Top 10 Online Master’s in Nursing (MSN)

top ten blue silverA Master of Science in Nursing is excellent for anybody who wants to work in a hospital setting, caring for patients. In order to enter one of these degree programs, students are required to hold a bachelor’s degree, typically in nursing or biology. Students who hold this degree are able to move up the career ladder, becoming educators, hospital managers and nurse practitioners. In addition, students may choose to pursue an accredited nursing degree online rather than in a traditional program because they have to work or take care of a family during traditional class hours. Many of these programs have high rankings and much to offer their students.

10 Best Online Master’s in Nursing Degree Programs

These 10 schools, listed in alphabetical order, are among the top nursing programs in the country.

#1 Capella University

Overview:

Capella University is known for its Master in General Nursing (MSN) program, which focuses on research, management, technology and leadership in the health care industry.  The MSN program at Capella requires 57 total credits and 500 hours of field experience in a health care setting. This university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Concentrations:

Special concentrations at Capella include Diabetes Nursing, General Nursing and Nurse Educator. The MSN Nurse Educator program has been hailed as a success, providing students with knowledge about education delivery, assessments and evaluation standards. The online courses last 10 weeks each, offering a flexible schedule for nursing students. One of the factors drawing many nursing students to Capella is the fact that they can obtain credit for prior experience during work. This can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to complete a degree program. With thousands of happily employed graduates, it makes sense that Capella is so popular among nursing students.

Tuition:

Tuition for Capella University is about $21,375.

Accreditation:

Capella University is accredited by the Commission for Higher Learning.

#2 Chamberlain College of Nursing

Overview:
Chamberlain College offers a Master of Science in Nursing that students can obtain in less than two years of study. With no mandatory login times, online students can attend class on their own time, interacting with peers all the while. The program provides a number of helpful resources to keep students well-informed on nursing application and industry news. The biggest selling point for nursing students considering Chamberlain College is the faculty. The school’s educators are known for their highly-held credentials. In addition, this college offers virtual tutoring and an online library full of helpful resources.

Concentrations:

Chamberlain offers an MSN specialty, as well: the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner track. In this program, students will acquire the skills to administer compassionate care, mainly in the family practice setting. The graduate of this track will be able to see their own patients for well visits, conducting exams, diagnosing illnesses and prescribing medication.

Tuition:

Tuition for this MSN program is about $26,310. The MSN Family Nurse Practitioner track costs about $10,000 more.

Accreditation:

Chamberlain is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

#3 Drexel University

Overview:
This university was among the first to offer a nursing program completely online, beginning in 1997. Drexel offers several different tracks in their Master’s of Nursing (MSN) program. Students may also pursue post-baccalaureate certificates and post-master’s programs online. Drexel is also known for its fast track programs, allowing students to move from RN to MSN quickly and efficiently. The bridge program is even open to students who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. Many students prefer this online program because they can move through it quickly and begin working. These online courses last ten weeks on a quarterly basis. In fact, Drexel University was highly ranked for its ability to engage students with its technology.

Concentrations: 

There are several MSN concentrations available to Drexel Nursing students. Though all are excellent, their Family Nurse Practitioner program is a standout. Additional concentrations include:  Innovation in Advanced Nursing Practice, Adult Acute Care Nursing, Nursing Education, Nursing Leadership and Clinical Trials Research.

Tuition:

Drexel charges $591 per unit for the RN to BSN program and $832 per unit for the MSN Family Practitioner program.

Accreditation:

Drexel’s MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

#4 Georgetown University

Overview:
Since 1789, Georgetown University has made a prominent name for itself. As one of the country’s oldest private colleges, this nationally-ranked school offers several graduate nursing degrees. No matter the specialty, students will be expected to follow through with clinical experience in conjunction with book work.  Georgetown emphasizes the necessity of top-notch research to improve the role of nurses in health care. Students can also take part in live seminars, library research and online tutoring.

Concentrations:

Georgetown offers tracks in Adult Gerontology, Family Nursing, Nurse Midwifery and Nurse Education. The courses take less than two years to complete, requiring between 35 and 48 units depending on the emphasis. After graduation, students may complete a certification program that improves the student’s chances of finding well-paying work.

Tuition:

These programs cost about $32,000 in total.

Accreditation:

Georgetown University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Learning.

