Fastest Accelerated Online Master’s of Nursing Degree Programs 2023

Fastest Accelerated Online Master’s of Nursing Degree Programs 2023

We rank the fastest online programs for earning a master’s of nursing degree.

Key Takeaways

  • Entry into the best accelerated online MSN programs can open doors of opportunities for career advancement that only an advanced degree can make possible.

  • Full-time commitment is necessary to earn a nursing degree in 2 years or less and will require effective time management, organizational skills, and study skills.

  • Note that most online nursing programs have practicum and/or clinical internship components, so most programs will be a combination of online and in-person coursework.

An Online Master’s of Nursing Degree Enhances Career Opportunities

The fastest online master’s of nursing program is an excellent pathway toward career advancement opportunities, which a bachelor’s degree alone may not allow!

While it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons in your unique circumstances, the pros usually outweigh the cons, particularly the time, effort and money commitments required.

Of course, earning a master’s in nursing degree will open opportunities for higher-paying positions, including positions like nurse practitioners, nurse leaders, and nurse educators.

While being a registered nurse pays well, these advanced nursing positions pay even better, usually in the six-figure range for basic compensation alone.

Management positions in the nursing field also typically have better hours, usually a 9-to-5 schedule rather than shift rotations.

Online master’s of nursing programs are also the best pathway toward earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), a terminal degree that will open even more career opportunities. Many nursing professionals also view the advanced degree as the summit of the medical profession without earning a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.

Even better, you can earn a master’s in nursing degree without being a registered nurse or having a bachelor of science in nursing degree.

Many online MSN programs are specifically geared toward aspiring nursing professionals who don’t have the usual nursing credentials. These are known as direct-entry MSN programs. Most online MSN programs accept registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing or another related field.

Back to Top

Online Master’s of Nursing Degree Experience

Be sure to compare the basic aspects of online MSN programs in your state first before considering out-of-state programs. Many programs have state-related restrictions, meaning learners in certain states may not be eligible to apply.

Admissions Requirements

While the admissions requirements, criteria, and processes between online MSN programs differ, the common requirements include:

  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing from a regionally accredited institution with a specified minimum GPA (A bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field for direct-entry MSN programs)
  • Official transcripts from institutions of higher education attended
  • Letters of recommendations or professional references
  • Personal goal statement and other required essays
  • Current resume or CV
  • GRE scores, if required

Key Points: Most nursing programs require applicants to complete prerequisite courses, too, from a regionally accredited university. Prerequisites can include anatomy and physiology, chemistry with lab, and human growth and development.

Applicants may also be required to pass an interview as well.

Time-to-completion

Full-time students in online MSN programs can earn the advanced nursing degree in two years; a few programs have a 1.5-year time-to-completion.

Due to the fast-track program of study, many nursing programs require full-time commitment to meet the time-to-completion, meaning external employment is discouraged. But there are nursing programs that don’t impose work restrictions provided that academic obligations are met.

Number of Credits

The number of required credits for completion varies between online MSN programs. But it’s typical for these nursing programs to require completion of between 35 and 45 credits, while nurse practitioner programs can require 50+ credits for completion.

Nursing Coursework and Concentrations

Again, online MSN programs have different course titles and their descriptions and learning outcomes. For MSN programs with specializations, the curriculum can be divided into core courses, concentration courses, and electives.

Common course titles include:

  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Advanced Pharmacology in Nursing
  • Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Evidence-based Practice Improvement
  • Health Information and Patient Care Technologies
  • Clinical Systems Leadership
  • Quality and Safety Management

Key Points: Most accelerated online MSN programs have in-person, on-site practicum and/or clinical internships, too, which are throughout the program or only in the final semesters of study.

Students must meet the required number of hours, which may also be applied for advanced licensing and certification purposes.

