The Best Online MSN-to-DNP Programs 2021

by NurseJournal Staff

If you're considering a DNP, an online MSN-to-DNP program could be beneficial for a number of reasons.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

The Best Online MSN-to-DNP Programs 2021

The doctor of nursing practice (DNP) is a terminal nursing degree that prepares nurses to deliver the highest level of care. An increasingly popular degree, many nurses opt to complete an online master of science in nursing (MSN)-to-DNP program. The following guide will help you determine whether to pursue a DNP, outlining its benefits, how to evaluate different programs, and how to apply.

We use our data-driven methodology to select online MSN-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, program offerings, and online flexibility.

Keep reading to find out more about job opportunities and information on how to apply to an MSN-to-DNP program, or click here to learn more about the online MSN-to-DNP programs on our list.

Featured Online Programs

What Can You Do With a DNP?

The DNP is one of two terminal degrees in nursing; the other is the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in nursing. Unlike the Ph.D. which focuses more on research, the DNP is a practice-based degree, meaning it provides practicing nurses with the highest level of clinical knowledge and expertise for providing direct patient care. The DNP also provides nurses with in-depth knowledge of healthcare leadership and policy, which opens the door to higher paying senior leadership positions in healthcare organizations.

In addition, although the current requirement for advanced practice nursing certification is a master's degree, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) voted to increase the entry-level requirement to the DNP. Consequently, the DNP may become a requirement for all advanced practice nursing, such as nurse practitioners (NPs), in the future. The transition to the DNP for nurse anesthetists is already in place.

DNP programs also play a role in increasing the number of doctoral-level nurse educators who play a vital role in improving the quality of nursing care moving forward. See below for common DNP roles and responsibilities.

msn or dnp Required
High Demand

Nurse Educator

The DNP prepares nurses for teaching roles in classrooms and clinical environments at colleges, universities, and healthcare facilities. Educators perform research and oversee curriculum development, training, and professional development for nurses at all levels.
Salary $74,470*
Job Outlook 9% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Nurse Educators
msn Required
High Demand

Advanced Practice Nurse

A DNP prepares nurses to work as NPs, nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse midwives, providing direct care to patients in acute and primary care settings. In some states, advanced practice nurses can practice independently.
Salary $115,800*
Job Outlook 45% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Advanced Practice Nurses
msn Required
High Demand

Nurse Leader

Nurses with a DNP fill nurse leadership roles, overseeing staff and managing operations. They may serve as senior leaders in hospitals or healthcare systems or work in public health and government agencies developing health programs to improve access to quality healthcare.
Salary $82,735*
Job Outlook 32% increase from 2019-2029 (for all medical and health services managers)
*SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale

What to Look For in an Online MSN-to-DNP Program

Choosing a DNP program requires assessing your career goals and what you hope to learn from the program, as well as practical matters such as admission requirements, time commitments, and the program quality. As you weigh your options, consider the following metrics that can influence your decision.

Admission Requirements

Every program has minimum admission standards and requirements for applicants. Meeting these requirements only indicates that you are eligible to apply and does not guarantee admission. Reviewing them ensures that you have the necessary licensure, work experience, and academic credentials to apply and gives you specific goals to work toward if you might not meet the requirements yet.

Program Curriculum

Every DNP program is different in terms of the required courses and the availability of tracks or specializations. Look for a program that aligns with your interests and goals.

Clinical Experience

Earning a DNP requires completing supervised clinical rotations to apply your skills. Although most online programs allow you to complete practicum hours at a local facility, some include a residency element. Others require fulfilling clinical requirements in a specific state or at a designated facility. Make sure the program's clinical requirements meet your needs.

Accreditation

If you are earning your DNP to become an advanced practice nurse, then completing an accredited program is necessary to qualify for the certification exam. Also, many employers will only hire nurses who earned degrees from accredited schools.

School Graduation Rate

Graduation rate tells you how many students finish the program, which may reflect its quality. Students may voluntarily leave a program for personal reasons, but a lower graduation rate could be a warning sign.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

Many online courses are offered asynchronously, meaning you can log in to complete lectures, discussions, and assignments on your schedule. However, some require students to attend classes at designated times via video conference or chat. Consider how the course format matches your learning style and schedule.