#5 Grand Canyon University

Overview:
For more than 25 years, Grand Canyon University has worked to offer high quality nursing programs to graduate students. In fact, Grand Canyon was the first Christian for-profit college to open in the United States in the late 1940s. The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions emphasizes the importance of hands-on training. Grand Canyon requires its students to pursue 550 hours of clinical experience in addition to the 53 course credits for the nursing program. The religious tone of the coursework encourages students to look at nursing with a servant’s heart, striving to serve with compassion.

Concentrations:

Grand Canyon offers emphases in Public Health, Nursing Education, and Adult Gerontology.

Tuition:

The program typically costs about $26,000 to complete.

Accreditation:

Grand Canyon is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

#6 Johns Hopkins University

Overview:
Johns Hopkins University, located in Baltimore, is known for its small class sizes and stellar faculty members. In fact, Johns Hopkins was initially the model school for nursing education. In addition, Johns Hopkins is among the top schools in receiving research funding for its nursing programs. Full-time online students may complete an MSN program in just 18 months but they must also perform in a clinical capacity before they can graduate. Four research centers also put Johns Hopkins at the forefront of the nursing field. These centers include the Centers for Nursing Research, Innovative Care in Aging, Collaborative Intervention Research and Health Disparities Research. Students also have the opportunity to engage in the Peace Corps Fellows Program in a nursing-related field. Students enjoy small class sizes and a program with a low student to faculty ratio.

Concentrations:

The university offers three tracks for students who want to pursue an MSN. They include Clinical Nurse Specialist and Health Systems Management. Students also have the opportunity to follow both tracks. Students may also obtain a certificate as a Nurse Educator.

Tuition:

Full-time students can expect to pay about $ 33,984 for the entire program.

Accreditation:

Johns Hopkins is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Learning

#7 Loyola University

Overview:
Loyola University, located in New Orleans, offers a Master of Science in Nursing to online students who already hold a BSN. Loyola’s nursing program has been ranked as one of the top online programs by US News for its student engagement and technology.

Concentrations:

In addition, students may choose to specialize in Health Care Systems Management. This specialization focuses on nursing leadership in management positions, encouraging students to study nursing administration, leadership and quality assurance. Each online course takes six to seven weeks to complete. Students tend to take one course at a time, graduating in two years.

Tuition:

This program costs about $30,000 in total and requires 36 credit hours.

Accreditation:

Loyola is accredited by the Commission for Education in Nursing and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

#8 University of Cincinnati

Overview:
The University of Cincinnati offers a Master of Science in Nursing online that emphasizes the importance of leadership in the nursing field. This public research university is not only a top nursing school, but also one of the highest ranked schools in the nation.

Concentrations:

UC offers several specialties, allowing students to study Primary Care Nursing, Family Nursing, Nurse-Midwifery, Nursing Administration and Women’s Health.

Tuition:

Students can expect to pay $26,000 for the entire program, which takes less than two years to complete on a full-time basis.

Accreditation:

UC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission/North Central Association

#9 Vanderbilt University

Overview:
Of all the programs Vanderbilt offers, its Master of Science in Nursing is among the most elite. Students enjoy the flexibility of the Vanderbilt MSN program, especially its advanced practice specialties and technology supported learning techniques. Students who attend these programs have incredibly high pass rates for licensure and certificates as well.

Concentrations:

Vanderbilt University offers an especially wide array of MSN specialties. The MSN students at Vanderbilt may choose from the following exciting specialties: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – Intensivist , Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner , Emergency Nurse Practitioner , Family Nurse Practitioner , Health Systems Management (online only), Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse-Midwifery.

Tuition:

The Vanderbilt School of Nursing charges $1,160 per credit.

Accreditation:

This university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Tennessee Board of Nursing has approved the university’s nursing school.

#10 Walden University

Overview:
Walden strives to encourage professionals to return to school and receive higher education, leading them to more advanced nursing positions. Walden offers several program tracks for its MSN students. Thousands of happy students attend Walden University, a school that is designed to work around the schedules of busy nurses who already have jobs.

Concentrations:

Walden University offers degree emphases in Adult Gerontology, Family Nurse Practitioning, Leadership and Management, Nursing Education and Nursing Informatics. Each specialization is offered as a BSN to MSN or an RN to MSN track.

Tuition:

Depending on the student’s choice of specialty, the program costs about $500 per unit.

Accreditation:

Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

With so many options to choose from, making the final decision will be difficult. In choosing a nursing program it is important to consider each of the qualities listed here, including accreditation, tuition and program quality.