Advance your career in nursing and set yourself apart from the crowd with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. According to recent research, only 1% of nurses in the U.S. have a doctoral degree, yet the demand for leaders in the field continues to grow. In fact, in the next few years, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing predicts that the DNP will be the level of entry for all advanced practice nurses.
The DNP degree prepares nurses to lead collaborative teams, advocate for change in healthcare, and apply evidence-based practice in clinical settings. There is a program to suit the interests and requirements of any student. For example, all of the programs listed here are offered at least 50% online, with many fully online to accommodate busy, working professionals. You will also find programs that are focused on different interest areas, such as advancing healthcare for underserved populations or championing policy and operational changes system-wide.
#1. New Mexico State University School of Nursing
The School of Nursing at New Mexico State University has been growing rapidly over the past five years, and the DNP program is a recent addition to the school. This program is offered entirely online and students can enroll in one of two specialty tracks: Family Nurse Practitioner or Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Part-time and full-time options are available for students enrolling in the post-MSN to DNP, while the post-BSN to DNP is full-time only.
Length of Program: 39 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $10,505.50
Curriculum Snapshot: Nursing Informatics, Research in Nursing, Applied Nurse Science, Env of Professional Nursing, Advanced Nursing, Leadership Nursing, Translational Methods & Evidence-based Practice
Program Website: New Mexico State University School of Nursing
#2. East Carolina University College of Nursing
The BSN to DNP program at East Carolina University prepares nurses for advanced-practice roles in one of three tracks: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family Care, or Anesthetics. With an emphasis on evidence-based and culturally-relevant care, graduates will be prepared to serve patients in urban and rural settings. The MSN to DNP program offers two tracks, including leadership and advanced practice registered nurse. It similarly prepares students for work with urban or underserved, rural populations. The program is primarily online with 1-5 campus days per semester, and students can expect personalized faculty mentorship throughout the program.
Length of Program: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $14,202 (In-State); $35,946 (Out-of-State)
Curriculum Snapshot: Philosophical, Theoretical, and Conceptual Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice, Design and Statistical Methods for Advanced Nursing Practice, Interdisciplinary Leadership and Role Development for Practice Excellence, Population Health in Advanced Interdisciplinary Practice, Informatics for Advanced Nursing Practice, Healthcare Finance, Application of Best Practices in Interdisciplinary Settings, Healthcare Policy, Politics, and Ethics
Program Website:East Carolina University
#3. University of Missouri Kansas City
The University of Missouri-Kansas City DNP program prepares students to change the trajectory of their career by learning to anticipate, adapt, and evolve in the ever-changing healthcare environment. Learn teamwork and collaboration in addition to the essential leadership skills to take your nursing career to the next level. Students can pursue a BSN to DNP or MSN to DNP track. Courses are offered online with a mandatory summer residency each year on the Kansas City campus, making this a truly hybrid online/on campus program.
Length of Program: 31 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $14,247.29 (In-State); $31,176.39 (Out-of-State)
Curriculum Snapshot: Theory Course, Research Course, Graduate Level Statistics Course,
Healthcare Systems & Leadership, Summer Institute, Theory Development, Healthcare Outcomes and Epidemiology, Healthcare Policy, Advocacy, Healthcare Economics, Quality, Application of Evidence-based Practice
Program Website:University of Missouri Kansas City
#4. University of Alabama Huntsville
The University of Alabama offers two pathways to the DNP degree, including BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP. Both tracks will prepare students for leadership roles in clinical settings, ready to provide evidence-based care and advocate for social justice and ethical policies in healthcare. The program emphasizes it’s competitive pricing and loan program. It is offered online with one intensive required in the spring semester. Students can enroll part-time or full-time and come from backgrounds such as nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse administration.
Length of Program: 40 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $14,640
Curriculum Snapshot: Clinical Data Management and Analysis, Admission to DNP Program, Writing for Publication, Admission to DNP Program, Interdisciplinary Leadership and Role Development for Practice Excellence, Philosophical, Theoretical, and Conceptual Foundations for Advanced Practice Nursing, Evidence-Based Practice Design and Translation, Health Policy and Politics: Implications in Health Care, Population Health in Advanced Practice Nursing, Evidence-Based Practice Strategies, Informatics for Advanced Practice Nursing, Program Evaluation Methods
Program Website: University of Alabama Huntsville
#5. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing
The DNP program at Texas Tech University provides a rigorous education to prepare nurses for the highest level of practice. The curriculum is based on the AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. The program is designed for working professionals, and is offered online with occasional on campus “executive sessions” throughout the semester. This program will help students meet their goals in providing expert leadership to improve population health.
