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Online master's in nursing programs prepare graduates for several healthcare careers, including nurse administrator, nurse educator, and clinical nurse leader. Careers in this field are in high demand, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 45% job growth for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners between 2019 and 2029.

This page explores the best online master's in nursing programs. Readers can learn what to expect from a master's in nursing, including sample classes and potential career options. Details vary by program, and prospective students should always research specific programs before applying.

What Are the Best Online Master's in Nursing Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

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Rank School Location
1 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
2 Georgetown University Washington, DC
3 Duke University Durham, NC
4 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
5 George Washington University Washington, DC
6 Ohio State University Columbus, OH
7 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
8 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
9 The University of West Florida Pensacola, FL
10 University of St Francis Joliet, IL
How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our Ranking Methodology here. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Nursing Programs

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Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 93%

Johns Hopkins delivers 12 online graduate programs. Offerings include a master of science in nursing with a specialty track in health systems management. Through a comprehensive degree plan, students learn to foster interdisciplinary collaboration between different healthcare experts and other professionals. The program prepares learners to pursue careers in consultation, program development, and health education.

As one of the best online master's in nursing programs, Johns Hopkins receives full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Candidates take classes such as biostatistics for evidence-based practice and financial management theory. They also develop the skills to create business plans and lead complex learning organizations.

Graduates can pursue nurse executive certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Johns Hopkins funds a variety of merit scholarships for nursing students. The university also delivers a dual-degree option that lets candidates couple their MSN with an online master of business administration.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Health systems management
Tuition: $47,264/annual
Credit Requirements: 35 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: RN license

Contact

Phone: (410) 955-7548
Email: jhuson@jhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

Georgetown University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 94%

Georgetown offers an online master of science in nursing that boasts four specializations. Students can enroll in the 23-month women's health nurse practitioner program to develop the specialized skills to deliver primary and reproductive health services. WHNP candidates can add on a nurse-midwifery specialization to assist women through childbearing.

MSN students who pursue the family nurse practitioner track delve into all aspects of primary care. They learn to treat common acute and complex chronic conditions. By completing one of the best online master's in nursing programs, Georgetown graduates boast a 100% pass rate for certification exams administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

For nurses who possess at least one year of full-time work experience in relevant settings, Georgetown offers an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner specialization. This track helps students develop the case management skills to oversee complex acute health situations. All MSN candidates complete clinical experiences and on-campus immersions.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Family nurse practitioner; women's health nurse practitioner; nurse-midwifery/women's health nurse practitioner; adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner
Tuition: $2,139/credit
Credit Requirements: 40-49 credits
Program Length: 19-27 months

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: RN license

Contact

Phone: (877) 910-4692
Email: onlinenursingadmissions@georgetown.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Duke University

Durham, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 96%

Based in Durham, North Carolina, Duke facilitates a career-focused online master of science in nursing program. Candidates pick from one of 11 majors based on their academic interests and professional goals. Options include adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, nursing education, and nursing and healthcare leadership.

Duke delivers a 43-credit neonatal nurse practitioner track that includes 616 clinical hours. Through a curriculum that emphasizes culturally sensitive and family-centered care, students learn to support low- and high-risk neonates. This MSN major requires applicants to display at least two years of clinical experience.

As one of the best online master's in nursing programs, Duke also offers a health informatics option that combines remote coursework with one campus session per semester. Candidates develop the IT competencies to develop and implement systems for electronic health records and clinical documentation. They round out their training by completing an intensive, individualized practicum.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Adult-gerontology nurse practitioner - acute care; adult-gerontology nurse practitioner - primary care; family nurse practitioner; health informatics; neonatal nurse practitioner; nursing and healthcare leadership; nursing education; pediatric nurse practitioner - acute care; pediatric nurse practitioner - primary care; psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; women's health nurse practitioner
Tuition: $11,028/semester
Credit Requirements: 42-49 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Certain majors require applicants to possess an RN license and 1-2 years of relevant work experience

Contact

Phone: (877) 415-3853
Email: SONAdmissions@dm.duke.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 73%

UCF delivers over 90 remote undergraduate and graduate programs through the Canvas platform. The catalog features an online master of science in nursing that allows students to pick from three specialty tracks. The UCF College of Nursing enjoys full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

MSN candidates who enroll in the nursing leadership and management track prepare for leadership roles by cultivating evidence-based evaluation and critical analysis skills for organizational challenges at all levels. By completing the nurse educator track, students can pursue teaching careers in undergraduate nursing and health professions programs. Both of the aforementioned degrees require distance learners to complete clinical experiences in their communities.

