Find the best Texas DNP for your needs. This fluff-free guide & directory contains rankings of the top and most affordable DNP programs in Texas, details on online & hybrid TX doctorates, and tips for comparing BSN to DNP options. Interested in pathways at a particular school? Jump ahead to our listings.
Top Texas DNP Programs
A large number of quality factors went into this list of the best DNP programs in TX. First, we evaluated independent rankings for nursing graduate degrees, prioritizing any Texas school with a high DNP placement in U.S. News & World Report. But we also considered certification pass rates, national reputation, research opportunities, clinical connections, and unfiltered student reviews.
1. University of Texas at Austin
Great national rankings (e.g. top 25 for the MSN & DNP). A School of Nursing with an excellent reputation. Solid student reviews. These are just a few of the reasons why UT Austin’s hybrid DNP program snagged our #1 spot. It’s designed for post-master’s students, but there’s nothing to prevent you from tackling the MSN and following it up with the doctorate. We’d particularly recommend it to aspiring PMHNPs, thanks to excellent pass rates (e.g. 100% first-time from 2011-2019).
One of the School’s biggest strengths is research. It receives a great deal of funding from the NIH and runs plenty of fascinating research centers & labs in advanced clinical areas (e.g. cancer neuroscience, critical care research, etc.) and community practice (e.g. aging, health promotion, etc.). Independent reviewers also loved the supportive & experienced faculty, the rigorous coursework, and the benefit of the School’s connections.
2. Baylor University
The #2 spot goes to Baylor, a private Christian university in Waco. The online DNP program is available in a number of BSN to DNP tracks and it’s backed by superb APRN certification pass rates. We give a special shout-out to the ACME-accredited nurse midwifery program, which is often in the top 10 of midwifery programs nationwide. Another major bonus? The Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) provides full clinical placement services for all graduate-level clinical rotations. If you have a site or preceptor in mind, you can also arrange matters with the placement team.
But wait, there’s more! The School has a dedicated LHSON Sim Center that’s used for clinical practice labs and research. It’s close to the Baylor University Medical Center. It has connections with Baylor Scott & White Health (BSW Health) and 150+ professional nursing practice sites in Dallas communities. It’s involved in funded research projects. And it emphasizes global service & Christian missions abroad (e.g. Africa, India, and Peru). You can contact alumni to get an inside view of the program—the reviews we read were universally positive, with NP graduates praising the loving & supportive atmosphere and the global health opportunities.
3. Texas Christian University
Like Baylor, TCU’s online DNP program is built for convenience, with distance coursework and on-campus intensives. The Harris College of Nursing (TCU Nursing) often achieves top 30 placements in U.S. News & World Report rankings for the DNP & nurse anesthesia and it has a track record of strong NCE pass rates. TCU Nursing will partner with you to secure clinical placement sites based upon your specialty and location. Graduate students also receive clinical skills training in the 15,000 square-foot simulation center.
TCU Nursing may be an especially good fit if you’re interested in cancer. The College’s Center for Oncology Education & Research is doing a lot of interdisciplinary work in care & education. In fact, interprofessional learning is an important element in the College’s approach. Community-focused practitioners should also take a look at the work being done through the Health Innovation Institute. TCU Nursing is expensive, but there may be a significant tuition discount for graduate nursing students. Check with the DNP program coordinator before applying.
Most Affordable DNP Programs in Texas
For this list of the cheapest DNP programs in Texas, we used one key data point—the per credit tuition rate for the doctorate. However, it isn’t always easy to find this number at UT universities. For the three universities listed below, we created an estimate by dividing the total cost, including all mandatory fees, by the total number of credits. So take it as a ballpark figure! The next schools in our rankings were TWU, TTUHSC, and TAMUCC.
1. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
The Texas resident rate for the post-master’s DNP is very affordable; the non-resident tuition rate is comparable to big private universities (e.g. Baylor). Keep in mind that the BSN to DNP and Nurse Anesthesia tracks have separate tuition rates.
