The different types of DNP programs include options that allow you to earn your degree in less time, don’t require the GRE, and bridge programs to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a DNP.
Check out some of these options and a few schools that offer each to find the perfect program for you.
Different Types of DNP Programs
As you’ll see below, there are many types of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs to fit the needs of students based on educational experience, flexibility needs, and whether you need to take the GRE as part of admissions requirements.
The types of DNP programs are:
A DNP is one of two terminal degrees in nursing and is more focused on researching and analyzing methods of patient care to improve the practice of nursing. Check out some of the different types of DNP programs below and some of the partner schools that offer that type of program.
- Specializations: Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, Nursing Leadership
- Set your own deadlines and move at your own speed
- 95% of nursing alumni are satisfied with their Capella education (Alumni Outcomes Survey 2019-20)
MSN to DNP Programs
MSN to DNP are specially designed for students who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and who are licensed registered nurses (RNs). Normally, these dual degrees allow you to earn your degrees in less time than it would take to earn them separately.
Most programs are designed so that you are required to complete and earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) before starting coursework on the DNP. However, it’s important to check with each school to see specific requirements.
Learn more about any of our partner schools listed below for more information about their DNP programs.
MSN to DNP Programs at Purdue University GlobalThe online MSN to DNP programs at Purdue Global are designed so that you may pursue your degree around your busy schedule. Each of your options cover a balanced core curriculum and specialized courses in organizational theory, healthcare finance, and healthcare technologies.
MSN to DNP Program at St. AugustineBy allowing you to complete your degree entirely online, the program at St. Augustine offers flexibility to fit into your busy schedule. Plus, you can complete your practicum hours in your own community and partner with a faculty mentor and preceptor of your choice. In addition, the school offers three concentrations so you can choose the path that fits you. Depending on the number of credits you transfer or if you start the program from scratch, you’ll need to earn 42 to 52 credits to earn your degrees.
MSN to DNP programs:
MSN to DNP Programs at Loyola University New OrleansLoyola New Orleans offers two different tracks for their MSN to DNP programs:
- Nurse Practitioner Track: this track is designed to teach clinical practice and healthcare leadership
- Executive Leader Track: this track prepares students to champion the mission of a healthcare organization
Online DNP Programs No GRE
If you didn’t earn as a high of a score as you would’ve liked on the GRE, or if you don’t want to stress about preparing for and taking the GRE, there are many online DNP programs that don’t require you to submit GRE scores.
However, keep in mind that these programs do have other admissions requirements, which usually include:
- Earned an MSN
- Active RN license
- At least one year of employment after MSN
- Statement of vision
- Letters of recommendation
- Official transcripts
Some schools have stricter requirements than others. For instance, some schools will look for applicants with a 3.2 MSN GPA, while others may not be as strict. Check with any of the partner schools listed below for specific admissions requirements.
Online DNP No GRE at DuquesneWith your years of education and professional experience, Duquesne knows that you already translate evidence-based care into practice. As a result, their is designed to give you the tools and analytical experience to put you in a position to transform the future of healthcare. In addition, the program offers:
- Three start dates per year
- Study abroad options
- One-on-one faculty mentorship
MSN to DNP programs:
Online DNP No GRE at GCUDesigned for advanced-practice registered nurses, nurse informaticists, and nurse leaders, the online DNP programs at Grand Canyon offer peer discussion and in-depth application-based activities integrated into your current or desired future practice environment.
Accelerated DNP Programs
If you’re looking to earn your DNP in less time, an accelerated DNP may be the perfect choice for you. Usually, these programs may be completed in two years or less by motivated students.
In addition, some are BSN to DNP programs that offer the ability to overlap courses so you may be able to earn you combined degree in less time than it would take to earn each degree separately.
Check out the sponsored listings below of schools that offer accelerated DNP programs for more information.
Accelerated DNP at BradleyThe accelerated DNP at Bradley is their BSN to DNP program that offers a Family Nurse Practitioner track. This program is designed for students who already have a RN license and offers three different start dates per year to offer you the flexibility you need. This program requires you to earn 83 credits, which includes supervised clinical practicum and may be completed 12 semesters and four years.
DNP Program at Sacred HeartThe accelerated DNP at Sacred Heart University may be completed in a year and a half, though many students choose to earn their degree in two years. The practice-focused DNP is designed to build upon your masters-level education. Your curriculum and assignments strive to develop your expertise in various leadership and teaching roles in the nursing profession and the healthcare delivery system.
Accelerated DNP at the University of Saint JosephThe accelerated online DNP at the University of Saint Joseph strives to teach a strong knowledge of nursing scholarship, clinical practice, health promotion, disease treatment, and the skills necessary to work in an evolving healthcare environment. This program may be completed in two years and offers three tracks to customize your degree to meet your professional goals:
- Clinical Leadership
- Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Direct Entry DNP Programs
Designed for students who have a non-nursing master’s degree, direct entry DNP programs usually offer some type of bridge program to get you caught up to speed on terms, techniques, and research to prepare you for the DNP.
Depending on the program, this usually includes about three courses. And, if you only have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, there are other direct entry nursing MSN programs to help you enter the field and earn a master’s degree.
Direct Entry DNP Programs at Capella:Specifically designed for students who have a master’s degree in a non-nursing field, the direct-entry DNP program at Capella is structured with:
- Three preparatory courses
- Nine core courses
- Four capstone courses with practicum
MSN to DNP programs:
A Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP, is one of two types of terminal degrees, or the highest degree you can earn, in nursing. As a result, these programs cover topics centered around nursing leadership, methods of improving patient care, and the practice of nursing through an in-depth analysis of current research in the field.
Through a core curriculum and evidence-based practice, these programs emphasize topics such as:
- Systems management
- Quality improvement
- Data-driven decision making
- Improving healthcare delivery systems
- Improving patient outcomes
DNP vs NP
The main difference between a DNP and a nurse practitioner (NP) is that an NP is a job title and a DNP is a doctoral degree. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, in order to become an NP you need to earn either a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a DNP.i
There are many types of NPs, including Family Nurse Practitioners and Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioners. Read our complete list of NP and DNP specialties, which may help you decide which is perfect for you.
DNP vs PhD in Nursing
The main difference between the DNP and the PhD in nursing is the DNP is more focused on practice and the specific application of lessons, whereas PhD programs strive to prepare nurses to conduct research and advance the science of nursing.
When searching for the perfect program for you, these differences are important to understand. If you’re interested more in practice than in research, choosing the DNP may be right for you. However, take time to research all of your nursing doctorate options.
How Long Does Is a DNP Program?
Many DNP programs can be completed in three to four years for full-time students. Plus, there are some part-time programs that are structured so some students may complete them in three years.
In addition, many schools require that you complete the program within a certain number of years of starting so that all the material stays fresh. Normally, this requirement ranges from five to seven years, depending on the program.
Find the Perfect DNP for You!
With all of these options, it’s easy to find the perfect DNP for you, that meets your expectations and fits your schedule. Click on any of the sponsored listings on this page to contact the schools directly to find out when the next start date is and how to apply.
All Partner Schools with DNP (or Related) Programs
- Take advantage of some of the nation’s most affordable tuition rates, while earning a degree from a private, nonprofit, NEASC accredited university
- Qualified students with 2.5 GPA and up may receive up to $20K in grants & scholarships
- Multiple term start dates throughout the year. 24/7 online classroom access.
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