Post-Doctoral Nurse Practitioner Certificates

These certificates are designed for the APRN with a Ph.D. or DNP who wants to obtain a new specialty in one of three nurse practitioner specialty options.

Students seeking a certificate program only are not eligible for financial aid. Courses taken after completion of a degree program in order to complete the certificate are not eligible for financial aid.

Course Delivery

The Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions programs blend three instructional strategies to produce an engaged learning curriculum. The first strategy is immersion: our programs include face-to-face meetings conducted at the Irvine campus. During these immersion sessions, students may receive orientation instruction; work as teams with peers and mentors; participate in demonstrations, exercises, assessments or evaluations; complete hands-on skills training in a simulation center using standardized patients and/or high-fidelity manikins. Many courses include additional real-time instruction via web conference, phone conference, or live chat sessions. The second is practical experience: our programs include internships or supervised clinical practice residencies conducted where the student lives or works. The third is self-directed study: all courses include online lectures, discussions, social networking, demonstrations, tutorials, readings, or other homework.

Students in the Certificate program are required to attend 3 immersion sessions; the first is a virtual immersion Spring 1 or Spring 2 to learn how to be a virtual student and to be oriented to the resources of the University.  The second immersion is for 3 days before starting the initial precepted clinical practicum course to learn and practice procedures. The third immersion is for 3 days before starting the final precepted clinical practicum course for competency examination.

Attendance: Students may be dismissed from the program at the Dean’s discretion due to absence from required meetings.

Admission Requirements

  1. Complete a Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions application available online at
  2. DNP or Ph.D. degree from a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or a National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) accredited program.
  3. National certification as APRN (or eligible to take National Certification Exam).
  4. Official transcripts from all regionally accredited institutions where post-baccalaureate coursework was completed or attempted. 
  5. Current and detailed resume or curriculum vita.
  6. *Unencumbered RN license in the State where you plan to do your precepted clinical practicum hours.
  7. *Unencumbered APRN license in your current specialty.
  8. Self-evaluation and goal statement.
  9. Three recommendations.
  10. Personal interview with the specialty Program Director. 

(All requirements are due by the end of the first session unless otherwise indicated and/or required by a student’s clinical practicum or Clinical Scholarly Project [CSP] site):

  1. Proof of unencumbered RN or APRN licensure in the state where the student will be completing clinical practicum and/or CSP residency hours;
  2. Proof of a negative Tuberculosis (TB) Skin Test or blood test (within 90 days prior to the start of clinical practicum or CSP residency hours);
  3. Proof of completion of Hepatitis A and B immunization series or titer;
  4. Proof of two doses of Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) immunization or titer;
  5. Proof of Tetanus/Diphtheria/acellular Pertussis (Tdap) immunization within the past 5 years;
  6. Proof of two doses of Chicken Pox (Varicella) immunization or titer;
  7. Background clearance;
  8. Copy of American Heart Association Basic Life Support CPR card that will not be expiring within the next 12 months and/or during clinical practicum or residency hours;
  9. Proof of current negative drug screen (within 90 days prior to the start of clinical practicum or CSP residency hours);
  10. Proof of annual Influenza immunization;
  11. Professional Student Liability Insurance (1 mil per occurrence/3 mil aggregate) for the time that the student is engaged in clinical practicum or CSP residency hours (within 90 days prior to the start of clinical practicum or CSP residency hours) and
  12. Any additional laboratory tests, immunizations, physical exam and/or documentation required by a student’s clinical practicum or CSP residency hours site.

Catalog Year

Students admitted to the Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions are admitted to the catalog year that is in effect the date when they begin the program (either Fall I, Spring I or Summer I).

As part of the application process, the Program Director of the chosen specialty will interview the applicant for admission to the specialty.  If approved for admission, the academic advisor will create an individual education plan based on the required specialty courses and additional courses determined as needed by the gap analysis.  Additional courses may be transferred up to a maximum of 12 semester graduate credits per the Transfer Credit policy (see Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures) determined by gap analysis.

National certifying bodies require that all students applying for a new certification must take 4 core courses:

Advanced Health Assessment3
Advance Pathophysiology3
Advanced Pharmacology Courses (all across the lifespan)3
Nurse Practitioner Role Course3
Total Credits12

Students are required to earn 3 credits in each of the 4 core courses.  If a student has earned only 2 credits in an approved program, an additional credit may be taken from Brandman University to meet the minimum credit requirements for the degree.  For students who have not taken these courses as part of their MSN, these courses are embedded within the education plan.  Upon completion of the DNP, including all courses required for the additional specialty, a student will be eligible to take the national certification exam for their chosen specialty:  American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) and apply for licensure as an APRN in the state where they plan to practice.

All courses must be passed with a grade of “B-” or higher.  Clinical practicum and residency courses are graded Pass/No Pass.  A Pass is equivalent to a “B-” grade.