Applying to an Online MSN-to-DNP Program

DNP coursework focuses on providing nurses with the latest evidence-based practice standards to improve the quality of patient care and outcomes. Most schools allow students to align their coursework with their career goals, with tracks in nursing leadership and practice-based specializations like gerontology, pediatrics, family medicine, and psychiatry.

Doctoral programs are rigorous, and applicants must meet high standards for admission. These include meeting license, education, and GPA requirements and a demonstrated track record of career excellence. Although every program has its own requirements, you can expect the following when applying.

Admission Requirements: Current valid registered nurse (RN) license; MSN from an accredited program; recommendations; personal statement Program Length: Typically 12-24 months Clinical Requirements: 500-1,000 clinical hours (usually completed at the facility of the student's choice) GPA Requirement: 3.0-3.5 in MSN program Other Data: Some programs require national certification as an advanced practice or critical care nurse. Also, many top programs include on-campus requirements in addition to online courses. These are typically multi-day intensives.

Why Is Online MSN-to-DNP Program Accreditation Important?

Choosing an accredited MSN-to-DNP online program is vital for several reasons.

  • Accreditation ensures the program meets or exceeds nurse education quality standards.
  • Employers typically require nurses to hold degrees from accredited institutions.
  • Attending an accredited school is a requirement for accessing federal student financial aid.
  • Accredited online nursing programs must meet the same standards as in-person or on-campus programs.

Who Accredits Online MSN-to-DNP Programs?

How Do I Know an Online MSN-to-DNP Program Is Accredited?

MSN-to-DNP online programs must meet the same accreditation standards as on-ground programs. Accrediting bodies like the CCNE and AACN require online programs to have both online and in-person clinical components, ensuring nurses receive hands-on training from an experienced instructor. Online programs also need to apply for accreditation like on-ground programs and are held to the same quality expectations.

With this in mind, you can determine a school's accreditation status by checking with the leading accreditation organizations and the schools themselves. Accredited online MSN-to-DNP programs will be upfront about their status. All of the schools listed on this page and NurseJournal.org are accredited.

Paying for Online MSN-to-DNP Programs

The cost of an MSN-to-DNP online varies based on several factors. Attending a public university as a resident student is almost always less expensive than a private school or paying out-of-state tuition costs. However, other factors, including the length of the program, the costs for books and lab fees, and whether you need to invest in additional technology can also influence your total costs.

There are options for financial aid, though. One of the first places to look is your employer, as many offer tuition assistance or reimbursement programs for nurses seeking advanced degrees. It is possible your employer will cover some or all of your education expenses.

Other options to reduce your costs include scholarships, grants, and loans. Keep in mind that there are limits on how much you can borrow from the government for doctoral degrees, and the interest rates may be higher.

Learn More About Online MSN-to-DNP Programs and Schools

Chatham University true View School Profile Pittsburgh, PA 63% 61% 41% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Chatham's MSN-to-DNP features one of the fastest degree plans of its kind, allowing students to graduate in as little as 12 months of full-time study. The curriculum comprises 27 credits of coursework along with 500 practice experience hours. Learners enjoy flexible online courses that last 15 weeks and include one required on-campus residency.

Enrollees explore evidence-based practice and focus on promoting safe, high quality, patient-centered healthcare across populations and settings. The unique program format enables students to specialize their coursework to align with their particular interests and goals.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $1,017 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Master of science in nursing; minimum 3.0 GPA; copy of resume or curriculum vitae; current RN license; two letters of professional recommendation; admissions essay; documentation of 1,000 post-baccalaureate practice experience hours
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Drexel University true View School Profile Philadelphia, PA 74% 50% 12% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

One of America's 15 largest private universities, Drexel serves nearly 25,000 students. As one of the oldest, most successful sources of online degree programs, Drexel's online college offers a range of both undergraduate and graduate opportunities, including an MSN-to-DNP.

Designed for nurses interested in a terminal degree focused on alternative research, the DNP program prepares learners for careers in leadership, executive, and practitioner roles. The curriculum features four ten-week quarters, allowing degree-seekers to explore more topics than other calendar structures.

