Last updated on April 3rd, 2023 at 03:53 pm
Make an informed decision on your Florida DNP! Our practical guide contains rankings of the best and most affordable DNP programs in Florida, notes on online & hybrid FL doctorates, and ideas for BSN to DNP pathways. Ready to compare schools? Skip ahead to the program listings.
Top Florida DNP Programs
To come up with this list of the best DNP programs in FL, we evaluated independent rankings for nursing graduate degrees, prioritizing any Florida school with a high DNP placement in U.S. News & World Report. In the final reckoning, we also considered key factors such as cost, reputation, resources, and clinical opportunities.
1. University of Florida
A top 25 national ranking for the DNP. Relatively affordable tuition rates for Florida residents. Plenty of NP specialties delivered in a flexible, hybrid format. These are a few of the reasons why UF’s DNP program appears in our #1 spot. But that’s just the start! At this public research university, you’ll find a College of Nursing with an excellent academic reputation in the Southeast and a whole host of resources. We’re talking about:
- Clinical opportunities at major healthcare sites across northern Florida (e.g. North Florida Regional Medical Center, Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center, UF Health Shands Hospital system, etc.). In addition, the College runs its own nurse-managed primary care practice: Archer Family Health Care.
- The chance to become involved in faculty-led nursing research & clinical scholarship. The College is responsible for the Florida Blue Center for Health Care Quality and the Center for Palliative Care Research and Education. It’s also one of six colleges in the UF Academic Health Center, which has its own centers and institutes (e.g. UF Health Cancer Center).
- Funding for your DNP. Doctoral students are eligible for a number of UF nursing scholarships and fellowships.
Finally, we’re pleased to report that student reviews of UF’s nursing graduate programs on independent review sites & messageboards are generally positive. Graduates often mention the helpfulness and expertise of the nursing faculty, the hands-on training, the convenience of studying online, and the benefit of UF’s ties to area hospitals (e.g. Shands).
2. University of Miami
UM’s School of Nursing and Health Studies (SONHS) and its DNP program aren’t far behind the University of Florida. The School often achieves top 30 rankings for its DNP and MSN. It has excellent facilities, including a massive Simulation Hospital for Advancing Research & Education (SHARE™). College faculty are involved in a host of fascinating research projects, in areas such as disaster preparedness, global health, vulnerable populations, and health disparities. And it has long-standing relationships with a number of community partners, including its own University of Miami Hospital.
UM is a particularly strong pick for aspiring CRNAs. The on-campus BSN to DNP Nurse Anesthesia program is housed in the M. Christine Schwartz Center for Nursing Excellence in Coral Gables. Class sizes are small, faculty-to-student ratios are low, and learners have access to advanced clinical rotation sites. Perhaps most importantly, student reviewers love it. Graduates rave about the top-notch sim lab, the superb clinical experiences, and the supportive faculty. The only major downside is price—UM is a private research university, so its tuition rates are well-above public options. Check the School’s section on scholarships & funding for ideas on how to offset costs.
3. University of South Florida
Our #3 spot goes to USF’s College of Nursing and its affordable DNP program. South Florida residents can have their pick of BSN to DNP specialties and will only pay the low in-state tuition rate. We also like the fact that USF has sturdy quality markers. The College frequently cracks the top 50 of DNP and MSN rankings and it boasts strong pass rates for the NCLEX (e.g. 94%) and CRNA exam (e.g. 100% on the first try). It’s affiliated with 1,000+ clinical partners, including USF Health facilities, and it has developed special post-graduate fellowships for NPs in local hospitals.
Plus there’s all the science. The College has its own biobehavioral lab and research arm, where faculty specialize in particular research areas (e.g. precision science) and collaborate with colleagues in USF Health. It’s one of three universities in Florida that’s accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare—NP students train in the simulation lab and Nurse Anesthesia students work in the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) in Downtown Tampa. And it has fellowships & scholarships that are open to DNP students.
Most Affordable DNP Programs in Florida
We ranked all the schools in our listings by the lowest per credit tuition rate. In most cases, this was the Florida resident rate. In-state rates at Florida public universities can be remarkably cheap, but out-of-state rates are usually very high, even for online & hybrid DNP programs. They may even be higher than private university tuition rates.
