Find an accredited South Carolina DNP with minimal fuss! Our practical guide & directory contains rankings of the best and most affordable DNP programs in South Carolina, notes on online & hybrid SC doctorates, and tips on BSN to DNP options. Interested in a particular school? Skip ahead to our listings.
Top South Carolina DNP Programs
Our ranking of the best DNP programs in South Carolina is based on a large number of quality factors, including independent placements (e.g. U.S. News & World Report), reputation, research opportunities, and clinical connections.
1. Medical University of South Carolina
Our #1 spot goes to MUSC’s DNP program in the College of Nursing. Here you’ll find top 20 national rankings for nursing graduate programs—including online degrees—and excellent certification pass rates on NP specialties (e.g. 100%) and the NCE. MUSC is the only academic health science center in South Carolina, so it’s garnered plenty of funding for current research projects, community outreach (e.g. Hispanic health initiatives), and intriguing centers (e.g. Technology Applications Center for Healthful Lifestyles (TACHL)). Thanks to HRSA support, it’s also been able to provide stipends & training to DNP students.
An extra bonus? Clinical & networking connections. MUSC is affiliated with multiple faculty practice partnerships and the MUSC Health University Medical Center, a Level I Trauma Center and National Telehealth Center of Excellence. During on-campus clinical intensives, DNP students also receive training in the high-tech MUSC Healthcare Simulation Center. Having said all that, it looks like NP practicum arrangements are up to you. In the section on APRN clinical experience, MUSC states that precepted clinical experiences are individually arranged by students. If you’re interested in this program, check the section on College of Nursing scholarships—some are open to DNP students.
2. University of South Carolina
USC’s DNP program runs a close second to MUSC. The College of Nursing is one of the top schools in the nation for online graduate programs and it’s packed with resources. We’re talking about NIH-funded research strengths, a state-of-the-art simulation lab, and centers & labs in nursing leadership, cancer survivorship, and advancing chronic care outcomes. It even runs a Center for Connected Health, which allows PMHNP nursing students to experience hands-on clinical work and telehealth delivery in rural primary care clinics.
Better yet, the DNP program gets results—new MSN and FNP graduates have achieved excellent results on the ANCC exam (e.g. 100%) and AANP (e.g. 97% first-time). According to the DNP program website, the College can offer assistance with clinical placements if needed; it also maintains a list of preceptor contracts/agreements on Blackboard. College of Nursing graduate scholarships and general scholarships are available. And it’s launching an alumni mentor program. Combine all of these points with solid reviews on independent websites, and you’ve got a school to stick on your shortlist.
3. Anderson University
Anderson & Clemson duked it out for the #3 spot. In the end, we chose Anderson’s DNP program for three reasons. It’s relatively affordable. It’s well-reviewed by alumni. And it often ranks in the top 70 of online nursing graduate programs nationwide. Consider it only if you’re comfortable with a faith-based degree. The School of Nursing in the College of Health Professions has a Christ-centered ethos and coursework includes religious topics (e.g. Intelligent Design). It also runs nursing missions in Nicaragua. If you’d prefer a more neutral option, have a look at Clemson.
Interested in the BSN to DNP tracks? During intensives, NP students get to practice hands-on work in the CHP’s Center for Medical Simulations, which has its own cadaver lab (rare for nursing). Thanks to its location, Anderson has ties to the AnMed Health Medical Center, Anderson Free Clinic, and other hospitals & health systems in the area. Nursing faculty actively practice at local sites, so they may also have useful connections. You can check on the program by talking to alumni & exploring messageboards (e.g. allnurses). Reviewers say instructors are helpful and supportive, online classes are small, and coursework is designed to get students ready for boards.
Most Affordable DNP Programs in South Carolina
For this list of the cheapest DNP programs in South Carolina, we ranked each school by the lowest per credit tuition rate for the doctorate. In the case of public universities, this was usually the in-state rate. It’s a ballpark ranking—the total cost of your DNP will depend on the number of credits.
1. Anderson University
Anderson is a private Christian university, which means that DNP tuition rates are the same for all students, regardless of their state of residency. Even with the mandatory per credit online course delivery fee, it’s still slightly cheaper than public options.
