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

Many RNs and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), both in Michigan and throughout the country, are pursuing the DNP as a way to futureproof their careers, increase their professional opportunities, and earn a bigger paycheck in the process.

DNP-prepared nurses possess the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the challenges of the complex clinical environment, manage demanding healthcare delivery systems, and influence constantly changing health policy. So, it comes as no surprise that both RNs in pursuit of nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist or certified nurse-midwife certification, along with currently practicing APRNs looking to add another patient population focus or move into administration, choose the degree that prepares them to become outstanding clinicians capable of autonomous practice – the DNP.

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Featured DNP Programs:

As Michigan’s primary care providers struggle to keep up with demand, nurse practitioners are becoming increasingly vital to ensuring that everyone here has access to cost-effective, reliable care. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the number of primary care physicians in the state fell from 7,912 in 2015 to 7,800 in 2017, even as the population in the state grew. Fortunately, the number of nurse practitioners during this time grew from 4,876 to 6,093.

Fortunately, Michigan’s universities and colleges are increasing their DNP offerings to include online options as a way to accommodate the growing popularity of the DNP. As of 2020, there were nine Michigan schools offering the DNP, with many offering entry points for both BSN- and MSN-educated nurses.

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Michigan

The esteemed DNP degree is available to both BSN and MSN-Prepared RNs and APRNs in Michigan:

  • Post Bachelor’s BSN-to-DNP programs allow BSN-prepared nurses to first complete their MSN and then easily transition to DNP curriculum all in one streamlined program. This type of program is commonly used as a path to initial APRN certification and licensure and would consist of about 90 credits taken over 36 months of full time study.
  • Post Master’s MSN-to-DNP programs allow MSN-prepared nurses who may already be certified and licensed as APRNs to complete a DNP. These programs provide a path for APRNs looking to advance within their current APRN role or add additional certification in another patient population focus or specialty. These programs would typically consist of 30-36 credits taken over at least 18 months of full time study depending on the specialization.

Both types of programs are available in advanced practice and organizational leadership tracks.

Nurses in Michigan looking to earn their DNP have access to a wide array of online programs. These programs allow students to complete the didactic portion of the program through distance-learning technologies and then satisfy the clinical requirements through partner sites close to home. Some online programs also require that students complete on-campus intensive sessions a few times throughout the course of the program. These sessions allow students to engage in networking and social events with other doctoral students and faculty.

Michigan is home to several DNP programs with accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which requires all DNP programs to offer one of the following: (1) an advanced practice nursing direct care focus, (2) an aggregate/systems/organizational focus, or (3) both.

DNP programs educate APRNs (nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse-midwives) and RNs in advanced clinical roles, leadership roles, management and teaching, health policy, and areas of specialization, such as integrative health and healing.

The CCNE requires all DNP-accredited programs to include at least 1,000 practice hours completed in a supervised academic program. Post-bacc hours gained in an MSN program in the same track would be applied to this total.

DNP Program Structure

Most students entering a DNP program with a master’s degree would complete it in 18-24 months. Students can complete accelerated programs in about one year, while part-time programs allow about 2 ½ years of study.

The core of a DNP program includes:

  • Scientific Foundations for Practice Doctorate
  • Ethics, Policy, and Advocacy or Population Health
  • Epidemiology and Social Determinants of Population Health
  • Clinical Decision Making
  • Statistics in Health Sciences
  • Quality Improvement and Patient Safety
  • Management of Organizations and Systems

Additional coursework in the DNP program focuses on the chosen concentration. For example, an executive leader specialization likely includes courses such as:

  • Healthcare financing/budgeting
  • Healthcare information technology
  • Human resources management
  • Leadership, behavior, and organizational theory

A nurse practitioner specialization (with a focus on adult and family), on the other hand, includes courses such as:

  • Advanced health assessment
  • Advanced diagnostic reasoning
  • Primary care for the nurse practitioner
  • Primary care of adolescents and adults

Most DNP programs culminate in a DNP or scholarly project, designed to demonstrate an amalgamation of the student’s academic experience.

