50 Best Online PhD Nursing Programs [2020 Guide]

We've ranked the 50 Best Online PhD Nursing Programs for 2020. Compare PhD vs. DNP and see which Doctoral Nursing Program is the best fit.

We’ve ranked the 50 Best Online PhD Nursing Programs for 2020. Compare PhD vs. DNP and see which doctoral nursing program is the best fit.

online phd nursing programs

With your Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice, you’ll be set to earn over $90,000 per year.

Types of Online PhD Nursing Programs

These are the three most common degrees for a doctoral degree in nursing. Click on the one that most interests you to jump to that section.

Each one prepares you for a different career in the medical field.

PhD in Nursing Education

head nurse talking to fellow nurses in hospital

A doctor of philosophy (PhD) in Nursing Education prepares you to teach nursing at the university level.

As a practicing nurse yourself, you have the experience and expertise for delivering high-quality care in a clinical setting. Your doctorate coursework will help you become an expert teacher as well so that you can pass on what you’ve learned to upcoming nurses.


Your curriculum will focus on learning theories and teaching strategies, curriculum development, how to evaluate nursing students, and the ethics of nursing.

After you graduate, you can become a professor, a professional trainer at a hospital, or a dedicated researcher who presents new findings to the nursing world. In any of these roles, you will be shaping the future of the medical field as you teach or otherwise inform nursing professionals.

PhD in Healthcare Leadership

nurses having an administrative meeting

With a PhD in Healthcare Leadership or Healthcare Management, you could either teach at a university or continue working in a clinical setting as an administrator.

Your courses will likely focus on setting a vision for your institution, monitoring and evaluating your organization’s performance, financial management, patient care, and applicable laws and regulations.


You could also take classes that address specific issues or help you to develop certain skills, such as opioid medicines, environmental safety, health management information systems, research methods and statistics, and public speaking.

If you enjoy the business side of the medical world and want to make a real difference in your institution, this is the track for you.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

nurse and doctor discussing in hospital lobby

The two main options for graduates with this degree is to become a hospital or office administrator or to become a nurse practitioner. You may also serve as a trainer in your organization.

If you choose to go in the direction of administration, you might be a nurse manager or help to set policy for your organization. Your coursework will focus on delivering excellent patient care, management, and financial responsibility.


The second popular option is to study to be a nurse practitioner. While this degree doesn’t qualify you to be a doctor per se, you can perform many functions that a doctor does, including seeing and diagnosing patients, administering anesthesia, and delivering babies as a nurse midwife.

You’ll work under a doctor who approves any medicine prescriptions or certain treatment plans.

What Is the Difference between a DNP and a PhD in Nursing?

The main differences between a PhD and DNP include the following:

PhD in Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice
Focuses on research or teaching Focuses on administration or patient care
Average of 60 credit hours Average of 90 credit hours
Minimal clinical requirement Strong emphasis on work history or clinicals
Dissertation likely Capstone project
Average salary of $92,000 Average salary of $94,000

As you can see, the salary is fairly close on average. The difference between a PhD in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), the gap between these two areas of study boils down to what you plan on doing once you complete your coursework and how long your program will take.

PhD students focus on research and the development of nursing theory, as well as how to communicate with students and other parties once these graduates take on positions within the educational field. Though the coursework is shorter, PhD students will likely need to write a dissertation to demonstrate their research skills and expertise over the subject matter.

On the other hand, DNP students plan to put this research and exploration of theory to practice in a more hands-on manner. Members of this group specialize in the application of their learning via clinical practice and administration. They might manage other nurses or serve as a family nurse practitioner in a doctor’s office.

DNP students will spend longer in their programs, but their final project won’t be as time-consuming as writing a dissertation.

