Online BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Programs Available in Indiana

According to the 2017 Indiana Nursing Licensure Survey data report, the trend in advanced nursing education in the Hoosier State is decidedly toward the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) – the highest clinical degree available in nursing. The survey found that in 2017, about 6% of the advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) in the state held a doctorate degree. The survey also revealed that nearly 11% of licensed APRNs had plans to pursue a doctorate in the next two years.

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The DNP can help APRNs achieve additional patient population or specialty certification within their advanced practice role, advance exclusively within their current patient population focus, or attain positions in areas like executive leadership, nursing education, public health, informatics, and more. DNP programs are also increasingly becoming the choice for RNs seeking initial APRN certification.

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Indiana

Doctor of Nursing Practice programs are structured as either post-bachelor’s programs that accommodate BSN-educated RNs or post-master’s programs that accommodate MSN-educated RNs and APRNs:

  • Post-Bachelor’s BSN-DNP programs are designed for RNs who hold a BSN, allowing them to complete the requirements for the MSN first then move on to DNP requirements. It may also be used as a pathway to advanced practice nursing (APN) licensure and certification. Typically, students taking classes on a full-time basis will complete 90 credits over three years (depending upon the focus area chosen).
  • Post-Master’s MSN-DNP programs are designed for RNs that hold an MSN and who may already be certified APNs. It allows them to complete requirements for a DNP and prepare for advanced practice nursing roles in chosen focus areas. APNs may choose to enhance their knowledge and skills within their present APN role, or add one (or more) additional certification areas in other foci. Students taking classes on a full-time basis will complete 36 credits in about a year and a half (again, depending upon the focus area chosen).

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits DNP programs in Indiana. In order to earn accreditation, a DNP program must require a minimum of 1000 post-baccalaureate practice hours and give students the option of specializing in one of the following focus areas:

  • Direct care in advanced practice nursing (nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife)
  • Systems, aggregate, or organizational focus including nursing leadership, informatics, public health, and healthcare policy

Indiana’s working RNs and APRNs are more often looking to earn their DNP through an accredited online program. These programs give students the flexibility they need to earn a DNP while maintaining professional commitments. Students complete clinical requirements in-person at facilities chosen by the online school. For that reason, some online programs in Indiana will not admit students from certain states or countries.

Students may choose the following types of DNP programs at online or campus-based institutions:

  • Traditional DNP programs, which average a year and a half to two years to complete
  • Accelerated DNP programs, which average a year to complete
  • Part-time DNP programs, which average two and a half to three years to complete

Regardless of time commitment, a DNP curriculum will be structured to include:

  • DNP core – Core courses of the DNP program, such as:
    • Theory based models of care
    • Statistics for health care research
    • Population focused care
  • Specialty courses – consistent with the chosen focus area, whether in an APN track or an aggregate/systems/organizational focus
  • Final project – this will give DNP students the chance to demonstrate their proficiency in their chosen focus area. DNP projects usually consist of a written paper fit for publication in addition to a formal presentation

BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Programs Available in Indiana

The following DNP programs have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and/or the American Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (current as of 2016). Other DNP programs not shown here may hold regional accreditation or specialty accreditation through the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs or the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.

CCNE and ACEN-accredited programs are generally available online to advanced nursing students in Indiana.

  • Ball State University, Muncie
    • Program is offered online
    • Advanced practice nursing focus
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis
    • Program is offered online
    • Advanced practice nursing focus
  • Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion
    • Program is offered online
    • Advanced practice nursing focus
  • Purdue University, West Lafayette
    • Also available as a BSN-DNP
    • Specialization in:
      • Adult gerontology primary nurse practitioner (BSN-DNP)
  • University of Southern Indiana, Evansville
    • Program is offered online
    • Specializations in:
      • Advanced practice nursing focus
      • Organizational and systems leadership
  • Valparaiso University, Valparaiso
    • Also available as a BSN-DNP
    • Advanced practice nursing focus
  • Indiana State University, Terre Haute
    • Advanced practice nursing focus

Opportunities Available to DNP-Prepared Nurses in Indiana

A DNP will open many doors for Indiana nurses, in a myriad of areas ranging from advanced practice nursing to systems-related roles, such as:

  • Clinical nursing faculty staff
  • Nurse executive positions within healthcare organizations and institutions
  • Contributors to healthcare initiatives and policies
  • Advisors to healthcare organizations and facilities

The following job listings reflect current job opportunities and offer insight into the numerous types of professional opportunities available to DNP graduates in Indiana:

Clinical Track Faculty – FNP or PMHNP, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN

  • Master’s degree in nursing with a doctorate preferred or have completed the BSN to PhD and/or BSN to DNP program and recent clinical and teaching experience in the field

Assistant Professor/Assistant Director for the Nurse Anesthesia Program, University of Evansville, Evansville, IN

  • Minimum requirements include a DNP, PhD, or DNAP, current certification by the NBCRNA, and three years of clinical practice as a CRNA

Nurse Practitioner, Marion General Hospital, Marion, IN

  • Masters degree in nursing or a DNP degree
  • Current RN license in Indiana
  • Advanced practice licensure
  • Two years of nursing experience in a hospital or practice setting

Assistant Program Director, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, IN

  • Doctorate (PhD, DNP or DNAP) required
  • Graduate education in the basic and clinical sciences relevant to nurse anesthesia practice required


Examples of DNP nursing positions were taken from a survey of job listings in January 2020 and are shown for illustrative purposes only. These examples do not represent job offers or positions that are currently available.

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