Looking for an accredited Ohio DNP with solid university credentials? Our guide & directory contains rankings of the best and most affordable DNP programs in Ohio, details on online & hybrid OH doctorates, and advice on BSN to DNP options. Already have a school or two in mind? Skip ahead to our listings.
Top Ohio DNP Programs
For this list of the best DNP programs in Ohio, we evaluated independent rankings for nursing graduate degrees, prioritizing any school with a high DNP placement in U.S. News & World Report (e.g. OSU). But this wasn’t our only criteria. We also considered other important quality factors such as student reviews, reputation, research funding, and clinical opportunities.
1. Ohio State University
OSU’s DNP program makes our #1 for a number of interconnected reasons. The College of Nursing often achieves excellent national rankings for the DNP (e.g. top 20), online graduate nursing programs (e.g. top 5), and certain NP specialties. It offers plenty of tracks. It maintains a solid overall advanced practice certification pass rate (e.g. 95%). It has forged partnerships with healthcare organizations. It has created innovative outreach programs (e.g. RN Primary Care Residency Program, Ohio State Fellowship for Nursing Government Advocacy, training for community health workers, etc.). It runs an Office of Global Innovations and two NP-led primary care facilities. And it’s well-funded.
Some of the money goes into the university’s nursing research work. Thanks to all of OSU’s healthcare ties, the College manages interdisciplinary centers in healthy aging & complex care, research & health analytics, women, children & youth, and evidence-based practice. Better yet, the College has tight clinical connections with the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, including its teaching hospitals (e.g. University Hospital) and specialty centers (e.g. Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital). If you’re interested in the BSN to DNP, have a look at the comprehensive section on clinical placements. OSU outlines the entire procedure for in-state and out-of-state students.
2. University of Cincinnati (Tied)
Thanks to glowing reviews, a great online ranking (e.g. top 10 for online graduate nursing programs), and a respected nurse anesthesia program (e.g. top 25 in the country), UC’s convenient DNP program easily makes our #2 spot. Reviewers were especially pleased with the support from administrators & faculty, the high tech nature of the online format, and the rigorous & well-structured coursework. The College of Nursing has been in the business of training nurses for 130+ years and it’s working on a number of funded research projects. It’s also good enough to publish certification pass rates for APRN specialties. Some are average; some are respectable (e.g. AGPCNP); and some are very good (e.g. FNP). First-time NCE pass rates and employment rates for UC Nurse Anesthesia graduates are strong.
Technology is a key strength for UC. The College runs a Center for Academic Technologies and Educational Resources (CATER) to improve delivery & tech adoption, and it’s involved in all kinds of telehealth initiatives, including telehealth robots and patient simulators. We also like the fact that UC has established clinical connections through the UC Academic Health Center. For example, it has working relationships with regional clinical partners and a number of area hospitals, including University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati VA Medical Center, and UC Health. Having said all of that, finding an NP placement & preceptor may be up to you. In the Clinical Planning section, UC says that nursing graduate students must be proactive about finding a preceptor for each clinical setting. (Nurse Anesthesia is a separate affair—see the list of clinical sites for this program.)
2. Case Western University (Tied)
Interested in nurse anesthesia or administration? Case Western’s DNP program should be on your shortlist. It’s expensive, but it’s also highly ranked (e.g. top 15 for DNP and top 20 for Nursing Administration), well-reviewed, and nationally respected. It comes from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing (FPB), which has a reputation for training future leaders (e.g. Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy). Almost every major nursing organization has been led by an FPB graduate (e.g. NBNA, ICN, AAN, etc.). NCE first-time pass rates are very respectable for the FBP Nurse Anesthesia program and even better for the joint Cleveland Clinic/FBP program.
Case Western is an especially strong choice for research-lovers. Students in the traditional MSN to DNP or the Dual DNP/PhD can sink their teeth into multiple NIH-funded areas of research and training and any one of FPB’s Centers of Excellence. Meanwhile, aspiring CRNAs will have access to the Health Education Campus and clinical sites such as the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Summa Akron City Hospital, and more. Case Western doesn’t have a traditional BSN to DNP, but students in the Accelerated MSN can apply a number of credits to the doctorate. Just be sure to check the section on Financial Aid for Graduate Students and Scholarships Search before making your decision.
Most Affordable DNP Programs in Ohio
To find the cheapest DNP programs in Ohio, we ranked each school by the lowest per credit tuition rate for the doctorate. In the case of public universities, this was often the in-state rate. But we’ll admit that it’s a bit of an estimate! The final cost will depend on the total number of credits, the type of program, and its format. For example, some online DNPs at Ohio public schools are offered at an in-state rate.
1. University of Akron
UA makes the #1 affordability spot thanks to a low OH resident tuition rate for graduate students in the College of Health Professions. Even the per credit rate for non-residents isn’t too bad. Just bear in mind that UA’s DNP is only offered in a post-master’s pathway. And Nurse Anesthesia tuition prices will be different (and significantly higher).
2. Kent State University
If you need BSN to DNP options, KSU is a viable alternative to UA. For KSU’s cost, we added together the graduate tuition rate + all mandatory fees. KSU charges different tuition rates for Ohio residents and non-residents. The in-state rate is very good; the out-of-state rate is similar to a private university. There may be additional program fees—check with the DNP program coordinator.
