EDUCATION
April 26, 2022

Top Direct-Entry Nurse Practitioner Programs

Top Direct-Entry Nurse Practitioner Programs

What is a Direct-Entry Nurse Practitioner Program? 

Direct-entry nurse practitioner (NP) programs are for students with a non-nursing bachelor's degree who want to begin a career as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) faster than in a traditional program. You’re able to earn both a bachelor of nursing (BSN) and a master of nursing (MSN) at the same time by combining the two in an accelerated program.

Every program is unique. Some MSN programs bypass a BSN for an MSN alone while still allowing students to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Students can become licensed in the state where they receive their education midway through their program. However, most programs include earning a BSN.

Although most direct-entry programs on this list result in obtaining an MSN, some require obtaining a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) prior to graduation.

Fast Facts About Nurse Practitioners

Salary  $120,680 annually or $58.02/hr per the BLS
Program length 3-5 years
Program Requirements Completion of prerequisite courses for admission

Direct-Entry Nurse Practitioner Program Ranking Methodology 

Our ranking algorithm uses the latest and most robust U.S. government data sets, specifically the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and College Scorecard. We take into consideration factors such as graduation rate, student-faculty ratio, program focus, and more to help you find the right nursing program for you.

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Top Direct-Entry Nurse Practitioner Programs 

School Tuition Online Options?
Yale University, West Haven, CT  $69,776 per year No
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH $1,622 per unit No
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

$7,451 for in-state

$13,332 for out-of-state

No
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN $1,793 per unit No
Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI $63,000 for program Yes, for non-clinical coursework
University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA $73,400 Yes
University of Rochester, Rochester, NY $1,680 per credit hour Yes
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 

6.0 Units or Less (part-time): $1,665 per unit

6.1+ Units (full-time): $2,871

No
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 

In-state tuition for two semesters: $16,280

Out of state tuition for two semesters: $41,280

No
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 

$56,500 per year

No

1. Yale University, West Haven, CT 

Yale’s graduate entry prespecialty in nursing (GEPN) program is a three-year program that allows nursing students to practice as nurse practitioners much faster than in traditional programs. This program is an intensive, year-round, full-time study program that combines primary nursing practice with advanced nursing practice.

Concentrations offered:

Additional program information:

  • Tuition: $69,776/yr
  • Program length: 3 years
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application deadline: April 22 (Yale only enrolls new GEPN students once per calendar year, in August).
  • Contact info: 
    • Email: sascha.james-conterelli@yale.edu
    • Phone number: 203-737-2416
  •  Are Online Options Available? No 
  • Types of a direct-entry nurse practitioner programs: On-campus/hybrid classroom work

2. The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

The graduate-entry nursing program and OSU allow students with a bachelor's degree in a different field to earn an MSN in nursing and become nurse practitioners.

Students are first required to complete prerequisite courses before starting the MSN program. The OSU graduate-entry program is an intensive full-time, year-round, three-year course of study.

Concentrations offered:

Additional program information:

  • Tuition: $1,622 per unit
  • Program length: Three years
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application deadline: April 1st and October 31st
  • Contact info: 
    • Email: nursing@osu.edu
    • Phone number: 614-292-4041
  • Are online options available? No
  • Types of a direct-entry nurse practitioner programs: On-campus/hybrid classroom 

3. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Students with a bachelor's degree in another field can earn an MSN and become an NP in as few as five semesters at the University of Cincinnati.

Concentrations offered:

Additional program information:

  • Tuition: 
    • $7,451 for in-state
    • $13,332 for out-of-state
  • Program length: 64 credit hours in five semesters
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application deadline: Sep 1st and Feb 10th
  • Contact info:
    • Email: nursingbearcats@uc.edu
    • Phone number: (513) 558-3600
  • Are online options available? No 
  • Types of a direct-entry nurse practitioner programs: 
    • On-campus & online
    • Hybrid programs

4. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

At Vanderbilt University, students with no nursing background can become nurse practitioners through their PreSpecialty master’s entry program. Students must already have a bachelor's degree in another field.

