Best Online Schools for Doctor of Nursing Practice

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A Doctor of Nursing Practice is the highest level of nursing expertise in which an individual can engage. The coursework prepares students for leadership and administrative roles that are both high-paying and involve large levels of responsibility over organizations, patients, and employees alike. These online schools provide outstanding curricula, many of which have concentration and specialization options that further prepare students for various positions within the field of nursing.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the job outlook for these professionals at around 31% over the next 8 years, which is much faster than average. The annual salary is about $100,000/yr.

Methodology:

  • All information is cited from the unbiased, independent NCES.gov’s College Navigator
  • To ensure our rankings methodology cannot be duplicated without our knowledge, we have withheld some aspects of the calculations. Please contact us at the email address provided below for more in depth calculations and criteria
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UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST

Program Standouts:
The University of Massachusetts is one of the most respected state schools in the country and offers an outstanding online Doctor of Nursing Practice that includes numerous concentration options that will significantly enhance students’ understanding of the discipline as a whole, as well as in their specific specialization.

Campus Location: Amherst, MA

Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Acceptance Rate: 58.3%

Retention Rate: 90%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution, a personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and TOEFL scores from students who use English as a second language.

Program Options:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Public Health Nurse Leader
  • Post-MS DNP Completion

Degree Outcomes:
This online program was one of the first of its kind, and over the last decade has trained students to become the top of their field in research and practice. Graduates are prepared to develop the advance practice knowledge and skills needed to manage patients as well as lead health care administrations.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS’ ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

Program Standouts:
The University of Pittsburgh is another extremely well-respected online school that offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice that has been ranked one of the absolute finest in the country. This curriculum includes various major options, as well as evidence-based research theories to influence daily practice and career goals.

Campus Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

Acceptance Rate: 54%

Retention Rate: 92%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from all accredited colleges and universities, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, a personal essay, and a current résumé or CV.

Program Options:

  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Health Systems Executive Leadership
  • Nurse Anesthesia
  • Nurse-Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner (six additional concentration options)

Degree Outcomes:
Career options vary depending on individual student’s concentration of choice, however, the general coursework has a strong emphasis on advanced evidence-based practice, organizational and systems leadership, clinical research and analytical methods, ethics, finance, and interprofessional collaboration.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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DREXEL UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:
Drexel University is another of the most popular online schools in the country and provides exceedingly professional degree programs. The Doctor of Nursing Practice is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice and offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs.

Campus Location: Philadelphia, PA

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education; Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education

Acceptance Rate: 75%

Retention Rate: 85%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution, TOEFL scores from students who use English as a second language, a personal essay, a current résumé, letters of recommendation, and financial aid documentation.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Human Responses to Altered Function in Health and Illness
  • Quantitative Methods in Clinical Nursing
  • Leadership in Organizations and Systems

Degree Outcomes:
Upon completion of this doctoral degree, graduates are able to evaluate patient care delivery approaches to meet individual needs, utilize advanced communication skills, and demonstrate knowledge in business, finance, economics, and policy. Drexel University gives students the skill, reputation, and connection to land high-paying positions of employment.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DREXEL UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO DENVER

Program Standouts:
The University of Colorado Denver is a superb state school offering an online DNP that is a competency-based curriculum that includes various concentrations within the coursework so that students gain a wide perspective into a complex discipline. The coursework builds upon master’s work and experience.

Campus Location: Denver, CO

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Acceptance Rate: 67%

Retention Rate: 68%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, and official transcripts from all accredited colleges and universities attended.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Applied Evidence Based Practice
  • Design Theory-Guided Care
  • Intercampus DNP Special Topics

Degree Outcomes:
This in-depth and challenging online doctoral program will prepare graduates for such positions as clinical nurse educator, clinician-scholar, develop/evaluator of healthcare programs, healthcare entrepreneur, and care manager. Alumni go on to become leaders in the industry.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO DENVER’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:
Duquesne University’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing that will expand their horizons drastically. The coursework has a strong evidence-based foundation and focuses on effectively assessing health care policy, organizational effectiveness, and economic trends.

