Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Tiffany N., Doctor of Nursing Practice — 2019 Grad

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Lead the future of nursing practice.

Maryville University’s online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is ideal for experienced nurses who want to prepare to advance their careers by earning the highest credential in nursing practice education. If you’re already a nurse practitioner, you can earn your DNP on its own in as little as 20 months. Or you can add your choice of five nurse practitioner concentrations to become an in-demand DNP-NP in as little as 36 months. Either way, you’ll gain the skills, knowledge, and experience to become a leader in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership — and maximize your impact on the healthcare landscape as you advance your career.

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Access coursework 100% online with no campus visits required

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Apply with no GMAT or GRE scores required.

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Earn your DNP in as little as 20 months or your DNP-NP in as little as 36 months

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Complete clinicals locally in your preferred setting

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Enjoy no waiting list once you’re accepted

Choose Between a DNP and DNP-NP

Despite having already earned your master’s degree and established an advanced nursing career, you still feel a sense of urgency to learn more. Now you can gain even more satisfaction, momentum, confidence, and experience through Maryville University’s two online DNP programs:


For advanced practice nurses who have completed their MSN and wish to lead at the highest level.

A DNP degree can deliver the skills you’ll need to pursue a wide range of advanced healthcare positions, including specialized advanced nursing careers, administrative leadership positions, policy roles, and academic positions. All of these roles offer the opportunity to improve patients’ lives and make healthcare better, whether by leading other nurses, educating future nurses, or influencing health policy.


For nurses who have completed their MSN and wish to become NPs while also working through their terminal Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

The DNP-NP creates a pathway to earn your DNP while also earning the credits needed to take the respective NP credentialing examinations to earn your NP certification. Maryville’s online DNP-NP program offers you a choice of five specialty areas: AGACNP, AGPCNP, FNP, PNP, and PMHNP.

Why earn your Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree?

Dr. Elizabeth Buck, former Assistant Dean for Nursing, discusses the difference between a DNP and a Ph.D. Dr. Buck further explains the Maryville DNP program, including the esteemed curriculum, the scholarly project, and expected outcomes for DNP graduates.

You have your Master of Science in Nursing. Now, gain even more satisfaction, confidence, and career momentum with a Doctor of Nursing Practice. 

When you earn your online DNP, you learn to impact patient care from a higher level. Compared with a PhD, which prepares scholars for research and academic careers, a DNP prepares you to become a leader in clinical practice, where you can work to improve healthcare outcomes and strengthen nursing management and education.

The field needs you now. As healthcare evolves and becomes more complex, the demand for advanced practice nurses is growing across the country. An aging population and upcoming retirements among the baby boomer generation of healthcare professionals are further driving this need. The strength and stability of our healthcare system hangs in the balance, and we believe its future depends on the recruitment of qualified and capable leaders in nursing practice — leaders like you.

We know life gets busy and we’re here to support you throughout your program. Just ask our student support team: “DNP nursing students tend to balance many things, including work, family, and school. Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day to get to everything, so flexing their time management skills is a critical part of their success.” – Laura Cargerman, DNP Support Coach. Learn more about our dedicated student support coaches here.

What Can You Do with a DNP Degree?

Reach the pinnacle of your career — and enjoy the view. Your career requires you to make decisions that affect people’s lives every day. When you pursue your online DNP or DNP-NP with Maryville, your decisions can influence the entire healthcare system.

The role of a DNP gives you the chance to:

  • Conduct clinical research or advocate for legislative change in healthcare policy
  • Become a practice manager or CEO in a healthcare organization
  • Potentially earn a six-figure salary with greater autonomy, which many of our graduates do
  • Apply evidence-based research to improve the quality of patient care — locally, nationally, or even globally
  • Advocate for patient safety rights and practices, from lift equipment to infection control to data security and beyond
  • Drive collaborative projects as a leader and champion for the future of nursing progress
  • Sit at the executive table or in a government seat, where all-encompassing decisions are made

Where do DNPs work?

  • Internal medicine practice
  • Specialty practice, such as cardiology or oncology
  • Universities and colleges, teaching tomorrow’s nurses
  • Autonomous practice (24 states now permit those with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree to open their own clinics and become their own boss)
  • Hospitals and other healthcare institutions
  • Administrative and political offices

DNP and DNP-NP Career Paths

DNP and DNP-NP graduates qualify for roles at the highest levels of healthcare. Some become advanced clinicians, working with specific patient populations. Others work as high-level nursing administrators focused on decision-making, policy, and education in areas such as clinical training, executive leadership, and nursing informatics.

Completing your online Doctor of Nursing Practice or Doctor of Nursing Practice with a Nurse Practitioner Concentration at Maryville can qualify you for roles such as:

  • Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP)
  • Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP)
  • Family nurse practitioner (FNP)
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP)
  • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP)

Find out more about DNP and DNP-NP careers here.

What Is the Typical Doctor of Nursing Practice Salary?

An online DNP degree can equip you for careers with salaries such as:

Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP)


Family nurse practitioner (FNP)


Pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP)


Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP)


Chief nursing officer (CNO)


Director of nursing services


Source:, September 2021

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Job Outlook

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a two-year study titled “The Future of Nursing.” Results indicate an opportunity — and a responsibility — for nurses to take greater ownership of the healthcare field, with a recommendation to double the number of doctoral-prepared nurses by 2020.