Students start with three semesters of bachelor's level nursing classes before continuing with their NP specialty classes. In most cases, students can complete the remainder of their programs in an additional three semesters if attending the program full-time.

After completing the prespecialty courses, students will enter an additional sequence of courses within their declared specialty to earn an MSN.

Concentrations offered:

Additional program information:

  • Tuition: $1,793 per unit
  • Program length: Six semesters if full-time
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application deadline: October 15th
  • Contact info: 
    • Email: vusn-admissions@vanderbilt.edu
    • Phone number: 1.888.333.9192
  • Are online options available? No
  • Types of a direct-entry nurse practitioner programs: On-campus/hybrid

5. Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI

Marquette University's Direct Entry MSN program can help students who have a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing to become NPs quickly.

One of the benefits of Marquette's program is that it tailors to diverse learning styles in hybrid, online, and traditional coursework settings. Other benefits include:

  • A high fidelity simulation center to practice in a safe environment 
  • Clinical rotations are located at top healthcare facilities in Metro Milwaukee, Southeast Wisconsin, and Northeast Illinois

This program offers three start dates per year: January, May, and August.

Students earn a master’s degree in nursing upon graduation. Students who attend this program do not earn a BSN. 

Concentrations offered:

Additional program information:

  • Tuition: $63,000 for program
  • Program length: 21 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application deadline: Rolling deadline
  • Contact info: 
    • Phone number: (866) 891-8438
  • Are online options available? Yes, for non-clinical coursework
  • Types of a direct-entry nurse practitioner programs: On-campus/hybrid

6. University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

UCSF’s Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN) is a three-year accelerated, full-time program that allows people with a non-nursing bachelor's degree to earn an MSN. Many of their programs are Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) or other advanced practice nursing degrees. However, they also offer several MEPN programs for students who wish to be nurse practitioners.

Graduates of this program earn a BSN and MSN and are prepared for advanced nursing roles. The program focuses on incorporating the functions of the clinician, educator, health policy expert, consultant, and researcher.

Concentrations offered:

Additional program information:

  • Tuition: $73,400
  • Program length: Three years
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application deadline: September 13th
  • Contact info: 
    • Email: nursingadmissionssupport@ucsf.edu
    • Phone number: (415) 476-1435
  • Are online options available? Yes
  • Types of a direct-entry nurse practitioner programs: On-campus/hybrid/in-person clinical rotations

7. University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

The University of Rochester's accelerated master’s program for non-nurses helps students become NPs faster than traditional programs. Students must have a bachelor's degree in another field. 

The accelerated master's is a three-year, full-time, intensive program where students earn both a BSN and an MSN.

Concentrations offered

Additional program information:

  • Tuition: $1,680 per credit hour
  • Program length: Three years
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application deadline: July 1st and November 1st
  • Contact info: 
    • Email: son-info@urmc.rochester.edu
    • Phone number: (585) 275-2375
  • Are online options available? Yes 
  • Types of a direct-entry nurse practitioner programs: On-campus/Hybrid classroom/in-person clinical rotations

8. San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 

The Entry-Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELMSN) program at San Francisco State is a six-semester program. This program prepares students who possess a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to take the NCLEX-RN and become a registered nurse.  

Students are eligible for the NCLEX-RN upon completion of four semesters. At that point, students continue with a master’s thesis. Graduates earn a BSN and MSN degrees.

Concentrations offered:

Additional program information:

  • Tuition:
    • 6.0 Units or Less (part-time): $1,665 per unit
    • 6.1+ Units (full-time): $2,871
  • Program length: 7-8 semesters 
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application deadline: January 15th
  • Contact info: 
    • Email: nursing@sfsu.edu
    • Phone number: (415) 338-1802
  • Are online options available? No 
  • Types of a direct-entry nurse practitioner programs: On-campus/hybrid/ in-person clinical rotations

9. University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 

The direct-entry DNP accelerated degree program prepares individuals with a baccalaureate degree in a field other than nursing to provide primary care as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).

The program is a full-time, four-year program that enables students to earn a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP).

