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DNP Scholarly Project Requirements and Procedures (Policy DNP-01)

Download a Printable Version of Policy DNP-01

Effective Date

Spring 2018

Last Revision Date


Responsible Party

Faculty and staff in the DNP program.

Scope and Audience

Students enrolled in the DNP program.

Additional Authority


1. Policy Purpose

To describe the Scholarly Project requirements and procedures necessary to obtain the DNP degree.

2. Policy Statement

The following are described in this policy:

  • Scholarly Project DNP Project Committee
  • Student, Chair, and DNP Project Committee Responsibilities
  • Scholarly Project Proposals and Final Reports
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB), Human Subject Requirements, and Organizational Approvals
  • Partner Organization Collaboration, Relationships and Student Responsibilities

Scholarly Project DNP Project Committee

Each student works with a DNP Project Committee to plan and complete a Scholarly Project. The DNP Project Committee consists of a minimum of two Graduate Faculty members, including a Faculty Advisor, who is appointed at the end of the second semester of the program and also serves as the DNP Project Committee chair for the student. All DNP Project Committee members must also have approved Graduate Faculty status and have earned a minimum of a doctoral degree. Project committee chairs and members are selected and appointed by the DNP Program Director and DNP faculty representation with consideration of students, Scholarly Project focus, faculty expertise, and workload. If a student has concerns about the project committee, he/she is encouraged to contact the Program Director at any time.

Once a Faculty Advisor is appointed, the student works with the mentor to complete a plan of study and further refine the Scholarly Project focus.

Faculty Advisors

  1. Serve as the DNP Scholarly Project Committee chair for the student.
  2. Serve as the primary advisor of the student.
  3. Must be endorsed to chair committees per Graduate College policy.
  4. Must have approved Graduate Faculty Status by the Graduate College.

Community Member

In some cases, a community member may be asked to consult as a Content Expert or organizational liaison. This will be determined by the Faculty Advisor and Program Director in collaboration with the student.

Student, Advisor & DNP Project Committee Responsibilities:

Responsibilities of Students includes:

  1. Adhere to the Boise State University School of Nursing (SON) Scholarly Project Policy and Procedures.
  2. Work with the Faculty Advisor to develop and conduct a Scholarly Project.
  3. Utilize timely, effective, and professional communication with FacultyAdvisor, the Scholarly Project Committee, and community partners.
  4. In consultation with the Faculty Advisor, develop an approved project plan, prepare a proposal, and complete all the requirements of the Scholarly Project, Presentation, and Report.
  5. Understand that final acceptance of the Scholarly Project Final Report is determined by the student’s DNP Scholarly Project Committee, DNP Program Director, and the Dean of Graduate College. Posting of the final degree is dependent on final approval by all the above parties.
  6. Assist in conflict management/resolution that may arise in the Scholarly Project phases.
  7. Engage in ethical conduct of a Scholarly Project following all required guidelines, protocols, and standards established by Boise State University and/or the partner organization.
  8. Accept responsibility for the ultimate process, content, and quality of the Scholarly Project.
  9. Abide by all program, SON, university, and/or partner organization policies in conducting the Scholarly Project.

Responsibilities of Faculty Advisor includes:

  1. Facilitate a positive working relationship with the doctoral student.
  2. Serve as the student’s primary advisor through the project phases.
  3. Guide the student in planning and implementing the Scholarly Project.
  4. Provide ongoing guidance and timely feedback in the writing of the Proposal, Scholarly Project and Final Report.
  5. Assure that DNP Scholarly Project Committee members have reviewed and provided input to the Scholarly Project Proposal and Final Report.
  6. Evaluate the Scholarly Project Proposal and Final Report.
  7. Facilitate communication and manage conflict or disagreement that may arise within the Scholarly Project Committee.

Responsibilities for DNP Scholarly Project Committee member(s) includes:

  1. Read selected drafts of the Proposal, Scholarly Project and the Final Report when deemed appropriate by the Faculty Advisor.
  2. Provide timely and specific feedback on drafts within 2 weeks of paper receipt.
  3. If possible, attend the Proposal presentation and give feedback to the student and the Faculty Advisor.
  4. Be available to student and/or Faculty Advisor to discuss the Scholarly Project to provide expertise and input.
  5. If possible, attend the Final Presentation and give feedback to the student and the Faculty Advisor.

Scholarly Project Proposals and Final Reports

  1. A written proposal and oral presentation outlining the background and plans for the Scholarly Project must be approved by consensus of the entire DNP Scholarly Project Committee before the Scholarly Project begins and any data is collected.
  2. The Proposal and Final Report should be written according to instructions and guidelines in the Scholarly Project courses and in the DNP Student Portal. The most current edition of APA format is to be followed. All Scholarly Project Final Reports must adhere to the Graduate College format requirements.
  3. Students must be aware that organizations are fluid, dynamic, and change constantly. In addition, making personal changes such as moving or changing jobs may impact the educational process. These changes may influence permissions and conditions for conducting the Scholarly Project. Partner organizations may withdraw previously given permissions and students may have to find new partner organizations at any point in the process. This may jeopardize the student’s progression and delay completion of the program.
  4. The student must successfully pass all courses and adhere to the grading policy for the DNP program and the Graduate College. The student must receive a “Pass” on the Proposal and on the Final Report in order to progress in the program. Final acceptance of the Scholarly Project Final Report is determined by the student’s DNP Scholarly Project Committee. Posting of the final degree is dependent on clearance by all the above parties.