Length of Program: 45 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $14,905 (In-State); $30,700 (Out-of-State)
Curriculum Snapshot: DNP Role Transition, Population Health and Epidemiology, Informatics and Technology to Improve Health Care, Evidence Based Inquiry, Advancing Policy and Politics in Health Care, Advanced Practice Development, Systems Leadership for Effectiveness, Quality and Safety, Health Care Innovations in Chronic Illness
Program Website: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing
#6. University of Kansas Medical Center School of Nursing
The University of Kansas DNP program is sophisticated and cutting-edge. Students will enjoy a flexible learning environment where they can develop the leadership skills necessary to deliver the highest level of practice. The BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP options are both available, and students in the post-MSN track will complete the program primarily online with one required on campus course. The university’s nursing school has nationally ranked programs and a rich history of quality education, so students can be sure they are getting the highest level of nursing education available.
Length of Program: 65 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $15,639
Curriculum Snapshot: Professionalism and Scholarship Workshop, Informatics and Technology Applications, Foundations in Education and learning, Advancing Organizational and Clinical Quality, Knowledge and Theory Development in Nursing Science, Theory Application in Nursing Science
Program Website: University of Kansas Medical Center School of Nursing
#7. Old Dominion University
Old Dominion University offers three tracks in their DNP program: Nurse Anesthesia, Advanced Practice, and Nurse Executive. The Nurse Executive track is offered online and prepares nurses for administrative and top-level executive positions. Students are required to attend on-campus weekend immersive sessions at the start of each semester and prior to graduation. Old Dominion University has a long history and outstanding record in nursing education. Students graduating from the School of Nursing leave prepared to tackle challenges in the healthcare industry.
Length of Program: 38 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $17,632 (In-State); $44,080 (Out-of-State)
Curriculum Snapshot: DNP I: Introduction to Healthcare Disparities, Vulnerable Populations, and Epidemiology, Application of Practice-Based Research Methods, DNP Executive Practicum, Proposal Development and Database Management, Informatics and Healthcare Technology, Competitive Resource Design and Utilization, Advocacy for Healthcare Public Policy for Advanced Practice, Executive Practicum IV, DNP Nursing Capstone
Program Website: Old Dominion University
#8. Frontier Nursing University
The DNP program at Frontier Nursing University is designed for students that have competed an MSN degree and are ready to take their nursing career to the next level. The curriculum carefully incorporates the eight essential competencies determined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. There are two degree paths to choose from, including the post-MSN to DNP program and an accelerate program combining the MSN and DNP degrees. Frontier has nearly 8o years of experience in graduate nursing education and fosters a culture of caring and growth.
Length of Program: 33 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $18,150
Curriculum Snapshot: Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Evidence Based Practice, Leadership and Organizational Theory, The Nurse as Educator, Ethics and Health CAre Policy, Clinical Practicum
Program Website: Frontier Nursing University
#9. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
The program at Indiana University is designed for students that want to see change and implement reform in healthcare. One of the only DNP programs that specifically emphasizes rebuilding healthcare and healthcare education in this country, this program is truly for thought leaders. Offered primarily online with up to 11 on-campus intensive sessions, the program is designed to work around your busy schedule.Prepare to lead teams, influence policy, and take on a leadership role with this degree.
Length of Program: 37 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $18,628.02 (In-State); $53,087.97 (Out-of-State)
Curriculum Snapshot: Evidence-based Research and Translation Science, Knowledge Complexity, Practicum (each semester), Relationship-centered Leadership in Complex Systems, Influencing Public Health Policy, Introduction to Nursing Informatics, Health Care Outcomes and Decision-making, Clinical Epidemiology/Statistics in Nursing, Strategic Resource Management in Nursing and Health Systems
Program Website: Indiana University-Purdue University–Indianapolis
#10. University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing
The DNP program at the University of Texas focuses specifically on vulnerable populations, and is ideal for nurse practitioners that are committed to serving at-risk populations. The program is part-time and online, with only one required campus visit each semester. To enroll in the program, students are required to have a master’s degree and certification or licensure as a nurse practitioner. This program is dedicated to improving access to quality healthcare and reducing healthcare disparities in this country.
