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CC Best Online MSN Programs

Today’s nurses have more educational and professional options than their counterparts 50 years ago. Nursing has developed into the largest population of the healthcare professions, with more than 4.2 million working in the US. This is four times the number of physicians. Nursing has developed into professional areas such as Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Educators, Nursing Leadership, Nurse Managers, and Nurse Executives. These roles, both clinical and administrative in nature, require a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree

This ranking of 50 Online MSN Programs for 2022 is your first step in finding the right program for you. 

How We Ranked the Best Online MSN Programs

The College Consensus Best Online MSN Programs 2022 ranking features only accredited, renowned colleges and universities. The ranking is based on three evenly-weighted factors:

  • Cost (current IPEDS data)
  • Niche Score
  • US News Rank

This combination of data gives prospective online master of science students a sense of how the job market views their program of choice. Our ranking of the Best Online MSN Programs points working nurses and other healthcare professionals toward the programs that will make a real difference in their careers.

Recommended Online MSN Degree Programs

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If you’re anxious to get your career to the next level, you’ll want to explore the RN to BSN/MSN online degree through UA’s College of Continuing Studies.

With an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or RN diploma and work experience, you can earn your BSN/MSN in 50-56 credit hours. You need to have taken the university’s core courses before your online master of science nursing courses in informatics, health finance and policies, community health, leadership roles in nursing, and others. The program includes two practicums in quality/safety and strategic planning and finance. You have the option of completing a thesis or not.

Admission asks for an unencumbered nursing license, an accredited ADN, or an RN degree. You won’t need GRE test scores to apply.

UMass-Amherst’s Elaine Married College of Nursing offers a nationally recognized online MSN degree with a Nursing Education concentration (MS-NE). Currently, the school’s Clinical Nurse Leader concentration is not accepting applications.

The MS-NE prepares you to teach not only online master of science nursing students but develop direct patient care education in healthcare settings. You’ll take all didactic courses online, and there are two practicum experiences completed in several clinical settings. This is a 32-credit hour curriculum including advanced studies in pharmacology and pathophysiology, health assessment, methodologies in research, development of curriculum, and more. You’ll work with your program advisor to identify an appropriate location and preceptor for your practicum work.

If you’re an out-of-state student and interested in this degree, be sure to check that UMass Amherst can accept students from your state.

You’ll have difficulty choosing a specialty option with this traditional, online MSN degree from one of the best nursing programs in the country.

The College of Nursing at OSU offers online or blended concentrations in Clinical Nurse Leader or Nurse Practitioner specialties in Neonatal, Psychiatric Mental Health, or Family Nurse. Before launching into your specialty area, you’ll take core nursing courses. A sampling of classes includes Quality Improvement and Informatics, Evidence-Based Nursing Scholarship, Innovation Leadership in Advanced Nursing Practice, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Across the Life Span, and others. Each specialty area has its own core curriculum.

Admission is open only once a year during the Autumn semester. An active RN license and a completed BSN or MSN are required for application.

Whatever advanced nursing specialty you’re interested in, you’ll find it in the online MSN nursing program at UConn. This is one of the best online programs you can find and offers the MSN, APRN, and DNP.

UConn’s nationally ranked School of Nursing has an impressive roster of graduate concentrations in Adult-Gerontology, FNP, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, and Clinical Nurse Leader. Depending on your choice, these degrees require 33-48 credit hours, and application deadlines may vary.

GRE test scores aren’t necessary for the application, but you’ll need a BSN or higher from an accredited institution and supply transcripts demonstrating a minimum 3.0 GPA.

The well-recognized graduate nursing program at the University of Cincinnati frequently ranks in the top 10 online programs. This comprehensive MSN offers six concentrations to advance your nursing career. You can enroll full-time or part-time, depending on your personal preferences.

Among the specialties are studies in Women’s Health, System Leadership, Adult-Gerontology, Neonatal, and Nurse Midwifery. Depending on your specialty choice, you may need to travel to the Cincinnati campus.

Admission is in the Spring and Fall, and the application requires you to have a BSN and a valid nursing license. You might need to provide information on your work experience for specific concentrations.

Recommended Online MSN Degree Programs

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Are you looking for a distinguished online MSN degree to take you to the next career level? The School of Nursing at Pitt may be the one for you. The program prepares you to step into a Clinical Nursing Leadership role or become well trained in the growing field of Nursing Informatics. This online program is interactive and promotes communication between students and faculty.