Along with the required coursework, enrollees must satisfy 500 clinical hours. Students have the option to take part in an in-person global engagement seminar.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $1,041 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Master's degree in nursing, business administration, or a health-related field; current RN license; advanced practice nursing licensure and certification documents; two letters of recommendation; personal statement; curriculum vitae or resume
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.46%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Gardner-Webb University true View School Profile Boiling Springs, NC 53% 67% 49% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Gardner-Webb's MSN-to-DNP online program prepares enrollees for specialty nursing roles focused on evidence-based practice. The DNP offers three specialization options, including paths for leadership, family nurse practitioner, or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. The faith-based curriculum exposes learners to patient care leadership through a Christian viewpoint.

Along with the online coursework, degree-seekers participate in a practicum experience focused on their chosen nursing specialty within their desired setting. Credit requirements vary depending on the specialization. The leadership program comprises 36 credit hours, students in the family nurse practitioner option complete 79 credit hours, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner students must satisfy 81 credit hours.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Boiling Springs, North Carolina
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $795 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Master of science in nursing from a regionally accredited institution with a nationally accredited program; minimum 3.2 GPA; current RN license; certifications in practice area; current curriculum vitae; goal statement; satisfactory criminal background check
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Johns Hopkins University true View School Profile Baltimore, MD 93% 32% 43% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins offers a flexible online MSN-to-DNP executive track designed to allow students to continue working while completing their program requirements.

The 40-credit curriculum includes on-site immersions. Coursework covers a variety of topics, such as analysis and evaluation of individual and population health data, clinical data management and analyses, and health information systems and patient care technologies.

Enrollees who earn clinical hours during their master's degree program can apply them to the DNP, which requires learners to satisfy a minimum of 1,000 practice hours. Degree-seekers must complete their program within six years of their enrollment date with many learners satisfying their requirements in about six semesters of full-time study.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $39,748 per year
  • Admission Requirements: Master's degree in nursing from an accredited institution; minimum 3.0 GPA; current RN license; three letters of recommendation; current resume or curriculum vitae; goal statement; interview with faculty
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.49%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Nova Southeastern University true View School Profile Fort Lauderdale, FL 50% 51% 47% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Advanced practice nurses considering doctoral-level programs can explore a fully online MSN-to-DNP program at NSU. Experienced faculty members within the DNP emphasize collaborative opportunities and expose students to innovative techniques that support evidence-based practice.

The DNP includes four project courses that allow learners to explore their specific area of interest within advanced nursing practice. These full-immersion experiences require students to summarize an identified healthcare problem and discover and propose viable solutions. The curriculum offers courses in an eight-week format, enabling degree-seekers to complete their requirements within six semesters.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition: $750 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Master of science in nursing from a CCNE or CNEA-accredited institution; minimum 3.0 GPA; current RN license; curriculum vitae; writing sample; two reference letters; official documentation of all supervised post-baccalaureate practice hours from a regionally accredited institution
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Twelve months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.97%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Ohio State University-Main Campus View School Profile $$$ Columbus, OH 84% 38% 33% Higher Learning Commission

Ohio State offers one of the nursing field's most innovative online MSN-to-DNP programs. The DNP allows learners to tailor their degree to their personal interests and career goals by choosing between two track options: the clinical expert track or the nurse executive track.

Enrollees interested in focusing their nursing practice on the highest level of patient care can enroll in the clinical expert track. The nurse executive track prepares degree-seekers to lead healthcare organizations and influence the field on a large scale.

The 36-credit curriculum combines convenient online coursework with in-person clinical immersion experiences. Learners in both tracks can finish the program within as little as two years as a full-time student or three years if studying part time.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Columbus, Ohio
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $44,175 total
  • Admission Requirements: Master's degree from an accredited institution; minimum 3.0 GPA; current RN license; active APRN certification; current resume or curriculum vitae; goals statement; recorded online interview; three letters of recommendation; verification of hours form
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
Regis College View School Profile Weston, MA 57% 68% 31% New England Commission on Higher Education

Founded in 1927 as a women's college, Regis became co-educational in 2007. Regis offers a variety of innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees, including some of the top nursing degrees. The online MSN-to-DNP serves advanced practice nurses looking to practice at the highest level of nursing care.

