Duquesne University Review

Duquesne University claims the distinction of offering the first online doctoral nursing program. Online master's of science in nursing are also available, and a generous tuition discount for nurses at partnering organizations can help keep tuition costs down.

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The Good

Tuition assistance from partnering organizations

There are a number of partner organizations that provide tuition benefits to registered nurses enrolled in the online graduate nursing program at Duquesne University. If you are a registered nurse working full-time or part-time at any of the school’s partnering organization, you can receive a 30% reduction in tuition. You can be enrolled in any of the online nursing degree options including the master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs. Additionally, you can be pursing your advanced online nursing degree at a full-time or part-time pace, so you do not have to maintain a minimum course load in order to be eligible.

Three areas of specialization for master's of nursing degree

Duquesne University offers three different areas of specialization within their online master’s in nursing degree program. You can choose an area of study in forensic nursing, nursing education, or as a family nurse practitioner. Some nursing programs do not offer any areas of concentration, or a very limited choice, so this selection of three very in-demand areas of study is a generous selection compared to other similar online nursing programs.

PhD and Doctorate of Nursing Practice degrees offered

Both a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) degree and a PhD in nursing are offered in the online graduate nursing program at Duquesne University. Not many online nursing programs offer a DNP degree, and even fewer also offer a research focused PhD option. Duquesne has been offering the PhD program online since 1997, claiming to be the first university to offer a PhD in nursing completely online. The PhD option is a 58-credit program that takes two to four years to complete, and requires your on-campus attendance for one week each spring term. The DNP degree includes 40 credits of required curriculum, and six credits that cover topics like forensics, health care leadership, clinical practice, or academic leadership.

Transfer credits can be accepted

You can gain advanced standing in the master’s in nursing online degree program by applying graduate nursing courses you previously earned elsewhere. You can transfer up to nine credit hours of coursework earned from an approved nursing program at an accredited university. You must have earned a grade of “B” or better, and you must have earned the credits within the last five years. These cannot be credits that helped you earn a previous degree, they must be stand-alone credits that are the equivalent of about three course requirements. You also must submit a form requesting advanced standing, and submit all official transcripts related to your transfer credits.

Non-degree seeking students are welcome

The online nursing program at Duquesne University allows non-degree seeking students, or visiting students to enroll in a limited number of online classes. If you are a graduate nursing student at another university, attending either an online or traditional campus, you can take up to six online nursing courses at Duquesne. This option can allow you to earn some nursing credits in a convenient, flexible, online setting, and then transfer those credits to your normal school of attendance. You are limited to six credits, or roughly two classes, but this can be a particularly good option to pick up a few classes to try out online nursing classes or to add to your credits at another school.

The Bad

Not available in every state

Changes in higher education regulations have made Duquesne University unable to accept applicants from certain states for acceptance into their online programs here. If you live in Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, you cannot be accepted to the online nursing program or take any online courses. There are a number of other online nursing programs that do not have any state residency restrictions that may be worthwhile to consider for residents of ineligible states.

On-campus visit required

Not every aspect of your academic life during the online nursing program at Duquesne can be completed online. As a new student you will be required to attend a two-day orientation session at the start of the program. There are a select few classes for the master’s in nursing degree that require about 40 hours of coursework to be completed on campus. Additionally, during the application process you may be asked to interview with a faculty member, either to be held in-person or over the phone.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 1999-2000
  • Application Deadline: March 1
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Location: PA
  • Number of Graduate Nursing Programs: 5
  • Region: Northeast
  • School Type: Private
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Tuition Rates (per Credit)

  • In-State: $1,036
  • Out-of-State: $1,036


  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Doctorate of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Nursing


  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Education
  • Forensic Nursing


  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Forensic Nursing

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 94%
  • Average Student Age: 34
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.42
  • Gender Ratio: 93.4% female, 6.6% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 15
  • Total Enrollment: 136


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 14 Years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 24
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 6

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009): 95%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010): 97%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011): 97%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2013): 96%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2009-2010): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2010-2011): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): 60%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 58%

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 38
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 75/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 32
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 83/100
  • Student Engagement Rank: 22
  • Student Engagement Score: 80/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 38
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 59/100

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