Last Updated: January 1, 2017
Ever heard that one before? Well, as the healthcare profession continues to expand, chances are good you might instead begin to hear people shout, “Somebody call a nurse!”
Even as doctors become increasingly specialized and spread thin, the nursing profession is expanding to include training beyond the traditional assisting roles and into responsibilities that were once off limits. Some of the additional duties nurses might be responsible for include records keeping, administering medicine and treatment protocols, planning patient care, collaborating with other healthcare professionals, operating medical equipment, and performing diagnostic tests. And nurse practitioners are authorized to issue prescriptions and even perform some minor procedures that would have required an M.D. in years past.
This is good news for the aspiring nurse, because the argument could be made that the need for nurses has never been greater. Indeed, the job outlook for nursing professionals is outstanding, with an expected growth rate of 17 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. RNs can typically expect to earn in the neighborhood of $60-70,000 per year, depending on education and experience. One of the best ways to increase your employability and chances of a move up that scale are to go a step beyond the RN designation and spend some time in a graduate program to distinguish yourself among your peers.
What Are the Best Online Master’s Programs in Nursing?
And that’s where we come in. We’ve compiled a list of the top 50 online master’s degrees in nursing with your needs in mind. The first thing we want to know, like you, is the bottom line: how much is this going to set me back? So we’ve included the annual tuition for each school right up front for you. We’ve also included our College Choice Score, which is computed based on each school’s reputation in the field and its return on investment. The end result is a list of schools that balance cost, reputation, and, ultimately, what they can do for you and your unique goals. You can’t go wrong with any of them, of course, but these schools are leading the way.
The rankings you’re about to read are based on a few important sources. The first source is actual college freshman polled during a nationwide survey published by the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. These students rated academic reputation, financial aid offerings, overall cost of school, and the survey also took into account graduate success rates ono the post-college job market. These factors were weighed equally alongside data from other publicly available sources, including U.S. News & World Report, the National Center for Education Statistics, and PayScale.com.
So . . . somebody call a nurse!
The 50 Best Online MSN Degree Programs
Johns Hopkins University
College Choice Score: 100.00
Tuition Per Credit: $1,509
Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins was founded in 1876 and was named for its first benefactor. Borrowing from a German education model, the school dedicated itself to research as well as teaching, becoming the first research university in the United States. JHU consists of campuses in Maryland and Washington, D.C., as well as international centers in Italy, China, and Singapore. More than 20,000 students are enrolled at the university, about 75 percent of whom are graduate students. In its 140 years, Johns Hopkins has trained such notable individuals as New York Times columnist Russell Baker, cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, and Emmy winner Tommy Newsom.
Johns Hopkins offers several Master of Science in Nursing degrees, including the MSN in Advanced Nursing Practice, which has various concentrations that can be completed online. The Advanced Nursing Practice program is designed for nurses who have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. An MSN in Health Systems Management is also available entirely online. The programs can be completed in about 18 months full-time or in a little over two years for part-time students. Another option is to earn the Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Public Health through a dual degree program.
College Choice Score: 99.94
Tuition Per Credit: $1,568
Duke University, founded in 1838, has gone by several names over the years, including the Brown School, the Union Institute, Normal College, and Trinity College. The school was founded by Methodists and Quakers but is now a private, nonsectarian research university. Currently located on a 9,000-acre campus in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University enrolls around 6,500 undergraduates and 8,500 graduate students. The majority of Duke students take advantage of service-learning opportunities both in Durham and internationally. Although Duke is younger than most other prestigious universities in the United States, it is ranked among the best.
The Master of Science in Nursing degree offered at Duke includes several majors that are available online. Some on-campus intensive sessions are required for certain courses and majors within the MSN degree. Seven advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) majors are available, as are three non-clinical majors. It is recommended that prospective students applying to the MSN program have at least one year of nursing experience. Financial aid options may be available through the Duke University School of Nursing. The school also includes enriching centers and institutes, such as the Center for Nursing Discovery, the Center for Nursing Research, and the Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence.
Ohio State University
College Choice Score: 99.06
Tuition Per Credit: $746
The Ohio State University, founded in 1870, was the ninth university in the state and was originally known as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. Within a few years, the name was changed and the school was developed into a comprehensive university. Today, OSU is the third largest university campus in the United States, covering more than 16,000 acres in total. More than 100,000 students are enrolled at all of OSU’s campuses, and hundreds of thousands of degrees have been awarded in the 144 years since the founding of the university.
The College of Nursing at OSU offers several options for graduate degrees in nursing, including tracks for those who have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, as well as those with a bachelor’s degree in another area of study. The traditional Master of Science in Nursing degree is available to students with a BSN or RN. The program is available online in certain states, and the university is seeking authorization to open the online program to students throughout the country. An interdisciplinary Master of Applied Clinical and Preclinical Research degree is also available entirely online through the Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy, and Medicine. Students with any undergraduate degree are welcome to apply.
University of South Carolina
College Choice Score: 98.68
Tuition Per Credit: $1,303
The University of South Carolina is a public research institution located on a 360-acre campus in the city of Columbia. The university also has seven satellite campuses. More than 350 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs are offered, with nearly 50,000 students enrolled. USC is noted for being a top producer of Fulbright scholars and African-American graduates, and for being the only university to award a designation for graduating with leadership distinction. In addition to undergraduate and graduate degree programs, various continuing education and professional programs are also available at the university.
USC offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree in Nursing Administration with a focus in Organizational Leadership. The program is completely online and can be completed in 12 to 18 months. The degree introduces students to the conceptual basis for family and community health, training nursing professionals in budget, strategic planning, management theories, and organizational development. Each three-hour course lasts seven weeks, including a final thesis project. The degree requires 30 total credit hours, and tuition is the same whether the courses are taken from South Carolina or from another state. Other online master’s degrees in nursing include the Master of Health Information Technology and the Master of Public Health in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior.
St. Xavier University
College Choice Score: 98.42
Tuition Per Credit: $690
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, St. Xavier remains the oldest Catholic university in Chicago. Although it was originally an academy for women, the university now welcomes both male and female students. The original SXU campus was lost in the historic Great Chicago Fire in 1871, but a new campus was built on the southern boundary of the city. St. Xavier maintains a small student population, with around 3,000 undergraduate students and less than 1,000 graduate students. The ultimate goal of all the university’s programs is to promote critical thinking, effective communication, and wise and compassionate service for the sake of the common good.
St. Xavier University offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree online, with a choice between following a Clinical Leadership track and an Executive Leadership track. Both options combine management, business, and clinical skills to prepare students for leadership positions in a variety of clinical settings. Each of these programs has a short residency requirement, allowing for greater interaction with faculty and classmates, as well as the strengthening of skills learned in the program. Each online student is also assigned a personal Student Services Coordinator to support and guide the student throughout the program.