1. University of Central Florida
We used the FL resident tuition rate for graduate online programs. On-campus resident rates are slightly higher. And out-of-state rates can be more than three times the cost. There will be additional fees (e.g. a per credit hour distance learning fee).
2. Florida Atlantic University
FAU’s tuition set-up is very similar to UCF’s. The in-state tuition rate is remarkably affordable; the out-of-state rate is not. Bear in mind that you may also have to pay for nursing course fees.
3. University of South Florida
Because USF’s College of Nursing is located in Tampa, we looked at the FL resident Tampus Campus graduate rate. The out-of-state rate is about twice the in-state rate. Programmatic tuition for the Nurse Anesthesia DNP program is going to be separate.
Online DNP Programs in Florida
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a 100% online DNP program in our Florida listings. Even MSN to DNP programs are going to have campus elements. To save you time, we went digging into the fine print on DNP webpages. But you can also ask the program coordinator for exact details.
- Primarily Online BSN to DNP Programs in FL: A few schools have tried to limit travel. At FSU, students visit campus five times during the program (e.g. an orientation, an intensive weekend, Objective Structured Clinical Examination Assessments, and a DNP project presentation exposition). At UF, students take part in a one-day orientation, a three-day visit during the Health Assessment course, and a two-day visit for DNP project dissemination. PMHNP students may have additional visits.
- Hybrid BSN to DNP Programs in FL: Most Florida universities have gone for a blended approach. We’re talking about schools like Barry (e.g. classes one day a week), FAU (e.g. intensive weekends), FIU, Jacksonville (e.g. on-campus 500-level NP courses), PBA (e.g. monthly in-person classes), and UCF (e.g. intensives, lab courses every other week, per semester simulation workshops, and exam reviews).
- On-Campus BSN to DNP Programs in FL: Because of the clinical training involved, any Nurse Anesthesia program in Florida is likely to be on-campus. UNF and USF also favor face-to-face instruction for their NP options. For instance, most students in USF’s program visit campus about 1-2 times per week when enrolled in a live or blended course.
You’ll have a lot more flexibility when it comes to post-master’s DNP programs in Florida—schools don’t have to worry so much about clinical coursework.
- Online Post-Master’s DNP Programs in FL: Check the program pages for details. We’ve seen programs with 2-3 day institutes (e.g. Nova Southeastern), 3-5 mandatory campus visits (e.g. Jacksonville and FSU), summer residencies (e.g. UT), semester-based campus sessions (e.g. FIU, FSC, and UM), and twice yearly intensives (e.g. UCF).
If you’re coming from out-of-state, be sure to ask the School of Nursing about state authorization and distance learning restrictions. Many Florida universities will be unable to accept DNP applicants from certain states.
Note: Want to expand your search beyond Florida? Check out the listings of Online DNP Programs. They are organized by state.
BSN to DNP Programs in Florida
Our Florida listings are heaving with BSN to DNP programs—you can truly have your pick! To get a handle on your options, try creating a shortlist of 3-5 schools. Think about how often you want to visit campus, what you’re willing to pay in tuition, and the reputation of the university.
- Multiple NP Specialties: The juggernauts in this arena are Florida International University (4 NP tracks), Palm Beach Atlantic University (3 NP tracks and Executive Leadership), the University of South Florida (6 NP tracks), and the University of Florida (5 NP tracks). These are schools that will give you options in niche areas like pediatrics and oncology.
- AGNP & FNP: But if you’re interested in adult gerontology or the FNP, you’re going to have even more choice! A number of Florida schools focus solely on these specialties, including Jacksonville, Barry, FAU, UNF, and FSU.
- Nurse Anesthesia: Meanwhile, aspiring CRNAs can compare 9 COA-accredited schools. As we mentioned, Nurse Anesthesia programs in Florida tend to be full-time, on-campus programs with intensive clinical training. As of 2020, FGCU and FSU were in the process of transitioning from the MSN to the DNP.
Note: Looking for more options? Consult our listings of on-campus and online BSN to DNP programs.
Florida Nursing Organizations
- Florida Board of Nursing
- Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners (FLANP)
- Florida Nurse Practitioner Network (FNPN)
- Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists (FANA)
- Florida League for Nursing (FLN)
- Florida Organization of Nurse Executives (FONE)
Below you'll find a list of all of the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs available in Florida.