Duke NP graduates.... worth it?

Nursing Students NP Students Nursing Q/A

I am (excitedly) looking into nursing programs to hopefully enroll in within the next year. I have been intrigued by Duke, not only for it's ranking but for the fact that I could add some specialty education, which isn't easy to find!

Things I'm worried about:

1. COST. I'm guessing its going to be between 75-100K for me to complete this degree at duke... and I recently learned FASFA doesn't have any grants for grad school So whether or not having the high profile degree is worth the extra money is a concern of mine.

2. TIME. I've reached out to the program with no response so far, but I'm having a hard time seeing what the part time options are like for distance students. Does anyone know how long this program is when done part time?

3. COMPETITION. I know I'm not alone in this, but when I went through nursing school 10 years ago I was on the tail end of some pretty intense bullying from my professors. I have a TERRIBLE taste in my mouth from nursing school, but still have a huge desire to advance my education and professional experience. I worry a bit that a school as high profile as Duke would be hugely competitive and leave me feeling a bit beaten down again. This is the topic I get most nervous about!

Thank you to anyone who finished reading my tome ?

I appreciate the advice!

57 Answers

Specializes in Psych/Mental Health.

I think $75-$100k for a Duke NP degree is worth it. Most decent and nationally-known NP program will cost $60k+ anyways (excluding state schools). Anything beyond $100k for a MSN-NP degree is way too much though.

I've found that grad school professors treat students with more respect. Top programs usually have very supportive faculty and staff.

I generally have a less than favorable opinion on most nursing schools in regards to them being a "big name". Specifically at the nursing entry level where I see University of Michigan graduates saddled with $80k+ in debt for a degree that will literally pay the same no matter what school you went to upon graduation and certification.

At the graduate level though, good reputation of the school is important to me though and IMO carries more weight when job searching. This was one of the reasons I went to Frontier and also at the time the distance options were more limited than they are now where you can go to a Vanderbilt or Duke. If there are specialty options that can further your education, this could go a long way of improving the job prospects down the road and there should be some value in the added education cost. Though I will say that with the projections of NP billets to be at or above 100% in all states, seriously take in account this debt, where wages could go with those numbers, and the likelihood of paying that off in a timely manner before you jump into this field.

I am happy to see your post. I was/am thinking the EXACT same thing. I considered Duke because of the ability to add some specialty education which is highly enticing. But honestly, I cannot afford $100K+ in student loans. As much as I would love to go there, money is a huge factor. If I calculated it right, I was looking at more of $150-$200k... And you are right that at the graduate level there are no more grants to cover some of the expenses. There ARE loans... just not grants (gift/free money).

If only, if only, I totally would apply there.

Don't forget to calculate the airfare and hotel fees and university fees, time off work, etc...

Specializes in Corrections, Education, Med/Surg, AGNP-HIV.

I just graduated from Duke in 12/2018. They have a great distance based program that is pricey. But what are you comparing it to? I also chose them because of their specialty education. I had a job before I even finished my program. I just passed my boards today. They do have part time options (I went full-time, and worked full-time) possible but hectic. Did you look online they show tentative schedules. good luck in you choice. Duke is a great school and has great support and rankings.

Specializes in Cardiology.

I graduated from Duke 12/18 and actually passed boards today. You are estimating cost correctly but there are sometimes scholarships as well. I had one so my loans were a little less.

I completed the program part time and it took me 3 years. Although, you can do it in as little as 2.5, I had an extra semester because there were just too many clinical hours to complete between my specialty and final synthesis. I couldn’t work and handle the hours. I found Duke extremely supportive in everything. It wasn’t like nursing school where you were competing with each other or professors trying to trip you up. They were so supportive and I had the absolute best advisor in the world.

The other thing with Duke is of course the name and the alumni network. I also liked that they placed me in all of my clinicals and I didn’t have to find places. I had amazing preceptors as well.

Specializes in Pulmonolgy, Oncology.

I am currently in the FNP program with a specialty and will graduate this December. I love Duke's program. I have had exceptional faculty and am very impressed with the education I am receiving. I am attending part-time and work part-time and find this very doable. I have made great friends who are in my cohort and we all support each other. I have never experienced any belittling or bullying from faculty or fellow students, the faculty and your advisor want you to succeed. As part of the curriculum, you will have on campus intensives. While some may view this as a burden, I viewed it as an opportunity to get hands on experience with patients (individuals hired to portray patients), as well as simulations which improved my critical thinking. The price tag is high, however, I was able to receive a small scholarship through Duke, as well as tuition reimbursement from my hospital. This helped to offset the cost. After you are accepted, Duke tries to match you with scholarships for which you qualify, so keep that in mind. Does your current employer offer any tuition reimbursement? I picked Duke because of their top ranking, and their history of academic rigor. I viewed the tuition cost as an investment in me. I am in the west and I have to say I have had great feedback from physicians, PA’s and Nurse Practitioners about choosing Duke. Ultimately you will have to decide if Duke is a good fit for you, do your research and make sure it is what you want. Good luck to you as you chose your NP program!

Hi Umbdude,

I completely agree with your entire post. I have asked them directly about three times now, just for clarification. The year experience in ICU/Medsurg seems odds and is not consistent with many other programs I have been looking into. I don't see how that one year in acute care is relevant. And I found it crazy that (really relevant) psych experience is not required but "recommended", I feel that is devalues the reverent psych experience as well. I am not sure what their hope is for potential students to gain from that one year experience.

I have applied to Gonzaga University for the PMHNP tract. I'll apply to Duke since I already have references there, they also mentioned as possibility to take a few "elective" credits in psych.. so if I am offered a position then I will explore that option further to see what it entails.

Can you recommend a solid PMHNP program?

Specializes in Psych-Mental Health.

I really enjoyed reading this as I am currently in the application process at Duke. I have an interview later this month. I have heard from many physicians at my work on how impressed they are of me choosing Duke and have wished me tons of luck in the process.

As someone else mentioned here, as NP's, we will likely be hired by physicians who do care about where we obtained our education. I feel that obtaining a Duke education will give me an advantage over other applicants.

The problem goes back to COST. And here is where I'm stuck.

Hi. I'm a Duke grad. I did the AGNP and WHNP tracks. I graduated in May 2018. My GPA was 3.93. I LOVED the program. I can't speak highly enough of the program. I worked full-time the first year of the program, but then I went part time to finish. Once clinical started, I couldn't continue to work my 9-5 job. A Duke education is unparalleled. I have since taken a post graduated course at another online university and the instruction was so bad I've decided not to continue. I will be starting my DNP with a PMC in PMHNP in August.

I received the Nurse Corp scholarship so I had very little debt from the program. I will have a lot of debt for the DNP and PMC, but I think it's worth it. I have worked in a rural FQHC for the last two years and have had a great experience, mostly due to the great education I got at Duke.

Don't be fooled. Not all NP programs are created equal. Duke is highly ranked for good reason.

Thank you to everyone who responded to the OP's question. I am in my second semester at Duke, working full-time, and in full stress mode! It was very reassuring to read these posts.

Thank you!


I want to know if it is possible to change speciality or have dual speciality later after being accepted?

And, how did you find out or feel if the program fit you or not?

On 3/2/2019 at 2:05 PM, CaffinatedInCarolina said:

Thank you to everyone who responded to the OP's question. I am in my second semester at Duke, working full-time, and in full stress mode! It was very reassuring to read these posts.

Thank you!


I just got accepted to the FNP program at Duke and I’ll be working 84 hours /week while going to Duke part time. Are you going part time or full time ?

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