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DNP vs PhD

In order for nurses seeking doctoral study to make informed decisions about advancing their education at UIC Nursing, it is important to understand the differences between the DNP and PhD degrees. Generally, our PhD program focuses on advancing the research and the science of nursing, while our DNP program focuses on advancing the practice of nursing. The table below offers a more comprehensive comparison of the DNP and PhD degree programs at UIC College of Nursing.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) PhD in Nursing
Objectives Prepares nurse leaders to improve patient outcomes and translate research into practice Prepares nurses to conduct research to advance the science of nursing
Focus Nursing practice, terminal degree in practice Nursing research, terminal degree in research
Credits required (Post-BSN) Varies by focus area (60+ semester hours) 96 semester hours
Dissertation No Yes
Minimum credentials Bachelor's degree in any field and a RN license to practice in at least one jurisdiction At least a BSN and a RN license to practice in at least one jurisdiction
Length Usually 3-5 years Usually 4-5 years
Tuition Professional tuition Graduate tuition
Focus areas 12 (9 NP, midwifery, and 2 systems focused) Individualized
Career focus Advanced practice nurse or leadership position in nursing practice. Oriented toward improving outcomes of patient care and population health. Researcher, nurse scientist. Oriented toward developing new nursing knowledge and scientific inquiry.
Location Chicago, Urbana, Springfield, Quad Cities, Rockford or Peoria Chicago