This program is available full-time or part-time, depending on your work-life schedule. You’ll complete 39.5-43 credit MSN depending on your concentration hours. Practicum experiences are required for both concentrations arranged in your home community. Be prepared for background checks prior to your practicum and certification.

This MSN is provided in cooperation with UL Lafayette and the Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing (ICMSN).

One of the best MSN programs in the nation, the program has three concentrations in Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Your coursework will be online, but your practicum experiences must be completed in Louisiana.

Applications are accepted year-round with Fall and Spring admission. An unencumbered Louisiana nursing license is required for the application, as is a current resume. Not all out-of-state students may qualify for this program, but you’ll pay in-state tuition if you do.

The University of Kansas’ School of Nursing at KU Medical Center offers the MSN degree courses online to accommodate the working nurse.

This 37-39 credit hour program focuses on three specialty areas: Nursing Education, Public Health Nursing, and Organizational Leadership. The curriculum for this degree comprises core areas in Research Project in Nursing, Leadership, and your chosen Specialty. The concentrations share typical core coursework in research, nursing professionalism, and theories and practice. Each one has a practicum experience. The MSN provides an academic credential rather than licensure.

Admission requirements, in part, call for a BSN and current nursing license. Additionally, one year of clinical experience is required, as is a background check.

The online MSN degree at USC-Columbia is considered one of the country’s best.

You should be able to find a nursing concentration to fit your goals from one of the six concentrations of   The Entry to Practice Nursing offers a nursing track designed for students making a total career change. Specializations are offered in Nursing Informatics, Adult-Gerontology, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Core coursework is offered online; however, campus rotations are required twice a semester, depending on your concentration. Practicum experiences may also be part of your curriculum.

Each program varies, so you’ll want to check your program’s particular application dates and admission requirements.

The MSN degree from the University of Nevada Las Vegas has three subplans or tracks in Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Learning outcomes for this degree is comprehensive and may vary. The clinical NP tracks will provide you with critical thinking and communication skills, research and evidence-based practice in nursing, leadership roles, and more. The Nurse Educator subplan will prepare you for a faculty role in a nursing program or a teaching position in a clinical setting.

The program is available for full-time or part-time online study, but you will need to attend a two-day orientation on the Las Vegas campus.

Recommended Online MSN Degree Programs

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The Department of Nursing at Fort Hays State University has a quality, online nursing education tradition. Part of that tradition is its MSN in Nursing Education (MSN-NE) program.

Classes are small and are offered each semester on a rolling basis to fit your schedule. Practicum experiences are conducted close to your home area, so you never have to travel to the Kansas campus. The curriculum comprises foundational nursing courses (statistics, nursing theories, health assessment, etc.) followed by the NE track courses. The NE track includes teaching strategies, curriculum planning and development, evidence-based practice, and more.

You’ll submit two applications, one to the university and one to the nursing department. A BSN and a valid nursing license are required. The program is unable to admit students living in Alabama, California, Colorado, Tennessee, Utah.

This highly regarded online MSN from George Washington University’s School of Nursing offers seven nationally ranked MSN programs. The school also offers an online RN-BSN program.

This hybrid degree blends online courses with campus training opportunities in the school’s simulation center and person-to-person faculty interactions. You can choose from programs in Adult-Gerontology, Nurse Midwifery, Nursing Leadership, MSN/MPH Nursing Leadership, and Psychiatric Mental Health. If you’re wanting to advance to a DNP, this program will give you a seamless transition.

A BSN is required for application and other documents will be requested.

If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and want to enter the nursing field, this may be your program. Marquette University College of Nursing offers a Direct Entry MSN to earn your second degree in 19-21 months.

This 75-credit curriculum model covers nursing theory courses, on-site simulation labs, skills training, and clinical rotation to give your real-world experience. Among the courses you’ll take are Health Assessments and Fundamentals, Pharmacotherapeutics for Nursing Practice, Nursing Care for Patients with Chronic Conditions Clinical, and more. Clinical experiences will give you the hands-on experience to round out your nursing education.

Completing this accelerated degree will prepare you to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam necessary to practice.

Established in 1889, Georgia College is considered one of the most innovative and top public colleges in the South. The School of Nursing boasts an outstanding 100% MSN-FNP and PMHNP certification pass rates.

A nursing master’s degree (MSN) is offered with the following concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwifery, and Nurse Educator. Graduate nursing students will begin their 40-credit program with support courses in Applied Pharmacology, Advanced Nursing Assessment (as well as a clinical), and Advanced Physiology & Pathophysiology.

All clinical rotations must be conducted in Georgia, and you’ll need to have an unencumbered Georgia nursing license. Admission also requires you to have a BSN and participate in an interview. Other documents will be requested.

The 42-44 credit hour Master of Science in Nursing at USI is nationally acknowledged as one of the best online graduate nursing programs (as well as an excellent online nursing graduate program for veterans.)

Fully accredited, you can choose from four concentrations in Adult-Gerontology (Acute Care Nurse Practitioner or  Clinical Nurse Specialist), Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Courses are offered completely online with no campus visits required. Clinical experiences are conducted close to where you live with an approved preceptor. The core curriculum examines evidence-based practices, healthcare informatics, nursing leadership, and nursing theory.

An unencumbered US nursing license is necessary for admission as is a BSN. Other documentation will be requested.

Thomas Jefferson University has an excellent MSN online degree curriculum, blending the art of nursing with clinical practice and research.

There are six Nurse Practitioner specialties offered in Adult Gerontology (Acute and Primary Care), Women’s Health, Neonatal, Pediatric Primary Care, and Family-Individual Across the Lifespan. Each track requires 12 courses equaling 36-credit hours and clinical practice. Core courses are shared by all tracks, as well. Faculty are active in clinical practice and research.

Admission to this program is closed for 2022, but you’re encouraged to add your name to the school’s waiting list for notification of the 2023 application process. A BSN and clinical experience are part of the admission requirements.

Stony Brook University School of Nursing offers more concentrations with its  MSN degree than we’ve seen.

Part of the State University of New York, Stony Brook SON has one of the country’s best online graduate nursing programs. You’ll find the typical MSN concentrations offered in Nursing Education, FNP, Nursing Leadership, Midwifery, Adult and Pediatric NP, etc. The curriculum is primarily available online, but you will need to travel to the campus for immersion experiences. This is nursing program is forward-looking, examining nursing trends, evidence-based practices, and research.

Even if you have a bachelor’s in a non-nursing field, you’ll need to submit a Clinical Practice Portfolio once you’ve been conditionally admitted.

Innovation is a pillar of the University of Central Florida, and the College of Nursing’s MSN follows that commitment. You can earn this degree on a full-time or part-time option.

This is one of the best online MSN degrees available and allows you to choose from Nursing Education or Leadership and Management concentrations. A unique track offered is in Healthcare Simulation and is one of only a few nationwide. With that specialty, you’ll be trained in best practices in this developing field using simulation technology to advance patient care and nursing education.

Coursework in each track is provided online with practical experiences in Nursing Education and the Leadership and Management programs. These experiences are completed in your home community.

Duke University’s School of Nursing is one of the best online nursing programs available. You can earn your MSN online or through distance education, and you have a wide variety of specialty areas from which to choose. The SON has three non-clinical specialties and eight clinical majors.

The MSN curriculum from 42-49 credit hours, 11 of which are clinical core classes. Whichever track you pick, you’ll have campus activities for some courses and can expect to have two-five day immersions with faculty and other students. These immersions will focus on simulations and hands-on experiences. Clinical residencies and practicum experiences are under the guidance of an experienced mentor.

As with other online programs, you’ll want to verify that as a non-North Carolina resident, you’re eligible to be admitted to this program.

Through the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, the online MSN programs at Florida Atlantic University are widely recognized as outstanding graduate nursing programs.

Online coursework ranges from 33-49 credit hours, depending on the program. The school supports clinical Nurse Practitioner studies in Adult/Gerontology, FNP, and Psychiatric/Mental Health NP. Two other options are as Nurse Educator or Nursing Administration and Financial Leadership.

The SON offers non-degree courses for BSN students who haven’t applied for admission to the graduate program. Space is limited, but this may be an excellent way to decide if this is the MSN degree for you. Up to 9 credit hours of non-degree credit may be applied to the MSN degree-seeking program.

The origins of Frontier Nursing University date to 1939, when it was founded to train nurses to care for mothers and children in rural Kentucky. Today, FNU has one of the best Nurse Practitioner programs in the county. The university trains MSN graduate nursing students in Nurse Practitioners in Psychiatry Mental Health, Family practitioners, Women’s Health Care, and Nurse Midwifery.

