Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

As you progressed in your medical career, you also had to progress academically, likely achieving a number of educational milestones. Now, take the new step and pursue your Doctor of Nursing Practice with ACU Online.

Our Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is designed to further develop your clinical and leadership skills as a medical professional through a combination of online learning and practical application in the workplace. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership to proactively develop, implement, and evaluate ethical healthcare policies at all levels. By earning your degree, you’ll encourage your own career development while helping guide and support colleagues in their own journey in the healthcare profession.  

ACU's online DNP program adheres and aligns with the current trend in the education of nurses and supports recommendations set forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the Institute of Medicine, and numerous other healthcare organizations.

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CCNE Accredited Logo

Accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (CCNE)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791

Meet the Program Director

Dr. Sawyer-McGee is the inaugural program director for the  Doctor of Nursing Practice Program. Dr. McGee has been an acute care nurse practitioner since 1997 and was the first nurse practitioner and clinician to conduct the preoperative surgical assessments for the opening of Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, Texas’ outpatient surgery center. Dr. McGee has been an online faculty for several years teaching both undergraduate and graduate nursing courses and chair roles for Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students.  Dr. Sawyer-McGee’s work expands in several medical specialties. Her research interests are minority and population health, health promotion, and prevention. In her spare time, Dr. McGee likes to do yoga, cycling, decorate, volunteer in the community, and spend time with family.

Degree Highlights


Advanced Practice Nurse

Executive Nursing Leadership


Credit Hours: 39

Minimum Program Length: 26 months

Example Coursework

NURS 703 Informatics to Improve Patient Outcomes

NURS 723 Foundations of Integrative Care

NURS 712 Epidemiology and Population Health

NURS 716 Healthcare Finance and Clinical Practice


School of Nursing

Upcoming Start Dates

March 10, 2020

May 5, 2020

What career outcomes can you expect from our online Doctor of Nursing Practice programs?

  • Academic Nurse Leader
  • CNO
  • Director of Nursing
  • Director of Clinical Services
  • Director of Advanced Practice Nurses
  • Lead Clinician
  • Public Health Coordinator
DNP Program Outcomes
  1. Integrate nursing science with knowledge from ethics, biophysical, psychosocial, analytical and organizational sciences to enhance health and alleviate or ameliorate illness.
  2. Develop, implement, and evaluate care delivery approaches based on scientific findings in nursing and other clinical sciences, as well as organizational, political, and economic sciences that meet current and future needs of patient populations.
  3. Design and implement processes to evaluate outcomes of practice, practice patterns, and systems of care within a practice setting, health care organization or community in order to promote safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient- centered care.
  4. Use information systems/technology resources to implement quality improvement to support practice and administrative decision-making.
  5. Demonstrates leadership to proactively develop, implement and evaluate at all levels, health policies that are just, ethical, and equitable.
  6. Employ consultative and leadership skills in intra- and inter-professional teams in order to create excellence in all types of health care delivery systems.
  7. Demonstrate leadership in developing, implementing, and evaluating delivery models and/or strategies, using concepts related to community, environment, and occupation health and cultural and socioeconomic dimensions of health.
  8. Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment, systems thinking and accountability as an advance practice nurse in designing, delivering, and evaluating evidence based care to achieve positive outcomes to individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  9. Continue professional development throughout own career, while supporting colleagues in their professional journey.
  10. Integrate insight about their own calling with their ability to influence the health care delivery system in order to promote social justice, equity, and ethical policies within all healthcare, by (a) articulating the rich tradition of literature and practice in Christian vocation; (b) reflecting upon the concept of vocation in their own leadership development; and (c) applying new understanding of vocation in their organizational contexts.
Admissions Requirements
  • Application for admission with a nonrefundable processing fee
  • Master’s in Nursing from an accredited school of nursing (NLNAC, CCNE)
  • Official transcripts from the accredited colleges or universities that awarded the baccalaureate and masters degrees to the applicant sent in a registrar's sealed and stamped/signed envelope or official electronic transcripts
  • Minimum graduate nursing cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Two professional recommendation letters that attest to the applicant's academic abilities, character, and professional abilities
  • A 500-word purpose statement outlining the applicant's interest in the Doctor of Nursing Practice and their intended scholarly project topic (written in APA format).
  • Professional CV or resume
  • Proof of unencumbered registered nurse and/or advanced practice nursing licensure and certification in the United States.

See full ACU online graduate catalog, including admission requirements here.

For a comprehensive list of admission requirements for our Doctor of Nursing Practice online program, please contact a Graduate Advisor.

Foundational Courses
  • The DNP Role
  • Informatics to Improve Patient Care
  • Applied Statistics and Research
  • Epidemiology and Population Health
  • Population Health & Management of Chronic Disease (DNP-APN/DNP-ENL) or Theories and Practices of Effective Leadership (DNP-ENL)
  • Genomic Implications in Advanced Practice (DNP-APN) or Human Resources Development
  • Health Care Finance and Clinical Practice 
  • Foundations of Integrative Care (DNP-APN) or Leadership in Diverse Contexts (DNP-ENL)
  • Healthcare Policy 
  • Organizational & Systems Leadership
  • Healthcare Reform: Current Issues Affecting Nursing Practice