Institutional Review Board (IRB), Human Subject Requirements, and Organizational Approvals

Each student will need to obtain approval by their partner organization and/or university Institutional Review Boards for their Scholarly Project. The Scholarly Project must be designed and accomplished following all applicable legal and ethical standards and requirements. At minimum, students must:

  1. Receive Faculty Advisor approval prior to submitting organization and/or university IRB application(s).
  2. Successfully complete the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) for Social and Behavioral research on- line training program prior to submitting a protocol for consideration.
  3. Read and follow all applicable procedures for project review and approval by the appropriate institutional review body or committee (per websites or policies) for the organization(s) in which the Scholarly Project will be done. These may include 1 or more of the following:
    1. Boise State University Office of Research Compliance, Institutional Review Board (IRB)
    2. Another university Office of Research Compliance, IRB
    3. A partner organization research compliance, ethical review committee, and/or administrative review
  4. Obtain approval from the appropriate research compliance and/or ethical review committee before beginning scholarly project implementation and before any information can be publicly shared or disseminated.
  5. Obtain a written Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by appropriate representatives of the partner organization in which the Scholarly Project will be done before starting NURS 603. Students who are unable to secure a signed MOU will jeopardize progression in the program.
  6. All students’ Scholarly Projects involving human participants must be supervised by a faculty member. The faculty member’s signature on the student research/project protocol form attests the procedures comply with federal and university policies for the protection of human participants.
  7. For Scholarly Projects, the signature of the Faculty Advisor is required on the IRB application, unless there appears to be a conflict of interest (e.g., the advisor is also the chair of the unit review committee.) If the Faculty Advisor is unable to sign, another member of the student’s committee may sign.
  8. It is always the responsibility of the student to obtain IRB and/or any required approvals prior to initiation of any project and/or research activity involving the use of human participants. Failure to do so may result in restrictions on the research activities of such individuals, as well as potentially endanger all federal funding to the University. In addition, students may fail to earn approval for their proposal, fail Scholarly Project course(s), and jeopardize their progression in the program.
  9. Faculty Advisors and Project Committee Members will provide guidance through approval processes. The student is responsible for engaging in ethical conduct of a Scholarly Project following all required guidelines, protocols, and standards established by the program, the involved organization(s) and/or Boise State University.

Partner Organization Collaboration, Relationships and Student Responsibilities

The DNP degree in Leadership curriculum allows for many agencies, facilities, and organizations to become venues for Project, practicum, and/or experiential opportunities. There will be instances when students will partner with specific agencies, organizations, or institutions to accomplish Project and/or learning goals. Scholarly Projects may occur across care settings and geographic boundaries. Partner agencies/institutions/organizations are those with collaborative relationship(s) with the DNP student to accomplish Scholarly Projects goals and objectives and are referred to in this document as “partner organizations”. The following should guide the development of partnerships useful to the DNP Student.

Student Responsibilities and Partner Organizations

Students are responsible for establishing positive relationships with all partner organizations involved with Scholarly Projects. The work to establish collegial and mutually beneficial partnerships is part of the leadership and skill development of nurses with advanced degrees in nursing. As professionals, students must:

  1. Maintain current RN licensure and student health requirements.
  2. Meet all professional, clinical, health, and safety standards set by partner organizations SON, and the DNP program.
  3. Maintain confidentiality for all organizational communications, client encounters, and records and to follow the organization’s stated preference for confidentiality within all Scholarly Project reports, presentations, and/or publications.
  4. Perform in the best interest of the client and organization during all partner organization experiences.
  5. Explain the Scholarly Project timeline (across 8 semesters) and its relevant components including assessment, planning, intervention and evaluation to partner organizations.
  6. Obtain a written MOU signed by representative(s) from the partner organization. This must be obtained before the first day of class for NURS 603. If not obtained, students may not progress to NURS 603 to present their proposal for approval.
  7. When clinical activities involve data gathering from human subjects that may be used in research and publication, Institutional Review Board (IRB) and/or ethics committee approval will be needed from Boise State University and/or partner organizations. If the partner organization does not have an IRB per se, written approval must be sought through the standard administrative and/or ethics approval mechanisms in the organization.
  8. Clearly identify to organizational representatives that Scholarly Project implementation will not occur until all IRB, organizational, Faculty Advisor, and Project Committee approvals have been received (approximately 6th semester).
  9. Failure to meet these requirements could result in non-approval or withdrawal of approval for the student’s proposal, receipt of a failing grade in Scholarly Project course(s) and could jeopardize the student’s progression in the program.

3. Definitions

A Scholarly Project is a professional endeavor generally carried out in cooperation with a community partner that results in a formal paper, presentation and Scholarly Project completion. This definition is consistent with the Boise State University Graduate Catalog. Doctoral education in nursing practice is distinguished by the completion of a specific project that demonstrates synthesis of the student’s work. A Scholarly Project is a complex, rigorous process of scholarship involving assessment, synthesis of the evidence, data analysis, and evaluation, and will require IRB and/or other organizational approval. Scholarly Projects link the use of evidence to improvement of practice or patient outcomes. Examples of Scholarly Projects include practice change initiatives, research utilization projects, and/or program evaluations. Students who successfully complete a Scholarly Project and required coursework are awarded a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. All requirements established by the Graduate College and the School of Nursing regarding Scholarly Projects must be followed.

4. Forms


Related Information

BSU: None

CHS: None

SON: None

Last Review Date


Revision History

Spring 2018, August 2018, October 2018, July 2020, July 2021, 4/1/2022