First Doctoral Degree Option Approved for Coker University

    First Doctoral Degree Option Approved for Coker University


    At its annual meeting, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) announced approval for Coker University to begin offering a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). This is the first doctoral program in University history.

    The University welcomed its first cohort of Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) students in the Fall 2022. Dean of Nursing, Dr. Carolyn Hart, has capitalized on the demand for nurses and the opportunity to meet the educational needs of future nursing students across the region. 

    “The DNP is the highest practice degree for nurses and reflects the changing demands in our complex healthcare environment. DNP-prepared nurses have a greater understanding of the underlying knowledge of nursing practice; they are more informed about health equity and the quality of patient care,” shared Dr. Hart. 

    Students in the DNP program will be able to complete their coursework 100% online - offering the flexibility they need to continue their education while providing quality patient care. Current nurses with a master’s degree will complete ten courses in 6-week terms to complete the program. The application for the DNP program will open on January 5, 2023, for the inaugural class starting in August 2023. 

    The doctoral program is the latest addition to the University’s overall healthcare program expansion. In response to regional employer needs for healthcare workers and the pent-up demand for quality local programs, Coker University has introduced a new healthcare education model to increase the number of healthcare workers and access to care in the Pee Dee region. By creating multiple realistic pathways for adult learners who want to upskill or increase career opportunities, the programs focus on personal resilience, evidence-based practice, and the skills needed to flourish in a rapidly changing environment. Currently, Coker offers 

    • a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (hybrid);
    • two BSN completion programs;
      • for nurses with an associate’s degree (online), or
      • for healthcare workers - LPNs, paramedics, and military veterans with experiential credit (hybrid); and
    • three tracks to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
      • RN to MSN  for nurses with an associate degree (online)
      • MSN with an emphasis in education or leadership (online)

    Dr. Hart adds, “it is an exciting time to be at Coker. From the administration to our students, we are committed to advancing the nursing profession. Offering a doctoral degree in nursing is a recognition of how vital nursing care is to healthcare.” 

    For more information on the University and a complete list of academic programs, please visit