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University of St. Thomas Houston to Offer Nursing DNP Degree

The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is the fastest growing nursing graduate program in the United States. According to the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies, only 0.7% of nurses licensed in Texas hold a doctoral degree.

To address this shortage, nurses can now earn a DNP, nursing’s terminal practice degree, beginning in the Fall 2018 semester at Houston’s only Catholic university, the University of St. Thomas.* Located near the Texas Medical Center, the University of St. Thomas Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing is poised to offer an advanced nursing degree that emphasizes leadership in nursing’s healing ministry. The DNP program of study offers population based clinical experiences and support from clinical expert coaches. This flexible nursing program is designed for working nurses seeking the leadership competencies needed to create transformational change in health care environments.

Clinical Practice-Oriented Leadership Competency

“DNP students prepare themselves for their leadership roles through completion of the DNP core curriculum enhanced by a personal portfolio of competencies acquired through a self-directed course of study. A unique innovation in this program is the introduction of coaching as an educational method, provided by faculty advisors, faculty and expert clinical practice coaches,” said Dr. Poldi Tschirch, School of Nursing dean. “Students will identify, develop and implement the population focus for their individualized program of study. Houston is a superlative site for graduate education in nursing with its rich array of health systems, innovative care models, and a diverse patient population seeking health care,” said Tschirch.

In this program graduates are prepared to assume nursing leadership roles that specialize in nursing practice at an aggregate, systems, or organizational level. UST is the only university in Houston to offer a Doctorate in Nursing Practice focused on nursing as a healing ministry, using coaching as an educational approach for both baccalaureate and master’s degree graduate nurses interested in this DNP emphasis.

“The focus on transformational leadership builds on the strengths of the university’s Catholic identity, mission and values and the school’s unique mission and vision,” said Tschirch. “The emphasis at the graduate level will be on preparing nurse leaders who can facilitate transformational change in the creation of healing environments that support all nurses in providing truly holistic care.”

Flexible Schedule with Online or Hybrid Classes for Working Nurses

This blended program, with a balance of on campus and on line experiences, is open to applicants who have earned a BSN or MSN from a nursing program accredited by either the National League for Nursing (NLN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students may pursue either a part-time or full-time enrollment in the DNP program. Student cohorts will participate in several campus learning experiences each year to create a community of shared learning, with much of the course work on line to better accommodate a graduate nursing student population of employed professionals. The DNP program, as a clinical practice doctorate, requires a final DNP Project with a focus on nursing practice, in contrast to the dissertation in PhD programs. The projects become a formal contribution to local clinical partners, enhancing their clinical environments.

Contact Nursing Admissions Counselor 


The University of St. Thomas was founded in 1947 by the Basilian Fathers as an independent, Catholic, coeducational university in Houston, TX. Situated in the city’s Museum District, the University enrolls 3,237 total students with an undergraduate population of 1,864. Set against the backdrop of the Texas Medical Center UST has seen a 75% growth rate among students pursuing degrees in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and over half of the undergraduate student body pursues a degree in one of the STEM fields. The University of St. Thomas was ranked 26th in the 2017 edition of the U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” list of universities in the western region of the United States and was additionally ranked one of the best colleges in the West according to The Princeton Review.  


* Pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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