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Systems Leadership & Innovation

Doctor of Nursing Practice

a nurse works with a patient

Transform health care systems and advance your nursing career with a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Systems Innovation and Leadership from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Is this program right for you?

The Doctor of Nursing Practice in Systems Innovation and Leadership program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is designed to provide an agile, customized course of study emphasizing practice leadership and clinical scholarship, supporting the development of knowledge and skills necessary for health care transformation and innovation in a wide variety of settings.

As part of the larger Doctor of Nursing Practice lineup, the Systems Innovation and Leadership program is created for the working professional nurse. Courses are offered completely online and practicum are tailored to bridge experiential gaps, pursue your interests, and help you reach future goals. The curriculum offers both flexibility and convenience to complete your degree over the course of three years with fewer disruptions to your life and career.

Graduates of this program will be well prepared to leverage a broad perspective on nursing leadership and to design and evaluate new models of care. You’ll graduate ready to translate evidence into innovation that improves patient outcomes, quality of care, and caliber of the nursing workforce.

Is this program right for you?

The Doctor of Nursing Practice in Systems Innovation and Leadership program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is designed to provide an agile, customized course of study emphasizing practice leadership and clinical scholarship, supporting the development of knowledge and skills necessary for health care transformation and innovation in a wide variety of settings.

As part of the larger Doctor of Nursing Practice lineup, the Systems Innovation and Leadership program is created for the working professional nurse. Courses are offered completely online and practicum are tailored to bridge experiential gaps, pursue your interests, and help you reach future goals. The curriculum offers both flexibility and convenience to complete your degree over the course of three years with fewer disruptions to your life and career.

Graduates of this program will be well prepared to leverage a broad perspective on nursing leadership and to design and evaluate new models of care. You’ll graduate ready to translate evidence into innovation that improves patient outcomes, quality of care, and caliber of the nursing workforce.

Admissions requirements

All applicants must:

  • Have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution. Applicants with prior graduate education may be able to waive up to 18 credits based on previous graduate coursework, pending review of syllabi.
  • Have earned a grade of B or better in a graduate-level statistics course within the last five years. (Note: The course does not need to be taken before applying, but must be successfully completed prior to the start of the fall term.)
  • Have an RN license.
  • Have at least one year of professional experience in nursing, public health or a health-related field.
  • Have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on the last 60 credits of degree. Have a minimum master’s GPA of 3.5 (post-MS applicants only).
  • Have CGFNS certification (international applicants only).
  • Submit evidence of English language proficiency, if applicable. The required proficiency scores are: TOEFL IBT 92, PBT 580; MELAB 85 or IELTS 8.0.

Application materials required:

  • Online application
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation

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Program highlights

  • Courses draw upon some of the nation’s top educators and leaders in nursing, public health, human factors engineering, and medicine.
  • Many of our faculty are recognized by the American Academy of Nursing as leaders in nursing who demonstrate sustained and significant impact on health and wellbeing as well as the profession.

How you'll learn

  • Fully online curriculum.
  • Teaching strategies are based on best practice for adult learners.
  • Course content reflects the DNP Essentials to assure that students are prepared with the expected competencies.
  • Complete coursework, a scholarly project, and supervised practicum hours.
  • Practicum courses will be taught by faculty with experience and expertise in systems innovation and leadership.

Sample curriculum

Year 1

Fall Term

  • Nursing Research
  • Leadership Foundations: The Discipline of Nursing
  • Introduction to Epidemiology
  • Human Factors Engineering for Healthcare Systems

Spring Term

  • Health Care and Public Policy
  • Evaluation and Application of Evidence-Based Practice

Summer Term

  • Ethics for Advanced Practice in Health Care
  • Leadership and Organizational Decision-Making in Health Care

Year 2

Fall Term

  • Business Concepts in Healthcare
  • Health Systems Leadership and Innovation Practicum I
  • Evaluation of Health Informatics Solutions

Spring Term

  • Health Systems Leadership and Innovation Practicum II
  • Advanced Health Systems Leadership and Innovation
  • Health Program Planning, Evaluation, and Quality Improvement

Summer Term

  • Scholarly Project

Year 3

Fall Term

  • Health Policy Practicum
  • Scholarly Project
  • Elective

Spring Term

  • Leadership, Role Development, and Resource Stewardship Practicum
  • Scholarly Project

Ready to learn more about Systems Leadership & Innovation?
View the UW-Madison Guide

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Connect with our enrollment coaches

Our friendly, knowledgeable enrollment coaches are here to answer your questions. Contact an enrollment coach to:

  • Learn how to make this program work with your life/schedule
  • Verify credit transfers
  • Get help with your application
  • Determine if financial aid is available

Visit with our coaches on campus or at an upcoming student fair in your area. Search student fairs & events

Connect with a coach