Many online MSN programs also offer concentrations or specializations in diverse areas including:

  • Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Education
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Healthcare Leadership, Analytics, and Innovation
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Entry to Practice Nursing

If you’re unsure about your choice in a concentration, you should discuss your options with an academic advisor. Every specialization has its unique demands in terms of professional credentials and personal traits, as well as workplace conditions and compensation benefits.

Online Learning Experience

The best online MSN programs have the same curriculum and academic expectations as their on-campus counterparts. The main difference lies in the use of an online learning platform, or learning management system (LMS), and related technologies for communication and coordination among learners and teachers.

Students can expect MSN programs to offer:

  • A cloud-based platform where assignments and other course materials can be accessed, submitted, and evaluated
  • A combination of synchronous and asynchronous courses including live and recorded lectures
  • Multimedia and interactive learning modules
  • Communication and collaboration tools
  • IT support

The best online nursing programs provide students with effective, efficient, and responsive student support services including tutorial and career services, library services, and financial aid services.

Tuition and Fees

The per-credit cost in online graduate nursing programs range from $300 to $1,000+ and it can be higher in private institutions.

Due to the significant dollar investment, it’s crucial to compare not just the per-credit costs of online MSN programs but also items that make up the total cost of attendance. These include technology fees, books and supplies, room and board, and transportation expenses for in-person activities, and incidental expenses.

Of course, there are affordable online MSN programs offered in public colleges and universities! Their tuition costs become even more affordable with institutional, state, and federal aid packages, which are also available in private institutions.

Career Options for Master’s of Nursing Degree Holders

With your accelerated MSN online degree in hand, you will find plenty of career opportunities commensurate to your education, training, and skills! Your career opportunities will largely be influenced by your chosen concentration.

The most popular career paths for holders of a master’s degree in nursing are:

  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurse anesthetists
  • Nurse midwives
  • Nurse educators
  • Nurse administrators

Among the best things about being an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) — the median range for these nursing professionals is $123,780 (May 2021)! The projected job growth for APRNs is also among the highest at 40% (2021-2031), or about 30,200 openings every year.

Indeed, now is the best time to look into the 20 fastest online MSN programs!

Back to Top

Criteria for Choosing the Fastest Online Master’s Degrees in Nursing Programs

We made choosing easier by listing our best programs that were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Colleges and universities with regional accreditation
  • Programs with accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Accelerated program of study that enable students to earn the advanced nursing degree in two years or less
  • Reputation for academic excellence with recognition from independent third parties being a bonus
  • Excellent student support services

Back to Top

Fastest Online Master’s of Nursing Programs

 University of Michigan

The University of Michigan is among the world’s best universities with its research projects being among the most published and cited. Nobel Prize, Turing Award, Abel Prize laureates, MacArthur Fellows, and Fulbright Scholars have been affiliated with it, and its academic programs are among the country’s best.

This includes the Master of Science in Nursing program, a clinically-based RN-to-MSN program that emphasizes excellence in education, research, and service in healthcare systems. Students benefit from the digital environment and nursing courses led by renowned faculty.

There are two distinct online MSN programs — or concentrations — within its umbrella, namely, Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. The MSN program as a whole offers students clinical internships in diverse settings.

  • Required Credits: 44
  • Completion time: 2 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about UMich:

Innovation and sports are alive at UMich with 502 new inventions and 23 business start-ups in 2021 alone, as well as 400+ All-time Big 10 athletic championships.

UMich is great for students who:

Thrive in a competitive environment where academic excellence and impactful contributions are emphasized

UMich might not be the best fit for students who:

Like a small college or university

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 26%
  • Graduation Rate: 92%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 32,200+
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Learn More about the University of Michigan.

 Ohio State University

Considered among the country’s best public universities, the Ohio State University has among the world’s largest endowments and the most prestigious alumni and faculty. But it also knows fun through football with its rivalry with UMich among the greatest in sports.

The Master of Science in Nursing is just as competitive in terms of academic excellence and evidence-based practice. Students in the RN-to-MSN program train for advanced nursing practice in diverse healthcare settings through coursework and clinical experiences.

There are three distinct online MSN programs (i.e., tracks): Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. The MSN program as a whole has a 650-clinical hour requirement.

Admission to the MSN program requires a BSN degree, a current RN license, and GRE scores for students with below 3.0 GPA.

  • Required Credits: 62
  • Completion time: 20 months (Full-time, 5 semesters)
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about OSU

Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye! Enough said.

OSU is great for students who:

Value academic excellence, community service, and making your mark in the world

OSU might not be the best fit for students who:

Thrive in a small campus community

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
  • Institution Type: Public land-grant research university
  • Admission Rate: 68%
  • Graduation Rate: 83%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 58,725
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Learn More about Ohio State University.

 University of Arizona

Bear down! The University of Arizona holds its head up high with its pioneering research in diverse areas, from tree-ring research to mapping the moon and sampling an asteroid.

Expect a pioneering spirit and profound leadership underlying the Master of Science in Nursing - Clinical Systems Leadership program, too. The MSN program consists of 7-week classes for both the BSN (8 courses) and ADN (11 courses) tracks, as well as a 16-week capstone project.

Students must have clinical nursing experience that will serve as the foundation for advanced nursing competencies, particularly in the delivery of patient-centered care across healthcare systems.

Coursework includes nursing leadership, systems management, and evidence-based practice improvement.

  • Required Credits: 41 (ADN track) or 33 (BSN track)
  • Completion time: 15 months
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about UA:

UA researchers have contributed out-of-this-world research, literally, thanks to its space science projects. Among these are the Phoenix Mars mission, the OSIRIS-REx mission, and the Giant Magellan Telescope.

UA is great for students who:

Love research and its impact on humanity and their understanding of the planet and universe

UA might not be the best fit for students who:

Prefer a small campus community

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Tucson, Arizona
  • Institution Type: Public land-grant research university
  • Admission Rate: 85%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 45,600+
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Learn More about the University of Arizona.

 Vanderbilt University

Don’t be afraid about the cost of education at Vanderbilt University because it’s among the top-ranked universities in financial aid! Of course, the main reason for getting into Vandebilt is its excellent academic programs in law, education, and medicine, among others.

The Master of Science in Nursing program is among its best offerings, and it offers multiple entry options including the RN-to-MSN option and the non-nurse option.

Students thrive in the digital learning environment complemented by experienced faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, and student support services.

There are also several distinct online MSN programs (concentrations) under its umbrella, such as Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Emergency Nurse Practitioner, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. There’s also the option to choose between Acute Care and Primary Care, and some concentrations require registered nurse experience.

  • Required Credits: 40 credits
  • Completion time: 12 months (Full-time)
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about Vanderbilt:

In 2010, the Center for Intelligent Mechatronics at Vanderbilt began testing a powered exoskeleton intended to assist paraplegics, stroke victims, and other paralyzed or semi-paralyzed people to walk independently. The Vanderbilt exoskeleton received funding from Parker Hannifin Corporation in 2012 and has since gone to market internationally.

Vanderbilt is great for students who:

Like topnotch education from an elite university without the crippling student debt after graduation

Vanderbilt might not be the best fit for students who:

Prefer a more laidback college experience

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • Institution Type: Private research university
  • Admission Rate: 12%
  • Graduation Rate: 94%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 13,500+
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn More about Vanderbilt University.

 Stony Brook University

A SUNY flagship institution, Stony Brook University has an expansive 588-acre campus that encourages exploration. And, indeed, exploration is its heart and soul with its students, faculty, and researchers creating abciximab, doxycycline, and the smallest electric switch, to name a few pioneering discoveries.

The Master of Science Family Nurse Practitioner program empowers its students to make their own impactful contributions to healthcare, too. Students learn the best practices to become leaders, educators, and change agents, as well as prepare for success in national certification exams.

Admission into the online master’s in nursing program requires a bachelor’s degree in nursing, current RN license, and at least one year of recent relevant work experience, among others. Applicants to the RN-to-MSN program without a BSN degree must present a clinical practice portfolio.

