In the discipline of nursing, the "terminal" degree type, or highest possible degree in nursing is the doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. Depending on the specific program and coursework students complete, DNPs will help to prepare advanced practice nurses to work in both organizational/educational and clinical settings.

BSN to DNP students will be expected to complete 65 to 95 unit hours along with a number of supervised clinical clerkship hours to be awarded the degree. Typically, students enrolled in a full-time BSN to DNP program will take three to four years to finish. Most MSN to DNP programs will require students to complete at minimum 39 unit hours to earn the degree, and will generally take full-time students about two years to complete.

Critical disciplines that must be mastered by students during DNPs will include, but not be limited to:

  • Advanced pharmacology
  • Research Methods and Evidence Based Medicine
  • Health and Physical Assessment
  • Public Policy

Choosing a Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

The state of Iowa offers nursing students six DNP programs. Prior to applying, there are some factors to consider.

What to Consider When Choosing a DNP Program

  • Program Cost— Tuition for DNP programs in the state of Iowa will generally cost in-state and out-of-state students the same per credit hour rate, which ranges between $510 and $850 per credit hour. There may be additional expenses. Some examples would include, but are not limited to, additional criminal background checks, proctoring fees, CPR classes, travel expenses, uniforms, etc.
  • Online/Campus options
    • Clarke University—MSN to DNP program offers students courses both online and on campus
    • Kaplan University—Both post-BSN and post-MSN can be considered for the entirely online program
  • Accreditation— DNP programs in the state of Iowa are accredited by the Commission on Nursing Education (CCNE).
  • Residency— Residencies are a stage in clinical education where a nurse practitioner provides patient care under the supervision of either a physician or another nurse practitioner while being paid a salary. The following are residency/fellowship opportunities offered within the state of Iowa:

Admission & State Licensing or Certification Requirements


Requirements for admission into DNP programs in Iowa differ from program to program. The following is a rough outline of requirements which admitted students fulfilled:

  • Complete an online Doctor of Nursing Practice application
  • Provide curriculum vitae (CV) or resume
  • Possess an unencumbered RN license
  • Possess a BSN or MSN from an NLNAC or CCNE accredited program
  • Documentation of clinical hours performed in MSN program
  • Have maintained a 3.0 grade point average, based on a 4.0 system in either undergraduate or graduate degree programs
  • GRE scores required for applicants with an undergraduate GPA under 3.0, recommended for all other applicants
  • Personal statement of goals for doctoral education and subsequent career plans
  • Personal interview with faculty
  • Photocopy of current professional license(s)
  • Satisfactory criminal background check after acceptance


DNP programs in the state of Iowa permit students to sit for state certification upon successful completion of programs. Iowa DNP program graduates can become certified in the following disciplines:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Anesthesia
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (DNP – FNP)
  • Nurse Educator/Organizational Leadership (DNP – NEOL)


DNPs in the state of Iowa are licensed by the Iowa Board of Nursing, and must meet the following criteria:

  • Complete an APRN application
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Provide transcripts from pertinent educational institutions
  • Submit proof of all clinical hours worked during your graduate studies, as well as any other clinical experiences acquired
  • Submit verification of specialty certification
  • Complete fingerprinting
  • Apply for prescriptive authority

Iowa BSN to DNP Program Options

Within the state of Iowa, both Kaplan University and Clarke University offer programs with BSN to DNP pathways.

Related Education Paths

Helpful DNP Agencies and Organizations in Iowa

List of Campus and Online DNP Programs in Iowa

Dubuque, IA

Iowa City, IA

Lamoni, IA

DNP Programs
1 University Place
Lamoni, IA 50140
(641) 784-5000

Sioux City, IA

DNP Programs
3303 Rebecca Street
Sioux City, IA 51104
(800) 662-3303

Waterloo, IA

DNP Programs
1990 Heath St
Waterloo, IA 50703
(319) 226-2000

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Find DNP Programs By City: