IUPUI or Purdue? Public or private? Our Indiana DNP guide can help you decide! It contains a complete directory of programs, rankings of the best and most affordable DNPs in Indiana, details on online & hybrid IN doctorates, and notes on BSN to DNP options. Want to compare specialties? Skip ahead to our detailed listings.
Top Indiana DNP Programs
To come up with this list of the best DNP programs in Indiana, we examined national rankings for nursing graduate degrees & specialties, prioritizing any school that achieved a strong DNP ranking from U.S. News & World Report. In the final analysis, we also considered quality factors such as certification pass rates, clinical opportunities, and research funding.
1. Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis
IUPUI’s School of Nursing deserves the #1 spot. It’s nationally ranked in multiple areas of nursing, including a top 15 place for Nursing Administration and a top 35 place for Online Graduate Nursing Programs. It’s an NLN Center of Excellence in two categories. It’s stuffed with prestigious faculty (e.g. NLN fellows, AANP fellows, members of the National Academy of Medicine, etc.). It offers post-doctoral fellowships and nursing scholarships to graduate students. And it has developed a DNP program that’s especially relevant to nursing leaders and executives.
We’re particularly impressed with the School’s research credentials and its clinical connections. Thanks—in part—to NIH funding, the School is able to run multiple centers, including the Indiana University School of Nursing Champion Center for Cancer Control Research (CCCR) and the Center for Enhancing Quality of Life and Chronic Illness (CEQL). It has clinical partnerships with 200+ healthcare providers in central Indiana and close ties to hospitals on the IUPUI campus (e.g. IU Health University Hospital, IU Simon Cancer Center, Riley Hospital for Children, etc.). DNP students may also be able to take advantage of networking opportunities at the Center for Professional Development and Lifelong Learning.
2. Purdue University-West Lafayette
Thanks to affordable tuition rates and respectable rankings (e.g. top 80 for DNP and MSN), Purdue’s hybrid DNP program is our top choice in Indiana for aspiring nurse practitioners. You’ll find the DNP in Purdue’s School of Nursing, which is an NLN Center of Excellence and a leader in interdisciplinary healthcare education. DNP students have the opportunity to connect with the Nursing Center for Family Health and rural Family Health Clinics. They’re encouraged to collaborate with colleagues in the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, the Purdue University Homeland Security Institute, and the Center on Aging and the Life Course on internship experiences. And they can tailor their program with areas of sub-specialization (e.g. rural health, public health/homeland security, etc.).
Thinking about your capstone? Have a look at the School’s primary research areas. The School covers the gamut, from adult care to healthcare systems and organizations. We’re also pleased to report that Purdue has a specific DNP scholarship for its students. On its NP program pages, the School of Nursing states that it has high certification pass rates, but it doesn’t say what they are. We recommend you ask the program coordinator for exact numbers.
3. University of Southern Indiana
We give USI’s versatile DNP program a big thumbs-up! It comes from a College of Nursing and Health Professions with solid rankings (especially for Online Graduate Nursing Programs), superb NP certification pass rates, and glowing reviews. Graduate nursing students on messageboards and independent sites praise the rigor of the program, the helpfulness of the nursing staff & faculty, and the quality of their degree. We also like the fact that the College’s Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness is involved in a whole host of initiatives, including the MAGIC Project, iDecide, and the USI Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP).
To foster clinical expertise, the College has a high-tech Clinical Simulation Center, three Community Health Centers in Evansville, and two Dedicated Education Units at local hospitals. It also runs a Nurse Practitioner Residency Program for FNP and PMHNP graduates who want to work in primary care settings serving rural and underserved populations in southwestern Indiana. According to student reviewers, the College doesn’t arrange practicum sites and preceptors, but it can assist with suggesting locations. Check with the DNP program coordinator for details.
Most Affordable DNP Programs in Indiana
To find the cheapest DNP programs in Indiana, we ranked all of the universities in our listings by the per credit tuition rate for the doctorate. In the case of public universities, this was usually the in-state tuition rate. Out-of-state students may be expected to pay much more. You’ll also need to consider the total number of credits—some DNP programs are much longer than others.
1. Purdue University
Even with fees, Purdue University still had the lowest in-state graduate tuition rate in Indiana—it’s remarkably cheap! Having said that, the out-of-state rate is comparable to pricey private universities and the international rate is even higher. (Purdue Northwest and Purdue Global have separate tuition rates for their DNP programs.)
