Top 25 Affordable Online Masters in Nursing Administration

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by Staff Writers

Updated July 29, 2022

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Are you a nurse hoping to further your career in a management or leadership role? Our Top 25 Affordable Online Masters in Nursing Administration will help you achieve your goals without a hefty price tag. Would you like to bring your skills and experience in direct patient care to a higher-level role, where you can have an impact on decision and policy-making? Do you see room for improvements in organizational and personnel management within your workplace? If so, it’s time to pursue graduate work in nursing administration. Jobs in nursing administration are expected to grow much faster than other fields in the United States. By the year 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 20% increase in health care management positions. 

The programs in this list all conform to a curriculum that combines practicum experience with exposure to the most innovative and cutting edge concepts and theories in nursing. An MSN degree is a unique combination of medical knowledge with business acumen. Nursing administrators make important fiscal decisions for the organizations they work within, as well as act as human resource specialists. Some nursing managers work behind the scenes in research and academic inquiry to better serve patients. 

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You’ll find that a “preceptor” is mentioned often in the descriptions of the programs below. While these programs are indeed fully online, almost all of them require a practicum experience at a preceptor-- a health care setting where interns are learning in the field with the guidance of professionals and the school’s faculty. It is typical for students to find a preceptor at a location in their geographic region. There is no need to travel to the state where the program is located to fulfill practicum requirements.

This practicum experience is an excellent way to network and move towards gainful employment upon graduation. While nursing as a whole is a competitive field, since 55% of the current nursing workforce is over the age of 50, it’s anticipated that this population will be retiring over the next five to ten years. Nursing administration is a lucrative career move-- the median annual wage in 2018 was $99,730. 10% of nursing administrators in the United States earn more than $182K. In addition to the low cost, the programs on our list also have scholarship opportunities available to their graduate students. 

Methodology

Each ranking published by Top Master’s in Healthcare requires a lot of research, fact checking, and interest in the world of higher education and medical industries. The editors of TMHC utilize credible data resources from academic journals, government databases, job recruitment organizations, and, especially, degree alumni reviews. TMHC rankings are scored specifically on degree outcomes, alumni reviews, degree affordability, acceptance rates, MCAT and GRE scores, and degree completion rates.

To be considered for ranking by TMHC, degrees must be accredited by the National Science Foundation and, thus, provide appropriate doctorate certifications within the healthcare field and have institutional affiliations with scholarly peer-reviewed publications. For more information about how TMHC scores individual medical degrees, please visit our About Us page. 

Here are the Top 25 Affordable Online Masters in Nursing Administration for 2020!

#25. Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Master of Science in Nursing, Nursing and Leadership Administration Specialization

Website

Capella University’s Master of Science in Nursing with a Nursing and Leadership Administration Specialization offers the degree in two learning formats. The first is known as the “GuidedPath” where students complete the coursework on a schedule set by the program. This entails the completion of weekly assignments and contribution to a weekly discussion, and take one to three courses as a full or part-time enrolled student. The other learning format the “FlexPath,” where students set their own deadlines and schedule. It is subscription based, as opposed to the GuidedPath, which is paid per credit hour. The FlexPath is suited for professionals in the field who have previous knowledge and relevant experience to complete coursework topics. 

The program is a total of 54 credit hours, with courses ranging in topics such as quality improvement for interprofessional care, health care law and policy, and biopsychosocial concepts for advanced nursing practice. All students engage in a practicum of 200 hours. Practicums are arranged in a site selected by the student and approved by the program’s faculty. Capella University offers $2,000 to $3,000 scholarships to new graduate students. 

Graduate Tuition: $ 14,365

Score: 79.33

#24. University of St. Francis

Joliet, IL

Master of Science in Nursing

Website

The Master of Science in Nursing program provided by the University of St. Francis prepares students to work with diverse populations in a managerial role. The ethical management of personnel and a firm foundation in financial management are also key learning outcomes of the program. Core coursework in the program includes sixteen credit hours in biostatics and nursing research, population health, and evidence-based healthcare. All students will engage in a final capstone project that synthesizes the student’s ability to plan a quality improvement initiative. Additionally, a minimum of 27 hours within a practicum setting must be completed. 

