Online BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2023

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Updated January 9, 2023

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Earn a DNP faster with an online BSN-to-DNP program. Explore this guide to learn more about how these bridge programs work and how to apply.
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Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Credit: Janie Airey / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Registered nurses (RNs) who wish to move into advanced practice roles can get the education and experience required for certification from a bachelor of science in nursing to doctor of nursing practice (BSN-to-DNP) program. Designed for nurses who already have bachelor's degrees, these programs include both master's and doctoral level coursework that culminates in a doctor of nursing practice, a nursing terminal degree.

With calls for advanced practice nurses to hold doctoral degrees increasing, BSN nurses who wish to move into practice as a nurse midwife, family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) can earn a terminal degree more quickly in a BSN-to-DNP program.

We use a data-driven methodology to create a list of BSN-to-DNP programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: Academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about the key factors to consider when choosing a program or go straight to our list of BSN-to-DNP Programs.

Using Our Rankings: What to Look For in a BSN-to-DNP Program

When exploring BSN-to-DNP options, looking at specific metrics will help you evaluate individual programs on their own merits as well as in comparison to each other. The following data points can be useful to you as you compare different schools to find the best match for your goals.

Admission Requirements

While there is some overlap in admission requirements among programs (all require a BSN and a nursing license, for example), every program has specific criteria for admission. There are variations for GPA requirements, work experience, and test scores, for instance, so knowing what each program requires for admission ensures you only apply to those that are the best match.


Specializations

When you enroll in a BSN-to-DNP program, you'll choose a program track that determines your curriculum. A DNP is not a generalist degree; rather, students select a track based on their specific career goals.

You may wish to specialize in a specific area of clinical care or pursue a business leadership track. It's important to choose a program that aligns with your goals.


Clinical Experience

DNP programs require extensive clinical hours, and clinical placements help you build a professional network of nurses. Check out if the program places students in settings where you would like to work. If you are pursuing your BSN-to-DNP program online, you may want to ask if the school has placed students in your community.


Accreditation

Accreditation is a critical consideration because it ensures your program meets independent quality standards. Employers prefer candidates with degrees from accredited programs, plus it is a must to qualify for federal financial aid and, in most cases, to transfer credits between programs.


Program Length

A BSN-to-DNP is a time investment, and it's important to know exactly how long it will take to complete your degree. Most BSN-to-DNP programs take 3-4 years to finish, depending on whether you study full or part time.


Board Certification Rate

Board certification is a vital credential for advanced practice nurses. When a program has a high rate of successful board certification, it shows that the curriculum and coursework adequately prepare students for board exams.

It also indicates the program has support resources to help ensure student success.


Online Learning Format and Requirements

Program requirements vary in terms of whether online courses are offered asynchronously or at scheduled times, and whether there are any on-campus or residency requirements. You need to select a program format that meets your scheduling and lifestyle needs.

Featured Online NP Programs

Why Is BSN-to-DNP Program Accreditation Important?

Accreditation means that a program has been evaluated on specific criteria by an independent agency. The process involves a detailed review of every aspect of the program, such as curriculum plans, course descriptions, instructor background, and support services.

All of the programs included in our rankings are accredited since accreditation is a critical factor in selecting a school for the following reasons.

  • Accreditation and certification examination pass rates are the best objective measures of a program's quality.
  • Employers prefer graduates of accredited programs. Many employers will not consider graduates of unaccredited programs.
  • Accreditation ensures that when you graduate, you are prepared to practice nursing safely and effectively.
  • Accredited schools attract the best teachers and have the strongest alumni networks.
  • Because many state licensing authorities do not accept unaccredited degrees, attending an unaccredited program risks throwing away all the time, money, and energy invested in your BSN-to-DNP program.

Learn More About BSN-to-DNP Programs and Schools

See our methodology to learn more about how we create our rankings.