University of Cincinnati
College Choice Score: 98.37
Tuition Per Credit: $655
The University of Cincinnati, founded as Cincinnati College in 1819, is the oldest institution of higher education in the city. The school forms part of the University System of Ohio, and with more than 44,000 students, is the second largest university in the state. More than 600 programs of study are offered at UC, including certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees, and professional education. The university boasts a reputation for innovation, community involvement, and vast experiential learning opportunities, as well as educational excellence.
The College of Nursing at the University of Cincinnati offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree, which can be earned on campus, online, or through a hybrid program. Leadership, planning, research, and cultural sensitivity are some of the areas emphasized in UC’s MSN degree. At least 40 credit hours are required to complete the degree, including a capstone project relevant to the student’s major. All credits must be earned within five years. Those who hold a bachelor’s degree in an area other than nursing can still earn a master’s through Cincinnati’s accelerated program. The online Master of Science in Nursing program is currently available in all states except the District of Columbia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Tennessee.
University of Texas at Tyler
College Choice Score: 98.37
Tuition Per Credit: $440
The University of Texas at Tyler, founded in 1971, is a public university enrolling nearly 10,000 students and offering more than 90 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. UT Tyler is one of the fastest-growing of the 14 institutions that make up the University of Texas System. All 50 states are represented at UT Tyler, as are 52 countries and 144 counties in Texas. In addition to its main campus, the university also has sites in Palestine and Longview, as well as an engineering center in Houston. UT Tyler’s 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio means that both on-campus and online students get to learn from their professors on a personal level.
The College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UT Tyler offers online MSN degrees in nursing education and nursing administration, and a hybrid MSN program for family nurse practitioners. For those interested in the executive side of nursing, there is also an online program that combines the MSN and MBA degrees. Upon graduating from any of these programs, students are equipped with the knowledge and leadership skills to enhance the variety of settings in which they may work. Prospective students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree can earn their BSN in 16 months through the accelerated track at the Tyler campus before enrolling in the MSN degree program.
Stony Brook University (SUNY)
College Choice Score: 98.31
Tuition Per Credit: $925
Stony Brook University, part of the State University of New York, was founded in 1957 and was originally located in Oyster Bay. Today the campus consists of more than 200 major buildings on nearly 1,500 acres of land, with satellite locations in Southampton and South Korea. More than 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in Stony Brook’s 340 degree programs. The university has 13 schools and colleges and 70 academic departments, and is highly ranked for its level of research activity. The faculty at Stony Brook have received such accolades as Nobel Prizes, National Medals, and even Grammy Awards.
Several Master of Science programs are available through Stony Brook’s School of Nursing. Degree options range from Mental Health to Nursing Leadership to Nurse Midwifery. Each program offered requires the completion of either 36 or 45 credit hours, and all can be completed via online distance learning. In all its academic and non-academic activities, the School of Nursing seeks to uphold standards of integrity, respect, excellence, accountability, creativity, honesty, unity, and perseverance. Some information sessions may be held at the School of Nursing for those who are nearby and would like to know more about the school’s graduate degree programs.
George Washington University
College Choice Score: 98.06
Tuition Per Credit: $1,030
The George Washington University, dedicated to the country’s first president after his death, is a private university in Washington, D.C. The university also operates a secondary campus at Mount Vernon, as well as the Virginia Science & Technology campus. Ten schools and colleges comprise GWU, with more than 10,000 undergraduates and nearly 15,000 graduate students enrolled. Due largely to its location and history, George Washington University is often ranked among the most politically active schools in the nation. Through special community service activities, influential research, and environmental efforts, GW prioritizes forward-thinking action and problem-solving. The university’s faculty includes a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Nobel Laureate, and several former White House staff members, as well as other knowledgeable leaders in a variety of fields.
The Master of Science in Nursing degree available online through GW’s School of Nursing contributes to the school’s mission to transform and improve health care by developing competent leaders in the field. The online MSN degree is designed for professionals who already have a bachelor’s degree and are looking to expand their expertise in nursing. Communication and interdisciplinary teamwork are emphasized, training students to promote positive change in nursing practice by way of theoretical knowledge, leadership, and caring and collaborative patient relationships.
Medical University of South Carolina
College Choice Score: 97.99
Tuition Per Credit: $1,061
The Medical University of South Carolina is one of the nation’s oldest continually operating medical schools, having been open since 1824. The school is located in Charleston and includes a medical center and six colleges for health care and medical sciences, as well as various research centers and institutes. MUSC pursues excellence in every area, from the operation of its medical center to the courses offered at the university. They do so in part by developing leaders and improving communication in an environment where service is highly valued.
MUSC’s College of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree that can be earned online from anywhere in the United States, except Massachusetts, New York, and Puerto Rico. The program considers applicants who hold a BSN degree, and its graduates are eligible to become certified as nurse practitioners. Students must arrange their own precepted clinical experiences, which can be done where they live as long as a preceptor is available. Students can choose to complete the MSN degree program on a full-time or part-time schedule. Within the MSN program are three specialization options, each of which requires its own specific application materials. Students are admitted for fall start dates only.
Georgia College & State University
College Choice Score: 97.74
Tuition Per Credit: $373
A member of the University System of Georgia, Georgia College & State University is a public liberal arts institution in Milledgeville. The school was founded in 1889 as Georgia Normal and Industrial College, offering teacher education exclusively to women. The name and scope of the university changed several times before it became coeducational in 1967. In 1996, GCSU took on its current name along with the title of Georgia’s Public Liberal Arts University. Nearly 7,000 students are enrolled at the university, most of whom are undergraduates. However, with 25 different degrees to choose from, the graduate program offers a diverse and enriching educational experience as well.
The School of Nursing at Georgia College allows nurses with a BSN to earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree online, with few on-campus requirements. One such requirement is a Lab Immersion Week in Macon during the first semester. All clinical rotations must be completed in Georgia, although most rotations are done in students’ home communities. Students are responsible for finding their own approved preceptors and arranging their own clinical schedules, with assistance from the School of Nursing. Post Master’s Certificates are also available for Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
College Choice Score: 97.60
Tuition Per Credit: $1,115
The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, was founded in 1965 and is the fastest growing university in the CU System. UCCS enrolls around 12,000 students, with 5,000 studying online or through the school’s academic outreach efforts. More than 28,000 of the 43,000 students who have graduated since the university’s opening now live in Colorado, while 14,000 are spread all over the world. UCCS offers a unique and innovative educational experience, including programs like Inclusive Elementary Education, Applied Geography, Geropsychology, and Professional Golf Management. In all it does, the university seeks to maintain a focus on student needs, fostering a spirit of discovery within a vibrant community.