Applications to the program are accepted once each year in May for entrance in the Fall term. Admission requirements include a valid, professional nursing license, an essay, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a GPA of at least 2.75. Additionally, MSN applicants must have completed an undergraduate level course in statistics. The University of St. Francis has regular information sessions for its online graduate programs, as well as virtual guided tours of online classes. 

Graduate Tuition: $ 13,464

Score: 100.00

#23. California University of Pennsylvania

California, PA

Master of Science in Nursing Administration and Leadership

Website

The Master of Science in Nursing Administration and Leadership at the California University of Pennsylvania can be completed in less than two years at part-time enrollment. The program culminates with a 150-hour practicum guided by faculty at a location convenient to the student. The 30-credit hour program has a curriculum that emphasizes both theory and research. Class topics include financial management in non-profit healthcare organizations, health policy in nursing and the legal aspects of healthcare administration. 

The program has two start dates in the Fall (August) and Spring (January) terms. Applicants to the program must have an undergraduate nursing degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA as well as an RN license in their state of residence. Additional application materials include a resume, a statement of career goals, and official transcripts. The California University of Pennsylvania offers many institutional-based scholarships to online graduate students. 

Graduate Tuition: $ 12,000

Score: 87.51

#22. Queens University of Charlotte

Charlotte, NC

Master of Science in Nursing Administrator Specialization

Website

Queens University of Charlotte’s Master of Science in Nursing Administrator Specialization prepares its graduates for roles as change-makers in the nursing field. Graduates of this program learn to balance a business-minded awareness with the ethical and legal concerns of healthcare settings. This is a 37 credit hour program with courses that run for eight weeks. It can be completed in two years at full-time enrollment. Core courses in the program include data interpretations, informatics in health care, and research methods. Students also engage in a minimum 75-hour practicum that is arranged in the student’s area of residence. 

Queens utilizes the online learning management system MyCourses for their online classes. This learning platform brings together blogging, social media, skyping, instant messaging and mobile device access. Queen's technical support for online students is available every day of the week at any time of the day. The Presbyterian School of Nursing at Queens has a total of 20 full-time faculty members dedicated to furthering students' careers. Queens University hosts regular webinars for prospective students to learn more about its online graduate programs. In 2018, Queens was ranked #3 by U.S. News and World Report as a Best College for Veterans. Graduate Tuition: $ 11,583

Score: 90.23

#21. University of Saint Mary

Charlotte, NC

Master of Science in Nursing Administrator 

Website

The Master of Science in Nursing Administrator specialization at the University of Saint Mary emphasizes organizational management strategies in tandem with business analysis. The program entails eight courses for a total of 23 credits. Students will take classes in leadership and business operations in healthcare, human resources and fiscal management, and delivery of care in the healthcare environment. Four credits of practicum work are required, where students will present the culmination of their experiences in the practicum with a project. The project should demonstrate the student’s ability to apply theory and analysis to a real-world problem as a professional nurse administrator. 

This program is designed for currently licensed nurses. Future applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate nursing degree. Three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, transcripts, a resume, and a background check are also required. The University of Saint Mary offers regular virtual open house events to prospective students and is a military friendly institution who participates in the Yellow Ribbon program

Graduate Tuition: $ 11,070

Score: 90.23

#20. Clarkson College

Omaha, NE

Master of Science in Nursing Healthcare Administration

Website

At Clarkson College, the Master of Science in Nursing Healthcare Administration can be completed in eight or twelve semesters, depending on full or part-time enrollment. Students may start in August, January, or May. The program is a total of 42 credit hours. Core coursework for the degree covers topics such as Essentials of Scholarly Writing, Nursing Laws and Ethics, and Research Design and Methods. All students will complete a four-credit evidence-based research project to graduate. The program emphasizes core competencies for its graduates in diversity, critical thinking, technology, and professionalism. 85% of MSN degree recipients in 2017/18 were gainfully employed after graduation.

