Public universities and Arkansas DNP programs go hand-in-hand. If you need some help deciding between UAMS, U of A, and UCA, read on. Our advice section contains state rankings, details on online & hybrid Arkansas doctorates, and notes on BSN to DNP options. Just want a list of specialties? Skip ahead to our detailed program listings.
Top Arkansas DNP Programs
To find the best DNP programs in Arkansas, we evaluated independent rankings for nursing graduate programs and prioritized any AR school with a DNP placement in U.S. News & World Report (e.g. UCA). However, we also considered important factors such as certification pass rates, reputation, and research resources when determining the final order.
1. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)
UAMS’s College of Nursing has plenty to boast about! It has tons of options for the DNP, including a CRNA track. It achieves outstanding NCLEX pass rates and superb NP certification pass rates. It receives plenty of praise on independent review sites—alumni like the real-world training, the interactive programs, and the faculty’s willingness to help. It runs an interprofessional, student-led free clinic and the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence. The list goes on and on.
While you’re exploring UAMS’s DNP, be sure to visit the College’s section on Research. Nursing faculty are involved in all kinds of interesting projects and community partnerships. Keep in mind, too, that UAMS is the only academic health sciences university and adult Level One Trauma Center in the state of Arkansas. Plus it has many partner sites throughout the state.
2. University of Central Arkansas
You’ll find UCA’s DNP program in the School of Nursing and College of Health and Behavioral Sciences. It’s second in our list thanks to consistent performance results, super-affordable tuition, and infrastructure investment. The School will be housed in the Integrated Health Sciences Building (completion date: 2021), an 80,000-square-foot facility with new clinical and simulation facilities.
FNP certification exam pass rates are not posted on the School’s site, but you can always ask for them—UCA Nursing’s Faculty section has contact details for potential instructors and advisors. The School also has a tight-knit Students’ Association and an active Facebook page.
3. University of Arkansas
U of A’s DNP is offered by the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, which is located in Fayetteville. The School usually achieves a solid ranking for its online nursing graduate programs, which is why we’ve placed it at #3. In fact, a number of students on independent review sites have commented on the flexibility of the distance learning format.
Having said that, anyone involved in clinical studies (i.e. NP students) can take advantage of the School’s large simulation laboratory in the Epley Center for Health Professions. Funding opportunities can be found in the School’s scholarships & loans section.
Most Affordable DNP Programs in Arkansas
For this list of the cheapest Arkansas DNP programs, we used the school’s lowest per credit DNP tuition rate as our baseline. In all of these examples, this was the in-state rate.
1. Arkansas State University
For A-State, we added together the per credit online tuition rate, the College of Nursing & Health Professions fee, and mandatory online fees. The resulting number was still remarkably low for in-state students and not too bad for out-of-state students. Bear in mind that the Nurse Anesthesia program has separate costs.
2. University of Central Arkansas
UCA is the one school in Arkansas that charges the same in-state and out-of-state rate for its DNP—the doctorate is classified as a “Graduate Fully Online Program.” But there is a separate mandatory fee for each DNP credit hour.
3. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
UAMS’s in-state tuition rate is significantly lower than the out-of-state rate. However, if you are a resident of Bowie or Cass County in Texas, you may qualify for an out-of-state tuition waiver. On top of tuition, UAMS charges a substantial number of fees. We should also note that CRNA candidates pay a separate price to other DNP students.
Online DNP Programs in Arkansas
All DNP programs in Arkansas are classified as hybrid or online. To save you time, we dug into the small print to find out what those words actually mean.
- UAMS: UAMS’s BSN to DNP is a full-time, hybrid program. Blackboard is used for online courses, on-campus courses are telecommunicated across the state, and lab experiences are offered on-campus and at UAMS Regional Centers. In contrast, the Post-Master’s DNP is primarily online, with an on-campus two-day orientation at the beginning of the program of study.
- UCA: The majority of courses in the BSN to DNP pathway are online, but FNP clinical courses and Advanced Health Assessment require periodic on-campus visits (e.g. 3-4 times per semester). Courses in the Post-MSN pathway are online, with two intensive on-campus days each year.
- U of A: The online DNP requires some campus visits, including a mandatory one-time program orientation. The program has been approved by a number of state boards of nursing, but it’s still not available to students in certain states. See the online DNP program page for details.
- A-State: A-State’s online MSN to DNP pathway has an on-campus immersion experience prior to the start of each semester.
Note: Want to expand your search parameters? Check out the listings of Online DNP Programs. They are organized by state.
BSN to DNP Programs in Arkansas
You’ll find the most choice for BSN to DNP programs at UAMS. As we mentioned in our rankings, UAMS has tons of NP tracks and an option for Nurse Anesthesia. What’s more, individuals who are already licensed and certified as an APRN may apply to a post-BSN-to-DNP track for a second NP area of certification.
- FNP: Interested in family nursing? You can compare UAMS with U of A and UCA. Both offer BSN to DNP tracks in the FNP.
- Acute Care: Thinking about acute care? Feel free to match UAMS’s AGACNP track against U of A’s offering.
- Nurse Anesthesia: Arkansas has two COA-accredited schools: UAMS and A-State. As of 2020, A-State was in the process of transitioning from an MSN into a DNP program.
Just be sure to ask the DNP program coordinator about state-by-state availability. Some schools (e.g. U of A) can’t offer their online program to certain U.S. residents.
Arkansas Nursing Organizations
- Arkansas State Board of Nursing
- Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association (ANPA)
- Arkansas Organization of Nurse Executives (ArONE)
Below you'll find a list of all of the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs available in Arkansas.