  • Required Credits: 45
  • Completion time: 2 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about Stony Brook:

Traditions make your stay at Stony Brook more exciting! The Chill Fest, URECA Celebration, and Wolfstock week are just a few of the events that we look forward to.

Stony Brook is great for students who:

Thrive in an academic community with a strong desire for academic and research excellence

Stony Brook might not be the best fit for students who:

Prefer a small college in a rural setting

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Stony Brook, New York
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 49%
  • Graduation Rate: 74%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 25,710
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Learn More about Stony Brook University.

 University of Cincinnati

Named among the universities with the most beautiful campuses, the University of Cincinnati is also known for its world-class academic programs. Roam its campus and the Bearcats spirit takes hold with its friendly students, inspiring architecture, and fascinating places.

The Master of Science in Nursing Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Practitioner program, an accredited program by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, requires applicants to have a BSN degree and at least one year of RN work. Graduates are eligible to take the Adult-Gero Primary Care Nurse Practitioner certification exams.

The online MSN program has three start dates, offers flexible learning options, and expects students to follow high academic standards. Students may also transfer credits from prior graduate coursework to shorten their time-to-completion.

  • Required Credits: 44 + 504 hours of clinicals
  • Completion time: 2 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about UC:

UC students have rich opportunities for internship and employment in Cincinnati alone, thanks to its Fortune 500 companies and startups.

UC is great for students who:

Thrive in a large campus community with diverse academic offerings

UC might not be the best fit for students who:

Like the small college experience

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 68%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 47,900+
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Learn More about the University of Cincinnati.

 University of South Carolina

Freshmen students of University of South Carolina agree that the welcoming mat is truly laid out for them! Their access to the diverse academic programs, student support services, and other opportunities are easy and evident from their first day.

This is true for the Master’s Entry to Practice Nursing (MEPN) program, an online MSN program that prepares students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to become nursing professionals with an advanced degree. Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN and become registered nurses.

The MSN program combines online courses, synchronous face-to-face classes, and clinical experiences. Courses include Medical Surgical Nursing Practice, Psychiatric Nursing Practice, and Informatics, Technology, and Emerging Issues.

There are concentration-based online MSN programs offered by USC, too. These include Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education, and Nursing Informatics.

  • Required Credits: 70
  • Completion time: 2.5 years or 5 consecutive semesters
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about USC:

USC offers the most comprehensive programs in health sciences in both the teaching and research aspects.

USC is great for students who:

Want a level playing field in academics through diversity- and inclusivity-focused programs

USC might not be the best fit for students who:

Prefer a competitive academic environment

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Columbia, South Carolina
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 68%
  • Graduation Rate: 78%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 52,000+
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn More about the University of South Carolina.

 University of Central Florida

Opened as a pipeline of talents for NASA, the University of Central Florida has expanded its academic scope beyond space engineering and technology. But its space roots remain strong, as evidenced by its leadership of NASA’s Florida Space Grant Consortium.

Yet another leading program in its academic offerings is the Master of Science in Nursing program, an RN-to-MSN program that also welcomes registered nurses with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. This is among the most affordable online MSN programs and offers three tracks: Nursing Leadership and Management, Nursing and Healthcare Simulation, and Nurse Educator.

  • Required Credits: 31-36
  • Completion time: 2 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about UCF:

Discovery and innovation drives UCF and its researchers to continue to find solutions to real-world issues while also reaching for the stars.

UCF is great for students who:

Thrive on creation, innovation, and discovery while pursuing higher education

UCF might not be the best fit for students who:

Like a small campus community where the status quo rules

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 44%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 70,400+
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn More about the University of Central Florida.

 University of Nevada, Reno

Prowl the 290-acre University of Nevada, Reno campus for a day and your desire to join the Pack grows with every step! With 13 schools and colleges, 12 museums and galleries, and 60 research facilities, there’s something for everybody.

