Simplify your quest for the best DNP in Missouri! Our guide & directory contains rankings of the top and most affordable DNP programs in the state, advice on choosing online & hybrid MO doctorates, and notes on BSN to DNP pathways. Interested in a certain school? Skip ahead to our detailed program listings.
Top Missouri DNP Programs
To find the best DNP programs in MO, we evaluated independent rankings for nursing graduate degrees, prioritizing any Missouri school with a high DNP placement in U.S. News & World Report. In the final reckoning, we also considered quality factors such as student reviews, certification pass rates, and clinical opportunities.
1. University of Missouri-Columbia
Affordable tuition rates. Sturdy national rankings for graduate nursing programs. Superb NP certification exam pass rates. These are just a few of the reasons why MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing and its flexible DNP program made our #1 spot. Faculty are taking the lead in multidisciplinary projects around aging and elder care (e.g. TigerPlace). The School’s placement rate for nursing graduates ranges from 98%-100%. And fellowships & funding are available for DNP students.
Another MU bonus? It has some excellent affiliations with potential clinical sites. Thanks to its location on the University of Missouri Health Care Campus, it’s also in close proximity to major hospitals, including University Hospital & Clinics, Missouri Psychiatric Center, Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, and MU Women’s and Children’s Hospital. You can learn more about the DNP by checking out nursing graduate student reviews on independent sites—they’re almost uniformly positive—and viewing examples of previous DNP projects. You may even wish to contact alumni directly.
2. Saint Louis University
SLU’s Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing is often neck-and-neck with MU in national rankings for its nursing graduate degrees, including the DNP program. The School was the first in the Missouri to offer a PhD in Nursing and it’s well-known for its research clout. It runs a unique Center for Risk Reduction and its nursing faculty are involved in all kinds of research areas, including palliative care for children, teen mothers, autism, and more. If you’re interested in similar topics for your DNP capstone, it’s worth a serious look.
SLU is the second oldest Jesuit university in the nation, so you’ll also notice that the School of Nursing emphasizes interprofessional collaboration and care for the whole person (i.e. the “cura personalis”). This may be one of the reasons why it receives great reviews from graduate students. Reviewers often talk about the helpfulness of faculty and the convenience of online learning. But it is expensive—tuition rates are significantly more than public university prices. Have a look at the scholarships section (DNP students are eligible to apply for the School of Nursing Graduate Assistantship) and talk to your employer about tuition reimbursement.
3. University of Missouri-Saint Louis
Our #3 spot goes to UMSL’s DNP program in the College of Nursing. Here you’ll find a College with a solid track record, experienced faculty & staff, and research expertise in a number of NP areas (e.g. health disparities among vulnerable groups, chronic illness, and perinatal care). We particularly like the fact that UMSL places a strong emphasis on hands-on training during its DNP intensives. Students perform exams, conduct physicals, and gain exposure to all kinds of different situations (e.g. conflict resolution, rural communities, Public Health Department services, etc.).
And it’s well-connected in the Saint Louis area. The College has ties to many clinical placement partners, including Barnes-Jewish Hospital, SSM Centers, Shriners Hospital for Children, and more. Faculty also have opportunities to practice in UMSL Health Services, Grace Hill, Missouri Baptist Medical Center, and Mercy. Independent reviews of the College are strong and scholarships & loans may be available. To dig deeper, ask the DNP program coordinator for current NP certification pass rates.
Most Affordable DNP Programs in Missouri
This ranking of the cheapest DNP programs in Missouri is based on the lowest per credit tuition rate for the doctorate. In the case of public universities, this was often the in-state rate (e.g. UMKC). If you live in a border state such as Kansas, read the tuition section carefully. You may qualify for a tuition break or discount on the out-of-state rate.
1. Missouri State University-Springfield
MSU has one of the most affordable DNP programs in the country, period! The online tuition rate for the post-master’s DNP is the same for all students; BSN to DNP tuition rates are different for in-state and out-of-state students. However, out-of-state DNP students may qualify for reduced tuition through the Midwest Student Exchange Program or MOGO Scholarship. There will be additional costs that MSU lays out in its sample DNP budgets.