Online PhD in Nursing Program Curriculum

Online PhD in Nursing Program Curriculum

Before signing up for classes, it’s a good idea to review the required curriculum for the average PhD in a nursing program. You can expect to cover the following topics and subject matter :

  • Philosophical Perspectives in Health
  • Activities and Responsibilities of the Nurse Scientist
  • Quantitative Research Design and Methods
  • Scientific Perspectives in Nursing
  • Statistical Methods in Public Health

Typically, a PhD in Nursing requires a dissertation. However, some universities offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice with no dissertation.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Concentrations

Like most other doctoral programs, there’s plenty of opportunities to further refine your learning experience via coursework specializations. Some of the most common concentrations include:

  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Nursing Administration
  • Health Policy
  • Specializations for Nurse Practitioners

A concentration can help enhance your understanding of a unique area in the field, thereby increasing your value and competency when it comes time to apply this learning in a professional setting.

Doctorate in Nursing Career Outlook and Salary Information

Doctorate in Nursing Career Outlook and Salary Information

Considering the near-constant need for reliable medical professionals and academic luminaries, it’s no surprise that the BLS reports a healthy career outlook for members of the nursing community. Specifically, job opportunities in the nursing field are expected to grow by an average of 19% over the next several years.

With the average professor salary starting at $88,000 – and resting at a mean of $102,399 – it’s safe to say that this job growth also comes with a healthy level of compensation.

Here are some job titles and average salaries that a PhD in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate might hold.

Job Title Average Salary
Chief Nursing Officer (PhD) $165,000
Dean of Nursing (PhD) $127,000
Nurse Practitoner, Acute Care $98,000
Nurse Practioner, Geriatrics $98,000
Professor (PhD) $97,000
Nurse Practioner, Internal Medicine $96,000
Nurse Practitioner, Cardiology $96,000
Nurse Practioner, Family Practice $92,000
Medical Writer (PhD) $82,000
Nursing Instructor (PhD) $71,000

Again, the average salary for each degree holder is between $92,000 and $94,000.

Accreditation for Doctoral Nursing Programs

logos of accreditation boards for nursing programs

When you’re looking for a university to attend, make sure that it is properly accredited. Accreditation by an independent third-party ensures that your university and nursing program meets the highest standards. Your university as a whole should be accredited by one of these six regional boards.

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

The university’s nursing program could also be accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. Note that it is not necessary to have these program-specific accreditations.

Financial Aid for Students in Online Nursing PhD or DNP Programs

screenshot of FAFSA website

Financial aid is not just for undergrads. Doctoral students can take advantage of it as well. And earning your degree online or on campus doesn’t affect the aid that you qualify for.

When you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you’ll see what grants and loans you qualify for. You can then look for scholarship opportunities at your university or through private organizations. Your university may also offer you a fellowship.

Talk to your employer about possible tuition assistance or tuition reimbursement programs.

Questions Related to Earning Your PhD in Nursing

Here are our answers to a few more questions you might have about earning your doctorate in nursing.

What Is a PhD in Nursing?

Usually spanning between 60 and 80 credit hours of coursework, most PhD in nursing programs cover the research of nursing best practices in the clinical, academic, and scientific environments. However, the application of managerial theory and administrative concepts also serves as a building block of this graduate-level learning experience.

PhD in nursing programs cater to nursing students and established practitioners alike. While returning to the medical industry is definitely a possibility, most recipients of this degree remain in the academic world, seeking tenure at accepting institutions and teaching others via experiential learning.

How Much Does a Nurse with a PhD Make?

How much a nurse PhD makes is $92,000 on average. Salary differences are mainly a result of a person’s experience, medical organizations or universities that a person works for, and the location where they live.

Do DNP Get Paid More than NP?

No, a DNP does not get paid more than an NP because they are essentially the same thing. DNP stands for Doctor of Nursing Practice and is the degree that a Nurse Practitioner (NP) holds.

List of Schools Offering Online PhD Nursing Programs

Rankings Methodology

We’ve included accredited colleges and universities that offer online doctorate programs in nursing.

#1  Boise State University

Boise State University campus

Established in 1932 by the Episcopal Church, Boise State University is located in Boise, Idaho.

The 8-semester DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) in Leadership program is a flexible, online course delivered in a cohort model with other Master’s prepared nurses across the country. There are 4 on-campus Orientation/Executive sessions. Students take 5-6 credits per semester.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice in Leadership

Boise State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#2  Clarion University

Clarion University campus

Founded in 1867, Clarion University is located in Clarion, Pennsylvania.

