Clinical Dissertation

Clinical doctoral degrees are distinguished by the completion of a Clinical Dissertation that demonstrates synthesis of the student's work and lays the groundwork for future practice scholarship. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Clinical Dissertation is a scholarly experience that implements the principles of evidence-based practice and implementation science under the guidance of faculty.

The Clinical Dissertation may take a number of forms. The theme that links the varied Clinical Dissertation projects is the use of evidence to improve either clinical outcomes or to resolve the gap between evidence and implementation of the evidence in clinical practices/agencies and community policies.

Clinical Dissertation Steps

Step 1

Review the Clinical Dissertation process. Select your committee chair followed by the addition of remaining committee members. You are expected to have a total of 4 committee members, including your committee chair. The committee should include 3 DON faculty (one can be replaced by a community/agency person affiliated with your Clinical Dissertation), and a graduate appointee (for a total of four members). At least one member of the committee must be an NP faculty member. The community person should be requested after your Clinical Dissertation project is defined. Discuss an area of interest with your committee chairperson.

Step 2 

With your committee chair’s permission, contact the agency, if applicable, to discuss your interest in collaborating with this site. If the project is agreed upon, determine that an affiliation agreement is in place (if needed) between NDSU and the agency. Your committee chair will help you determine this and assist you in the process. 

Step 3 

Enroll in 799S-1 and develop your proposal for the specific Clinical Dissertation using the proposal guidelines on page 10.

Step 4 

Set up a meeting to obtain committee approval for your Clinical Dissertation proposal prior to beginning the specific Clinical Dissertation project. You must get approval from your committee chair prior to scheduling the proposal meeting.

Step 5 

Continue taking Clinical Dissertation courses (799S-2, 799S-3).

Step 6 

Conduct the project and write the final report with continual supervision by the Department of Nursing Clinical Dissertation committee chairperson.

Step 7

Request to schedule a DNP final examination (final defense and presentation of the Clinical Dissertation project) a minimum of two weeks before the defense. See the NDSU Graduate School website.

Step 8 

Present your project, defend, and obtain approval from the Dissertation Committee, Department of Nursing Chair and NDSU Graduate school indicating that you have met the expectations for rigor and academic excellence commensurate with the expectations for the degree of Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Step 9 

Submit the final Clinical Dissertation paper in the designated format to the chair and committee members ten business days before defense.

Step 10 

Express appreciation, i.e. a thank you letter, to the agencies and persons with whom you have collaborated.


Revised 7/9/2014

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