Jul 14, 2024  
Catalog/Bulletin 2021-2022 
Catalog/Bulletin 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS)

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The degree Doctor of Nursing Science is a professional research degree. It is conferred for work of distinction in which the student displays the ability to make an original contribution of scholarship in nursing. The distinctive feature of this curriculum is its emphasis on nursing research with select patient/client groups within and across nursing specialties. Graduates achieve this goal through evaluating forces influencing health, synthesizing knowledge of health needs and problems of select patient/client groups, testing knowledge and applying findings to nursing practice, education, and policy.


The purpose of the doctoral curriculum is to educate qualified persons to make dynamic contributions to the discipline of nursing through research and other scholarly activities.


Upon completion of the requirements for the doctoral degree, graduates can:

  1. Evaluate forces in society to anticipate changing health needs, provide direction for nursing practice and influence health policy.
  2. Conduct research to generate, validate, and extend nursing knowledge.
  3. Design and test nursing strategies to improve the health status of selected patient/client groups.

Admissions Criteria

  1. A baccalaureate and a master’s degree in nursing from a college or university approved by a recognized national accrediting body.*
  2. A grade point average of 3.5 on a 4 point scale for all post-baccalaureate degree study completed at a college or university.
  3. Official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) of 300 (or higher) when combining the verbal and quantitative scores on the 130-170 score scale are required from within the last five (5) years. Writing score must be 3.5 or higher within the last five (5) years.
  4. A minimum score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for all applicants who have English as a second language or are not graduates of programs in the United States.
  5. One example of a published or unpublished scholarly paper written by the applicant and submitted with the application.
  6. Three letters of reference as specified on the application form.
  7. A current unencumbered license to practice nursing in any state with eligibility for licensure in Louisiana is required.
  8. A minimum of one year of post-graduate clinical nursing experience; some specializations may require more years of experience
  9. A personal interview with a director of the Doctoral Program

* Students who have a baccalaureate in nursing equivalency will be reviewed on an individual basis by the Admissions, Progression and Graduation Committee for eligibility to enter the DNS program. Students who have a Master’s Degree in another field may be accommodated for admission into the DNS program on an individual basis as prescribed by their Faculty Advisor.

Types of Admission

Unconditional Admission: granted to applicants meeting all requirements for admission.

Probationary Admission: granted to applicants not meeting all admission criteria; the applicant shows promise for success based on the applicant’s merits.

Provisional Admission: granted to applicants unable to submit the required credentials by the deadline. Students granted provisional admission must submit credentials within 30 days of the first day of class.

Non-Degree Status: granted to applicants interested in enrolling in graduate courses but have not been admitted into a program of study. Non-degree seeking students are not allowed to enroll in more than 6 hours. Admission under this status is selective; may be limited depending on program resources; and is granted by the Dean.

Residency or Foreign Language Requirements

There are no residency or foreign language requirements for the doctoral program of study.

Selection of Major Professor

Students who have successfully completed the prescribed 12 hours of doctoral study are eligible to select their major professor. The major professor is selected before undertaking support courses.

Transfer Credit

Graduate students may petition to transfer credits from other accredited universities for application to LSUHNO degree programs. The maximum transfer allowed is fifteen credit hours when studying at the doctoral level. Graduate course work may be transferred provided each course:

  1. Fulfills requirements specified in the student’s graduate degree plan.
  2. Student achieved a grade of “B” or better in course(s).
  3. Was not counted toward another degree or taken through correspondence courses.
  4. Was completed within the eight year time limit for the degree.
  5. Transfer credit for each course may be requested and applied to a graduate degree only one time.

Students will not receive credit for any course taken outside LSUHSC when it is offered the same semester at LSUHSC or the LSU system. Petitions must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor or major professor and the Associate Dean or Dean.

Time Limit for Degree

The School of Nursing requires that all work towards a DNS degree be completed in not more than eight calendar years. Any request for extension of this policy are subject to approval by the student’s Major Professor, and the School of Nursing Admission, Progression, and Graduation Committee.

Academic Progression in DNS Program

Registration for any course must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor or major professor. Eligibility to progress in the doctoral program is dependent on satisfactory performance in all courses. This refers to:

  1. Passing all courses with a “B” or higher
  2. Maintaining an overall GPA of 3.0
  3. Receiving an “S” (Satisfactory) each semester while registered in NURS 8000 - DISSERTATION 

Students cannot register for any doctoral nursing course more than twice except:



Students may be permitted to continue in the program; however, repeating a course or registering more than once for a course may disrupt the original plan of study and require revision of the student’s plan of study. The original 8 year time limit for successful completion of all doctoral work remains in force, regardless of purposive or inadvertent changes in the student’s plan of study. Students’ time limit date to complete the program is determined at the student’s first semester of coursework.

Progression to Doctoral Candidacy General Examination

Students who have successfully completed all academic requirements recommended by the Major Professor are eligible to write the general examination. Student must complete the “Registration for general Examination” form and obtain the signature of the Major Professor as approval to do so. Students who pass the general examination are reclassified as doctoral candidates.

Certification for the Doctoral Degree - Final Examination

The final examination is the oral defense of the dissertation. Doctoral candidates who have registered for dissertation advisement for at least three semesters and completed a dissertation to the satisfaction of the dissertation committee are eligible to take the final examination.

Requirements for Graduation

Students must meet the following program degree requirements.

  1. Satisfactory completion of a minimum of 62 credit hours of course work as specified by the curriculum and the Major Professor.
  2. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on all course work, with no grade lower than a B.
  3. Completion and satisfactory defense of a dissertation directed by a dissertation committee.
  4. Completion of end of course evaluation, exit survey and all components of compliance training.
  5. Approval by the Admission, Progression and Graduation (AP&G) Committee and given recommendation by the faculty of the School of Nursing.
  6. Attendance at rehearsal, pre-commencement, and commencement unless specifically excused by the Dean.
  7. Verification that all materials belonging to the Health Sciences Center and cooperating agencies have been returned through the proper procedures. All indebtedness to the University must be satisfied before a diploma may be issued. These materials would include such items as library books, equipment, keys, furniture or related items.
  8. A candidate must contact the Director of the Office of Student Affairs to have academic records evaluated for compliance with degree requirements. The request should be accomplished at the beginning of the semester prior to semester in which the degree is awarded.
  9. Each candidate must make an application for degree during the final semester in residence, stating the exact name, which, is to appear on the diploma.

Dissertation Advisement

Students writing dissertations are required to register for advisement before receiving assistance from the committee chairperson or any committee member. After completion of course work, continuous registration in dissertation is required. Failure of students to continuously register for and satisfactorily (S grade) complete NURS 8000 each semester may result in termination from the doctoral program.


Doctor of Nursing Science Curriculum   (62 Credits) 

Criminal Background Check and Drug Screening Policy

The purpose of obtaining the background check and urine drug screen is to protect the public. Students are responsible for the background check and urine drug screen fees. Background checks and urine drug screens are ordered through CastleBranch.

Additional types of background screening and urine drug tests may also be required depending upon the policies of the clinical agencies where students are assigned to provide patient care. The purpose of obtaining the background check and urine drug screen is to protect the public. Students are responsible for the background check and urine drug screen fees.

The School of Nursing conducts random drug screenings. Students are responsible for any/all random drug screening fees.

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