Online BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2023

Abilene Christian University

  • Abilene, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Abilene Christian University offers an accelerated online BSN-to-DNP program to help nurses develop the leadership skills they need for success in modern healthcare. The three-year program allows experienced nurses to earn a DNP without first earning a master's degree.

The part-time program includes an 18-credit pathway sequence, DNP core courses, and a specialized concentration in executive nursing leadership. Students also complete 500 clinical hours and two workplace-specific projects. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Abilene, Texas
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $871 per credit; $37,969 (total)
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; statement of purpose; two professional recommendations; undergraduate statistics course with a grade of "C" or better; resume or CV
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
Average Tuition
In-state
$37,750
Out-of-state
$37,750
Retention Rate
76%
Admission Rate
63%
Students Enrolled
5,291
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
42% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Online BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2023

Andrews University

  • Berrien Springs, MI
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Students in Andrews University's online BSN-to-DNP program can earn their doctorate in about 4.5 years of full-time study. Designed for experienced RNs, the program prepares nurses to become family nurse practitioners.

The 65-credit program is accredited by the Accreditation for Education in Nursing. Graduates are prepared to deliver high-quality healthcare to diverse populations in various settings. Courses in the entirely online program emphasize the use of evidence-based practices and technology.

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Berrien Springs, Michigan
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $1,428 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.25 GPA; statement of purpose; three professional recommendations; criminal background check,; drug screen
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 54 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
Average Tuition
In-state
$29,808
Out-of-state
$29,808
Retention Rate
85%
Admission Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
3,162
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
28% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Online BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2023

Ashland University

  • Ashland, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Ohio's Ashland University offers a BSN-to-DNP program in an entirely online format that allows RNs to earn a doctoral degree in as few as three years. Nurses can also choose the family nurse practitioner track to become an FNP in as few as four years.

Ashland University has an exceptional track record for success, with 100% of program graduates passing the family nurse practitioner certification exam since 2018. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Ashland, Ohio
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $745 per credit 
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
Average Tuition
In-state
$22,000
Out-of-state
$22,000
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
74%
Students Enrolled
4,447
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
72% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Online BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2023

Baylor University

  • Waco, TX
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Baylor University offers several online BSN-to-DPN tracks to prepare RNs for the highest level of nursing practices. Nurses can choose from several BSN-to-DNP tracks: executive leadership, family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery, pediatrics, and adult-gerontology acute care.

DNP graduates from Baylor demonstrated a 100% pass rate on the family nurse practitioner and nurse midwifery certification exams. Students receive clinical placement assistance to complete the 1,125 practicum hours. Coursework is designed for working nurses who must balance their careers with studies. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Waco, Texas
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $1,100 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; statement of purpose; two professional recommendations; some programs require a minimum of one-year relevant work experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 40 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
Average Tuition
In-state
$44,544
Out-of-state
$44,544
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
68%
Students Enrolled
19,297
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Online BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2023

Bellarmine University

  • Louisville, KY
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Bellarmine University offers two BSN-to-DNP tracks for licensed RNs: leadership and nurse anesthesia. The leadership track is entirely online; the nurse anesthesia program requires additional clinical practicum hours in regional healthcare facilities around Louisville. 

The leadership track is designed for working nurses with career and personal obligations. It prepares them to become effective clinical leaders. The nurse anesthetist track prepares nurses for advanced practice in anesthesia and to sit for the national certification exam. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $880 per credit 
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current Kentucky or compact state RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; two professional recommendations; resume or CV; personal statement
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months (nurse anesthetist)
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
Average Tuition
In-state
$41,520
Out-of-state
$41,520
Retention Rate
84%
Admission Rate
82%
Students Enrolled
3,293
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Online BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2023

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

  • Bloomsburg, PA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania BSN-to-DNP program prepares nurses to become certified nurse anesthetists with advanced practice-based education. Through online courses and hands-on practical experience, the program prepares graduates to deliver high-quality care and fill leadership roles within their organizations. 