Length of Program: 42 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $19,417 (In-State); $35,797 (Out-of-State)
Curriculum Snapshot: Foundations of DNP Practice, Advanced Nursing Leadership & Management, Applied Statistical Methods for Practice Inquiry, Informatics in Transformation of Healthcare, The Economics of Healthcare, Population Health Strategies for Improving the Nation’s Health, Practice Management and Improvement
Program Website: University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing
#11. University of South Carolina
Students in the DNP program at University of South Carolina can select to pursue the Nurse Executive concentration or no concentration. Regardless of the track, all graduates from the DNP program at the University of South Carolina will be prepared for leadership roles in nursing practice or administration. This is an online program, although some campus visits may be required. Currently, the college is offered the post-MSN to DNP degree only, although a BSN to DNP option may be available in the future.
Length of Program: 33 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $20,625
Curriculum Snapshot: Seminar on Advanced Practice Roles, Advanced Nursing Leadership, Health Politics, Applied Technology in Health Care, Medical Genetics for Health Professionals, Conceptual Basis of Health Systems, Application of Statistics for Evidenced Based Nursing, Evidence & Nursing Practice
Program Website: University of South Carolina
#12. Clarion University of Pennsylvania
The master’s degree to DNP program at Clarion University helps nurses advance their careers through study in leadership, policy, population health, and clinical practice. This program is perfect for working professionals with flexible and affordable courses offered online and part-time. Students at Clarion can pursue many different clinical or administrative interests in this DNP program, such as nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, clinical specialist, nurse midwife, nurse administration (leadership), nursing informatics, or nurse education. Applicants with a master’s degree other than an MSN must also have a BSN.
Length of Program: 34 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $21,352 (In-State); $23,086 Out-of-State)
Curriculum Snapshot: DNP Role Seminar, Leading Nursing in Health Care Systems, Information Management in Health Care, Analytical Methods of Evidence Based Practice, Advanced Topics in Nursing Practice, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Internship, Doctor of Nursing Practice Capstone
Program Website:Clarion University of Pennsylvania
#13. Eastern Kentucky University
The DNP program at Eastern Kentucky University is offered entirely online with no campus visits required. The remote format, paired with multiple start dates and 8-week terms, makes this a flexible program designed to fit your busy schedule. The program is designed for post-MSN students and the focus is on real-world implementation and evidence-based practice. The university is regionally-accredited and has received numerous honors, including a veteran-friendly campus and a best online college.
Length of Program: 36-40 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $22,680-$25,200
Curriculum Snapshot: Role Transition, Capstone Project Support, Analytical Methods for EBP, Theory Application for Doctor of Nursing Practice, Informatics in Healthcare Delivery, Public Health Policy,
Organizational Leadership, Healthcare Economics and Finance, Capstone Project
Program Website: Eastern Kentucky University
#14. Lewis University College of Nursing and Health Professions
Get ready to practice nursing at its highest level with a DNP degree from Lewis University. This program is offered completely online and requires 30 credit hours to graduate. Requirements to apply include a master’s degree and 2 years of practice as an RN. Students in the program will enjoy small class sizes, knowledgeable faculty and up-to-date curriculum in the latest healthcare advancements. This program will prepare students for leadership roles to improve healthcare outcomes for patients and communities.
Length of Program: 30 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $22,800
Curriculum Snapshot: Research Design and Measurement for Evidence-Based Practice,Healthcare Ethics, Healthcare Policy, Quality and Safety Science in Healthcare, Financial and Strategic Management for Healthcare Decision Makers, DNP Scholarly Project Planning, DNP Scholarly Project Implementation, DNP Scholarly Project Evaluation and Dissemination, DNP Residency
Program Website: Lewis University College of Nursing and Health Professions
#15. Boise State University
Become an expert in the nursing field with a DNP degree from Boise State University. This program is designed for post-master’s students with experience as practitioners, administrators, executives, educators, or public health nursing specialists. The program is offered online in a cohort model so students will advance through the program with a consistent group of peers. The School of Nursing at Boise State prides itself on affordability, supportive faculty, and a leadership-focused programs.