2. University of South Carolina
USC has separate DNP tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students. The per credit rate for South Carolina residents is similar to Anderson; the out-of-state rate rivals tuition at expensive private universities. You’ll also need to budget for any additional College of Nursing clinical & lab fees.
3. Clemson University
Clemson’s online DNP tuition rate appears to be the same for in-state and out-of-state students. And it’s not that much higher than USC’s resident rate. We included mandatory fees (e.g. IT fee) in our final number.
Online DNP Programs in South Carolina
South Carolina Schools of Nursing have embraced distance learning with a vengeance. You’ll see a number of online DNP programs flagged in our listings, including options from top-ranked schools like MUSC. Keep in mind that “online” is a nebulous term. For instance:
- Online BSN to DNP Programs in SC: NP programs almost always include face-to-face components. USC has occasional on-campus immersions (e.g. 2-3 visits per immersion); MUSC has an orientation & campus visits for certain 800-level classes (e.g. 2-3 days each); and Anderson has intensive workdays once per semester. Schools may also want to see you for the project proposal and capstone defense.
- Hybrid BSN to DNP Programs in SC: FMU is a good example—it has face-to-face coursework for baseline credits in the FNP (e.g. advanced pharmacology) and blended sessions for the rest of the classes. MUSC and Webster’s Nurse Anesthesia programs are also hybrid in nature, with some online courses and a lot of campus clinical work.
It’s a bit easier at the post-master’s level, where programs are usually targeted at APRNs who are already certified. But you may still encounter a few campus requirements. For example:
- Online Post-Master’s DNP Programs in SC: MUSC and USC want to see DNP students for the project proposal and defense; Clemson has summer immersion experiences (e.g. 2-3 days per year); and Anderson has occasional intensive work days (e.g. first & last semester for the Executive Leadership track). FMU’s MSN to DNP may be 100% online—check with the DNP program coordinator.
- Hybrid Post-Master’s DNP Programs in SC: MUSC’s DNAP for current CRNAs is delivered in a hybrid model, with online and on-campus educational sessions (e.g. 1-2 weekends per semester).
Whichever online DNP you pick, be sure you are eligible to apply. Thanks to distance learning restrictions, many schools have limitations on admissions. For example, as of 2020, MUSC couldn’t accept DNP – APRN applicants from Arizona, Washington, or Louisiana. For more examples, have a look at USC’s State Authorization and Clemson’s State Authorization sections. Aspiring APRNs should also check that the program will be accepted by their local State Board of Nursing.
Note: Interested in DNPs across the nation? See our directory of Online DNP Programs. They are organized by state.
BSN to DNP Programs in South Carolina
To make your life a little easier, we’ve listed individual BSN to DNP tracks in our South Carolina listings. There isn’t a huge amount of choice, but that may make it easier for you to compare & contrast programs.
- FNP, PMHNP & Adult Specialties: Almost all South Carolina schools offer these tracks. MUSC and USC have AGNP options. Anderson, MUSC, and USC have the PMHNP. And even FMU is willing to offer the FNP.
- Pediatrics: However, if you’re interested in the PNP, you may have to stick with MUSC. It’s not clear whether this is a joint acute care/primary care program—you’ll need to check with the DNP program coordinator.
- Leadership: Not interested in APRN certification? Anderson has a BSN to DNP in Executive Leadership that includes MBA coursework.
- Nurse Anesthesia: The two COA-accredited programs in South Carolina are offered by MUSC and Webster. Both are hybrid in nature, with some online coursework.
South Carolina Nursing Organizations
- South Carolina Board of Nursing
- Capitol Nurse Practitioner Group (Capitol NP)
- SCNA APRN Chapter
- Upstate Nurse Practitioner Association of Greenville (UNPA)
- South Carolina Association of Nurse Anesthetists (SCANA)
- South Carolina League for Nursing (SCLN)
- South Carolina Organization of Nurse Leaders (SCONL)
Below you'll find a list of all of the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs available in South Carolina.