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Best DNP Degree Programs in 2018 (On-Campus & Online)

Best DNP Degree Programs in 2018 (On-Campus & Online)

Nursing is a time-honored tradition that many feel is their calling. As such, those students that intend to take up nursing as a profession are always looking to improve their knowledge base and up their certifications. A DNP, or Doctor of Nursing Practice, is just one way that practicing nurses can gain higher certification in order to better serve those they work with and the patients that they treat.

Nurses with a DNP certification can expect to make upwards of $70,000 per year and may make more depending on where they are employed. As a DNP, nurses will take part in more of the research and leadership side of nursing, perhaps leading a nursing unit or supervising a group of nurses. The employment outlook for DNP nurses is high as nearly all nursing environments need a nurse with a bit more experience or qualification to help guide those incoming nurses in their daily tasks.

If you are currently a practicing nurse you may be interested in becoming a DNP to help further your own career, help those around you, and take part in the leadership side of nursing a bit more.

Here are 50 DNP programs in the United States that you may be interested in.

1. Duke University, Durham, NC

Duke University is a college that is synonymous with quality and highly-esteemed degrees. Duke University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree to applicants that meet the minimum requirements which include a prior degree in nursing with exceptional GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale. The applicant must also be a currently licensed nurse in the state where they practice and must also pass an interview. Students are able to continue working at their current place of employment while attending the program with several classes offered online so that you can continue working.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rates of nearly 98%
  • Accreditation with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education  as well as the Higher Education Commission and Board of Nursing
  • $1,703 per credit hour for full-time students, total cost per semester is around $26,000
  • There are 796 spots in the program so admission is highly competitive and only the best candidates are accepted.
  • Total credit hours are 196

2. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins is one of the first schools that one thinks about when speaking about medicine and medical education. Applicants must currently be RNs and provide proof of licensure in their area and must have a college GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students have the option to attend online classes so that they can continue to work while they obtain their degree.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of nearly 100%
  • The program is fully accredited
  • $1,671 per credit hour for full-time students in the DNP program
  • Total credit hours 508
  • 748 spots in the program

3. University of Washington, Seattle, WA

The University of Washington is a university synonymous with quality and offers a state of the art DNP program with 53 full-time faculty members. The program requires that you are a licensed and practicing nurse with a 3.0 college GPA or higher.

  • NCLEX-RN nearly 100% pass rate
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $39,000 per year for the DNP program
  • Total credit hours 365
  • 433 spots in the program

4. Rush University, Chicago, IL

Rush University is a college that allows students to continue to work while they obtain their DNP. The offer both online and in-person classes. They have 83 full-time faculty members and the program requires that you are a practicing nurse with a college GPA that is above and beyond.

  • NCLEX-RN over 90% pass rate
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $1,066 per credit hour for DNP students
  • Total credit hours 419
  • 1,134 spots in the program

5. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Case Western Reserve offers an unparalleled DNP program through the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. Students must have an outstanding GPA and be a currently licensed nurse. They offer a 96 person full-time staff and a fantastic program.

  • NCLEX-RN nearly 100% pass rate
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $2,011 per credit hour for the DNP program
  • Total credit hours 256
  • 488 spots in the program

6. University of Alabama-Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

The University of Alabama-Birmingham is a fantastic school that offers a wide range of technologies and classes that help prepare DNP students for a lifetime of success. In order for an applicant to be accepted, they must currently be a practicing nurse with a BSN degree. They must also have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 as well as at least a 297 on the GRE and a score of 410 on the MAT and a 480 on the GMAT.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of close to 97%
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $1,317 for in-person classes per credit hour for the DNP program and $656 for online coursework
  • Total credit hours 78
  • Spots in the program limited

7. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

The University offers a wide range of options for students including different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students. The application deadline for the school of nursing is May 1. Students must be currently licensed nurses with an outstanding GPA.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of over 91%
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $872 per credit hour for the DNP program for in-state students and $1,018 for out of state students
  • Total credit hours 198
  • 321 Spots in the program

8. Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Emory University offers the award-winning Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and a wide and varied learning base for students. Students must apply by March 15 and must have an outstanding academic record. The school has a full-time staff of 85.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of nearly 100%
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $1,500 per credit hour for the DNP program
  • Total credit hours 390
  • 458 Spots in the program

