MMU launches Cedar Rapids’ first-ever doctoral programs

Mount Mercy University is announcing the launch of its first-ever doctoral programs, also the first offered in Cedar Rapids. Beginning fall 2018, Mount Mercy will offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and a PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy.

“We’re proud to build on our quality master’s programs and continue to offer education that meets the demand, both from the community and our alumni,” said University President Laurie

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Mount Mercy’s face-to-face Doctor of Nursing Practice offers a curriculum focused on primary health care for individuals and populations—including rural health, experiences in innovation and entrepreneurial skills.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of nurse practitioners is projected to grow 36 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Advanced practice registered nurses will be in high demand, particularly in medically underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas.

“Mount Mercy has a long-standing history of nursing leadership,” said Sharon Guthrie, director of Mount Mercy’s graduate nursing programs. “Our program prepares graduates to be transformational leaders providing excellence in health care.”

With three options for earning a DNP, Mount Mercy admits:

  • Nurse practitioners with master’s degrees
  • Nurses with master’s degrees but no nurse practitioner license who want their DNP and to prepare for the family nurse practitioner (FNP) certification
  • BSN graduates who want their master’s degree with the option to complete their DNP and prepare for the FNP certification.

Mount Mercy’s block system enables DNP students to focus on one class at a time, one day a week, with in-person instruction, labs, team projects, and clinicals in primary and specialty care settings.

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PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy 

One of two MFT PhD programs in Iowa, Mount Mercy offers the only practice-oriented program in the state—built on the university’s renowned master’s-level MFT program. Using the apprenticeship model, advanced clinicians gain theoretical knowledge while working alongside accomplished faculty in a collaborative, personalized environment at the on-site Olson Marriage & Family Therapy Clinic and/or in other professional settings.

“Our program is unique in that our students work in close collaboration with a faculty member in their specialization,” said Randall R. Lyle, Gerald & Audrey Olson endowed chair for marriage and family therapy. “This enables students to use existing knowledge and skills in more integrative ways, as well as model systems of cooperation that extend the understanding of therapy beyond the specific therapy setting.”

With specializations in advanced couples therapy, leadership and business, and neuroscience and psychophysiology, the 60-credit-hour program is focused on building real-world skills and application. The flexible combination of face-to-face, online and residential experiences is offered with the working professional in mind.

For more information, visit

Both programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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