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The College of St. Scholastica

Why Choose a DNP Degree?

Are you considering pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree? With a DNP, you’ll learn how to use quality improvement strategies to develop, implement and sustain changes at organizational and policy levels. You’ll also develop skills to lead initiatives that improve health outcomes and prioritize patient safety, which can significantly impact healthcare.

Moreover, this program will equip you to advocate for healthcare policies that promote social justice and equity. It’s an opportunity to be a voice for those who often go unheard in the healthcare system. 

The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education (AACN, 2021) guides the BS to DNP curriculum at St. Scholastica, which explores various perspectives and approaches to nursing care. If you’re passionate about making a difference in healthcare and ready to take on leadership roles, this program could be a meaningful next step in your career.

Fast Facts

  • A DNP degree for those with a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing
  • The BS to DNP offers three concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; Family Nurse Practitioner; Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Two locations: Duluth and St. Cloud
  • Online/hybrid courses with minimal on-campus requirements (1-3 days each semester for lab/simulation)
  • This program can be completed in 3 years full-time
  • Program credits: 75-78, depending on choice of concentration

Receive Program Info and Financial Aid Options

  • Detailed program overview
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  • Individual admissions support

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Recognized as one of the top nursing schools in the Plains region as well as one of the top private nursing schools in the country.

Nursing Schools Almanac

Degree Details


Tuition: $925/credit*

* Tuition rates are for the 2024-25 academic year. Additional fees and costs for course materials may apply. Total program cost and completion time varies depending on transfer credits and individual program plans. Tuition rates are subject to change. View 2023-24 rates

Program Overview

Our DNP degree focuses on nursing practice and leadership in both rural and urban underserved areas, where the need is the greatest. We’re also dedicated to providing opportunities to our students in the use of telecommunications technology, which can provide access to health professionals in areas that would otherwise not have coverage.

This is a rigorous program, preparing nurses to practice at the most advanced level of nursing care. While created for working nurses, this program requires a significant number of hours dedicated to your studies as you gain the information needed to become a doctorally prepared nurse practitioner.

Flexible Format

We understand that you can’t always take a couple of years off from work to go back to school. That’s why we’ve developed a curriculum that incorporates an online/hybrid format with minimal on campus time to make our program accessible to nurses who are working professionals who may not live in the Duluth and St. Cloud, MN areas. Whenever possible, clinical experiences are arranged at appropriate sites near the student’s home.

Program Concentrations

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners are acute and chronic disease expert practitioners within the adult and geriatric subspecialty. The AGACNP handles complex patients in a variety of acute care settings, including, but not limited to hospital medicine, intensive care, emergency room and specialty care. The AGACNP is equipped to assess and treat the immediate acute health situation, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and develop treatment plans with the goal of stabilization and returning patients to an optimal level of health. Graduate preparation expands the comprehensiveness of the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner’s role to include use of research in evidence-based practice, development and implementation of health policy, leadership, education, case management and consultation. Nurse practitioners, acute care or specialty physicians serve as preceptors.

Family Nurse Practitioner

The FNP concentration prepares nurses to be leaders who manage the primary health care needs of families from infancy through adulthood. A family-centered approach to health promotion, disease prevention and intervention in illness responses of individuals is emphasized. Graduate preparation expands the comprehensiveness of the family nurse practitioner’s role to include use of research in evidence-based practice, development and implementation of health policy, leadership, education, case management and consultation. Nurse practitioners and primary care or specialty physicians serve as preceptors.

Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The PMHNP concentration prepares advanced practice nurses who are qualified to address the lifespan psychiatric-mental health needs of persons with serious mental illnesses, substance abuse problems, and/or common medical conditions related to psychiatric and/or substance abuse problems. Community mental health promotion as well as disease prevention and intervention are emphasized. Graduate preparation expands the comprehensiveness of the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner’s role to include use of research in evidence-based practice, development and implementation of health policy, leadership, education, case management and consultation. Nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, psychiatrists, and other licensed, advanced practice mental health professionals serve as preceptors.


Visit our Catalog to view the program, course and degree requirements, and learning outcomes. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.


Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) Concentration
Full-Time AGACNP Schema Part-Time AGACNP Schema
Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Concentration
Full-Time FNP Schema Part-Time FNP Schema
Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Concentration
Full-Time PMHNP Schema Part-Time PMHNP Schema

Degree Overview

The Program of Study is full-time and completed in 4 years. Students are advised not to work more than 24 hours per week (0.6 FTE).

The BS to DNP (BSDNP) degree offers the following concentrations:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

This advanced-practice nursing program is designed to guide nursing professionals in the development of a higher level of practice at the organizational and systems level to improve healthcare outcomes. The curriculum is based on The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Practice (AACN, 2021):

  • Knowledge for Nursing Practice
  • Person-Centered Care
  • Population Health
  • Scholarship for the Nursing Discipline
  • Quality and Safety
  • Interprofessional Partnerships
  • Systems-Based Practice
  • Informatics and Healthcare Technologies
  • Professionalism
  • Personal, Professional, and Leadership Development

Career Outlook

As healthcare costs continue to increase, DNPs and other advanced-level nurses are able to transform practice by implementing innovative strategies that improve health care systems and patient outcomes while reducing costs (Institute of Medicine, 2011). The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that all types of advanced practice registered nurses will see an increase in employment, of up to 38% between 2022-32.

Accreditation and Exams

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program, and post-graduate APRN certificate program at the College of St. Scholastica are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

CCNE Accredited logo

Board Approved

The College of St. Scholastica’s pre-licensure degree program, the Bachelor’s to DNP with APRN concentration degree program, and the post-graduate APRN certificate program are approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

Certification Exam

After completion of the DNP degree or Post-Master’s Certificate, students are eligible to take the national certification examination in their Nurse Practitioner population focus of Family/Individual across the Lifespan, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care or Psychiatric Mental Health. Further information about the certification exams is available at the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the American Academy of Nursing Practitioners (AANP) and the Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

Admission Information

Visit our admissions page for information about transcripts, online application, international admissions and financing.

Application Deadlines

Applications open in mid-August in NursingCAS for the May cohort.

Priority deadline: December 1

Final deadline: March 31


  • A 4-year nursing degree from an accredited program conferred prior to the start of the program
    Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  • Current, unencumbered licensure as a registered nurse in the state in which clinicals will occur
  • For new baccalaureate graduates, admission will be conditional pending licensure by the end of the summer semester
  • Applicants to the PMHNP track must have previous psychiatric nursing experience
  • Applicants to the AGACNP track are preferred to have a minimum of one year of acute-care nursing experience


In NursingCAS you will be required to choose your desired track and campus to attend. Applicants who designate more than one track (ex. FNP & PMHNP) will not be considered for admission. Applicants may apply for more than one campus location but may only select one track for consideration.

Please carefully review all the instructions prior to beginning your application. No items should be sent directly to CSS.


  1. All official transcripts
  2. If you have previously attended St. Scholastica you must request your transcripts to be sent to NursingCAS. Contact the Academic Records and Registrar’s office.
  3. No high school transcripts are required.

Online Application

The following requirements will be required in the online NursingCAS application. Please carefully review all the instructions prior to beginning your application. No items should be sent directly to CSS.

Visit and select Summer 2023 for your term. Then click APPLY.

A complete Nursing CAS application includes:

  1. All official transcripts
  2. Resume

Graduate Assistantships

Based on need in the undergraduate program, we offer graduate assistantships mostly in clinical and skills lab/simulation settings. These opportunities are available in the Twin Cities area, St. Cloud and Duluth. There are approximately 25+ positions each year. Interested students would have to apply for the positions and would be chosen based on need and fit for the position. The positions are competitively compensated and students can opt for tuition reduction.

Meet Our Faculty

Experienced, Dedicated and Distinguished Educators

Expect to be heard, to be challenged and to be involved. St. Scholastica faculty are world-class scholars and experts in their field who invest in your success. Our values of community, respect, stewardship, hospitality and love of learning reflect our faculty’s commitment to lifting up others and celebrating our common humanity.