9. University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD

The University of Maryland offers a comprehensive program that allows students to take classes in person and online and provides a unique program that is truly amazing. They have a total staff of 131 in the nursing school.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of near 89%
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $732 for in-state students, and $1,324 for out of state students
  • 506 total credit hours
  • 1,041 total spots in the program

10. Yale University, New Haven, CT

Yale is a name that is synonymous with high-quality education and very competitive admission rates. The DNP program is no different. Yale has 32 full-time nursing employees to help the very selective DNP class succeed.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 100%
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition $39,830 per year
  • 333 Credit hours
  • 392 spots in the program

11. University of Illinois- Chicago, Chicago, IL

The University of Illinois is a public university that offers an opportunity for students to continue working while they obtain their degree and has a 97 person full-time staff. They also offer in-state discounts for students.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 93%
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $22,696 per year for in-state students and $35,414 for out of state students
  • Total of 820 spots in the nursing school
  • 424 hours in the program

12. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt hospital is one of the premier hospitals in the country. As such, their DNP program is highly competitive and sought after. Vanderbilt offers a hands-on experience that allows students to truly succeed.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 100%
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $1,454
  • 531 Credit hours
  • 861 Spots

13. University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill has a full-time nursing school staff of 86 with a very limited nursing school enrollment for a great student-to-teacher ratio. This is a public university that offers a fantastic DNP program.

  • High NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Accredited
  • Tuition is $15,743 for in-state students and $32,954 for out of state students
  • Total of 257 credits
  • Total graduate nursing enrollment is 339

14. New York University (Meyers), New York, NY

This is a private school that offers the Rory Meyers College of Nursing. There are 75 full-time staff members and the program offers a unique mix of in person and online content as well as unique residency that allows students to work together.

  • High NCLEX-RN pass rate
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $43,200 per year
  • Total of 281 credit hours
  • 693 spots in the nursing school

15. Rutgers University-Newark, Newark, NJ

Rutgers offers a program that allows students to continue practicing and allows students to either choose the traditional program or a weekend model that only requires they meet on one long weekend per month.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 71%
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition $838 for in-state students and $1,215 per credit for out of state students
  • 207 total credits
  • Enrollment of 637

16. University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

The University of Iowa offers a great program that allows students to continue working and obtain their degree at the same time. They offer a range of different DNP programs to fit the needs of students.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 100%
  • Accredited
  • Tuition is $42,062 per year
  • Total of 143 credit hours
  • 230 spots in the program

17. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

The University of Utah offers a unique opportunity for students to really further their education. The program requires that you be a current nurse in good standing with a good GPA.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 77%
  • Accredited
  • Tuition is $610 per hour for in-state students and $1,484 for out of state students
  • The program is a total of 295 credit hours
  • There are 373 graduate nursing spots

18. Columbia University, New York, NY

Students that wish to be accepted to Columbia University’s program will be required to turn in both regular essays and a video essay as well as already having a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 94%
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $1,930 per credit hour
  • Two-year-long program with mentored residencies
  • Limited number of spots

19. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

The University of Virginia offers a wide range of program options with both full-time and part-time programs as well as online and in-person content. They also offer a variety of specific DNP tracks that students can follow. Students should have at least 2 years of RN experience before applying to the program.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 100%
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition for full time in-state students is $16,960 per year and out of state students can expect to pay $27,692
  • The program length varies dependent on if you have your BSN or MSN
  • Limited enrollment

20. University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI

Students that want to obtain their DNP at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor must have a current BSN or be pursuant. They must also have a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate coursework.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 97%
  • Fully accredited
  • Tuition is $6,072 per semester
  • Program length varies dependent on what degree you currently hold

21. Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

The Medical University of South Carolina is dedicated to medical pursuits entirely so it offers students the chance to truly excel and become real medical professionals.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 100%
  • Accredited through the American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • Tuition is $835 per hour for in-state students and $1015 for out of state
  • 75 Credit hours total
  • 128 spots in the program

22. University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis Tennessee

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is dedicated to providing nursing students that are already nurses or that have already obtained their BSN or MSN degree a chance to obtain their DNP. The core classes are offered online with specialty classes being offers on campus.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 100%
  • Accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per year is $17,222
  • 262 full-time enrollment
  • 274 nursing spots in the college

23. George Washington University, Washington D.C.

George Washington University is a private college that offers both full-time and part-time DNP programs. Content is delivered both online and in-person.

