Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Systems Leadership (DNP) Degree


Overview of the Doctor of Nursing Practice - Systems Leadership (DNP)

The mission of the IWU Doctor of Nursing Practice - Systems Leadership (DNP) program is to prepare nurses at the highest level of leadership, scholarship, and character to be world changers in global healthcare systems. If you do not have a Master's degree, see if one of the Post-Baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice options will fit your needs:

Online with Classroom-Based Residencies

This program emphasizes the development of the student's capacity to implement system wide changes to improve and transform health care. Nurses with practice doctorates will address significant practice issues in a scholarly way, adopt broad system perspectives for health promotion and risk reduction, act as agents of change to transform health care, participate in the ongoing evaluation of health care outcomes, and assist in the translation of research leading to positive nursing practice changes.

Learn To

  • Apply principles of organizational leadership for evidence-based quality improvement and systems thinking.
  • Influence healthcare practice at local, state, and/or federal levels. 
  •  Integrate character, scholarship, and leadership principles into the doctoral level of nursing practice.
  • Apply principles and attitudes of cultural competence to advanced global nursing leadership.


"Enrolling in the DNP program at IWU has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have been a nurse for 33 years and a nurse educator for 17 of those years. The DNP program has given me a renewed passion for nursing and has opened my eyes to the global health care issues facing our world today. The course faculty are experts in their fields and enthusiastically share their expertise with students. I have grown personally, professionally and spiritually from the challenges, opportunities, and rewards afforded by completing a doctoral program. I am proud to be an ambassador for the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at IWU. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking a high quality, enriching, and rewarding educational experience."

Dan Lozier, Class of 2018


Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC),, 312-263-0456. Other accreditations and associations of Indiana Wesleyan University are available at

The Doctor of Nursing Practice - Systems Leadership (DNP) program at Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, ( IWU is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The School of Nursing is also a member of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties,


Tuition & Financial Aid

Credit Hours Tuition
31 Total $1000/ credit hour

The total cost of the program, including tuition and any fees, will be determined prior to your enrollment. Payment for each course is due three weeks before the course begins. Course textbooks are not included in the costs listed above.

The total credit hours and per-credit-hour costs listed above are effective for the core program and include the cost for flights, accommodations, and some meals for the global travel requirement. For prerequisite or other required courses if applicable, students will need to pay for appropriate tuition, books, and any additional fees. Should you need to withdraw from the program, a withdrawal fee will be applied, Program costs may change if you withdraw from the program and rejoin in a future cohort at a later date.

Payment Process

Payment Options: Your program representative will work closely with you to choose a payment option that best fits your needs. Your options may include Federal financial aid, company reimbursement tuition deferral, company direct-bill, self-pay, military benefits, etc.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, veterans benefits, and even employer reimbursement.

For information about financial aid, call 800-621-8667, ext. 2516, visit our financial aid website, or email


Below is the list of courses required to complete the Doctor of Nursing Practice - Systems Leadership (DNP) degree. Courses are offered in a block format with two courses in most blocks. Full course descriptions may be viewed by clicking on the course titles below. For further information, feel free to contact us.



Below are the lists of requirements for the Doctor of Nursing Practice - Systems Leadership (DNP) program. Click on each link to expand the requirements. If you have any questions about the admissions process, feel free to contact one of our admissions representatives at 1-866-498-4968.


  • Submit the Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) Division of Doctoral Nursing application for the DNP program. If you don't have a Master's degree, see if the Post-Baccalaureate Doctor of Nursing Practice fits your needs.
  • $100 application fee. (Applicants will not be charged the application fee if they have previously paid the fee for enrollment at IWU.).
  • Criminal background check.
  • International/Non-English Speaking Students - A student who is living in the United States but is not a United States citizen must submit a copy of a visa or permanent resident status during the process of application. Students who do not speak English as their first and primary language must submit satisfactory scores from one of the following prior to admission to the university:
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). For graduate students, a score of at least 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer-based), or 100 (Internet-based) is required for regular academic admission.
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS). For graduate students, a score of at least 6.5 is required for regular admission.

