Final document

Writing the DNP final project scholarly document or manuscript

The proposal forms the basis for writing the DNP Final Project document or manuscript. The student should review what he or she already has written, incorporate recommendations from the chair and committee members, and update and edit the original sections of work in the proposal. Ideally this occurs in the term following the DNP professional examination. At a minimum the document should address all of the sections in some manner as indicated under the Final Project Outline. The specific format i.e. manuscript or scholarly paper decision ideally occurs in autumn semester following the DNP professional examination.

During autumn semester, the student completes data collection and prepares the data for analysis. During early spring semester, the tables of results are developed and the final sections describing the results, discussing the findings, and developing implications for practice, and conclusions are written. The tense found in the proposal changes from future (what is the plan) to past (what was done). Any deviation from the proposal is noted and explained. The DNP Project report should be concise and no more than 30 pages of double-spaced text excluding references, tables, and figures.


In compliance with the final project written requirements, students may opt for a faculty- approved manuscript suitable for publication in a professional journal as their final product. A minimum of one manuscript must be prepared.

It is not a graduation or program requirement to have the article submitted or officially accepted for publication.


Authorship of the article is as follows:

  • the DNP student is the first author, and
  • the Final Project Committee Chair will help the student determine listing of other authors following the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE).

According to the ICMJE guidelines*, “Authorship credit should be based on the following 4 criteria:

  1. Substantial contributions to the conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; and
  2. Drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; and
  3. Final approval of the version to be submitted; and
  4. Agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Each person listed as an author should meet all three criteria, and all persons who so qualify should be listed as authors. The corresponding author (strongly recommended to be the student) should be prepared to explain the inclusion of all co-authors and their order in the byline. (Some journals require the submission of specific information about the contributions of each author and include this information in the published article.) The order of authors should be a joint decision. It is not the role of editors to make authorship/contributorship decisions or to arbitrate conflicts related to authorship.

Faculty believe that dissemination of results is an integral part of scholarly work. We encourage students to work with their Committee Chair to publish project results.

Finally, in addition to publishing the Final Project, we encourage students to disseminate results in other professional areas. This may include application/abstract development for oral/podium/poster presentations at professional meetings/conferences. Consult your Committee Chair for guidance on submission, preparation, and presentation of your work,

If the final project article is submitted for publication

The journal review process for articles is often time-consuming: all journals use online submission systems that allow authors to track the progress of their manuscripts through the review process, which typically takes weeks to months. Students will need to review and follow the selected journal submission requirements including reference formatting, which may depart from APA as required by the College of Nursing.

If the manuscript is accepted by the journal with or without revisions the student is advised to work with the Committee Chair and co-authors to discuss the editor’s response, make revisions, and resubmit if requested. If the student has graduated, it is the student’s responsibility to honor authoring ethics and work with the author team toward manuscript publication which requires adhering to established timelines. If the student has not yet graduated, the student should work with the Committee Chair and co-authors in the same manner but the revisions are not required to meet graduation requirements.

If a manuscript is rejected by the journal to which it was initially submitted, the student should consult with the Committee Chair to identify other journals for article submission.

Should the submission be rejected, students are highly encouraged to follow the standards of publishing in this case and work with their Committee Chair and co-authors to submit to additional journals in order of relevance.  Please note that it is not unusual for an article to be rejected by one journal but accepted after subsequent submission to another journal. Additionally, it is common for significant revisions to be requested following a review.

Publication arrangements and timetables are to be negotiated in advance with the project Committee Chair and committee members. The specific timetables are subject to change based on mutual agreement of the student, chairperson, and committee members.


* International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. (Updated December 2019).  Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, p. 2.


March 2021