CCNE Accredited Online DNP Programs

There are many changes occurring in health care systems today that requires higher standards of care while also cutting costs. Improving access and eliminating any disparities also is important. That is why there are more Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) doctoral programs today. This is an advanced degree that is designed to prepare you as an expert in advanced nursing practice.

Sponsored School

Featured DNP Programs

  • Simmons College's online Post-MSN to DNP program is designed for board-certified APRNs who have already earned their MSN degree. The post-MSN to DNP prepares nurses to become leaders in a variety of health settings, influence health care systems and policies, and improve patient outcomes. With full-time and part-time options available, this program can be completed in as little as 2 years.
  • Sacred Heart University offers a CCNE-Accredited Online Post-Master's Doctor of Nursing Practice.

The emphasis in most DNP programs typically is on advanced competencies for complex nursing practice, and research utilization to improve clinical care and patient outcomes, in the most affordable fashion.

DNP programs are for students who have a master’s degree in nursing and several years of nursing experience. Note that the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is now calling for advanced practice nurses to have doctoral degrees, such as the DNP, by 2015. So, earning your DNP will ensure that you qualify for advancement in nursing for the forseeable future.

Given the increased demand for nurses around the country, there now are some high quality online DNP programs to choose from.


#1 Maryville University

200x100_maryvilleuniversityHighly Recommended & 100% Fully Online! Study for your degree online with Maryville University. They offer Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs that can be completed 100% online. Online learning gives you flexibility to fit your studies into your busy life. You’ll be able to access classes anytime and from anywhere with internet access. Class sizes are small to enhance learning and ensure personal attention is given to the students. Designed for active nurses, the program teaches advanced skills and provides opportunities for clinical research focused on helping to improve your practice’s quality of care and patient outcomes.

  • Campus: St. Louis, Missouri or 100% Online
  • Type: Private, Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: CCNE/NLNAC
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 18 months (30 credits)
  • Degree Requirements: MSN, Advanced Practice Nurse certification, GPA of 3.5, letters of recommendation, essay and interview
  • Programs: DNP – Family Nurse Practitioner, DNP – Adult-Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and DNP
  • Rankings: Online Graduate Nursing Programs were named to the roster of U.S. News & World Report Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.’Forbes and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazines consistently rank Maryville as a top private school. Kiplinger’s has named Maryville to its list of 100 best values in private colleges and universities for the past two years. Forbes has named Maryville to its “Best Colleges” list for the past three years.

#3 Walden University

200x100_WaldenLogo_blackHighly Recommended and 100% Online! With this four year online degree, you will strengthen your advanced nursing practice skills and augment your skills to deliver quality health care. This DNP’s coursework includes many important topics, such as healthcare policy and advocacy, technology and IT, quality improvement, the most modern advanced nursing practices, as well as leadership. The program incorporates fieldwork conducted in your local area so that you can can in a hands-on health care environment. Sample of core courses include Foundations and Essentials of Doctoral Study in Nursing, Theoretical and Scientific Foundations for Nursing, Methods for Evidence Based Practice, Epidemiology and Population Health and many more.

Note that you should already have a Master’s degree in nursing to qualify for this program.

  • Campus: Online
  • Type: For-Profit
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Tuition: Inquire
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Three years
  • Online Availability: Yes
  • Degree Requirements: Application, employment history, bachelor’s and master’s degree transcripts, personal essay, RN licensure.
  • Programs: Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

#4 Capella University

200x100_capella-universityHighly Recommended & Featured Partner! With your Master in General Nursing from Capella, you’ll have the ability to assimilate health care research, concepts of management and leadership as well as advanced knowledge, technology, and theories in evidence-based nursing practice. You will also be equipped to integrate healthcare policies and regulations and apply professional ethics and legal standards in professional nursing practice.

  • Campus: Online
  • Type: Private, For-Profit
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Per Credit Hour: Inquire
  • GRE Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs: DNP – BSN-to-DNP (CCNE-accredited), DNP – Doctor of Nursing Practice (CCNE-accredited)

#5 Medical University of South Carolina

This online DNP program addresses the most pressing issues of expert clinical practice, leadership, practice, and applied research. It is a practice focused doctoral degree that awards an MSN degree and also a DNP after graduation. Most graduates work in primary care settings that include hospitals. public health organizations and schools of nursing. According to their director, The Online Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a practice focused doctoral degree designed to prepared advanced practice nurses in a population focus and is one of the highest level of educational preparation for nurses. The DNP is the degree of choice for those who wish to impact quality and safety in health care, influence patient care outcomes by incorporating evidence based practice into every day care and serve in leadership and executive level positions in major health care organizations to impact change.

This leading program allows the student to demonstrate the highest expertise in clinical nursing practice, based upon mastering a specific area of knowledge. The student also will learn how to implement improvement in patient care and give leadership in clinical decision making through the best use of technology and information systems. See their application deadlines for details.

Note that the student does need to come to campus a few times during the duration of the four year program.

  • Campus: Online
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Tuition: $774 per credit hour
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years
  • Online Availability: Yes
  • Degree Requirements: GPA of 3.0, GRE, Resume, RN license, Transcript, Letters of Recommendation, Personal Statement/Essays.
  • Programs: Doctor of Nursing Practice

#6 University of South Alabama

For nurses who already have their master’s degree and are an experienced advanced practice nurse, consider this online DNP program from the University of South Alabama. This is a three year program that will provide you with the most advanced level of nursing care training for both individuals and the community. The training in this accredited program includes direct patient care, management care for larger populations, health care administration and nursing systems. Read more about the DNP program and all admission details including tuition and fees.

There also are programs available for nurses who have a BSN and want to earn a master’s and DNP at the same time.

  • Campus: Online
  • Type Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Tuition: $700 per credit hour
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Three years
  • Online Availability: Yes
  • Degree Requirements: Application, employment history, bachelor’s and master’s degree transcripts, personal essay, RN licensure.
  • Programs: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Executive Nurse Administrator, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner.

#7 Drexel University

This advanced nursing practice doctoral degree is designed for the nurse who wants an alternative to a doctoral program that is more research based. The mission of this program is to prepare you to take over a leadership role as a practitioner or executive. You also will be able to apply evidence based practice to greatly improve health outcomes for individuals, families and communities. Nurses who graduate from this program will have the skills they need to implement science that is developed in nursing research by those in more research-oriented doctoral programs. See necessary admissions criteria for details.

Note that 250 hours of clinical hours are required to complete your doctoral degree. These hours can be completed in a clinical practicum in your local community. You should have a master’s degree before you start this program, although it does not have to be in nursing. However, your bachelor’s degree must be in nursing.

  • Campus: Online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Tuition: $820 per credit hour
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Three years
  • Online Availability: Yes
  • Degree Requirements: Application, employment history, bachelor’s and master’s degree transcripts, personal essay, RN licensure.
  • Programs: Practitioner and Executive tracks

Further Reading on the DNP

Start a Conversation