Grad-School-Hub-Top-Online-Programs1200In this article, we profile the top 10 online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) programs.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nursing is constantly evolving to assist the nation's complex healthcare needs and demands. The health system requires nursing staff that have obtained the highest level of scientific understanding and advanced practice skills that assure positive patient outcomes. By earning a doctoral degree in nursing practice, nurses gain skills and credentials that deem them as experts in the field.

Online doctor of nursing practice degree programs are now available from some of the nation's most prestigious colleges and universities. Even affordable public universities are offering the degree in a distance education format. Online DNP degree programs are designed to accommodate professional nurses seeking advanced nursing degrees. The DNP degree program is often viewed as an alternative to research-focused doctoral or medical programs.

For details regarding the determining factors for this list of schools, see the methodology statement at the end of the article.

#9 – University of Massachusetts

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

University of Massachusetts - Top 10 Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) Programs 2018

UMASS ranks among the top 10 online DNP programs due to affordability.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,730

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences at University of Massachusetts offers an online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) program designed to give nurses the knowledge, skills, and competencies required for advanced leadership roles in health care delivery. Admission is open to highly skilled and motivated master's-level prepared advanced practice nurses. Courses are presented online with five mandatory campus visits throughout the program. Courses include evidence-based practice, health care systems and quality, and leadership and management in health care. Affordability was among the reasons UMASS found a place on our list. Also, the institution is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university and public school. UMASS offers one of the top DNP programs online that is both AACN-accredited and affordable.

#8 – Medical University of South Carolina

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Charleston, South Carolina

Website

Medical University of South Carolina - Top 10 Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) Programs 2018

Medical University of South Carolina awards both an MSN and online DNP degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,910

Medical University of South Carolina offers an affordable online doctor of nursing practice program with few courses that require a visit to campus. The program is a practice-focused doctoral degree in nursing that awards both the MSN degree and the terminal professional DNP degree. Most courses are delivered online and taught by the same university professors who instruct and lead on campus. Clinical specializations are offered so that students may tailor their doctoral degree in areas such as primary care or psychiatric mental health. While the institution is unranked with U.S. News and World Report, the online graduate nursing programs have received a high ranking. Overall, U.S. News ranks the online graduate nursing programs at Medical University #3 out of over 1,200 surveyed programs, making it one of the top DNP online degrees profiled on our list.

#7 – Maryville University

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Saint Louis, Missouri

Website

Maryville University - Top 10 Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) Programs 2018

No GRE or GMAT scores required for the online DNP at Maryville University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,646

The fully accredited online doctor of nursing practice program at Maryville University requires no GMAT or GRE for admission and is considered 100% online with no campus visits. Two pathways are available, including the DNP-NP or DNP. Clinical requirements may be met locally in your preferred setting and also do not require on-campus visits. The DNP can be completed in as few as 20 months while the DNP-NP takes 36 months. In addition to pathways, there are also five available specializations in areas like adult-gerontology primary care, pediatric nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report rank Maryville #165 in best national universities. Also, the graduate online nursing programs rank #118-#154 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#6 – University of South Alabama

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Mobile, Alabama

Website

University of South Alabama - Top 10 Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) Programs 2018

University of South Alabama's online DNP complies with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,578

University of South Alabama offers an online doctor of nursing practice. This program is designed to prepare graduates to provide the most advanced level of nursing care for individuals and communities. The program is in compliance with the Essentials for Doctor of Nursing Practice as put forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Three completion pathways are offered, including the MSN to DNP, MSN to DNP bridge program for clinical nurse leaders to executive nursing, and the BSN to DNP. A large number of DNP specialties and sub-specialties are also offered, making it one of the most flexible DNP online degrees on our list. U.S. News and World Report ranks University of South Alabama as a top national university.

#5 – Arkansas State University

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Website

Arkansas State University - Top 10 Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) Programs 2018

Arkansas State University offers an online DNP that is ranked and accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,121

One of the most affordable DNP programs online on our list is the online DNP at Arkansas State University. While considered to be a fully online program, on-campus immersion experiences take place prior to the start of each semester. The program is a post-master's degree that requires full-time enrollment and the completion of the degree in the area of prior advanced nursing practice preparation. Students must also be Board certified in Advanced Nursing Practice with licensure as an APN or APRN. The curriculum consists of 41 credit hours that must be complete in 2.5 years. Clinical hours are also required for graduation. U.S. News and World Report ranks Arkansas State #68 in best regional universities in the South and #25 in top public schools.

