ASU Nursing earns No. 6 ranking for gerontology concentration while overall DNP leaps 30 spots

PHOENIX, AZ – Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation achieved a new and well-deserved recognition from U.S. News & World Report’s Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice rankings.

The college’s Doctor of Nursing Practice gerontology concentration was ranked for the first time, and in the top 10 — earning the No. 6 spot for best program — alongside Ohio State University and the University of Illinois Chicago.

“This is a testament to the program’s quality, our experienced and dedicated faculty who teach in it, and our graduates who use their advanced knowledge and skills to lead and make a difference,” said Edson College Dean and Professor Judith Karshmer

Edson College Associate Dean of Academics Katherine Kenny, DNP Program Director Diane Nunez and other faculty built the program from the ground up. Clinical Assistant Professor Erin Tharalson was brought in five years ago to begin the core teaching and program coordination, and she says achieving national recognition is incredibly rewarding.

“At ASU, we embrace our charter to serve our community through accessible, high-quality education and impactful research. This recognition reinforces our dedication to preparing nurse practitioners with the skills and knowledge to provide holistic care to individuals across the lifespan. We are immensely proud of this achievement and remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing health care through innovation and education,” Tharalson said.

ASU’s overall ranking

US News ranks 14 ASU graduate programs in the top 10 nationwide, 32 in the top 20

In this advanced practice program, graduates are prepared to provide holistic, client-centered comprehensive care for individuals age 12 to older adults, embracing the continuum of life and addressing the unique needs of each stage with compassion and expertise.

While the gerontology concentration made its rankings debut, the college’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program overall saw a big leap for 2024. It ranks No. 26 for best Doctor of Nursing Practice program, ahead of Yale, UCLA and the University of California, San Francisco. This is up 30 spots from the previous rankings.

As Arizona and the nation face a health care worker shortage, ASU continues to expand nursing programs, adding specialties and recruiting more nurses to pursue advanced practice degrees. 

“Our DNP graduates are prepared at the most advanced level of nursing, ready to engage in transformational change in health care systems. DNP-prepared nurses work at the highest level of their scope of practice, influencing health care outcomes for individuals and populations,” said Nunez. 

Students have been nationally recognized for their excellent work throughout the program, earning American Association of Colleges of Nursing Outstanding DNP Project Awards, becoming Jonas Nurse Scholars and receiving Presidential Management Fellows awards

“ASU DNP graduates are practice-ready to meet the demands of an increasingly complex health care system, and provide focused leadership in clinical practice, administration, organizational management, leadership and policy,” Nunez said.

The aim of the DNP program, no matter the specialty, is to equip graduates with the tools and experiences to succeed in their careers and advance health care. 

“For ASU Nursing, the most important thing is that we are offering the highest-quality terminal degree program possible and doing so consistently,” said Kenny.


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