The Best Online DNP Programs

July 20, 2020 | Staff Writers

Advertisement NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

Nurses pursuing their doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees attain the highest level of education in the profession. DNP degree-holders become nurse practitioners (NPs), healthcare administrators, nurse educators, and researchers. These degrees typically focus on a population area, such as adult, family, geriatric, or pediatric, and in specialties like acute care, mental health, neonatal, and oncology.

NPs often perform the same duties as physicians, and efforts by nursing organizations seek to change the minimum degree to become an NP from a master of science in nursing (MSN) to a DNP. Our rankings of the best online DNP programs provide options for students who want to continue working or who cannot attend classes in person. These programs hold accreditation, indicating that they meet qualifications for state licensing and national certification.

The Best Online DNP Programs 2020

Rank School Location
1 Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA
2 Bradley University Peoria, IL
3 Catholic University of America Washington, DC
4 Clemson University Clemson, SC
5 DeSales University Center Valley, PA
6 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
7 Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA
8 George Washington University Washington, DC
9 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
10 Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley, PA
Read about our ranking methodology here.

What to Expect From a DNP Program

DNP curriculum focuses on advanced clinical practices of diagnosing and treating diseases. Graduates often pursue licensing as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), which includes NPs, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives. Researchers, nurse educators, and administrators work to influence and improve nursing practice and policy.

DNP program length depends on each student’s educational background. MSN degree-holders need only 1-2 years to graduate, while BSN degree-holders and RNs may study for up to six years. Some schools may offer accelerated, 12-month online DNP programs. Students take courses in finance and economics, team training, statistics, and technology and spend 500-1,000 hours completing supervised clinical practicums or internships. DNP online programs often culminate with research capstone projects.

In addition to state licensing, DNPs may also pursue national certification in their specialty area if not previously earned after completing an MSN program. National certification involves taking an examination, and many state licensing boards require the renewal of national certification.

Advertisement NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Career Outlook for Registered Nurses with a DNP

DNPs employed as APRNs work in physician and practitioner’s offices, hospitals, outpatient care centers, and educational services. Nurse educators find employment in higher education institutions, hospitals, and technical schools.

APRN patient populations correlate to a specialty area, such as oncology NPs treating patients with cancer, nurse anesthetists assisting patients undergoing surgery, or neonatal NPs helping infants with health issues. Nurse educators train aspiring nurses at all levels.

NPs earned a median annual wage of $115,800 in 2019. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment to grow by 26% from 2018-28, much faster than the rate for all occupations. Nurse educators earned a median salary of $74,600, with the BLS projecting a 20% job growth rate from 2018-28. NPs earn the most in California, Washington, and Hawaii, with annual salaries above $120,000. Nurse educators fare the best financially in Washington, D.C., Florida, and California, earning over $100,000 a year.

The Best Online DNP Programs 2020

  • Azusa Pacific University
    Location

    Azusa, CA

    Located in Azusa, California, APU is a private, nonprofit school that offers an online DNP program. Its low-residency format allows students to complete most requirements online, while requiring participation in intensive on-campus experiences for 1-2 days at a time.

    This DNP online program focuses on evidence-based practices, leadership skills, and organizational analysis. Graduates move on to nursing leadership positions, work in healthcare policy, or conduct research to improve clinical outcomes. Degree-seekers need to complete at least 500 clinical hours and a final practice-focused project to meet graduation requirements.

    Each prospective student needs to complete an online application and possess a 3.0 GPA or higher. An application must include official transcripts, a statement of career goals, a current resume, two letters of recommendation, and copies of all professional certifications or licensure. Applicants' official transcripts must reflect a history of graduate-level classes in statistics and nursing research.

    Courses Include:

    • Social ethics and health policy
    • Leadership and role development in nursing education
    • Health disparities and vulnerable populations

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,034/credit
    • Credits Required: 39-52
    • Accreditation: WASC Senior College and University Commission
  • Bradley University
    Location

    Peoria, IL

    Located in Peoria, Illinois, Bradley offers more than 185 academic programs, including online DNP programs. These online nursing programs best serve students interested in developing specialized administrative skills for healthcare or to establish themselves as leaders in primary care or family medicine facilities.

    A student with a bachelor's degree in nursing who wants to become a family nurse practitioner can consider Bradley's DNP-FNP. Alternatively, incoming learners with master's degrees can also pursue the DNP in leadership. Instructors deliver coursework entirely online with no on-campus requirements for either track.

    However, the DNP-FNP requires at least 1,050 clinical hours and usually takes learners four years to complete. The DNP in leadership requires 1,000 clinical hours and full-time students can complete this program in three years. A competitive applicant for both tracks possesses a 3.0 or higher GPA. Incoming learners also need current nursing licenses.

    Courses Include:

    • Advanced health assessment
    • Healthcare policy
    • Ethics in advanced practice nursing

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $930/credit
    • Credits Required: 42 (DNP in leadership), 83 (DNP-FNP)
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Catholic University of America
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Catholic University of America is a private school in Washington, D.C. that offers an online DNP program. The school serves approximately 3,800 students.

    The program comprises 37 credits, 360 clinical hours, and a comprehensive exam. Additionally, the program requires learners to complete a final evidence-based practice project that includes an oral defense and presentation. Degree-seekers need to maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher to remain in good standing with the department.

    Each applicant needs to submit a professional portfolio that includes a personal statement, a resume, a copy of their RN licensure, a description of current and past clinical practice, three letters of recommendation, and any applicable publications for consideration.

    Courses Include:

    • Principles of epidemiology
    • Healthcare biostatistics
    • Population-based healthcare management

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,910/credit
    • Credits Required: 37
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Clemson University
    Location

    Clemson, SC

    Clemson is a public school in South Carolina with regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College. Distance students enjoy remote access to its online DNP program.

    This doctor of nursing practice program requires 35 credits and a final project for graduation. Learners complete most degree requirements online except for 2-3 short visits to campus for immersion experiences or orientations during the summer semesters.

    Each prospective DNP student needs to complete an online application and possess a master's degree in nursing with a 3.0 or higher GPA. An applicant also must submit their official transcripts, three letters of reference, official transcripts, a resume, personal statement, and a letter of support from a practice or healthcare institution for their intended DNP final project.

    The school offers a limited number of merit-based graduate assistantships. Recipients benefit from tuition remissions and stipends, provided they enroll in nine credits or more per semester.

    Courses Include:

    • Scientific underpinnings for practice
    • Healthcare policy for advocacy
    • Clinical prevention and population health

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $770/credit
    • Credits Required: 35
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College
  • DeSales University
    Location

    Center Valley, PA

    DeSales is a private university in Center Valley, Pennsylvania. The school is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and offers online DNP programs.

    Remote learners choose between the DNP in clinical leadership or DNP in executive leadership. An enrollee can also pursue a dual DNP program that offers a doctoral degree and an MBA. Both degrees typically take full-time students seven semesters to complete.

    DNP clinical leadership students need at least 35 credits and 525 residency hours for graduation. This program best serves students interested in pursuing work as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists, and clinical nurse specialists.

    The DNP in executive leadership is ideal for students who possess master's degrees in health policy, clinical informatics, health administration, or public health. This degree requires at least 41-48 credits and 525 residency hours.

    Courses Include:

    • Health policy and ethics
    • Healthcare informatics
    • Applied epidemiology and biostatistics

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,095/credit
    • Credits Required: 35 (DNP in clinical leadership), 41-48 (DNP in executive leadership)
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Drexel University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Drexel is a private, nonprofit institution located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and features a doctor of nursing practice online program. This program prepares graduates for leadership roles as practitioners and executives in evidence-based practice. Degree-holders move on to careers focusing on individual, community, and family health outcomes.

    Instructors deliver most of the required components online in a 10-week class format. In-person components include an orientation during the student's first term and a global engagement training session during the spring quarter of the second year. Each degree-seeker completes 500 clinical hours and 45-46 course credits for graduation. Most full-time learners complete the program in two years.

    A prospective DNP student needs a master's degree in nursing, a health-related field, or a master of business administration. An applicant without a master's degree in nursing should possess at least a bachelor's degree in the field.

    Courses Include:

    • Quantitative methods in clinical nursing
    • Leadership in organization systems
    • Applied epidemiology

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,041/credit
    • Credits Required: 45-46
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Duquesne University
    Location

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Duquesne is a public institution with two online DNP programs. Online learners choose between clinical leadership or executive nurse leadership and healthcare management tracks. Both pathways require enrollees to complete a final practice project to demonstrate their mastery of coursework.

    Instructors deliver courses entirely online. Depending on their previous training and education, students complete between 35 or 62 credit hours for graduation. The BSN-to-DNP program requires 20 courses and takes full-time students four years to complete. Both the clinical leadership DNP and MSN-to-DNP online programs require 11 classes and take approximately two years to finish.