#4 – University of Central Arkansas

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Conway, Arkansas

Website

University of Central Arkansas - Top 10 Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) Programs 2018

University of Central Arkansas offers an online DNP with classes that comply with the AACN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,094

University of Central Arkansas offers an accredited online doctor of nursing practice degree that is a practice-focused doctorate designed to prepare nurses for advanced roles in health care. The program is open to nurses with a master's degree in nursing regardless of current role or specialty preparation. Classes are delivered online and comply with the curriculum set forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). These courses include advanced healthcare informatics, health economics and finance, philosophical and theoretical foundations for advanced nursing practice, and population health and public policy. U.S. News and World Report ranks the institution #72 in best regional universities in the South and #26 among top public schools. Also, the online graduate nursing programs rank #51 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#3 – Missouri State University

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Springfield, Missouri

Website

Missouri State University - Top 10 Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) Programs 2018

Missouri State University offers a CCNE-accredited online DNP degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,830

The CCNE-accredited online DNP program at Missouri State University offers two completion pathways. Depending on your background, a BSN to DNP or post-master's DNP pathway is available. The program combines online courses with seated requirements; so minimal on-campus visits must be met. Some of the required courses for the post-master's DNP include emerging science and methods of advanced practice, finance management for advanced nursing roles, health policy to improve disparities, and social justice and disparities in health and healthcare. U.S. News and World Report ranks Missouri State #106 in best regional universities in the Midwest. The school earns a top spot on our list of DNP programs online due to the affordability of the degree and the school's ranking with U.S. News.

#2 – University of Nevada

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Reno, Nevada

Website

University of Nevada - Top 10 Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) Programs 2018

University of Nevada's online DNP offers two completion tracks – BSN to DNP and post-master's DNP.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,467

The Orvis School of Nursing at University of Nevada Reno offers two options for earning the online doctor of nursing practice. Students may follow the pathway from a BSN to DNP or a post-master's DNP. Two tracks for specialty study in the post-master's program are also available, including advanced practice nurse and nurse executive. For the BSN to DNP program, students choose one of three tracks of study, such as adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. The school is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university and public school. Also, the online graduate nursing programs rank #118-#154 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs, making it one of the top DNP online degrees on our list.

#1 – New Mexico State University

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Website

New Mexico State University - Top 10 Online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) Programs 2018

New Mexico State University offers the most affordable online DNP on our list.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,243

New Mexico State University offers an online DNP with two specialty tracks: Family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Two avenues for enrollment include a post-master's to DNP pathway or a BSN to DNP with the choice of two specialty tracks, as listed above. The program is CCNE-accredited and adheres to the curriculum standards set forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). For the post-master's program, applicants must hold an MSN degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Satisfactory GRE scores are also required for admission. U.S. News and World Report ranks New Mexico State #198 in top national universities and #106 in top public schools. Also, the online graduate nursing programs rank #118-#154 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News. The school offers the most affordable online doctor of nursing practice on our profile list.

GSH Staff
October 2018

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The methodology used in developing the ranking of the top 10 online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) programs for 2019 is as follows:

Accreditation
All schools included in our ranking are regionally and nationally accredited. Those schools that have received specialized accreditation were awarded points as shown below.

Points:
3 Points = American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) accreditation

Concentration Areas
Some programs allow students to specialize in a particular area of nursing. Concentrations provide in-depth training for an area of focus following graduation from a doctor of nursing program.

Points:
2 Points = Schools offering two or more concentrations or specializations

Tuition
Tuition data was gathered from NCES College Navigator. The amount reflects the cost of graduate tuition and fees as most recently published by NCES College Navigator.

Points:
3 points = $15,000/year or less
2 points = $15,001 – $20,000/year
1 point = more than $20,001/year

College Ranking
We considered rankings with major publications like U.S. News and World Report, both university-wide and programs.

Points:
3 points = Best National University
2 points = Best Regional University
3 points = Best Online Nursing Graduate School

Online Format
Some programs describe themselves as online, but require campus visitations or in-person capstone completion. For the purpose of this ranking, we awarded 1 point to schools that offer programs 100% online.

Points:
1 point = Fully online learning format

Ties
In the event of a tie, schools with a lower tuition cost earned an additional point.

 

This concludes our list of the top 10 online DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) programs of 2019.