The DNP course is a consortium program between the Edinboro and Clarion Universities. The online, 27-credit-hour, affordable Clarion and Edinboro Universities program is flexible and can be customized to match the student’s interest.

The courses can be taken over 5 semesters in a part-time format.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Clarion University‘s programs are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#3  Delta State University

Delta State University campus

Located in Cleveland, Mississippi, Delta State University was established in 1924.

The online DNP program is offered by the University’s Robert E Smith School of Nursing. There are different options for Registered Nurses, Post-Master’s FNP, and Post-Master’s non-FNP students, each with different credit hour requirements. Part-time options are also available.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Delta State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#4  Duquesne University

Duquesne University campus

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Duquesne University is a Catholic university established in 1878.

The online DNP program is ranked #35 for Best Online Graduate Nursing programs in the US. It has three start dates in the year, and there is no GRE requirement.

There is an option to study abroad at Duquesne’s Rome and Dublin campuses. Other programs include PhD Nursing and PhD Nursing Ethics.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Nursing
  • PhD in Nursing Ethics

Duquesne University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#5  East Carolina University

East Carolina University campus

Established in 1907, East Carolina University is located in Greenville, North Carolina.

The online/hybrid 36-semester hour DNP program provides two pathways to attain the degree – post-master’s and post-baccalaureate. Students are required to attend 1-5 day on-campus sessions at the beginning of every semester.

There are 5 core courses and 4 DNP project courses apart from the electives.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Hybrid)
  • PhD in Nursing (Hybrid)

East Carolina University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#6  Georgia College

Georgia College campus

Georgia College & State University is located in Milledgeville, Georgia. It was founded in 1889.

The 95% online DNP program comprises 37 semester hours and 540 clinical hours. The program includes a mentored capstone project that focuses on translational and clinical research. The program can be completed within 7 years.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Georgia College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#7  Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University campus

With its flagship campus in Statesboro, Georgia, GSU was established in 1906.

The 100% online only DNP program is spread over 6 semesters, with flexible schedules. Students can take 2-3 courses per semester, and the curriculum requirement is 37 credit hours. There are 9 electives offered in the program.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Commission on Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#8  Hampton University

Hampton University campus

A historically black university that was established in 1868 by black and white leaders, Hampton University is located in Hampton, Virginia.

The post-master’s degree DNP program is delivered 100% online and requires a minimum of 33 hours of coursework (each course: 16 weeks) and 500 clinical hours. There are 3 campus residency sessions. The program can be completed in 2 years.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Nursing

Hampton University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#9  Illinois State University

Illinois State University campus

Located in Normal, Illinois, Illinois State University was founded in 1857.

The 34-hour online DNP program can be completed across 7 semesters and includes 18 hours core courses, 3 hours applied data analysis and management, 6 hours clinical residency, and 7 hours of a scholarly project.

Post-baccalaureate students must complete 1,000 hours of clinical work. International students must submit a Credentials Evaluation Service Report and English proficiency scores.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Nursing (Hybrid)

Illinois State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#10  Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis

Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis campus

Located on the White River/Fall Creek, Indiana, this school was established in 1969 with a merger of the two universities.

The online DNP program is offered by the IU School of Nursing. It is a post-master’s degree 37-41 credit hour professional doctorate program. Additional intensive in-person course-related interactions are focused on policy and advocacy.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Nursing Science

IUPUI is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#11  Indiana State University

Indiana State University campus

Indiana State University is classified as a Doctoral/Research University. It was established in 1865 and is located in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The online DNP program is offered by the University’s College of Health and Human Services and is available across all but 15 states in the US.

The program has a 39-credit-hour requirement post master’s degree program, and students must complete 1,000 hours of supervised clinical preceptorship. There is no dissertation requirement.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Indiana State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#12  Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University campus

Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University was established in 1876.

The DNP program is available in Hybrid and Online formats, and students can choose one of two pathways.