And that may well be the Master of Science in Nursing program, an online MSN program that prepares registered nurses as leaders in the nursing profession. The MSN program combines a more sophisticated theoretical framework with heightened clinical competence that promote advanced nursing practice.

The MSN program offers several concentration options including Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (Acute Care and Primary Care), Clinical Nurse Leader, and Nurse Educator, among others.

  • Required Credits: 44-50 (Number of credits depends on track selected)
  • Completion time: 2 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about UNR:

The “innovation ecosystem” at UNR expands the university’s reach to its surrounding community that has resulted in its status as an ever-expanding global technology hub.

UNR is great for students who:

Thrive on innovations in technology and engineering, among other areas of study

UNR might not be the best fit for students who:

Like a more philosophical approach to higher education

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Reno, Nevada
  • Institution Type: Public land-grant research university
  • Admission Rate: 44%
  • Graduation Rate: 72%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 20,700+
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Learn More about the University of Nevada, Reno.

 Florida Atlantic University

The majority of students of the Florida Atlantic University take their classes at the Boca Raton campus, its first and largest, because it combines the best of both worlds. FAU Boca Raton features excellent academic programs and the facilities and amenities of a modern campus, and it’s just a stone’s throw away from the city and the beaches.

Students of the Master of Science in Nursing program may not be frequent campus visitors but they’re getting the excellent education for which FAU is known for, too!

Under its umbrella are several distinct online MSN programs (i.e., concentrations) including Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, Advanced Holistic Nursing, and Clinical Nurse Leader.

The MSN program has a clinical placement requirement. Graduates are eligible to sit for relevant certification exams.

  • Required Credits: 22-49 depending on the selected track + varying amounts of clinical hours
  • Completion time: 2 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about FAU:

The study abroad opportunities are diverse and fascinating, from the Galapagos Islands to Iceland!

FAU is great for students who:

Want to study in a tropical climate and earn a degree from a nationally ranked institution

FAU might not be the best fit for students who:

Like a small campus community with an everybody-knows-everybody vibe

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Boca Raton, Florida
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 75%
  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 30,000+
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn More about Florida Atlantic University.

 Old Dominion University

Diversity is at the heart of Old Dominion University and its academic programs with international students mingling with in-state and out-of-state students. The 251-acre campus can certainly hold everybody at this prestigious university!

The Master of Science in Nursing program is recognized as among the country’s top graduate nursing programs because of its use of standardized patients, among other nursing education innovations.

The online MSN program offers several concentrations grouped into Nurse Practitioner (Family, Pediatric Psychiatric-Mental Health, and Neonatal) and Clinical Nurse Specialist (Neonatal, Adult Gerontology/Educator, and Pediatric). The CCNE-accredited MSN program has high pass and employment rates, too.

  • Required Credits: 21 credits core nursing courses + courses required for degree completion, between 28 and 31 credits (Total of 49-52 credits)
  • Completion time: 2.5 years or 5 consecutive semesters of full-time study
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about ODU:

Spirit Fridays show the ODU pride with students and faculty and staff members wearing ODU apparel or the school colors.

ODU is great for students who:

Like to show their school pride in the classroom, on campus and in their communities

ODU might not be the best fit for students who:

Prefer a small academic community

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Norfolk, Virginia
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 51%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 24,000+
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn More about Old Dominion University.

 East Carolina University

Taking its cue from Abraham Lincoln, East Carolina University pledges to be a school that will remain with the people and become a servant of the people. And, boy, does it continue to prove itself with diverse academic programs that train students to serve their communities! And it doesn’t hurt either to be recognized by Newsweek as one of 2022’s America’s Best Online Learning Schools.

The CCNE-accredited Masters of Science in Nursing program is one such excellent online program that trains registered nurses for leadership positions. The MSN program offers several concentrations, too, including Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse-Midwifery, and Nursing Education.

Admission into the online Master’s in Nursing program requires two years of clinical experience, among others.