Of the 19 master’s degrees offered at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, one is the fully online Master of Science in Nursing degree. No campus visits are required, and the 46-48 credit hours must be completed in six years or less. Graduates of the program have gained valuable experience in nursing theory, research, health care policy, and creative clinical problem solving. The MSN program is currently available online in 19 states, and prospective students can apply to enter in either the fall or spring semester.
University of Nevada Las Vegas
College Choice Score: 97.48
Tuition Per Credit: $725
Founded as the Southern Division of the University of Nevada in 1957, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is now best known for its programs in science and technology, business management, law, and hospitality. The public university enrolls nearly 30,000 students who represent 72 different countries around the world. Almost 5,000 of UNLV’s students are pursuing one of the many graduate degrees offered through the Graduate College. The university’s 12 online degree and certificate programs are led by the same academic faculty members who teach on campus, giving online students equal access to a challenging and enriching education.
One of these online degree programs is the Master of Science in Nursing, which can be completed part-time or full-time over the course of one to three years. The program includes two or three day-long orientation sessions on campus, as well as other on-campus sessions as part of certain clinical courses. Students are trained in ethical decision making, effective communication practices, leadership, nursing theory, understanding cultural and social issues, and creating comprehensive plans of care. MSN degrees are available for family health practitioners and for nurse educators. The nurse educator track requires 33 credit hours, while the family health practitioner track requires 46.
College Choice Score: 97.43
Tuition Per Credit: $785
Founded as Howard College in 1841, Samford University is a private Christian university located in a Birmingham suburb called Homewood. The school is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist Convention and is the top-ranked private university in the state of Alabama. Samford’s 5,200 students come from 46 states and 32 countries and enjoy a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, with all classes being taught by professors and none by teaching assistants. More than 48,000 students have graduated from Samford, including 60 congressmen, several Emmy and Grammy award winners, Rhodes Scholars, national championship football coaches, and Pulitzer and Nobel Peace Prize winners. The university’s goal is to be innovative in education, sensitive to global issues, and aggressive in self-improvement.
Samford offers more than 30 master’s and doctoral programs in an array of subject areas, including the Ida Moffett School of Nursing’s Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Anesthesia degrees. These nursing degrees are available both on campus and online, providing both flexibility and quality for nursing professionals. A few on-campus sessions are required, as are clinical practice hours. Graduates are prepared to work in diverse settings, diagnose common health problems, write prescriptions, and care for patients from a holistic perspective. MSN students start the program in January.
University of Pittsburgh
College Choice Score: 97.34
Tuition Per Credit: $1,179
The University of Pittsburgh in 1787 on what was then the edge of the American frontier. The university was relocated several times before moving to its current location in the Oakland neighborhood, with regional campuses in Bradford, Greensburg, Johnstown, and Titusville. Pitt consists of 17 schools and colleges populated by nearly 30,000 students, with 511 enrolled in fully online degree programs. Around 7,500 full-time and 2,000 part-time graduate students are enrolled in Pitt’s 14 graduate and professional schools. Through Pitt Online, students have online access to 191 courses in seven schools, all of which are taught by the same professional faculty who provide a rigorous and high-quality education to students on campus.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing offers three Master of Science in Nursing degrees online, including Clinical Nurse Leader, Nursing Informatics, and Nursing Administration programs. These programs require the completion of 36-42 credit hours, which can be done on a full-time or part-time basis. The average time required to finish any of these degrees is around two years. Students benefit from such enriching courses as Leadership Development, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention for Culturally Diverse Populations, Ethics for Advanced Practice Nursing, and Education and Mentoring in the Clinical Setting.
College Choice Score: 97.34
Tuition Per Credit: $1,218
Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit founded in 1878 by members of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, was Pennsylvania’s first Catholic university. Duquesne is located on a 49-acre campus in Pittsburgh, with an associate campus in Rome. Although most students are from Pennsylvania and the surrounding area, the university’s international population represents more than 80 different countries. In its 130 years, the institution has awarded degrees to more than 79,000 graduates, including two cardinals and the current bishop of Pittsburgh. Around 10,000 students are now enrolled, nearly half of whom are graduate students.
Duquesne’s School of Nursing became the first nursing school to offer a BSN in 1937 and the first to provide an online Ph.D. program in nursing in 1997. Now the school has various online nursing programs at all degree levels. One such program is the Master of Science in Nursing degree, with specializations in Family Nurse Practitioner, Forensic Nursing, and Nursing Education and Faculty Role. The degree program is completely online, with only a couple of campus visits required within certain specializations. Applicants to the program are not required to take the GRE or pay an application fee, but the program must be completed within five years.
University of Alabama Birmingham
College Choice Score: 97.15
Tuition Per Credit: $1,157
The University of Alabama at Birmingham became an autonomous institution in 1969, 33 years after its founding as an academic extension center. It is one of three institutions that make up the University of Alabama System, and it is affiliated with the UAB Health System, which is one of the country’s largest academic medical centers. The university’s 11,500 undergraduates and 7,000 graduate students hail from all 50 states and 46 countries. As the state’s largest employer, UAB has a significant economic impact on the Birmingham area and the entire state of Alabama.
Of UAB’s 50 master’s degrees, many are offered online as well as on campus. The MSN program offered through the School of Nursing prepares students for advanced nursing practice or for entrance into a doctoral program in nursing. UAB provides an option for nurses already holding a BSN degree as well as an accelerated option for those who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. The degree program includes the option to choose from 17 specialty tracks or subspecialty tracks. The University of Alabama at Birmingham alumni network consists of more than 115,000 living graduates worldwide, which opens up many opportunities for current students and graduates alike.
College Choice Score: 97.14
Tuition Per Credit: $1,863
Founded in 1789 in Washington, D.C., Georgetown University is the oldest Jesuit higher education institution in the United States. In addition to its main campus located in a historic neighborhood, Georgetown also has a law school o Capitol Hill and secondary campuses in Italy, Turkey, and Qatar. Despite its Jesuit tradition, Georgetown has always been operated independently of church authorities and welcomes students from all religious backgrounds. Around 7,500 undergraduate and 10,000 graduate students are currently enrolled, representing 130 different countries. Through its nine schools and various outreach efforts, the university seeks to form men and women who serve the most vulnerable members of the community.