    Interested candidates need a current RN license and a bachelor's or master's degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher. An application needs to include a resume, a goals statement, three letters of reference, and official transcripts.

    Courses Include:

    • Healthcare policy and finance
    • Ethical leadership in complex organizations

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,509/credit
    • Credits Required: 35 (MSN-to-DNP), 62 (BSN-to-DNP)
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • George Washington University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Located in Washington, D.C., GW is a private institution with regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The nonprofit school offers one of the best online DNP programs in a hybrid format. The school offers both full- and part-time learning opportunities.

    Learners can consider several tracks for the online DNP, depending on their academic history and career aspirations. GW distance students can pursue DNP degrees in adult-gerontology primary care, adult-gerontology acute care, executive leadership, family nurse practitioner, health policy, or nursing practice.

    A student applying to the post-BSN DNP track should possess a bachelor's degree with a 3.3 GPA or higher. Each MSN-to-DNP applicant needs a master's degree, sometimes in a specialized area such as nursing leadership management or nursing administration, with a 3.3 GPA or higher.

    Courses Include:

    • Translating research into practice
    • Healthcare economics, finance, and reimbursement
    • Healthcare quality improvement

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,435/credit
    • Credits Required: 72 (post-BSN DNP), 36-42 (MSN-to-DNP)
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Gonzaga University
    Location

    Spokane, WA

    Located in Spokane, Washington, Gonzaga offers one of the best online DNP programs. The private, nonprofit institution holds a religious affiliation with the Roman Catholic Jesuit church.

    Learners choose from tracks in family nurse practitioner (FNP) or psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). Each enrollee needs 1,000 hours of practicum hours, plus 7-8 in-person immersions on-campus. Full-time degree-seekers can complete the FNP program in approximately five years, while the PMHNP track takes 13-15 semesters.

    A prospective DNP student needs a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, along with an unencumbered RN license. Competitive applicants possess 3.3 or higher GPAs.

    Applications need to include three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a current resume, and official transcripts. The admissions committee may also ask for an interview. Only students residing in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, California, Nevada, Utah, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Arizona may apply.

    Courses Include:

    • Information technology and data management
    • Theoretical foundations for healthcare improvement
    • Advanced health assessment

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,055/credit
    • Credits Required: 78
    • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Gwynedd Mercy University
    Location

    Gwynedd Valley, PA

    GMercyU offers one of the best online DNP programs. Located in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, the private, nonprofit institution today enrolls 3,100 students. Learners in this program prepare for careers as nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, certified nurse midwives, and clinical nurse specialists.

    GMercyU boasts small class sizes and an accelerated online curriculum that focuses on evidence-based practices, leadership qualities, healthcare quality improvement, and social policy engagement. Degree-seekers need 39 credits and 400 hours of clinical experience for graduation. Full-time learners usually need two years to finish this degree.

    Each interested DNP online learner needs to possess a 3.5 or higher GPA. All applications need to include GRE scores, official transcripts, a copy of the applicant's current liability insurance, a current RN license, three letters of recommendation, and a personal goal statement.

    Courses Include:

    • Technology for advanced nurses
    • Evidence-based practice
    • Organizational behavior and social policy

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $930/credit
    • Credits Required:
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins is a private institution with regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Full-time students can complete this online DNP program in six semesters. Distance students need to complete approximately five days of on-site coursework during their first year.

    Degree candidates must each complete at least 1,000 clinical practice hours and a final project that demonstrates their mastery over course material and expertise in a particular area of practice.

    Applicants need an RN license and a master's degree in nursing with a 3.0 or higher GPA from a regionally accredited college or university. Johns Hopkins also requires applicants to submit three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a resume, and a personal statement. The admissions committee may also require an interview.

    Courses Include:

    • Clinical psychopharmacology
    • Differential diagnosis of mental disorders
    • Teaching strategies in nursing
    • Psychotherapeutic frameworks and modalities

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $38,594
    • Credits Required: 40
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Lewis University
    Location

    Romeoville, IL

    Located in Romeoville, Illinois, Lewis features an online DNP program. This private, nonprofit institution holds a religious affiliation with the Catholic church.

    This 30-credit doctor of nursing practice program requires students to attend two one-day nursing immersions on-campus. Additionally, students must give a presentation of their final project at the latter immersion. Students complete the remaining requirements entirely online.