  • Required Credits: 38-43 depending on concentration + required number of practicum and clinical experiences
  • Completion time: 2 years (Full-time)
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about ECU:

A large campus community, an abundance of extracurricular options, and a reputation for academic excellence are what makes ECU great.

ECU is great for students who:

Have outgoing personalities who want to be leaders in their fields

ECU might not be the best fit for students who:

Like a small campus and an even smaller student body

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Greenville, North Carolina
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 88%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 28,000+
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn More about East Carolina University.


 University of Toledo

Thinking smarter to improve lives is the driving force of the University of Toledo! Renowned for its discoveries in solar energy, sustainable technologies, and water quality, it’s certainly living up to its promise.

The Master of Science in Nursing program is also one with the university in the improvement of lives with its students training to become healthcare leaders and educators. Students are registered nurses with nursing degrees who want to become advanced practice nurses. The online MSN program also offers part-time and full-time options.

Students in the online Master’s of Nursing program choose from several concentrations: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

The concentration courses differ but students can take Advanced Physiology & Pathophysiology, Introduction to Biostatistical Methods, and Advanced Research for Evidence Based Nursing Practice.

  • Required Credits: 51-56 depending on concentration
  • Completion time: 2 years full-time
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about UToledo:

Change is a constant at UToledo and it shows in the physical expansion of its 570-hectare campus and its expansion of academic programs with its most notable being in the fields of engineering, medical and science.

UToledo is great for students who:

Thrive in an academic community where change and challenging the status quo are encouraged

UToledo might not be the best fit for students who:

Like the status quo

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Toledo, Ohio
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 95%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 18,300+
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Learn More about the University of Toledo.

 Liberty University

One of the most conservative college in the United States isn’t the only distinction that Liberty University carries — it’s also among the country’s best online colleges! With its 7,000-acre campus and its beautiful architecture, it attracts students from all over the country — and surprises them, too, with its fun extracurriculars!

The CCNE-accredited Master of Science in Nursing program is an example of Liberty’s record of academic excellence with students gaining advanced technical and transferable skills for leadership positions. The 100% online master’s in nursing program allows students to maintain their jobs but expect on-time compliance with academic responsibilities.

Specialization options in the MSN program are Nurse Educator, Nursing Informatics, Health Policy, Community Health, and Nursing Administration. Students can also earn a double degree — either an MSN and MBA dual degree or an MSN and MHA dual degree.

Admission into the MSN program requires a bachelor’s degree, current RN license, and at least one year of RN practice. This is among the most affordable online MSN programs, too, since Liberty hasn’t increased its tuition in seven years.

  • Required Credits: 36
  • Completion time: 1.5 years
  • Format: Online

What we love about Liberty:

While it’s a conservative school, its students have plenty of opportunities for a fun college experience, thanks to 80+ events every year.

Liberty is great for students who:

Thrive in an online learning community while also having access to its physical campus

Liberty might not be the best fit for students who:

Want more lifestyle-related freedom of choice

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Lynchburg, Virginia
  • Institution Type: Private Baptist university
  • Admission Rate: 50%
  • Graduation Rate: 29%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 130,000+
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn More about Liberty University.

 Ball State University

Challenging each other and encouraging each other to fly summarizes the Ball State University experience! Students find and pursue their passions through classroom instruction, hands-on learning, and immersive projects as well as sports and extracurriculars.

Students in the Master of Science in Nursing program find it useful to adopt the value of the Beneficence Pledge, too.

The 100% online master’s in nursing program offers three concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administrator, and Nurse Educator. The first-time pass rate for the Family Nurse Practitioner is 100% (2021), proof of its excellent training.

Not surprising considering that the online MSN program is a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence and among the best online graduate nursing programs in the United States.

  • Required Credits: 36-47 depending on concentration
  • Completion time: 3 years
  • Format: Online

What we love about Ball State:

Environmental sustainability is among Ball State’s core components of its strategic plan and vision, and it shows in its LEED buildings and renovations, its recycling programs, and its investments in E85 vehicles, hybrid-electric shuttle buses, and hybrid vehicles.