Georgetown’s School of Nursing & Health Studies offers an online Master of Science in Nursing, with four different concentration options. The degree program is for registered nurses who wish to further their education with a flexible schedule. Online students can earn the degree on a full-time or part-time basis, completing the 40-49 required credit hours over the course of 23-27 months. All four concentration areas include a clinical experience, requiring the completion of 600-1000 clinical hours. The School of Nursing & Health Studies works with students to secure sites and preceptors for these clinical experiences.
Oregon Health and Science University
College Choice Score: 97.13
Tuition Per Credit: $729
The Oregon Health and Science University was founded in 1974 as the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center, although its earliest predecessor, the Williamette University School of Medicine, opened in the 1860s. The university is now located in Portland, and its urban campus includes two hospitals as well as educational buildings. Nearly 4,000 postgraduate students are enrolled, either through OHSU directly or a partnership program with other Oregon universities. OHSU’s goal is to nurture a spirit of inquiry, initiative, and cooperation through great research, education, clinical practice, and community service.
The School of Nursing at Oregon Health & Science forms nursing leaders through innovation in healing, teaching, and discovery. The school offers a variety of master’s degrees in nursing, training students in health systems and economics, public health, interdisciplinary care, and critical thinking skills. Fully online programs available through the School of Nursing include a Master’s in Public Health and a Master’s in Nursing Education. OHSU provides funding for students enrolled in certain nursing degree programs in exchange for a commitment to work for underserved populations in rural areas after graduation. Each advanced nursing degree program at OHSU includes a practicum experience to prepare students for advanced practice or an advanced degree.
College Choice Score: 97.10
Tuition Per Credit: $999
Rush University, founded in 1972 as part of the Rush University Medical Center, is a private institution located on Chicago’s Near West Side. More than 40 degree and certificate programs are offered, as well as over 60 postgraduate training programs. Rush’s 2,400 on-campus and online students represent 18 countries around the world, and the university’s alumni network includes more than 24,000 former students. All of the university’s academic programs are offered through its four colleges: the Graduate College, the College of Health Sciences, the College of Nursing, and Rush Medical College. The Rush experience focuses on creating a diverse, interdisciplinary learning community.
The College of Nursing at Rush University allows RNs to earn a Master of Science in Nursing online to become Clinical Nurse Leaders. Students in the program learn to assimilate and apply research to create, operate, and evaluate plans of care. The program can be completed part-time in two years with a class of 15 online students. Online information sessions are held for those who would like to learn more about the program. The MSN CNL program requires clinical experiences and three brief campus visits. Graduates are qualified to take the American Association of Colleges of Nursing exam to become certified as Clinical Nurse Leaders.
University of Arizona
College Choice Score: 97.02
Tuition Per Credit: $800
The University of Arizona, located in Tucson, became the first university in the Arizona Territory when it was founded in 1885. The university operates a law school and two medical schools, and is affiliated with the only academic medical centers in the region. The 42,000 students enrolled at the university represent 112 foreign countries, and UA is one of the top 10 producers of Fulbright Scholars in the nation. The university also features a variety of centers and institutions, including the Center for Creative Photography, founded by Ansel Adams. With over 300 undergraduate and graduate degrees in 20 colleges and 11 schools, Arizona offers a vast world of academic possibilities.
Since 1957, Arizona’s College of Nursing has been working to improve health care by producing professional nurses prepared to provide exceptional care to individuals, families, and communities. The college offers an online Master of Science in Nursing program focused on Clinical Systems Leadership. There is a track for students holding a BSN degree as well as those with an ADN. Accelerated tracks are also available for nurses with significant working experience or previous academic accomplishments. Students can choose a full-time or part-time option to complete the degree. BSNs must complete 31 credit hours, while 44 hours are required for ADNs.
Texas Christian University
College Choice Score: 97.02
Tuition Per Credit: $1,415
Texas Christian University is a private institution located on a 272-acre campus three miles from downtown Fort Worth. The university was founded in 1873 and is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ. Through its eight colleges and schools, TCU provides a classical liberal arts education, training students to become ethical leaders and responsible citizens. Over 10,000 students are enrolled, including around 1,500 graduate students. Whether they study on campus or online, students are the priority at TCU, and they are trained for people-centered leadership and the expansion of their intellectual worlds. TCU professors are mentors, teachers, and scholars who conduct and publish impactful research.
The Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Texas Christian University enrolls over 800 undergraduates and 250 graduate students in programs for nursing, social work, kinesiology, and more. A Master of Science in Nursing degree is available online, with a choice among four majors. The degree requires 29 online semester hours, nine hours of clinical practicum, and 540 hours of supervised clinical work. Admission is competitive, and an online writing course is required before moving on to other required courses. The program is available in all states except Alabama, Iowa, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Maryland.
University of Missouri Kansas City
College Choice Score: 96.73
Tuition Per Credit: $400
The University of Missouri—Kansas City is a public institution located in the Rockhill neighborhood of Kansas City. UMKC was originally founded in 1933 as the University of Kansas City, and in 1963 became part of the University of Missouri System. The university’s 157-acre urban campus has been recognized as military-friendly, bicycle-friendly, and one of the top 100 green campuses in the United States. Nearly 15,000 students are enrolled in UMKC’s 120 degree programs. Despite the large student population, the average class size is only 27 students, and 94 percent of classes have fewer than 50.
The School of Graduate Studies at UMKC offers over 50 advanced degree programs, in which 26 percent of the total student population is currently enrolled. The online MSN degree, available through the School of Nursing and Health Studies, gives students a choice between completing a thesis or engaging in advanced research coursework. Distinct degree track options are available depending on which semester students choose to begin the program. Each track requires the completion of at least 41-53 credit hours. Because UMKC has become part of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, the online MSN program is now accessible in 48 U.S. states, including Washington, D.C.
College Choice Score: 96.58
Tuition Per Credit: $1,219
Vanderbilt University, founded in Nashville in 1873, now enrolls about 12,000 students from every state and nearly 100 foreign countries. The school’s namesake, Cornelius Vanderbilt, endowed the university with its first $1 million in hopes of uniting northern and southern regions of the country after the American Civil War. Vandy’s campus takes up 330 acres and is located about a mile from downtown. The campus is a national arboretum, and the university is affiliated with research centers and institutes such as the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Nearly 800 students are enrolled in Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing, an institution that highly values innovation in research, teaching, and informatics. The school was founded in 1908 and has been offering the Master of Science in Nursing degree since 1955. Since then the degree has evolved, allowing students to choose from several specialty degree areas. Today the Master of Science in Nursing degree can be earned online, on campus, or through a flexible hybrid format. The job placement rates for the program’s recent graduates was around 93 percent for 2015. Several entry options are available, depending on the applicant’s current level of education and professional nursing experience.