Bloomsburg University has partnered with Geisinger, a leading Pennsylvania health organization, to prepare nurses for advanced practice. The school offers a significant tuition discount for in-state students. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP nurse anesthesia
  • Campus: Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $593 per credit for Pennsylvania residents; $890 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current Pennsylvania RN license; minimum 3.2 GPA; three professional recommendations; resume or CV; personal statement; one year of critical care nursing experience; documentation of CCRN, PALS, BLS, and ACLS certification
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$7,716
Out-of-state
$19,290
Retention Rate
77%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
8,427
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Online BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2023

University of Massachusetts Global

  • Irvine, CA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Formerly Brandman University, the University of Massachusetts Global offers an online BSN-to-DNP program in family/across the lifespan, which prepares nurses to become nurse practitioners in a variety of settings. The online program prepares nurses for nurse practitioner certification from the American Nurse Credentialing Center and/or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board.

Qualified nurses can earn their DNP in as few as three years. Students complete online courses, virtual immersions, and clinical rotations at facilities close to their homes. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP 
  • Campus: Irvine, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $1,200 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; goal statement, personal interview; GRE with a minimum analytical writing score of 4.0; three recommendations 
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
Average Tuition
In-state
$12,000
Out-of-state
$12,000
Retention Rate
Not provided
Admission Rate
95%
Students Enrolled
10,986
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

Online BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2023

Gardner-Webb University

  • Boiling Springs, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Gardner-Webb University offers two online BSN-to-DNP tracks: family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. In addition to online coursework, students on either track complete clinical practicums and an individual evidence-based project to prepare them for the nurse practitioner certification.

Students enrolled at Gardner-Webb who live outside of North Carolina must find their clinical practicum sites. If they cannot find a suitable site, they'll need to complete the practicum in North Carolina. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Boiling Springs, North Carolina
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $795 per credit 
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; 3.0 GPA; current RN license; at least two years of professional work experience; three letters of recommendation; resume or CV; passing grade in undergraduate or graduate statistics class
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
Average Tuition
In-state
$31,220
Out-of-state
$31,220
Retention Rate
68%
Admission Rate
78%
Students Enrolled
3,536
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
74% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Online BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2023

Georgia Southern University

  • Statesboro, GA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

The online BSN-to-DNP program at Georgia Southern University is one of the most affordable options in our rankings, with a single tuition rate for both in-state and out-of-state learners. Students can select one of four clinical tracks: adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner. 

Nursing students at Georgia Southern University must hold a valid Georgia nursing license; out-of-state students must acquire a Georgia license before starting classes in this 77-credit program. 

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Statesboro, Georgia
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $389 per credit 
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's in nursing from an accredited program; current Georgia RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; "C" or better in an undergraduate physical assessment/health assessment course; three letters of recommendation; proof of BLS certification; one year of professional work experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
Average Tuition
In-state
$4,371
Out-of-state
$15,425
Retention Rate
79%
Admission Rate
91%
Students Enrolled
26,949
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
78% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Online BSN-to-DNP Programs of 2023

Kent State University at Kent

  • Kent, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduates from Kent State University's BSN-to-DNP program earn both an MSN and a DNP. Students work toward an MSN and certification as advanced practice nurses during the first two years of the program. Upon certification as advanced practice nurses, students begin their DNP coursework. In total, graduates complete 71-79 hours of coursework plus at least 1,050 practicum hours. 

Nurses can choose from several concentration options, including entirely online options (adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and women's health nurse practitioner). Other specialties, including family nurse practitioner, pediatrics, and adult-gerontology acute and adult-gerontology primary care, complete coursework online and on campus.

