DNP: Health Policy

If you want the tools that will empower you to advance meaningful change in an increasingly complex health care system, a DNP in Health Policy is for you. Gain in-depth knowledge of the legislative, regulatory, and judicial processes that shape health policy. Deepen your understanding of the economic forces, research evidence and political developments that directly affect health care and the nursing profession. Develop new perspectives on effective advocacy and learn about the roles of nurses and other health professionals in improving access and advancing the health of patients, families and populations.

This distance-based program combines academic study with hands-on experience in addressing real-world policy issues. Graduates of the DNP Health Policy program can apply their policy expertise in any number of ways, from advancing within their current institutions/practice to roles such as working for government agencies, legislative offices, research organizations, consumer groups, or professional associations as policy analysts, advocates or consultants.

The GW School of Nursing is known for its focus on health policy and our faculty include respected leadership in the field. The School also houses the GW Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement. Located in the nation’s capital, our proximity to federal agencies, Congress, national health care associations, and other policy-makers provides an “only at GW” experience and a unique opportunity to prepare for a career in health policy.

Who Should Apply

If you have a master’s degree in nursing and you want to apply principles of evidence-based practice, organizational leadership, population health with expertise in health policy and health system change, then look no further than this dynamic DNP option. This program option is also available as a graduate certificate.



Fall 2022 Applications
Priority: 12/01/2021
Final: 05/01/2022


The DNP: Health Policy and Media Engagement (Post-MSN) consists of 42 credit hours and 1000 practice hours. Questions about program requirements should be directed to the program director, Dr. David Keepnews.

Programs of Study


For a full listing of courses and descriptions, please visit the University Bulletin.

On-Campus Requirements

New Student Orientation - This orientation, held on campus the summer before year one, gives you the opportunity to connect with your faculty and fellow students, consult with advisers and prepare for your program.

Project Presentation - At the end of your third year (prior to graduation) you will present your work in an open forum to the faculty and your peers.

Technology Requirements

Beginning fall 2018, each student admitted to the DNP program is expected to own and have ready access to a laptop or tablet with basic productivity software for classroom use. View Policy.

Complete applications that are submitted by the priority deadline will be reviewed first. Applications do not have to be verified by the priority deadline, only completed and submitted. Questions? Contact the Office of Admissions at [email protected]

A completed application includes the following components:

  • Possess a bachelor's degree in nursing
  • Possess a bachelor's degree in nursing
  • Currently utilize your master's preparation in an area of advanced nursing practice such as an APRN role, nursing administration, executive leadership, health policy, informatics, or population health
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale
  • Graduate-level inferential statistics course taken within the past five years*

*NURS 6208: Biostatistics for Health Care Researchers (3) is offered in the spring and summer for those who have not met this requirement

  • Official transcripts (from all post-secondary schools)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Current resume
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Active and unencumbered nursing licensure


  1. GW Nursing is subject to state authorization requirements in order to offer an approved nursing curriculum. View available states.

Graduate-level inferential statistics course taken within the past five years*

*NURS 6208: Biostatistics for Health Care Researchers (3) is offered in the spring and summer for those who have not met this requirement

At the conclusion of this DNP program, you will be able to:

  1. Integrate findings from the sciences that provide the foundation for nursing practice.

  2. Apply leadership and systems thinking to ensure accountability for the quality of health, health care and patient safety for populations through the application of ethical, organizational, political and economic sciences.

  3. Synthesize, translate, implement, evaluate and disseminate research findings and best evidence into advanced nursing practice.

  4. Critically appraise information systems, data analytics and technology to evaluate and monitor patient and population outcomes and care systems to improve the quality and safety of health care.

  5. Formulate and evaluate health care policy to advocate for accessible, equitable and ethical healthcare for patients and populations.

  6. Convene and lead interprofessional teams that communicate and collaborate effectively to enhance patient and/or population health outcomes and health care delivery models. 

  7. Design initiatives to prevent disease and promote the health of diverse populations.

  8. Provide leadership in advanced nursing practice by incorporating evidence-based guidelines, and innovative care models to influence individual population and organizational outcomes.

All DNP students are expected to complete a minimum of 1,000 post-baccalaureate practice hours as part of an academic program. Most advanced practice RN students have completed 500 hours in their MSN programs. We require 500 pre-DNP hours and provide coursework within the program for the remaining 500 hours.

Students are required to complete a Health Policy Practicum (75 hours) that includes collaborating with a policy expert in a professional organization, government agency, advocacy group or other to develop policy within the real world context. During this practicum experience, students will work on a specific policy issue related to cost, quality or access relevant to the patient experience of care to develop in-depth expertise in a specific policy area.

3 Great Reasons to Choose GW Nursing

Online Learning
These specialties are delivered in a hybrid format with online courses and some on-campus experiences for testing and training.
Flexible Format
Some specialties require you to complete a set number of clinical hours to complete the curriculum.
Exceptional Faculty
Our faculty members are nationally recognized leaders in nursing who actively engage and inspire students to improve global health care for all.

Frequently Asked Questions

On-campus requirements vary by program and specialty. Students enrolled in our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program spend the duration of the program on our Virginia Science and Technology Campus (VSTC) in Ashburn, Virginia.

Most graduate programs are delivered in a distance format with online courses and some on-campus experiences for testing and training, which typically take place in our state-of-the-art simulation facilities at VSTC. For example, nurse practitioner students are required to come to campus for Campus Learning and Skills Intensive (CLASI) when enrolled in NURS 6222 and for Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs) during their second clinical course. For specific on-campus requirements for graduate programs, please visit the webpage for your respective specialty area of interest.

All nurse practitioner students are also required to complete an end of program skills assessment. During this final on-campus simulation-based learning event, students have an opportunity to showcase their assessment, diagnostic reasoning, and patient management skills.

Students enrolled in our Accelerated or Veteran Bachelor of Science in Nursing program may only attend the program on a full-time basis due to its accelerated format.

Students enrolled in our RN to BSN or RN to MSN programs may only enroll on a part-time basis.

Students enrolled in a graduate program have the ability to enroll in most tracks on a part-time basis. To review your program of study options, visit the MSN, DNP or certificate webpage in the specialty area of your choice. PhD applicants should contact the program director directly.

Our clinical placement model provides students with faculty and staff support to ensure clinical sites align with clinical course objectives and nurse practitioner (NP) competencies. Our approach includes a clinical placement team dedicated to processing legal documentation required to clear students for clinical placement. Although we offer as much support as possible to students who are unable to locate a preceptor, our process is driven by student submission of a request for placement. We are dedicated to ensuring adequate and robust clinical experiences, however, GW Nursing is not required to locate clinical sites and preceptors for our NP students. 

Students wishing to apply for a student visa in the United States will need to seek sponsorship from George Washington University. At this time, the only program available to students seeking an F-1 or J-1 visa is our Bachelor of Science in Nursing program taught in person in Ashburn, Virginia. For further questions about eligibility, please contact [email protected].