Examples of Types of BSN to DNP Programs Online

For nurses who want to scale to the top of the nursing field, you may be considering your Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, or DNP. This doctoral degree is a terminal, professional degree that is ideal to move you into high-paying nursing leadership roles. It also provides you with the most advanced clinical nursing skills so that you can impart that knowledge to an entire staff or department of registered nurses.

Getting your DNP is an especially wise choice these days, as this degree is slowly becoming the standard in the advanced nursing practice professions, including nurse practitioner, certified nurse midwife, certified nurse anesthetist and clinical nurse specialist.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing issued a statement back in 2004 that advocated making the DNP degree the standard for advanced nursing practice by 2015. While most employers still accept a Master of Science nursing degree to work in advanced practice nursing, over time this will change. Getting your DNP puts you ahead of the curve.

DNP Demand Rising

The demand is there for more DNP degrees. One recent study found that 25% of BSN graduates intended to become an advanced practice nurse, and more than 70% of them wanted to become either a nurse practitioner or a nurse anesthetist. For them, the DNP degree is the preferred degree, given the shift in requirements that is underway.

Another study in 2006 suggested that getting your DNP could help to ease the chronic nursing faculty shortage. In the study 71% of respondents wanted to earn their DNP degree over other terminal degree options. More than 50% of them cited nursing education as their primary career goal.

The call for the top nursing professionals to have their DNP is why there are more BSN to DNP programs available today. These innovative nursing programs give you the opportunity as a BSN holder to earn your DNP in three or four years, without earning the MSN degree first.

Consider these high quality, BSN to DNP programs that are available online:

Duke University

If you are a current registered nurse and have a BSN, consider this highly regarded BSN to DNP nursing program at Duke University:

  • Assess published clinical studies and evidence to better inform your medical practice.
  • Improve systems of care to produce the best patient outcomes.
  • Make changes in nursing systems to boost quality of care.

All graduates of this BSN to DNP program are transformed into nursing leaders and are experts in improving patient outcomes, systems of care, as well as safety and quality.

All of the below classes are taught online, and you can perform your clinical hours in your own workplace or other nearby clinical setting:

  • Applied Finance and Budget Planning
  • Evidence Based Practice – Locating and Appraising
  • Data Driven Health Care Improvement
  • Effective Leadership
  • Transforming the Nation’s Health
  • Health Systems Transformation
  • DNP Capstone

This is a four year program for most students and features a three day on campus orientation, as well as four on campus sessions each year.

For admission, you must have the following:

  • BSN from an accredited school of nursing
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • GRE is waived if your GPA is 3.4 or higher
  • Updated CV
  • Current RN licensure
  • Personal statement
  • Telephone or in person interview
  • Three letters of reference
  • Undergraduate statistics course

Medical University of South Carolina

The Medical University of South Carolina features a well known and respected BSN to DNP program. This university is recognized for providing a highly supportive nursing learning environment, and it has a very low student to faculty ratio. The online BSN to DNP program currently is ranked #2 in the US according to US News and World Report.

The DNP program features four clinical specializations all with a focus on primary care:

  • Adult gerontology
  • Pediatrics
  • Family and mental health nurse practitioner
  • Post master’s option for advanced practice nurses

DNP students also have the option of taking education courses as well, if they plan a career in nursing education.

All DNP students must travel to the campus for orientation in the last week of July, as well as later in the program to present their project proposal. A final appearance is required for the final poster presentation during the last residency class.

A typical curriculum for this program is as follows:

  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics
  • Scientific Underpinnings for Practice
  • Advanced Clinical Assessment and Reasoning
  • Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Evidence Based Practice, Quality and Safety
  • Advanced Care Management
  • Advanced Health Policy and Advocacy

Admission requirements are similar to Duke University, highlighted above. Note however that GRE scores are required at this university.

Maryville University

The Maryville University DNP program is done 100% online, takes only 18 months for BSN/RN holders, and no GRE scores are needed. This degree program has the ideal nursing outcomes:

  • Readies you for more professional growth, responsibility and autonomy
  • Develops your nursing expertise with more focus on the science of nursing, leadership and health care policy
  • Equips you for the more complex needs of community health care
  • Expands your knowledge base in evidence based practice and clinical care research

This program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which is the standard bearer for nursing program accreditation in the US.


  • Foundations of Nursing Practice
  • Health Care Policy
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics

The BSN to DNP track is ideally suited to the experienced nurse who wants to develop the best clinical nursing leadership skills to effect change in their institution.