Lastly, the nursing and healthcare simulation track teaches candidates to create simulated training programs for practice and academic settings. Coursework includes curriculum development and intelligent systems. The curriculum necessitates one in-person capstone experience.


Program Overview

Program Name: Online Nursing, MSN
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nursing leadership and management; nurse educator; nursing and healthcare simulation
Tuition: $327/credit in-state; $1,152/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 31-36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Work Experience: RN license

Contact

Phone: (855) 903-8576
Email: gradnurseadvisor@ucf.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

George Washington University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 82%

GW powers distance education with Blackboard and offers an online master of science in nursing with five concentration options. These programs use a hybrid learning format that combines flexible remote coursework with hands-on training at GW's state-of-the-art simulation centers. MSN tracks include adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, nursing leadership and management, and family nurse practitioner.

Students can also enroll in the 36-credit nurse-midwifery program, which comes with part-time and full-time degree plans. Coursework covers topics such as concepts in population health, comprehensive prenatal care, and advanced occupational role development. Graduates are eligible to pursue professional credentials from the American Midwifery Certification Board.

Finally, GW offers an online MSN in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Through a 50-credit degree plan, students learn to diagnose, treat, and evaluate acute and chronic mental illnesses. Candidates complete skill intensives on campus and 600 hours of clinical placement.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner; adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner; family nurse practitioner; nursing leadership and management nurse-midwifery; psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
Tuition: $1,395/credit
Credit Requirements: 36-50
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Active and unencumbered RN license

Contact

Phone: (571) 553-0138
Email: nursing@gwu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Ohio State University

Columbus, OH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 84%

OSU delivers over 30 remote academic programs through Canvas. Distance learners can obtain an online master of science in nursing fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. MSN options include neonatal nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

The family nurse practitioner track prepares students to work in primary care settings supporting patients through the lifespan. OSU also provides a clinical nurse leader track that allows learners to access careers as advanced generalists who manage comprehensive care services and improve patient outcomes. All MSN programs meet the academic standards of their industry, enabling graduates to pursue professional certification.

Depending on the track, applicants can typically enroll as traditional students if they possess RN licensure. Candidates who do not hold work experience or a relevant bachelor's degree can pursue the graduate entry route. OSU provides scholarships specifically for nursing students.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Family nurse practitioner; neonatal nurse practitioner; psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; clinical nurse leader
Tuition: $38,900 total
Credit Requirements: 42-63 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Work Experience: Traditional master's applicants need an RN license

Contact

Phone: (614) 292-4041
Email: nursing@osu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 92%

USC offers comprehensive remote learning opportunities through Blackboard. Degree options include an online master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner specialization that full-time students can earn in under two years. The 49-unit curriculum highlights the social and biomedical factors that affect patient health, preparing candidates to deliver integrative care.

As one of the best online master's in nursing programs, USC receives full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. MSN candidates take classes in research and analytical methods, health assessment across the lifespan, and clinical pharmacology for advanced practice nursing. Students complete 784 hours of clinical training in their community and two campus intensive experiences.

Prospective learners must possess a bachelor of science in nursing. The USC College of Nursing facilitates a variety of financial aid. Award opportunities include the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Scholarship specifically for graduate students.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner
Tuition: $1,928/unit
Credit Requirements: 49 units
Program Length: 21-33 months

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: An RN license and one year of clinical experience

Contact

Phone: (844) 487-2676
Email: admissions@nursing.usc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 86%

Rochester delivers hybrid master of science in nursing programs that enable students to achieve careers in several areas of nursing. MSN candidates can pick from degree tracks in clinical nurse leader and nursing education. The latter option allows candidates to personalize the curriculum by pursuing clinical interest areas such as oncology or ambulatory nursing.