Eastern Kentucky University
College Choice Score: 96.55
Tuition Per Credit: $625
Eastern Kentucky University is a public institution with its main campus in Richmond and branch campuses in Corbin, Hazard, Somerset, Danville, Lancaster, and Manchester. Easter Kentucky was founded in 1906, replacing its predecessor, Central University. Nearly 17,000 students are now enrolled at EKU, over 2,000 of whom are pursuing graduate degrees. The university provides a plethora of degree options, including programs in Animal Studies, Applied Creative Thinking, Agriculture, Aviation, and much more. Notable alumni of EKU include congressmen, well-known humorists and musicians, and even the Prime Minister of Thailand.
Online learning programs are available at a variety of degree levels through Eastern Kentucky University. Online students take the same courses from the same professors as they would if they were completing their degree on campus. Six different start dates are offered for each online degree program. Two MSN degrees can be earned online: one for Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioners and one in Nursing Administration. Each of these degree programs can be finished in two to four years on a full-time or part-time basis. Most courses required for the program are eight weeks long and are worth three credit hours each, although some are one hour and last 16 weeks.
East Carolina University
College Choice Score: 96.37
Tuition Per Credit: $957
East Carolina University, located in Greenville, North Carolina, is the third-largest university in the state. Originally founded as a 43-acre campus, the university now occupies nearly 1,600 acres and has academic facilities on five different properties. Almost 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at ECU, with ethnic minorities making up around 30 percent of the student population. Through innovative teaching methods, cultural enrichment, and research, ECU seeks to be a model of student success, public service, and regional transformation. The university is comprised of nine undergraduate colleges, a graduate school, and four professional schools, with four colleges located on a campus designated for the health sciences.
A Master of Science in Nursing degree is available online at East Carolina University. The degree includes seven concentration options, all of which prepare students to succeed as clinical scholars who are able to flourish as they practice the art and science of nursing. A comprehensive assessment is required at the end of the graduate nursing programs at ECU. Students can complete the Master of Science in Nursing program part-time or full-time, and the university also provides an online MSN option for registered nurses who do not have a bachelor’s degree in a nursing-related field.
Ball State University
College Choice Score: 96.30
Tuition Per Credit: $579
Ball State University, founded in 1917 by the owners of the Ball Company, is a public research university located in Muncie, Indiana. The university started with 235 students and now enrolls nearly 22,000 in eight academic colleges. More than 140 graduate programs are offered, and 90 percent of all classes at the university are taught by professors. Ball State is dedicated to building a diverse environment and pursuing technological innovation in and outside of the classroom. The 185,000 alumni of Ball State are scattered throughout the world living and working in a huge variety of settings.
The Master of Science in Nursing at Ball State is available completely online. Despite the distance learning format of the degree program, all students are assigned graduate advisors who guide them through the sequence of course requirements, starting with an introductory course in information technology, and progressing through nursing core courses before taking specialized courses in the chosen focus area. The school allows a period of up to six years for completing the MSN degree program. Each specialization varies in the number of courses offered and the number of credit hours required. The program only accepts those who are already licensed as registered nurses.
Michigan State University
College Choice Score: 96.25
Tuition Per Credit: $742
Michigan State University, located in the city of East Lansing, was founded in 1855 as an agricultural college. Since then, the university has become coeducational, expanded its curriculum, and become the ninth-largest university in the country by enrollment. Over 50,000 students are currently enrolled, and 540,000 MSU alumni are living throughout the world. Michigan State identifies itself as a diverse community of scholars who daily work to advance the common good. Its students have earned prestigious recognitions, such as the Rhodes Scholarship and Goldwater Scholarship. MSU’s 17 degree-granting colleges offer more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs.
The College of Nursing at Michigan State offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree with three concentration options. The MSN with Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist with a Nurse Education concentration is available entirely online. In addition to online coursework, the degree program requires internship experiences, which can be completed in the communities where students live. Graduates of the program are able to perform as clinical experts, providing care for adults across the lifespan and educating others to do the same. The degree can expand career options and job flexibility, as well as act as a bridge to a Ph.D. program in nursing.
University of Kansas
College Choice Score: 96.05
Tuition Per Credit: $375
The University of Kansas, a major public research university, enrolls over 28,000 students on five campuses. KU’s main campus is on Mount Oread in Lawrence, while its branch campuses are in Wichita, Overland Park, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas. There are 13 schools at the university, which offer a total of more than 370 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Kansas’s only schools of pharmacy and medicine are at KU, as is the state’s only designated National Cancer Institute. Former students of the University of Kansas include the inventor of basketball, the scientist who discovered vitamins A and D, and countless astronauts, authors, artists, senators, and business leaders.
The Master of Science in Nursing at the University of Kansas includes courses in the common core, leadership core, research core, and functional specialty core in one of four degree specializations. The university’s Center for Online and Distance Learning assures that online programs such as this one are just as rigorous and enriching as face-to-face classes. The online nursing programs involves interaction and collaboration among students. In some cases, online students even interact more than on-campus students. Applicants to the online graduate program in nursing at KU must be licensed as registered nurses in both Kansas and Missouri.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
College Choice Score: 95.92
Tuition Per Credit: $627
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is based in Lubbock, Texas, and has other campuses in Abilene, Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, and the Permian Basin. TTUHSC is part of the Texas Tech University System, but is a separate institution from Texas Tech University. More than 10,000 health care professionals have been trained at the university in its 40 years of service to West Texas. Seven schools make up the university, including schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, health professions, and biomedical sciences. TTUHSC is home to a variety of centers and research institutes, such as the Amarillo Breast Center of Excellence, the Center for Ethics and Humanities, and the Center of Excellence in Evidence-Based Practice.
A Master of Science in Nursing degree is available online through the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, with nine concentration options. The degree program equips students for careers in clinical practice, health systems leadership, or academic leadership. Supervised clinical learning experiences are required for all MSN concentrations, but may be completed close to the student’s home. The master’s-level nursing degree, whether completed online or through a face-to-face format, combines innovation with quality, integrity, and professionalism to turn graduates into nursing professionals and lifelong learners.
College Choice Score: 95.84
Tuition Per Credit: $887
Drexel University, a private nonprofit research institution in Philadelphia, was founded in 1891 and has grown to an enrollment of more than 26,000 students, making it one of the 15 largest private universities in the United States. Over 170 degree programs are offered at the university, many of which are part of a cooperative education program, allowing students to gain a significant amount of paid work experience while earning a degree. In addition to Drexel’s three local campuses, the university includes an Academy of Natural Sciences and has international research partnerships in China, Israel, and other areas.