During your studies, you’ll enroll full-time or part-time, take all your coursework online, and have two on-campus stays in Versailles, KY. Clinicals are conducted where you live. Specialties share core studies in Advanced Physical Assessment, Evidence-Based Practice, Advanced Pharmacology Across the Lifespan, etc. Depending on your track, the degree requires 58-64 credit hours.

With an additional 21 credit hours, you can transition from your MSN to a DNP.

The Sinclair School of Nursing at Mizzou is one of the top online MSN programs available, with an impressive 100% certification pass rate for two of its seven concentrations. Additionally, 100% of the school’s graduate nurses have job prospects at graduation.

Nurse Practitioner programs offered are Nurse Educator, FNP, Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pediatric NP, Psychiatric Mental Health NP, and Leadership in Nursing and Healthcare Systems. The program can be earned full-time or part-time and requires 43-47 credit hours, depending on your area of emphasis.

You’ll need to travel once a year to the Columbia campus (once during the program for Nurse Educator and Leader tracks). Practicum experiences are done in your home area with a preceptor.

Muncie, Indiana’s Ball State University, offers a nationally ranked and well-respected online MSN program with three concentrations in FNP, Nurse Educator, and Nurse Administrator.

All online students begin with an orientation acquainting you with available resources as well as a program-specific orientation. This MSN curriculum is 36-47 credit hours long, depending on the concentration, and can be completed in 6-8 semesters. The three emphasis areas share core studies in research and analysis and nursing theory and informatics. Under an appropriate preceptorship, clinical and practicum experiences are completed in your geographic area.

You need a BSN and a valid nursing license for this program. Be sure to check with your state’s licensing board to ensure this program qualifies in your state.

Alabama’s Samford University’s Moffett and Sanders School of Nursing has a unique and non-traditional ADN/ASN to MSN pathway.

Developed for the experienced nurse with an associate degree or nursing diploma, the curriculum leads to a Family Nurse Practitioner degree. You can choose an Emergency FNP concentration or an FNP/Psychiatric Mental Health dual degree. Clinical work is required, and the school works with you to find an appropriate facility near your home. Coursework is online, but you will have 2-3 on-campus requirements on the Birmingham campus. Depending on your concentration, visits are two-three days in duration.

There are prerequisites in 40 general education hours required (typically earned with an associate degree or nursing diploma) for admission.

This MSN degree from The Tanner Health System School of Nursing at the University of West Georgia is a flexible online degree for the working nurse.

You have the choice of a Nurse Educator or Leadership track and can enroll full or part-time. The curriculum is 35-38 credit hours, depending on concentration. Nurse Educator courses will teach you curriculum development, assessment, and evaluation. In conclusion, you’ll be proficient in health education (professional and patient) or teaching nursing students in a collegiate setting. The Leadership path focuses on the management of patient care or care facility. Topics will cover evidence-based practice, diverse population care, health assessment, risk management, etc.

Admission to this program is offered once a year for Fall Semester.

Recommended Online MSN Degree Programs

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The University of Memphis is the sixth oldest Historically Black College and Universities, and through its Lowenberg College of Nursing, it offers a highly ranked MSN degree.

This program has two options: a traditional MSN provided online and an Executive MSN. The MSN Educator track is offered online, is 31 credit hours in length, and prepares you to teach nursing students, patients, or nurses in healthcare facilities. The program covers educational theories and strategies, curriculum design, and various teaching models. With the Executive MSN, you’ll experience a hybrid curriculum, rooted in the Magnet Recognition Program and the American Organization for Nursing Leadership’s competencies. The program is a blend of online classes and bi-annual on-campus intensives (twice a year), and national conferences.

This online MSN from The Catholic University of America is rated as one of the best in the country. The Conway School of Nursing has four NP concentrations in PNP(Primary and Acute), FNP, and AGNP.

All MSN students are required to take core classes in subjects such as Advanced Health Assessment, pharmacology/pathophysiology, Population-Based Health Care Management, Research in Nursing Methods & Outcomes, and Biomedical Ethics or Equivalent. A Capstone Project completes the foundational courses. The NP degree requires 47 credit hours and clinical practica are required. You’ll identify a suitable facility and qualified preceptor in your area.

The degree can be taken full-time or part-time, and an unencumbered nursing license and BSN are part of the admission requirements.

You can earn an MSN in one of five concentrations offered by one of the best graduate nursing programs around.