Students can pick the best DNP option that fits their career goals – the online local program that provides opportunities to work with Johns Hopkins faculty in Baltimore or the online with onsite immersion where students attend campus for 7 immersion sessions.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#13  Medical University of South Carolina

Medical University of South Carolina campus

Established in 1874, the Medical University of South Carolina is located in Charleston, South Carolina. It is one of the oldest continuously operating medical schools in the USA.

The online DNP program is not available in 3 states across the country. It can be completed in 2 years. The university’s online programs have been ranked #6 in the nation, #3 among public universities, and #2 for nursing programs for veterans.

  • DNP

The Medical University of South Carolina is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#14  Missouri State University

Missouri State University campus

Located in Springfield, Missouri, Missouri State University was founded in 1905.

The online DNP program for Anesthesia Practice and Nursing Practice programs are both delivered 100% online and can be undertaken while pursuing a career.

The program comprises 29 hours of doctorate coursework and 528 clinical rotation hours and will take a minimum of 5 semesters to complete.

  • Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Missouri State University‘s regional accreditation is through the Higher Learning Commission.

#15  Murray State University

Murray State University campus

Murray State University was founded in 1922 and is located in Murray, Kentucky.

The 36-month DNP program curriculum combines distance learning and online learning, with the first year being 100% online. The second and third years are delivered in a hybrid format. Core courses are taught online, while specialty courses are delivered face-to-face.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Murray State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#16  Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University campus

With its main campus in Flagstaff, Arizona, Northern Arizona University was established in 1899.

The online DNP program is delivered by the University’s College of Health and Human Services. The program comprises 74-79 units of graduate-level course work and 1,000 hours of clinical practice, with a minimum of 240 hours to be completed at the Northern Arizona University.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

NAU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#17  Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University campus

Located in Highland Heights, Kentucky, Northern Kentucky University was founded in 1948.

The100% online DNP program can be completed in 20 months. Students are required to complete 10 core courses of seven weeks length each over for 35 credit hours. The tuition is affordably priced, and multiple start dates are available throughout the year.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#18  Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Northwestern State University of Louisiana campus

Established in 1856, the Northwestern State University of Louisiana has a colorful and interesting history. Located in Natchitoches, Louisiana, it is one of the oldest educational institutions in the state.

The 100% online DNP program is completed over 42 hours of coursework. Students must complete 1,000 hours of clinical work at an approved institution.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Northwestern State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#19  Ohio State University

Ohio State University campus

Located in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University was established in 1870.

The online DNP program is delivered by the university’s College of Nursing. Students completing the DNP program are eligible for certification in one of the advanced practice specialties available. The program has limited authorization in some states and is not available in some states.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#20  Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University campus

Established in 1930, the Old Dominion University is located in Norfolk, Virginia.

The online DNP program is offered by the university’s College of Nursing. Students are required to take 10 courses to complete the degree either on a full or part-time basis. Full-time students can complete the 37-credit course in 1.5 years.

  • DNP – Advanced
  • DNP – Executive

Old Dominion University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#21  Radford University

radford university campus

Founded in 1910, Radford University is located in Radford, Virginia.

The post-master’s degree, 30-credit-hour, online DNP program can be done full time or part-time but must be completed within 8 years. Four different DNP concentrations are available.

The university offers a range of research resources, including tutoring in writing skills, online library compilation, etc.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Radford University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#22  Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville

Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville campus

Located in Edwardsville, Illinois, this branch was established in 1957.

The post-master’s degree, 30-credit, online DNP program is offered by the university’s School of Nursing in combination with the School of Business. The program is structured to be fully online with two on-campus immersion experiences and is conducted over 54 hours of coursework.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

#23  Texas Woman’s University

Texas Womans University campus

Texas Woman’s University is a co-educational institution located in Denton, Texas. It was established in 1902.

The DNP program is available in a Hybrid format, combining both online study and classroom experience. It requires 46 hours, plus 500 hours of clinical work and a capstone project to complete. The program is offered at the university’s Dallas and Houston centers.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Nursing Science

Texas Woman’s University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#24  University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo campus

The flagship institution of the State University of New York system, the University at Buffalo, was founded in 1846. It has campuses in Amherst and Buffalo, New York, and was originally founded as a medical college.

