Find a Washington DNP that matches your goals and budget! This guide & directory contains rankings of the best and most affordable DNP programs in Washington, details on online & hybrid WA doctorates, and tips for comparing BSN to DNP tracks. Interested in a specific school? Jump ahead to our listings.
Top Washington DNP Programs
For this list of the best DNP programs in Washington, we evaluated independent rankings for nursing graduate degrees, prioritizing any WA school with a high DNP placement in U.S. News & World Report. However, we also considered certification pass rates, research opportunities, clinical connections, and unfiltered student reviews.
1. University of Washington
UW’s DNP Program is our undisputed #1. It comes from a School of Nursing with superb national rankings for its graduate programs (e.g. top 5 for the DNP) and APRN specialties (e.g. top 10 for the FNP and AGPCNP and top 15 for Nursing Midwifery). The School has experienced faculty & staff. It runs a large number of research centers in all kinds of areas, including aging, infant development, global health, and palliative care. It’s made a commitment to population health. It has solid first-time pass rates on the AMCB exam (ask the DNP program coordinator for NP stats). And it gets great reviews.
Another bonus? The School takes care of clinical placements for graduate rotations. Thanks to UW, the School has tight connections with the UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center. It has also developed a fellowship program for FNP and AGPCNP graduates at the VA Puget Sound Center of Education for Interprofessional Collaboration. Nursing graduates often praise the outstanding faculty, rigorous coursework, hands-on clinical training, and access to clinical sites. But they also mention the terrible traffic and the expense. Have a look at the sections on financial support and SoN Scholarships & Fellowships for funding ideas. And be sure to attend one of the School’s DNP Information Sessions.
2. Seattle University
Put Seattle U’s DNP Program on your Washington shortlist. The well-established College of Nursing achieves a respectable national ranking for the DNP and an excellent spot for Nursing Midwifery (e.g. top 20). Because it’s part of a Jesuit university, the College has made a commitment to service learning. It has a sophisticated Clinical Performance Lab, with an outpatient clinic, trained “patient” actors, and a simulated acute care area for hands-on training. And it gets results. First-time pass rates in all NP focal areas are between 95% and 100%; first-time pass rates for the AMCB are in the range of 90%.
Like UW, SeattleU arranges practicum placements for graduate students. The College’s clinical partnerships include similar sites to UW (e.g. UW Medical Center, VA Puget Sound Health Care, and Harborview Medical Center) and a large number of city hospitals & clinics (e.g. Seattle Children’s). DNP students can even explore global health opportunities for their capstone projects. We didn’t find a lot of reviews of SeattleU, so we recommend you talk to alumni and attend one of the College’s Information Sessions and/or live classroom experiences. You may also wish to look into the section on financial support for graduate study.
3. Washington State University
We almost put WSU’s DNP Program in the #2 spot. The College of Nursing is an NLN Center of Excellence. It usually earns strong national rankings for its graduate programs (e.g. top 35 for the DNP & MSN). It offers a hybrid DNP on a number of convenient campuses. It receives plenty of NIH funding for research areas of distinction, including work in environmental health & sustainability and addictions research. And it has connections to all kinds of clinical sites in Washington. Overall, it’s a solid pick.
The reason we moved it to #3 is because of the university’s fiscal health. Starting in 2018, WSU began reducing spending, which has put a crimp on resources. The College of Nursing has been through a number of deans in recent years. And independent reviews of the DNP were mixed. Because of this, we highly recommend you chat to recent DNP alumni (see the examples of their DNP projects), ask to observe a class, and/or talk to WSU faculty in your chosen area. This will give you a better idea of the current state of affairs. You may also want to take a look at available College of Nursing scholarships.
Most Affordable DNP Programs in Washington
This ranking of the cheapest DNP programs in Washington is based on one key data point—the per credit tuition rate for the doctorate. In the case of public schools like UW or WSU, we used the in-state rate. We’ll tell you straight that no DNPs in Washington are super-affordable. Public universities often charge tuition rates that are comparable to mid-sized private schools.