  • Program: BSN-to-DNP
  • Campus: Kent, Ohio
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $549.90 per credit for Ohio residents; $559.90 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program; current RN license; minimum 3.0 GPA; undergraduate statistics course with a "C" or better; GRE scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 48 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes, for some concentrations
Average Tuition
In-state
$10,810
Out-of-state
$19,686
Retention Rate
82%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
26,822
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission

Applying to a BSN-to-DNP Program

BSN-to-DNP programs are designed for RNs who have a bachelor's degree and clinical experience. Applicants select a specialty that matches their career goals. They are expected to state their reasons for seeking an advanced degree in a personal statement. While specific requirements vary by program, most have requirements similar to the following.

  • Admission Requirements

    BSN or a non-nursing bachelor's degree, valid RN license, minimum 1-3 years of clinical experience, and ability to pass a background check
  • Admission Materials

    Application, resume, transcripts, professional recommendations, personal statement, personal interview
  • GPA Requirement

    Minimum 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

Paying for BSN-to-DNP Programs

When preparing to enter a BSN-to-DNP program, plan your budget to pay for your nursing degree based on tuition, books and supplies, and program length. Also, consider if you can work (or how many hours) while studying, on-campus requirements, and in- and out-of-state tuition rates.

In addition to your school's financial aid program, you can get loans, grants, or scholarships from many financial aid sources for nurses. Because of the high demand for DNPs, some government programs will pay your full program costs or offer loan forgiveness for nurses in exchange for working in underserved areas once you graduate.

You can also get scholarships and grants for nurses from private foundations, associations, corporations, or other organizations. Your current employer may also help pay for your BSN-to-DNP, possibly in exchange for a commitment to work for them for a certain time period once you graduate.

Most financial aid applies to both online and on-campus BSN-to-DNP programs.

What Can You Do With a Degree from a BSN-to-DNP Program?

A DNP is the highest clinical practice degree in nursing. It prepares nurses for licensure as advanced practice nurses. Career opportunities for DNP nurses include nurse practitioner, certified registered nurse anesthetist, nurse educator, and clinical nurse specialist.

The curriculum in BSN-to-DNP programs is focused on building leadership skills, evidence-based clinical practice, and strategies for improving patient outcomes. This advanced skill set prepares licensed nurses for leadership roles within healthcare organizations. It also equips them to provide the highest-quality patient care.

Nurses with DNPs have increased earning potential, with Payscale reporting an average annual salary of $108,000 as of November 2022.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

CRNAs administer anesthesia to patients undergoing surgical procedures. They work closely with patients and physicians to ensure safety before, during, and after the medication is given to the patient. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median annual salary of $195,610 for CRNAs.

Family Nurse Practitioner

Family nurse practitioners provide primary care for patients, including infants and the elderly. They may practice independently in some starts. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners reports an annual wage of $110,000 as of 2020.

Nurse Educator

Nurse educators instruct student nurses in patient care in both classroom and clinical environments. The BLS reports an average salary of $82,040.

Frequently Asked Questions About BSN-to-DNP

How long does it take to go from BSN to DNP?

Most students need 3-4 years of full-time study to complete a BSN-to-DNP program. This includes about two years to complete the master's and another two years for the doctoral portion.

If you enroll in a part-time program, it can take up to eight years depending on your specialty and specific program requirements.

Do you have to get your MSN before a DNP?

It is possible to earn a BSN-to-DNP degree without earning an MSN first, but you'll need several years of clinical experience to qualify for admission.

Do NPs with a doctorate get paid more than NPs with a master's?

Pay for any NP depends on multiple factors, including the individual employer, the work setting, and geographic location. Generally speaking, an NP with a doctorate will earn more than a colleague with a master’s degree, but that's not always the case.

NPs in rural clinics, for example, typically earn less than their counterparts in large metropolitan hospitals regardless of degree level.

Are nurses with DNPs called doctors?

Although nurses who earn a doctorate are technically doctors and are called such in academic settings, in clinical settings the title is usually reserved for physicians to prevent confusion. Some states and organizations prohibit calling nurses “doctors.”


Related BSN-to-DNP Program Resources


Page last reviewed: November 8, 2022. Note: The ranking list and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by our Rankings Team.

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