Campus Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

Acceptance Rate: 73%

Retention Rate: 85%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from all accredited colleges and universities, and three letters of recommendation.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Social Justice and Vulnerable Populations
  • Ethical Leadership in Complex Organizations

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates of this fine program demonstrate effective clinical judgement through the syntheses and interpretation of multiple data sources. Alumni have the ability to develop, integrate, and foster strategies to address issues within the system to enhance patient care services and outcomes.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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DUKE UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:
A competitive, yet extremely popular school, Duke University is one of America’s top higher education institutions. The online Doctor of Nursing Practice is intended for post-BSN and post-Master’s applicants, and is flexible enough to accommodate all types of working nursing schedules.

Campus Location: Durham, NC

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Acceptance Rate: 9%

Retention Rate: 97%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from all accredited colleges and universities representing cumulative GPA’s of 3.0 or higher, GRE scores, a current résumé or CV, proof of current nursing licensure, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.

Program Options:

  • BSN to DNP
  • MSN to DNP
  • PhD to DNP

Degree Outcomes:
Students learn from faculty members with a huge amount of experience and understanding concerning all facets of nursing practice. Graduates are nurse leaders in interdisciplinary health care teams and work to improve systems of care, patient outcomes, quality, and safety.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DUKE UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Program Standouts:
The University of Arizona College of Nursing offers excellent programs that include a wide range of specialty coursework. There is a strong focus on clinical leadership and management of groups of employees. Students engage in theories and research-practices that drastically enhance their understanding.

Campus Location: Tucson, AZ

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Acceptance Rate: 76%

Retention Rate: 80%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a compiled online application, the nonrefundable application fee, and official transcripts from all accredited colleges and universities attended.

Program Options:

  • General Nursing Practice
  • Nurse Anesthesia
  • Family Nurse Practitioner

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates of this DNP program are prepared as advanced practice nurses who generate and disseminate nursing practice knowledge to stimulate research and improve clinical outcomes, improve health outcomes, engage in and lead teams, and influence clinical practice.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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GRACELAND UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:
Graceland University is a leader in nursing education, and the goal of the online Doctor of Nursing Practice program is to prepare nurses for advanced practice roles and as clinical scholars skilled in the application of theory and research, evidence-based practice, and transformation of health care systems.

Campus Location: Lamoni, IA

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Acceptance Rate: 49.8%

Retention Rate: 62%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended representing GPA’s of no less than 3.0, proof of current nursing licensure, and a successfully completed background check. TOEFL scores from students who use English as a second language.

Program Options:

  • General Nursing Practice
  • Organizational Leadership

Degree Outcomes:
Despite whether or not students concentrate their coursework in the path of Organizational Leadership or not, they have the administrative leadership skills, as well as the practical nursing practice skills, to enter into positions of management and authority within all kinds of nursing and health care environments.

LEARN MORE ABOUT GRACELAND UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS

Program Standouts:
This online school provides a Doctor of Nursing Practice that is terminal degree intended for nurses to assume leadership roles in clinical practice, administration, clinical teaching, and clinical research. No matter the level of degree in which students may be entering, there are pathways leading to a DNP for all.

Campus Location: Las Vegas, NV

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Acceptance Rate: 86.9%

Retention Rate: 74%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited graduate institution representing a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher, three letters of recommendation, a current CV, a personal statement, and TOEFL scores from students who use English as a second language. Applicants must also complete an interview with two core faculty members.

Program Options:

  • BSN to DNP
  • MSN to DNP

Degree Outcomes:
Each pathway contains concentration options such as Family Nurse Practitioner or Advanced Practice tracks for those who wish to focus their coursework in a specific area of interest. Graduates have the ability to lead and collaborate with teams to affect the best health care possible.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS’ ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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GONZAGA UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:
Gonzaga University offers this online Doctor of Nursing Practice that is founded on the Jesuit values of Cura Personalis, by educating the whole person: mind, body, and spirit. The coursework rigorously trains influential thinkers to be practice ready.

Campus Location: Spokane, WA

Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities;

Acceptance Rate: 67.5%

Retention Rate: 95%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, and official transcripts from all accredited colleges and universities attended.

Program Options:

  • DNP – Post-Master’s
  • DNP – Post-Baccalaureate
  • DNP – Anesthesia Practice

Degree Outcomes:
Skills exhibited by Gonzaga graduates include the ability to lead quality improvement, lead change, solve complex health policy issues, improve systems, research and evidence-based practice, and teamwork collaboration. Gonzaga is known for being a highly supportive educational institution for students and graduates alike.

