Kentucky DNP Programs

Get your Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree in Kentucky - online & campus-based options.
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Online DNP Programs & nursing PhD programs may be available for Kentucky students. Check current course listings.

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Kentucky DNP Programs

Kentucky Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs are a great opportunity for nurses wishing to earn a terminal level degree. The DNP focuses on clinical practice, which differs from the research-focused PhD. Currently, there are seven DNP programs in the state of Kentucky, with the University of Kentucky's (UK) being the nation's first DNP program. This number is likely to grow in the following years, as the AACN is pushing to move the level of education necessary for advanced practice certification from the master's level to the DNP by 2015.

The various Kentucky DNP programs have a similar mission. Each aims to prepare nurses with the ability to use information and studies to improve the quality of healthcare and to enforce evidence-based practice. The programs wish to create nurses who are leaders in clinical practice and healthcare administration, and who have the ability to transform the medical field through policy changes.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements are similar between the various DNP programs in Kentucky, but there are often slight differences between programs. Common requirements are a bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited program, a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, official transcripts, unencumbered RN and/or APRN licensure and certification, three letters of recommendation, essay or goal statement, current resume, satisfactory GRE results, and an admissions interview.

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

Some Kentucky DNP programs are open to only applicants with a master's degree, while others also offer a post-baccalaureate pathway. Bellarmine University, for example, offers only a post-master's entry-point, and a curriculum that consists of 35-38 credit hours, depending on whether students choose the Advanced Practice Nursing Focus or the Executive Leadership Focus. The University of Kentucky and Murray State University are two of the programs that offer both a post-BSN and post-MSN entry-point. UK's curriculum consists of a minimum of 80 credits for post-BSN and a minimum of 40 credits for post-MSN. Murray State's DNP curriculum is comparable to this, requiring post-bachelor's students to complete 79 credits and post-master's students to complete 38.


The cost to attend DNP programs in Kentucky varies by program, and some universities do not make this information as readily available as others. Tuition at Bellarmine University is currently $725 per credit hour.

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Kentucky Board of Nursing
312 Whittington Parkway, Suite 300
Louisville, KY 40222
Phone: (502) 429-3300
Fax: (502) 429-3311

Kentucky Nurses Association


Schools with Doctoral & PhD Nursing Programs Accepting Students in Kentucky

Featured Accredited Online Programs

Other Schools with DNP Programs in Kentucky

Frontier Nursing University
195 School St.
Hyden, KY 41749
University of Kentucky
410 Administration Dr.
Lexington, KY 40506
Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Ave.
Richmond, KY 40475

Kentucky Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Programs (KY)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a post-graduate level practice nursing degree. A DNP focuses on the clinical aspects of nursing as opposed to working on medical research or teaching.

Due to the fact that most Kentucky DNP degree seekers are working professionals, there are a number of flexible educational options available including RN-DNP (BSN-DNP) bridge programs and specialized programs for certified advanced practice nurses.

Kentucky DNP Degree Prerequisites

In Kentucky, nurses seeking DNP certification must already hold both BSN and MSN degrees. Being the final and most advanced degree offered to professionals in the nursing field, there are strict educational criteria. Since the DNP is a relatively new status in the profession, there has not been much national standardization of academic criteria. Therefore, it is essential for you to check with your Kentucky educational institution of choice to find out what specific prerequisites they require for program admission. You can also check with the Kentucky Board of Nursing to find out more about how Kentucky recognizes DNPs.

Although every school has differing entrance requirements, here is an example of one Kentucky schools current DNP program prerequisites.

Online DNP Programs for Kentucky Nurses

Online education is also known as distance learning. As this level of certification becomes increasingly popular in Kentucky, more and more Kentucky higher learning institutions are offering their DNP programs online. This will make it far more convenient for current RNs to take the next step without having to sacrifice time on the clock or professional responsibilities.

Benefits of DNP Certification

There are benefits in Kentucky to holding this advanced degree. Having a strong focus on advanced practice, leadership, and actual application of clinical research, DNPs are often depended on to fill the gap between doctors and nurses.

Also, Kentucky nurses holding this certification are quickly becoming favored for parity with other health professionals when and where a doctorate status is required. This includes being called upon for involvement in advanced diagnosis, legal consultation, and highly specialized clinical research. With their focus on actual clinical application, DNP nurses are typically viewed as the most experienced.

As a nurse, earning a DNP degree will also foster enhanced leadership skills and the knowledge to deliver superior healthcare service to patients, which will in turn advance you professionally.

Resources for Kentucky Nurses Seeking a DNP Degree

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