Successful applicants should have a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, a valid Nursing license, and be currently employed as a nurse. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required, as are transcripts, two letters of reference, a resume, and a scholarly essay. The program may accept up to nine transfer credits. This degree is offered in most states, and a complete list can be found here. Clarkson College partners with Nebraska Medicine

Graduate Tuition: $ 10,350

Score: 96.52

#19. Wheeling Jesuit University

Wheeling, WV

Master of Science in Nursing Administration

Website

The Master of Science in Nursing Administration in Wheeling Jesuit University’s online program is a total of 42 credit hours. Students will engage in a practicum in their communities. Coursework in the program will focus on organizational behavior, administrative leadership, financial management, and interpersonal relations. The program emphasizes the application of critical thinking skills to promote positive change and growth within healthcare settings. Examples of core classes include Nursing Theories, Health Care Delivery Systems, and Economics, and Health Care Policy and Politics. 

Admission to the program is free-- there is no application fee. The program does not accept students from all states. A complete list can be found here. The admission application requires a current nursing license, three letters of recommendation and an admissions essay. WJU awards between $8,000 and $16,000 in scholarships to students seeking aid each year. As a Yellow-Ribbon program participant, WJU offers tuition remission and discounts to veterans and their children and spouses.

Graduate Tuition: $ 9,450

Score: 90.99

#18. Old Dominion University

Norfolk, VA

Master of Science in Nursing 

Website

At Old Dominion University, the Master of Science in Nursing program is 36 credit hours. The program’s curriculum prepares current nurses to utilize their experience to become leaders and managers in a variety of contexts. All students set up and engage in an approved practicum in their communities. The program aims to develop student’s skills in organizational analysis and theory application. Students in this program are prepared for roles in public policy, clinical leadership, and military health care.

Online courses at ODU are a mix of assignments, discussions, and tests. Some courses may occur live, and many you may access at any time. ODU offers 24/7 assistance with technology issues for online students. For over 30 years, ODU has been offering distance learning courses. Beginning with satellite classes specifically geared towards active members of the military, ODU still serves students learning remotely on Navy ships at sea. ODU offers scholarships and services specifically for veterans and those currently serving in the military. 

Graduate Tuition: $ 9,168

Score: 89.44

#17. Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Standish, ME

Master of Science in Nursing Administration

Website

The 45-credit Master of Science in Nursing Administration at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine prepares students for careers as nursing leaders with a business mindset. In this program, students will begin by taking core courses covering topics in research methods, health assessment, and pharmacology. Core coursework is a total of 24 credit hours. Students then go on to take classes specifically financial and human resource management. All students complete a minimum 135-hour practicum, as well as a final capstone project. The capstone project is the composition of a scholarly article that addresses a nursing practice problem and potential solution. 

Admission to the program requires that students have a current nursing certification and a BSN. In addition, successful applicants have a 3.0 GPA and three letters of recommendation. The MSNA program start-dates occur in February, May, August, and November. Saint Joseph also provides several services for online students, including career development support and assistance

Graduate Tuition: $ 8,720

Score: 94.69

#16. Ball State University

Muncie, IN

Master’s in Nursing-Administrator Track

Website

Ball State University’s Master’s in Nursing-Administrator Track program is a total of 36 credits. The program emphasizes the role of nursing administrators to hire, lead, and guide policies within a variety of health care organizations. Students will complete a 180-hour practicum at an approved clinic, hospital, or other health care business in their geographical region. The curriculum will include six credits focusing on research methods and 11 credits focused on nursing. A total of 19 credits is on the administrative aspect, with classes such as Financial Management for Nurses, Survey of Marketing, and Managing Organizational Behavior. Students in the online MSN-Administrator track program have full access to all of Ball State’s services that on-campus have access to the library, writing center, career services, and tutors. 

To apply to the program, applicants should submit proof of their Bachelor’s degree, their RN licensure, and transcripts from all previous institutions. A background check and a 3.0 GPA is also required. Members of the military and veterans should be in contact with Ball State’s Office of Veterans Affairs to take advantage of veteran services and resources. The School of Nursing at Ball State has over a dozen scholarships.
Graduate Tuition: $ 8,554

Score: 93.97

#15. Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Master’s in Nursing-NurseAdministration

Website

At Liberty University, students can opt to complete this 42-credit program on an accelerated track or complete the program in the standard time. In just twelve months, students can be prepared to pursue careers as a nursing director or administrative nursing manager in a variety of health care settings. The curriculum consists of 15 credit hours of core coursework that covers research methods, informatics, ethics, and policy. Students will also take classes in Organizational Design and Structure, Financial and Resource Management for Nurse Leaders, and Contemporary Issues in Human Resource Management. Each class is eight weeks in length.

The program admits multiple times a year. Liberty University may accept up to 50% of transfer credits from another institution. Admission to the program requires at least one year as a professional nurse, a current RN license, and one recommendation. Active members of the military and veterans receive a discount on graduate tuition. Liberty University also provides several scholarship opportunities for online students. 

Graduate Tuition: $ 8,217

Score: 96.69

#14. The University of Texas at Arlington

Arlington, TX

Master’s in Nursing in Nursing Administration

Website

The University of Texas at Arlington’s Master’s in Nursing is completed throughout twelve classes. The MNNA consists of 36 credit hours and can be finished in under two years. The program’s curriculum integrates nursing operations, which requires a clinical component of at least 90 hours over five weeks. Other class topics include nursing informatics and health care policy. A management seminar where students practice in a real-world setting for ten weeks is required. The program typically has eight start dates over a calendar year. Students may apply and find themselves enrolled within a month after receiving an acceptance letter. 

Applicants to the MNNA must have at least two years of nursing experience and valid RN licensure. GRE test scores are only required for applicants who do not have at least a 3.0 GPA. UTA allows guarantees a locked-in tuition rate-- you will pay the same price as when you started the program until you complete the degree. UTA is a member of Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges and has numerous services for members of the military, veterans and their spouses. 

Graduate Tuition: $ 7,360

Score: 93.93

#13. University of Colorado Denver

Denver, CO

Master’s of Science in Nursing-Leadership

Website

Geared towards full-time nurses, the Master’s of Science in Nursing-Leadership at the University of Colorado-Denver is a 30 credit hour program. Courses in the program include Policy and Politics of Health, Relationship Communication, and Decision Support. All students will engage in a practicum or internship approved by the faculty and set up at a location convenient to the student. The faculty of the CU-online MSN program is the same group of professional academics who teach in person on campus. The program was designed to reflect the current needs and trends in nursing administration.

Online students in the program receive guidance from the beginning of the application process through graduation from CU’s enrollment navigators. The University of Colorado Denver offers in-state tuition rates to out of state, online students. CU-Online students have round the clock access to librarian support, the online writing center, veterans services, and disability resources and services. CU-Denver offered its first online class in 1996.

Graduate Tuition: $ 6,714

Score: 93.05

#12. Southern Illinois University -Edwardsville

Edwardsville, IL

Master’s of Science Healthcare and Nursing Administration 

Website

At Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, the Master’s of Science, Healthcare and Nursing Administration program prepares its graduates to lead other nurses. The program was designed to support its students in gaining further credentials as nurse executives. It incorporates a 315-hour practicum at an approved location in the student’s geographical region. Students will complete a total of 33 credit hours in classes such as Biostatics, Health Care Informatics, and Management of Human Resources in Health Care. A final evidence-based project that integrates the coursework and the student’s field experience is a requirement of graduation.

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a current nursing license valid in the state where the student will be engaged in their practicum are needed to enter the program. Other application materials that are considered for admission are a GPA of 3.0, at least one year of nursing experience, and transcripts from all previous institutions. The program admits in the summer, fall, and spring. Faculty research at the SIUE School of Nursing has received academic accolades and funding of almost 4.5 million dollars over the last seven years. Topics within the faculty’s research range from care of veterans, medication adherence, fertility health, and sexual differentiation, among many others. 

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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