Doctor of Nursing Practice – Systems Leadership

Program Overview

Are you ready to take your nursing career a step further? With Rivier University’s online Doctor of Nursing Systems Leadership track, you can improve your future and become a trusted leader in a supportive academic community. Whether you’ve completed a Master of Science in Nursing program or have earned a master’s degree in a non-nursing discipline and have a BSN, the DNP Systems Leadership track supports clinicians seeking leadership roles in healthcare, as well as those who are striving to practice at their highest potential.

To serve students of different educational backgrounds, the DNP Systems Leadership program does not require a GRE score for admission and offers two points of entry: one for Master of Science in Nursing graduates and another for non-nurse practitioners with a BSN and a master’s degree in a field outside of nursing.

Regardless of entry point, the DNP Systems Leadership program is delivered exclusively through Rivier’s interactive online classroom. The track provides flexible courses and guidance from nursing leaders who hold a variety of doctoral degrees, including research-driven and clinically-focused clinicians who are actively engaged in clinical practice to improve patient outcomes. In addition to personalized instruction from expert faculty, the DNP Systems Leadership program offers the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through a required practicum.

Upon completion of the DNP Systems Leadership program, you’ll be fully prepared to develop your own scientific theories of health, illness, and human behavior and apply them to strategies and interventions. You’ll also be equipped with the professional skills to translate evidence-based research into practice and apply advanced clinical judgement in the design, delivery, and evaluation of care to patients throughout the lifespan.

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Rivier University’s ASN, BSN, MSN, Post Master’s Certificates, and DNP programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, Ga 30326, (404) 975-5000,

  • Next Start Date: September 3, 2019
  • Est. Program Length: 2.5-5 years
  • Credit Hours: 39-69
  • Course Length: 7 and 14 weeks

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Course Map

The DNP Systems Leadership program requires the completion of 39-69 credits, which is determined by each student’s educational background. Tuition is $780-$1,015 per credit depending on course level.


For post-master’s entry point
Successful completion of a graduate (500 level or above) statistics course

Required Core Courses (49 credits)
  • BUS 559 Healthcare Finance: 3
  • BUS 569 Healthcare Administration: 3
  • BUS 632 Healthcare Information Systems: 3
  • BUS 654 Compliance and Risk Management in Healthcare Settings: 3
  • BUS 659 Crisis Management and Conflict Resolution: 3
  • NSG 561 Advanced Nursing Leadership I: 3
  • NSG 562 Advanced Nursing Leadership I Practicum: 2
  • NSG 563 Advanced Nursing Leadership II: 3
  • NSG 564 Advanced Nursing Leadership II Practicum: 2
  • NSG 601 Quality Healthcare Improvement: 3
  • NSG 602 Evidence Based Practices in Healthcare: 3
  • NSG 610 Advanced Health Policy: 3
  • NSG 620 Biostatistics in the Health Sciences: 3
  • NSG 805 Health Research Methods: 3
  • NSG 810 Epidemiology in Advanced Practice Nursing: 3
  • NSG 802 Interpretation of Quantitative Research for Healthcare: 3
  • NSG 815 Evidence Based Leadership Practices: 3
Required Practicum Courses (12-20 credits)
  • NSG 715 Leadership Capstone Practicum: 2-4 credits per semester; repeat to max of 8 credits
  • NSG 850 Doctoral Practicum/Seminar I: 3
  • NSG 860 Doctoral Practicum/Seminar II: 3
  • NSG 870 Doctoral Practicum/Seminar III: 3
  • NSG 880 Doctoral Practicum/Seminar IV: 3

All NSG prefix courses are 14 weeks. BUS and PH courses are 7 weeks.

Rivier University’s ASN, BSN, MSN, Post Master’s Certificates, and DNP programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, Ga 30326, (404) 975-5000, opens in new window

Admission Requirements

  • A copy of official transcripts of all post-secondary education.
  • An earned master’s degree outside of nursing, in addition to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
  • Two (2) recommendation letters in sealed envelopes. One letter must be from a direct supervisor or professional who can address your clinical expertise and leadership potential. The second letter may also be a professional recommendation or else a recent academic instructor who may address your professional strengths as a student. These letters should be submitted in sealed envelopes, or else mailed directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions via US mail or email with the DNP applicant’s name in the subject line. These letters may also be sent electronically directly from the author.
  • A copy of your unencumbered, active advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license in the state where practicums will be conducted.
  • A statement of purpose (1-2 pages) that gives your reasons for pursuing the DNP and shows how your interests align with one of the eight AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. Keep in mind this exercise may be a springboard to the scholarly project you will develop as part of the DNP.
  • An updated resume or CV.
  • Evidence of a completed graduate-level statistics course.
  • Documentation of the number of supervised clinical hours completed in previous Master’s in Nursing program.
    • Note: Since Rivier University's Master of Science in Nursing program requires this number of hours for graduation, and this information is documented, graduates of this program do not need to submit additional proof of these hours.
  • Completion of nursing practicum form.
  • Graduate GPA of 3.2 or better on a 4.0 scale. Candidates with less than a 3.2 GPA meeting the above criteria may be considered after interviewing with Graduate Nursing Faculty. A visit to campus is not required.
  • Our enrollment counselors are available to provide details for any of the above requirements.

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How to Apply

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Submit transcripts from every accredited postsecondary college or university attended.*

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* Submit high school transcript or GED; unnecessary if you have an associate degree.