Rochester also offers a family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program that combines online coursework with on-site intensives. Students take classes such as psychopathology/psychiatric assessment and diagnosis, group/family psychotherapy, and advanced pharmacology. Distance learners complete 616 clinical placement hours with one of the institution's 500 preceptors.

As one of the best online master's in nursing programs, Rochester provides ample financial aid, including six nursing scholarships. Undergraduate students who want to expedite their career may enroll in the RN-BSN-MSN track. The university also offers an accelerated master's degree for non-nurses.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Clinical nurse leader; nursing education; family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
Tuition: $1,562/credit
Credit Requirements: 54 credits for nurse practitioner; 36 credits for clinical nurse leader and nursing education
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

Work Experience: An RN license; 1-3 years of relevant clinical experience depending on program

Contact

Phone: (585) 275-2375
Email: son_admissions@urmc.rochester.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

The University of West Florida

Pensacola, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

Based in Pensacola, UWF delivers 19 fully online graduate programs, including a master of science in nursing. The comprehensive curriculum prepares students for advanced practice roles and doctoral studies. To enroll, applicants need a fully accredited bachelor's degree in nursing.

Candidates take core classes in population health promotion, health systems policy strategies, and project evaluation and dissemination. They pursue advanced coursework in either a nurse executive or nursing education specialization. The former option enables graduates to occupy administrative and management positions. The latter track helps candidates pursue careers in academic and agency settings.

Both MSN options require candidates to complete 630 clinical placement hours. UWF awards over $100 million in financial aid each year. Out-of-state students may qualify for a tuition waiver that reduces academic costs by 75%-90%.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nurse executive; nursing education
Tuition: $378/credit in-state; $483/credit Alabama resident; $1,037/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 39 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: A current and unencumbered RN license

Contact

Phone: (850) 473-7756
Email: msnnursing@uwf.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

University of St Francis

Joliet, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

For over 20 years, USF has been one of the largest distance education providers in Illinois. Students can enroll in a fully online master of science in nursing program that delivers four concentration options. Through specialized curricula, candidates gain the skills needed to synthesize their research and education into practice serving the needs of diverse communities.

MSN candidates may pursue tracks in family nurse practitioner and nursing education. Alternatively, they can enroll in the nursing administration program, taking classes such as healthcare finance, human resources management, and ethics and decision-making. USF also delivers a degree in psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner.

Nursing students benefit from general financial aid and exclusive scholarships. As one of the best online master's in nursing programs, USF facilitates an RN-BSN-MSN program for licensed nurses without undergraduate credentials in nursing.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Family nurse practitioner; psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner; nursing administration; nursing educator
Tuition: $775/credit
Credit Requirements: 42-56 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: A current and unencumbered RN license

Contact

Phone: (800) 735-7500
Email: information@stfrancis.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 85%

UConn is headquartered in Storrs and delivers distance education through Blackboard Learn. Working RNs can prepare for career advancement by earning a master of science in nursing with a neonatal nurse practitioner specialization. Students who enroll full time graduate in five semesters, while part-time candidates may earn their credentials in seven semesters.

Courses cover topics such as statistical methods in nursing, health assessment across the lifespan, and neonatal embryology and physiology. Students examine the role advanced practice nurses play as part of collaborative healthcare teams with regards to policy and populations-based advocacy. Learners engage in practicums that focus on assessing and managing critically ill high-risk neonates.

MSN graduates are qualified to obtain professional certification from the National Certification Corporation. UConn accepts applications on a rolling basis. The School of Nursing offers a variety of scholarship opportunities.


Program Overview

Program Name: Neonatal Nursing Master’s Degree
School Status: Public
Tuition: $925/credit
Credit Requirements: 44 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: 2 years full-time, RN-level practice experience in a level three neonatal intensive care unit

Contact

Phone: (860) 486-8063
Email: sandra.bellini@UConn.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Georgia College

Milledgeville, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 64%

GCSU offers over 30 graduate programs, including an online master of science in nursing with four concentration options. These MSN tracks offer career-focused training that prepares candidates for careers in teaching, administration and management, and advanced clinical positions. The college maintains full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Graduate candidates can enroll in programs for family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Students may also pursue an MSN in nurse educator, taking classes such as statistical analysis and ensuring healthcare safety and quality. Learners engage in practicums that center on developing and implementing educational programs.