Academic Requirements

  • Submission of transcript for a completed master’s degree in nursing from a college or university accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
  • Earned graduate GPA of 3.25 based on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent.
  • GPA for conditional admission:
    • Applicants who do not meet the GPA listed in the criteria for regular admission and have at least a 3.0 undergraduate GPA if applying to the bachelor to DNP or graduate GPA if applying to the DNP may be conditionally admitted and allowed to take 9- credit hours of doctoral nursing courses to establish a graduate GPA.
    • Students who have earned a 3.0 GPA by the completion of 9-credit hours in doctoral nursing courses, will meet the criteria for regular admission.
    • An unsatisfactory grade (B- or lower in any DNP course) while conditionally admitted will result in administrative withdrawal from the program and denial of regular admission.
    • Students who do not earn a 3.0 GPA by the completion of 9-credit hours in doctoral nursing courses will be denied regular admission.

Professional Requirements

  • Submit proof of a current unencumbered RN license.
  • Submit proof of a current unencumbered APN license (if applicable).
  • Submission of resume/curriculum vitae.
  • Submission of three professional reference letters. These letters should be solicited from professionals who can address the applicant’s qualifications for the doctoral program.
  • Submission of a 2-3 page narrative describing practice experience and professional goals.
  • Submission of a 1-2 page summary of a practice related issue that will serve as the focus of the DNP Project; include the significance and impact of the project to nursing and health care.

The number of applicants admitted to the DNP program will be limited. Meeting the minimum admission criteria does not ensure that an applicant will be admitted to the program.

Transfer Credits

Students may transfer up to three hours of post-masters credit from a regionally accredited college or university provided:
  • The course is clearly comparable to one of the DNP course offerings based on course description and learning outcomes.
  • The course is at the 600 or higher numbering system and was not part of the master's degree requirements.
  • A grade of "B" or higher was earned in the course.
  • The course has been completed within the past five years.
  • The course reflects current knowledge-base and best practice.
  • The course reflects higher order thinking, study, assessment requirements of the scholarship of discovery.
  • Courses containing clinical content are non-transferable (Advanced Healthcare Policy, Global Healthcare and all TENP I-V courses).
  • All project work must be original and accomplished exclusively during IWU DNP enrollment.

Practicum Hours

A minimum of 1000 graduate level practicum hours are required to be eligible for graduation. A maximum of 500 practicum hours may be transferred from a master's level clinical experience.

  • Students must maintain an active license in the state where practicum requirements are completed.
  • All RN licenses must remain unencumbered throughout the program.

DNP Professional Project

Students demonstrate the ability to evaluate and apply current practice approaches in a Professional Project that addresses quality improvement within nursing. In addition, the Professional Project must contribute to the science of nursing practice.

Graduation Requirements

To fulfill graduation requirements students must have completed all of the following:

  • All credits required in the course of studies with a minimum GPA of 3.25.
  • Minimum grade of "B" or higher in each course.
  • Fulfillment of all course and practicum requirements.
  • The DNP project must be completed within two years from the point of completing DNP course work.
  • Full payment of tuition and fees.

Attendance Policy: The DNP is a blend of onsite residencies and interactive online workshops. Students are required to fully attend all onsite residencies and substantively engage in all interactive online discussions, tests, quizzes, and prescribed learning activities satisfactorily.

Residency: Onsite residencies are held on the Marion, Indiana campus three (3) separate times throughout the program. Full attendance for each residency is required. Residency dates are determined based on number of students enrolled. Residency dates are posted in advance and will not exceed four days. Transportation to and from campus, lodging and meals are at the student’s expense.

Excessive Absences: Excessive absences will result in a failing grade.

Start Dates

Below are upcoming start dates for the Doctor of Nursing Practice - Systems Leadership (DNP) program. This list is updated regularly as new classes are added. If you have any questions or need further information, feel free to contact us.

Global Healthcare

The DNP at IWU is designed with a focus on global healthcare. International travel will be required for all students. The primary cost for the travel experience has been included in the tuition to off-set the financial burden for students.

The global experience will occur as part of the Global Health Care course toward the end of the program. Students will work with faculty to determine which location will be most appropriate to meet the goals. Students will travel to each location with faculty who are experienced in global travel. The expectations for travel will be addressed well in advance of the trip.

  • The cost for flights, accommodations, and meals have been incorporated into program tuition.
  • A current passport is required.
  • Some immunizations prior to the international trip may be required as mandated by the CDC.
  • Students will travel in groups with experienced faculty.