Drexel’s online students complete the same rigorous courses taught by the same prestigious faculty and earn the same degrees as those who study on campus. Because of the university’s reputation for practical, interdisciplinary education, its online degree programs are also well-known for their quality and practicality. The Master of Science in Nursing offered online at Drexel includes 13 concentration options to choose from. The program takes around three years to complete and includes several on-campus intensive sessions, as well as a clinical experience. RN licensure is not required for admission, but students must be licensed registered nurses in the state of Pennsylvania before starting their clinical practicum.
Old Dominion University
College Choice Score: 95.70
Tuition Per Credit: $501
Located in Norfolk, Virginia, Old Dominion University is a public research institution with a student population of around 25,000. The Norfolk campus covers about 250 acres, and the university has two satellite campuses in the Hampton Roads area. Old Dominion is one of the largest providers of online distance learning in the United States and has around 124,000 alumni all across the nation and in 67 foreign countries. ODU enrolls more than 1,000 international students who come from 180 countries. About 25 percent of all ODU students are involved in or affiliated with the military.
The School of Nursing at Old Dominion University was founded in 1967 and has become a national leader in distance learning, offering almost all of its graduate nursing programs via an online distance learning format. One such program is the BS-MSN-DNP, which can be completed in nine semesters and includes seven concentration options. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education has accredited the Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing, the Master’s Degree in Nursing, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice at Old Dominion University. In each of these degree programs, the Old Dominion School of Nursing intends to produce exceptional nurse leaders through collaboration, integrity, innovation, and inspiration.
University of West Georgia
College Choice Score: 95.54
Tuition Per Credit: $412
The University of West Georgia is located in Carrollton, about 45 miles from Atlanta. UWG was founded in 1906 as an agricultural school, later expanding its educational scope and changing its name. Set on a campus of over 800 acres, the university currently enrolls around 12,000 total students. UWG exists to transform lives by challenging limitations and nurturing a diverse, growing community. Through its seven schools and colleges, West Georgia offers 86 programs of study. Courses can also be taken off-campus in Dalton, Newnan, and Rome, Georgia, as well as online.
Online degrees are available through UWG at all degree levels and in a variety of subject areas. One such degree is the Master of Science in Nursing, which is offered exclusively online. An orientation, also online, is required before beginning the 36-hour program. New students are admitted only in the fall, and can earn the degree in two years of full-time study or three years part-time. Up to six credit hours can be transferred into the program, for those who have already completed some required coursework elsewhere. Whether students decide to focus in education or health systems leadership, the program pushes them to apply and expand upon research concepts, theories, and skills from the bachelor’s degree program in nursing.
Frontier Nursing University
College Choice Score: 95.45
Tuition Per Credit: $535
Frontier Nursing University, located in Hyden, Kentucky, was formerly known as the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing. The school was founded in 1939 and in 1970 opened the first family nurse practitioner education program in the United States. Nineteen years later, FNU also established itself as a leader in distance education for nursing, offering the nation’s first midwifery community-based distance education program. Nearly 4,000 graduates and 900 current students come from all 50 states and many foreign countries. Through its various programs and community collaboration, Frontier Nursing University seeks to develop leaders for the care of women and families, especially those in medically underserved and rural areas.
The Master of Science in Nursing program at FNU delivers all coursework online, with only two brief campus visits required. Students can choose to pursue the MSN degree on a full-time or part-time basis, and upon completion can choose to earn a DNP degree by taking only 17 additional credit hours and 360 additional clinical hours. The MSN requires 675 clinical hours, which can be completed in the student’s home community. Thanks to Frontier’s AND Bridge Entry Option, nurses holding a bachelor’s or associate degree are eligible to enter the MSN program.
College Choice Score: 95.25
Tuition Per Credit: $670
Jacksonville University was founded in 1934 as Jacksonville Junior College and relocated several times throughout its history, but is now a private four-year university in Jacksonville, Florida. Around 4,200 students are currently enrolled, representing 40 states and 45 countries. Although the university offers an array of undergraduate and graduate degrees, most students choose to major in aviation management, biology, nursing, business, and marine science. Located along St. Johns River, in Florida’s largest city, JU has awarded degrees to U.S. Navy’s Director of Naval Intelligence, the producer of The Drew Carey Show, and a number of professional athletes.
JU’s Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences features creative and knowledgeable faculty who are working to improve care delivery in a variety of health and human services fields. Within the college’s School of Nursing, an online MSN degree gives distance learners the opportunity to advance their professional qualifications and increase their confidence in the nursing profession. The degree can be completed in 24 months of full-time study, but is also available part-time. With six start dates per year, the program allows students flexibility in when they apply to the program and begin taking courses. Practicum experience and some projects are required, but can be done in the student’s hometown.
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi
College Choice Score: 94.94
Tuition Per Credit: $762
Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi is also known as the Island University because it takes up the entirety of Ward Island, located in Oso Bay, in the Gulf of Mexico. The university’s 12,000 students are working toward bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in five academic colleges. Around 90 percent of the university’s faculty hold the highest degree in their respective fields, making them highly qualified to teach courses at any degree level. TAMUCC prioritizes teaching, research, service, and creative activity within a multicultural community. The university is federally designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution.
The College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Texas A&M—Corpus Christi, which enrolls more than 2,000 students, offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree online, equipping nurses with the skills and experiences necessary for success in leadership positions and advanced clinical practice. Three concentration areas are available, requiring 37-49 credit hours each. Students can enter the program in fall, spring, or summer, and can finish the course requirements in two to three years. Some bridge entry options are available for registered nurses who have not earned a bachelor’s degree in a nursing field but want to pursue an MSN degree through Texas A&M—Corpus Christi.
Florida Atlantic University
College Choice Score: 94.60
Tuition Per Credit: $928
Florida Atlantic University is one of 12 schools in the State University System of Florida. Its main campus is located in Boca Raton in southern Florida, and there are additional satellite campuses in the cities of Dania Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter, and Fort Pierce. FAU serves more than 30,000 students, who are earning degrees in 180 undergraduate and graduate programs. In the time since it opened in 1964, Florida Atlantic has awarded more than 110,000 degrees. Nearly half of FAU students are minority or international students, representing more than 180 countries. Of all the universities in the state system, FAU classifies as the most diverse.
The Master of Science in Nursing degree available through FAU’s College of Nursing can be completed entirely online in one of four concentration areas. Each concentration requires students to complete 37-39 credit hours. Students may take courses on a full-time or part-time basis, and can enter in the fall or spring semesters. The Master of Science in Nursing curriculum consists of graduate core courses, direct care courses, and concentration courses. Online tutoring, career services, library services, and disability access are also available to online students through the support of Florida Atlantic University’s Center for eLearning.
