Simplify your search for an accredited DNP in Massachusetts! Our guide & directory contains rankings of the best and most affordable DNP programs in Massachusetts, notes on online & hybrid MA doctorates, and tips on comparing BSN to DNP options. Already have a school or two in mind? Skip ahead to our detailed listings.
Top Massachusetts DNP Programs
To find the best DNP programs in MA, we evaluated independent rankings for nursing graduate degrees, prioritizing any Massachusetts school with a high DNP placement in U.S. News & World Report. We also considered student reviews, reputation, research funding, and other quality factors.
1. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Our #1 spot goes to UMass Amherst’s online DNP program. It’s convenient, relatively affordable for in-state & out-of-state students, and well-regarded. You’ll often find it nationally ranked in the top 30 of DNPs and the top 25 of Online Graduate Nursing Programs. The quality of teaching in the College of Nursing is another plus. DNP faculty are more than happy to be approached with questions about the program and student work on previous DNP projects. They also have their own faculty research interests and funded projects.
Keep in mind that UMass Amherst is truly an online program. Graduate students on independent review sites say that coursework is a little bit of everything—online discussions, group work, readings, papers, project proposals, PPTs—you name it. And you will be required to secure your own clinical practicum sites and preceptors. Before you sign on the line, we recommend you ask the DNP program coordinator for the latest NP certification pass rates. You can also see if you qualify for any College of Nursing Scholarships.
Note: BSN to DNP students who prefer in-person teaching may want to expand their search. For example, Boston College has some excellent national rankings for NP specialties and great certification pass rates.
2. Northeastern University
If you’re looking for a CRNA or post-master’s option in Massachusetts, Northeastern’s DNP program is tough to beat. It comes from the School of Nursing in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, a school that frequently ranks in the top 25 of Nursing Anesthesia programs (it has a great NCE pass rate) and the top 50 of DNP programs. Faculty have a strong interest in nursing research, and the School is doing some interesting things in the realm of healthcare technology. Thanks to an NIH grant, it was able to launch the Northeastern Center for Technology in Support of Self Management and Health (NUCare).
One of the key benefits of Northeastern? Career connections. The university is close to some of the best hospitals in the country, including Brigham & Women’s, Boston Children’s, BMC, MGH, and more. CRNA students will be saturated in relevant clinical work; post-master’s students will be able to network during semester intensives. Reviews of Northeastern’s graduate nursing programs are uniformly positive, with students praising the supportive & passionate professors, the high-quality coursework, and the “small family” feel. But it is expensive. We recommend you check the section on Graduate Aid and talk to the DNP program coordinator about funding opportunities.
3. MGH Institute of Health Professions
One for aspiring leaders & clinical scholars! MGHIHP’s online DNP program hits all the right buttons. It’s nationally ranked (e.g. top 60). It includes weekend intensives that allow for networking & research. And it has been built by a School of Nursing with an excellent reputation in the Boston area. More than 80% of nursing faculty hold a doctoral degree, many are practicing clinicians, and a large number of them are concerned with pressing healthcare issues. See the nurse-led Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health for further proof.
MGHIHP is especially well-known for its emphasis on interprofessional learning and high-quality clinical training. As you might expect, the School is tied at the hip to MGH, but it also has clinical affiliations with plenty of other leading hospitals in the Boston area (it’s the only degree-granting affiliate in Partners HealthCare). It even runs its own Ruth Sleeper Nursing Center for Clinical Education and Wellness. Like Northeastern, MGHIHP is expensive. So you may wish to ask your employer about the possibility of tuition reimbursement. As far as we can determine, MGHIHP doesn’t offer any internal scholarships to DNP students.
Most Affordable DNP Programs in Massachusetts
For this list of the cheapest DNP programs in Massachusetts, we ranked each school by the per credit tuition rate. In some cases (e.g. UMass Dartmouth), this was the in-state rate for MA residents. For public universities, we factored in mandatory fees.