Lastly, GCSU offers a women's health nurse practitioner track with full-time and part-time enrollment plans. Candidates learn to provide routine health check-ups along with gynecologic, pregnancy, and postpartum care. All MSN candidates complete clinical rotations in Georgia.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Family nurse practitioner; psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; women's health nurse practitioner; nurse educator
Tuition: $373/credit
Credit Requirements: 39-40 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum
Work Experience: A current unencumbered Georgia RN license and one year of clinical experience

Contact

Phone: (478) 445-8757
Email: sallie.coke@gcsu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

University of Mary

Bismarck, ND Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

Located in Bismarck, North Dakota, Mary offers more than 50 online and flexible evening programs. Degree options include a master of science in nursing that allows students to specialize in one of four areas. Mary receives full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

MSN students can pursue degrees in nurse educator or nursing leadership and management. Alternatively, they may enroll in the nursing informatics track that combines data science with medical expertise. The 38-credit curriculum covers topics such as human technology interface, resilient nursing leadership, and applied clinical informatics in patient-centered care.

One of the best online master's in nursing programs, USM also delivers an MSN/MBA track for healthcare administration. Dual-degree candidates learn to collaborate with interdisciplinary teams to improve quality and cost effectiveness of nursing delivery systems. All MSN applicants submit a professional statement, a current resume, and two references.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Nurse educator; nursing informatics; nursing leadership and management; and healthcare administration (dual degree with MBA)
Tuition: $540/credit for MSN/MBA; $450/credit for other programs
Credit Requirements: 60 credits for MSN/MBA; 36-43 credits for other programs
Program Length: 2-2.5 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and/or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.75 minimum
Work Experience: A current unencumbered RN license

Contact

Phone: (701) 355-8030
Email: enroll@umary.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

California State University, San Bernardino

San Bernardino, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

CSUSB offers 13 online academic programs powered by Blackboard. The catalog includes a hybrid master of science in nursing fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Candidates choose from three specialization options and complete clinical practicums near their location.

MSN students who pursue the nurse educator track prepare for teaching roles in clinical and academic settings by taking classes in curriculum assessment and instructional technology. CSUSB also provides a population-based nursing option, which focuses on transcultural healthcare. This track prepares graduates to work in hospitals and skilled clinical settings.

Lastly, the MSN program delivers an advanced community/public health nursing specialization.This track requires students to complete community-based internships in addition to clinical experiences. All graduate candidates can access fellowships and grants. CSUB also provides a variety of on-campus and off-campus scholarships.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Specializations: Nurse educator; population-based nursing; advanced community/public health nursing
Tuition: $2,392/semester in-state; $3,976/semester out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 60-70 units
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: A current California RN license

Contact

Phone: (909) 537-5380
Email: nursinginfo@csusb.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

The University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

Through its Bama by Distance platform, UA offers comprehensive online academics. Remote learners can pursue a master of science in nursing with a nurse administrator concentration. The degree plan focuses on operational and policy issues, preparing candidates to make executive-level decisions and develop high-quality programming.

MSN students can enroll full time or part time. The fully remote curriculum includes classes such as human relations management, basic epidemiology, and research and statistics for health professionals. Candidates also delve into advanced clinical practice and community health issues related to rural populations.

Students can also enroll in a mostly online MSN with a concentration in nurse practitioner. One of the best online master's in nursing programs, UA's hybrid MSN comes with three nurse practitioner tracks. All students can apply for financial aid. Awards include scholarships specifically for distance learners and nursing candidates.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nurse administrator; nurse practitioner
Tuition: $420/credit
Credit Requirements: 33-39 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online for nurse administrator; hybrid (online/on campus) for nurse practitioner
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: A current, unencumbered RN license in a qualifying state

Contact

Phone: (205) 348-8163
Email: vickie.bama@ua.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

Azusa Pacific University

Azusa, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 63%

APU serves over 10,000 students across its eight campuses and online through Canvas. Distance learners can enroll in the master of science in nursing program, picking from a concentration in either nursing education or healthcare administration and leadership. Both degrees receive accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, enabling graduates to pursue specialty professional credentials or state advanced practice certification.