Saint Xavier University in Chicago, awards NP degrees in Clinical Leadership, Nurse Educator, Executive Leadership, an MSN/MBA dual degree, or FNP. The program requires 35-47 credit hours. The core and supportive coursework (pharmacology/pathophysiology, health assessment, etc.) are online and depend on your track. You’ll participate in a clinical experience. The MSN/MBA specialty is for you if you want to enhance your management skills. This degree is available with all tracks.

Programs are developed to prepare you for certification exams.

The University of Arkansas makes it easy for you to earn your MSN degree through its Eleanor Mann School of Nursing.

This is a very flexible, online program with a Nurse Educator concentration you can finish in four semesters, attending full-time. You’ll study evidence-based practices, nursing theory, leadership and management skills, ethical practices, health assessment, etc. You’ll have a tw0-day Fayetteville campus visit when taking a health assessment.  You have a choice of a thesis or non-thesis option and will complete your clinical hours in your geographic area with qualified supervisors.

There are two separate admission applications needed to the university and to the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing MSN program.

You can kill two birds with one stone and earn your BSN-MSN with this accelerated online program from West Florida University.

The 59-credit hour curriculum covers topics in evidence-based practices, advanced pathophysiology, community health, public health, and healthcare leadership. The MSN program has two areas of focus Nursing Education and Nurse Executive. The courses blend leadership skills with clinical practice and cover informatics, risk management, quality patient care, and more, depending on the concentration.

Designed for the working nurse with an associate degree in nursing, the MSN portion requires practicum experiences. An Associate Degree is required, as is an unencumbered nursing license from your home state. If you don’t live in Florida, you’ll want to verify your state qualifies for you to be admitted.

Drexel University consistently ranks in the top 50 of online MSN nursing programs in the country, and with six specialty areas, you’re sure to find one to match your professional goals.

This is a very interactive educational model which offers flexibility and convenience. You’ll find degree options in clinical nursing, administration, leadership, nursing educational careers, and public health. The MSN degree requires 45-credit hours and is offered in four, 10-week quarters, allowing you to take more courses in a shorter period of time. By taking two courses per quarter, you’ll be able to earn your degree in 24 months.

Drexel University provides several benefits such as a three-year tuition lock and no campus visits.

If you’re looking for a Clinical Nurse Leader degree, you’ll find much to like with the MSN from the University of Iowa.

Offered online, you can earn this 36-credit hour degree in 2 or 3 years. The curriculum is primarily online and includes studies in Physiology, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Clinical Education in Care Environment, Applied Epidemiology, Healthcare Infrastructure, Informatics, etc. When taking Health Promotion and Assessment for Advance Clinical Practice, you’ll be required to visit the Iowa City campus. A clinical practicum is expected.

Although it isn’t required, you might want to consider obtaining CNL certification.  With this program having a 100% certification first-time exam pass rate, you may want to consider it.

UT-Tyler has several online/hybrid MSN degrees available in nursing areas of administration, education, FNP, and management (MSN/MBA). If you have a BSN and valid nursing license, you’ll want to review this program.

The School of Nursing prides itself on offering degree programs that are flexible and accessible for the working nurse. Courses have a foundation in skills development, leadership and management, nursing theory and research, enhancing clinical and critical thinking skills.

A Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant is available for qualified students that can pay for up to three semesters for Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner students. If you live in a rural or underserved area, you’ll want to explore the HRSA grant opportunity.

Your MSN in Clinical Nurse Leadership, Education, or Nursing Administration from South Dakota State University is provided in a convenient online format.

If you choose the Nursing Administration or Nursing Education specialty track, you can opt to write a thesis, conduct research/design paper, or take coursework only. The Clinical Nurse Leadership track is coursework only. Each specialty requires a practicum in one of the school’s 200+ health facilities under expert preceptors.

You can finish this degree in 3-4 years and will graduate with a base of general knowledge in nursing strategies, effective communication, leadership skills, and much more. On completion, you’ll be eligible to sit for certification, if you choose. Admission is open in the Fall Semester each year.

Even though you might enjoy a trip to New Orleans, Loyola University New Orleans has an MSN degree in Family Nurse Practitioner or Healthcare Systems Administration Leadership tracks you can earn 100% online without stepping foot in NOLA.

The two tracks have 36-48 credit hour curricula, requiring practicum hours. The FNP 48-credit hour curriculum is designed to improve your nursing skills using evidence-based practices, health across the lifespan, and a holistic approach to care. Coursework for the Healthcare Systems Administration & Leadership (HSAL) track utilizes a systems leadership approach to nursing leadership.

