Forensic Nursing FAQs

Why a DNP?
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has stated that the changing demands of this nation's complex health care environment requires the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise to assure high quality patient outcomes. The practice doctorate, DNP, is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice, and offers an alternative to research focused doctoral programs (i.e. PhD programs).

What are the program requirements?
DNP Admission Requirements

Are there clinical requirements?
Yes, clinical experience hours must meet the requirements to sit for certification by American Nurses Credentialing Center. The College of Nursing has an extensive list of highly qualified preceptors. We do; however, encourage you to seek other opportunities that are of interest to you. Students living outside the Memphis area will work with the clinical course faculty to identify appropriate clinical sites. It is generally expected that preceptors for the DNP program are graduate prepared. Clinical contracts are complex and time consuming; thus, it is important to start this process early.

When should I apply?
The application deadline is January 15th. An early start is highly suggested.

How do I apply?
Questions regarding the application process, as well as residency, should be addressed to: Admissions Counselor, Office of Admissions, 901-448-5560 or

Can I work and go to school?
There is no restriction regarding work during the program. The intensity and demands of a doctoral program make it very difficult to work full-time and do well in the program.

What are my career options?
In keeping with the goals of DNP education, the Forensic Option prepares the forensic nurse to create systems of prevention and intervention in a variety of international cultures and settings, on behalf of populations impacted by unintentional and injury and violence through the development of clinical practice models, health policy, and standards of care. Careers may be developed around the following roles:

  • Administration - Management and evaluation care within institutions of health and legal care.
  • Quality Improvement - Conduct quality improvement programs that generate outcome data to improve health status of individuals, families and aggregates.
  • Faculty - Teach in a variety of institutions preparing nurses and other health care providers.
  • Policy - Provide leadership for influencing political environment related to nursing and health care delivery.
  • Clinical Practice - Provide primary and specialty care to victims of injury and perpetrators of crimes within an independent, group practice, or health care system setting. Access and manage patients with mental health problems. Consult with individuals in both inpatient and outpatient forensic settings.

Graduates are involved in areas of forensic practice such as:

  • Sexual Assault Examination
  • Child Abuse and Neglect Evaluation
  • Medico Legal Death Investigation
  • Psychiatric Forensic Nursing
  • Correctional Nursing
  • Legal Nurse Consultant
  • Public Health and Safety Prevention
  • Motor Vehicle Collision Investigation
  • Mass Disaster Management
  • Elder & Vulnerable Person Abuse, Neglect & Exploitation
  • Inpatient Clinical Forensic Nursing

Will I be credentialed?
Yes, the clinical and didactic experiences for certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner, who is dually credentialed in Advanced Forensic Nursing, reside within the curriculum.

What will the program cost?
Information regarding tuition, fees and other cost can be located at The college has a number of scholarships that students are eligible for after admission. Some employers also provide financial assistance.

The Academic Common Market is a consortium of states that have banded together to waive out-of-state fees for students when a specialization, such as Forensic Nursing, is not offered in the home state of the applicant. Their website is located at

What is the program length?
The DNP program is a full-time program of study. The academic year consist of two terms lasting 20 weeks. The curriculum for nurses, who are board certified in Advanced Practice Nursing, is a 2 year program, consisting of four academic terms. The first three terms consist of core and specialty courses in the student's area of concentration. The last term consists primarily of a resident practicum and a residency project.

The curriculum for nurses, who are not yet APNs, is a 3 year program, consisting of six terms. The first five terms consist primarily of core and specialty courses in the student's area of concentration. The last term consist primarily of a resident practicum and a final residency project.

Both programs include resident work arranged by the student in conjunction with a faculty member, which means that students typically complete their residency in the area in which they currently live.

Are there any courses I can take in advance and if so, what is the procedure?
Yes, students can take a few courses prior to enrollment; however, students should contact the faculty or the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs to make sure the course is the appropriate level prior to taking the course.

How many hours each week should I plan for studying?
The number varies according to student ability and difficulty level of a specific course. Conventional wisdom seems to indicate that 2 to 3 hours of study time per credit hour per week is on average necessary.

Will the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredit DNP programs?
Yes, practice doctorates with the degree title DNP are eligible for accreditation by CCNE. It is expected that specialty accreditation for programs preparing nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists will continue by their respective accrediting agencies.


Request More Information

DNP Forensic Nursing
Contact Information

Patricia M. Speck, DNSc, APN, FNP-BC, DF-IAFN, FAAFS, FAAN
Associate Professor and Forensics Nursing Concentration Coordinator
Department of Advanced Practice and Doctoral Studies
920 Madison, #954
Memphis, TN 38163

College of Nursing on Facebook