  • High NCLEX-RN pass rates
  • Accredited through Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition $1,295 per credit hour
  • 38 credit hours
  • 564 nursing school spots

24.  University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

The University of Kentucky offers fantastic medical programs and even has a teaching hospital that students can complete their clinical rotations at.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 90%
  • Accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission
  • Tuition is $41,594 per year
  • 145 full time enrollment credit hours
  • Nursing school spots open is 286

25. University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is perfect for those that want flexibility and high-quality education. They offer both a post-baccalaureate DNP and a post-Masters DNP.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of near 100%
  • Accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition is $26,291 per year
  • 339 credit hours for full-time enrollment
  • The nursing school accepts 385 students

26. Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Ohio State offers a scholarship for clinical students and also offers an education that is focused on leadership and helping students to attain the highest level that they can.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 90%
  • Accredited
  • Tuition is $17,971
  • 583 full-time credit hours
  • Limited nursing school enrollment

27. Indiana University-Purdue, Indianapolis, IN

Indiana University is a research school that offers specialized education for students. They offer a wide range of nursing programs and also offer both part-time and full-time enrollment for the DNP program.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 80%
  • Accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition is $10,538 per year
  • Length of the program depends on what degree you start with

28. Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

The Catholic University of America is a pontifical college that is the only college in the U.S. that was founded by American bishops. They offer three research areas for their DNP program and offer a wide range of learning opportunities.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 88%
  • Accredited through Middle States Commission of Higher Education
  • Tuition is $36,009
  • Length of program is 71-89 credit hours
  • Limited number of spots

29. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

The University of Wisconsin offers a blended program that takes between three to five years to complete depending on the level of education that you already have. The University of Wisconsin is globally ranked and offers a wide range of options and learning outcomes for students.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 89%
  • Accredited through the Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition is $15,874
  • Length of program depends on your full time or part-time status and how much you have already completed upon entering.

30. Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR

The Oregon Health and Science University owns and operates two hospitals and offers a wide range of nursing programs. The program stresses both practical and theoretical work and allows students plenty of opportunities to partake in scholarships and research opportunities.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 89%
  • Accredited through Joint Commission of Healthcare Organizations
  • Tuition $9,792 per semester
  • Program

31. University of Missouri, Kansas City, MO

University of Missouri Kansas City is a public research hospital that has over 16k students. It is organized into a dozen smaller schools including the school of nursing. They offer the option of both online and in-person study for your convenience so you can continue working if you are an already working nurse.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 90%
  • Accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition of $15,368 per year
  • Credit hours depend on what degree you start the program with

32. Loyola University, Chicago, IL

Loyola is a private Catholic school and is one of the largest in the country. They offer both clinical practicums along with theory and allow students the chance to personalize their program to fit their particular needs.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 92%
  • Accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition of $34,934 per year
  • Credit hours for the program requires 30 semester hours
  • Spots are very limited

33. University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus

The Anschutz Medical campus at the University of Colorado is the site of both a large teaching hospital for hands-on learning as well as a children’s hospital. They offer a DNP degree that makes sure to focus on both practical and theoretical work and a broad base of education to draw from.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 89%
  • Accreditation through the Liaison Committee on Medical Education
  • Tuition is $13,751 per year
  • Total credit hours depends on how much you have already completed
  • Spots are limited

34. University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

Classes at the University of Rochester will include evidence-based practice, research methodology, as well as direct care of clients and more. They offer a great deal of guidance and learning opportunities.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 82%
  • Accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition of $34,170 per year
  • Total credit hours depend on how long you take to complete the program
  • Spots  are limited

35. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida offers a program that allows both full-time and part-time students and also helps to transition both BSN and MSN students to a DNP. The focus of the program is evidence-based practice and helps to prepare students with advanced skills.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 86.8%
  • Accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition is $1,255 per credit hour
  • 151 credit hours to complete the program
  • Nursing school spots available are 298

36. Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

Georgetown is a private college that has a large nursing class, perfect for those that may not want to deal with the competition of smaller schools. It offers both part-time and full-time options and works to make sure that students are prepared for leadership roles in a DNP position.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate 96%
  • Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition is $1,995 per credit hour
  • 201 credit hours
  • Large nursing school enrollment

