Adult/Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist DNP

nurse with older patient
Primarily Online
$973.75 per credit
Total Credits
Doctorate Degree
Admission GPA
Application Deadlines
Priority: October 15; Final: February 1
Twin Cities
School of Nursing

This specialization of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program prepares students to lead and guide the management of complex health conditions, working with nurses and organizations to provide care to adults and elders in a variety of settings. Each program of study is individualized though clinical placements and assignments to match the student’s interests. Students have the opportunity to specialize in a subspecialty area such as cardiology, critical care, or palliative care.

This program is accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). 


Completion of the required courses and clinical hours in adult and gerontological nursing provides eligibility to take the Adult/Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist certification exam by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Program Format

The post-baccalaureate option of the DNP program is a three-year, full-time program. All DNP students are required to come to campus for a four-day session (Tuesday through Friday) each semester that includes core courses, enhancement programming, specialty courses, and meetings with their advisor.

In addition, beginning in the second year of the program, students in the Adult Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist specialty are expected to be on campus for course work two additional times each semester for one to two days each time. Students also complete 1,000 hours at clinical sites arranged by the school.

Recommended 3-Year Program Plan

International Students

Applicants who are not US citizens or Permanent Residents should understand that the University of Minnesota’s DNP program does not meet the requirements for eligibility needed to obtain the appropriate F-1 student visa or status because the DNP has limited (fewer than four) face-to-face on-site classes per DNP course. During the application process, we ask that international students use ECE or WES credential services for the evaluations.

Sample Courses

  • NURS 5228 – Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nursing (2 cr)
  • NURS 6407 – Advanced Nursing Care of Older Adults (3 cr)
  • CSPH 5101 – Introduction to Integrative Healing Practices (3 cr)
  • NURS 7900 – Scholarly Teaching and Learning in Nursing (3 cr)
  • NURS 7705 – The Adult and Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist in Acute Care (2 cr)

Student Profile

Melissa Bitz portrait

After working as a registered nurse on the solid organ transplant floor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for more than six years, Melissa Bitz decided it was time to advance her education.

“As I started looking at nursing graduate school programs, it appeared to me that the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree was the degree that everyone was changing to, so I decided to get the DNP degree instead of the master’s degree so that I wouldn't have to go back later,” says Bitz. “Better to do it all at once.”

Bitz looked into several schools, but eventually chose the University of Minnesota because of the flexibility that the School of Nursing offered. “I work full-time and the online program allows me to be able to do the reading and homework each week at whatever time is convenient for me."

In addition, the University’s reputation was a draw. “I wanted to attend a school and be confident of the education I was receiving."

She chose the adult health/gerontological clinical nurse specialist specialty. “I was drawn to the clinical nurse specialist role because I wanted to make a difference in patient outcomes and quality of care. This role will allow me to perform patient care, impact patients’ lives, and lead quality improvement.”

“I feel that the professors really care about each student," Bitz continues. "They want to see you learn and be successful. They listen to you. You are not just a number or ‘another student'.”