University of Central Florida
College Choice Score: 94.49
Tuition Per Credit: $1,194
The University of Central Florida first opened as Florida Technological University in 1968, focused on supporting the Kennedy Space Center’s U.S. space program. Today more than 60,000 total students are enrolled, and UCF is recognized as the nation’s largest university by undergraduate enrollment, as well as by total student enrollment. The university’s 13 colleges offer more than 210 degree programs at the main campus, hospitality and health sciences campuses, and at 10 regional locations, as well as online. UCF seeks to be a diverse and inclusive institution, enrolling students from all 50 states and 148 different countries, many of whom have earned Rhodes, Mellon, and Goldwater scholarships.
An abundance of online master’s degrees are available at UCF, all of which feature courses taught by the same distinguished faculty who lead classes at the Orlando and regional campuses. The online Master of Science in Nursing program is designed to prepare nurses with a BSN degree for engaging leadership opportunities in the health care field. New students are primarily admitted to begin study in the fall semester. Three concentration areas are available, with course requirements of 30-38 credit hours each. Campus visits are required for orientation and to present the master’s evidence-based project.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
College Choice Score: 94.47
Tuition Per Credit: $1,435
Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis, located on a peninsula near downtown Indianapolis, is a member of the university systems of both Indiana University and Purdue University. The mission of IUPUI centers on the purposeful transformation of students, the greater community, and the world. The university’s 30,000 students are enrolled in more than 350 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs within 18 degree-granting schools. A second campus in Columbus, Indiana offers another 11 undergraduate and two graduate degrees. Hundreds of individual classes and several academic programs are also available online or through a hybrid model that incorporates online and on-campus content.
The Master of Science in Nursing at IUPUI includes several specific concentration tracks that can be taken partly online, as well as a fully online Nursing Education specialization. All concentrations require the completion of clinical hours in addition to coursework, but these hours can be filled at an institution near the student’s home. Most concentration tracks allow students to study full time and graduate in two years, and all tracks offer the option to finish in three years via part-time study. Graduates of the MSN program are prepared for the challenges of advanced health care positions in a variety of settings.
University of Michigan Flint
College Choice Score: 94.38
Tuition Per Credit: $796
The University of Michigan—Flint is a satellite campus of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and has existed since 1956, though it had been dreamed of since 1837. Around 8,600 students are currently pursuing degrees in over 100 areas of study at UM Flint. Many of these students are international, coming to the university from around 40 different countries. UM Flint is known around the world for its active, experiential, engaged approach to learning. Students across all disciplines learn by doing, giving them confidence and preparing them to be leaders who have a powerful, positive impact on the world around them.
Flint’s Office of Extended Learning brings hundreds of courses and more than 20 complete degree programs to those who are not able to attend courses on campus. The Master of Science in Nursing is available entirely online through either full-time or part-time study. The program is designed for practicing registered nurses, although they may have a variety of educational and professional experiences. Required clinical practice equips students with confidence in the necessary skills for their careers, while research opportunities in various fields allow students to pursue their interests while strengthening research abilities and contributing to the improvement of health care services.
Nova Southeastern University
College Choice Score: 94.23
Tuition Per Credit: $660
Nova Southeastern University is a private nonprofit institution in Davie, Florida. The school was originally known as the Nova University of Advanced Technology when it was founded in 1964. Since merging with the Southeastern University of the Health Sciences, the university has changed its name and expanded the kinds of degrees it offers. Today, NSU consists of 18 colleges and schools, which enroll about 24,000 students in more than 175 programs of study. Around 1,200 of these students represent 116 foreign countries. All classes at Nova Southeastern are taught by highly qualified professors rather than teaching assistants.
The College of Nursing at Nova Southeastern University allows students to complete a Master of Science in Nursing degree online, choosing from three concentration areas. Each of these specializations prepares graduates for a career in advanced practice nursing or for the pursuit of a doctoral degree at NSU. The program provides options for registered nurses with or without a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The MSN can be completed in eight semesters or less, depending on the degree held by applicants and their particular area of interest. Clinical hours are required for the degree, but they may be able to be completed locally.
University of Texas at Arlington
College Choice Score: 94.08
Tuition Per Credit: $494
The University of Texas at Arlington was founded in 1895 as part of the Texas A&M University System, but joined the University of Texas System in 1965. With nearly 40,000 students on campus and more than 51,000 including those enrolled in online degree programs, UT Arlington is one of the largest universities in the state of Texas. Of the university’s 200,000 alumni, around 65 percent live and work in North Texas. The ten schools and colleges of UT Arlington offer a total of over 180 diverse degree programs. In research, teaching, and community engagement, the university seeks to be a model for modern universities across the country and around the world.
Several online options are available for the Master of Science in Nursing degree through the University of Texas at Arlington. Each of the seven degree concentrations requires a total of 36-41 credit hours, to be completed in 18-35 months. The College of Nursing and Health Innovation at UT Arlington is dedicated to excellence and integrity in education, scholarship, and service, producing nurses who cling to similar values in their education, in the workplace, and beyond. The school’s Nurse Practitioner programs boast a 96 percent pass rate on national certification exams.
Georgia Southern University
College Choice Score: 93.97
Tuition Per Credit: $550
Georgia Southern University, part of the University System of Georgia, is the largest higher education institution in the southern half of the state. It sits on a 900-acre campus in Statesboro and enrolls over 20,000 students. The university seeks to maintain an engaging environment of experiential learning and student growth. In addition to its 124 degree programs, GSU is known for its planetarium, museum, Center of Wildlife Education, Garden of the Coastal Plain, and other enriching parts of its 100-building campus. Georgia Southern’s largest colleges by enrollment are the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, the College of Business Administration, and the College of Health and Human Sciences.
Nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree can enter Georgia Southern University’s online BSN-DNP program, and all who enter the program have the option to complete the doctoral degree in nursing or exit once the MSN degree requirements are met. Applicants must be registered nurses in the state of Georgia before entering the program, and students must have at least one year of full-time clinical experience at the time they start taking certain courses. The program includes two concentration options, both of which require the completion of 46 credit hours.
West Virginia University
College Choice Score: 93.77
Tuition Per Credit: $1,160
West Virginia University has its main campus in Morgantown and other campuses throughout the state, including the West Virginia University Institute of Technology, the Potomac State College of West Virginia University, and a clinical campus for its medical and dental schools. The university was founded in 1867 and now enrolls around 30,000 students, with more than 190,000 alumni around the world. WVU boasts a commitment to innovation, with more than 100 of its faculty members currently researching important energy issues. Service is also a significant part of the university’s culture, as more than 10,000 service hours were recorded as part of one semester’s academic courses.
