Within the field of nursing, the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree is considered to be a post-master's, terminal degree type. This means that the DNP degree is one of the highest levels of education available within the nursing field. This degree type is considered superior to a master's degree, and helps students prepare to work in both clinical settings and organizational/educational settings. Nurses who have obtained a DNP can work in executive leadership roles like nursing/hospital administration, as well as advanced practice roles such as nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives.

Universities nationwide offer DNP programs to students. Although it varies, most of these programs will require the completion of 65 to 95 unit hours. Depending on the program, prospective DNP students will need to have already earned their BSN or MSN degree. Typically, a full-time BSN to DNP program will take around three to four years to complete, whereas a full-time MSN to DNP program takes only two years.

Core competencies to be mastered by students during DNP programs will include:

  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Epidemiology for Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Public Policy in the Context of Nursing and Health
  • Quantitative Research Methods and Evidence Based Practice
  • Advanced Decision-Making in Health Care Settings
  • Clinical Research for Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Health and Physical Assessment

Choosing a DNP Program

The state of Arizona offers four DNP programs. Prior to applying and enrolling in one of these programs, there are a few key factors to consider.

What to Consider When Choosing a DNP Program

Program Cost— Tuition for DNP programs in the state of Arizona can range from $640 per $975 per unit hour for Arizona residents. Conversely, for non-resident students enrolled in DNP programs, a single unit hour will cost approximately $1,216.

Online/Campus Options— Both Grand Canyon University and the University of Arizona have DNP programs which are offered to students in a 100% online format.

Accreditation— Before enrolling in an institution's program, it's important to consider accreditation. DNP programs in the state of Arizona are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the Arizona Board of Nursing.

Residency Option— Arizona DNP programs are available to in-state and out-of-state students. Not surprisingly, out-of-state tuition is considerably more expensive than in-state tuition.

Admission & State Licensing or Certification Requirements


Standards for admission to DNP programs in the state of Arizona will vary from university to university. To be successful, prospective nursing students will need to have fulfilled the following prerequisite requirements:

  • Be in possession of an unencumbered RN license
  • Possess a BSN or MSN degree
  • Have maintained a 3.0 grade point average, based on a 4.0 system in either their undergraduate or graduate degree program
  • Provide academic transcripts
  • Write a statement of purpose
  • Pass a drug and background test
  • Provide resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Verification/documentation of clinical hours
  • Provide two letters of recommendation/references


All accredited DNP programs in the state of Arizona allow students to sit for certification upon successfully completing programs. Different universities offer students different DNP tracks. Depending on the specific university attended in Arizona, students who have successfully completed DNP programs in the state can become certified in Advanced Nursing Practice (Innovation Leadership), or as Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Women's Health Nurse Practitioners, and more.


Prospective advanced practice nurses who have completed their DNP programs are licensed through the Arizona State Board of Nursing. Becoming licensed as an APRN in Arizona will generally require the completion of the following steps:

  • Provide transcripts from all educational institutions
  • Provide proof of least 500 hours of clinical practice during graduate school
  • Completion of an application
  • Submit verification of specialty certification
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Complete fingerprinting
  • If seeking prescribing and dispensing authority, individuals should complete the correct section of the application and submit written documentation of 45 contact hours of education in pharmacology or clinical management of drug therapy within three years before submitting your APRN application.

Arizona BSN to DNP Program Options

Of the four DNP programs in the state of Arizona, two of them offer BSN to DNP pathways to students. Requirements for admission will inevitably vary from program to program. Generally, courses in the general curriculum of these BSN to DNP programs will include:

  • Public Policy
  • Advanced Epidemiology
  • Clinical Research for Advanced Practice Nurses
  • Health and Physical Assessment
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology
  • Evidence Based Practice/Medicine
  • Population Health in Advanced Practice Nursing
  • DNP Residency

Related Education Paths

Helpful DNP Agencies and Organizations in Arizona

List of Campus and Online DNP Programs in Arizona

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