Regardless of your educational level, there’s an MSN option for you at Loyola: Accelerated RN to MSN, RN to BSN to MSN, and BSN to MSN.

If earning an Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner degree is your career degree plan, you should look at the AGNP program at Boise State University. BSU can’t admit students from all 50 states, so you’ll want to check if you’ll qualify.

This program lets you choose from an Acute or Primary Care focus. Coursework is online, but there are three on-campus intensives (5-7 days) and four clinical rotations. The school offers preceptor coordinators to help identify preceptors in your geographic area.

The curriculum is 50-credit hours and consists of core nursing classes in research, theory, and concepts. Foundational nurse practitioner courses include advanced health assessment, physiopathology, and physiology, diagnosis/management, etc. Coursework concludes with specialization classes.

The MSN degree at Troy University in Troy, Alabama, is regarded as one of the best online graduate programs available.

Specialty options offered online are available in Nursing Informatics and Nursing Leadership or Family Nurse Practitioner. Both concentrations provide studies in nursing research, evidence-based practices, and core advanced nursing practice. The curriculum is 37-41 hours, depending on specialty, but both have internship and practicum requirements. If you choose, you can opt to write a thesis.

Admission is offered three times a year, and besides the valid nursing license and BSN, you’ll need at least one year of nursing experience for the FNP track. Clinical nursing courses require additional documents (i.e., criminal background checks, vaccinations, insurance, etc.). As with other programs, Troy University can’t admit students from all states.

Winston-Salem State University is the #1 HBCU in North Carolina in nursing, and its MSN degree is part of that exceptional tradition.

This degree’s Advanced Nurse Educator (ANE) concentration is offered entirely online and can be completed in two years of full-time study. Requiring 39-credit hours, the curriculum includes studies in advanced nursing theory, professional nursing roles and transition, clinical problems, healthcare policies, and curriculum development. A scholarly project, as well as a local practicum experience, are included. You may choose to write a thesis, but it’s not a degree requirement. The program will allow you to sit for certification exams, if you choose.

Admission is open in the Fall Semester only.

You can earn a degree from a nationally recognized graduate nursing program from The Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Colorado University. An online MSN with three specialties.

Whether you concentrate on the Primary Care Adult-Gerontology NP, Psychiatric-Mental Health NP, or Primary Care FNP programs, you’ll earn this MSN degree online. The curriculum was developed to provide advanced core studies in pharmacology, health assessment, advanced nursing practice, etc. Foundational courses in specialty areas are designed for practicing in family practice settings or outpatient clinics and not in-patient facilities. Practicum experiences are part of both concentrations and conducted locally.

Designed for the working nurse, this program is 46-48 credits in length and can be completed with no campus visits.

The Orvis School of Nursing is the first nursing school in Nevada and offers a nationally ranked online MSN program. It’s widely considered the best SON in the state.

Whatever your ultimate career goals with a graduate degree, you’re sure to find the right concentration among the seven offered by the SON. Program curricula are designed to prepare you for advanced practice positions in clinical leadership, acute or primary pediatric or adult/gerontology care, psychiatric and mental health, or family practice. You’ll complete a practicum experience, Capstone Project, and can opt to write a thesis.

Because of state licensure regulations, so you’ll need to verify your state qualifies you to apply.

With the online graduate nursing program from UA-Huntsville, you’ll earn an MSN in Nurse Administration from one of the best online graduate nursing programs.

The curriculum will provide you with the tools to significantly impact nursing policies and issues. This 33-39 credit program is offered online, and you can enroll on a full-time or part-time basis. You’ll study evidence-based practices, finance, informatics, healthcare systems and organizations, and strategic planning. It will be your responsibility to secure an appropriate facility for your field experience. A thesis is optional.

If you hold a BSN, you can apply any semester, have an unencumbered nursing license, and live in a state approved for this program.

UNC-Wilmington School of Nursing gives you two choices for their online MSN in Nurse Educator.

An exemplary online graduate nursing degree, the 36-credit hour curriculum can be completed in four semesters by attending full-time. Studies include research principles and evidence-based practices, advanced pharmacology, pathophysiology, healthcare systems, organizations, etc. You’ll also become acquainted with clinical instruction and distance learning education training elements. Two, faculty and preceptor guided practicum experiences are part of the program, in which you’ll assess, design, implement and evaluate training using different learning modules.