Nursing education candidates take classes in theories of instruction and educational technology. They also learn to develop curricula and assess educational programs for effectiveness. The program culminates in a supervised practicum, during which students apply current, evidence-based knowledge.

The healthcare administration and leadership curriculum covers topics such as managing human capital, financial management, and transitions across the care continuum. Students also delve into healthcare-oriented informatics and learn to use data science as a tool for clinical decision-making. All MSN candidates can access program-specific loans and scholarships.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Nursing education; healthcare administration and leadership
Tuition: $752/credit
Credit Requirements: 37
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: An active and unencumbered RN license

Contact

Phone: (626) 815-2056
Email: jelrod@apu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 70%

Based in Fairfax, Virginia, GMU delivers over 50 remote academic programs. The catalog includes a fully online master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner concentration and a hybrid master of science in nursing with a nurse educator concentration. Both degrees receive full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

MSN candidates who pursue the family nurse practitioner track complete a 49-credit degree plan. Coursework covers topics such as nursing informatics inquiry, health assessment in clinical practice, and family primary care. Students complete 500 hours of clinical placement, integrating their learning with evidence-based practice.

The 41-credit nurse educator track combines asynchronous classes with campus-based learning experiences that prepare candidates to tackle the rapidly changing healthcare environment. Coursework includes nursing research, biostatistics, and educational assessment and evaluation. Students also examine physiology and pathophysiology in advanced practice.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nurse educator; family nurse practitioner
Tuition: $1031/credit for nurse educator; $850/credit for family nurse practitioner
Credit Requirements: 41-49
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus) for nurse educator; 100% online for family nurse practitioner
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: An active RN license with documented work experience

Contact

Phone: (703) 348-5006
Email: online2@gmu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 86%

Gonzaga offers online graduate programming in seven fields of study, including a master of science in nursing. Through career-focused degree plans, students learn to serve vulnerable populations and collaborate with health communities at home and abroad. MSN candidates complete 1-6 campus immersions based on their specific track.

As one of the best online master's in nursing programs, Gonzaga's MSN delivers three specializations. Students may pursue the nursing leadership in healthcare track, which requires 160 clinical placement hours. Graduates are well-prepared to work as chief nursing officers, medical directors, and case management coordinators.

Alternatively, MSN students can enroll in the family or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner track. The FNP option emphasizes a holistic approach to primary care, along with treatment of acute and chronic health programs. PMHNP candidates develop skills in pathophysiology and psychopharmacology before completing 660 hours of clinical training.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Tracks: Nursing leadership in healthcare; family nurse practitioner; psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
Tuition: $955/credit for nursing leadership track; $1,020/credit for nurse practitioner tracks
Credit Requirements: 30 credits for nursing leadership; 47 credits for nurse practitioner tracks
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 preferred
Work Experience: An unencumbered RN license

Contact

Phone: (866) 380-5323
Email: guonlineadmissions@gonzaga.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Saint Louis University

Saint Louis, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

SLU provides an online master of science in nursing with four nurse practitioner concentrations. MSN candidates may pursue their studies part time or full time. The school requires two campus visits, an orientation at the start of the program and an in-person skill evaluation during clinical placement.

Concentration options include adult-gerontological acute care and family nurse practitioner. Students can also enroll in the pediatric primary care track, taking classes in family development and advanced clinical study of children. Family psychiatric mental health is the fourth NP track and covers specialized topics such as psychopharmacology and the ecological approach to human behavior.

Students who want to work as nurse educators can take four additional classes centered on theory and practicum. This optional training prepares them to earn the National League for Nursing Nurse Educator certificate. All MSN candidates receive personal advising from faculty mentors and access to tutoring services.


Program Overview

Program Name: Nursing, M.S. (Nurse Practitioner)
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Adult-gerontological acute care nurse practitioner; family nurse practitioner; pediatric primary care nurse practitioner; family psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner
Tuition: $1,090/credit
Credit Requirements: 36-43 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.25 minimum
Work Experience: An unencumbered RN license in the state in which clinical experience will be done.