The online 5-7-semester post-master’s degree 36-credit-hour 100% online DNP program is offered by the University’s School of Nursing. Students must complete 400 hours of clinical work.

  • PhD in Nursing

The University at Buffalo is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#25  University of Alabama

University of Alabama campus

Located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the University of Alabama was established in 1820.

The 30 credit online DNP program usually takes about 1.5 years to complete. Students are provided with a faculty advisor to support them through the program.

The program requires one or two campus-based immersion experiences and 1,000 practice hours, of which 500 are part of a supervised program.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • EdD in Instructional Leadership – Nurse Education (Hybrid)

The University of Alabama is accredited and/or recognized by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#26  University of Alabama – Huntsville

University of Alabama Huntsville campus

Established in 1950 as an extension of the University of Alabama, the University of Alabama – Huntsville is located in Huntsville, Alabama.

The 40-credit-hour fully online DNP program is taken over several semesters as determined by the Graduate Faculty Adviser. It offers two pathways: Post-baccalaureate and Post-Master’s degree. The program has one required Intensive in the Spring Semester.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Nursing Science

UAH is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#27  University of Arizona

University of Arizona campus

Located in Tucson, Arizona, the University of Arizona was established in 1885.

The 100% online DNP program has 7 concentration options and enables students who have completed the program to be licensed through the Arizona State Board of Nursing. Students must complete at least 500 hours of clinical practice. The program is not offered to students in some states.

  • DNP – Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Hybrid)
  • DNP – Executive Health Systems Leadership (Hybrid)
  • DNP – Family Nurse Practitioner (Hybrid)
  • DNP – Nurse Anesthesia (Hybrid)
  • DNP – Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (Hybrid)
  • DNP – Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Hybrid)
  • DNP – Nursing Informatics (Hybrid)

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#28  University of Central Arkansas

University of Central Arkansas campus

Established in 1907, the University of Central Arkansas is located in Conway, Arkansas and is noted for courses in nursing, psychology, education, business, and performing arts.

The online DNP program is delivered over 6 consecutive semesters. Students are required to take 2 intensive on-campus days each year, take 2 courses each semester, with 15 hours per week for each 3-hour course.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

The University of Central Arkansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#29  University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida campus

Located in Orlando, Florida, the University of Central Florida was established in 1963. UCF College of Nursing was adjudged among the Most Innovative in 2019-20.

The fully online post-master’s DNP program offers flexibility, convenience, and affordability. Students can take advantage of reduced tuition costs through fee waivers and campus amenities.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Advanced
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Executive
  • PhD in Nursing

The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#30  University of Colorado – Colorado Springs

University of Colorado - Colorado Springs campus

The University of Colorado – Colorado Springs was established in 1902.

The fully online 70-credit-hour DNP program can be completed in 3 years of full-time study and 5 years of part-time study. Students must also complete a capstone project and are required to complete 1,170 hours of supervised clinical coursework at a local medical facility.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

UCCS is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#31  University of Iowa

University of Iowa campus

Located in Iowa City, Iowa, the University of Iowa was founded in 1847. It is the oldest university in the state and the first co-educational institution in the US. The School of Nursing is ranked among the Best Grad Schools 2019.

The top-ranked, online/Hybrid DNP program is offered in a flexible, affordable format tailored to suit individualized schedules and preferences.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

The University of Iowa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#32  University of Kansas

University of Kansas campus

With its main campus in Lawrence, Kansas, the University of Kansas was established in 1866.

The post-master’s degree online DNP program requires 19 credit hours of DNP core courses. Students must fulfill at least 6 hours of the doctoral research project, 7 credit hours of specialty courses along with the university’s Research Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement.

  • DNP (Hybrid)
  • PhD in Nursing (Hybrid)

The University of Kansas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#33  University of Louisiana at Lafayette

University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette was established in 1898.

The online DNP program is offered in collaboration with the Intercollegiate Consortium for Master of Science Nursing, with concentration as a Family Nurse Practitioner is available with a 42-45-credit-hour requirement.