Your nursing license is required to be issued from a compact state and a BSN is necessary for admission. (Note: the SON is no longer admitting candidates for an FNP, and has reorganized the program into a BSN-DNP Family Nurse Practitioner degree.)

Since 1920, the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, has offered advanced degrees for healthcare professionals for decades. The online MSN is recognized as a reputable degree program.

There are four choices in FNP, Nursing Education, Nursing Administration, or PMHNP specialties. All concentrations share core coursework, including advanced studies in pathophysiology, pharmacology, and health assessment. Both programs rely on and teach evidence-based practices. Depending on your concentration, you’ll need 37-56 credit hours and may need to complete a practicum.

USF’s Leach College of Nursing has trained three generations of nurses, and the school has adapted with technology to provide a robust online program. Even as an online student, you’ll have access to faculty and receive individual attention.

Northern Illinois University has an award-winning and nationally-ranked nursing program. You can choose an online MSN in Nursing Education or FNP.

Most of the students in this program are working nurses and earning their degrees part-time. Didactic FNP courses (50-credit hours) are online, but clinical coursework in health assessment, internships, and skills courses are offered in a hybrid model. With the Nurse Educator track (41-credit hours), along with online classes, you’ll take hybrid courses in health assessment. Both tracks require internships, and the school has full-time internship coordinators to help you identify appropriate locations.

An Illinois nursing license is required for admission and a BSN. More documents will be requested.

The MSN program at Old Dominion has an exceptional 95% first time, the certification pass rate for its graduates. The school is in the top 25% nationally for online graduate nursing programs and exam success rates.

Three concentrations are available in Nurse Practitioner (Family, Pediatric Psychiatric-Mental Health, and Neonatal specialties), Nurse Midwifery, and Clinical Nurse Specialist (Neonatal, Adult-Gerontology/Educator, and Pediatric.) You can expect core courses in ethics, evidence-based research, advanced health assessment, healthcare disparities, epidemiology, and care for underserved/vulnerable populations.  You can expect to complete a practicum regardless of your concentration. Old Dominion partners with Eastern Virginia Medical School/Sentara Center for Simulation and Immersive Learning for students to conduct critical health assessments with standardized patients.

Concentration admission dates vary, so be sure to meet the appropriate deadlines.

Virginia Commonwealth Univesity ranks in the top 50 of most national rankings, and we think so as well.

If you’re looking for a nursing leadership program, you should review the online Nursing Leadership and Organizational Science degree. This 35-credit hour curriculum can be taken full-time (4 semesters) or part-time (7 semesters). Coursework is online, but you will have short, 1-2 day immersion on the Richmond campus. The degree concentrates on developing leadership skills in managing human resources, finances, and performance improvement. You’ll learn methods to develop teams and individuals with the goal of the process and patient care improvement.

Admission is on a rolling basis with a Fall Semester entry. Among the requirements for admission are a BSN, an unrestricted nursing license, completion of a statistics course, etc.

One of the country’s best online MSN degrees is at Washington’s Gonzaga University.

You can choose from Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, or a Nursing Leadership in Healthcare concentrations. You can complete this degree in 6-9 semesters, depending on the track. Courses are online and synchronous, but on-campus, weekend immersion experiences are required. You’ll participate in a practicum experience, and the school will assist you in identifying an appropriate location. The program focuses on healthcare ethics and practices, advanced nursing roles in patient quality care, evidence-based practices, and the development of communication skills.

Gonzaga also has an online, 2nd Master’s degree program for nurses with a Master’s degree who want to advance their career with a specialty.

Cedarville University in Ohio was (est. 1887) a Christian school affiliated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church. You can earn an online MSN with a Christian focus integrated with clinical coursework. Be sure to check your eligibility for the school’s $1,000 achievement scholarship.

The accredited program offers Family Nurse Practitioner, Leadership, Nurse Educator, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner track either full or part-time. An MSN-MBA dual option is available if you’re in the MSN Leadership concentration.

Coursework starts with Biblical and Theological Foundations for Graduate Study or other approved Biblical classes. Core MSN studies are in evidence-based practices, professional nursing roles, policy and healthcare economics, and Biblical foundations in nursing. Clinical tracks require on-campus visits, including an orientation, before beginning the FNP clinical courses.

Pennsylvania’s Clarion University (est. 1867) offers an online MSN in a consortium with Edinboro University since 2001.