Concentrations offered:

Additional program information:

  • Tuition:
    • In-state tuition for two semesters: $16,280
    • Out of state tuition for two semesters: $41,280
  • Program length: 11 semesters (4 years if full-time)
  • Accreditation: CCNE 
  • Application: December 1st
  • Contact info: 
    • Email: graduate.admissions@uvm.edu
    • Phone number: (802) 656-2699
  • Are online options available? No 
  • Types of a direct-entry nurse practitioner programs: On-campus/hybrid courses, in-person clinical rotations

10. Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Northeastern University's on-campus Direct Entry Nursing program allows students to use a non-nursing bachelor's degree and work experience to become nurse practitioners. 

Students first complete an accelerated BSN and take the NCLEX-RN to become licensed as registered nurses. The first 16 months of the program prepare students with a BSN. Then they continue their education to become APRNs in a specialty area.

Concentrations offered:

Additional program information:

  • Tuition: $56,500 per year
  • Program length: 5 semesters
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application deadline: December 1st
  • Contact info: 
    • Email: bouvegrad@northeastern.edu
    • Phone number: 617-373-6064
  •  Are online options available? No
  • Types of a direct-entry nurse practitioner programs: On-campus and hybrid

Top Direct-Entry Master's in Nursing Programs >> Top Nurse Practitioner Programs 2022 >> Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs 2022 >>

Why Should You Consider a Direct-Entry Nurse Practitioner Program?

1. Becoming an NP from a direct-entry NP program allows students to work in a variety of locations, such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient facilities
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • Physician offices
  • Community health centers
  • College campuses
  • Workplace health centers

2. Many campuses have start dates in both the spring and fall

Select campuses have rolling admissions dates that start at various times throughout the year. 

3.  Part-time programs are available

Although direct-entry NP programs are intensive and full-time, some programs offer part-time options which help students who wish to work during their programs.

4. You increase your earning potential

By becoming an NP through a direct-entry program, students have the ability to earn significantly more than they would with a BSN alone. Additional benefits include:

  • Better advancement opportunity
  • More autonomy
  • Specialization in many different areas, including primary care, pediatrics, psychiatric care, women’s health, acute care, emergency care, geriatrics, and more.

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Direct Entry Nurse Practitioner Program Courses

All direct-entry NP programs require a set number of courses, clinical hours, and other thesis work for graduation eligibility.

Class names will also vary depending on the institution. However, many programs will have courses involving studies in the following topics:

  • Health assessment & nursing skills with labs
  • Nursing with women and families with clinical hours
  • Advanced pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology for advanced practice
  • Health and Illness nursing perspective
  • Adult nursing care of adults with clinical hours
  • Mental health with clinical hours
  • Nursing care for children with clinical
  • Health care research
  • Managing and leading in nursing
  • Healthcare ethics
  • Public Health Community Nursing with clinical hours

Graduate coursework is also determined by the student's chosen specialty. Students should be prepared to take one to two years of full-time specialty study after obtaining RN licensure.

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Types of Direct-Entry Nurse Practitioner Programs

Types of NP program specialties may include:

  • Geriatric care
  • Pediatrics
  • Women’s health
  • Neonatal
  • Intensive care
  • Primary care
  • Psychiatric care
  • Neuro/trauma
  • Liver and kidney transplant
  • Cardiac care

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FAQs About Direct-Entry Nurse Practitioner Programs 

  • Is a direct-entry nurse practitioner program right for you? 

    • Answer 1If you have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field but what to practice as a nurse practitioner, a direct-entry NP program may be the best choice for you! Direct-entry nurse practitioner (NP) programs allow students with a non-nursing bachelor's degree to pursue a career as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) faster than traditional programs.
  • Is a direct-entry MSN worth it? 

    • If you already have a bachelor's degree in another field, a direct MSN is faster and probably makes more sense than earning a BSN and MSN individually. Also, a direct-entry MSN ensures that you do not retake courses that you have already studied and may also be more cost-effective.
  • Can you go straight to MSN after RN?

    • Some universities offer an RN to MSN route that incorporates BSN coursework into the program. This type of program would make sense for a student who graduated with an associate's degree in nursing (ADN) from a two-year institution. 
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