37. Villanova University, Villanova, PA

Villanova is a private college that offers both online and in-person classes and offers part-time and full-time program options. Those that attend can expect evidence-based teaching and plenty of research opportunities.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 99%
  • Accreditation through the AACSB
  • Tuition is $1,375 per credit hour
  • 195 credit hours
  • Total graduate nursing class of 350

38. Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD

The Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences is a public university that’s free but is also very competitive to those that want to attend. The school has very small graduate class sizes and a very competitive admissions process.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate 65%
  • Accreditation through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition is free
  • 185 credit hours
  • Total graduate nursing class of 189

39. Wayne State University, Detroit, MI

Waye State University works to provide students with a well-rounded education that is focused on scholarly participation. They offer participants ongoing evaluation for further improvement.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 100%
  • Accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition is $872 for in-state students and $1,617 for out-of-state students
  • 133 total credit hours
  • Total graduate nursing class of 133

40. University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

The University of Miami offers both a BSN to DNP and an MSN to DNP program as well as many other doctorate programs. They also have several different tracks including one-year programs and 2-year programs.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate 87%
  • Accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition of $1,282 per credit hour
  • 146 total credit hours
  • Graduate nursing class of 326

41. George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

George Mason University is a public university that offers a wide range of learning opportunities and offers both full-time and part-time options. Content is delivered in-person and online to fit the needs of the students.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 90%
  • Accreditation through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition is $670 for in-state students and $1,491 for out of state students
  • 51 total credit hours
  • Graduate nursing class of 229

42. University of Portland, Portland OR

The University of Portland is a private school that has a very competitive program that allows under 30 people each time. This means that you have to have very good qualifications and very good grades to make it into the program.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 91%
  • Accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Tuition is $1,221 per credit hour
  • 26 total credit hours
  • Graduate nursing class of 26

43. University of San Diego, San Diego, CA

The University of San Diego has a larger nursing program than some other universities which means you may have a better chance of getting into this program. They offer part-time and full-time study options and a few different tracks including BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 87%
  • Accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Tuition is $1,495 per credit hour
  • 292 total credit hours
  • Graduate nursing class of 371

44. University of Kansas, Kansas City, KS

The University of Kansas is a public college that offers evidence-based teaching and a variety of different learning outcomes. They offer both BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate 87%
  • Accreditation the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition of $657 per credit hour
  • 48 total credit hours
  • Graduate nursing class of 302

45. University of Massachusetts- Amherst, Amherst, MA

The University of Massachusetts – Amherst is a public college that offers students the chance to pursue a BSN to DNP and an MSN to DNP. They offer part-time and full-time course loads.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of 88%
  • Accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Tuition is $750 per credit hour
  • 101 total credit hours
  • Graduate nursing class of 303

46. Baylor University, Dallas, TX

Baylor University has a very limited program that has less than 50 spots so acceptance is very difficult. You must be a practicing nurse with licensure and a good college GPA for your undergraduate work.

  • NCLEX-RN pass rate of nearly 88%
  • Accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition $1,650 per credit hour
  • 35 total credit hours
  • Graduate nursing class of 46

47. Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA

Azusa Pacific University offers a low resident format that allows nurses to continue working while they obtain their degree.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass rate of near 100%
  • Accredited through the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition $1,030 per credit hour
  • Total of 39 program units
  • Limited spots per each program run

48. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

The University of Arizona offers a unique opportunity with both full-time and part-time positions available as well as only once a year residency requirements.

  • NCLEX-RN high pass rate
  • Fully accredited
  • $975 per credit hour
  • Number of credits varies based on how long it takes you to complete the program

49. Clarion University, Edinboro, PA

Clarion University offers an online degree program that is great for students that want to continue to work while they obtain their degree. The program is designed to prepare APN practitioners to enter the DNP program.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass rate of 93%
  • Fully accredited by Higher Learning Commission
  • 27 credits post masters degree to complete
  • PA residents pay $888.80 per credit hour, non-residents pay $1,024.24
  • Spots are very limited

Schools were ranked based on ease of access for students, overall accreditation, and how well students in that program fared.

If you represent a school listed here, and want to edit any information, please feel free to contact us to submit edits.

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