This MSN is an FNP track you can complete in two years of full-time enrollment. The program is entirely online, except for clinical skills labs conducted on the Edinboro University campus in Edinboro, PA. Some of the core courses include studies in nursing theories, public policy, nursing research concepts, pharmacology, and a scholarly research paper or thesis. As with other programs, a practicum experience is needed and, due to state regulations, must be completed in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York.

Admission to the MSN program is open only in the Fall Semester, and all materials must be received in the Clarion University Graduate Admissions Office by October 1st.

You can earn your APRN in one of three online Nurse Practitioner programs at Kent State University.

Online degree options include specialties in Women’s Health, Psychiatric Mental Health, or Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist. Regardless of your chosen track, classes in Methods of Inquiry, Health Policy, Advanced Nursing Practice, Theoretical Basis for Nursing Practice, and Advanced Nursing Informatics. Practicum experiences are incorporated into each specialty area. KSU also offers an MSN/MBA dual degree for experienced nurses interested in transitioning into management in healthcare facilities or starting their own business.

Your nursing experience is among the information considered in the admission process and a resume and letters of recommendation. A BSN and valid nursing license are requested.

Recommended Online MSN Degree Programs

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What Are the Advantages of an Online MSN Program?

Earning an Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can open many career doors for you and be well worth the time and money. In 2020, MSN or Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) earned an average annual salary of $117,670. In comparison, Associate Degree Nurses make approximately $69K, and BSN salaries can reach $84K.
Schools and nursing colleges have forged new approaches to online, graduate nursing degrees. This is regardless of your current degree level. Programs include BSN-MSN, RN-MSN, ADN-MSN, bridge RN-MSN options, and Direct Entry MSN for students with an undergraduate degree in something other than nursing. These programs will let you advance your career and continue working. You’ll experience the same courses, taught by the same faculty. You will complete clinical and practicum experiences, and specialize in several nursing professions.

How Long Will an Online Master of Science Take?

In anywhere from 12-24 months, you can earn your Online Master of Nursing MSN and open professional options, provide better patient care, improve outcomes, step into leadership roles, and increase your earning power.
Many people who are seeking a Masters of Science in Nursing are already working in the field as full time nurses. As you probably know if you are reading this, nursing is a job with very little downtime at work, not to mention most schedules include 12 hour shifts. With the demands that any full time career can present, let alone nursing, on top of all of the responsibilities that many adult professionals have at home, flexibility is often the key ingredient that makes pursuing an additional degree possible. Flexibility can be anything from having the ability to study in your home, as opposed to having to get to campus, or some nurses are looking specifically for a program that offers even more wiggle room with asynchronous classes. Asynchronous means that there are no set times when you have to report to a session. This means you can literally structure lectures and coursework around your other life commitments.
Online MSN programs are generally designed while taking all of these factors into account, as they are expressly geared towards professional adult learners. When prospective students are shopping for online BSN to MSN programs some of the aspects of an online program they look for include the ability to work at their own pace, affordability, and the flexibility to fit the coursework into their already established commitments. The list of schools we explored here have taken into account many of these elements. There are variations on the online programs that are offered, and many factors that we have discussed are explored in the online MSN programs online that we profiled

Will Employers Trust an Online MSN?

This is definitely an important question to ask with any degree program, and this answer here is yes. Employers will take your degree seriously because online MSN programs are actually just as trustworthy as a traditional on-site program. This is with the stipulation that the program is fully accredited. Nursing School Accreditation is a critical element to look for when seeking a program that will be respected in the field of nursing. This might take you down it’s own path, where you will find yourself googling CCNE vs ACEN. It is worthwhile to learn about the different accreditations. When it comes to nursing school accreditation, what to look for can vary. CCNE accreditation standards generally fit the bill for a program that is going to give you all of the professional, hands-on, and academic skills that will prepare you for the next step in your nursing career

Do I Have to Have a Bachelor’s to Get an MSN?

This is another question that gets asked often when prospective students are on the search for the perfect program. There are many RN to MSN online bridge programs for students who are interested in surpassing the step of achieving a BSN. These specific programs account for students who want to move from their associate’s straight into a masters program. Some students go this route also if they have a bachelor’s degree in another field and are interested in catching up in order to achieve an advanced degree in a nursing specialization. There are several accelerated programs that surpass some of the general education classes that were achieved with previous coursework. Also, work experience is often granted credit in some of the programs on the list, including bridge programs

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