To learn more about who is eligible for our BSN to DNP Program, please see Who Can Apply

All BSN to DNP students at Carolina will take three years of full-time study ranging from 66 to 75 credit hours depending on the choice of advanced practice preparation.

Credit hours include 1,000 practice hours; required coursework for advanced practice, leadership, and practice-based inquiry; and the completion of a DNP Project.


There are two options for BSN nurses to obtain their DNP at Carolina:

Health Care Leadership and Administration

The Health Care Systems program will become Health Care Leadership and Administration in fall 2020, and will be offered fully online.

Today’s health care system requires new skills of nursing leaders to transform the delivery of nursing and health care. The Health Care Systems (HCS) program option prepares students with knowledge and skills needed to succeed in a variety of leadership positions in health care organizations.

The Health Care Systems program will become the Health Care Leadership and Administration program beginning in fall 2020.

The Health Care Systems program includes content in management and leadership, informatics, financial management, human resource management, quality improvement, outcomes management, and education. Graduates are prepared with a breadth and depth of knowledge and skills needed to develop, implement, and measure the impact of innovations in care delivery at all levels within health care organizations.

The Health Care System curriculum prepares students to become advanced nursing leaders in the following areas:

  • Administration: Prepares students with advanced knowledge and skills in the management, organization, and delivery of systems of care, with emphasis on human and financial resource management.
  • Informatics: Prepares students with in-depth knowledge and skills in information management and processing principles to support data, information, and knowledge needs in the practice of nursing.
  • Outcomes Management: Prepares students with advanced skills in managing patient and systems outcomes, emphasizing quality and performance improvement, outcomes measurement, and introducing practice innovations.

Students complete core, specialty, and supporting coursework commensurate with their area of focus and future goals. All students complete an intensive residency experience and are placed with preceptors in individually selected clinical practice sites for role integration and immersion.

Additional Information

Advanced Practice Areas

You may choose to become a Nurse Practitioner in any of the following areas:

The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) option prepares students to provide care for patients age 13 to the end of life. The program requires course content in research, professional and clinical cores, and the advanced practice area with a selected focus. Graduates will be skilled in implementing and evaluating interventions across adult health care settings as well as throughout the trajectories of illness. Nurses are educated for practice that is evidence-based, collaborative, and reflective of an understanding of current health care delivery, as well as, economic, ethical, and professional issues.

Students complete five clinical courses which include a core course in advanced diagnostic reasoning, three clinical courses that emphasize management of common adult health problems and one course that emphasizes the management of complex adult health problems related to a focus area of choice. Graduates eligible to sit for the American Nurses’ Association (ANCC) or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) certification examination for AGPCNP practitioners.

Additional Information

The Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) option prepares students to provide care for patients age 13 to the end of life. The program requires course content in research, professional and clinical cores, and the advanced practice area with a selected focus. Graduates will be skilled in implementing and evaluating interventions across adult health care settings as well as throughout the trajectories of illness. Nurses are educated for practice that is evidence-based, collaborative, and reflective of an understanding of current health care delivery, as well as, economic, ethical, and professional issues.

Students complete five clinical courses which include a core course in advanced diagnostic reasoning, three clinical courses that emphasize management of common adult health problems and one course that emphasizes the management of complex adult health problems related to a focus area of choice. Graduates eligible to sit for the American Nurses’ Association (ANCC) or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) certification examination for AGPCNP practitioners.

Oncology Focus

The School of Nursing offers courses leading to a specialty focus in Oncology. Applicants are admitted to the AGPCNP advanced practice area and complete an additional four credits of coursework focused in Oncology. Students who elect this option receive advanced knowledge and skills in both the prevention and management in the care of adults at risk for, or with, cancer. Graduates who complete additional clinical hours in oncology after graduation may also qualify to sit for the Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner (Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation) exam.

Additional Information

Ranked 10th in nation, our Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) specialty prepares students as advanced practice nurses for community-oriented primary care. Graduates provide comprehensive health promotion services to ambulatory clients; evaluate presenting problems at the client’s initial contact with the primary care system; and provide continuing care to clients with acute and stable chronic illnesses.

Themes emphasized throughout the primary care courses include: epidemiology; holism and caring; family and community systems; appropriate use of technology; cost effectiveness; collaboration; consultation and the referral process; and the research base for primary care practice.

FNP students with an interest in community-oriented primary care or global health have opportunities to focus their study in areas of special interest such as vulnerable populations or health disparities through clinical placements, elective courses, and the Master’s Paper. Students are encouraged to talk with their advisors about their interests in special areas for developing an individualized plan of study.

Additional Information

The Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care option prepares advanced practice nurses to provide care for children from birth to 21 years. The curriculum is designed to prepare nurses to provide comprehensive care to children and families by focusing on health maintenance and education, illness prevention and minor and chronic illness management.

Students are prepared to provide care that is evidence-based, collaborative, and reflective of an understanding of current health care delivery, as well as, economic, ethical, and professional issues. A student’s plan of study may be individualized to the student’s interests and needs through clinical placements, papers, presentations, and elective courses.

Additional Information

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) option prepares students to be clinically competent and culturally sensitive advanced practice registered nurses. PMHNPs assess, facilitate and manage the psychiatric and mental health care needs of individuals, families, groups and communities in a variety of public, private, community, inpatient, and team-based, multidisciplinary practice settings.

The PMHNP specialty curriculum embraces a lifespan perspective in psychiatric mental health diagnostic reasoning, psychopharmacology, individual, group and family psychotherapies and management of complex psychiatric illnesses.

An emphasis on the interaction and integration of common mental and physical health problems gives the student an evidence-based framework for comprehensive psychiatric-mental health care. The emphasis on cultural sensitivity challenges students’ assumptions and value judgments, and promotes critical analysis of how racial and cultural biases in psychiatric diagnosis have led to disparities in care.

Clinical sites are selected to meet course objectives and individual student learning needs. The PMHNP option promotes and encourages students to complete their clinical hours in their own communities and/or regions of the state of North Carolina and beyond, depending upon their learning objectives, interests and scholarship.

Precepted clinical experiences include psychiatric assessment and comprehensive evaluations, documentation according to federal and state requirements, implementation of individual, family and group therapy, and medication initiation and management. Graduates are able to assume an expanded scope of practice including prescriptive authority and collaborative management of health problems across the lifespan.

Additional Information

All students are required to meet The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2006).