2. Indiana State University
At Indiana State, the graduate tuition rate for in-state students is very affordable, and the out-of-state rate for students in online programs is only ~$120 more per credit. However, there are fees for distance learning (e.g. online education delivery fee per graduate course), certain nursing courses, and the DNP itself (e.g. per semester program fee).
3. University of Southern Indiana
For USI’s number, we combined the in-state graduate tuition rate (which is similar to Purdue’s) and the mandatory per credit hour DNP program fee. The out-of-state tuition rate will be much higher. DNP students may also be accountable for extra fees (e.g. university services fee, online learning fee for any online courses, etc.).
Online DNP Programs in Indiana
Almost all of the DNP programs in our Indiana listings are online or hybrid. Before you commit to one, we suggest you read the fine print on the DNP program page and talk to the program coordinator. BSN to DNP pathways, in particular, often have campus components. For example:
- Online BSN to DNP Programs in IN: Programs that fall into the “primarily online” category include IUPUI’s MSN-DNP Dual Degree, which has 2 on-campus intensives; IWU’s Post-Baccalaureate DNP, which has 3 on-site residencies; and Valparaiso University’s BSN to DNP, which has 4 mandatory visits.
- Hybrid BSN to DNP Programs in IN: Some BSN to DNP programs lean more heavily on face-to-face instruction. Examples include Saint Mary’s College (e.g. one weekend visit campus each semester), UI (e.g. certain on-campus classes that meet one day per week), USI (e.g. 2-3 days of on-campus coursework most semesters), Marian (e.g. on-campus and online instruction), and Purdue (e.g. limited on-campus time).
If you already have your MSN and APRN certification, you’ll find that post-master’s DNP programs are a little more flexible. Because Schools of Nursing don’t have to worry so much about clinical training, they can afford to offer most of the coursework online.
- Online Post-Master’s DNP Programs in IN: Check with Purdue Global and Indiana State to see if campus trips are required for their programs. Many schools incorporate at least one visit. We’re talking about IUPUI (e.g. 2 on-campus intensives), IWU (3 on-site residencies), UI (e.g. intensives each August), PNW (e.g. one-week summer intensive for a nursing course), Valparaiso (e.g. 3 campus visits), and Goshen (e.g. 2 residencies).
- Hybrid Post-Master’s DNP Programs in IN: This category might include offerings from Purdue (e.g. a blend of online and campus-based instruction) and USI (e.g. on-campus intensives each August and April).
Coming from out-of-state? You’ll also need to ensure you are eligible to apply for the online program in the first place. For example, Indiana State has a map of states in which its DNP program is available. Ask the program coordinator about distance learning restrictions and state authorization.
Note: Interested in programs from neighboring areas? Have a look at the listings of Online DNP Programs. They are organized by state.
BSN to DNP Programs in Indiana
You can have your pick of Indiana BSN to DNP programs in our listings. From Nurse Anesthesia to the AG CNS, there is something to suit almost every aspiring APRN.
- Multiple Nurse Practitioner Specialties: Consider schools like Purdue, Saint Mary’s College, UI, and USI. All of them offer FNP and AGNP training, but USI has an AG CNS track, Purdue has a PC PNP track, and UI has an NNP track. Aspiring PMHNPs can compare USI and Purdue side-by-side.
- FNP Only: Alternatively, you could look at schools that have made a specialty of the FNP. These tend to be private universities that offer the BSN to DNP in a hybrid format (e.g. Valparaiso, IWU, and Marian).
- Nurse Anesthesia: The University of Evansville’s relatively new program is a full-time, on-campus DNP. Marian’s program is also full-time, but it’s delivered in a hybrid format, with some online instruction. (The University of Saint Francis has closed their program.)
Finally, we want to mention IUPUI’s unusual MSN-DNP Dual Degree. This accelerated, online program is designed to allow BSN students to earn an MSN and DNP in a shortened timeframe. It’s focused on nursing leadership—there are no NP tracks included in the curriculum.
Note: Looking for more options? Consult our listings of on-campus and online BSN to DNP programs.
Indiana Nursing Organizations
- Indiana State Board of Nursing
- Coalition of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses of Indiana (CAPNI)
- Indiana Association of Nurse Anesthetists (INANA)
- Indiana Organization of Nurse Executives (IONE)
Below you'll find a list of all of the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs available in Indiana.