Students who need greater scheduling flexibility may be interested in pursuing an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program as opposed to an on-campus program. Both of these programs require hands-on learning experiences, but vary in format, length and other factors. Compare and contrast online and on-campus BSN to DNP degree programs here.
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Comparing an Online BSN to DNP Program to an On-Campus BSN to DNP Program
Online BSN to DNP Degree Program
One of the biggest differences between an online and on-campus BSN to DNP degree program is that coursework can be completed 100% online with few or no on-campus visits. Online programs also allow students to complete clinicals locally. The other big difference is that online courses can often be taken in an accelerated format, so students can complete a program in as little as 36 months.
Many online BSN to DNP programs offer different concentration areas, such as family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, and may award a master's degree in addition to a DNP. Common course topics for these programs include advanced nursing practice/assessment, nursing leadership and healthcare research. Practicums are also required. Graduates of these programs can pursue an advanced practice nursing career that aligns with their area of specialization in addition to careers like nurse educator, nursing director, nursing administrator or clinical researcher.
There are also online BSN to DNP programs that do not award master's degrees or offer training in a specialization area. These programs often culminate in a capstone project and practicum to prepare graduates for the same administrative and academic careers as programs with a concentration area.
On-Campus BSN to DNP Degree Program
Some on-campus BSN to DNP degree programs may be completely on-campus. Others may offer some online components but then require students to complete specialty courses on-campus. These programs can take as many as 4 to 5 years to complete and may offer areas of specialization, such as nurse anesthesia, nurse midwifery and women's health nurse practitioner. The on-campus programs include hands-on learning through immersion experiences. They may also require a final project and award students a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) along with their DNP upon graduation. Similar to an online program, coursework may vary based on a student's specialization, but common course topics include health assessment, nursing practice and evidence-based practice. Graduates of these programs can work as nurse practitioners in their designated specialization, as well as the same administrative and education positions as online BSN to DNP graduates.
Common Entrance Requirements
Admission requirements for the online and on-campus BSN to DNP degree programs are very similar, except that some online degree programs may not require applicants to submit GRE test scores or have undergraduate coursework in statistics, while on-campus programs may require test scores and prerequisite courses in addition to some kind of interview process.
Both online and on-campus programs require applicants to hold a BSN from an accredited school and a current RN license in the state in which they practice. It is also fairly common for both degree program formats to have a minimum GPA requirement of around a 3.0. Applicants to these programs will typically need to submit their official transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and/or a resume with their application.
Online BSN to DNP degree programs can usually be completed faster than on-campus programs through coursework that is offered completely online. These online programs still require hands-on learning through local clinicals and can often prepare students for advanced nursing positions.