EDUCATION
July 29, 2022

Top BSN to DNP Programs

Top BSN to DNP Programs

What is a BSN to DNP Program?

A BSN to DNP program is an educational program that will grant a doctoral degree in nursing practice (DNP) to someone who has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree. 

If you have a BSN, you can enroll directly into a DNP program with the appropriate prerequisites and experience. RN-DNP programs usually take 3 to 4 years. It’s important to note, this program will not grant an MSN degree.  

What Can You Do With a BSN to DNP Degree?

People with DNP degrees will have the highest degree possible in the nursing field. They can practice clinically, get involved in research, or teach at nursing educational institutions. 

Fast Facts about BSN to DNP Programs

Salary Payscale’s average salary for someone with a DNP is around $100,000 per year 
Program length Roughly 3 to 4 years full-time; 4 to 6 years part-time 
Requirements
  • Registered Nurse license
  • Relevant clinical experience
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Candidate interview if applicable 
  • Minimum GPA above 3.0 (higher at certain institutions)
  • Transcripts from all educational institutions
  • GRE if applicable
  • TOEFL if applicable

Top 10 BSN to DNP Programs

Every BSN to DNP program has its own benefits and features, and the program that is best for one potential attendee may not be the right choice for another. In assembling our list of top programs, we paid particular attention to objective criteria, paying special attention to ensuring that each is accredited and has proven outcomes for its graduates. 

Our selection process considered the following factors:

  • Accessibility and affordability
  • Program length
  • Program’s educational preparation
  • Admission requirements
  • Variety of available programs
  • Additional accolades that the program has received 

1. University of Michigan

U of M is one of the nation’s largest public research institutions and a DNP from here gives you access to the entire U of M medical system. They offer several different pathways to a DNP and require a residency that will better prepare you to serve in the DNP role. 

  • Application Deadline: Jan 15 (early deadline)
  • Tuition: $1,845/credit hour for distance learning non-Michigan residents
  • Credit Hours: 25-36, plus at least 5 credits of a nursing DNP residency (560 hours minimum)
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Contact phone number: (734) 763-5985
  • Email: UMSN-GradAdvisors@med.umich.edu

2. Vanderbilt School of Nursing

Vanderbilt is a prestigious school and its DNP program is one of the best in the country. One of the hallmarks of this program is that it can be done remotely and in your home, so you can keep the job and location you are at currently.

 BSN-DNP students have a choice between two specialty tracks: BSN Entry to DNP: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) and the BSN Entry to DNP: Family Nurse Practitioner/Emergency Nurse Practitioner (FNP/ENP). BSN students can also enroll in the MSN program first. 

  • Application Deadline: June 30 for fall semesters
  • Tuition: $1,883/credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 65 (full-time only; no part-time is available for BSN-DNP students)
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education  (CCNE)
  • Contact phone number: 615-322-7311
  • Email: VUSN-admissions@vanderbilt.edu

3. Maryville

This BSN-DNP program is one of the fastest and most affordable programs available, with students having the option to complete their degree online in as little as 40 months. All their tracks grant students a DNP with an NP specialty. 

  • Application Deadline: June 30 for fall semesters
  • Tuition: $897 per credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 68-77
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Contact phone number: 1.888.266.0574
  • Email: Admissions@online.maryville.edu

4. South Alabama

South Alabama’s program allows a BSN student to complete an MSN specialty and a DNP all in one. Plus, all their programs are 100% online with a new student orientation required in person.  

Students can choose from the following tracks: Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Dual Role (Family NP/Adult-Gerontological Acute Care NP), Dual Role (Family NP/Emergency NP), Clinical Nurse Specialist - Adult-Gerontology, Executive Nurse Administrator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Informatics, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, or Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. 

  • Application Deadline: July 1st (extended admission) for fall start
  • Tuition: 594.00/credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 69-87
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Contact phone number: (251) 445-9400
  • Email: condnpadmit@southalabama.edu

5. Georgetown University

Georgetown has a reputation for offering one of the best nursing programs in the country and their BSN-DNP program is no exception. It offers full or part-time enrollment and students can complete the program in 33 months. 

  • Application Deadline: November 9 for winter starts; 2 other dates offered
  • Tuition: $2,358.00/credit hour
  • Credit Hours: 69-74
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Contact phone number:  877-910-4692
  • Email:  onlinenursingadmissions@georgetown.edu 

6. University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing

With only one on-campus visit required and both full and part-time coursework plans, the Sinclair School of Nursing’s DNP program is ideal for working students who are looking for a primarily online format. Plus, out-of-state and in-state students pay the same rate and they offer a number of nursing scholarships to help students finance their degrees. 

  • Application Deadline: Jan. 31st for fall start
  • Tuition: ~$41,228 for the full program
  • Credit Hours: 72 - 74.5
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Contact phone number:  573.882.0277
  • Email:  nursing@missouri.edu

Show Me DNP Programs

7. University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburg offers multiple DNP specialty tracks for Clinical Nurse Specialists, Health Systems Executive Leadership, Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse-Midwife, and Nurse Practitioners. 