The Extended Campus of West Virginia University offers four undergraduate majors, more than 30 graduate degree programs, and over 600 individual courses. One highly recognized online graduate program is the Master of Science in Nursing, including three emphasis areas. Graduates are prepared to provide quality care in a specialized nursing position. The program’s application process includes an essay describing the role of the degree in the applicant’s professional goals. Students admitted to the program have the option to complete the DNP program or to stop after completing requirements for the Master of Science in Nursing degree.
University of North Carolina Charlotte
College Choice Score: 93.69
Tuition Per Credit: $824
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a public research university located on a 1,000-acre campus two hours from the mountains and three hours from beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. Nearly 29,000 students are enrolled at UNC Charlotte, around 5,000 of whom are graduate students. The university uses its influence in scholarship, research, and service to make a positive impact on the Charlotte area, by way of cultural, economic, social, educational, and environmental community engagement initiatives. UNCC is made up of nine colleges offering nearly 200 degree programs, 15 of which are available either partially or entirely online.
Online nursing degrees at UNC Charlotte include MSN degrees in Community Public Health Nursing, Nurse Administrator, and Nurse Educator. These programs require 36-39 credit hours and can be completed part-time in 27-36 months. The UNCC School of Nursing, part of the College of Health & Human Services, boasts a 93 percent pass rate on the NCLEX certifying exam. Some MSN concentrations allow students to enroll in a nursing certificate program while working toward their degree. The program prepares students for leadership in the nursing field through practicum experiences and courses like Health Policy & Planning in the U.S. and Strategic Planning & Decision Making in Nursing.
Loyola University New Orleans
College Choice Score: 93.52
Tuition Per Credit: $818
Loyola University New Orleans, named for St. Ignatius of Loyola, is a private Jesuit university. With around 5,000 students, Loyola is one of the largest Jesuit universities in the southern United States. The university is made up of five colleges, offering 70 different degree programs, and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1. Among graduate students at Loyola, around half study part-time, and less than 1 percent live on campus. Offering an education rooted in the liberal arts, Loyola University New Orleans dedicates itself to educating the whole person within the Jesuit tradition.
Five graduate degrees are offered online at Loyola, each of which is as rigorous and engaging as an on-campus experience. One such degree is the Master of Science in Nursing, which, regardless of the concentration chosen, requires a practicum component. These practicum experiences, guided by a chosen preceptor, challenge students to connect theory and practice by demonstrating what they have learned in a health care setting. To prepare themselves for an array of occupational challenges, online nursing students take courses in areas like nursing research, nursing informatics, and population health management. An RN-to-MSN bridge program is also available online for those who have not earned a BSN degree.
University of North Carolina Greensboro
College Choice Score: 93.42
Tuition Per Credit: $898
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, founded as the State Normal and Industrial School in 1891, now offers near 200 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. The school originally admitted only women, but today there are more than 17,000 male and female students on campus and 2,200 enrolled in extension programs. UNCG seeks to be an inclusive, collaborative, and responsive research institution that impacts both students and the greater community. Regardless of the field or format of study, earning a degree at UNCG is meant to be a transformative experience rooted in impactful and meaningful relationships.
A variety of online degree options are available at Greensboro, including the MSN degree offered exclusively online through the School of Nursing. The Master of Science in Nursing Administration and Master of Science in Nursing Education degrees require around 36 credit hours each, and both programs boast a job placement rate higher than 90 percent. A few face-to-face meetings are required as part of the degree program. The expertise of the experienced professionals serving as online professors is a great asset to UNCG online nursing students, as is the university’s Career Services Center, which provides support for students on campus and online.
Florida State University
College Choice Score: 93.26
Tuition Per Credit: $1,175
Florida State University, located in Tallahassee, is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. It was founded in 1851 and sits on the oldest continuous site of higher education in the entire state. Made up of 16 colleges, the university offers over 300 programs of study and enrolls around 40,000 students from 140 different countries. Through diversity and free inquiry, Florida State seeks to promote personal responsibility, sustained achievement, and lifelong learning. FSU offers programs at a variety of educational levels, including programs leading to bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, specialist, and professional degrees.
The College of Nursing at Florida State was founded in 1950 and has produced over 7,000 well-prepared graduates. The college offers two Master of Science in Nursing degrees, both of which can be completed online through distance learning. Students can choose to complete an MSN Nurse Leader or an MSN Nurse Educator degree, depending on their personal focus and career goals. The degree programs consist of 32 to 35 credit hours, which includes both theory and clinical practice. Applications for both programs are accepted throughout the year. Students must complete six hours in the program before becoming eligible for financial aid through the College of Nursing.
Arizona State University
College Choice Score: 93.23
Tuition Per Credit: $1,129
Arizona State, a large public research university, has five campuses in the Phoenix area, as well as four regional learning centers throughout the state. With more than 98,000 total students, ASU is the largest public university by enrollment in the United States. Since its founding in 1885 as the Territorial Normal School, the university has been constantly expanding to make way for a growing student population. In its early days, the school awarded high school diplomas and teaching certificates to those who completed its programs, but today hundreds of programs of study are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. ASU is known for its innovation is areas such as educational technology, corporate collaboration, and interdisciplinary research.
More than 100 degree programs are available online through Arizona State University, each with six start dates per year. The online curriculum is highly interactive, emphasizing collaboration among students and faculty. The same dedicated Fulbright Scholars, Pulitzer Prize winners, and Nobel Laureates who teach on campus also oversee online courses. ASU offers several advanced nursing programs, including Master of Science degrees in Nursing Informatics, Care Coordination, and more. These degrees require the completion of 35 credit hours, often culminating in a final applied project.
College Choice Score: 92.46
Tuition Per Credit: $650
Founded as St. Procopius College in 1887, Benedictine University is a Roman Catholic institution currently located in a Chicago suburb called Lisle. There are branch campuses in Mesa, Arizona and Springfield, Illinois, as well as an operational center in Naperville, Illinois. Around 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at BenU, studying within 75 different degree programs. The university is a member of the Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities, which promotes education and hospitality. The school’s goal is transformation through scholarship and service, including the social teaching of the Catholic Church.
Benedictine University’s online Master of Science in Nursing degree takes registered nurses to the next level of professionalism, providing them with the skills necessary to become effective and ethical leaders in the health care industry. The MSN program takes two years to complete and has produced satisfied graduates, 95 percent of whom report that the program prepared them for their current career, and 91 percent of whom say they would recommend Benedictine to a prospective student. Nurse professionals looking for a greater understanding of finance, economics, operations, marketing, and management can opt for the online Dual MSN/MBA program. Applications for Benedictine’s online nursing programs are reviewed on a rolling basis, with three opportunities each year to start courses.