GCU Online DNP Programs & Post-Master's Nursing Certificate

The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions at Grand Canyon University (GCU) offers online DNP and certificate programs with no campus visits and local practicums. The DNP program has a general track or an emphasis in educational leadership. There is also a post-master’s certificate in nursing education. Courses last eight weeks and the DNP programs include a culminating project.

The online DNP programs may attract nurse practitioners, nurse informaticists, or nurse leaders who want to effect change in healthcare delivery and outcomes while remaining closely tied with patient care. Components of the programs include peer discussions, instructor-led academic activities, and practice immersion activities. The DNP is the highest level of nursing practice education available. The general track requires completion of 400 field experience hours, while the DNP in educational leadership requires 550 hours.

The DNP programs culminate in a research project approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and completed in the DNP practice immersion (DPI) workshop. Graduates of DNP programs may go on to serve in leadership positions in healthcare systems, nursing education systems, physician’s offices, public health, and hospital settings.

The graduate certificate in nursing education allows graduates to become educators in clinical or academic settings. Topics covered throughout the program include assessment, leadership, diagnostic reasoning, evidence-based research, program planning and evaluation, and instructional strategies. Students must complete a 16-week nursing education practicum and are allowed the opportunity to choose the focus of this experience. Fifty additional practicum hours are required for a total of 200 practice hours.

Grand Canyon University offers several online bachelor’s, master’s, post-master’s, and doctoral graduate programs. GCU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is located in Phoenix, Arizona.

What to Expect from the Grand Canyon University Online DNP and Post-Master’s Nursing Certificates

Admission Requirements: Applicants to the online DNP programs must hold a master’s degree, doctoral degree, or GCU-approved post-master’s certificate from a regionally accredited institution, with a GPA of 3.4 or higher. Candidates for the certificate in nursing education program must hold a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 

Applicants must submit an application and fee, official transcripts, a letter of intent, letters of recommendation, and proof of RN licensure or ARNP licensure. International students must be current residents of a U.S. state and have transcripts evaluated by an evaluation agency approved by GCU, as well as submitting TOEFL test scores (if applicable).

Study Plan: Online courses for the graduate degrees last eight weeks each except for the nursing education practicum for the certificate program, which lasts 16 weeks. The DNP can be completed in six semesters, while the DNP in educational leadership can be completed in eight semesters. The post-master’s certificate in nursing education can be completed in three semesters. Courses begin every eight weeks. Students can expect to spend 20 to 25 hours per week on each course.

DNP Curriculum: The DNP consists of 36 credits plus at least 400 practicum (field experience) hours. DNP courses include an introduction to DNP studies; healthcare informatics; emerging areas of human health; scientific underpinnings; translational research and evidence-based practice; population management; data analysis; patient outcomes and sustainable change; leadership for advanced practice nursing; and DPI project parts I-III.

DNP in Educational Leadership Curriculum: The DNP in educational leadership comprises 45 credits plus 550 practicum (field experience) hours. In addition to the DNP courses listed, the educational leadership emphasis includes the following courses: facilitation of learning in nursing education; curriculum design and assessment; and nursing program development and educational leadership.

Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education Curriculum: The Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing Education comprises 20 credits plus 200 practicum/field experience hours. Courses include advanced pathophysiology and pharmacology for nursing educators; advanced health assessment for nurse educators; nursing education seminar I-II; and nursing education practicum.

Online Experience: GCU uses its own unique learning management system (LMS) to deliver courses. The LMS incorporates recorded lectures, videos, readings, assignments, group projects, and discussion boards. Students in the DNP programs complete an evidence-based research project in concert with the Institutional Review Board (IRB). This project follows the DPI Project Milestone Guide and students work in the DNP practice immersion workspace. In addition to online coursework, several of the courses for the DNP and certificate programs include practicum or field experience hours.

Online students have access to online forums, books, and calendar reminders. In addition, online services include admissions counseling, academic advising, faculty support, ACE tutoring, 24/7 technical support, career services, and library services.

On-Site Requirements: The GCU online DNP and nursing education certificate programs involve online coursework with local practicums at a clinical site approved by the nursing department. Graduation takes place on campus in the spring and students are welcome to visit campus at any time.

Paying for the GCU Online DNP Programs & Post-Master’s Nursing Certificates

The nursing education certificate costs $550 per credit for a total tuition of $11,000 plus fees. The DNP programs cost $695 per credit. Total tuition for the general DNP is $25,020 plus fees and the educational leadership track costs $31,275 plus fees. Applicants should contact the GCU College of Nursing and Health Care Professions for an exact cost estimate as tuition typically changes from year to year.

Finally, graduate students may apply for unsubsidized federal student loans through the FAFSA. In addition, GCU offers several scholarships for online students. More information can be found through the Grand Canyon University Admissions Office. Other options for graduate degree funding may include tuition reimbursement programs and community or organizational funding.

Grand Canyon University Post-MSN - Nursing Education Certificate

  • Graduates become educators in clinical or academic settings
  • Topics covered include assessment, leadership, diagnostic reasoning, evidence-based research, program planning and evaluation, and instructional strategies
  • Students choose a focus for their Nursing Education Practicum
Program Essentials
Degree Level Post-Master's Certificate
Program Start Dates Courses begin every 8 weeks
Credits Needed to Graduate 20
Time to Complete? Graduate in as little as three semesters.
100% Online? Yes
Program Accreditation None
Program Admissions
Level of Education Required? Master's degree in nursing plus active RN license
GRE or GMAT Required? No
Work Experience Required? None
Program Tuition
Credit Hours 20
Cost Per Credit Hour $550.00
Estimated Program Tuition * $11,000.00

Grand Canyon University Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

  • Graduates are prepared to apply learning and research to improve health care systems and patient outcomes
  • DNP students complete an evidence-based research project
  • Courses last eight weeks
Program Essentials
Degree Level Doctoral Degree
Program Start Dates Courses begin every 8 weeks
Credits Needed to Graduate 36
Time to Complete? Graduate in as little as six semesters.
100% Online? Yes
Program Accreditation CCNE
Program Admissions
Level of Education Required? Master's degree in nursing plus active RN license
GRE or GMAT Required? No, unless the applicant does not meet the minimum GPA requirement
Work Experience Required? None
Program Tuition
Credit Hours 36
Cost Per Credit Hour $695.00
Estimated Program Tuition * $25,020.00

Grand Canyon University DNP - Educational Leadership

  • Completion of 550 practicum hours are required at a clinical site
  • Graduates may go on to create programs in nursing eduction, choosing what content and instructional strategies are used
  • The program includes 100% online coursework
Program Essentials
Degree Level Master's Degree
Program Start Dates Courses begin every 8 weeks
Credits Needed to Graduate 45
Time to Complete? Graduate in as little as eight semesters.
100% Online? Yes
Program Accreditation CCNE
Program Admissions
Level of Education Required? Master's degree in nursing plus active RN license
GRE or GMAT Required? No, unless the applicant does not meet the minimum GPA requirement
Work Experience Required? None
Program Tuition
Credit Hours 45
Cost Per Credit Hour $695.00
Estimated Program Tuition * $31,275.00
Sara Navratil
Sara Navratil
Writer

Sara Navratil is a freelance writer and a Certified Canfield Success Principles Trainer. She's the owner of Sara Liza Life, a company dedicated to helping people rewrite their lives. She enjoys researching and writing about healthcare-related topics, including information on online MHA programs. When not working she likes to read, bake, and spend time with her family.