Pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a significant step in a nurse’s career, providing advanced skills and leadership capabilities. While the journey to a DNP can be demanding, the time commitment aspect need not be a barrier. Numerous universities offer accelerated DNP programs, allowing nurses to pursue their academic aspirations quicker than average. This article explores ten of the quickest DNP programs for 2024-2025, each offering a convenient route to an esteemed DNP degree.

1. University of Minnesota

Length: 12 Months (32 Credits)

The University of Minnesota’s post-master’s DNP program stands out as an exceptional opportunity for nurses seeking a rapid yet cost-effective path to a doctorate. Completing the program in just 12 months, students can efficiently advance their careers while managing their financial investments wisely.

One great thing about U of M’s DNP program (besides its timeliness) is the many specializations available for its students. By enrolling in the U of M’s DNP program, you can focus your education in the following areas:

  • Nurse practitioner
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse midwife
  • Nurse anesthetist

Classes are offered mostly online with some intermittent on-campus commitments.

Learn more about the University of Minnesota’s program here.

2. University of Miami

Length: 12 months (39 – 47 Credits)

The University of Miami’s 12-month DNP program offers nurses an efficient avenue toward their doctoral aspirations. This program combines academic excellence with a rapid timeline, making it an attractive choice for those seeking to minimize financial burdens while advancing their careers.

This rigorous MSN to DNP program is not available online and a total of 560 credit hours are required to graduate. The benefit of this, however, is that students from out of state will be forced to relocate to beautiful, idyllic, Florida. For students who find the time commitment too much, the University of Miami also offers a two-year DNP.

Learn more about the University of Miami’s program here.

3. Chatham University

Length: 12 Months (27 Credits)

Chatham University’s post-master’s DNP program is designed to provide nurses with an efficient and affordable pathway to a doctorate. By combining a condensed timeline with cost-effective tuition, this program empowers nurses to reach their academic and career goals without excessive financial burdens.

Chatham University’s DNP program is not only one of the fastest DNP programs on the market, it’s also one of the most convenient. While other DNP programs require several (if not all) of their sessions to be completed on campus, Chatham University’s program only requires one on-campus section at the end of the program. Apart from this session, the classes are 100% available online and clinicals and licensure can be completed in the communities where students are based.

Learn more about Chatham University’s program here.

4. Francis Marion University

Length: 12 Months (30 Credits)

Francis Marion University’s 12-month DNP program, designed for those who already hold an MSN, is a prime example of an accelerated education option for nurses. This program caters to individuals seeking to elevate their nursing practice and leadership skills without the lengthy time commitment that many doctorate programs require.

This program is not available online, but those not based in Florence, SC will be easily charmed by this scenic town. Applicants will need to be licensed in South Carolina and must complete 360 clinical hours in the community of Florence.

Learn more about Francis Marion University’s program here.

5. Westminster University

Length: 12 Months (Varying credits)

Westminster University’s 12-month DNP program for post-MS students offers a swift and affordable path to advanced nursing practice and leadership. This program is designed to equip nurses with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in a variety of healthcare settings.

In just three semesters, students at Utah’s Westminster University can complete their DNP, allowing them to contribute effectively to healthcare improvements. The program’s hybrid learning model allows students to complete online and in-person courses for maximum convenience.

Learn more about Westminster University’s program here.

6. Northeastern University

Length: 16 Months (34 Credits)

Northeastern University’s Bouve College of Nursing offers a 16-month DNP program that strikes a balance between efficiency and cost-effectiveness. This program caters to nurses who seek a comprehensive education in a reasonable timeframe without incurring excessive debt.

In just over a year, students at Boston’s Northeastern University can complete their DNP, gaining the knowledge and skills necessary for advanced nursing practice and leadership. The program is available for those with at least 2 years of active advanced nursing experience and an MSN or related healthcare degree. You will also need to complete 1,000 credit hours and be licensed in the State of Massachusetts.

Learn more about Northeastern’s program here.

7. Gannon University

Length: 16 Months (23 Credits – 32 Credits, depending on current licensure and qualification)

Located in Erie, Pennsylvania, Gannon University’s 16-month DNP program offers nurses an accelerated route to a doctorate. This program empowers nurses to advance their careers and leadership skills without the financial strain often associated with advanced degrees.

Graduates of Gannon University’s DNP program are well-prepared to take on advanced roles in healthcare and can re-enter the healthcare field as licensed DNPs. The 100% online format makes it easy for students to fit in their coursework and clinical requirements wherever they reside.

Learn more about Gannon University’s program here.

8. Frontier Nursing University

Length: 18 Months (30 Credits)

Frontier Nursing University’s 18-month post-master DNP program combines efficiency with affordability, providing nurses with a manageable timeframe and reasonable tuition costs. This program is designed to accommodate the schedules of working nurses while ensuring they receive a high-quality education.

Classes at Frontier University’s post-master DNP programs are offered 100% online apart from a three-day in-person session held on their Versailles, KY campus at the very beginning of the first semester. From there, students are free to complete their classes from home and their 500 clinical hours in the communities in which they currently serve.

Learn more about Frontier’s program here.

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