Length of Program: 40 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $24,000
Curriculum Snapshot: Advanced Principles of Population Health Nursing, Designing Models of Health Care Delivery, Constructing Leadership for the DNP, Health Care Policy and Advocacy, Health Care Policy & Advocacy Practicum, Leadership for Organizations, Systems, and Populations, Translation, Integration, and Dissemination of Evidence, Outcomes Management Analysis, Health Care Technology, Information Systems, and Quality, Quality Improvement and Evaluation Methodology
Program Website: Boise State University
#16. Michigan State University College of Nursing
Designed for thought leaders, this program prepares students to champion policy and operational changes in healthcare. Students can pursue a DNP degree in the post-BSN or post-MSN pathway, and there are four areas of concentration to choose from: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care, Adult Gerontology Clinical Specialist, or Nurse Anesthesia. Serving diverse and underrepresented populations is a key focus of the program, and students will be prepared to lead initiatives for change. Courses are offered online with some face-to-face requirements.
Length of Program: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $24,183 (In-State); $47,511 (Out-of-State)
Curriculum Snapshot: Health Informatics, Introductory Epidemiology, Health Status Outcomes: The Individual and Family, Translation of Research and Scientific Knowledge to a Community Setting, Scientific Foundations of Nursing, Leadership I: Organizational Leadership, Analytical Methods for Evidence-Based Practice, Leadership II: Leadership in Complex Healthcare Organizations, DNP Practicum
Program Website: Michigan State University College of Nursing
#17. West Virginia University School of Nursing
Prepare to practice at the top of the nursing profession with a DNP degree from West Virginia University. This program is offered online only, and students can complete the requirements in as few as 33 credit hours. Graduates will be prepared to work with diverse populations in the advancement of healthcare and use science-based theories to develop, deliver, and evaluate healthcare. Students will work with an advisor to determine a progression plan for the program.
Length of Program: 44 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $25,212 (In-State); $56,848 (Out-of-State)
Curriculum Snapshot: Statistical Inference for Evidence-based Practice, Molecular & Clinical Genetics/Genomics,Theories of Leadership & Organizational Management, Philosophy of Nursing Science & Practice
Program Website: West Virginia University School of Nursing
#18. UMass Amherst College of Nursing
UMass Amherst boasts one of the first online DNP programs in the country, making this a well-established and highly ranked option for students seeking the degree. BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP options are available, with post-baccalaureate selecting a concentration in one of four areas: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Psychiatric-Mental Health Practitioner, or Public Health Nurse Leader. Clinical internships are arranged in the students’ local area so they can gain practical experience while completing the coursework online.
Length of Program: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $27,000
Curriculum Snapshot: Application of Social Behavioral Theories in Public Health Interventions,
Application of Social Behavioral Theories in Public Health Interventions, Introduction to the U.S. Health Care System, Introduction to the U.S. Health Care System, Research Methods, Health Disparities, Global Maternal Child Health, Health Economics and Reimbursement, Advanced Health Assessment and Clinical Reasoning, Primary Health Care of Middle-Aged and Older Adults, Research Methodology in Nursing
Program Website: UMass Amherst College of Nursing
#19. Graceland University
Graceland University acknowledges that the world of nursing is changing, and an advanced degree is more important than ever. All courses are taught by faculty with doctoral degrees, either a DNP or Phd., so students can be sure they are getting the highest quality education from leaders in the field. Graduates from the program will be prepared for advanced practice roles and ready to apply theory and research to the advancement of healthcare. Full-time students can complete the online program in 2 years.
Length of Program: 35 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $28,875
Curriculum Snapshot: Introduction to Doctoral Study in Nursing, Professionalism, Ethics and Issues, Health Systems Policy and Regulation, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Applied Transformational Research, Project Management, Healthcare Informatics, Organizational Leadership & Collaboration 3 s.h.
Program Website:Graceland University
#20. American Sentinel University
The DNP program at American Sentinel University attracts students from across the country with a fully online format, experienced faculty, and four areas of concentration to choose from, including Professional Leadership, Educational Leadership, Executive Leadership, and Informatic Leadership. Graduates from the program will be prepared with a practice-focused degree that gives them credibility, leadership skills, and industry knowledge that can be applied in the advancement of healthcare. The university takes the time to gather feedback from students that it applies to improving the program year after year.
