Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Program in Executive Leadership


The Benedictine University Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in Executive Leadership provides an innovative curriculum designed for working professionals seeking to assume positions of leadership focused on the transformation of healthcare across the nation. Foundational to the program is the model of caring within the context of an inclusive community which is fostered through engaging dialogue and meaningful interactions with faculty, colleagues, and clinical partners. Students advance their knowledge and leadership expertise through focused coursework, clinical practice experiences, and completion of a DNP project. The program facilitates the shaping of DNP students into visionary nurse leaders prepared to drive innovation and health equity and to serve in leadership roles that impact the future of nursing and healthcare delivery.

The post-master's DNP program can be completed in 24 months. Courses run eight weeks in duration and are taken one at a time in a cohort sequence.

DNPThe DNP Program is unique in providing a doctoral nursing education immersed in Catholic and Benedictine traditions and values. Program outcomes align with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing recently revised Essentials document. Learning is facilitated by faculty experienced in online nursing education and with a variety of areas of nursing expertise and leadership. Coursework will engage students in scholarly writing across the curriculum and key concepts inherent to executive nursing leadership including translation of scholarly research to drive equitable healthcare outcomes, ethical and legal considerations related to leadership, health policy and advocacy, leading a culture of quality and safety, addressing work force issues, information systems and technology, and advanced financial management. The DNP project is completed in a four-course sequence from proposal to dissemination with guidance of a faculty mentor.

Benedictine University's DNP program is exceptional in its collaboration with distinguished colleagues who teach doctoral courses in the Daniel L. Goodwin College of Business. This partnership facilitates learning experiences with nationally renowned leaders in organizational development that will further transform DNP students to lead innovation for quality outcomes and healthcare equity.


The DNP program requires 36 semester credit hours of graduate coursework, which consists of 24 semester credit hours of coursework delivered online and a minimum of 12 semester credit hours of clinical practicum experience. A total of 500 hours of practicum is completed during the final four courses allowing for the development of doctoral level clinical nursing practice competence. A culminating DNP project affords students the opportunity to synthesize and apply their knowledge to improve patient/client outcomes. All eight DNP core courses and four practicum courses are required for program completion.

What you need to apply:

  • a Master of Science or higher degree in Nursing from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • earned a GPA of 3.000 or higher (on a 4.000 scale) calculated for master’s and/or higher degree in nursing program coursework.
  • 500 hours of clinical practice at the master’s level which will be verified by the director of the DNP program*.
  • official sealed transcripts from the institution where the highest degree in nursing was conferred.
  • proof of unencumbered license as a registered nurse in the U.S.
  • a minimum of two years of full-time work experience as a registered nurse in a healthcare setting.
  • letters of recommendation from two persons who hold a doctoral degree and can address the academic, communication, and professional skills of the applicant.
  • current curriculum vitae or resume.
  • completion of a purpose statement which reflects scholarly professional writing, prior leadership experience, and the identification of a potential practice project (500 words).
  • an interview with the director of the DNP program or designated faculty.
  • completion of the clinical practice verification form.

*Prior to beginning the DNP course sequence, students are required to provide evidence of 500 hours of clinical practice at the master’s level which will be verified by the director of the DNP program. Students who do not have a minimum of 500 hours of clinical practice at the graduate level will work with the director of the DNP program to complete the requirement through enrollment in NRHL 7000: Graduate Clinical Immersion Practicum via variable credit hour supervised practicum experiences.

1st Cohort starting in January 2023!

Gap class starts Fall 2022

If you don’t have 500 hours needed to take the first DNP course, you can take our NRHL 7000: Graduate Clinical Immersion Practicum course.* This course is offered several times per year and for various credit hours to fit into your schedule.

If you don't have 500 hours, we'll get you there!


Contact Us:
(630) 829-6300

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Janet LoVerde, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE
Director, RN to BSN Program
Assistant Professor
Kindlon 245

Alison Ridge, DNP, MSN, RN, CNE
Director, MSN Program
Interim Director, DNP Program
Associate Professor
Kindlon 246

Joan Libner, EdD, MSN, FRE, RN-GERO-BC, CNE
Department Chair, Nursing and Health
Kindlon 248