While both the Ph.D. in nursing and the DNP are terminal degrees, the curricula varies. Ph.D. programs emphasize the development of research and writing skills, with specific emphasis on utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods. The curriculum also devotes more time to understanding the history of the discipline alongside contemporary challenges and opportunities.
The DNP, in contrast, focuses on building advanced clinical skills that can be used in advanced practice roles. Students spend much of their time examining how topics transfer into their professional work as a nurse.