Best Online Master’s in Nursing Degrees

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Best Online Master's in Nursing Badge

Earning an MSN degree online allows professional nurses to expand their career outlook and significantly increase their earning potential.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners in 2017 was more than $110,000 — a significant increase over the median salary of registered nurses (i.e., $70,000). In addition to increased pay, the BLS projects that advanced nursing positions will increase by a staggering 31% between 2016 and 2026. Due to the aging population in the U.S., the demand for preventative care and other healthcare services continues to increase, providing ample job security for professionals working in the field of nursing. Nurses who hold a master’s degree may also have the option of choosing a specialization, such as pediatric health, geriatric health, or mental health.

Top 10 Best Online Master’s in Nursing Degrees

Rank School Location
1 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
2 Duke University Durham, NC
3 Ohio State University Columbus, OH
4 University of South Carolina Columbia, SC
5 St. Xavier University Chicago, IL
6 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH
7 University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, TX
8 Stony Brook University (Suny) Stony Brook, NY
9 George Washington University Washington, DC
10 Georgia College State University Milledgeville, GA
Advertisement CollegeChoice.net 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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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 on 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.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

The 25 Best Online MSN Degree Programs

  1. Johns Hopkins University
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Registered nurses who hold a BS in nursing can advance their careers by earning an MSN degree online from Johns Hopkins University. Distance learners can select from an MSN health systems management track or pursue an MSN/MBA dual degree. The management track consists of 35 credits and 376 clinical hours, and students may apply for full-time (in the fall) or part-time (in the fall or spring) entry. Individuals in the dual-degree track complete 35 credits and 376 clinical hours. Individuals interested in the MSN/MBA program must have at least two years of work experience, and all applicants should hold a minimum GPA of 3.0.

  2. Duke University
    Location

    Durham, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Duke University hosts a popular online master of science in nursing program where students can choose from eight advanced practice registered nurse majors and three non-clinical majors. Nursing majors include health informatics, nursing education, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and womens health nurse practitioner. Coursework which consists of 42-49 credits varies depending on the degree track, but all students begin by completing a 12-credit MSN core. Students can complete most coursework online but must come to campus at least once every semester for 2-5-day intensives. Learners also carry out a final clinical residency under an experienced clinician in their field.

  3. Ohio State University
    Location

    Columbus, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Students with a bachelors degree in nursing (or an RN license with any bachelors degree) can enroll in online MSN programs at Ohio State University. Learners can select from one of three online specialties: family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. All students complete at least five core nursing classes in addition to several specialty courses. In addition to class work, nursing students must complete hundreds of hours of clinical experience. Upon graduation, students qualify to sit for certification in a variety of specialties. Applicants must hold an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and pick their specialty area at the time of application.

  4. University of South Carolina
    Location

    Columbia, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of South Carolina offers an MSN in nursing administration program that students can complete online. Learners typically complete this 30-credit degree in 12-18 months. In addition to coursework that covers topics like biostatistics and financing healthcare, learners complete field study hours and either a seminar in clinical research or a thesis project. Graduates of this program also prepare for national certification in nursing administration. Applicants should hold a minimum GPA of 3.0 and RN licensure in their home state.

  5. St. Xavier University
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Learners at Saint Xavier University can pursue one of three online MSN programs, choosing from clinical leadership, executive leadership, and nurse educator tracks. Curricula consist of 35 or 38 credits, depending on a students program, and feature a balanced blend of core courses and specialty topics. In addition to classroom learning, participants must complete a practicum experience. Graduates of the nurse educator track can also sit for the certified nurse educator certification exam offered by the National League for Nursing. Additionally, nurses who already hold an MSN can enroll and earn a clinical leadership or nurse educator stand-alone certificate.

  6. University of Cincinnati
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Cincinnati hosts five online MSN programs. Participants can take all coursework online, although some students may need to complete on-site components once or twice per semester. Students can enroll on a part-time or full-time basis, with full-time learners taking two years to graduate. UC also hosts a nurse faculty loan program, which awards up to $35,000 a year to MSN students who plan on becoming nurse educators; up to 85% of these loans may be canceled in exchange for service as a full-time nursing faculty at a nursing school after graduation. Applicants to UCs MSN programs must hold a bachelors degree in nursing and a current RN license.

  7. University of Texas at Tyler
    Location

    Tyler, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Texas at Tyler helps nurses advance their careers by offering four MSN degrees to distance learners. Students can choose from administration, dual MSN/MBA, education, and family nurse practitioner programs. Degree tracks range from 36-63 credits and all participants must complete a capstone project and clinical hours. Graduate students can enroll on a part-time or full-time basis, with full-time learners finishing in 5-8 terms (including some summer classes), depending on their program. The schools nurse practitioner program uses a hybrid format, requiring students to spend some time on campus. Applicants must show proof of a current nursing license.

  8. Stony Brook University (Suny)
    Location

    Stony Brook, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Stony Brook Universitys nursing school offers eight MSN programs that students can complete through a combination of online coursework and some on-site requirements. Program options include neonatal nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery, and nursing leadership. Degree tracks require students to complete 36-45 credits and most curricula feature extensive clinical coursework. Graduates of many of these programs also qualify to sit for national certification exams. All applicants should hold a current RN license, and at least one year of relevant work experience is preferred.

  9. George Washington University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Students with a bachelors degree in nursing can choose from six different online MSN programs at George Washington University, including degree tracks focusing on adult gerontology and psychiatric mental health. The school also caters to experienced nurses who only hold an associate degree, offering three online RN-MSN programs. Specific curricula vary depending on a learners chosen concentration, but most students need to complete a minimum number of clinical hours and participate in some events and classes on campus. Participants must hold an active and unencumbered nursing license, and GW prefers that applicants have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

  10. Georgia College State University
    Location

    Milledgeville, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Georgia College & State University hosts three online MSN programs suitable for BSN-prepared nurses: family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and nurse educator. All of these programs can be completed online with minimal on-campus attendance. Each degree tracks consists of about 40 credits and features clinical and practicum requirements. Individuals may enroll as part-time or full-time learners. Additionally, students seeking to earn a doctoral degree can complete MSN and DNP programs in approximately 3.5 years. All applicants should have a minimum 2.75 GPA over their last 60 undergraduate credits, an unencumbered RN license, and at least one year of clinical practice.

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