Systems, populations & leadership path

DNP student Raja IssaThis pathway consists of an MSN degree and a post-master's DNP degree. There are also a number of certificate programs in this pathway.

Master of Science in Nursing

The MSN in systems, populations and leadership program prepares students to lead and effect change in a variety of complex organizations and environments to improve health outcomes across the life-span and continuum of care. Focus areas within this program are:

  • health informatics
  • leadership
  • population health


Find out information on admission requirements and how to apply, or contact the recruiting team at

Program focus

Health care organizations require leaders prepared to address complex issues. This degree is applicable to varying situations and provides for many different opportunities throughout your career. Find out more

Post-master's Doctor of Nursing Practice

This degree will prepare you to translate evidence into practice in a variety of complex settings, such as health systems, communities, and primary care. Our graduates lead changes in health care delivery and impact public policy. As a result, they are highly sought after by the world’s best health systems, and are inspired to make a meaningful impact on health outcomes.

Read about current DNP student projects.


Both current UMSN MSN students and external applicants can apply. Current UMSN MSN students should speak to an academic advisor by emailing about what the DNP program would be like.

All other applicants can find out information on admission requirements and how to apply or contact the recruiting team at

Scholarships are available for DNP students. These scholarship differ based on residency (in-state or out-of-state) and enrollment status. 

Program focus

The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a practice-focused doctoral program designed to prepare expert nurse clinicians and executive leaders for the highest level of practice to improve health and health care outcomes. The emphasis is on innovative and evidence-based nursing practice, applying research processes to decision-making, and translating research findings to increase the effectiveness of both direct and indirect patient care outcomes.

The major focus of the DNP program of study is to prepare nurse leaders at the highest level of nursing practice to improve patient outcomes and translate research into practice. Students focus on improving care delivery and health outcomes of patients, families, and populations. In contrast, the major focus of the Ph.D. program is to prepare nurses as leading researchers/investigators who advance discoveries in nursing and health sciences. 

Program objectives of the post-master's DNP

Graduates of the program will meet outcome competencies and upon completion of the program will be able to:
  • Design and evaluate new models of care based on integration of theoretical and empirical knowledge from nursing and related disciplines
  • Translate evidence to guide practice and improve outcomes of care
  • Analyze data which predicts and explains variations in practice
  • Provide inter-professional leadership within an increasing complex health care delivery system
  • Prepare leaders to use information systems and technology to support and improve patient care and health care systems
  • Prepare leaders to direct and deliver high quality, cost-effective care
  • Shape health policy and systems of health care in the local, regional, state, national, and international forums
  • Perform independently at the most advanced level of ethical specialty nursing practice

Post-master's DNP residency

DNP students must meet a minimum 1,000 hours of advanced clinical experience. Up to 500 of these hours may be counted from the students prior master's degree work.

Scholarly project

DNP candidates will prepare a scholarly project that demonstrates a synthesis of the student’s abilities, lay the groundwork for future practice scholarship and demonstrate mastery of an advanced practice specialty. 

Post-master's DNP curriculum

The post-master’s DNP program is specifically designed to prepare experts in leadership, systems, and population health. The curriculum is a web-blended. Students are required to attend class on-campus two consecutive days per month (see dates below); additional course time is in synchronous and asynchronous format. The program has a fall term start date. Admitted students are offered a two year or three year program plan of study.
  • NURS 800: Graduate Statistics for Advanced Practice and Research 
  • NURS 802: Epidemiology for Health Professionals 
  • NURS 803: Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship 
  • NURS 811: Health Informatics
  • NURS 812: Clinical Leadership in Complex Systems 
  • NURS 815: Quality and Safety 
  • NURS 816: Policy Analysis and Transformation in Healthcare
  • NURS 900: Research Synthesis
  • NURS 910: Translation, Implementation, Effectiveness
  • NURS 950: DNP Residency 
  • NURS 955: DNP Scholarly Project



On-campus dates

Sp/Su 2019: May 9-10; June 6-7; July 11-12; August 1-2

Winter 2018: January 4-5; February 1-2; March 8-9; April 5-6

Sp/Su 2018: May 3-4; June 7-8; July 5-6; August 2-3

Fall 2018: September 6-7; October 4-5; November 1-2; December 6-7

Winter 2019: January 10-11; February 7-8; March 14-15; April 4-5

Post-master's DNP accreditation

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the U-M School of Nursing is accredited through June 30, 2019 by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.