Students can take the program across five semesters and is best suited for those living in Louisiana.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Hybrid)

The University of Louisiana Lafayette is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#34  University of Mississippi

University of Mississippi campus

Established in 1844, the University of Mississippi is located in Oxford, Mississippi.

The flexible, online DNP program is offered by the university’s Medical Center School of Nursing. Students who have completed a master’s degree take 2-3 years. Course delivery combines online courses and intensive 1 or 2-day on-campus sessions each semester.

  • PhD in Nursing

The University of Mississippi is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#35  University of Missouri

University of Missouri campus

Located in Columbia, Missouri and established in 1839, the University of Missouri is the largest university in the state.

The online, 72-74.5 credit hour DNP program is offered by the University’s Sinclair School of Nursing. Students must complete 1,000 hours of supervised clinical hours, based on the emphasis area, and a DNP Scholarly Project.

  • DNP – Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist (Hybrid)
  • DNP – Family Nurse Practitioner (Hybrid)
  • DNP – Nursing Leadership and Innovations in Health Care (Hybrid)
  • DNP – Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist (Hybrid)
  • DNP – Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care (Hybrid)
  • DNP – Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Hybrid)
  • DNP – PhD in Nursing (Hybrid)

The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#36  University of Nevada – Las Vegas

University of Nevada - Las Vegas campus

Established in 1959, the University of Nevada – Las Vegas is located in Paradise, Nevada.

The 100% online post-master’s degree DNP program comprises around 31 semester credit hours depending on the track chosen. Several specializations are offered. A loan program is available for qualified, eligible students. No GRE/GMAT is required. The program is not available in some states.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: BSN – DNP Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: BSN – DNP Nurse Executive
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: Post-Master’s Advanced Practice
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: Post-Masters Nurse Executive
  • Doctor of Philosophy – Nursing

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#37  University of Nevada – Reno

University of Nevada Reno campus

Located in Reno, Nevada, this university was established in 1874.

The online DNP program is available either via BSN to DNP or as a post-master’s degree. The 30-credit-hour program can be completed in two years. Students can also take a 3-year study plan that also requires 30 credit hours.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

The University of Nevada, Reno is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

#38  University of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire campus

With its main campus in Durham, New Hampshire, the University of New Hampshire was founded in 1866.

The online DNP program requires 8 core courses, 3 doctoral seminars, two on-campus residencies, and 1,000 advanced practice clinical hours, a publishable scholarly paper, a successful oral defense of the DNP project, and its acceptance by your DNP team. Cohorts are admitted bi-annually.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

The University of New Hampshire is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

#39  University of North Carolina

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus

Located across 16 of North Carolina’s campuses, the University of North Carolina was originally founded at Chapel Hill in 1789. It is the first residential school for gifted students to be set up in the US.

The online DNP program takes about two years to complete on a full-time basis. The program length varies between 37 and 41 credit hours for post-master’s degree students on a full or part-time basis.

  • DNP – Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP – Nursing
  • DNP – Nursing Education

UNC is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#40  University of North Dakota

University of North Dakota campus

Established in 1883, the University of North Dakota is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The university offers a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and also a PhD in Nursing. The online DNP program can be taken on a full-time, part-time, or accelerated basis.

Students take 18-24 months to complete the full-time program, 32 months for the part-time program, and 12 months for the accelerated one.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Nursing

The University of North Dakota as a whole is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

#41  University of South Alabama

University of South Alabama campus

Located in Mobile, Alabama, the University of South Alabama was established in 1963.

The online DNP program is offered by the University’s College of Nursing. Students can choose from among 15 different specialty areas. Three pathways are available for students based on their level of education. All requirements for the degree must be completed within 7 years.

  • DNP – Adult-Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP – Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP – Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • DNP – Executive Nurse Administrator
  • DNP – Family Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP – Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP – Nursing Informatics
  • DNP – Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP – Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP – Psychiatric (Family) Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP – Public Health Administration
  • DNP – Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

The University of South Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

#42  University of Southern Mississippi

University of Southern Mississippi campus

With its main campus located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the University of Southern Mississippi was established in 1910.

