University of Missouri-Kansas City


Quick Facts


Doctor of nursing practice

Delivery Mode

Blended, some campus visits required

Standard credit hours


Standard estimated cost



1-2 courses per semester


2-3 years

*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.

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Unleash your potential with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. You’ve discovered your niche — caring for patients, ensuring health care delivery and improving outcomes. Yet, you strive to make an even greater impact. 

You picture yourself as a leader directly influencing nursing operations in your health care system, or you see yourself advancing patient care delivery through research. If you’ve already earned an MSN, take your career to the next level with the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s (UMKC) online MSN to DNP program designed to be tailored to your goals and current specialization.

UMKC’s School of Nursing and Health Studies continuously looks ahead. We factor in the health care industry’s evolving demands and how nurses like yourself persevere tirelessly on behalf of patients. In turn, we launched the region’s first DNP program. We further pioneered the online format, thinking about nursing professionals’ hectic schedules.

Through course work and interactive experiences, this online MSN to DNP prepares you to deepen your commitment to doctoral-level advanced practice nursing and leadership. Based on the American Association of College Nursing DNP Essentials, this program instructs you in implementing evidence-based practice and theory to provide better health care outcomes and delivery. Throughout, online-certified faculty heavily involved in national professional organizations guide your growth as they emphasize their own clinical experiences in conjunction with leadership skills and social advocacy.

Advance your nursing career with an MSN to DNP

A DNP marks the highest level of nursing practice you can achieve. This distinction shows you’re ready to evolve with the health care industry’s current and future challenges and continually refine patient services and outcomes in the process.

Not every nursing professional has taken the same path, however. You may strive to grow your leadership skills, or aim to transform care as a higher-level nursing professional. Considering these and more objectives, UMKC’s online MSN to DNP presents a choice of three tracks based on prior course work, all involving an individualized plan of study:

  • Post-MSN, Advanced Practice to DNP: UMKC developed this track for nurses currently certified in an advanced practice (APRN) position. This scope includes certified nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives interested in expanding their clinical and leadership skills.
  • Post-MSN to DNP: You’re considering returning to school to train for a new or second nurse practitioner role while also earning a DNP. This track helps you finish any courses needed to sit for your certification exam. Students may also specialize their knowledge further with a certificate, including as a pediatric nurse practitioner, women’s health nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner or neonatal nurse practitioner.
  • Post-MSN, non-APRN to DNP: You’ve already earned a master’s in nursing leadership, nursing informatics, public health, clinical research management or other administrative area and are interested in advancing on your current path. Advanced practice certification is not required but recommended to begin this track.

Whichever track aligns with your drive, UMKC’s program:

  • Equips you to lead others in a rapidly changing health care environment
  • Blends clinical, organizational, economic, interprofessional and leadership training
  • Highlights how advanced theory and evidence-based research affect daily nursing practice
  • Trains you to evaluate patient outcomes based on scientific research to elevate service delivery and patient outcomes
  • Shows you how to influence organizational and public policy development
  • Advances your practice skills and knowledge to improve care outcomes in your specialization


Person in blue scrubs wears stethoscope

Career Prospects

As the health care field continues to meet patients’ and regulatory demands, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts more openings for advanced nursing professionals. Between 2020 and 2030, hospitals and other medical facilities will need 45 % more nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives. This effect will further spread to nurse educators to train the upcoming generation.


Employment growth


Median salary

Program Structure

The MSN to DNP program supports your success with a hybrid format. You’ll complete most courses online, with a blended synchronous or asynchronous structure used. However, select campus visits are required, and clinical and project experiences are also conducted in person. The program requires a minimum of 31 credit hours.

On-campus visits include an optional two-day institute session upon your admittance to the program. You’re advised to attend to explore tools to guide your progress and discuss your project topic. A second required institute session is held during your final year.

For the on-campus residency, dates are communicated a semester in advance and occur during your clinical course work. You further have the option to arrange your clinical and project courses near your location.

UMKC uses a semester-based format for this program. The typical online MSN to DNP student takes one to two courses per semester to finish their degree in two to three years.

Along with all course work and clinical experiences, you will highlight your knowledge with an evidence-based study. Your research must focus on transforming health care systems while touching on all DNP essentials.

Course work includes:

  • The relationship between health care policy and advocacy
  • How DNPs can become health care industry leaders
  • The theoretical and philosophical foundation of nursing science in relation to research and practice
  • The relationship between cost, efficiency and effectiveness in health care quality
  • Evaluating and incorporating evidence-based research into clinical practice
  • Epidemiology principles for assessing health outcomes across multiple populations


The University of Missouri-Kansas City is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

The DNP at the School of Nursing and Health Studies is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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