The Best Online MSN Programs

Best RN to MSN Programs

The increase in available healthcare in the United States has led to a higher demand for different, more specialized types of care, and for skilled nursing professionals who can offer it. Today, nurses are frequently taking on more of the responsibilities that used to fall on doctors — from diagnosing and treating illness to prescribing medication — and new medical technologies require advanced skills to operate. Many nurses now find that a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) is a worthwhile choice for professional development and increased job opportunities.

While a bachelor’s degree in nursing typically focuses on general knowledge for healthcare delivery, an MSN degree is more specialized, allowing students to concentrate on a specific area of nursing, such as education, administration, or women’s health. The MSN also prepares students for higher-level leadership roles, and the increased responsibilities of these positions lead to an increase in pay. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a nurse practitioner commands a median salary of $98,190, while a nurse anesthetist’s median salary is around $154,390.

What is an Online MSN Program?

The convenience and flexibility of an online MSN degree makes it a popular choice for students with career or family obligations. Online programs allow students to create their own class schedules and require few, if any, visits to campus. In addition to courses, many graduate nursing programs require a clinical practicum to help students gain hands-on experience. Most distance education programs allow students to complete clinical practice hours near their homes under the supervision of an approved preceptor. Typically, nursing departments can help students locate an appropriate healthcare center to perform their practice hours.

To help you find the best online MSN program available, we’ve ranked these schools according to a wide range of factors, taking into account everything from the percentage of students enrolled exclusively in online courses to the tuition price and graduation rate. The schools on our list represent the intersection of affordability, academic strength, online resources, and course flexibility. Whatever nursing career you’re interested in pursuing, there’s a school on this list that’s bound to fit your needs.

The Rankings

Rank School Featured Image Cost Location Quick Facts Description
2

Liberty University

Cost Location Lynchburg, VA

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World report ranks Liberty as one of the top online programs for graduate nursing.
  • With over 15,000 residential students and more than 100,000 online students, Liberty ranks as the largest Christian college in the world.
  • Liberty offers bridge courses for students who have an RN but a bachelor's degree in another subject.
Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty combines Evangelical Christian values with a comprehensive educational focus. The online MSN program at Liberty offer two concentrations: nurse educator and nurse administrator. The nurse educator track is a 42-credit-hour program that prepares students for careers as undergraduate nursing professors or other administrative positions. The nursing administrator track is aimed towards BSN degree-holders who want to advance their skills to land leadership positions as nursing managers, directors of nursing, and more. This 42-credit-hour program combines research and scholarship with advanced practices, focusing on strategic planning, fiscal and resources management, and evaluation of outcomes. Most MSN programs can be taken in an eight-week format year-round. Online students at Liberty can complete a required clinical practicum remotely in their own communities, though out-of-state students must have their practicum approved by their state's Board of Nursing. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
3

Nova Southeastern University

Cost Location Fort Lauderdale, FL

Quick Facts

  • The nursing program at NSU can be completed in eight semesters or less.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranked NSU as one of the 10 most diverse schools in the country for 2015.
  • NSU is also ranked among the top 250 national universities by U.S. News & World Report.
Serving more than 24,000 students from its suburban campus in Davie, Florida, NSU's School of Nursing offers MSN specializations in nursing education, health systems leadership, or nursing informatics. Each specialization includes 15 semester hours of core foundational nursing courses, 21 semester hours of specialization courses, and three semester hours of a practicum. The nursing education track prepares nurses for careers in staff development and vocational-technical/community college education. The health system leadership track is aimed towards working RNs with a bachelor's degree in any field who wish to pursue a healthcare leadership position. The nursing informatics track focuses on data analysis and its role in complex healthcare systems. The program combines nursing science, computer science, and information science to communicate and manage data. Students without a bachelor's in nursing can earn both their BSN and MSN through the school's dual degree program. Regardless of their concentration, students take core courses including theory and research, healthcare policy, and advanced nurse practice role. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
4

King University

Cost Location Bristol, TN

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report has ranked King as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the South for the past 26 years.
  • 85% of King graduates are employed in their field major within six months of graduation.
Established in 1867 in Bristol, Tennessee, King is a comprehensive private university affiliated with both the Presbyterian Church and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The school offers an online MSN degree with concentrations available in nurse administrator and nurse educator. Both tracks can typically be completed in under two years if students take consecutive courses; the nurse education track requires 39 semester hours while the administrator track requires 35. The master's degree in nursing at King is taught in a cohort format; students progress through the program with the same group of peers, building enhanced support networks and encouraging more peer-to-peer interactions. MSN graduates will be prepared for advanced career placement and will have the knowledge and skills needed to pursue doctoral studies. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
5

Mercy College

Cost Location Dobbs Ferry, NY

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Mercy's online graduate nursing program as one of the top 100 in the country.
  • Mercy maintains partnerships with the New York State Nurses Association and the 119 Local HealthCare Workers Union that allow members to receive a 15% tuition discount.
Mercy is a private liberal arts college located along the Hudson River in Dobbs Ferry, New York, about 25 miles north of New York City. Mercy students earning their MSN online can specialize in either nursing administration or nursing education. MSN students in the nursing education track will be prepared for faculty positions in associate/bachelor's degree programs and for healthcare staff development positions. The nursing administration track prepares nurses for interprofessional practice across the field; students have the opportunity to apply advanced nursing management skills in a final required practicum course. Both tracks require completion of 36 credit hours and can typically be completed within two years. Curriculum includes core courses such as health policy, computer technology, research methods, and a comprehensive written capstone project that serves as the culmination of the program. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
6

University of St. Francis

Cost Location Joliet, IL

Quick Facts

  • Both The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report rank SFU as one of the best colleges in the Midwest.
  • USF offers several scholarships available exclusively to nursing students.
USF is a Catholic, Franciscan college in Joliet, Illinois that offers a liberal arts education rooted in Christian values. The school's nursing program is nationally ranked, and online MSN students can choose from four concentrations, including family nurse practitioner (47-56 semester hours), psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (45 semester hours), nursing administration (36-45 semester hours), and nursing education (37 semester hours). Students can pursue all of these tracks online. The school also offers an online RN-BS-MSN pathway geared towards RNs who hold a non-nursing bachelor's degree. MSN graduates will be prepared to demonstrate leadership strategies in advanced roles, contribute to the development of nursing science, and analyze issues that influence the healthcare industry. Due to state restrictions, the online MSN programs in nursing education and family nurse practitioner track are only available to residents of Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, or Wisconsin. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
7

Chatham University

Cost Location Pittsburgh, PA

Quick Facts

  • Full-time students can complete the program in as a few as four semesters, while part-time students can complete it in as few as six.
  • Chatham offers eight AfterCollege/AACN Scholarships for nursing students throughout the school year, each for $2,500.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is home to Chatham University, a small private school with a student population of around 2,300. The school offers a fully online MSN program; students can choose from three concentrations, including leadership, education, and informatics. MSN curriculum covers core courses including applied physical assessment, health policy, and healthcare technology, along with specialized courses focused in their concentration. Cohorts of full-time and part-time students are admitted each fall; full-time students typically complete the degree in four semesters while part-time students complete it in six semesters. Students are also required to complete at least 120 hours of supervised clinical experience. An RN to MSN educator track is also offered through the school, as well as a BSN to DNP executive track that allows students to seamlessly earn two graduate degrees with the completion of 56 credits. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
9

Olivet Nazarene University

Cost Location Bourbonnais, IL

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report named Olivet one of the top 10 value universities in the Midwest region for 2017.
  • Olivet is one of the largest schools in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
Located in Bourbonnais, Illinois, about an hour south of Chicago, Olivet is a Christian liberal arts college affiliated with the evangelical Church of the Nazarene. The school offers an online MSN program for baccalaureate-level RNs who want to pursue a leadership position or doctoral studies in the field. Students develop a greater understanding of the healthcare environment and are encouraged to “systematize ethical, moral, spiritual, and professional concepts into advanced nursing roles”. MSN students can choose from either an education track or a management/leadership track. The MSN degree at Olivet typically takes 16 months to complete, and includes core courses such as moral/ethical decision-making, advanced pharmacology, and nursing informatics. The degree also requires a total of 120 practicum hours. Enrollment dates are offered in the spring, summer, autumn, and winter; the school provides a financial solutions team to help online students answer all questions related to financial aid. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
10

Columbus State University

Cost Location Columbus, GA

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks CSU as one of the top regional universities in the South, with particular praise for its online Health Professions programs.
  • CSU enrolls more than 8,000 students annually.
CSU operates its main campus in Columbus, Georgia, about 100 miles southwest of Atlanta. The school offers an online MSN degree with a specialization in family nurse practitioner, preparing registered BSN professionals for advanced roles in family healthcare. The program is delivered a fully online asynchronous format, which allows students to complete work at their own pace without designated class times. Curriculum can be completed in two years for full-time students; it requires 15 hours of core courses, 23 hours of specialty courses, and a six-hour nurse practitioner practicum. Students in the program must also perform 765 clinical practicum hours, available for completion in their own community. To be accepted into the program, students must hold a BSN, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and have an RN license in the state where clinical requirements will be met. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
11

Pennsylvania State University

Cost Location University Park, PA

Quick Facts

  • A Wall Street Journal study ranked Penn State students as the most prepared, most well-rounded graduates in the country, and the most able to succeed once hired.
  • Penn State's World Campus offers more than 120 online degree programs.
The MSN online program at Penn State offers two concentrations: nurse administrator and nurse educator. Both programs comprise 37 credit hours and teach students to understand healthcare through global, policy, and economic perspectives. Students in the nurse administrator track will develop in-depth knowledge about organizational leadership, health policy, and evidence-based healthcare delivery. The nurse educator track covers evidence-based teaching principles, curriculum development, and evaluation strategies. Graduates of this program will also be prepared to earn national certification as a nurse educator. Curriculum for both tracks includes core courses, option-specific courses, elective courses, a clinical practicum (180 hours), and a capstone project. Students also have the option of entering the online DNP program immediately after finishing their BSN, completing MSN core courses and nurse administrator courses seamlessly along the way. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
12

Saint Xavier University

Cost Location Chicago, IL

Quick Facts

  • The nursing program at SXU is highly respected, and the National League for Nursing has designated the school as Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, an honor bestowed upon only 40 schools around the country.
  • The school is one of the most diverse in Chicago and is designated as a Hispanic-serving institution due to its 33% Hispanic student population.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks SXU's online master's in nursing as third-best in the nation.
SXU is a Roman Catholic-affiliated private college located in southwest Chicago, Illinois. The online MSN programs at SXU are available in two focuses: clinical leadership and executive leadership. Students in both tracks gain advanced leadership skills applicable to a range of healthcare settings. Students in the clinical leadership track focus on care coordination, risk assessment, quality improvement, outcome evaluation, and evidence-based practice. Graduates of this program will be prepared to take the clinical nurse leader (CNL) exam. Executive leadership students will gain the strategic perspective and critical thinking skills needed to lead and improve patient care in a nursing environment. They will also be prepared for relevant exams such as nurse executive, board certification (NE-BC). Curriculum for both tracks includes 18 credit hours of core courses, nine credits of support courses, and 11 credits of specialty courses. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
13

Kentucky Christian University

Cost Location Grayson, KY

Quick Facts

  • KCU ranks as one of the most affordable private universities in the state.
  • Online students have access to 24/7 tech support and a dedicated distance education librarian.
KCU is a private Christian college in Grayson, Kentucky. The school offers an online master's degree in nursing with a specialization in family nurse practitioner, preparing students for positions as primary care providers with an emphasis on Christian values. Core courses include professional role development, bioethics, and advanced nursing research. Students complete 528 hours of clinical rotation to gain real-world practice in the field. The rotation is a combination of 240 clinical hours during the summer semester and 288 hours during the fall semester. Clinical components can be completed in students' home communities; settings include primary care, women's health, pediatrics, and speciality care. Throughout the program, students work in small cohorts to promote a more personalized academic experience. Graduates of the program are prepared to sit for professional nurse practitioner certification exams. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
14

Wilkes University

Cost Location Wilkes-Barre, PA

Quick Facts

  • The Princeton Review ranks Wilkes as one of the top universities in the Northeast for its academic quality and student satisfaction.
  • Wilkes students represent 19 U.S. states and more than a dozen foreign countries.
  • The school also boasts a job placement rate of 97% for graduates.
Wilkes is a private liberal arts college based around values of mentorship, scholarship, diversity, innovation, and community. Students in the online MSN program can choose from concentrations including adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nursing practitioner, nurse executive, nursing education, nursing informatics, and psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner. MSN students must complete 24 credit hours of graduate nursing core curriculum and 16-19 credits hours of concentration courses, depending on the concentration. Students in all concentrations must complete required clinical hours in a local location approved by the school. The school also offers a two-year online RN-BSN program that will set registered nurses on the path to earning their MSN. MSN students who wish to continue their studies can also pursue a doctor of nursing practice online through the school. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
15

Benedictine University

Cost Location Lisle, IL

Quick Facts

  • 95% of MSN graduates say that the nursing program adequately prepared them for their career.
  • Forbes has named Benedictine as one of “America's Top Colleges” for six consecutive years.
Benedictine operates a main campus in the Chicago suburb of Lisle. The school's MSN online programs emphasize organizational leadership, healthcare technologies, interprofessional collaboration, and cultural awareness, among other values. MSN students can choose to pursue either the nurse educator concentration or the nurse executive leader concentration; the nurse educator track focuses on educational training for nurses and other healthcare personnel, while the nurse executive leader track focuses on skills for managerial and administrative roles. Students can also earn a dual MSN/MBA degree that focuses on healthcare in a financial, economic, and managerial context. All tracks include foundational courses such as evidence-based nursing practice, healthcare policy, and health promotion. Graduates of Benedictine's online MSN program have gone on to work in organizations including UNC Health Care, the U.S. Army, and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
16

East Carolina University

Cost Location Greenville, NC

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks ECU's online nursing program as one of the top 25 in the nation.
  • With more than 29,000 students, ECU is the third-largest school in the state.
ECU operates through an urban campus in the city of Greenville, North Carolina. The school's online MSN programs allow students to specialize in one of five concentrations: clinical nurse specialist, neonatal nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery, nursing education, and nursing leadership. The programs in neonatal nurse practitioner and nurse midwifery may require some face-to-face activities, though these may be conducted at off-campus locations. Students are able to complete the degree part-time, and certificate programs are available for post-master's students in selected areas. Students who complete an MSN degree through ECU can continue on to earn a doctor of nursing practice or doctor of philosophy in nursing degree seamlessly online. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
17

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Cost Location Natchitoches, LA

Quick Facts

  • Victory Media designated NSU as a Military Friendly school in both 2015 and 2016.
  • Online students at NSU pay no out-of-state fees.
NSU was the first institution in Louisiana to offer master's degrees in nursing, and the school continues that progressive tradition with five graduate tracks available fully online: nurse educator, nurse administrator, family nurse practitioner, women's health nurse practitioner, and primary care pediatric nurse practitioner. The MSN program requires the completion of 39-42 semester credits. Curriculum covers 12 hours of core nursing courses, 6-9 hours of clinical concentration courses, 9-18 hours of functional role concentration courses, and 3-6 hours of research area coursework. Students can complete the degree full- or part-time. The online programs at NSU rank as some of the most affordable in the state, and the school's nursing program is also nationally ranked. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
18

Northern Arizona University

Cost Location Flagstaff, AZ

Quick Facts

  • Washington Monthly ranks NAU among the top 100 universities nationally for 2016.
  • NAU is a major public research institution with more than 29,000 students, over 5,000 of them online.
Based in Flagstaff, Arizona, students in NAU's online MSN program can choose from two concentrations: generalist and family nurse practitioner. The family nurse practitioner track trains students to provide primary family care, particularly for rural areas. The generalist track is an all-purpose degree that also allows students to focus in an area of their choice. The generalist concentration can also serve as step toward a doctoral nursing degree. Both degrees emphasize skills and knowledge in clinical practice, communication, critical reasoning, leadership, and global health. The completion of 30 credit units is required to earn the MSN degree; all students complete an evidence-based practice capstone project at the end of the program. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
19

University of West Florida

Cost Location Pensacola, FL

Quick Facts

  • UWF ranks on Forbes' list of “America's Top Colleges” for 2016.
  • In both 2015 and 2016, the school was the recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
Part of the State University of Florida System, UWF sits on a massive 1,600-acre campus in Pensacola that's home to over 12,000 students. UWF's online master's degree in nursing offers concentrations in nursing education and nursing leadership & management, with both tracks requiring 39 semester hours of coursework to complete. The program offers three course start dates throughout the year for maximum student flexibility. Applicants must hold a BSN from an NLN- or CCNE-accredited nursing problem with a GPA of at least 3.0. Alabama residents who are interested in attending are eligible for a special reduced out-of-state tuition rate. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
20

Gardner-Webb University

Cost Location Boiling Springs, NC

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Gardner-Webb as one of the top regional universities in the South.
  • The school also offers a dual MSN-MBA degree that prepares students for upper level management roles in a range of healthcare settings.
Gardner-Webb's online nursing program offers two focuses: nursing education and nursing administration. Both programs require 30-36 credit hours of coursework focusing on core topics of nursing theory, research, contemporary issues, statistics, and role development. Students must complete a final capstone project synthesizing the different program elements. Master's students also have the option to complete a 69-hour dual MSN/MBA degree -- designed for nurses who want to advance in their practice while incorporating business concepts into their everyday decision-making process. Applicants to the MSN programs must be bachelor's-holding RNs and must meet satisfactory GPA standards and GRE or MAT scores, among other requirements. Due to state education restrictions, Gardner-Webb can't admit online students who reside in California, Massachusetts, or New Jersey. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
23

Albany State University

Cost Location Albany, GA

Quick Facts

  • MAE&T Guide to Colleges & Universities has ranked Albany State as a topic military friendly school for the past four years.
  • The student body represents 40 U.S. states and 13 international countries, with minorities making up 91% of the school's population.
Located in Albany, Georgia, Albany State is a historically black college and part of the University System of Georgia. Students enrolled in the school's MSN online programs can choose from concentrations in either family nurse practitioner or nurse educator. The programs are intended for nurses looking to move into advanced healthcare positions or beginning researchers interested in pursuing doctoral studies in nursing. The family nurse concentration requires 44 semester hours; this includes 30 hours of specialization courses covering primary care of children, pharmacology in advanced nursing, primary care of women, and more. The nurse educator concentration requires 36 semester hours; specialization courses cover curriculum development in nursing, instructional strategies in nursing, an advanced teaching practicum, and more. Each area of concentration can typically be completed within two calendar years. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
24

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

Cost Location Fort Lauderdale, FL

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Keiser as a top veteran friendly school in the South.
  • Keiser operates campuses in 18 Florida cities, but Ft. Lauderdale is its flagship campus and the home of its online programs.
  • Keiser was founded in 1977 as a career-focused college for adult learners.
Keiser's online master's in nursing program offers an advanced nurse generalist focus that allows students to develop skills in both caregiving and leadership. The degree requires the completion of 33 credit hours; courses focus on primary topics such as nursing theory, health systems, pharmacology, professional development, and health assessment. The program also requires clinical practice hours, which will be threaded throughout the program and may be performed in a variety of off-campus settings, including preceptor training, simulation labs, and approved study in a student's current employment system. Courses are offered in eight-week blocks along with a final capstone project that is also eight weeks. Students applying to the program must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited institution, hold status as an active unrestricted professional RN, and have at least a 2.7 GPA, among other requirements. Visit School Site
27

Fitchburg State University

Cost Location Fitchburg, MA

Quick Facts

  • The nursing program at FSU can be completed in a few as three years or as many as six.
  • FSU's rolling admissions process allows students to take up to 12 credit hours while still in the admissions process.
Located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, the online MSN program at FSU focuses on forensic nursing, a unique degree that prepares graduates for careers as death investigators, legal nurse consultants, medical-legal investigators, sexual assault nurse examiners, nurse advocates, and more. The degree is also a popular choice for students interested in pursuing doctoral studies. The program requires the completion of 39 credits. Students complete 13 credits of general nursing courses, and 21 credits of specialized courses covering victim care, criminal law, forensic technology, and more. Students also complete two research-intensive scholarly inquiry courses worth five credits total. Applicants to the program must hold a bachelor's degree in nursing and a current RN license; RNs with at least one year experience who do not hold a BSN can submit a pre-matriculation professional portfolio instead. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
28

Bryan College of Health Sciences

Cost Location Lincoln, NE

Quick Facts

  • The school also offers an online RN to MSN pathway with limited campus visits.
  • The school's health center was established with a donation from prominent Methodists William and Mary Bryan, and the institution continues its association with the United Methodist Church to this day.
  • Students can use the school's preceptor program to gain clinical practice experience without visiting campus.
Part of the Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Bryan College of Health Sciences offers an online MSN program with two tracks: nurse educator and nurse leadership. The programs prepare students for teaching and leadership positions in healthcare and education organizations. Students in the nurse educator track will learn advanced teaching strategies, apply concepts in real-world settings, and build a network of peers and experienced educators. In the nurse leadership track, students work on complex organizational issues and gain new skills that can be applied immediately in their jobs. Bryan's nursing degree is designed for working nurses, offering a manageable course load in a blended learning format. Around 75% of courses are delivered online, while the remaining 25% require classroom attendance. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
29

Concordia University – California

Cost Location Irvine, CA

Quick Facts

  • The average completion time for the program is between 15 and 20 months.
  • UI is a recognized regional institution, and U.S. News & World Report ranks the school among the top 50 schools in the West.
Online nursing students at CUI can choose an emphasis in either nursing leadership or nursing education. Students in both tracks cover topics including research, statistics, health and physical assessment, nursing ethics, and nursing theory. Students also complete a final thesis project at the end of the program. The nursing degree at CUI can be completed in either a fully-online format or a blended course format that allows students to attend campus classes during the first and last weeks of each eight-week term. Applying students must have a BSN degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a current unrestricted RN license. Notably, Concordia offers a scholarship totaling $4,000 for MSN students who maintain consistent enrollment. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
30

George Washington University

Cost Location Washington, DC

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks the online MSN at GWU 13th in the nation.
  • The School of Nursing is home to more than 800 students, with around 550 of them enrolled in online courses.
Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., GWU offers a range of MSN programs online, with focuses available in adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (48 semester hours), family nurse practitioner (48 semester hours), nurse midwifery (47 semester hours), and nursing leadership and management (36 semester hours). All programs can be completed in full- or part-time options. The school also offers an RN-MSN bridge option for nurses with an ADN, with four fields of study available: adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nurse coaching and leadership, and nurse-midwifery. MSN graduates who wish to further their expertise in the field can pursue a postgraduate certificate offered online. Certificates are available in the following areas: nursing education, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, family specialty for nurse practitioner, and palliative care specialty for nurse practitioners. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
31

Southern New Hampshire University

Cost Location Manchester, NH

Quick Facts

  • The clinical nurse leader concentration prepares students for the CNL licensure exam, which is uncommon among graduate nursing programs.
  • SNHU's unique educational model has seen it ranked among the most innovative organizations in the world, alongside companies like Apple and Google.
Online MSN students at SNHU can choose from three concentrations: clinical nurse leader, nurse educator, and patient safety & quality. Students can also choose to earn a general MSN degree with no concentration. MSN curriculum covers advanced nursing concepts, advanced health assessments, and advanced pharmacology across the lifespan, among other topics. MSN electives give students the opportunity to customize their degrees with specialty areas including patient-centered care, interprofessional collaboration, evidence-based practice, and more. Programs are offered five terms per year, meaning students can complete their MSN degrees in 20 months. Those who wish to earn post-graduate certification online can also do so in the areas of nursing education and patient safety & quality. Applicants must hold hold an active and unrestricted license to practice as an RN. They must also hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited nursing program with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The GMAT or GRE are not required for admission. Notably, SNHU is not currently enrolling nursing students from the state of Washington. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
32

Lewis University

Cost Location Romeoville, IL

Quick Facts

  • Lewis is affiliated with the De La Salle Christian Brothers, a Roman Catholic teaching order that has existed since 1680.
  • Lewis awarded more than $30 million in financial aid last year, based on financial merit, need and academic achievement.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Lewis among the top 25 regional universities in the Midwest.
Lewis is located in Romeoville, Illinois, about 26 miles southwest of Chicago. The school's patient-focused MSN programs online offer specializations in nursing education and healthcare systems leadership. Students in the education track focus on curriculum development, educational theory, and teaching methodology. The program requires the completion of 40 total credit hours, including 18 credits of core courses, four credits of speciality courses, and 18 credits of speciality track courses. Students in the 42-credit-hour leadership track study organizational theory, human resources management, and healthcare business strategies. Core nursing practice courses cover topics such as population health, healthcare informatics, and healthcare systems. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
33

Mount Carmel College of Nursing

Cost Location Columbus, OH

Quick Facts

  • More than 90% of MCCN students receive federal aid, financial aid or scholarships.
  • MCCN is home to the second-largest degree-granting nursing program in the state.
  • The nursing program typically takes three years to complete.
MCCN is a Catholic-affiliated nursing college in Columbus, Ohio. The school's graduate nursing education program online prepares graduates for positions as in college classrooms or institutional staff development department, offering training to new nurses. Students gain an understanding of the ethical and legal dimensions of nursing education, along with the role of research and data in the classroom. Program courses include curriculum and program development, leadership in advanced nursing roles, and advanced pharmacology. Students also complete a 50-hour family health practicum and a 150-hour educator practicum, intended to build both clinical and classroom experience. Applicants must hold a BSN degree accredited by either the NLNAC or the CCNE with a minimum GPA of 3.0. They must also have current, unrestricted Ohio RN licensure or eligibility for this license. The nursing education track admits students once per year from September 1 to February 1. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
34

Indiana State University

Cost Location Terre Haute, IN

Quick Facts

  • Part-time students can complete the program in as few as 2.52 years.
  • The Princeton Review has ranked ISU among its “Best in the Midwest” for more than a decade.
Located in Terre Haute, Indiana ISU offers one of the top online MSN programs in the state, featuring a concentration in family nurse practitioner. Graduates gain skills of health promotion, disease prevention, and treatment, along with strategies for assuring delivery of quality healthcare. Students are also prepared to meet the requirements for ANCC and AANP certification exams. Courses include healthcare perspectives, nursing theory development, nursing research, and health assessment. The program requires a clinical practicum that can be performed off-campus in the states where students are licensed. The program is 47-50 credits and can be completed in 2.5-3 years through part-time study. Notably, graduate nursing programs at ISU are not available to international students or to residents of Arkansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and New York. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
35

Northwest Nazarene University

Cost Location Nampa, ID

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks NNU as one of the best master's universities in the West.
  • RN students can complete the program within three years, while those with a bachelor's can graduate in as few as two years.
Based in Nampa, Idaho, NNU is a private Christian college with an enrollment of around 2,000 students. NNU offers an online master's degree in nursing with a focus on leadership and education, preparing students for roles in educational institutions, clinical facilities, and community agencies. The degree is also available to students through an RN-MSN pathway. The program focuses on curriculum development, teaching-learning strategies, evaluation processes, and leadership and administration principles. Students also gain hands-on experience by completing internships throughout the duration of the program. Because classes are only five weeks long, they are considered intensive courses. Students typically take one course at a time. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
36

Clarkson College

Cost Location Omaha, NE

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Clark's online nursing graduate program as one of the best in the country.
  • Board pass rates for nursing certification exams are far higher at Clarkson than the national average.
  • The program offers three start dates throughout the year for convenient enrollment.
A private college based in Omaha, Nebraska, Clarkson has offered education in the health sciences since its founding in 1888. The MSN programs online at Clarkson offer four specialties: nursing healthcare administration, nursing education, adult–gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, and family nurse practitioner. For all tracks, students take core courses including nursing law and ethics, applied statistics, and research design methods. All courses are offered fully online, though students are required to make occasional visits to campus. During the program's final semester, students complete an evidence-based scholarly journal article based on their clinical research. All MSN applicants must hold a BSN from a program accredited by the NLNAC or CCNE with a 3.0 GPA. Applicants also need a valid state RN license and two years of professional RN experience. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
37

SUNY – Polytechnic Institute

Cost Location Utica, NY

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks SUNY Polytechnic as one of the best public regional universities in the Northeast.
  • Students have up to seven years to complete the nursing program after enrolling.
  • Full-time students can complete the program within two years.
SUNY Polytechnic is New York State's polytechnic college. The school's MSN online degree includes a concentration in nursing education, preparing students for teaching positions in academia or with staff development in healthcare organizations. The program comprises 36 credit hours and can be completed in part-time or full-time options; full-time students typically complete the program in four semesters while part-time students finish in six semesters. Curriculum focuses on topics including nursing theory, legal and regulatory issues, health policy, grant writing, and research. Students end the program with a 150-hour nursing education practicum, which focuses on building teaching experience. All courses are delivered fully online, though new students are required to make one campus visit for a new student orientation in August. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
38

Alcorn State University

Cost Location Alcorn State, MS

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Alcorn among the top 25 historically black colleges in the United States.
  • Alcorn is the only historically black college in Mississippi to offer a comprehensive nursing program.
A historically black college in Lorman, Mississippi, Alcorn was established in 1871 as the first black land grant college in the country. The MSN program at ASU recognizes that nursing is a unique field, both science and art, and the curriculum acknowledges the interrelation of the humanities and the psychological and sociological sciences. The school's MSN programs online offer concentrations in either nurse educator or family nurse practitioner. Core curriculum covers theories of advanced nursing, rural family and community, advanced pharmacotherapeutics, and more. Students also take a graduate nursing style writing course that guides them through the scholarly writing process. Four clinical practicums are completed throughout the program, allowing students to apply their skills and knowledge in a healthcare setting. Both tracks culminate in a final thesis/project in which students synthesize program learning. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
39

Midwestern State University

Cost Location Wichita Falls, TX

Quick Facts

  • Graduates of the family nurse practitioner program have had a 100% pass rate on the National Certification Examination for the last five years.
  • Most students in the program find employment prior to graduation.
Located in Wichita Falls, Texas, MSU has the distinction of being the only public liberal arts college in the state, as well as one of just four colleges unaffiliated with any of Texas's university systems. The online MSN degree at MSU offers two concentrations: family nurse practitioner and family psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner. Based on a liberal arts foundation, both programs prepare students to offer quality care to individuals, families, and communities. The 48-credit-hour family nurse practitioner track comprises 18 hours of nursing core, 24 hours of clinical, and six hours of thesis or evidence-based project courses. The second track requires 46 credit hours, including 15 hours of nursing core, 22 hours of clinical, and nine hours of evidence-based project coursework. MSN students are only admitted in the fall semester. Program graduates are prepared to sit for certification exams. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
40

Indiana Wesleyan University

Cost Location Marion, IN

Quick Facts

  • The school is affiliated with the Wesleyan Church, an evangelical Christian denomination, and IWU has offered faith-infused liberal arts education since 1920.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranks IWU as one of the top 20 universities in the Midwest.
With a student body of over 15,000, IWU is the largest private college in the state of Indiana. The online MSN program at IWU is unique in that it's offered as a dual MSN-MBA degree. Focusing on practices of nursing administration, the dual program prepares students for the fiscal and ethical responsibilities of healthcare leadership. Some required courses include applied management theory, evidence based communication, and healthcare principles and policies. Students who have already earned an MBA can earn their MSN at an accelerated pace through the school's MSN post-MBA program. This is a nursing administration major which covers organizational behavior, finance, and role development. The program includes a practicum component. Students applying for the dual degree must have at least 1,000 hours of nursing practice, while applicants for the MSN post-MBA program must submit proof of an MBA degree. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
41

Charleston Southern University

Cost Location Charleston, SC

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report has recognized CSU as one of the region's best online colleges.
  • 95% of students at CSU receive financial assistance.
CSU is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, operating with a mission to promote academic excellence in a Christian environment. CSU offers one of the top online MSN programs in South Carolina, allowing students to focus on either nursing education or nursing leadership within a faith-based framework. Students of the nursing education track will synthesize research and theoretical foundations, evaluate strategies for influencing healthy policy, and develop and implement curriculum. Nursing leadership students will analyze issues impacting diverse client populations, apply knowledge and concepts, and take part in decision-making within a healthcare environment. Both programs are offered in 10 blocks of five-week classes, allowing full-time students to complete their degree within 16 months. Part-time students can typically complete the program within three to four years. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
42

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Cost Location Birmingham, AL

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks the school's nursing program 61st in the nation.
  • The nurse practitioner concentration is offered in a blended format, featuring a mixture of online and classroom courses, while the other two tracks are offered fully online.
The oldest and largest public university in Alabama, UA is also one of the most prestigious. The school offers one of Alabama's top MSN online programs, allowing students to focus in either nursing case management, clinical nurse leader, or nurse practitioner. The nursing case management and clinical nurse leader tracks can typically be completed in one year of full-time study or two years of part-time study; the nurse practitioner track requires two years of full-time study. Students in all three programs can choose to complete either a thesis or non-thesis option. The thesis option involves completing and defending an original research project, while the non-thesis option has students participate in additional courses and seminars. Tuition details can be found on the school's website hereVisit School Site
43

Rivier University

Cost Location Nashua, NH

Quick Facts

  • Rivier began as a women's college and became co-educational in 1991.
  • Graduates of Rivier's family nurse practitioner program have a 100% pass rate on certification exams.
Rivier is a private Catholic university based in values of faith and liberal arts education. The school operates out of a suburban campus in Nashua, New Hampshire. The school's online MSN programs are career-focused and rooted in practical training and experience, offering three distinct concentrations: family nurse practitioner (43 credit hours), nursing education (36 credit hours), and leadership in health systems management (36 credit hours). The family nurse practitioner track requires around three to five years of full-time study, while the other two tracks can be completed with two years of full-time study. For working students, Rivier offers several options for course completion, including three-year to five-year tracks with flexible part-time courses. Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and should have a current, unrestricted RN nursing license. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
44

Georgia Southwestern State University

Cost Location Americus, GA

Quick Facts

  • The school boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1.
  • With a student body of around 2,700, GSW is one of the smaller schools in the University of Georgia System.
GSW is based out of the town of Americus. The school's MSN programs are offered in collaboration with Columbus State University, allowing students a greater range of course selections and academic support. Online MSN students can concentrate in one of four areas: nursing education, nursing leadership/management, nursing informatics, and family nurse practitioner. The concentrations in education, leadership, and informatics all require students to complete a final research-based thesis or project before graduation. All concentration tracks can be completed in 22 months of full-time study; the family nurse practitioner concentration requires students to complete 765 clinical practicum hours under the supervision of an approved nursing preceptor at a community clinical location. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
45

Cox College

Cost Location Springfield, MO

Quick Facts

  • Cox traces its history back to 1907, when it was founded as a training school for nurses in Springfield, Missouri.
Cox's philosophy emphasizes the intersection between society, health, nursing, and learning. Students enrolled in the school's MSN online programs can specialize in either family nurse practitioner or nurse educator. Both programs include core courses such as leadership in healthcare and nursing education systems, ethical and legal practice in healthcare, and advanced physiology and pathophysiology. The family nurse practitioner degree track includes population-specific courses and practicum experiences, while nurse educator curriculum covers educational theory and practice, instructional strategies and technologies, and a practicum. The programs consist of both eight-week and 16-week course blocks. The nurse practitioner track requires 660 hours of practicum, while the educator track requires 420 hours. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
46

Eastern Kentucky University

Cost Location Richmond, KY

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks EKU as one of the best online schools for graduate nursing.
  • Military Times has consistently ranked EKU as a top school for veterans.
Located in Richmond, Kentucky, EKU's online MSN programs rank as some of the most affordable available. Students in the graduate nursing program at EKU can choose concentrations in rural health family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health, or nursing administration. All the track options can be completed within three years, with most courses lasting eight weeks. The rural health family nurse practitioner track is unique to the school, and focuses on diagnosing and treating health disorders, health promotion, disease prevention, and health education and counseling in high-need, rural communities. Notably, students of this program have achieved 100% pass rates on national certifying exams for several years. Students can complete clinical practicum hours in their own communities, although state restrictions bar students based in Maryland from being admitted to the online nursing program. Post-MSN certificates are also available to students who want to gain further academic credentials. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
47

Georgetown University

Cost Location Washington, DC

Quick Facts

  • U.S. News & World Report ranks Georgetown's graduate nursing program among the top 30 in the nation.
  • Georgetown graduates are prepared to sit for most major certification exams in their field.
  • Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1789, the school is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit college in the country.
Georgetown's MSN online programs are available in four distinct concentrations: adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery/women's health nurse practitioner, and women's health nurse practitioner. The adult gerontology track requires the completion of 40 credits, plus 600 clinical hours and three on-campus intensives; students typically complete the program in 23 months. Curriculum for the nurse midwifery/women's health nurse track requires 49 credits to complete, plus 1000+ clinical hours and three on-campus intensives; this program takes 27 months to complete. Last, the women's health track alone requires 44 credits for completion, with 768 clinical hours and two on-campus intensives. This program also takes 27 months to finish. Courses at Georgetown utilize a unique video conferencing format in which distance students join their classmates in a collaborative online format. Students may also visit campus to participate in dynamic clinical simulations. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site
50

California State University-Dominguez Hills

Cost Location Carson, CA

Quick Facts

  • In 2015, CSUDH ranked 11th on Washington Monthly's list of master's universities.
  • The school is one of the most diverse in the country and enrolls the highest number of first-generation college students.
Located near Los Angeles in California's South Bay region, CSUDH is a public university with an enrollment of over 15,000. Online MSN degree students at CSUDH can choose to specialize in nurse educator, nurse administrator, clinical nurse specialist, or family nurse practitioner. Most courses are offered online, though some tracks may require occasional visits to campus. All tracks result in a culminating oral presentation in which students demonstrate achievement of the nursing program's educational objectives. Students who are not yet admitted in the nursing program may be able to take individual courses at a reduced cost through's CSUDH's online Open University system, though this requires the approval of the School of Nursing. Tuition details can be found on the school's website here.Visit School Site