Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

Frequently Asked Questions

The final application date is May 1st for the fall semester. However, students are admitted to the DNP program throughout the year, as applications are reviewed and interviews are completed. Often students are able to take an elective course in the spring semester while waiting to start course work with their fall cohort.

Loyola’s DNP program is offered in a cohort model. Students are expected to enroll in two courses each semester, including the summer sessions, and take courses in a specific order.

Loyola’s DNP program uses the distance learning model that is supplemented with two on-campus immersion sessions at the Maywood campus each academic year (Fall and Spring semesters). The distance learning methodology is a blend of web-based instruction using a course management system (BlackBoard) and library resources. The web-based technology provides both synchronous and asynchronous learning environments. Faculty in the School of Nursing have used these distance learning technologies for over 10 years with the successful implementation of on-line master’s courses. Faculty are certified in online teaching. The University libraries’ eReserves system provides on line access to the library resources.

Having a computer system that is compatible with Loyola’s online system is key to student's success. Our technical staff recommend a computer with at least 2gb memory or more, a 40gb hard drive, broadband (cable) or DSL connection, Windows XP or the newer MAC OS X or above, and Microsoft Office 2007. We provide an orientation module to online learning that reviews needed software that can be downloaded for no charge.

Immersion Weekends are planned well in advance and are held once in the fall and once in the spring semesters as a key way to build community among students. The focus of each weekend extends beyond course content, including experiential learning from colleagues and expert faculty in an academic setting. Attendance at these weekends is an absolute requirement. Students who are unable to attend scheduled days in each semester cannot register for coursework during that semester. Immersion dates are posted on the SON website and in the DNP Blackboard website well in advance of the Immersion Weekends.

Loyola's DNP program is primarily a post-MSN program. Students admitted with masters degree in an area other than nursing will be evaluated on an individual basis. At a minimum, students will be required to take three (3) courses to lay foundation for DNP coursework and to meet the Master's Essentials on which the DNP curriculum is based. These courses are GNUR 401: Nursing Concepts and Theories, GNUR 402: Ethics, and GNUR 450: Nursing Research. The only BSN-DNP option is in Population-focused Infection Prevention and Environmental Safety (PIPES) which prepares nurses for leadership roles in infection prevention.

Loyola's DNP Program centers on a "Health of the Public" designed curriculum. The program focuses on populations at risk, populations that are experiencing alterations in health, populations across the nation and globe, and systems that promote safe and efficient health care environments. Some students may focus on direct care in a clinical specialty addressing advanced practice nursing practice competencies for the individual or family; however, those skills are gained through electives and focused clinical experiences.

Loyola does not offer a post BSN-DNP program for NP or CNS students. In general it is recommended that students complete a NP or CNS program prior to starting DNP coursework.

Statistics is a core skill required for successfully analyzing and interpreting research and program outcomes. Most students review past statistical modules or online statistical sites to enhance their performance in the DNP course. One Biostatistics course is required in the program. Students also need to be proficient in basic nursing research content as provided in their master's program. This material forms the base for the Translational Research course offered in the DNP program.

Students may request to have nine credits from an outside accredited university applied to the DNP degree prior to matriculation. All credits for transfer must be formally approved by the Associate Dean of the Master's and DNP Programs.

The core DNP courses are offered in a cohort model and listed on the Loyola website. At admission, students are assigned a faculty Academic Advisor to assist the student in determining their progression through the program of study. The Advisor provides specific direction regarding number/selection/timing of electives, and sequencing of the practicum courses.

In the DNP program, the major focus for practice specialization is in the discipline of nursing, not in the process of teaching. Therefore, students who anticipate future careers as clinical faculty or educators will need additional preparation in the science of pedagogy. Elective courses in education may serve as excellent choices for those seeking to gain expertise in and prepare for a faculty role.

A minimum of 1000 post-baccalaureate supervised clinical hours are required for the DNP degree. The Loyola program requires at least 7 SH of practicum experiences, equivalent to at least 400 hours of DNP practice experiences, depending on the student’s background and career goals. These students enroll in the DNP 511 Practicum sequentially over four semesters. However, some post-master's students need to complete more than this 400 minimum hours of DNP-focused practicum to meet the 1000 hours total, depending on their prior graduate school program requirements. For those students needing 650 or more practicum hours, some students may benefit from more foundational advanced clinical experiences to ensure that they are given the best opportunities to be successful at the highest level of practice. To facilitate this opportunity, these students register for master-level practicum courses (e.g., MSN 408 APN Practicum; GNUR 517 NP Practicum; or CMAN 417 Health Systems Management Practicum) if this better fits their learning needs.