Length of Program: 42 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $28,980
Curriculum Snapshot: Leadership: Setting the Example, Health Services Research, Capstone Project, Organizational Complexities of Higher Education, Learner-Centered Curriculum Design and Learning Outcomes, Health Statistics, Advanced Statistics, Advanced Assessment in Education,Role of Technology and Simulation in Nursing Education, Principles of Finance and Fund Development, Strategic Leadership, Strategic Planning
Program Website: American Sentinel University
#21. Regis University Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions
Learn how to influence policy and advance the field of nursing in the DNP program at Regis University. Students in the program study topics such as clinical research, organizational systems design, health promotion for populations, informatics, health policy and collaborative leadership. Students can complete the program in as few as 6 semesters, and no campus visits are required for online students. If you are ready to take the next step in your career and increase your value to employers, Regis University’s program is designed to help students do just that.
Program Length: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $29,700
Curriculum Snapshot: Theoretical Application for Doctoral Nursing Practice, Informatics, Epidemiology and Health Promotion for Populations, Doctor of Nursing Practice Capstone Project Application to Practice Clinical Hours, Strategic Planning in an Evolving Health Care Environment
Program Website: Regis University Rueckert-Hartment College for Health Professions
#22. University of Nevada Las Vegas
Prepare to serve the healthcare needs of diverse populations with the DNP degree from UNLV. The school offers multiple tracks for post-BSN and post-MSN students, and all courses are offered fully online. Graduates will be ready to take on leadership roles in clinical settings and advocate for change in the healthcare system. Study in the Nurse Practice or Health Executive track as a post-master’s student, or pursue the Family Nurse Practitioner track in the post-bachelor’s program.
Length of Program: 39 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $31,200
Curriculum Snapshot: Health & Public Policy for Advanced Practice of Nursing, Scientific Underpinnings of the DNP in Advanced Practice Nursing, Analysis of Health Organizations, Translational Evidence for Healthcare Systems, Economics of Healthcare Delivery, Healthcare Information Systems & Technology, Management Strategies for Nursing & Healthcare Systems
Program Website: University of Nevada Las Vegas
#23. Nova Southeastern University
The DNP program at Nova Southeastern University caters to busy professionals with a fully online program and 8 week course format. Classes will prepare students for leadership roles in healthcare with a focus on evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems thinking. As a final project, students select one of four capstone courses to pursue their unique area of interest, and apply their learnings in a final capstone project that will be applicable to their work post-graduation.
Length of Program: 36 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $31,140
Curriculum Snapshot: DNP Roles, Collaboration, and Communication, Biostatistics I, Epidemiology and Population Health Care, Nursing Science for Clinical Practice, Leading in Complex Healthcare Systems, Translating Evidence for Clinical Practice, Healthcare Information Systems and Outcomes Management, Health Care Policy, Capstone I: Mentored Scholarship
Program Website: Nova Southeastern University
#24. University of Arizona College of Nursing
The University of Arizona encourages students to focus on a healthy work-life balance with a fully online DNP program that is perfect for working professionals with families or other commitments. Each students is paired with an advisor and student support coordinator upon entering the program to ensure success from day one through graduation. In addition to the DNP degree, the school offers a dual DNP/Ph.D. degree that prepares students for work in clinical and academic settings. The University of Arizona has a nationally recognized College of Nursing.
Length of Program: 43 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $32,938 (In-State); $66,177 (Out-of-State)
Curriculum Snapshot: Statistical Inference for Evidence-based Practice in Molecular & Clinical Genetics/Genomics, Theories of Leadership & Organizational Management, Philosophy of Nursing Science Practice
Program Website: University of Arizona
#25. Duke University School of Nursing
Duke University offers three pathways to a DNP degree, including BSN to DNP, MSN to DNP and PhD to DNP. The faculty is actively involved in research and scholarship, ensuring a high level of education for students in the nursing program. Furthermore, the program is consistently highly ranked by the U.S. News & World Report. The program is designed for students to keep their jobs while attending courses primarily online. Graduate will be ready to lead teams in clinical settings and advocate for change.
Length of Program: 35 Credit Hours
Estimated Tuition Cost: $35,040.25
Curriculum Snapshot: Data Driven Health Care Improvement, Effective Leadership,
Quantitative Methods for Evaluating Health Care Practices, Evidence Based Practice I: Locating and Appraising, Scholarly Writing, Financial Management and Budget Planning, Evidence Based Practice II: Implementation and Evaluation, DNP Capstone
Program Website: Duke University School of Nursing