DNP Programs in MA

What do the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation – RWJF Initiative and the DNP have in common? They’re both about the future of professional nursing, and specifically about helping highly educated practitioners improve healthcare. The AACN, in its landmark 2004 task force report, declared that by making the practice doctorate (DNP) the standard for advance practice nurses, they could do far more than improve health outcomes at the level of practice; doctoral level nurses could also take a role in promoting public health and shaping healthcare policy. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation later joined forces with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to do a two year study of nursing; they recommended that nurses practice to the extent that their education permitted and that they be partners with doctors in redesigning healthcare. In short, it is an exciting time to be a nurse!

Featured Programs:
Sponsored School(s)
Purdue Global Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Degrees and Postgraduate Certificates in Nursing
Grand Canyon University Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Online Nursing Degrees
Liberty University Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing for the Registered Nurse
Seton Hall University Visit School's Website
Selected Program:
  • Ranked #15 in Best Online Master's in Nursing Program by US News, Seton Hall University offers two fully online Nurse Practitioner programs: Adult Gerontology with Acute and Primary Tracks and Psychiatric Mental Health.

Some people think of nurse practitioners as second to doctors — as professionals who can do many of the things that doctors do, but not quite all. In reality, nursing is its own discipline. Nurses come from a different tradition and a different educational philosophy. There has traditionally been a large focus on education and advocacy as well as nurturing. With the explosion of knowledge, there is a opportunity to effect change.

There are also a lot of impediments to change; among these are inefficient bureaucracies. Advocates of doctorate level education believe nurses can be a force for healthcare reform if they can sit as equals with other practitioners. This is part of the philosophy behind the DNP, or practice doctorate for nurses. Beginning in 2015, the AACN has declared, the DNP will be the standard for advanced practice nursing programs. Many schools have implemented DNP programs in the seven years since the announcement was made. Massachusetts, in fact, has eight programs. This is among the most in the nation.

What is the Doctor of Nursing practice?

In Massachusetts, there are DNP options for nurse managers and advanced practice nurses, including both nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists. Some dual specialties, for example, adult/ women’s health, are available. Programs share core competencies based on the AACN Essentials. These include scholarship, professional collaboration, and health technology and informatics. The eighth essential addresses advanced competencies in one’s practice area. Individual schools may refer to post-master’s coursework in a specialty area as one’s minor.

One typically enters a program at either the post-baccaulareate or post-master’s level. At
MGH Institute of Health Professions, there is an additional RN to DNP option. A student should realize that if she enters with less than a BSN, the program may be longer. Some programs, thankfully, are designed to accommodate those already working full-time within the field. Options include distance learning and weekend intensives. A prospective student should realize there will be practice hours in a healthcare setting.

Students typically wrap up their doctorate studies with a capstone project. This is somewhat different than a thesis; the focus is on bridging the gap between theory and clinical practice, rather than on creating new theory. There are still high academic expectations for the end product. At some institutions, like UMass-Worchester, students are expected to submit their work to a journal in the form of a scholarly paper.

Contact Information for DNP Programs in Massachusetts

Learn about nursing schools that offer Online DNP Programs.

MGH Institute of Health Professions

Contact Information:
Catherine Filene Shouse Building
36 1st Avenue
Charlestown Navy Yard
Boston, MA 02129-4557
PH: 617-643-6432


Northeastern University

Contact Information:
211 Robinson Hall
Charlestown Navy Yard
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
PH: 617-373-4603


Regis College

Contact Information:
235 Wellesley Street
Weston, MA 02493
PH: 781-768-7000


Simmons College

Contact Information:
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115


University of Massachusetts Amherst

Contact Information:
Skinner Hall
651 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003- 9299
PH: 413-545-1302


UMass Boston

Contact Information:
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125-3393
PH: 617-287-7500


UMass Lowell

Contact Information:
3 Solomont Way, Suite 2
Lowell, MA 01854-5126
PH: 978-934-4938


UMass Worchester

Contact Information:
Graduate School of Nursing, S1-853
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, Massachusetts 01655


Back to Top