Clinical practica will facilitate student’s professional goals as well as meet the terminal objectives of Loyola's DNP program. The site for the practicum is determined in accordance with the student's interest, skill level, and geographic needs, as well as the availability of clinical sites and preceptors. Students are exposed to a variety of clinical settings and have opportunities to interact with professionals from a variety of disciplines. It is expected that students complete this practicum outside their work site environment to provide the broadest opportunities for new learning. The final capstone project may be implemented at the student's practice site.

Faculty members and advisors assist students in identifying potential preceptors that can best meet students’ interests, skill levels and geographic needs.  Once identified, students contact preceptors to determine their interest and availability for precepting; students and Loyola faculty then negotiate for completion of required clinical hours each semester.

The DNP Capstone Project is used to demonstrate mastery of the DNP curricular content. Project leadership may be solo or collaborative depending on the scope of the project.   The project is generally completed in one year, with the development, implementation and evaluation of this project occurring over three semesters, in conjunction with the practicum immersion experiences. The DNP Capstone Project may take a number of forms such as: a practice change initiative; pilot study; program evaluation; quality improvement project; evaluation of a new practice model; or consulting project. The theme that links these forms of scholarly experiences is the use of evidence to improve either practice or a patient population set of outcomes.

The Capstone Project Committee consists of two people: the Capstone Project Director who has expertise in or has conducted research on the topic the student has chosen and an external committee member (who may be serving as a Clinical Preceptor) who is an outside recognized expert in the student’s specialized area of practice, or is selected from the agency/site where the student is implementing their project.

The student develops a succinct manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal that describes the significance of the problem/issue that was studied, a brief overview of salient points from the literature review, the methodology for the project undertaken, results/outcomes of the project, and discussion of findings with implications for practice. Students deliver an oral presentation and defense of their written scholarly work before their Capstone Project Committee and the DNP Program Director.

LUC is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is fully accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The baccalaureate and master’s programs are fully accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education. (CCNE). The DNP program was evaluated for accreditation in 2011.

The University maintains a Financial Aid Office on two campuses. These offices have resources and references about financial aid for students. Inquiries can be made at www.luc.edu/finaid or by contacting the Financial Aid offices at:

    LSC - Granada Center, Room 360, (773) 508-3155
    WTC - Lewis Towers, Room 609, (312) 915-6639

Tuition Term Payment Plans:

The University offers students tuition payment plan options--Term Payment Plan (TTP) and the Employer Reimbursement Plan and Deferred Tuition Plan (ERP). Information on these plans is available through the Student Business offices at the Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses.

Term Payment Plan:

This plan enables students to pay for each term’s tuition and fee charges in installments. Semester students may choose from the available two, three, or four month plans. A schedule of available plans is included with the application.

Employer Reimbursement and Deferred Tuition Plan

The ERP plan is designed to enable students who are eligible for tuition reimbursement from their employer to defer payment of tuition until reimbursement is received. Applications are available at the Student Business Office.

Research Assistantships on Faculty Research Grants

Faculty members may have grant-funded projects that include opportunities for graduate students to participate as a Research Assistant. Information on these opportunities is made available to students through Blackboard and e-mail notification.

HRSA Nurse Faculty Loan Program

In this program Loyola University receives money to make loans to eligible students who are committed to being employed as a full-time faculty member in a school of nursing upon completion of their degree requirements. The loan covers tuition and fees, and the student may receive loan proceeds for up to five years during the course of study. Preparation for the nurse faculty role under the NFLP program requires that some coursework and/or practicum experiences specific to nursing education be included in the plan of study. In the School of Nursing, these courses include GNUR 509, Teaching Methods (3 credits, summer session) and GNUR 510, Teaching Practicum (3 credits, Fall session, 126 hours of practicum time with a faculty member). Once degree requirements are met and degree has been conferred, the loan enters a grace period for 9 months. After that 9 month period, the loan enters a repayment mode. For every year graduate is employed as a full-time faculty member in a school of nursing, 20% of the loan balance is forgiven, for the first 3 years of full-time employment. After the 4th year of employment, 25% of the loan balance is forgiven. The remaining 15% is then paid back to Loyola.