Learners pursuing their DNP at Regis can tailor their degree to align with their interests and professional goals by choosing a specialization. Enrollees select from five tracks, including pediatric nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, women's health nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, and nurse education. Depending on their chosen field of study, students complete between 27-64 credits.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Weston, Massachusetts
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: New England Commission on Higher Education; Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $875 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Master of science in nursing from a regionally accredited institution; 3.0 minimum GPA; valid RN license; two letters of recommendation; statement of purpose; verification of hours form; APRN certification
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Arizona View School Profile $$$ Tucson, AZ 64% 37% 39% Higher Learning Commission

Founded in 1895, before Arizona became a state, UofA's first graduating class included three people. Today, the university boasts a vast, diverse student body with a variety of innovative program opportunities, including one of the top online MSN-to-DNP programs in the nation.

Building on the experience and knowledge gained during a master's program, the DNP explores quality improvement, evidence-based practice, and healthcare policy. The program serves learners who hold prior certification as a nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse practitioner.

The 35-credit curriculum focuses on advanced topics, such as interprofessional collaboration in healthcare teams, theories of leadership and organizational management, and healthcare informatics theory and practice. Students must participate in at least one on-campus resident intensive summer experience and complete a DNP project.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Tucson, Arizona
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $1,200 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Master of science in nursing from a regionally accredited institution; 3.5 minimum GPA; APRN license
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.15%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Colorado Colorado Springs View School Profile $$$ Colorado Springs, CO 45% 43% 36% Higher Learning Commission

Designed to train highly-prepared professionals in nursing practice, the online MSN-to-DNP at UCCS builds upon the foundations of a master of science in nursing and emphasizes evidence-based practice. The 33-credit curriculum typically takes degree-seekers about three years to complete and explores topics in population-based healthcare for improving the nation's health; theoretical foundations of reflective practice; and advanced healthcare policy, ethics, and law.

Throughout the innovative program, enrollees enjoy the chance to collaborate with faculty and other students on inter-professional teams to create effective and safe healthcare systems and promote healthcare to improve population outcomes.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commision; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $816 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Master of science in nursing from an accredited program; 3.0 minimum GPA; active RN license; national certification as NP or CNS
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.66%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus View School Profile $$ Denver, CO 48% 31% 28% Higher Learning Commission

CU Denver's MSN-to-DNP online program emphasizes both leadership skills and evidence-based clinical practice. In addition to online coursework, the program includes one-to-two day intensive on-campus sessions, limited to three times per year.

DNP students can explore five different program pathways: an advanced practice registered nurse track, a DNP public community health option, a master's degree in public health/DNP dual degree, a post-graduate DNP focused on health systems leadership, or a veteran and military healthcare leadership path. Learners complete clinical hours in their chosen setting.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Denver, Colorado
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $690 per credit hour for residents; $1,115 for non-residents
  • Admission Requirements: Master of science in nursing; minimum 3.0 GPA; personal essay; curriculum vitae or resume; current RN license; three letters of recommendation; applicant interview
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Michigan-Flint View School Profile $$ Flint, MI 46% 52% 50% Higher Learning Commission

UM-Flint offers one of the highest quality MSN-to-DNP programs in the country. Focused on preparing enrollees to practice as highly-skilled nurse practitioners across specialities, the DNP serves students who already hold certifications as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, or certified registered nurse anesthetists.

In addition to the in-depth coursework requirements, degree-seekers must participate in practical clinical experiences, working under the mentorship and supervision of experienced healthcare professionals. While coursework is offered online, the program requires several campus visits per year. UM-Flint functions as part of the University of Michigan community, allowing students special access to resources at the Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Flint, Michigan
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $712 per credit hour for in-state students; $1,065 per credit hour for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Master of science in nursing from a regionally accredited institution; 3.2 minimum GPA; active RN license
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of North Dakota View School Profile $$$ Grand Forks, ND 55% 48% 49% Higher Learning Commission

Located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, UND allows advanced practice registered nurses to enroll in the online MSN-to-DNP program. The rigorous curriculum prepares enrollees to pursue new leadership opportunities in the nursing field and improve patient outcomes on the individual and group scale.

