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

A shortage of doctors in Oklahoma means more opportunities than ever before for APRNs, many of whom are choosing the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to gain the expertise needed to succeed at the highest levels of clinical practice and administration.

A study found that as of 2019, Oklahoma ranked in the bottom ten states for physician access with just 205 doctors for every 100,000 people. Compounding the issue is the fact that 33% of these doctors are nearing retirement.

Featured Programs:
Sponsored School(s)

Fortunately, the number of APRNs in the state continues to grow, rising form 2,891 in FY2015 to 4,494 in FY2019—an increase of 55% in five years. Both aspiring and currently practicing APRNs are pursuing the DNP to increase their professional opportunities, futureproof their careers, and earn a larger paycheck.

While RNs seek the DNP to earn initial certification in one of the APRN roles, practicing APRNs often pursue the DNP when seeking additional opportunities in administration and nursing education. Still others earn the DNP to add another patient population focus to their APRN certification.

Sponsored Content

To satisfy the increased demand for DNP programs, some colleges and universities in Oklahoma are offering programs with at least some online component to better accommodate working nurses, and with both BSN and MSN entry points.

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s DNP programs require that prospective students possess at least a BSN, while students who have already earned an MSN would apply to the post-MSN phases of these programs.

  • BSN-DNP programs are generally designed for nurses with a BSN to obtain their MSN before they transition to their DNP program.   Obtaining their MSN first enables these nurses to obtain national certification as an APRN. Typically, such programs entail more than three years of full-time study and entail taking about 90 credits.
  • MSN-DNP programs are designed for nurses who already have an MSN to complete their DNP program to advance to clinical leadership and other advanced nursing positions. Students in these programs are likely to be licensed APRNs seeking to advance their careers. They can do so by advancing in their current specialty or choosing an additional specialty or population focus. MSN-DNP programs typically require at least 1.5 years of full-time study and 30-36 credits.

National accreditation standards require that students seeking to earn a DNP must complete at least 1,000 post-baccalaureate hours of clinical practice. Some students may already have completed hours of clinical practice and can apply them to their school’s requirement if they have adequate documentation.

Nurses with an MSN who obtain APRN licensure must practice for about 500 hours to be allowed to sit for national certification. These hours count towards the 1,000-hour post-baccalaureate requirement.

A growing number of Oklahoma’s nurses are choosing to eschew campus-based study in favor of accredited online programs that offer more flexibility in their coursework. While these students will take their didactic coursework online, they still must complete their clinical requirements at local partner sites. Doing this may entail completing these requirements where the schools have local partnerships with medical clinics.

Many online and campus-based DNP programs offer flexible formats to accommodate their student’s needs that include both accelerated programs and part-time options for nurses who wish to continue practicing while they are getting their DNP.

Sponsored Content

DNP programs consist of these three main components:

  • DNP core – The core coursework of DNP programs includes topics such as transforming the healthcare organization, methods for evidence-based practice, epidemiology, clinical scholarship, and scientific underpinnings for practice.
  • Specialty courses in the student’s chosen focus – Specialty coursework focuses on the two main advanced tracks: ARPN or executive leadership.
  • Final project – DNP students conclude their degree with a research project known as a DNP Project. As the name indicates, these research projects are the pinnacle of a DNP program and enable the students to showcase their skills in their chosen focus. The result of this research is typically a manuscript that is submitted to a peer-reviewed journal or in some cases, a formal presentation at a conference. Generally, DNP students will travel to their school for a formal defense of their DNP Project before an audience of professors.

Nationally Accredited BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP Programs Available in Oklahoma

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). A third campus-based program will start accepting students in 2017. A larger selection of CCNE and ACEN (American Commission for Education in Nursing)-accredited DNP programs are available online.


University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing

Oklahoma City

Accreditation: CCNE

BSN-DNP (online)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult/Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Executive Leadership


Oklahoma City University

Kramer School of Nursing

Oklahoma City

Accreditation: ACEN

BSN-DNP (hybrid)

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Post-Master’s-DNP Completion (hybrid)

  • Administration
  • Clinical Nursing Practice


University of Tulsa 

School of Nursing


Accreditation: ACEN

BSN-DNP (campus)

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Anesthesia

Post-Master’s-DNP (campus)

  • Clinical Nursing Practice

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 Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s DNP-educated nurses have the skills and training to serve as executive leaders, high-level clinicians, and nurse educators. Many DNP-prepared nurses continue with their current employer but are able to advance to a higher-paying position.

Sponsored Content

Just some of the hospitals and healthcare facilities in Oklahoma where DNP nurses enjoy outstanding professional opportunities include:

  • Mercy Hospital, Oklahoma City
  • Surgical Hospital of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City
  • Francis Hospital – Tulsa, Tulsa
  • Alliance Health Clinton, Clinton

Back to Top