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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 Primary Care, or Psychiatric Mental Health. Further Information about the certification exams is available at the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board websites.


The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice 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.

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Top Nursing School

We're proud to have been recognized by Nursing Schools Almanac as one of the top nursing schools in the Plains region as well as one of the top private nursing schools in the country.

Bachelor's to DNP

Nurses with instructor and skeleton

Now offering Adult-Gero ACNP

FAST FACTS: Bachelor's to Doctor of Nursing Practice       

  • A DNP degree for those with a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor's degree in Nursing
  • The DNP offers three specialties: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; Family Nurse Practitioner; Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • A U.S. News & World Report ranked Best Nursing School
  • Two locations: Duluth and St. Cloud
  • Online with minimal on-campus requirements. This program can be completed in 4 years
  • Program credits: 79-83, depending on choice of specialty

Tuition: $899/credit*

*Tuition rates are for the 2021-22 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.

Why Choose a DNP Degree?

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed to prepare advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who are experts in specialized areas of practice along with expanded responsibility and accountability to care and manage individuals and families. The DNP is the highest practice degree. Nurses who obtain a DNP degree are prepared to use quality improvement strategies to develop, implement, and sustain changes at organization and policy levels; use organization and systems leadership to improve health outcomes and patient safety; advocate for health care policy focused on social justice and equity; The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (AACN, 2006) guides the curriculum and reflects an inter-disciplinary design.

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.

Our program offers three specialties with the option to add an additional four courses to obtain an emphasis in gerontology. 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 combines online and face-to-face courses 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.

Career outlook

As healthcare costs continue to increase, DNPs and other advanced-practice nurses are able to transform practice by implementing innovative strategies that improve health care systems and patient outcomes while reducing cost (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 45% within the next 10 years.


Board approved

The College of St. Scholastica's Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and APRN Certificate programs are approved as advanced practice nursing programs by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

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Chad OppeltChad Oppelt
Associate Director, Enrollment Management
(218) 723-6362
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  • Portrait of Kitty Rader

    "I completed my Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program in May 2019. The education I received was excellent! It prepared me to not only complete my degree but also pass my Board certification exam. The competent Family Nurse Practitioner program professors are instrumental in learning with their real world experience."

    – Kitty Rader, DNP, FNP-BC