Learners can complete their requirements in as little as five semesters, enjoying entirely online coursework. The program includes a final project that asks enrollees to select a population outcome and develop relevant research-backed improvement strategies.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Grand Forks, North Dakota
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $785 per credit
  • Admission Requirements: Master's degree from an accredited nursing program; 3.0 minimum GPA; valid RN license; active national certification in an advanced practice registered nurse specialty
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.6%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus View School Profile $$$$ Pittsburgh, PA 83% 50% 6% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Pitt's unique specialization opportunities help its online MSN-to-DNP stand out among other online doctoral-level nursing programs. Specializations include clinical nurse specialist, health systems executive leadership, nurse anesthesia, nurse-midwife, and nurse practitioner. The practice-focused curriculum prepares nurses for the highest level of clinical nursing practice and leadership roles in the field.

All DNP students must complete a final project focused on areas like clinical demonstration, improvement of patient care and safety, and policy analysis. Most full-time students complete their degree within three years.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $27,590 per year for in-state students; $32,948 per year for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Master of science in nursing from an accredited institution; 3.0 minimum GPA; current RN license; current national certification; official GRE scores, three letters of recommendation; personal essay; curriculum vitae or resume
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.95%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of South Alabama View School Profile $$ Mobile, AL 44% 55% 48% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Students enrolled in USA's online MSN-to-DNP focus on addressing major issues in healthcare through the most advanced level of nursing care. DNP students can choose between an MSN-DNP pathway and an MSN-to-DNP for clinical nurse leaders to executive nursing administration pathway.

USA's nursing college offers specialty certification programs in 15 different areas. Along with the required coursework, DNP students must complete a major project designed to accomplish an evidence-based, quality improvement systems change within a specific clinical setting.

  • Program: Master of science in nursing-to-doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Mobile, Alabama
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • Tuition: $594 per credit hour
  • Admission Requirements: Master of science in nursing from an accredited institution; 3.0 minimum GPA; current RN license; primary and supplemental applications
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 5-6 semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.98%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee View School Profile $$ Milwaukee, WI 44% 58% 36% Higher Learning Commission

Providing innovative program options to more than 25,000 students from 83 different countries, UWM functions as one of the top research universities in the United States. Among UWM's 15 schools and colleges is the nursing school, which offers an online MSN-to-DNP designed to prepare advanced practice nurses for the highest level and standard of clinical nursing practice.

UWM's DNP follows a cohort format comprising 32 credits of online coursework and a 460-hour leadership immersion experience in either a clinical or community setting. Students take a standard curriculum of eleven courses, including health policy, outcomes and quality management, and information systems for clinical decision making.

  • Program: Doctor of nursing practice
  • Campus: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $1,060 per credit for in-state students; $1,900 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Master's degree from an accredited institution; 3.0 minimum GPA; one year of clinical experience; GRE test scores; curriculum vitae; three references; personal statement; valid RN license
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Three semesters
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89%
  • School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

Online MSN-to-DNP Program FAQs


How long does it take to go from an MSN to a DNP?

Earning a DNP takes less time than a Ph.D. in nursing. Most full-time students earn the degree in 1-2 years. Part-time students may need another year to complete the program.

Do DNPs get paid more than NPs?

As of 2020, nurse practitioners earn a median salary of $117,760 regardless of whether they hold a master's or doctorate.

Is it worth getting a DNP?

Determining the worth of a DNP depends on your career aspirations. If you wish to reach the highest levels of nursing practice and qualify for leadership positions, a DNP can get you there. A DNP allows you to put the most recent nursing research to work in the clinical environment, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes and the overall standard of care.

Is an MSN or a DNP better?

Both the MSN and DNP prepare nurses to take on leadership roles. The difference is the DNP builds on the knowledge and experience gained in the MSN and prepares nurses for the highest levels of practice. Because the AACN has called for the DNP to be the entry-level degree for advanced practice roles, the DNP may be the best choice if that is your goal.

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