LEARN MORE ABOUT GONZAGA UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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LOYOLA UNIVERSITY NEW ORLEANS

Program Standouts:
Loyola University New Orleans’ distinctive online Doctor of Nursing Practice is a renowned degree program that is rooted in the Jesuit tradition of social justice, care for the whole person, and values-based leadership. The coursework prepares students to lead teams, organizations, and individuals within the complex health care system.

Campus Location: New Orleans, LA

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Acceptance Rate: 65%

Retention Rate: 77%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from CCNE or ACNE accredited undergraduate and graduate institutions representing a GPA of 3.2 or higher, copies of current licensure, three letters of recommendation, minimum of one year (recent) post-master’s work experience, a personal essay, and all applicants must complete an interview with a DNP faculty member.

Program Options:

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Executive Nurse Leader

Degree Outcomes:
This program will enhance the abilities and skills of current working nurse practitioners, and also prepares executive leaders to lead entire departments and organizations with aptitude and strength. Graduates have a huge repertoire of theories and research practices upon which to rely throughout all kinds of career paths.

LEARN MORE ABOUT LOYOLA UNIVERSITY ’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:
George Washington University is highly reputed American higher education institution that purveys an outstanding online DNP program. There are numerous pathways through which students can earn their doctorate, as well as various concentration options that can focus their coursework in specific directions.

Campus Location: Washington, D.C.

Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Acceptance Rate: 39.5%

Retention Rate: 94%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from all accredited colleges and universities attended representing a degree in occupational therapy, a statement of purpose, and two letters of recommendation. TOEFL scores from students who use English as a second language.

Program Options:

  • Post-BSN to DNP (various concentrations)
  • Post-MSN to DNP (various concentrations)

Degree Outcomes:
No matter what level a student is upon entering their DNP, when they leave the program they have the skill and expertise to take on positions of leadership and management in their current places of employment, or in new areas. Coursework is taught by exceptional faculty members who endow students with fabulous connections and practices.

LEARN MORE ABOUT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA IN HUNTSVILLE

Program Standouts:
The University of Alabama in Huntsville prepares nurses to be leaders in the field through a curriculum that is designed for advanced practice nurses. The program focuses on administrative, organizational, and systems leadership competencies that prepare individuals for various nursing positions.

Campus Location: Huntsville, AL

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Acceptance Rate: 82%

Retention Rate: 80%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from all schools attended with a GPA level of no less than 3.0, proof of current licensure, and a current résumé or CV.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Interdisciplinary Leadership and Role Development for Practice Excellence
  • Evidence-Based Practice Design and Translation
  • Health Policy and Politics: Implications in Health Care

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates of the UAH doctoral nursing program will be prepared to synthesize scientific evidence for the development of clinical interventions for practice and can assume complex leadership roles to advance clinical practice and health care delivery systems.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA IN HUNTSVILLE’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:
The Doctoral Nursing Practice degree program from New Mexico State University is a practice-focused doctoral nursing program that prepares leaders for the highest level of practice and is the terminal practice degree. The coursework offers two unique concentration options that drastically enhance one’s standing.

Campus Location: Las Cruces, NM

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Acceptance Rate: 69.6%

Retention Rate: 74%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited graduate institution representing an exemplary GPA, a current résumé or CV, and a writing sample.

Program Options:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates from New Mexico State University take on varying positions depending on their area of specialization. However, no matter their career path, these alumni are well-prepared to take on large responsibilities that include both administration and practice.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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BALL STATE UNIVERSITY

Program Standouts:
This online school has been repeatedly recognized for its outstanding achievement in distance education. The Doctorate of Nursing Practice is intended for nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and nurse midwives. The distinctive coursework provides the leadership focus and team building experience to make the best leaders in the industry.

Campus Location: Muncie, IN

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Acceptance Rate: 59.9%

Retention Rate: 82%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, official transcripts from an accredited graduate institution representing an exemplary GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, proof of current licensure, a C.V., and five references.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Statistics for Health Care Research
  • Outcomes Research and Evaluation
  • Population Focused Care

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates of this online DNP program will be able to demonstrate advanced nursing practice, translate research and data to support evidence-based practice, lead inter-professional collaboration for improving patient and population health outcomes, and more!

LEARN MORE ABOUT BALL STATE UNIVERSITY’S ONLINE DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM

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