There are many other factors propelling the advancement of the nursing profession. Here are a few of the demands driving opportunity and prompting a higher level of preparation among nurse leaders:

  • A shortage of primary and specialty care physicians that may reach as high as 139,000 by 2033, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Rapid job growth
    • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects job openings for nurse practitioners to increase by 52% between 2020 and 2030. In addition, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) now recommends the DNP as a minimum standard of education for all advanced practice specialties.
  • A shortage of nursing faculty as current academic leaders reach retirement
    • The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that U.S. nursing schools have turned away more than 80,000 qualified applicants in recent years due to insufficient faculty and other compounding factors
  • The emergence of nurse-run clinics to meet the needs for improved access to local community healthcare
  • Rising healthcare needs of an aging population
  • Increasingly complex healthcare system and patient needs
  • Rapidly expanding knowledge underlying practice
  • National concerns about quality outcomes and patient safety

Five ways to specialize your online DNP-NP:

A pediatric nurse practitioner with a patient.

DNP-NP Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

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DNP-NP Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP)

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Three Nurse Practitioners reviewing and pointing at an x-ray

DNP-NP Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP)

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DNP-NP Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP)

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DNP-NP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

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Male doctor of nursing practice

The Maryville online DNP programs are designed to:

  • Prepare you for more autonomy, responsibility, and professional growth
  • Develop your expertise with a greater focus on the scientific underpinnings of nursing, healthcare policy, and organizational leadership in the healthcare setting
  • Help you advance your credentials and improve patient care in your specialization
  • Equip you for the increasing complexity of community healthcare needs
  • Expand your knowledge of evidence-based practice, clinical care research, patient outcomes, and clinical systems management

Why Choose One of Maryville’s Accredited DNP Online Programs?

We’re a private, four-year institution ranked as one of America’s best colleges by both U.S. News & World Report and Forbes. When you choose Maryville for your online DNP, you’ll receive a flexible and highly regarded education with the added convenience of 100% online coursework.

Furthermore, when you choose Maryville for your Doctor of Nursing Practice online, you’ll:

  • Graduate from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Enjoy the convenience of a 24/7 online learning model that allows you to plan time for work, life, and family obligations
  • Have opportunities to study important topics that can pave the way to a better future for yourself and others
  • Conduct research via clinical inquiry courses that challenge assumptions
  • Receive a quality education experience based on the principles of caring, collaboration, and excellence
  • Learn from experienced faculty and nursing leaders who share their goals for public health and the nursing profession

Founded in 1872 — Top Ranked for Today

Proud to be recognized as one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes.

Maryville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
Forbes America's Top Colleges
Kiplinger Best College Values
CCNE Accredited

The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Maryville University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.

What our students are saying:

Tiffany N

Tiffany N., graduate, Doctor of Nursing Practice

“The way that the curriculum is set up at Maryville, each semester built upon the previous one, so we’re learning as we go. It’s not an overwhelming process. A lot of times, that’s much like our careers are in the healthcare field. We all have something new to learn, every single day.”

Insights from Our Faculty

We asked Mariea Snell, assistant professor of nursing and assistant director of DNP programs, for her thoughts on the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Here’s what she had to say:

Maryville University has created a unique program that supports the work of emerging leaders in healthcare. We see each student as an individual with a unique background and area of interest. Faculty members support these interests and help them develop their body of clinical work.

Online DNP Program Curriculum

As you push toward the height of your nursing career, you’ll need an education that prepares you for the challenges you’ll face and the opportunities you’ll find. That’s what our online Doctor of Nursing Practice curriculum prepares you to do.

Maryville’s programs offer you the chance to pursue your online DNP degree on its own (graduate in as little as 20 months) or with a nurse practitioner concentration (graduate in as little as 36 months, depending on the concentration you select).

You can start either program in the spring, summer, or fall. All courses can be completed 100% online. Find out more on our curriculum page.

Advanced leadership for an advancing field.

When you choose the online DNP at Maryville, you enter a program focused on leadership across the nursing field. We arm you with the skills and knowledge to grow and achieve your goals in nursing. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the field in depth with advanced courses in subjects such as epidemiology, statistics, research, ethics, and systems leadership.

Online DNP-NP option.

If you want to become an NP, you can develop those skills while you earn your DNP online with just 17 additional credit hours.* You’ll have the opportunity to build your general nursing skill set with courses such as Professional Role Development, and you’ll build your NP competencies through advanced courses in pathophysiology, health assessment, and pharmacotherapeutics.

To ensure the best possible educational experience for our students, we may update our curriculum to reflect emerging and changing employer and industry trends. Professional licensure and certification regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Students are encouraged to visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing for the state in which they intend to practice to verify specific licensure requirements which includes ensuring the program of interest meets the licensure requirements prior to enrolling. Students may visit the professional licensure page or reach out to our team of enrollment advisors for guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Maryville online DNP graduates have the skills and knowledge to lead at the highest levels in clinical, nonclinical, educational, and administrative roles in a wide range of settings. Maybe you’d like to become a nurse educator in a hospital or a school of nursing. Maybe you feel a calling to pursue an executive-level position as a hospital administrator. You can become a clinical researcher or healthcare policy advocate — or even start your own private practice.

Because our online DNP programs offer the option to earn your Doctor of Nursing Practice on its own or alongside one of five nurse practitioner concentrations, you can tailor your education to fit your interests and career goals.

Apply to the online doctor of nursing practice program at Maryville University.