Contact

Phone: (314) 977-8995
Email: slunurse@slu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 74%

Drexel is a long-time leader in distance education, offering over 150 remote academic programs. The catalog includes a graduate bridge track for working RNs who do not possess a bachelor's degree in nursing. Upon completing the bridge course, students can enroll in one of four masters of science in nursing programs, all of which receive full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

MSN options include clinical nurse leadership and nursing education. Candidates may also pursue the leadership in health systems management track to prepare for careers as senior administrators. These learners take classes such as healthcare economics and policy, data analytics for decision-making, and workforce management.

Additionally, Drexel provides an MSN track for quality, safety, and risk management in healthcare. Through a 46-credit curriculum, students learn to assess and improve healthcare outcomes in hospitals and community-based delivery settings. MSN candidates who complete their program in under three years enjoy a tuition lock guarantee.


Program Overview

Program Name: RN to MSN Online Bridge Program
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Clinical nurse leader; nursing education; leadership in health systems management; quality, safety, and risk management in healthcare
Tuition: $997/credit
Credit Requirements: 4.5 credits for bridge program; 46-48 credits for MSN
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: A current and unrestricted U.S. RN license

Contact

Phone: (267) 359-5692
Email: jnr56@drexel.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

University of South Carolina

Columbia, SC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 77%

UofSC delivers four online graduate programs for licensed registered nurses. Distance learners take live classes powered by Blackboard and, depending on their specific degree plan, complete practicum requirements with their current employer. UofSC's College of Nursing maintains specialized accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

MSN candidates pick from specialty tracks in areas such as psychiatric mental health or family nurse practitioner. The university also offers an adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner track that teaches students how to support patients with complex needs. Coursework includes clinical application of population analysis and pharmacological management across the lifespan.

Students can also enroll in the nursing administration track, earning their MSN in as little as 12 months. The curriculum covers topics such as financing healthcare and integrative process in nursing administration. Graduates are eligible to sit for one of four professional credentialing exams.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Family nurse practitioner; adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner; psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; nursing administration
Tuition: $572/credit
Credit Requirements: 30 credits for nursing administration; 44-47 credits for other programs
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: Nurse practitioner candidates need one year of full-time nursing experience (1,800 hours) within the past 24 months.

Contact

Phone: (803) 777-7412
Email: NURSGRAD@mailbox.sc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

Appalachian State University

Boone, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 72%

Based in Boone, North Carolina, Appalachian facilitates over 150 academic programs, many of which students can complete remotely. Options include an online master of science in nursing that synthesizes leadership and research to prepare candidates for careers as nurse educators. The flexible curriculum allows part-time students to graduate in under two years.

Coursework covers topics like advanced health assessment for adults, pathophysiology, and nursing program development and evaluation. MSN candidates delve into instructional strategies for nursing and informatics, with an emphasis on methods to enhance student learning. They also learn how to apply adult learning and health literacy theories in professional practice settings.

Students complete two practicums centering on clinical practice and nurse education. The 39-credit program culminates with either a research thesis or a hands-on capstone project. Appalachian boasts full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Tuition: $237/credit in-state; $896/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 39 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.5 preferred
Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT for candidates with GPA between 3.0-3.49
Work Experience: A current, unrestricted RN license in North Carolina or an eligible state within the Nurse Licensure Compact network.

Contact

Phone: (828) 262-3113
Email: online@appstate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

University of Missouri

Columbia, MO Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 69%

Mizzou has been offering remote nursing education for over two decades. Today, licensed RNs can enroll in an online master of science in nursing program, picking from either a nurse educator or leadership in nursing and healthcare systems concentration. Over 70% of Mizzou MSN candidates receive job offers in specialty nursing fields at the time of graduation.

The 41-credits nurse educator degree plan contains classes in teaching strategies, pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics, and curriculum development. Students complete one campus residency in addition to their clinical placement hours. Graduates are well-prepared to obtain the certified nurse education designation from the National League for Nursing.