  • Application Deadline: May 1st
  • Tuition: $1,150/credit hour
  • Credit Hours: varies
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Contact phone number:  1-888-747-0794
  • Email: sao50@pitt.edu

8. Concordia University-Ann Arbor

While many people may be more familiar with the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, this MI-based school offers two specialty DNP tracks with coursework that is all online (although some students might have to visit campus for a few course components).
It’s also a very affordable program, with one of the lowest tuition fees in the country and scholarships available. There are some limits on states, so check that your state is on the list of accepted students before you apply. 

  • Application Deadline: July 1st for the fall term
  • Tuition: $815/hour
  • Credit Hours: 70
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Contact phone number:  734-995-7300
  • Email: admission@cuaa.edu

9. Arizona State University

Students near Arizona will find that this program has a lot to offer: specialty tracks, preparation to sit for their NP boards, and full and part-time schedules. This is a hybrid program, so students will have some on-campus requirements. And just like other programs, you’ll want to check that your state is on the approved list for acceptance. 

  • Application Deadline: July 1st for fall term
  • Tuition: $62,373 (DNP-NA is more)
  • Credit Hours: 50-85
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Contact phone number:  520-626-6154
  • Email: apretty@arizona.edu

10. Ohio University 

Ohio University offers DNP programs for direct patient care, as well as indirect through a Health Executive Leadership track. Their programs are 90% online with three 1-2 day intensives on-campus. 

  • Application Deadline: 1st week of May
  • Tuition: $608 (in-state); $628 (out-of-state)
  • Credit Hours: 74
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Contact phone number:  740.593.4494
  • Email: dnp@ohio.edu 

Show Me DNP Programs

Types of BSN to DNP Programs

Like many types of nursing degrees, DNP programs are often offered in different formats.

Online

Some DNP programs are able to be done 100% online. Online DNP programs mean that the student does not have to physically attend classes on campus.

Hybrid

In a hybrid format, students are required to come to a physical on-campus location for some portions of the program, while the rest can be completed online.

In-Person

Rarely, do DNP programs require students to be physically present on campus for the entire program but it is possible.

Bridge Programs

There are some direct RN-to-DNP bridge programs that exist. That means that an RN with an associate’s degree who does not have a Bachelor’s in nursing or any advanced nursing education can progress directly into a DNP program. A bridge DNP program will take longer than a typical DNP program because it is providing the student with extra education.

Accelerated

In general, accelerated DNP programs do not exist. However, you can earn a DNP fairly quickly, sometimes in as little as one year if you enroll full-time. 

Show Me DNP Programs

BSN to DNP Program Overview

In general, a DNP prepares a nurse to be one of the highest leaders in the field. A nurse with a DNP may work in direct patient care, in a public health or research capacity, or train the next generation of nurses and nurse leaders.

DNP programs focus on evidence-based research, clinical settings, population health, future initiatives, and health policy.

Admission Requirements

DNP programs require a minimum of a BSN and an active nursing license. The exact specifications for each program will vary, so be sure to check with your specific school before applying, but you may see requirements that include: 

  • An official copy of undergraduate and any graduate school transcripts
  • Copies of any certification, such as Nurse Practitioner or Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of intent
  • Interview
  • Completed application
  • Resume and CV

Program Length

Most BSN-DNP programs can be completed in 3-4 years when enrolled full-time. A part-time DNP from a BSN may take 4-6 years. Typically, a BSN-DNP program takes around 3 years.

Program Cost

Costs for a DNP can vary widely, but in general, you can expect to spend at least $30K on a DNP, with some programs costing well over $200K for the full degree.

Classes

DNP classes focus on evidence-based research, leadership, and caring for individual and community health. Some of the classes you might see in a DNP program include:

  • Evidence-Based Research
  • Writing
  • Patient Safety
  • Quality Improvement
  • Statistics
  • Community Health
  • Patient-Specific Population Health
  • Health Policy
  • Health Care Finance

FAQs

  • Where is the fastest BSN to DNP program?
    • Direct BSN-DNP programs are longer than MSN-DNP programs. The fastest BSN-DNP program offered is around 40 months. 
  • How fast can you get a DNP?
    • You can get a DNP in as little as one year, although most people going that route will go from an MSN to a DNP directly. A BSN-DNP program will take longer. 
  • Is a DNP as good as a doctor?
    • A DNP is a doctoral degree. It is different from a medical doctoral degree, but it is the highest educational achievement in the field of nursing.
  • Are DNP programs hard?
    • DNP programs are rigorous and designed to prepare a nurse to reach the highest level in the nursing field. Like all doctoral programs, DNP students will need to write and defend a thesis or do a DNP project. DNP programs require significant time and financial investments. 
  • What can a DNP do that an NP cannot?
    • A DNP is not automatically a Nurse Practitioner (NP). DNPs can not do what NPs can do without also having a NP license. 
  • Can I do DNP after BSN in nursing?
    • You can, but if you are enrolling in a U.S.-based nursing program, there may be additional requirements. 
DNP Degree Guide >> MSN vs DNP >> Top DNP Programs >>
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