The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program is available in two tracks: adult gerontology acute care (AG-ACNP) and family nurse practitioner (FNP). Individuals who have completed a bachelor's degree in nursing may apply with no prior work experience. For those pursuing the AG-ACNP track with no prior work experience, work experience in an acute care setting is required within the first year of the program. Students will have the option to do an additional concentration in Geriatric Neuropsychiatry.

To Start, You Need

  • A BSN degree from a nationally accredited (NLN or CCNE) institution; the most competitive candidates will have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA in undergraduate coursework
  • A recent statistics course
  • Unencumbered RN license or eligibility for RN licensure in the state where clinical course work hours will be completed

Finishing Will Take

  • 12 semesters over four years 
  • Includes four summer terms
  • 84 credit hours
  • 780 hours of direct patient care clinical hours
  • 400 DNP Practice Innovation Project practicum hours

*The plan has been proposed to change to 84 credit hours, 780 direct patient care clinical hours, 400 DNP Practice Innovation Project practicum hours (pending approval)

You Can Begin Your Degree In

Fall 2024

​You Will Take Classes

  • Online
  • During one weekend visit to campus each semester

Where This Degree Can Take You

Into the healthcare field as a qualified nurse practitioner, providing patient care or leading others in the profession at the institutional level
Into the educational field to teach others the knowledge and skills needed to enter into nursing

Program Outcomes (What You Will Learn)

  • Demonstrate communication and collaboration skills within intra-professional and inter-professional teams to create change in health care and complex health care delivery systems.
  • Synthesize and apply scientific evidence for the development, implementation, and evaluation of clinical interventions for advanced nursing practice
  • Provide advanced evidence-based clinical care within a collaborative, cultural and spiritual context for individuals, families and/or populations
  • Advocate for social justice, equity, and ethical policies in health systems, population health initiatives, and evidence-based health policy initiatives through collaboration with other health professionals and stakeholders
  • Apply business and entrepreneurial strategies for meaningful quality improvement and efficient use of resources within health care environments
  • Demonstrate leadership in the use of current and emerging health and data analytic technologies to evaluate and improve outcomes in health care delivery and organizational systems.


Geriatric Neuropsychiatry Specialization

Saint Mary’s College Department of Nursing Science and GuideStar Eldercare have joined together to offer an advanced specialization in Geriatric Neuropsychiatry as part of the DNP program at Saint Mary’s College. Starting in Fall 2023 students in the DNP and Nurse Practitioners in the MSN-APRN to DNP program can take 5 additional courses and will graduate with their DNP as well as an advanced area of emphasis in Geriatric Neuropsychiatry.  

From the Guidestar Eldercare press release:

“Graduates will be qualified to provide highly sophisticated direct patient care, conduct important clinical research, and educate other healthcare professionals benefiting this critically underserved demographic.

GuideStar Eldercare is pleased to support this unique program with a generous gift establishing the GuideStar Eldercare Excellence in Nursing Geriatric Neuropsychiatry Education Fund. Steven Posar, MD, GuideStar CEO, was appointed as Clinical Professor of Geriatric Neuropsychiatry and will teach several courses in this program. Other key clinical leaders from GuideStar Eldercare will also teach courses within their areas of expertise.” Read more here!

MSN-APRNs applying to the DNP program can contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at for more information.



The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Saint Mary's College is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Visit Nursing Science Student Central for handbooks