MSN candidates who pursue the nursing leadership track take classes in translational evidence-based nursing practice and healthcare financial management. Graduates are eligible to sit for the advanced nurse executive certification exam facilitated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Public
Available Concentrations: Nurse educator; leadership in nursing and healthcare systems
Tuition: $21,563/total for nurse educator; $17,071/total for leadership in nursing
Credit Requirements: 33-41 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: A current RN license

Contact

Phone: (573) 882-0277
Email: nursing@missouri.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

Harding University

Searcy, AR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

Located in Searcy, Arkansas, Harding delivers over 20 graduate and professional programs. The academic catalog includes a master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner concentration. Through a hybrid curriculum that combines online classes with 3-5 days of campus intensives each semester, students develop the skills to work as primary care providers to diverse patient groups.

Coursework covers topics such as advanced research methodologies, health assessment and diagnostics, and epidemiology and vulnerable populations applications. Candidates delve into major theories concerning child/adolescent, reproductive, family, and adult/elder health. They also learn to incorporate healthcare technologies into nursing education and professional development programs.

Harding requires MSN students to complete 720 clinical practicum hours. Applicants need a bachelor's degree in nursing fully accredited by a nursing accreditation body. They must also demonstrate 2,000 hours of RN work experience before starting clinical courses.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Family nurse practitioner
Tuition: $8,647/semester
Credit Requirements: 45 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: An unencumbered and current RN license for Arkansas or a compact state

Contact

Phone: (501) 279-4859
Email: gradnursing@harding.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

25

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 55%

For more than 100 years, the UND College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines has provided career-focused academic programming. Students can enroll in an online master of science in nursing program that comes with four specialization options. UND receives full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

MSN candidates who want to pursue nurse practitioner credentials pick from three tracks, including adult-gerontology primary care and psychiatric mental health. They may also specialize in family nurse practitioner, preparing for leadership roles in private practices, schools, and hospitals. Family nurse practitioner coursework includes pharmacotherapeutics and management of health conditions.

One of the best online master's in nursing programs, UND's MSN also features a 38-credit nurse educator track. Classes include curriculum development, teaching methodologies, and assessment and evaluation. Graduates are prepared to obtain professional certification from the National League for Nurses.


Program Overview

Program Name: Nursing Master's Degree Program
School Status: Public
Available Specializations: Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner; family nurse practitioner; psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner; nurse educator
Tuition: $765/credit
Credit Requirements: 38-49 credits
Program Length: 2-3 years

Delivery

Format: Online or hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Work Experience: A current and unencumbered RN license; at least 1 year of work experience preferred

Contact

Phone: (701) 777-4174
Email: und.graduatenursing@email.UND.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Nursing Program?

Master's in nursing programs require about 36 credits and take two years to complete. These programs help students take their nursing career to the next level, as graduates can earn leadership positions and administrative roles.

These programs help students take their nursing career to the next level, as graduates can earn leadership positions and administrative roles.

Common concentrations for an online master's in nursing include the following:

  • Clinical nurse leader
  • Nurse educator
  • Patient safety and quality
  • Nurse anesthetist
  • Certified critical care registered nurse

These concentrations provide students with advancement opportunities and the chance to enter a more specialized field of medicine.

Master's in nursing programs also help students develop the leadership and managerial abilities necessary for administrative positions within hospitals and other healthcare facilities. To excel, students need excellent organizational, critical thinking, and communication skills.

Most online master's in nursing programs require a practicum. Students must complete supervised clinical hours in a healthcare facility. Programs often require 500-1,000 clinical hours depending on the concentration. Some colleges find placements for their students, while others require students to seek out their own internships at a healthcare facility near them.

Many programs also require a capstone project. Students choose an original healthcare topic and conduct research under the direction of a faculty advisor. Capstone projects often culminate in a written and/or oral presentation.

Admission Requirements for Online Master's in Nursing Programs

Most master's in nursing programs require students to hold an unencumbered registered nursing license for the duration of the program. Online master's in nursing programs also look for applicants with a bachelor's degree in nursing from a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Readers can find more information about how to apply for a graduate program on this page.

Still looking for the right fit? Discover similar degree programs

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Nursing Program?

Master's in nursing programs cover advanced topics in healthcare practice, law, and ethics. Students learn how to care for different groups of patients, such as infants and the elderly. Most programs also require a capstone project, which may include both a written and oral report on healthcare research topics.

