About the DNP Educational Leadership Program

The Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership program is a practice-based, leadership-focused program that prepares faculty, program directors and deans to lead nursing education programs.

Whereas most traditional Ph.D.s are research-based, not practice-focused, and traditional Ed.D. programs are focused on general education not specific to nursing, our DNP program provides the terminal credentials needed to endorse credibility and competence for nurse education leaders sitting alongside academic and business leaders. Our DNP educational leadership program develops six key competencies needed by today’s nursing education leaders: leadership, finance and fund development, new models of curriculum development and delivery, education policy, education research, and strategic planning.

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has awarded accreditation to American Sentinel University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with specialty tracks in Educational Leadership and Executive Leadership. This decision was a result of a site visit completed in November 2013. View complete details.

What’s it like to be a DNP student? View a chat session between a prospective student and a current American Sentinel DNP student.

Program Details

American Sentinel offers a flexible, online study format allowing Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership students to fit their course work into their busy schedules. Features of the DNP program online include:

  • Two-year program, 42 credit hours.
  • One 7-day residency per program year at American Sentinel in Denver (two residencies total).
  • Online course work, discussions of application theory and evidence-based practice in the workplace, and assignments.
  • Eight-week courses.
  • Capstone implementation science project (not a dissertation) tailored to the professional goals of the student.

One of the most flexible DNP programs online available, our Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership is designed to foster the advanced practice of nursing leadership within a complex, highly regulated nursing educational system.

Practice Experiences

The nursing programs at American Sentinel University contain practice experiences. This is done to meet the accreditor requirement that RN to BSN, RN to MSN, MSN or DNP programs include practice experiences in the curricula to enable students to achieve the required educational competencies (AACN White Paper, Oct. 2012; DNP Essentials for Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice, 2006; ACEN 2013 Standards). These practice experiences have specific objectives, expected outcomes and competencies.

Practice experiences are not like the clinical experiences you completed to obtain your degree as a registered nurse. Practice experiences do not involve hands-on patient care. They are designed to provide you with the opportunity to apply the concepts and knowledge you learn in the nursing courses.

See Nursing Practice Experience Guide for more information.

Course Highlights

Our rigorous curriculum covers a breadth of issues in nursing and health care, giving students the foundation and skills to lead nursing education programs. Here are a few of the DNP Educational Leadership program’s online courses:

  • Leadership: Setting the Example (N700): This five-day immersion course focuses on executive leadership in a dynamic health care environment. Students explore leadership theory and take into account organizational culture and governmental complexities.
  • Role of Technology and Simulation in Nursing Education (N714): The course explores the use of the Internet, Web 2.0 tools and other online technologies in the delivery of academic programs. Students will explore current research on best practices in online learning.
  • Grant Funding (N744): This course develops a better understanding of grant-funding opportunities to support faculty development, strengthen program capacity, and enhance new technologies.

View the entire DNP Educational Leadership curriculum.


The program is open to nurse educators who have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience in a leadership or faculty role in nursing education at a two- to four year college or university, hospital or health care organization within the past five years. Applicants must hold an active and unencumbered nursing license and a MSN degree from a regionally or nationally accredited institution. Foreign students must hold a comparable degree from a recognized institution. No GRE or other placement testing is required.

All DNP applicants are required to have a MSN degree. Applicants with master’s degrees in other disciplines (e.g., MBA, MHA, MPH or MEd) may transfer credits from courses that are equivalent to the courses in the American Sentinel MSN program. They will then complete the MSN program at American Sentinel before being accepted into the DNP program.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the DNP Educational Leadership program will be able to:
  • Appraise the needs of complex organizations as they go through strategic decision making and change implementation.
  • Critique roles of leaders and collaborators in planning, providing, and evaluating health care.
  • Generate strategic plans for organizational change by utilizing theoretical knowledge, meaningful, data and evidence-based practice to while being culturally and ethnically sensitive.
  • Evaluate curricula in order to meet the needs of communities of interest.
  • Explain how technology and simulation can be effectively integrated into a nursing curriculum at all levels.
  • Propose how technology and simulation can be effectively integrated into nursing education.
  • Plan for use of economic and human resources to maximize the potential of a program or school.
  • Create an assessment plan for a nursing program that provides direction for program improvement as well as meets state and accreditation requirements.

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