The DNP program is available via three pathways. The BSN to DNP program is 100% online, while the Nursing (FNP) MSN and Nursing (FNP) Graduate Certificate programs are Hattiesburg Hybrid. Students require 34-43 credit hours to complete the program.

  • PhD in Nursing Leadership

The University of Southern Mississippi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#43  University of Texas at Tyler

University of Texas at Tyler campus

The University of Texas at Tyler was founded in 1971.

The PhD Nursing program and partly online DNP programs are offered by the University’s Department of Graduate Nursing. The DNP program consists of 45 credit hours and 1,000 clinical hours. Scholarship and financial support are available for eligible students.

  • PhD in Nursing

The University of Texas at Tyler is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#44  University of Toledo

University of Toledo campus

Located in Toledo, Ohio, the University of Toledo was established in 1872.

The online DNP program is designed to admit BSN prepared nurses. There are four program major options. Some of the courses are available online, while students will have to attend classes at the UT Health Science Campus along with 1060-1150 hours of clinical practice.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

The University of Toledo is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#45  Villanova University

Villanova University campus

Established in 1842, Villanova University is a Catholic University located in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania.

The University offers a PhD in Nursing and a post-master’s DNP degree. The 32 credit hour DNP program is a blend of distance learning and classroom experiences. Distance learning classes are according to a fixed schedule.

  • PhD in Nursing

Villanova University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#46  Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Commonwealth University campus

Located in Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University is ranked among the best in the country. It was established in 1838.

The online DNP program is available on a full or part-time basis with a 39 minimum credit hour requirement. Students are required to be on campus three times during a year. TOEFL scores are required for non-native-English-speaking students.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Hybrid)
  • PhD in Nursing

VCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

#47  West Virginia University

West Virginia University campus

With its main campus in Morgantown, West Virginia, the West Virginia University was established in 1862.

The online DNP program offered by the University’s School of Nursing has a requirement of 33 credit hours completed over 7-10 semesters. Additional clinical and capstone credits may be required to complete the coursework.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

West Virginia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#48  William Carey University

William Carey University campus

William Carey University was established in 1892 and is located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. It is a Christian college affiliated with the Southern Baptist Church.

The PhD Nursing program can be taken over two or three years through a trimester system. The pace can be tailored to the student’s requirements, but the program must be completed in 6 years.

  • PhD in Nursing Education and Administration (Hybrid)

William Carey University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#49  Wilmington University

Wilmington University campus

Located in Newcastle, Delaware, Wilmington University was established in 1968.

The online DNP program is flexible and delivered 100% online. It can be completed in 28 months, culminating in a 9-credit, one-year long doctoral project. Core courses are delivered in 7-week-long blocks and DNP project courses over 15-week semesters.

  • DNP – Advanced Practice
  • DNP – Leadership

Wilmington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

#50  Winona State University – Rochester

Winona State University - Rochester campus

Located in Rochester, Minnesota, the Winona State University – Rochester was founded in 1917.

The DNP program is designed for the RN prepared student with either a baccalaureate or master’s degree in nursing. The master’s degree student is required to complete 31 credit hours, which include 9 clinical scholarship credits and 540 clinical hours.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice

Winona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Is a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Worth It?

happy nurse assisting a female patient

Yes, a doctor of philosophy is worth it. After graduation, you can expect to make between $71,000 and $165,000 for your expertise. It may take a lot of hard work completing the classes and writing your dissertation, you’ve come this far in your education and career, so you’re sure to have the ability to finish your doctoral degree as well.

You can start by deciding which degree you want – a PhD in Nursing Education, a PhD in Healthcare Leadership, or a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Then, narrow down your choice of schools by degree offering and possible concentrations. Apply to your top 3-5 choices and research financial aid opportunities.

In 3-5 years, you should be finished with your degree and making top dollar as an expert in your field.

This article is brought to you by
Daniel Nguyen
Daniel Nguyen
Author
Hannah Davis
Hannah Davis
Editor
Joy Mays
Joy Mays
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Stephen Wilson
Stephen Wilson
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