    Each DNP online learner needs to complete at least 1,000 post-BSN residency hours to graduate. In many cases, learners can transfer up to 496 practicum hours from their master's program toward this requirement.

    An applicant must submit two letters of recommendation, a personal essay, a current resume, and official transcripts for consideration. Additionally, each prospective DNP online student needs a current RN license, two years of professional nursing experience, and a minimum 3.25 GPA.

    Courses Include:

    • Healthcare ethics
    • Quality and safety sciences in healthcare
    • Research design and measurement for evidence-based practice

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $810/credit
    • Credits Required: 30
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Maryville University of Saint Louis
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    Maryville is a private, nonprofit school in Missouri. The university holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and offers online DNP programs to learners. Students choose between a DNP or DNP-NP program.

    The DNP online program prepares students to pursue advanced careers in healthcare, including specialized administrative roles and leadership positions focused on health policy. The DNP-NP positions learners to take the NP credentialing examinations to earn nurse practitioner certification.

    DNP-NP students pursue specialized tracks at Maryville, including family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

    Each prospective doctor of nursing student needs a 3.25 or higher GPA, a current unencumbered license, three letters of recommendation, and a resume for consideration. Both programs also require applicants to possess at least one year of professional nursing experience.

    Courses Include:

    • Quality and patient safety in advanced practice nursing
    • Health promotion and disease prevention
    • Advanced pharmacotherapeutics

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $897/credit
    • Credits Required: 33 (DNP), 65-71 (DNP-NP)
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health
    Location

    Omaha, NE

    Established in 1891, NMC is a private school in Omaha, Nebraska that features an online BSN-to-DNP program. It is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commision.

    Its DNP program prepares learners to pursue careers as family nurse practitioners. Each degree-seeker needs to complete at least 75 credits and 1,080 clinical hours to graduate. DNP online students can complete up to 57 credits through synchronous and asynchronous remote classes. Additionally, a DNP student must attend summer intensives on-campus and complete a final project.

    Each applicant needs a bachelor's degree in nursing with at least a 3.0 GPA from an accredited institution. NMC expects candidates to have taken undergraduate courses in several critical areas, including statistics, microbiology, chemistry, community nursing, pathophysiology, and research skills. Full-time students can complete the program in 36 months. Part-time learners can expect to finish their degree in 4-5 years.

    Courses Include:

    • Rural nursing
    • Community health program planning
    • Public health ethics

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $793/credit
    • Credits Required: 75
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Purdue University-Main Campus
    Location

    West Lafayette, IN

    Purdue is a public institution located in West Lafayette, Indiana. The school offers two tracks for its doctor of nursing practice online: a BSN-to-DNP and an MSN-to-DNP. Purdue's DNP online program boasts clinically focused partnerships with the Regenstrief Pharmacy, Center on Aging and the Life Course, and the Purdue University Homeland Security Institute.

    BSN-to-DNP learners each complete 76 credits and 1,000 clinical hours. An incoming learner in the MSN-to-DNP track can transfer up to 40 credits from an accredited master's program. A nursing student with a master's degree and advanced practice nursing (APRN) training complete 38 credits and 704 residency hours, while a student without APRN training must complete 1,069 residency hours.

    Each applicant needs a cumulative undergraduate nursing GPA of 3.0 or higher, current licensure as a registered nurse, and successful completion of an upper-division statistics course. Additionally, the admissions committee may request a personal interview.

    Courses Include:

    • Principles in epidemiology
    • Human factors in healthcare engineering
    • Systems approaches in healthcare engineering
    • Applied biostatistics for outcome evaluation

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $348/credit in-state, $948/credit out-of-state
    • Credits Required: 76 (BSN-to-DNP), 38 (MSN-to-DNP), 53 (MSN-to-DNP, Non-APRN)
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Regis University
    Location

    Denver, CO

    Located in Denver, Colorado, Regis is a private university that holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and features one of the best online DNP programs. Students choose between the doctor of nursing practice program or the post-BSN-to-DNP program.

    Post-BSN-to-DNP students at Regis may choose a family nurse practitioner or neonatal nurse practitioner track. DNP students can consider specializations in advanced practice registered nurse or advanced leadership in healthcare.

    Each prospective student submits three letters of recommendation, a two-page personal statement, a resume, and official college transcripts. A competitive applicant possesses a GPA of 3.0 or higher and two years of clinical practice as a registered nurse. They may also need to participate in interviews.

