Manoa or Hilo? Island or mainland? If you need advice on Hawaii DNP programs, we’re here to help! This guide contains rankings of the best and most affordable DNP programs in Hawaii, details on online & hybrid HI doctorates, and notes on BSN to DNP options. Looking for a summary of the school and its DNP specialties? Skip ahead to our detailed program listings.
Top Hawaii DNP Programs
For this list of the best DNP programs in HI, we evaluated independent rankings for nursing graduate degrees, prioritizing any Hawaii school with a high DNP placement in U.S. News & World Report. We also considered factors such as funding, facilities, and the university’s reputation among students. That’s why HPU is not in this ranking—the reviews of its nursing programs were not strong.
1. University of Hawaii at Manoa
UH Manoa’s flexible DNP program is the clear winner in Hawaii. That’s because it comes from a School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene with solid national rankings (e.g. top 90 for the DNP, top 60 for the MSN, and top 100 for Best Online Nursing Graduate Programs) and a long-standing reputation for quality. The School has an excellent UH Translational Health Science Simulation Center (THSSC), with opportunities in interdisciplinary biomedical and behavioral research. It fosters nursing scholarship in areas such as big data, disaster preparedness, and maternal child health. And it’s connected to 200+ affiliating agencies that can provide clinical learning experiences. Placement sites can be scarce on the island, so it helps to have an “in.”
We also like the fact that the School focuses on the broader community picture. Thanks to the Global Health Program, DNP students have the chance to engage in clinical practicum experiences in the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. The School has close connections to the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System (VAPICHS) and it runs Hawaii Keiki, a partnership with the Hawaii Department of Education to support school-based health services. Because UH Manoa is a pricey school, we recommend you take a look at the School’s sections on Scholarship Resources and UH Manoa and UH Foundation Scholarships. DNP students are eligible for certain awards (e.g. CVS DNP-NP Scholarship Program).
2. University of Hawaii at Hilo
UH Hilo’s School of Nursing offers a DNP program that is significantly less expensive than UH Manoa and equally flexible. If you’re interested in rural healthcare, it’s well-worth a look. Because of UH Hilo’s location, and its emphasis on teaching, the DNP program is weighted toward medically undeserved communities. Students in the BSN to DNP have the opportunity to visit rural sites and learn about indigenous health practices. The School encourages students to engage in health-related projects in the community (e.g. healthcare education in schools) and it offers the only BSN program on the outer islands.
We didn’t find many reviews of UH Hilo on the web, but the ones that we did see were positive. One graduate nursing reviewer mentioned that he/she felt like UH Hilo faculty genuinely cared about their students. The location is not as central as UH Manoa, so you may want to ask the DNP program coordinator about how the School handles clinical placements and career support.
Most Affordable DNP Programs in Hawaii
This ranking of the cheapest DNP programs in Hawaii is based on the lowest per credit tuition rate for the doctorate. In the case of UH Manoa and UH Hilo, this was the in-state tuition rate.
1. University of Hawaii at Hilo
UH Hilo is—by far—the most affordable Hawaii university for the DNP. The resident graduate nursing rate is around half that of UH Manoa. However, the out-of-state tuition rate is double the in-state rate. BSN to DNP students should also ask about any mandatory fees.
2. University of Hawaii at Manoa
UH Manoa is second in our list, but the resident tuition rate (plus mandatory fees) is higher than the per credit price of many prestigious universities on the mainland. And the non-resident rate is astronomical. Be sure to check the sections on Nursing Scholarship Resources and UH Manoa and UH Foundation Scholarships!
3. Hawaii Pacific University
HPU’s is a private university, so the tuition rate for the online post-master’s is the same for all students. The per credit cost + mandatory fees is very similar to UH Manoa’s in-state rate.
Online DNP Programs in Hawaii
All of the Hawaii universities in our listings offer hybrid and/or online programs. As you might expect, any program with clinical training (i.e. BSN to DNP) is going to have hybrid components.
- Hybrid BSN to DNP Programs in HI: At UH Manoa, courses are a mix of face-to-face sessions, online learning, and an annual mandatory summer intensive. At UH Hilo, students participate in lectures, seminars, lab simulations, and site visits to rural communities.
Once you reach the post-master’s level, you’ll be able to cut down on your trips to campus.
- Online Post-Master’s DNP Programs in HI: Students in UH Manoa’s part-time program in organizational leadership participate in a mandatory 1-3 day campus intensive each summer. Students in UH Hilo’s online MSN to DNP must visit the campus three times during the program (there are 2 mandatory Spring Institutes). And students in HPU’s online DNP attend a 1-week intensive at the beginning of the program.
Note: You can think beyond Hawaii by viewing our listings of Online DNP Programs. They are organized by state.
BSN to DNP Programs in Hawaii
Our Hawaii listings contain two options for BSN to DNP programs: UH Manoa and UH Hilo. As we mentioned in the online section, both of them are hybrid, with some on-campus elements.
- UH Manoa: UH Manoa’s full-time BSN to DNP comes in two flavors—the AGPCNP and the FNP. Students work together in a learning cohort and special emphasis is placed on the delivery of care to vulnerable populations in an evolving healthcare delivery system.
- UH Hilo: UH Hilo’s BSN to DNP is an FNP program, but it has a choice of foci: Gerontology, Transcultural Nursing, Rural Healthcare, or Evidence-based Practice.
Hawaii Nursing Organizations
- Hawaii Board of Nursing
- Hawaii Association of Professional Nurses (HAPN)
- Hawaii Center for Nursing
- Hawaii Association of Nurse Anesthetists (HANA)
- American Organization of Nurse Leaders – Hawaii (AONL Hawaii)
Below you'll find a list of all of the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs available in Hawaii.