BSN-to-DNP Programs: DNP Programs for BSN-Prepared Nurses

Many DNP programs accept BSN-prepared nurses. Students of BSN-DNP programs first complete MSN curriculum and then seamlessly transition into the DNP curriculum in one progressive program. Many programs require students to earn their MSN in an APRN specialty and earn national certification as an APRN before progressing to the DNP program, while others allow students to choose an aggregate/systems/organizational focus, such as executive nurse leader.

MSN programs consist of about 30 credits of core coursework, along with additional courses in their chosen concentration or APRN specialty. Core coursework in an MSN includes study in:

  • Clinical prevention/population health
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Informatics
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Organizational and systems leadership
  • Policy and advocacy
  • Program evaluation for improving patient and population outcomes
  • Quality and safety

BSN-DNP programs consist of between 70 and 95 total credits, and between three and four years of full-time study, depending on the chosen APRN specialty. Students must complete the clinical requirements of their MSN program, which often consist of about 500 hours, then apply those hours toward the 1,000 hours of clinical practice for the DNP mandate.

Similar to post-master’s DNP programs, BSN-to-DNP programs may be offered as online, part-time, and/or accelerated programs.

BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Programs Available at Campus Locations in Michigan

The following DNP programs have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids

  • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
    • Advanced Nursing Practice (child/adolescent or adult/older adult)
    • Health Systems Leadership

Madonna University, Livonia

  • Post-MSN
    • APRN roles
    • Nursing administration
    • Organizational leadership
    • Health policy
    • Clinical education

Michigan State University, East Lansing

  • Post-MSN
    • APRN roles

Oakland University, Rochester

  • Specializations in APRN roles

Saginaw Valley State University, University Center

  • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
    • Family Nurse Practitioner

University of Detroit – Mercy, Detroit

  • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
    • APRN roles
    • Nurse administration
    • Executive leadership
    • Nursing informatics

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

  • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
    • APRN roles
    • Leadership

University of Michigan – Flint, Flint

  • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
    • NP roles for BSN nurses and APRN roles for MSN nurses

Wayne State University, Detroit

  • Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
    • Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner-acute care
    • Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner –primary care
    • Family nurse practitioner
    • Neonatal nurse practitioner
    • Nurse-midwife
    • Pediatric nurse practitioner -acute care
    • Pediatric nurse practitioner – primary care
    • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner

Both CCNE and ACEN (American Commission for Education in Nursing)-accredited DNP programs are often available online.

Other DNP programs in the state not shown here may be regionally accredited or hold specialty accreditation through the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs or the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.

Opportunities Available to DNP-Prepared Nurses in Michigan

DNP programs prepare nurses to fill some of the most important roles in leadership, management, clinical teaching, health policy, and direct patient care. As such, graduates of DNP programs often enjoy significant advancement in the field and greater earning potential.

The following job posts provide insight into the many opportunities available to DNP-educated nurses in Michigan:

Instructor/Assistant/Associate Professor, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

  • Doctorate in nursing or related field
  • DNP or PhD in nursing required for the rank of assistant professor
  • Current APRN national certification as an FNP, PNP, or PMH

Clinical Affiliate Faculty, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI

  • PhD or DNP or related discipline; if master’s degree is not in nursing, the earned doctorate must be a nursing doctorate
  • Board certified as a primary care NP: family or pediatric, eligible for RN licensure in Michigan
  • One year of experience in primary care

Manager Nursing Services, Pediatrics, Munson Healthcare, Traverse City, MI

  • Currently registered as an RN in the State of Michigan
  • Clinical Manager: MSN or DNP required
  • Minimum two years of experience in pediatrics

Chief Nursing Information Officer, Munson Healthcare, Traverse City, MI

  • MSN or Masters in Informatics required; DNP or PhD in nursing/informatics preferred
  • Five or more years of relevant clinical, informatics, and/or leadership experience at the director or VIP level
  • Current and active RN license in Michigan


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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