2. The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
UTHSC at San Antonio has a similar tuition structure to UTHSC at Houston—the in-state rate is reasonable; the out-of-state rate is pricey. Double-check the price with the DNP program coordinator—U.S. News & Report suggests that San Antonio may have a lower rate than Houston.
3. The University of Texas at Tyler
If our estimates are accurate, UTT’s in-state tuition rate for the DNP is not that much higher than UTHSC at San Antonio. The out-of-state rate is similar to private university prices.
Online DNP Programs in Texas
To simplify your search, we’ve flagged online DNP tracks in our Texas listings. You can see—at a glance—which universities are willing to offer distance learning doctorates. Here are a few points worth mentioning about the pathways.
- Online BSN to DNP Programs in TX: Online DNPs in APRN specialties almost always have campus elements. For example, Baylor has on-campus immersions, TCU has an orientation & on-campus intensives for skills development, and TWU has something similar. Campus visits won’t always be frequent, but they will require travel.
- Hybrid BSN to DNP Programs in TX: UTHSC schools often favor a more blended approach. For instance, TTUHSC students visit the campus for an orientation, OSCEs, final project presentations, and selected DNP sessions (e.g. twice per semester). And UTHSC at Houston students visit the campus 2-5 times per semester (depending on the type of course). Meanwhile, UIW has bi-monthly classes on campus.
Once you reach the post-master’s level, you’ll have more choice. Because they’re not fretting about clinical preparation, schools have room to offer 100% online coursework in leadership & administration.
- Online Post-Master’s DNP Programs in TX: A number of Texas schools have 100% online programs (e.g. Baylor’s post-master’s DNP in Executive Nurse Leadership), but we recommend you ask the DNP program coordinator for exact details. For example, TWU’s online MSN-FNP has a 3-day orientation, but the online Completion DNAP has no campus requirements.
- Hybrid Post-Master’s DNP Programs in TX: If you live in the Texas area, you can expand your search to almost all of the schools in our listings. We’re talking about programs such as TTUHSC (e.g. 3-4 day executive sessions 3 times per semester), UMHB (e.g. on-campus learning 1 day per month), and UT Arlington (e.g. Friday visits 1-3 times per semester). This is a brief sample—have a look at all the options.
Finally, before you choose any online DNP program in Texas, be sure you are eligible to apply. Because of distance learning restrictions, some schools are unable to accept certain applicants (e.g. TCU’s Graduate Nursing State Authorization exceptions). Aspiring APRNs should also find out if the DNP will be recognized by their local State Board of Nursing.
Note: Our directory of Online DNP Programs has a full list of programs (BSN to DNP and post-master’s) in every state.
BSN to DNP Programs in Texas
Links to individual BSN to DNP tracks are provided under each school in the Texas listings. Broadly speaking, these tend to fall into 3 major categories:
- FNP, PMHNP & Adult Gerontology Specialties: You’ll find these tracks at well-known Christian universities (e.g. Baylor, UIW, and TCU) and Health Science Center campuses. TWU has an FNP track. And TCU is willing to offer the CNS.
- Pediatric, Midwifery & Neonatal Specialties: In Texas, your choices will be primarily limited to Baylor, which has the NNP, PNP, and an excellent nurse midwifery program, and UTHSC at San Antonio, which offers a PNP track in primary care.
- Nurse Anesthesia: As of 2020, Texas had 5 COA-accredited programs. Some—like Baylor College of Medicine’s hybrid BSN to DNP in Nurse Anesthesia—receive excellent national rankings (e.g. top 3 in the country). If you’re willing to serve in the Army Active Duty after graduation, you could also consider the fully-funded USAGPAN program at Baylor.
Texas Nursing Organizations
- Texas Board of Nursing (BON)
- Texas Nurse Practitioners (TNP)
- Texas Association of Nurse Anesthetists (TXANA)
- Texas League for Nursing (TLN)
- Texas Organization of Nurse Executives (TONE)
Below you'll find a list of all of the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs available in Texas.