    Courses Include:

    • Ethics for nurse leaders
    • Healthcare policy and issues in practice
    • Foundations in financial management for nurse leaders
    • Primary healthcare across the lifespan

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $925/credit
    • Credits Required: 74 (post-BSN-to-DNP), 26-31 (DNP)
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Saint Louis University
    Location

    Saint Louis, MO

    SLU is a private, nonprofit institution with regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Distance students can take advantage of its online DNP program.

    This post-BSN DNP program's practice-focused curriculum prepares students for careers as clinicians and leaders in health policy. Degree-seekers at SLU choose from five concentration areas, including adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, pediatric primary care nurse practitioner, or family psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.

    Each student can enroll full or part time to complete 67-72 credits for graduation, depending on their concentration. Full-time DNP online students typically need five years to finish the degree.


    An interested candidate should possess a 3.5 or higher GPA, one year of clinical experience, a current nursing license, and a baccalaureate degree in nursing. Applications must include three letters of recommendation, a statement of professional goals, and official transcripts.

    Courses Include:

    • Epidemiology
    • Health promotion
    • General research methods
    • Advanced pathophysiology

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,190/credit
    • Credits Required: 67-72
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Samford University
    Location

    Birmingham, AL

    Samford is a private, nonprofit university in Birmingham, Alabama. Founded in 1841, the school now serves approximately 5,700 students. Its school of nursing features an online MSN-to-DNP program.

    This DNP best suits advanced practice nurses who wish to pursue leadership roles and evidence-based practices. The program prides itself on a rigorous curriculum that readies graduates to implement emerging methods and innovative practices in the field.

    Full-time students usually need five semesters to complete the total 37-39 credit hours for graduation, along with at least 1,000 hours of clinical practicum experience.

    Each applicant must hold an unencumbered registered nurse license and a master's degree from a regionally accredited institution. A competitive applicant possesses a 3.5 GPA or higher. An application must also include a video interview and official transcripts.

    Courses Include:

    • Theory and philosophy of nursing practice
    • Population health
    • Leadership, economics, and quality

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $862/credit
    • Credits Required: 37-39
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on College
  • Stony Brook University
    Location

    Stony Brook, NY

    Stony Brook is a public university in New York that operates an excellent online DNP program. Learners complete this degree almost entirely online, along with some on-campus residency requirements.

    DNP online learners choose from several specialty concentrations, including neonatal nurse practitioner, women's health nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, and nurse midwifery. Each degree-seeker must complete at least 42 credits and no less than 500 hours of scholarly clinical practice.

    A candidate with a master of science as an advanced nurse practitioner or certified nurse midwife may apply. Additional requirements include licensure as both a registered professional nurse and an advanced practice registered nurse. Each application needs to include a written statement, three online letters of recommendation, a resume, and proof of malpractice insurance.

    Courses Include:

    • Health policy and social justice
    • Genomics
    • Theories of applied science

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,047/credit
    • Credits Required: 42
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Thomas Jefferson University
    Location

    Philadelphia, PA

    Located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jefferson is a private university that features an online DNP program. Distance students in this program develop their leadership skills, expand their understanding of health policies, and explore the latest evidence-based clinical practices.

    Jefferson online learners can pursue a BSN-to-DNP or MSN-to-DNP. The BSN-to-DNP program typically takes learners 4-6 years to complete, while MSN-to-DNP enrollees need 2-5 years. BSN-to-DNP students choose from nursing informatics, neonatal nurse practitioner, and community systems administration concentrations.

    Applicants for both programs need a GPA of 3.2 or higher. An application needs to include a personal essay, a current copy of the applicant's RN license, official transcripts, a resume, and three letters of recommendation. Jefferson expects applicants' transcripts to reflect course history in college-level elementary statistics and nursing research with a "B" or higher grade.

    Courses Include:

    • Current issues in health and social policy
    • Philosophy, foundation, and methods for evidence-based practice
    • Advanced topics in health informatics

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,194/credit
    • Credits Required: 35 (MSN-to-DNP), 69 (BSN-to-DNP)
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • University at Buffalo
    Location

    Buffalo, NY

    UB is a public school in New York with regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Remote students can pursue its doctor of nursing practice online programs.

    This online DNP program features a hybrid format, with approximately 40% of its required classes online. Online students choose from family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and nurse anesthetist specialties.