1. University of Massachusetts-Boston
The per credit online tuition rate for the post-master’s DNP at UMass Boston is remarkably affordable for a Massachusetts university. However, there is a per semester College of Nursing fee. Other fees may also apply.
2. University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
The cheapest rate at UMass Dartmouth is the MA resident graduate tuition rate. The out-of-state rate is comparable to expensive private universities. There will be additional fees (e.g. per semester College of Nursing & Health Sciences fee). If you’re a Rhode Island resident, be sure to ask if you qualify for the proximity rate.
3. University of Massachusetts-Amherst
UMass Amherst’s DNP is online. That means students pay the same per credit tuition rate, regardless of their state of residency. There is a registration fee each semester. There may also be additional fees for certain courses or program resources.
Online DNP Programs in Massachusetts
Happily, there are a number of options for online DNP programs in Massachusetts. In our listings, you’ll see that most Schools of Nursing have tried to make their doctorates “worker-friendly.” For instance:
- 100% Online BSN to DNP Programs in MA: UMass Amherst states that its BSN to DNP is completely online and no campus visits are required. Regis also offers its BSN to DNP tracks in a distance learning format with 100% online coursework. You may wish to double-check that no intensives or orientations are included.
- Hybrid BSN to DNP Programs in MA: Other schools in Massachusetts have opted for a blended approach. UMMS’s program is a mix of in-class and online learning; UMD’s PMHNP track is a blend of online & on-campus courses; and some of UML’s credits require one campus visit per month (on a Saturday).
The majority of Massachusetts DNP programs at the post-master’s level are billed as online. Having said that, some of them are 100% online; others have at least one campus component. For example:
- 100% Online Post-Master’s DNP Programs in MA: UMass Amherst’s DNP program (in all tracks) is completely online. You could also look into Regis College’s offering, with its multiple concentrations. Regis offers this DNP in a hybrid or online version. Simmons is the same (hybrid or online), but post-master’s students may have to participate in the Doctoral Symposium for Emerging Nurse Leaders.
- Online/Hybrid Post-Master’s DNP Programs in MA: This category includes schools such as MGHIHP (e.g. weekend intensives twice a semester); Northeastern (e.g. initial orientation & face-to-face meetings twice per semester); UMMS (e.g. three on-site Saturday meetings each semester); and UML (e.g. on-campus orientation and intensives).
Coming from out-of-state? Before you choose a DNP, be sure you can apply. Many schools have state authorization and distance learning restrictions. For instance, UMass Amherst can’t accept online DNP students from certain states. Regis has state exceptions. So does [email protected]. When in doubt, talk to the DNP program coordinator.
Note: Want to compare online degrees in neighboring areas? Check out the directory of Online DNP Programs. They are organized by state.
BSN to DNP Programs in Massachusetts
Searching for a particular BSN to DNP specialty in Massachusetts? You’ll find it flagged in our listings! While we were doing our research on program tracks, we noticed a few trends.
- Multiple APRN Specialties: Boston College and Regis have very similar NP offerings, including a WHNP track, so you can compare them side-by-side. The same holds true for UMMS and UMass Amherst. The only difference is UMass Amherst has one unusual specialty—Public Health Nursing Leader (PHNL).
- Popular NP Specialties: If you’re interested in popular tracks (e.g. FNP, AGNP, or PMHNP), you can add UMass Lowell and UMass Dartmouth to the list. Programs at these schools tend to be hybrid, with a blend of online and on-campus coursework.
- Nurse Anesthesia: Your two options in Massachusetts are Northeastern and Boston College. Both have excellent CNE pass rates. These are going to be intense, full-time, on-campus programs.
Massachusetts Nursing Organizations
- Board of Registration in Nursing (Board)
- Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (MCNP)
- Massachusetts Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MANA)
- Organization of Nurse Leaders (ONL); formerly MONE
- Massachusetts Association of Colleges of Nursing (MACN)
Below you'll find a list of all of the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs available in Massachusetts.