Nursing DNP program

Nursing, DNP

Offered by:
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

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The University of Colorado College of Nursing provides a high-quality, practical and fully online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) through CU Online. By choosing the right pathway for you based on your work experience, career goals and previously completed degrees, you can advance to the highest levels of the nursing field through our DNP program.

We offer five distinct pathways for our students, which are designed to meet the academic needs of as many different types of nursing students as possible. These five options are:

  1. BS to DNP Program
  2. Post-Graduate DNP Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (DNP-APRN)
  3. DNP-PHN Progra​m
  4. DNP/MPH Dual Degree Program
  5. Post-Graduate DNP Health Systems Leadership Program

The College of Nursing DNP is a clinical practice-oriented leadership curriculum that focuses on evidence-based practice and on research utilization for the improvement of clinical care delivery, patient outcomes and system management. Thanks to the digital campus offered by CU Online’s technological support and innovation, you are able to take all of your classes online, with minimal days on campus for your project.


Program Details

When you apply to the DNP program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, you are choosing to enroll in a high-quality program that is routinely ranked as one of the top DNP programs in the United States by US News & World Report. US News also ranked us as #4 Best Online Graduate Nursing program in the nation in 2018 and 2019!

We are a fully accredited program through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and our graduates typically go on to successful careers such as: clinical nurse educator, clinician-scholar, developer/evaluator of health care programs, health care entrepreneur/executive and clinical administrator. When we launched our program in 2005, we provided the only DNP in the Rocky Mountain region. We continue to be both innovative and practical, offering you excellent coursework, great faculty mentors, the flexibility of an online program and the opportunity to complete a real-world project that can be implemented in your own practice.

Nursing Degree Programs

If you have already have a master’s degree, you are eligible to apply for the programs below. If you do not have a master's degree, then the BSN to DNP degree might be the right program for you. 

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (DNP-APRN)

Will allow current certified nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists and certified anesthetists to achieve additional leadership skills and abilities to implement organizational change.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor of Nursing Practice with a specialty in Public Health Nursing (DPN-PHN), further prepares graduates for career advancement in public health.

Doctor of Nursing Practice plus Master’s in Public Health

This dual enrollment option (DPN-MPH), allows RNs and APNs the option of both graduate education in the School of Public Health (MPH) and College of Nursing (DNP), completing two graduate degrees simultaneously, for leadership preparation in public health.

Doctor of Nursing Practice with a Specialty in Leadership

This specialization will prepare you for a career in leadership roles.

BSN to DNP Degree

If you only have a bachelor’s degree at this time, you can still earn your DNP through the College of Nursing, thanks to our BSN to DNP degree, which takes you directly from your BS-level work to graduating with a practice doctorate.

Tuition and Fees

Investing in your future is a big decision. However, becoming a fully online student at the University of Colorado is a high-quality and affordable option for learners of all types. Tuition and fees are based largely on the degree program you enroll in.

The tuition amount assessed is determined based on which University of Colorado campus, school, or college is offering your degree program, as well as if it is at the undergrad or graduate level, and finally your resident status. Visit our tuition and financial aid page for more information.

Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.

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At 34-credits total, you can typically complete this degree in under two years, if you schedule a full-time course load. 

However, we recognize that not all students can schedule full-time classes on top of their work, family, and personal responsibilities. That’s why we allow you to also take part-time credits, with as little as one course per term. You have up to five years to complete your degree.


Admission requirements and deadlines vary based on the program. In addition, you will have different requirements depending on if you are a first-time student, a transfer student, or an international student. 

Learn more about the admissions process by filling out the form above or contacting the CU Online Enrollment Team today.

Career Outlook

Unlike Registered Nurses and nurses with master’s degrees, DNPs face fewer job limitations on what they can do on the job.

Even though a master’s is a significant accomplishment on its own, some administrators and decision-makers in many health care environments prioritize DNPs over anyone with a master’s degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that the job outlook for DNP-holders such as nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners will grow at a rate of 31% in the next 10 years, which is significantly faster than average.


As a student in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, you will take 34 credit hours of coursework. Minimal days per academic year will be spent on campus, even if all of your courses are otherwise taken online. You will also complete a project in which you design a quality improvement aspect for your practice or complete a program evaluation.