How Long Are BSN to DNP Programs?

a female doctor nurse practitioner standing in a corrode of a hospital

For registered nurses considering pursuing a doctoral degree in nursing, there’s never been a better time. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), demand for nurses with higher levels of education continues to grow to replenish researcher and administrative positions. One such higher education track includes a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The DNP prepares graduates to excel in the field of specialized advanced nursing — including employment in clinical leadership, administration, and faculty positions.

DNP in Demand

The DNP is becoming widely recognized by the nursing industry as a valued terminal nursing degree. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine issued a report titled “The Future of Nursing” that explored the current state of the nursing profession. It identified the need for nurses to take on greater responsibility and recommended doubling the number of nurses who pursue doctorates by 2020. Moreover, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has recommended that the DNP be required for advanced practice nursing.

One more reason to consider getting a DNP is accessibility. Colleges such as Regis College offer online BSN to DNP programs that provide flexibility to support a nurse’s busy lifestyle. Learn more below about Regis College’s online BSN to DNP program, including admission requirements, how long the BSN to DNP program is, and the standard curriculum.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for the Regis College online BSN to DNP program include:

  • A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from a regionally accredited institution and accredited nursing program
  • An active, unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license
  • A minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA

Candidates are also asked to provide two letters of recommendation, a resume, and two essays. There is no Graduate Record Examination (GRE) required for this program.

How Long Is the BSN to DNP Program?

The Regis College program allows candidates to go from a BSN to a DNP in as few as three years (36 months). The program offers three start dates per year, in the fall, spring, and summer. Because this is an online program, students have the ability to complete the coursework based on their own schedules.


The general curriculum of the BSN to DNP program includes the following courses:

●     Nursing Theory

●     Concepts in Nursing Leadership

●     Health Promotion — Disease Prevention

●     Health Policy, Politics, and Perspectives

●     Advanced Pathophysiology

●     Advanced Clinical Pharmacology

●     Advanced Health Assessment

●     Roles and Issues in APN

●     Regulatory Issues: Nurse Leadership

●     Cultural Perspectives in Health Care

●     Epidemiology / Biostatistics

●     Advanced Research Methods for EBP I & II

●     Informatics in Health Care

●     Scholarly DNP Project I-IV

●     Clinical Seminar


In addition to the above curriculum, the BSN to DNP program also offers five concentration areas:

  • Pediatrics (PNP) focuses on the issues and health needs present in a pediatric environment.
  • Family (FNP) focuses on the knowledge and expertise required for working with all ages in a family practice.
  • Psychiatric mental health (PMHNP) focuses on providing care to mental health patients using contemporary psychotherapy modalities and knowledge of psychopharmacology.
  • Women’s health (WHNP) focuses on the care of women, including primary care, gynecology, and obstetrics.
  • Adult geriatrics (AGNP) focuses on aging and chronic illness, including polypharmacy management, palliative care, and end of life considerations.

What to Expect with a DNP

The DNP program combines nursing science with psychosocial, biophysical, organizational, and analytical sciences. Equipped with this knowledge, DNP graduates are able to evaluate science-based evidence and theories to enhance the delivery of health care. DNPs can apply this advanced understanding in an academic environment or in a clinical practice, including in the following ways:

  • Assessing patient illnesses and providing evidence-based treatment
  • Translating and putting technical research into practice
  • Improving patient care and quality through the use of information systems
  • Participating in research and evaluating data
  • Participating in the design and implementation of health care policy

DNP graduates have a variety of career opportunities to explore including clinical leadership positions and, outside of direct patient care, health care policy, research, and education. Some potential roles include:

  • Advanced practice nurses (APNs) may run facilities such as community clinics and urgent care facilities or provide in-home services. APNs may also be employed in hospitals overseeing nursing pools and internal operations.
  • Chief nursing officers (CNOs) are responsible for overseeing the daily coordination and management of a care facility’s operations. This may include communicating with patients, peers, and hospital executives.
  • Nurse researchers often work in a lab or academic setting and are tasked with discovering empirical evidence that will advance the health care field.
  • Nurse educators instruct those pursuing nursing or health care degrees. Nurse trade schools, colleges, junior colleges, and universities employ nurse educators.

With advanced education, such as a DNP degree, nurses have the opportunity to transform the health care system and better position themselves to achieve their career goals. The BSN to DNP program at Regis College is available in a flexible online format to provide graduates with the skills and knowledge required to take their careers to the next level in as few as three years.

Learn More

Regis College prepares nurse practitioners to take the next step in their careers with the online BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice program. RNs with a bachelor’s degree who enroll in the program experience the same rigorous academic classes as traditional students but with the flexibility of online courses.

Recommended Readings:

Online Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Curriculum

5 Benefits of Earning a DNP Degree

What Does DNP Stand For?


American Association of Colleges of Nursing, PhD Education

Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP, BSN-DNP Programs for BSN-Prepared Nurses

Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP, Making the Decision to Earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree

Institute of Medicine, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health

Regis College, Career Opportunities for Graduates with a DNP Degree

Regis College, Online BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice