Online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Programs Available in South Carolina

For South Carolina’s nurse practitioners and other APRNs, the last few years have brought about exciting changes. Thanks to Senate Bill 345, which was passed into law in 2018, NPs throughout the Palmetto State can order tests, refer patients to specialists, and prescribe controlled substances, moving ever closer to complete autonomy.

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The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) has become the ideal degree as the role of NPs and other APRNs has grown in South Carolina. The DNP arms nurses in both clinical practice and administration with the highest levels of clinical know-how and expertise while also solidifying their role as qualified providers of primary care.

The DNP may be chosen as a path to initial APRN certification or as a route to administration, education, or another population focus for currently licensed APRNs. Many DNP programs offer entry points for both BSN- and MSN-prepared nurses, giving them a direct route to the most valuable credentials in nursing.

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Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in South Carolina

There are two DNP programs in South Carolina, located in Charleston and Columbia. Through these programs, students can earn their doctoral degrees in the following tracks:

  • Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • DNP for Post-Master’s Nurses
  • Adult-gerontology
  • Pediatric
  • Nurse Executive Leadership

Bachelor’s-prepared nurses seeking a doctorate degree are eligible to apply to BSN to DNP programs, which allow them to earn their master’s-level education en route to doctorate studies. Master’s-prepared nurses would apply directly to DNP programs (often called MSN-DNP), although they must complete the prerequisite coursework for their chosen track before beginning DNP studies.

With only two campus-based DNP programs in the state, a growing number of South Carolina nurses are electing to pursue their doctorate-level education through accredited online programs. These programs offer practical and clinical experience opportunities, a DNP project, and flexible coursework, making them popular among working nurses. For practicum experiences, online DNP programs find placement for nurses at clinical settings throughout South Carolina.

Doctorate-Level Coursework and DNP Projects

Typically, DNP programs consist of between 48-60 credits, depending the amount of supervised practice the nurse has completed before beginning studies.

Core coursework in DNP programs typically covers the following areas of study:

  • Healthcare organization leadership
  • Clinical decision making
  • Scientific foundations
  • Advocacy, ethics, and policy for population health
  • Epidemiology

To earn the DNP, students are generally expected to complete a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised post-baccalaureate practice. This practice may consist of hours earned in both the student’s master’s and doctorate programs. Students may also earn these hours independently if the hours are approved by their program.

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Nurses enrolled in DNP programs must complete a DNP Project to apply their knowledge in their chosen focus. Working with a program mentor, the nurse uses this project to contribute to an area of scholarship in advanced nursing practice.

Nationally Accredited Post-BSN and Post-MSN DNP Programs in South Carolina

The following DNP programs have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) (current as of 2016). A larger selection of CCNE and ACEN (American Commission for Education in Nursing)-accredited DNP programs are available online.


Anderson University

School of Nursing


Accreditation: CCNE

BSN-DNP (online)

  • Executive Leadership
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse

MSN-DNP (online)

  • Advanced Practice
  • Executive Leadership


Clemson University

School of Nursing


Accreditation: CCNE

Post-Master’s-DNP (online)

  • Leadership


Medical University of South Carolina

College of Nursing


Accreditation: CCNE

DNP-APRN (online)

  • Clinical Nursing Practice


University of South Carolina

College of Nursing


Accreditation: CCNE

BSN-DNP (online)

  • Nurse Executive Leadership
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Post-Master’s-DNP (online)

  • Nurse Executive Leadership

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 South Carolina

The DNP allows nurses in South Carolina to advance their careers, assume leadership, executive, and administrative positions, achieve initial APRN licensure, earn bigger paychecks, and futureproof their careers.

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The following job listings provide insight into some of the exciting professional opportunities awaiting DNP-educated nurses in South Carolina:

Clinical Director – Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

  • BSN and MSN; DNP preferred
  • Five years of progressive perioperative experience, specifically with pediatrics or in a large academic trauma center
  • Current RN license in South Carolina

SSOC CNO-Greenville Memorial Hospital, Greenville Health System, Greenville, SC

  • Master’s degree; DNP or PhD and certification in nursing leadership preferred
  • 5 years of leadership experience, including large tertiary hospital experience

Nurse Manager – Neonatal Nurseries, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

  • BSN and master’s in a related field; MSN or DNP preferred
  • Minimum of five years of nursing work experience required
  • Licensure as an RN in South Carolina

Transplant RN Program Manager, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

  • MSN or DNP from an accredited school of nursing
  • Minimum of five years of RN nursing work experience with demonstrated leadership experience


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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