1. Seattle University
SeattleU is a private Jesuit university. That means the DNP tuition rate is the same for all students, regardless of their state of residency. In addition to tuition, you’ll need to budget for one-time fees and per quarter fees (e.g. program fee, technology fee, etc.).
2. Washington State University – Vancouver
WSU runs the DNP on three campuses—Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver. The graduate nursing tuition rate is slightly different at each school, with Vancouver offering the lowest numbers. The in-state rate isn’t far from SeattleU; the out-of-state rate is very expensive. To compare, see the tuition pages for WSU Tri-Cities and WSU Spokane.
3. Seattle Pacific University
SPU is a private Christian university, so the DNP tuition rate is the same for all students. The university points out there will be additional course fees and associated costs.
Online DNP Programs in Washington
To speed your search, we’ve flagged online DNPs in our state listings. But it’s important to note that distance learning DNPs in Washington can still have campus components. For example:
- Online BSN to DNP Programs in WA: Gonzaga’s DNP includes a minimum of 7-8 on-campus immersions for NP students—the average is one per semester from the 5th to the 12th semesters. (The DNAP is on-campus).
- Hybrid BSN to DNP Programs in WA: Many Washington schools favor this format. For example, UW’s BSN to DNP tracks include 50% on-campus coursework in the first year (e.g. 1 day per week), and a number of in-person courses in the second and third years (e.g. 1-2 days per week). This is just one example—check out the other options in our listings.
You’ll see a similar pattern emerging at the post-master’s level. Gonzaga is happy to offer an online option; other schools stick with a hybrid approach. For example:
- Online Post-Master’s DNP Programs in WA: Gonzaga’s DNP has two required campus visits—one immersion at the beginning at the program and another immediately before the first practicum. Plus you have the option to attend the campus for an oral defense of your capstone proposal.
- Hybrid Post-Master’s DNP Programs in WA: MSN to DNP programs at PLU and public universities often have larger campus commitments, though it’s best to ask the school for full details. For instance, WSU’s in-person sessions are scheduled in 1-2 day blocks to accommodate working professionals.
Before you apply for any Washington online doctorate, check with your State Board of Nursing and the DNP program coordinator. Because of distance learning restrictions & state authorization issues, many schools have limitations on out-of-state applicants. Gonzaga points this out in their Eligibility & Admission section.
Note: Our directory of Online DNP Programs lists distance learning doctorates in every state.
BSN to DNP Programs in Washington
BSN to DNP tracks are spelled out under each school in the Washington listings. As you’re skimming through them, you may notice a few trends. Here’s the inside scoop on your options.
- Multiple APRN Specialties & Nurse Midwifery: UW’s top-ranked School of Nursing is going to offer the most choice. It has popular options (e.g. FNP & PMHNP), pediatric tracks, midwifery, dual degrees, and rare specialties (e.g. Pediatric CNS). You can put a number of these tracks side-by-side with SeattleU.
- FNP, AGNP & PMHNP: These tracks are offered at almost every school in Washington. In addition to UW and SeattleU, you might consider Gonzaga’s online program, WSU and PLU’s hybrid program, and SPU’s one-day-a-week doctorate. SPU also offers an AGCNS track.
- Population Health: UW and WSU duke it out for the honor of providing the best population health pathway. UW even offers a Dual DNP/MPH in this area.
- Nurse Anesthesia: As of 2020, Washington State had one COA-accredited program—Gonzaga’s on-campus DNAP. This is a joint program between Gonzaga’s School of Nursing and Human Physiology and the School of Anesthesia at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.
Washington Nursing Organizations
- Washington State Department of Health: Nursing Commission
- ARNPs United of Washington State
- Puget Sound Nurse Practitioner Association (PSNPA)
- Northwest Organization of Nursing Executives (NWone)
- Washington Association of Nurse Anesthetists (WANA)
Below you'll find a list of all of the Doctor of Nursing Practice programs available in Washington.