An online masters degree in nursing (MSN) provides opportunities for nurses who want to further their education and also advance their careers in the healthcare field. An online program offers more flexibility than traditional on-campus classes, meaning nurses can keep their current jobs while studying for their masterís degree.
Those who pursue a MSN generally already have a bachelor’s in nursing. The master’s degree builds on concepts and training learned in the bachelor’s program. Still, students who havenít received a bachelor’s have some options; they can find bridge programs that take them from RN to MSN.
Master’s in Nursing programs are for students whose career goals are geared towards individual, community, and industry needs. Most programs, even online, offer concentrations like Executive Nurse Leader (Administration), Nurse Educator, and others.
Here are the top 25 online Masters in Nursing programs, based on tuition, program quality, classes offered, and faculty.
#1 – University of Texas – Medical Branch
Location: Galveston, Texas
Tuition: $8,482 in state, $17,109 out of state
The University of Texas Medical Branch’s online Master of Science in Nursing degree program offers six specializations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader, Executive Nurse Leader, and Nurse Educator. All programs are offered online and share seven core courses. Students at the school develop collaborative relationships with colleagues and fellow students from nursing and other disciplines.
#2 – Liberty University
Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
Liberty University’s online Master’s in Nursing program consists of eight-week-long classes. Students have the flexibility to complete assignments at any time during the week and there are no required login times. The program requires completion of 42 credits and students can transfer in up to six. Liberty’s focus for the program is on nursing as a ministry of caring based on Christian ethical standards. Two concentrations are offered: Nurse Educator and Nursing Administration.
#3 – Frontier Nursing University
Location: Hyden, Kentucky
Frontier Nursing University offers three MSN specializations: Nurse-Midwife, Family Nurse Practitioner, or Womenís Health Care Nurse Practitioner. Students must come to the schoolís campus twice during the program. The first is for a four-day orientation at the beginning, then at the end for a five-day “Clinical Bound” session to strengthen hands-on and clinical management skills.
#4 – Graceland University
Location: Lamoni, Iowa
Graceland Collegeís online Masterís in Nursing courses are offered within a 16-week trimester. The programís specializations include Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator. The program is offered in a full-time and part-time option. Students must attend a two-day focus session at Graceland’s School of Nursing in Independence, Missouri at some point during the program.
#5 – Georgetown University
Location: Washington, D.C.
Georgetown University’s online Master’s in Nursing program offers several tracks for students. Specializations in the program include Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery/Womenís Health Nurse Practitioner, and Womenís Health Nurse Practitioner. Classes are delivered in a live, collaborative online format and students join their fellow nurses in weekly classes hosted by Georgetownís faculty members.
#6 – Nova Southeastern University
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Nova Southeastern University offers an online MSN program that requires eight or fewer semesters. Standard specializations include Nurse Practitioner MSN – Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration, and Gerontology – Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. All specializations include a similar core curriculum, though they expand into specifically tailored electives.
#7 – Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Tuition: $8,010 in state, $16,656 out of state
Texas Tech University Health Science Center offers an online Master of Science in Nursing with specializations in administration, education, informatics, and advanced practice registered nurse. The school also offers practice tracks in nurse midwifery, family, adult gerontology acute care, pediatric care, and pediatrics. The program is offered completely online and clinical experiences are available in the studentís home community.
#8 – University of St. Francis-Joliet
Location: Joliet, Illinois
USF’s Master’s in Nursing offers specializations in Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, Nursing Education, and an RN-BS-MSN program for students who don’t hold a bachelor’s in nursing. Each program is available completely online, though students who enrol in the MSN Education or FNP programs must reside in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, or Wisconsin.
#9 – University of Mississippi – Medical Center
Location: Jackson, Mississippi
Tuition: $6,342 in state, $16,326 out of state
The University of Mississippiís online Master of Science in Nursing offers low costs and flexibility in scheduling. Courses are offered primarily online and the university offers eight specializations: Nursing and Health Care Administrator, Nurse Educator, Acute Care Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Acute/Primary Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
#10 – Regis University
Location: Denver, Colorado
Regis University offers an online Masterís in Nursing program with specializations in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Leadership in Health Care Systems: Education Focus, Leadership in Health Care Systems: Management Focus, and Completion for Certified Nurse Practitioners. All courses are accelerated. The program is designed to be taken while the student is still employed, though they may need to reduce working hours in order to keep up with the coursework demands.
#11 – Concordia University – Wisconsin
Location: Mequon, Wisconsin
Concordia University Wisconsin’s online Master’s in Nursing program offers flexible part-time and full-time options. While courses are delivered online, students will need to spend two weeks on campus for an advanced health assessment course. Concordia offers two specialization tracks: Nurse Educator and Nurse Practitioner. Coursework includes classes in pathophysiology, evidence based practice, bioethics, and advanced pharmacology.
#12 – Thomas Jefferson University
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Students at Thomas Jefferson University can complete their online Master of Science in Nursing degree on a part-time or full-time basis. Full-time students complete the course in 15 months, beginning with a summer semester, while part-time students are given five years. TJU offers several specializations, including Adult Gerontology – Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nursing Informatics, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesia, and Pediatric Primary Care.
