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Meeting of the Board of Regents | August 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010 - 8:40am

SED Letterhead                                                                                   




The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents



Frank Muñoz


State University of New York at Buffalo:  Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) Degree


August 31, 2010


Goals 2 and 3




Issue for Decision (Consent Agenda)

Should the Board of Regents authorize the State University Board of Trustees to confer the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree on duly qualified students successfully completing registered programs at the State University of New York at Buffalo?

Reason(s) for Consideration

Required by State statute.

Proposed Handling

This question will come before the full Board at its September 2010 meeting where it will be voted on and action taken. 

Procedural History

On June 29, 2010, the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees adopted the following resolution:

Resolved that the Chancellor be, and hereby is, directed to seek the authorization of the Board of Regents for the State University of New York at Buffalo to confer the degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.).

On July 6, 2010, the Department received the State University of New York at Buffalo’s proposal requesting registration of 7 programs leading to the D.N.P. degree.  

Background Information

            The SUNY Board of Trustees’ resolution will authorize SUNY at Buffalo to confer the additional degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.), subject to the approval of the Board of Regents. Degree authorization is necessary as the award represents SUNY at Buffalo’s first use of the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree title. Authorization by the Board of Trustees and the Board of Regents will allow the approval of programs for the D.N.P. degree.

            The D.N.P. offers an alternative to research-oriented doctoral programs, such as the Ph.D. and the D.N.S. Nurses with either a bachelor’s or master’s degree will have curricular pathways to the doctoral level. The national organization that represents baccalaureate and higher degree programs in nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, is moving toward a requirement that all programs to prepare advanced practice nurses (nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists) be at the doctoral level and that the degree to be awarded is the D.N.P. The School of Nursing seeks to offer the D.N.P. degree in keeping with national trends and requirements. Upon approval, SUNY Buffalo would be the third SUNY institution authorized to confer the D.N.P. degree. SUNY Stony Brook received authorization in January 2008 and SUNY Binghamton received authorization in January 2010 to award the D.N.P. degree. New York State also has six private institutions authorized to award the D.N.P. degree: Columbia University, Daemen College, New York University, Pace University, St. John Fisher College and the University of Rochester. At this time, there are 127 D.N.P. programs throughout the nation. The D.N.P. is consistent with SUNY Buffalo’s mission and reputation as an institution with considerable experience and expertise gained from many years of offering a range of graduate degrees for advanced practice nurses.  The curriculum is consistent with the standards of the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and SUNY Buffalo will seek CCNE accreditation after the first cohort graduates.

            SUNY Buffalo is proposing a total of seven D.N.P. programs. These programs will be in the areas of adult health, anesthesia, child health, family health, mental health, and women’s health. The adult health specialty area will offer students the opportunity to enroll in either a clinical nurse specialist or a nurse practitioner curriculum. The remaining specialty areas all lead to eligibility for nurse practitioner certification.  In the first year, a combined enrollment of 70 students is projected for what historically have been SUNY Buffalo’s largest graduate nursing programs; namely, the Adult Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Anesthesia programs.  In the second and succeeding years of operation, the remaining 4 programs each are projected to have enrollments of between 7 and 10 new students annually. By the fifth year, and thereafter, total enrollment is projected to be about 165 students, ranging from a low of 7 students in the Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist program to a high of 35 students in both the Adult Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner programs.  

            The School of Nursing at SUNY Buffalo has programs of study leading to the B.S., M.S., D.N.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Nursing.  Post-Master’s Advanced Certificates are available to prepare nurse practitioners, nurse educators and case managers. The post-baccalaureate programs leading to the D.N.P. degree will require completion of between 84 and 127 credits depending on the specialty area.  Fifty-one of the credits in each of these post-baccalaureate programs represent new courses. The post-baccalaureate programs are designed to be completed in three years of full-time study.  When the D.N.P. programs are approved, admissions to the master’s degree programs will be halted. Students currently enrolled in the various master’s degree programs will be given the option of transferring to a D.N.P. program, with the master’s degree programs phased out as students complete their programs of study. The phase-out period is expected to last up to three years.  Individuals who enter as post-master’s students will be required, for each specialty area, to complete 39 credits, 33 of which represent new courses. These programs can be completed in a minimum of five semesters of part-time study. The post-baccalaureate programs will require completion of a minimum of 1,000 clock hours of clinical experiences with preceptors who are nurse practitioners, physicians, or clinical nurse specialists in the various clinical practice areas. In addition to clinical specialization, practica and role courses, the remaining coursework covers content in the areas of conceptual foundations, epidemiology, ethics, evidence-based practice, grant writing, health assessment, health policy, health promotion, informatics, organizational leadership, pathophysiology, pharmacology, program evaluation, and teaching in nursing.

            Sixty percent of each program is to be offered in a distance education format.  Since 2004, the School of Nursing has offered master’s degree programs in adult health, family health and mental health via a distance education format. Clinical practice experiences will be arranged with agencies in the geographic locations of the students.  Course coordinators will establish preceptor arrangements at each site. Distance education students will be monitored and evaluated by School of Nursing faculty and clinical preceptors, who will consult with faculty assigned to the courses.     


            It is recommended that the Board of Regents authorize the State University of New York Board of Trustees to confer the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree on duly qualified students successfully completing registered D.N.P. programs at the State University of New York at Buffalo effective September 14, 2010.

Timetable for Implementation

            If the Board authorizes the Trustees to confer the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree at the State University of New York at Buffalo, the Department will proceed to register the proposed D.N.P. programs in Nursing and the University will proceed to recruit and enroll students in the programs.