    Each applicant must possess a bachelor of science in nursing with a 3.0 GPA or higher, an active RN license, and one year of full-time RN experience. Degree-seekers interested in the nurse anesthesia track need at least one year of experience working as a full-time intensive care unit employee in the U.S. Prospective students also need to submit a personal statement, GRE or GMAT scores, three letters of reference, and official transcripts for consideration.

    Courses Include:

    • Pathophysiology for advanced practice nurses
    • Interpreting healthcare policy
    • Organizational leadership concepts in healthcare

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,047/credit
    • Credits Required: 82-124
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Located in Gainesville, UF is a public institution with an online DNP program that features BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP tracks. The school is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and serves approximately 52,300 students.

    The BSN-to-DNP program features an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner specialization. This degree best serves students interested in working with patients who suffer from critical, chronic, or acute illnesses. Learners choose between full- and part-time curriculum plans. The BSN-to-DNP online requires 76 credits and 1,008 clinical hours. These students usually need eight terms to complete the program.

    An incoming student with a master's degree in nursing can pursue the short MSN-to-DNP track. The five-term MSN-to-DNP program requires 35 credits and 528 clinical hours for graduation.

    Courses Include:

    • Leading quality improvement practice initiatives
    • Health policy and finance in advanced nursing practice
    • Health systems leadership

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $449/credit
    • Credits Required: 75-78
    • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • University of Iowa
    Location

    Iowa City, IA

    Founded in 1847, UI is the oldest institution of higher education in the state. With regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, the school now enrolls nearly 33,000 students. The university offers dozens of online degrees, including online DNP programs.

    UI learners choose between BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP programs. The school offers specialized tracks for DNP learners, including adult-gerontology acute/primary care, family nurse practitioner, health systems/administration, nurse anesthesia, acute care/primary care pediatric nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

    Each applicant must possess a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing with a 3.0 GPA or higher. UI expects candidates to have completed prerequisite coursework, including upper-level statistics. Application requirements include a statement of purpose, resume, copy of the applicant's RN license, and three letters of recommendation.

    Courses Include:

    • Health policy, law, and advocacy
    • Care of the frail elderly
    • Quality and safety

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,120/credit
    • Credits Required: 76 (BSN-to-DNP), 44-49 (MSN-to-DNP)
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • University of St Francis
    Location

    Joliet, IL

    USF is a private school with an online doctor of nursing practice program. Located in Joliet, Illinois, the school maintains regional accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission. Established in 1920, USF now serves approximately 3,800 students.

    The DNP program requires students to complete 40 semester hours. Learners can choose an optional education concentration in teaching, which features courses such as teaching in nursing, nursing education methods and measurement, and a nursing education practicum.

    Each prospective student needs a master's degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA for consideration. An application must include one letter of recommendation, proof of a current nursing license, a professional resume, and a personal essay. Incoming DNP students can transfer up to nine semester hours from another regionally accredited institution. Only those who reside in Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, New Mexico, and Wisconsin may apply.

    Courses Include:

    • Professional organization and communication
    • Information management in advanced practice
    • Diversity and social justice issues in a global society

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $780/credit
    • Credits Required: 40
    • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Villanova University
    Location

    Villanova, PA

    Villanova is a private, nonprofit school in Pennsylvania. The school enrolls approximately 11,000 students and offers one of the best online DNP programs. This program prepares professionals for nursing careers as nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified nurse-midwives, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and more.

    This 32-credit online program features synchronous classes two nights a week for full-time students, and one night each week for part-time learners. Both tracks begin during the summer semester with an in-person, on-campus seminar. Degree-seekers meet on campus one weekend in the fall and spring semesters and 3-4 days in the summer. Its full-time, part-time, and flex options take five, eight, or 11 consecutive semesters, respectively.

    Courses Include:

    • Innovation in healthcare
    • Transformational leadership
    • Healthcare economics and finance
    • Ethical and legal healthcare issues

    Unique Features:

    • Cost: $1,375/credit
    • Credits Required: 32
    • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

mini icon

Popular Resources

Resources and articles written by professionals and other Nurses like you.


Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) vs. Registered Nurses (RN)

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) vs. Registered Nurses (RN)

September 23, 2020   |   Staff Writers

In this guide, learn more about which occupation would serve you best and how nurses can take advantage of online bachelor's in nursing programs to advance in their career.

What is a Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary?

What is a Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary?

September 23, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Nurse practitioners (NPs) rank among the highest paid nurses, alongside nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives.