Best Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Badge (Online) with 2-Line TitleMSNNurse Practitioner2017
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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost % Enrolled Online Location Description
1 George Washington University 73.05 4/5 6% Washington, DC

George Washington University’s master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner degree is a part-time nurse practitioner online program designed for registered nurses looking to advance their skillsets in preventive, diagnostic, and management care. GW's Virtual New Student Orientation equips students with program information and tools, and gives them a chance to interact with faculty, advisors, and peers. The MSN-FNP degree requires 700 clinical hours, which can be completed at a clinic in a student's community. Students are encouraged to arrange for this experience with minimal guidance from GW. The program requires three on-campus program commitments: a learning and skills intensive that teaches how to perform a complete history and physical exam, a series of clinical examinations, and a final skills assessment. Students are responsible for all travel costs of these on-campus requirements. Applicants must have a current RN license and current CPR certification to be considered.

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2 Frontier Nursing University 71.12 3/5 100% Hyden, KY

The master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner from Frontier Nursing University is geared towards registered nurses who already have a bachelor’s degree. Unlike other online family nurse practitioner programs, Frontier also offers an optional companion doctor of nursing practice degree, which requires an additional 360-hour clinical practicum. Students must attend two on-campus sessions at Frontier’s main campus in Hyden, Kentucky, with all other coursework completed online. The curriculum includes courses in women’s health and childbearing, principles of health promotion, and pharmacology for advanced practice. Applicants must have one year of RN experience, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and three professional references. Courses are structured in 11-week terms, with 2-week breaks in-between. There is also a 675-hour clinical practicum requirement that can be completed near the student’s community. The MSN program is typically completed in two years by full-time students, with part-time attendance also an option.

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3 The University of Texas Medical Branch 68.18 3/5 26% Galveston, TX

The master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner program at UTMB has awarded MSN degrees since 1988. UTMB is a Military Friendly School and offers its veteran students comprehensive services through its Veterans Resource Group. This online nurse practitioner programs prepares graduates to test for national certification with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program and the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The program requires a 700-hour clinical practicum and 49 total credit hours of coursework. Students outside of the Galveston/Houston area are responsible for finding clinical placement in their area. The average FNP student takes two courses per semester over seven semesters. Applicants must have a nursing-accredited bachelor’s degree, and those without this degree are considered on a case-by-case basis. Interested applicants should also check to see if their state is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement to ensure degree reciprocity from UTMB.

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4 Stony Brook University 65.04 3/5 6% Stony Brook, NY

The 45-credit master's of science in family health nurse practitioner program at Stony Brook University focuses on chronic ailments and common acute illnesses through prevention, healthcare promotion, and healing and maintenance. On-site requirements include a one-day welcome orientation and four separate on-site intensives, offered during semesters when a student is completing their clinical requirements. The program begins each spring, with applications due in December. Applicants are encouraged to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and at least one year of professional experience. Students without a nursing degree may be granted admission on a conditional basis with the submission of a clinical practice portfolio. Stony Brook offers one of the only nurse practitioner online programs in New York, and graduates are eligible for professional FNP certification in both the state of New York and at the national level.

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5 University of South Carolina-Columbia 64.83 3/5 2% Columbia, SC

Located in Columbia, South Carolina, University of South Carolina offers a competitive master's of science in nursing—primary care family nurse practitioner. This top-ranked online family nurse practitioner program allows students to complete their degree in just over two years, including practicum experience. Students complete 45–48 credit hours, depending on whether they choose a thesis or non-thesis option. The curriculum includes courses in clinical applications of population analysis, conceptual basis for family and community health nursing, and acute problems of adults and women’s health in primary care. Students must pass the MSN comprehensive exam and complete all other degree requirements within six years. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, two letters of reference, and a current RN license in their state they practice to be considered. Graduates are eligible to sit for any national nursing certification exam.

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6 Clarkson College 63.52 4/5 86% Omaha, NE

Clarkson College offers an online master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner program to registered nurses looking to advance their careers. The FNP specialty prepares practicing nurses to provide primary care to entire families and communities. Students learn to combine theory with evidence-based practices in the primary care system. While most coursework can be completed online, some clinical courses require students to attend on-campus during the weekend. The degree is typically completed in two years, and students may transfer up to nine qualifying credits from another accredited graduate program. The program concludes with a final research project and poster presentation, presented on campus during a graduate symposium. Like other online nurse practitioner programs, applicants must have a valid RN license in the state where they plan to complete their practicum, two years professional nursing experience, and a bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing institution to be considered.

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7 Upstate Medical University 63.39 N/A 76% Syracuse, NY

Upstate Medical offers one of the best nurse practitioner programs online, designed for the professional RN who wants to become an expert and collaborator in primary care. Upstate Medical University’s full-time program allows students to earn a master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner in two years, while part-time students take an average of three to five years. The curriculum covers health-care theory and policy, advanced pathophysiology and pharmacology, and other topics necessary to succeed as a primary care specialist. Graduates know how to prescribe medications and treatments, interpret diagnostic lab tests and x-rays, develop a cancer treatment plan, and more. Upstate allows students to transfer up to nine qualifying graduate program credits toward the FNP degree. Students may choose to complete an optional education certificate or thesis option. Applicants must submit a valid RN and current CPR certifications, as well as three letters of recommendation to be considered.

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8 Samford University 61.43 4/5 2% Birmingham, AL

The master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner from Samford University requires only three in-person visits to Samford’s Birmingham, Alabama campus. Students can apply for admission in either the fall or spring, and the program can be completed either full- or part-time. Clinical hours can be completed in a variety of primary care facilities, including pediatric units, obstetrics, and gynecology, and within a student's own community. All Samford instructors are experienced nurse practitioners and physicians who bring years of experience to the classroom. Samford is one of few nurse practitioner online programs to use the Moodle learning management system to facilitate online courses. Applicants must have an up-to-date RN license, a BSN degree from an accredited institution, and must create a prompted video submission. Samford nursing graduates have an almost 100% pass rate on the FNP exam.

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9 University of Oklahoma-Health Sciences Center 60.10 N/A 87% Oklahoma City, OK

University of Oklahoma’s master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner is designed for professional nurses who want to learn to assess, diagnose, and manage patients’ acute and chronic ailments in a variety of healthcare environments. This hybrid program requires some face-to-face courses on the university’s Tulsa campus, though many of the learning activities are completed online. Students follow a sequenced curriculum, with foundational courses like organizational & systems leadership in nursing, and primary health care for children. Like other online family nurse practitioner programs, graduates are prepared to take both the ANCC and American Association of Nurse Practitioners Family Nurse Practitioner exams. Those interested in further education can pursue a post-master's track as well. Students who attend full-time can complete the program in two years, or in three years part-time. Applications are due in December, with a start date the following June.

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10 Maryville University of Saint Louis 59.07 4/5 1% Saint Louis, MO

The master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner at Maryville University is one of the foremost accredited online nurse practitioner programs in the country. The program requires 15 core and elective courses and an additional 745 clinical hours, and the average completes the program in two years. Clinical practicums can be completed close to the student’s home. The curriculum emphasizes a holistic and preventative approach and covers theory and evidence-based practices, leadership and policy, pediatric and gerontology, and other advanced coursework. Maryville students benefit from an average class size of 15 students and high-quality instruction from faculty, 90% of whom hold PhD degrees. Applicants must have an accredited BSN degree, a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, a valid and current RN license, three professional letters of reference, and at least one year of nursing experience to be considered.

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11 Duquesne University 57.94 4/5 8% Pittsburgh, PA

With Its main campus in downtown Pittsburgh, Duquesne University is within proximity of some of the top health facilities in the country, including the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Duquesne’s master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner program prepares students to sit for the AANPCP or ANCC exams and earn certification as a certified registered nurse practitioner. FNPs learn how to create comforting healthcare environments, leverage collaborative approaches to care, and design, implement, and evaluate health care systems. Core and major coursework make up the foundation of the 45-credit program, with an additional 670 clinical hours and 80 lab hours required. Two required on-campus visits during the program allow students to connect with their peers and instructors face-to-face. Duquesne is one of a few online nurse practitioner programs that assign all students a faculty mentor to serve as a mentor to guide them throughout the FNP program.

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12 Seton Hall University 54.17 4/5 11% South Orange, NJ

Seton Hall University offers two master's of science in nursing—nurse practitioner programs online: an MSN in adult—gerontology primary/acute care (AGNP) or an MSN in pediatric primary/acute care (PNP). The PNP option certifies nurses to work with children up through young adulthood. Students choose either the primary care track, which requires 540 supervised clinical hours, or the acute care track that requires 640 hours. Students in the ANGP program complete 600 supervised clinical hours and are eligible to sit for a nationally-recognized acute care or primary care certification through the ANCC, AANPCP, or AACCNCP. Nursing in the AGNP program is not taught as setting-specific, but instead is based on meeting an individual patient's needs. Both the PNP and AGNP curriculums promote a holistic practice emphasize client advocacy, role negotiation, collaborative relationships, and other proactive leadership skills. Applicants must have a professional nursing license, professional liability insurance, and two references—one from a professional supervisor and the other from an academic faculty member—to be considered.

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13 Cedarville University 53.17 4/5 25% Cedarville, OH

Cedarville University offers one of the leading Christian-based nurse practitioner online programs, with a focus on primary care. The master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner is a competitive program that accepts a limited number of students each term. The program is open to registered nurses who hold an accredited BSN degree and identify with the Christian faith. Application requirements include both a professional reference and a Christian leader reference.

Cedarville offers a structured two- or three-year plan of study, both requiring three on-campus intensives that include clinical hours and an advanced physical assessment and diagnostic reasoning course. The curriculum includes courses in biblical foundations of advanced nursing practice, and physiology, pathology, and genomics. Online courses are accessed through the Moodle learning management system. Online students have access to “The Cove”, an online academic resource hub that includes academic coaching, tutoring, learning specialists, and other services.

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14 Concordia University-Wisconsin 53.05 4/5 15% Mequon, WI

Concordia University’s 41-credit master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner program integrates elements of family planning and counseling into preventative treatment of patients. Concordia stands out from other family nurse practitioner programs online because of its use of the online Betty Neuman Systems Model of nursing, which teaches a body systems approach to the study of manifestations of symptoms and specific diseases. Students also learn other advanced concepts, such as the inner working of cells and their resilience against harmful external stimuli. In addition to core courses like foundations of healthcare informatics, students choose between one of two electives: global perspectives in healthcare or culturally congruent care for advanced nursing. The FNP program offers a competitive per-credit tuition rate and is available to students in most states, though students in Washington, D.C. and Maryland have restrictions on where they can do their clinicals.

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15 University of Cincinnati-Main Campus 52.89 4/5 34% Cincinnati, OH

University of Cincinnati offers one of the best nurse practitioner programs online in the country, which provides advanced training for registered nurses who learn how to treat common and complex conditions in patients of all ages. The master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner curriculum emphasizes looking closely at family dynamics and how an individual’s illness affects the family as a whole. Students complete an advanced seminar, practicum hours, and a capstone project. FNPs often have many of the same duties as a physician, and often work in collaboration with a physician, including conducting physical examinations, providing prenatal care, and even performing minor surgeries and operations. FNPs also have the expertise to work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, community health centers, private practices, and more. Upon graduation, FNPs are prepared to earn national certification with either the ANCC or AANP. Online courses are accessed through Blackboard.

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16 Georgia College and State University 52.76 3/5 17% Milledgeville, GA

Georgia College and State University offers a master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner with an optional emphasis in psychiatric mental health. Students in the FNP program take a series of separate primary care courses focused on specific issues and care plans for children, adults, and women. All coursework for the 40-credit program must be completed within seven years. GCSU offers one of the few online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs, where students complete a sequence of psychiatric health courses in place of the primary care curriculum. Though the majority of classwork is offered online, all clinical rotations take place in Georgia, and students are required to complete one week of Lab Immersion on campus. Additional program requirements include a primary care practicum, completion of an electronic portfolio , and an exit exam. GCSU accepts applications at the start of both fall and spring semesters. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and recent GRE or other relevant graduate exam scores to be considered.

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17 Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion 52.46 4/5 59% Marion, IN

Indiana Wesleyan University offers one of the top-ranked online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs in the country, which emphasizes professional and community collaboration, patient advocacy, and spiritual needs of patients. The master's of science in nursing—psychiatric mental health curriculum follows best-practice and standards as prescribed by The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing as well as professional organizations like the AACN. Graduates enter the workforce prepared to treat psychiatric mental health patients of all ages. On-campus requirements include five clinical orientation workshops and an advanced assessment course; all other courses are taken online. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 throughout the program, and must complete the program within four years. Applicants must have an accredited BSN degree, one year of professional experience, recent GRE scores, and attend an interview with the Division of Graduate Nursing committee.

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18 Regis University 51.92 4/5 49% Denver, CO

Regis University offers one of the only nurse practitioner programs online specifically designed for underserved and rural populations. The master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner program is designed for registered nurses looking to advance their careers. Students are expected to participate in at least one online class during the week, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. MST. Online coursework includes classes on women's health, childbearing for the family nurse practitioner, and foundations of health care economics. During the two-year program, students participate in five on-campus intensives at the university’s Denver campus. The required 630 clinical hours can be completed in a student’s community at local health-care facilities. These hours are divided evenly over the last three semesters of the program, and students are expected to gain experience working in a variety of settings, including pediatric, adult, women’s, and family-oriented environments. The curriculum also prepares students to take the AANP or ANCC exams.

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19 Graceland University-Lamoni 50.66 3/5 20% Lamoni, IA

As one of the top-ranking online nurse practitioner programs, Graceland University maintains rigorous performance standards, and students must earn a B in all courses in order to graduate. Graduates of Graceland University’s master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner are qualified to assess, diagnose, and design treatment plans for acute and chronic ailment in diverse populations. Courses are offered in 16-week trimesters and are accessed via the eCollege learning management system. Both part- and full-time study options are available. Students must complete a 2-day focus session on the Independence, Missouri campus, in tandem with an advanced competencies lab. The 720-hour practicum requirement can be completed anywhere in the U.S., including the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. During these hands-on experiences, all students are supervised by an approved facility professional and by a Graceland faculty member on-site.

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20 Samuel Merritt University 49.83 5/5 2% Oakland, CA

Samuel Merritt University offers an online master of Science in Nursing–Family Nurse Practitioner program with a rigorous curriculum aligned with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and the AACN. SMU’s FNP program is available to students in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia. The university continually reaches across state lines to expand degree reciprocation, and students can check periodically for updates. The 49-credit program can be completed in less than two years of full-time study, and includes three semesters of on-site clinical practice. Coursework includes classes on professional advocacy, advanced pharmacology, and analysis of health policy issues. Graduates are qualified to work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, community health organizations, and more. Unlike many online family nurse practitioner programs, applicants with a bachelor’s degree in an area other than nursing are considered on a case-by-case basis.

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21 Wheeling Jesuit University 49.79 3/5 31% Wheeling, WV

Located in Wheeling, West Virginia, Wheeling Jesuit University offers one of the top accredited online nurse practitioner programs in the country. All nursing faculty have earned master’s degrees or higher and bring years of first-hand nursing experience into the classroom. The master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner curriculum is divided into three different components: a nursing core, clinical core, and FNP core. Students in the MSN-FNP program study the economics, policies, and politics that impact the healthcare system. Clinical hours can be completed near the student’s hometown, with hours evenly divided between hands-on experience with infants, adolescents, women’s reproductive health services, adults, and aging populations. Graduates are prepared to sit for national nursing certification. Applicants must have an accredited BSN, a minimum undergraduate 3.0 GPA, qualifying GRE scores, and three letters of professional reference to be considered.

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22 Catholic University of America 49.35 5/5 4% Washington, DC

Catholic University of America’s master's of science in nursing—family nurse practitioner integrates standards and course content from a number of professional organizations, including the AACN, National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, ANCC, and AANP. Catholic University faculty provide real-world instruction on individual and family care in a variety of healthcare settings. The curriculum includes coursework in culture, biomedical ethics, perinatal health, pathophysiology, and more. Students complete 700 hours of a supervised, local clinical residency, in addition to two on-campus residencies at Catholic University’s campus in Washington D.C. Catholic is one of the only online family nurse practitioner programs to emphasize its pre-exam preparation and post-graduation support services; the program is designed to help students earn state and national FNP certifications. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and be a registered nurse to be considered.

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23 Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis 48.57 3/5 36% Indianapolis, IN

Indiana University-Purdue University is one of the few online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs to offer a master's of science in nursing—psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner degree. The program offers 8 other specializations besides psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, including pediatric clinical nurse specialist, family nurse practitioner, and more. Students can complete the program in two years with full-time participation, or in three years with part-time attendance. The curriculum emphasizes a holistic approach to nursing, with courses in nursing, biology, the behavioral sciences, communications, education, administration, and other fields. Students attend synchronous courses via videoconferencing, and the required 525 clinical hours must be completed in an Indiana healthcare facility. Graduates are prepared to earn their ANCC certification as a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, as well as Indiana state certification. Applications are due in January with a start date in the following fall semester.

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24 Saint Joseph's College of Maine 46.72 4/5 50% Standish, ME

The master's of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner track is designed for registered nurses who want to advance their careers and provide a full spectrum of primary and specialized care to patients of all ages. The curriculum includes core courses in informatics, leadership, ethics, theory, and public policy. Saint Joseph’s is approved to offer this online program to students in 41 states. International applicants may also be eligible if they have completed an ACEN or CCNE-accredited bachelor’s degree in nursing. Saint Joseph’s is one of the few online family nurse practitioner programs without a residency requirement, and students can complete all practicum hours at an approved, local healthcare facility. Online courses are structured in 12-week terms and are offered during four semesters. Once all program requirements are met, students can apply for graduation during any semester. Students have five years to complete all 46 required credits and practicum experiences.

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25 Midwestern State University 45.71 3/5 32% Wichita Falls, TX

Midwestern State University offers a 48-credit master's of science in nursing–family nurse practitioner and a 46-credit family psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner program, both of which meet Texas state requirements and qualify graduates for national certification. In fact, students in both of Midwestern’s highly-ranked nurse practitioner online programs have maintained a 100 percent pass rate for national certification exams over the past five years. The core curricula combine advanced theory and research with evidence-based, hands-on practice. Both programs require completion of clinical hours and a capstone research project. Students located outside of Wichita-Falls, Texas will work with the department’s clinical coordinator to locate an approved health facility location to complete the practicum requirement. Applications are due in March for admission in the following fall semester. The Wilson School of Nursing offers a wide variety of nursing scholarships.

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