as of April 2021. However, salaries fluctuate based on a graduate’s employment location, experience and education level. The more expertise you bring to the table, the higher your earning potential will be.

Is the online Doctor of Nursing Practice program accredited?
Yes, our online D.N.P. program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

How long is the online Doctor of Nursing Practice program?
Students can complete our online D.N.P. in as few as five semesters.

What are the course requirements?
In the 37-credit program, students take leadership-focused courses covering topics like nurse education, integrated leadership, organizational systems focused practice, and safety and ethics, as well as core D.N.P. courses.

Admission Requirements

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

  • A master’s degree or higher from an accredited nursing program.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 from a previous graduate nursing program.
  • A current unencumbered R.N. license — valid in the U.S.

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.
    • Successfully complete the English Language Service (ELS) Language Center’s Intensive Level 112.
    • 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.

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

Application Deadlines

Application Deadline

First Day of Classes

Summer 2023


Fall 2023