Global Health and Diversity

This course explores healthcare delivery systems, including the financial and social constructs that influence healthcare delivery. Students learn how policy decisions at the federal and local levels can impact access, equity, and efficacy of healthcare outcomes for different populations. This class often uses case studies to demonstrate different healthcare strategies for diverse groups.

Biostatistics

This course teaches learners about data in healthcare. Students learn how statistics can influence healthcare practice, particularly for public health issues. Covered topics include probability theory, confidence interval testing, hypothesis testing, and power and sample size determination. Through projects, students apply these principles to data samples and test the effectiveness of models.

Evidence-Based Practice

Healthcare professionals must rely on evidence to make correct diagnoses. This course builds on undergraduate nursing knowledge to help students translate evidence found in research into real-world methodology. Learners receive practice questions and analyze the relevant research to find the best method of care based on the information available.

Healthcare Quality and Improvement

This class focuses specifically on U.S. healthcare policy at the federal, state, and local levels. Students explore the political and social factors that determine policy outcomes. This class also examines emerging technology in healthcare and improved integration of health information in the healthcare landscape.

Advanced Pathophysiology

Students explore the relationship between normal physiology and alterations in health brought on by injuries and disease. This course focuses specifically on environmental, developmental, and genetic influences; pathogenesis; etiology; and clinical manifestations of major illnesses and health problems. Learners discover how these health problems appear across age groups.

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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Nursing?

Online master's in nursing programs prepare students for nursing careers in specialized fields like anesthesiology, family practice, and critical care. Career opportunities differ based on location and experience.

Between 2019 and 2029, the BLS projects 45% job growth for several nursing careers that require a master's degree, a rate far higher than the national average. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $115,800 in 2019.

See where an online master's in nursing degree can take you. Learn more about nursing careers here.

Nurse Educator

Nurse educators typically work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. These professionals coordinate with healthcare administrators to provide continuing education courses to nursing staff and other caregivers. Nurse educators can specialize in different areas of medicine or provide general training for common medical procedures and administrative tasks.

Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists are advanced practice registered nurses. These professionals assist with medical procedures and surgeries in hospitals and clinics. Nurse anesthetists speak with patients, review patient history, and administer anesthesia. These nurses also monitor patient responses to anesthesia and update patient information.

Critical Care Nurse

Critical care nurses interact with patients in the intensive care unit or emergency room. These specialists work closely with doctors and other nursing staff to monitor patient conditions, diagnose health issues and illnesses, and create successful treatment plans. Critical care nurses often educate patients about their treatment plans.

Family Nurse Practitioners

Family nurse practitioners oversee many of the same responsibilities as family doctors. These healthcare workers examine patients, diagnose injuries and illnesses, and determine treatment methods. Family practice nurses work with patients of all ages, from children to adults. They may serve as primary care providers in clinics and other healthcare facilities.

Nurse Administrator

Nurse administrators work for clinics, healthcare agencies, nursing homes, and in-home health services. These professionals oversee daily operations and staffing decisions, such as hiring and firing. Nurse administrators need excellent communication skills, as they often facilitate communication between employees and upper management.

Nursing not for you? Check out these related careers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Nursing Programs

Is a master's degree in nursing worth it?

Yes. A master's degree in nursing prepares students for advanced nursing positions in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare agencies. Nurses can advance to management careers, working closely with administrators and nursing staff. A master's degree also teaches nurses advanced skills in diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and injuries.

What can I do with a master's in nursing?

An online master's in nursing opens the door to many careers, including nurse educator and nurse administrator. Nurses can also pursue specialized careers like nurse anesthetist, critical care nurse, and family practice nurse. Professionals with a master's in nursing can oversee staffing decisions and undertake administrative responsibilities in healthcare facilities as well.

How many nursing majors get jobs?

The BLS projects significant job growth for nurses between 2019 and 2029, including 7% growth for registered nurses and 45% growth for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners.

How much money can I make with a master's in nursing?

Salaries differ based on position, experience, and location. However, nurses with a master's degree typically earn more than their counterparts without a master's in nursing. Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners earned a median annual salary of $115,800 in 2019, according to the BLS.

What are the highest paying jobs with a master's in nursing?
Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners earned a median annual salary of $115,800 in 2019. Nurse administrators earn an average annual salary of $86,820, while nurse educators earn an average annual salary of $76,290.