3. Cleveland State University
CSU’s ranking is based on its doctoral tuition rate + all mandatory fees. The per credit rate for in-state DNP students is in the same ballpark as KSU’s tuition price; the out-of-state rate is actually cheaper. Budget for additional miscellaneous fees.
Online DNP Programs in Ohio
Ohio is awash with DNP programs, so you’ll see plenty of online tracks flagged in our listings. Unfortunately, Ohio schools aren’t always consistent. For example, at KSU, Walsh, and OSU, you’ll see that some DNP tracks are online and some are technically hybrid or on-campus. So we recommend you read the fine print on the program website very carefully.
- Online BSN to DNP Programs in OH: Most APRN programs that fall into this category will usually have at least one campus component. UC states that its BSN to DNP tracks have 2 required campus visits, but other universities are little less explicit. Depending on the online track, Walsh may have intensive experiences, Ashland may have 3-4 day on-campus residencies each semester, and OSU may have an orientation, project defense & 3 intensives. Check with the DNP program coordinator to be sure.
- Hybrid BSN to DNP Programs in OH: If you live in the Ohio area, you could also consider programs that blend online coursework with on-campus teaching. Examples include some of KSU’s tracks (e.g. in-person practice role courses), some of OSU’s tracks (e.g. on-campus specialty coursework), some of Walsh’s tracks (e.g. hands-on experiences), CSU, and UT. Ohio University’s program is primarily online, but there are on-campus intensives (OCIs) throughout each course.
Campus requirements ease up a little at the post-master’s level. Schools of Nursing don’t have to worry as much about certification training, so they’re free to offer leadership & APRN DNPs in a more flexible format.
- 100% Online Post-Master’s DNP Programs in OH: KSU and UT state that their MSN to DNP pathways are 100% online, with no-campus requirements. You may also want to check with the DNP program coordinators at Ursuline, Walsh, Lourdes, and CSU—we didn’t see campus requirements mentioned, but they may still exist!
- Online Post-Master’s DNP Programs in OH: Other schools will want to see you at least once during the program. For instance, Capital has 3 immersion experiences, Mount Carmel has 2 on-site immersions (and 1 virtual), and Otterbein has 3 on-campus days (i.e. orientation, project proposal, and final report presentation). This is just a sample—OSU, Xavier, UC, and Ashland have similar time requirements.
- Hybrid Post-Master’s DNP Programs in OH: Plus there are the blended possibilities! For instance, DNP programs from Case Western, UA, and Mount St. Joseph include regular weekend intensives or on-campus classes each semester. Ohio University’s offering is billed as blended, but it may be more online in nature with minimal visits—ask the university for details.
Live outside of Ohio? Before you apply for any online or hybrid DNP in Ohio, check with your State Board of Nursing and the program coordinator. Due to state authorization & distance learning restrictions, many Ohio universities cannot accept certain candidates. You’ll see this phenomenon on KSU College of Nursing’s list of Approved States for Online Learning (there are a fair number of exceptions) and Ohio State Online’s page on State Authorization. Each school will have its own guidelines.
Note: Our directory of Online DNP Programs contains program listings from every state.
BSN to DNP Programs in Ohio
To help you make comparisons, we’ve listed individual BSN to DNP tracks under each school in our Ohio listings. You’ll be spoiled for choice—Ohio is one of the biggest states for the DNP, and many universities are willing to offer online & hybrid formats.
- Multiple APRN Specialties: OSU has the widest range, with specialties in popular areas (e.g. FNP) and rarer tracks in NNP, Nurse Midwifery, and both PNP specialties. You can compare many of OSU’s offerings with big schools like KSU, UT, and UC. They will usually have adult & pediatrics tracks.
- FNP & Adult Specialties: If you’re researching the FNP, PMHNP, or AGACNP, you can expand your shortlist even further with schools such as Ohio University, Walsh, and CSU. Walsh is a private Catholic university.
- Leadership & Administration Specialties: UC, Ashland, and Ohio University have dedicated tracks for aspiring nurse executives & leaders. Meanwhile, KSU and OSU are willing to offer the AGCNS.
- Nurse Educator: This track is tough to find in most states, but we’re pleased to report that Ohio is an exception. Try Ohio University and Walsh University.
Interested in Nurse Anesthesia? Ohio has 7 COA-accredited programs, including a couple that are transitioning from the MSN to the DNP (Lourdes and UA, as of 2020). Some of your options will have specific medical ties. For example:
- Otterbein’s program is the result of a partnership between Otterbein University & OhioHealth Grant Medical Center.
- St. Elizabeth Health Center School’s DNP is offered in partnership with Youngstown State University.
Case Western is even affiliated with two DNPs: its own Nurse Anesthesia DNP through the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and the joint Cleveland Clinic/Case Western offering.
- The programs are separately accredited, but the didactic curriculum is the same. Students in both programs take the same courses and share classroom space.
- Graduates of the Cleveland Clinic program receive a Diploma in Nurse Anesthesia from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and a DNP from Case Western.
Ohio Nursing Organizations
- State of Ohio Board of Nursing
- Ohio Association of Advanced Practice Nurses (OAAPN)
- Ohio Gerontologic Advanced Practice Nurses Association (OH GAPNA)
- Ohio League for Nursing (OLN)
- Ohio State Association of Nurse Anesthetists (OSANA)
- Ohio Organization for Nursing Leadership (OONL)
Below you'll find a list of all of the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs available in Ohio.