2. University of Missouri-Columbia
As an online graduate students at MU, you’ll pay the in-state tuition rate. You’ll also be expected to pay for mandatory fees, as well as per credit course fees for any clinical nursing graduate courses. Additional costs may include technology, clinical, or health insurance fees, as well as books, travel, and lodging.
3. University of Missouri-Kansas City
The graduate tuition rate at UMKC is the same for Missouri residents and Kansas residents in certain counties (ie. Metro rate). Students who qualify for the Midwest Student Exchange Program pay around $300 more per credit. And non-residents pay almost double the resident tuition rate. Additional fees will apply (e.g. clinical nursing fee, online course fee per credit hour, etc). The CRNA track has further costs.
Online DNP Programs in Missouri
We’re tempted to call Missouri the “King of the Online DNP.” Missouri Schools of Nursing have embraced distance learning with a passion, and there are many options for online doctorates in our listings.
- Online BSN to DNP Programs in MO: Maryville states that its BSN to DNP is 100% online, with no campus visits required. However, in-person and blended opportunities may be available. Other online BSN to DNP programs will have at least one face-to-face component. Examples of this include SLU (e.g. four campus visits), MU (e.g. limited campus visits, around once per year), and UMKC (e.g. mandatory Clinical Institutes in the first and last year).
- Hybrid BSN to DNP Programs in MO: Schools that might fall into this category include UMSL (e.g. six in-depth intensives) and MSU (e.g. on-campus courses one day per week). Some Missouri schools are also willing to offer the DNAP in a hybrid format. For example, core DNP coursework at Barnes is online, but nurse anesthesia courses are face-to-face. Webster’s DNAP has seven online courses.
Once you hit the post-master’s level, you’re going to see a number of DNPs that require no time on campus whatsoever.
- 100% Online Post-Master’s DNP Programs in MO: As best we can determine, Barnes, Chamberlain, Maryville, and MSU offer 100% online programs. You’ll still have to complete practicums, but you won’t have to visit the campus.
- Online Post-Master’s DNP Programs in MO: Top-ranked schools in Missouri may still want to see you at least once. Examples include SLU (e.g. two trips to campus), MU (e.g. minimal campus visits, once per year), UMKC (e.g. mandatory 2-day Institute at the end), and UMSL (e.g. two intensives at the beginning and end of the program).
Whichever online doctorate you choose, be sure to check with the DNP program coordinator and your State Board of Nursing about any state authorization or distance learning restrictions. Schools of Nursing aren’t always able to accept candidates from certain states and BONs aren’t always willing to certify graduates of certain online NP programs.
Note: Considering online programs in neighboring areas (e.g. Kansas)? Check out the listings of Online DNP Programs. They are organized by state.
BSN to DNP Programs in Missouri
To make your life a little easier, we’ve highlighted separate BSN to DNP tracks in our listings. You can see—at a glance—who has your chosen specialty. Here are a few things we noticed when we were analyzing programs.
- Multiple APRN & Leadership Specialties: Big Missouri universities with strong reputations also tend to offer the most BSN to DNP tracks. We’re talking about MU, UMKC, SLU, and UMSL. In addition to popular FNP and adult tracks, you’ll also find options in pediatrics, AGCNS, women’s health, and leadership.
- FNP & Adult NP Specialties: If you’re interested in these areas, you can expand your search even further by adding Maryville and MSU to your shortlist. Students in MSU’s FNP track are required to be licensed and complete FNP clinical rotations in Missouri.
- Nurse Anesthesia: Missouri has a surprising number of DNAP programs for a state of its size. Your options include UMKC, MSU, Barnes, and Webster. All of them have their positives. UMKC’s CRNA program is run in affiliation with the Truman Medical Center. And Barnes has superb first-time CNE pass rates (e.g. 100%). Talk to alumni before making a decision.
Missouri Nursing Organizations
- Missouri Board of Nursing
- Association of Missouri Nurse Practitioners (AMNP)
- Missouri Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MoANA)
- Missouri League for Nursing (MLN)
- Missouri Organization of Nurse Executives and Leaders (MONL)
Below you'll find a list of all of the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs available in Missouri.