Duke University School of Nursing Review

Duke University is a private university that was established in 1838. It currently is ranked the #8 national university by US News and World Report. Its online graduate nursing school was first offered in 1995, and is ranked #3 in the country. It has a very high reputation for quality, as well as affordable tuition.

Favorite Features

Online graduate nursing program ranked #3 by US News

The online graduate nursing programs at Duke University most recently received a score of 92 out of 100 by US News and World Report. This high score indicates that the program has achieved very high levels of educational quality for a long period of time.

This fact can be seen in many of the specific ranking indicators that US News and World Report publishes. For example, its faculty credentials and training score is 84 out of 100. This score suggests that its professors are well prepared to teaching nursing classes remotely. The best online universities provide rigorous training for instructors on online teaching methods and technology.

The nursing program also ranks very high for admissions selectivity at 13, and its total admissions selectivity score is 90 out of 100. This is a tough school to get into, and you can be sure that the cream of the crop students are the only ones admitted.

Another very important ranking indicator where Duke does very well is peer assessment score. This is a ranking of the opinions of other educators at other universities about the quality of Duke’s nursing programs. Their peer assessment score is 4.1 out of 5.0, which is excellent.

Nursing programs are CCNE-accredited

The bachelor of science, master of science and doctor of nursing practice all are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or CCNE.

CCNE is regarded as the most widely respected nursing program accreditation body in the US. When you see that your nursing program has been CCNE accredited, you can be confident that your program has the highest nursing education standards.

Your possible employers also will be confident that you have achieved a high level of nursing education in your program.

Relatively affordable tuition for MSN degree

Duke University’s online MSN program is very highly regarded by many national publications, including US News and World Report. Its tuition cost is $1639 per credit hour, for a total of approximately $60,000. When considered in light of how highly rated the program is, the tuition is quite affordable.

Also remember that most MSN graduates will enjoy a salary of $80,000 or more. Thus, if you are taking out loans to pay for your education, your debt load should be quite manageable.

Least Favorite Features

GRE scores required for some students

If you have an undergraduate GPA lower than 3.4, you must submit official General Record Exam scores to be considered for admission. The GRE requirement is waived for students who have a 3.4 undergraduate GPA or higher, or if you have already earned a master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited university.

Many educational authorities today do not think that having high GRE scores necessarily means that you will have a successful graduate school career.

Clinical sites are based in North Carolina

When you earn your nursing degree, you will be required to complete a certain number of clinical hours which must be completed at various clinical sites in North Carolina.

These clinical sites include Duke Regional Hospital in both Raleigh and Durham, as well as Durham Public Schools, Cone Health and Durham Housing Authority.

You will need to make special personal arrangements to be able to complete your clinical hours in these locations. This can be challenging for students who work full time and have a family.

Also, you will be required to attend campus several times during your program for campus intensive sessions. This is required during the Physical Assessment course.

Nursing program has a low score for student services

US News and World Report ranks nursing programs for their level of support of online students. US News states that the student services and technology rank for the nursing program is only 40 out of 100. Its student services and technology score is 52 out of 100. This suggests that the school does not offer particularly strong financial, technical and vocational support to its online students.

The Details

General Information

  • Founded in 1838
  • Application deadline: Dec. 1 for nursing
  • Application fee: $50
  • School type: Private
  • Term Schedule: Semester
  • Location: Durham, North Carolina
  • Student-faculty ratio: 6:1
  • 73% of classes with fewer than 20 students

Tuition Rates (Per Credit)

  • $1,638 in state and out of state – $68,838 total

Nursing Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice


Nursing MSN/DNP Certificates

  • Cardiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Oncology
  • Orthopedics

Class Profile

  • 524 enrolled in online graduate nursing programs
  • 565 online graduate nursing applicants, 260 accepted – 46% acceptance rate
  • Overall, 51% male, 49% female
  • Online graduate nursing undergraduate GPA: 3.6

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 97% of freshmen return for their sophomore year, which is one of the best retention rates in the US
  • 1% of two year degree students graduate on time
  • 8% of students overall graduate on time
  • Only 5.1% of students at Duke do not graduate within 150% of the expected time

US News Rankings

  • Best online graduate nursing programs: 3
  • National universities: 8
  • Best colleges for veterans: 3
  • Best value schools: 8
  • High school counselor rankings: 10
  • Most innovative schools: 12
  • Biomedical: 3
  • Best graduate nursing school: 1
  • Best DNP program: 1
  • Best nursing school for NP: 2
  • Online nursing: 3
  • Nurse anesthesia education: 3
  • Nursing informatics education: 3
  • Nursing family education: 4
  • Nursing adult gerontology and acute care: 5

Other Rankings

  • Best Nursing School for Men in Nursing – 2010 and 2016 – the American Assembly for Men in Nursing
  • #4 in annual research funds ($6.4 million) from NIH for nursing programs for 2016