SACSCOC approves Alcorn to offer its first-ever doctoral degree with Doctor of Nursing Practice program beginning fall 2019

Alcorn State University makes history with the recent approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to offer its first-ever doctoral degree program.

The University’s School of Nursing will introduce the new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with the inaugural class scheduled to enroll for the fall 2019 semester.

The DNP will be offered as a full-time progression option to graduates of the Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) master’s degree program. The program will require 36 credit hours to be completed in five semesters of continuous enrollment and will provide advanced education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, healthcare systems, evaluation of practice models, and health policy.

“The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program represents a milestone achievement in Alcorn’s 148-year history,” said Alcorn State University Interim President Dr. Donzell Lee. “As the University’s first-ever doctoral degree program, the DNP will significantly enhance our mission and catapult Alcorn to a new level of leadership in higher education. It will greatly expand our consistently successful efforts in producing healthcare professionals with the knowledge and character required to positively impact the communities we serve and beyond.”

The program is the culmination of a nearly two-year effort in which each academic school was charged by the provost with developing proposals to administer a doctoral program. The School of Nursing’s proposal demonstrated the greatest merit and was developed into a prospectus for submission to the Mississippi IHL Board of Trustees. In September 2018, the IHL Board granted Alcorn permission to pursue the new degree program. The university submitted its final proposal to the SACSCOC Board of Trustees in March 2019 and on June 13 received formal approval to offer the DNP.

Accomplishing this historic feat took the hard work of many dedicated university faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Dr. Debra Spring, dean of the School acknowledged those who played key roles in the formation of the academic program.

"What a special day in the history of Alcorn State University and the School of Nursing,” said Spring. “The road to offering the first doctoral program in Alcorn’s history is possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of a number of individuals at all levels of the University. I am so proud of what we have accomplished to get us to this point.”

The program will offer specialty focused content and doctoral education essentials which include scientific underpinnings, organizational and system leadership, and analytical methods, technology, inter-professional collaboration and population health outcomes, clinical prevention, and advanced nursing practice.

The new nursing degree program puts Alcorn in the position to educate aspiring nurses on all levels. Interim Provost Dr. John Igwebuike expressed his pride in the university’s ability to produce even more talented nurses to serve in the medical field.

“With our fall 2019 inaugural class, Alcorn State University is now strategically positioned to offer robust nursing education programs from an associate degree to a doctor of nurse practice degree,” said Igwebuike. “Our new Doctor of Nurse Practice launches Alcorn into a new era of progress in equipping and educating nursing professionals who will help meet the nursing shortage, improve quality of care, and enhance the health of Mississippi citizens across the state and beyond.”

Prospective students must submit an application, official transcripts, transfer credits (if applicable), and graduate record examination scores. Applicants must also submit their nursing credentials and experience, letters of recommendation, a résumé and goal statement. International applicants are required to submit their Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Invitations to interview are sent to the applicants by the director of the Graduate Nursing Program after a preliminary review of the application.

Candidates chosen for the interview will receive additional instructions on how to schedule the interview. Interviews will be conducted electronically.

For information on the program and admission, visit the Office of Graduate Studies website or contact Dr. Linda Godley, interim director of Graduate Nursing Programs at 601-304-4320.