#13 – George Washington University
Location: Washington, D.C.
George Washington University offers flexible education in its online Master of Science in Nursing program. All of the courses are offered online, though students do need to come to campus one time during their course of study. Students can pick from specialities like Adult Gerontology Primary Care nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Health Care Quality, Nursing leadership and Management, and Nurse-Midwifery.
#14 – Medical University of South Carolina
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Tuition: $17,714 in state, $24,146 out of state
The Medical University of South Carolina offers an online Master’s in Nursing program that has classes online, tough requires a few visits to campus. Specializations in the program include adult-gerontology, family, and pediatric practice tracks. Graduates can be certified as a nurse practitioner. Students can expect to develop leadership skills, integrate scientific findings into the improvement of care, and collaborate with other health professionals to improve, manage, and coordinate patient care.
#15 – Benedictine University
Location: Lisle, Illinois
Benedictine University is known for cutting-edge education programs for working nurses. The schoolís online Master of Science in Nursing program is designed as an answer to the challenges facing the nursing profession. The school offers two specializations, Nursing Executive Leader and Nurse Educator. Students can pick from three start times per year. Most students take six courses per year and the program is designed to be completed in about two years.
#16 – California State University – Dominguez Hills
Location: Carson, California
Tuition: $7,366 in state, $18,256 out of state
CSU – Dominguez Hills offers an online Master’s in Nursing program with specializations in Nurse Educator, Nurse Administrator, Clinical Nurse Specialist, and Family Nurse Practitioner. Each track offers the same core curriculum before students move into track-specific electives. Clinical hours are required for graduation.
#17 – Samuel Merritt University
Location: Oakland, California
Samuel Merritt University’s online MSN program is offered for students with or without bachelor’s degrees in nursing or professional experience. Those students must be living in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Nevada, or Ohio. For those with degrees, the program offers specializations in Case Management, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, and Family Nurse Practitioner. Only the latter specialization is available online.
#18 – University of Central Florida
Location: Orlando, Florida
Tuition: $8,931 in state, $28,616 out of state
UCF offers an online Master’s in Nursing program with the goal of preparing advanced practice nurses, nurse educators, and nurse leaders and managers to assume positions of leadership throughout the healthcare community. The online program offers specializations in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (42 credit hours), Family Nurse Practitioner (46 credit hours), Nursing Leadership and Management (36 credit hours) and Nurse Educator (38 credit hours). Graduates can sit for national certification exams in their area of specialization.
#19 – Drexel University
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Drexel University’s online Master of Science in Nursing prepares students for leadership positions in clinical care. Full-time and part-time schedules are offered and provide students with access to clinical practice environments and simulated health care scenarios. Students can pick from specializations in Clinical Nurse Leader, Clinical Trials Research, Nursing Education & Faculty Role, Nursing Innovation, Nursing Leadership in Health Systems Management, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner.
#20 – Lewis University
Location: Romeoville, Illinois
Lewis University offers several specializations for its online Masterís in Nursing program. Focus tracks for online students are Nursing Education, Healthcare Systems and Leadership. All programs prepare students for national certification exams. Lewis University also offers an RN to MSN program, as well as a dual MSN/MBA degree.
#21 – Clarkson College
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Students at Clarkson College can enroll in the online Master of Science in Nursing program, which is for RNs who are interested in furthering their education and professional prospects. The program is rigorous and patient-focused. Four specializations are offered: Nursing Healthcare Administration, Nursing Education, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Family Nurse Practitioner. Students complete a scholarly practice journal article and poster presentation in their final semester.
#22 – Mercy College
Location: Dobbs Ferry, New York
Mercy College offers two specializations in the Master’s in Nursing program: Nursing Administration and Nursing Education. The education program teaches students to use state of the art technology in the planning, implementing, and delivery of educational programs. The administration option focuses on teaching students interprofessional practice in todayís healthcare environment.
#23 – Allen College
Location: Waterloo, Iowa
Allen College has a long history of offering health care education. The school approaches nursing as an art and science that is continually evolving. The Master’s in Nursing online course offers specializations in Leadership in Health Care Delivery (Administration), Nursing Education, Community/Public Health Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult – Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult – Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Master’s Completion Program for Nurse Practitioners.
#24 – University of Texas at Arlington
Location: Arlington, Texas
Tuition: $8,000 in state, $14,372 out of state
The University of Texas at Arlington offers an online Master of Science in Nursing program that covers specializations in Nursing Administration and Nursing Education. Graduates from the program have the skills necessary to take on advanced nursing roles, participate in scholarly projects, and provide leadership in professional nursing.
#25 – Ball State University
Location: Muncie, Indiana
Tuition: $8,580 in state, $20,262 out of state
Ball State University’s online Master’s in Nursing program offers specializations in Leadership and Family Nurse Practitioner. All courses are delivered online and any clinical components can be arranged by the students with qualified supervisors in their community. Students begin with an introductory course, then take the nursing core. Finally, they progress through the specialization courses for their chosen track.