Skip to main content

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) - Clinical Leadership, Doctorate


The Clinical Leadership DNP provides the terminal practice degree for nurses certified and practicing in the scope of the nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist roles. 

These roles allow nurses to provide advanced levels of nursing care to individuals, families, and populations. Doctoral courses in this track focus on leadership at the organizational level, identification and evaluation of evidence-based practice, analysis of health policy issues, and application of theory as the underpinning of advanced nursing practice through evidence-based research.

The DNP Program is Fast and Flexible

All degree requirements can be met within a seven-semester timeframe in the full-time option, or a ten-semester timeframe in the part-time option. DeSales University is proud to offer the first DNP program in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania area. 

The DeSales Difference

  • You can continue to work while pursuing doctoral study with our innovative, flexible format.
  • The DNP program starts once a year in August with a residency weekend. Subsequent residencies for Winter and Spring will follow.
  • Your Scholarly Project Committee Chair, a doctorally prepared DeSales University Nursing Faculty member, will guide you through the design, implementation, completion and defense of the scholarly project.
  • You'll learn from highly-experienced nursing faculty who maintain active clinical practices, have years of advanced practice experience across a variety of specialty areas, and are active in their state and national organizations. 
Stehoscope The DNP degree at DeSales University advances your expertise as a master's level nurse in specialized areas by integrating nursing science and the best practices from other disciplines.

Admissions Requirements

To apply to the DNP Clinical Leadership track, you must have:

  • a baccalaureate degree in nursing from an ACEN or CCNE accredited institution
  • a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree from an ACEN or CCNE accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • completion of a master's level statistics course with a grade of "B" or better within the last 5 years
  • current licensure as a registered nurse in the United States
  • national certification as an advanced practice nurse (NP, CNS, CNM, CRNA)
  • evidence of a minimum of 500 precepted/supervised clinical practicum hours during the applicant’s advanced practice program
  • evidence of the equivalent of 12 months of full-time nursing practice within the last three years

New graduates are expected to obtain APN certification and an APN position within the first six months of program matriculation.

International applicants must contact Leslie Bartholomew, Designated School Official, at 610-282-1100, ext. 1859 or to inquire about international admission requirements.

How to Apply

Post-MSN DNP degree applicants are admitted on a rolling basis. The deadline is June 15 for August (Fall semester) start

For important application procedure information, see How to Apply


In the DNP Clinical Leadership Track you'll complete:

  • 11 courses plus scholarly project and portfolio
  • 35 credits
  • 525 minimum residency hours

Choose either a full-time or part-time program of study.

 See the curriculum and course details

Academic Catalog

Course Requirements

Learn more about the Division of Nursing mission and philosophy, program outcomes, and more. See important DNP program details

Careers & Internships

DNPs are employed in a variety of clinical practice positions.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015:

  • Average MSN salary was $104,740/year
  • Average DNP salary was $135,000/year 
  • Average DNP/MBA salary was $155,000/year

With the evolution of skills and knowledge required to perform effectively in the practice arena, the DNP equips you to maneuver effectively in the changing health care environment.

The DNP graduate will serve in key leadership positions and activities designed to impact the health outcomes of individuals, families, and communities. The blending of clinical skills with organizational, economic, and leadership capabilities teaches you to be an active participant in the transformation of health care practices. 

Do you want to become a nurse educator?

The DNP degree does qualify you to be a nurse educator. However, additional preparation in theory and practice of teaching is recommended for DNP and Ph.D. graduates alike.

Tuition & Fees

Program Costs

  • Tuition/credit hour: $975*
  • Program Fees for Post-MSN DNP tracks: $250 per semester
  • Graduation Fee: $120
  • Returned Check Service: $30

*Tuition/credit hours listed are for 2024/2025 academic year. Tuition and fees are reviewed each academic year and are subject to change with notice.

View a comprehensive list of financial aid forms and graduate program information sheets

Tuition Deferment

DeSales University offers graduate students the opportunity to defer payment of their tuition when they will be receiving reimbursement from their employer or when they are eligible to receive financial aid. A copy of your employer's tuition reimbursement policy must be forwarded to the Treasurer's Office and/or all necessary financial aid paperwork must be filed with the Financial Aid Office before tuition deferment is granted. 

Tuition deferment is a privilege given to graduate students at DeSales and can be revoked if this privilege is abused. Please note that you, as the student, are responsible for payment of your tuition balance in the event that your financial aid/loans or employer reimbursement is not received by the Treasurer's Office.

Tuition Reimbursement

When a student is eligible for tuition reimbursement from his/her employer, written evidence of eligibility is required. The student is responsible for requesting this reimbursement from his/her employer. In cases where reimbursement is contingent upon successful completion of the course(s) and the student either withdraws or does not achieve a grade sufficient to warrant maximum reimbursement, the student is ultimately responsible for payment for the course(s).

Refund on Withdrawal

A refund of tuition payments will be made to a student who withdraws from a course. In all cases, credits will be calculated from the date the student completed the official withdrawal form, and the rebate will be based on the schedule shown below. 

Refunds apply to tuition only. If a student is allowed to enroll by use of the deferred payment procedure, any funds due the University are immediately due and payable upon withdrawal.

Withdrawal during the add/drop period is 100% of tuition refunded. The schedule below is for withdrawal after the first class after the close of the add/drop period. 

The refund policy is based upon the number of classes held up to the date of withdrawal.

  • Withdrawal after 1st class: 80% of tuition refunded
  • Withdrawal after 2nd class: 65% of tuition refunded
  • Withdrawal after 3rd class: 50% of tuition refunded
  • Withdrawal after 4th class: 25% of tuition refunded
  • Withdrawal after 5th class: No refund

One FREE course for DeSales MSN graduates

DeSales offers one FREE 3-credit, 800-level Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) course to eligible* DeSales University Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program graduates and DSU Post-MSN Certificate (PMC) completers.

*Offer effective as of January 9, 2017. The discount applies to DSU DNP tuition only and is not applicable toward fees, textbooks, or other costs associated with the DNP Program. For details regarding evaluation for eligibility, please contact or 610-282-1100, x1664.

Veteran & Military Student Discount Program

Beginning Spring of 2023, DeSales University will match the Federal Military Tuition Assistance Program (T.A.) of $250/credit, or $750 for a three-credit course. The TA match discount program will be available to students who are currently serving on military active duty, National Guard, Reserve service members, and to eligible spouses or dependents. Adult Studies students eligible for TA match discount program will receive a combined $1,500 course credit against an approximately $1,600 course cost.

For more information, contact the Office of Veterans and Military Services

*Veteran & Military discount match is not applicable for the Accelerated BSN program nor combinable with additional DeSales University discount offerings.

student looking at a dna model

Health Humanities Scholars (HHS) Association

HHS is a student-led, faculty mentored program for students in our graduate healthcare curricula (PA, DPT, NP, DNP, Healthcare MBA, SLP). Students will facilitate humanities content and develop reflective practice through narrative medicine concepts in order to foster resiliency, empathy, and avoidance of burn-out.

Learn more about HHS

CCNE Accreditation

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and post-graduate APRN certificate programs at DeSales University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

CCNE - Accredited

Contact Us

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Gambet Center