Systems & organizations focus

Students in discussion during class

Practice-focused doctoral program

The DNP Program specializes in aggregates/systems and healthcare organizations. Combining Yale on-campus experiences with on-line coursework, it is tailored for nurses who already have  significant professional experience and work commitments. Through collaboration with our faculty, health care leaders, and policy advocates, our graduates go on to make an impact in many spheres of healthcare. Fields of study include healthcare system leadership, healthcare policy, population health and  informatics. An intense practice immersion known as a leadership immersion practicum is an essential component of the DNP program and allows work to take place with healthcare and public policy leaders and experts. Each course builds upon knowledge required for the leadership immersion practicum and a final DNP project.

What are the differences between the DNP and PhD?

The DNP program prepares nurse leaders for evidence-based practice in patient care, education, policy, and executive roles. This requires competence in translating research into practice, evaluating evidence, applying research in decision-making, and implementing viable innovations to change practice within and across the spectrum of health and healthcare systems.

PhD programs are designed to prepare nurses for careers as research scientists in areas such as academia and other research-intensive environments. They prepare nurse scholars to conduct research that advances theoretical foundations of nursing and health care. PhD programs provide for the knowledge and skills in theoretical, methodological and analytical approaches for the discovery of knowledge in nursing and healthcare.


All required coursework is completed in the first 2 years. Emphasis is placed on knowledge development consistent with the mission of YSN “better health for all” and contributes to increasing healthy life spans, reducing health disparities, improving the quality of health care, and shaping health policy.  

Link to the current curriculum


Link to full list of courses

Evidence for Doctor of Nursing Practice

Explore the nature of evidence as it relates to the discipline of nursing. Literature and evidence within and outside of nursing are critically appraised for translation to and evaluation of practice. 

Ethical Analysis in Healthcare

Explores influential theories of health care ethics and draws on them to identify and analyze both common and complex ethical challenges in health care settings and systems, with attention to domestic and global concerns.

Quality and Safety in Health Care Organizations

Provides an overview of theoretical principles and concepts essential to assessing, designing, implementing, and evaluating population-based health projects within and across the health system and other organizations. 

Uses of Data in Decision Making

Provides an overview of health care data and the innovative ways these data can be turned into information for clinical, operational, and financial decision-making. 

Healthcare Policy, Politics and Process

Provides an overview of past and current health policy literature and research. It also provides the student with the opportunity to critically analyze basic concepts, principles, and consequences of policy options for achieving selected health services goals across the spectrum of health and health care systems.

D.N.P. Project Seminar

Designed to help students integrate D.N.P. course content and practica into their project proposal and help integrate D.N.P. course content and clinical practica into a final D.N.P. project proposal.

The Business of Healthcare

Designed to introduce students to the principles of economics, finance, and business operations within the context of the health care system and organizations. Essential economic and financial theory for the health care decision maker is examined within institutional, local, and national environments. 

Leadership Development

Students analyze and apply principles of contemporary leadership and administration to develop self-awareness of their leadership abilities and develop a plan to enhance areas for development. The emphasis is on strategic thinking and quality improvement in health care delivery, policy, and regulatory environments.

Achieving Population Health Equity

Provides a critical overview of the historical and contemporary health and health disparities research, relevant literature, and policies as essential context for understanding how to achieve health equity. 

Transformational Leadership in Professional Education

Focus on innovative methods in intra- and interprofessional education and includes a review and critique of the principles of transformational leadership as they relate to higher education. Transformational leadership includes the ability to develop educational goals and purpose that aim to fully engage learners in the teaching-learning process.

Leadership Immersion Practicum

The Leadership Immersion is a yearlong, mentored experience in which students apply relevant knowledge to an evidence-based experience culminating in a final D.N.P. project in 999.

Project: Evidence-based Practice Change

Students apply relevant knowledge to an evidence-based, yearlong experience culminating in a final D.N.P. project manuscript, which will be submitted for publication.