According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing America, there are over 100 schools offering the Doctor of Nursing Practice program in 2013. Making a final decision about the school you want to attend can be difficult, but there are several criteria that can help a potential student make the best decision. Along with a list that describes the top online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs, information on ways to define your own top 10 best schools are included in this article.
Featured DNP Programs
- DNP – Nursing Practice: Capella University
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP): Kaplan University
- Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) – General: Walden University
Finances and Location: the Final Cut
Even if a school is not ranked in the top 10, it may still be a preferable institution to certain students. Most of the time, the final decision about which university program to chose is made based upon available finances. Although the student can apply for financial aid, they may want to pay for these costs out-of-pocket. The current employer of the student may also prefer one degree granting institution over another. However, it is likely that a potential student will make their final decision about an online degree program because of the school’s ranking.
Do Nursing School Rankings Matter?
Apart from rank, one of the most important factors when selecting a school for the Doctor of Nursing Practice is whether the school is accredited. On top of that, the actual program that a student is enrolled in will also need to be accredited. In most cases, the Federal Student Aid program will not give out a loan if the school is not up to standards. Thankfully, verifying if a school is accredited is easy. An independent government agency will typically award this accreditation, and this will be listed on the university’s website. In addition, there are independent agencies, like the US News and World Report, that rank schools according to:
- Faculty Training – credentials and experience
- Student Assessment – teaching practices and professional evaluations
- Student Services – classroom size and access to technology
How to Find the Top 10 DNP Online Schools
In the detailed list below, the best online DNP graduate degree programs are placed in according to their 2012 US News and World Report ranking order. These entries have been cross-listed with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports on universities that have the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Degree-seekers can use this information as a guide for potential online schools. Information concerning Financial Aid and tuition is located at the schools’ website.
Situated in the communities of Lamoni, Iowa and Independence, Missouri, Graceland University has been accredited since 1917. Offline, the current undergraduate campus has less than 3,000 students. As a school with two locations, the nursing programs are under the supervision of the Iowa Board of Nursing and the Missouri State Board of Nursing. Graceland started their first online program with the School of Nursing in 1988. Since this time, it has the honor of becoming one of the top-ranking Doctor of Nursing Practice programs in the United States.
Loyola University New Orleans
As part of the New Orleans, Louisiana community, Loyola University has been active for over 100 years. One of the lowest in the country, the average classroom contains only 10 students. Almost all of the students are part of the Federal Financial Aid program. It is also one of the few universities that offers the same tuition rate for in-state students as out-of-state students. Sixty-five percent of students that apply to this school are admitted, and the total number of the graduate and undergraduate student body is under 6,000. The prerequisites for their online Doctor of Nursing Practice program are a bachelor’s degree in any field. Students that do not have an educational background in nursing can apply for the post-master’s to DNP track or the post-baccalaureate to DNP track.
As one of the top three online schools with a Doctor of Nurse Practice program, it is surprising that the minimum education requirements at Duquesne University is a bachelor’s of science in nursing. There are approximately 5,500 graduate students enrolled online and offline with 99 percent accessing the Federal Financial Aid program. Other advantages to this school include an average classroom size of 13 students, and its association with the Center for Pharmacy Services. In particular, Duquesne is the first university to operate and own an off-campus community pharmacy. In 1950, this school became the first to have an African-American student drafted into the NBA.
University of Pittsburgh
By offering an Accelerated Second Degree Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, the University of Pittsburgh offers non-nursing degree holders a chance to pursue an online degree in a Doctor of Nurse Practice program. Founded in 1787, the School of Medicine is one of the highest rated medical research programs in America. The classroom sizes average 14 students per teacher. With a large graduate program of over 10,000 students, the school admits almost 60 percent of applicants. Famous former students that attended this school are Gene Kelly and Dan Marino.
University of Massachusetts — Amherst
In addition to their online Doctor of Nurse Practice program, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst has an Accelerated 2nd Degree BS in Nursing Track. This allows for non-nursing bachelor’s degree holders to start the DNP program. Sixty-six percent of all students are admitted, and over 88 percent of them are using the Federal Financial Aid program. A fully accredited institution that has been open since 1863, over 6,000 graduate students presently attend the school. Other benefits include a small classroom size of approximately 18 students. To facilitate online learning, coursework is available within their Continuing and Professional Education program.
University of Alabama — Huntsville
As a competitive program, the University of Alabama in Huntsville admits approximately 64 percent of its students. The average classroom has 15 students for every professor. One of the top space-related universities in the world, many students at this school are associated with the NASA program. The online Doctor of Nursing Practice program accepts candidates that have a master’s degree in midwifery, clinical nurse specialist, administration or nurse practitioner programs. This has been an online university since 1999, and students have a wealth of digitized resources to access.
Drexel University is part of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania community and is famous for its computer-related history. For example, this was one of the first universities to require students to own a computer. They are also one of the first campuses in America to have full wireless access. For these reasons, you can anticipate their online Doctor of Nursing Practice program will exceed expectations. They also have a reputation to uphold as the world’s first medical school for women. For perspective students, it is important to note that the student-to-faculty ratio is eleven-to-one.
University of Missouri – Kansas City
Almost every student at the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) accesses the Federal Student Aid program. Statistics like these ensure potential students that it is an accredited university. Starting in 1999, this institution began dedicating itself to online learning. Currently, the school admits approximately 55 percent of their applicants, and has a student-to-faculty ratio of thirteen to one. The graduate school currently has over 5,000 students, and their online Doctor of Nursing Practice program has accepted post-master’s students since 2007. Along with several celebrity alumni, the school is famous for having their mascot, Kasey the Kangaroo, designed by Walt Disney.
George Washington University
Situated in the nation’s capital, George Washington University is only moments away from some of the top tourist attractions. This university only admits about 30 percent of applicants, and has approximately 14 students for every professor. Founded in 1821, famous graduates include former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and other prominent politicians. Their sports team is the NCAA Division I-AAA George Washington Colonials, and they are noted for their academic journal publications. Students entering their online Doctor of Nursing Practice program can be accepted at either the post-master’s or the post-bachelor’s level.
Arizona State University
Located in the Tempe area outside of Phoenix, this university opened its doors in 1885. Since it began its online program, Arizona State University has had the honor of ranking as the seventeenth best online school in America. This makes it number 10 on the list of top online schools that offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Along with a post-master’s option, they also have a post-baccalaureate program. This school recently ranked in the NCAA Pac-12 Conference, and has a reputation for being associated with the ancient hominid fossil, “Lucy.” Famous alumni that went to Arizona State University include Jimmy Kimmel, David Spade, Kate Spade and Barry Bonds.