Ball State is great for students who:

Love to participate in learning activities in and out of the classroom

Ball State might not be the best fit for students who:

Like a small campus community in a rural setting

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Muncie, Indiana
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 87%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 21,500+
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Learn More about Ball State University.

 Nova Southeastern University

There’s little that Nova Southeastern University can do on a massive scale! Aside from being the largest private research university in Florida, it’s also the largest producer of physicians in the state — and by 2023, the country’s largest physician educator.

Among its notable healthcare programs is the Master of Science in Nursing program offered at the Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing, a Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)-accredited school. Students benefit from its partnerships with major healthcare facilities for their clinical experiences in the online master’s in nursing program.

Students choose from several concentrations: Lead Population Health Improvement, Nursing Education, and Executive Nurse Leadership, among others. Admission into the selective program requires a BSN degree, current RN license, and at least 24 months of nursing practice.

  • Required Credits: 36-51 credits depending on concentration + minimum of 150 practicum hours
  • Completion time: 2 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about Nova:

Impressive student outcomes, particularly improved social mobility, excellent academic programs, and small classes make for the best college experience at Nova. We also love that the NSU Sharks are among the winningest teams in collegiate sports.

Nova is great for students who:

Thrive under pressure, love research and development, and have a keen interest in learning

Nova might not be the best fit for students who:

Don’t have a go-getter attitude

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Davie, Florida
  • Institution Type: Private nonprofit research university
  • Admission Rate: 76%
  • Graduation Rate: 65%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 20,800+
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn More about Nova Southeastern University.

 Southern New Hampshire University

The Community Partners program at Southern New Hampshire University is among the best in the nation with its purpose of expanding college access and building relevant skills for the workplace among diverse learners. These transformational partnerships, which include the Global Education Movement (GEM) for refugees, continue to make SNHU a vital force in its community.

The Masters in Nursing program produces advanced nursing practitioners who make meaningful impact in their own communities. With its affordable tuition rate, five concentrations, and experienced faculty with doctorate degrees, it’s a magnet for the best and brightest registered nurses!

The accelerated MSN online degree has a fast-track curriculum that allows students to tailor their degree based on their career goals. Aside from the usual concentrations, there are the Healthcare Quality & Safety and the Population Healthcare tracks.

  • Required Credits: 36-51 credits depending on concentration
  • Completion time: 1.5 to less than 2 years depending on concentration
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about SNHU:

Students use the state-of-the-art amenities at the Innovation and Design Education Building to create and design innovative projects while also being mentors to each other.

SNHU is great for students who:

Love a large campus community where there’s something for everybody

SNHU might not be the best fit for students who:

Prefer a more straightforward college experience in a small college

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Institution Type: Private university
  • Admission Rate: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 33%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 135,000+
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

Learn More about Southern New Hampshire University.

 Boise State University

Blazing new trails is what Boise State University strives to achieve, and it has certainly achieved it in many ways. For example, it’s home to the only raptor biology degree program in the United States where students study birds of prey. Boise State also has a continuing partnership with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.

The CCNE-accredited Master of Nursing Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner program is a trailblazer in its own right, too. Students choose between the Primary Care and Acute Care concentrations, and benefit from the hands-on learning experiences. These include three on-campus summer intensives and four clinical experiences, which are supervised by a clinical placement team.

The accelerated MSN online degree program features advanced nursing courses, nurse practitioner core courses, and specialty track courses. The result of such an intensive curriculum is a 99% pass rate in the nurse practitioner board exam. Plus, the in-state and out-of-state tuition are the same.

  • Required Credits: 50
  • Completion time: 2 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about Boise State:

There’s no shortage of peer-to-peer interaction opportunities at Boise State, thanks to its 200+ student organizations and clubs.

Boise State is great for students who:

Want to blaze their own trails in their fields, and perhaps break the mold

Boise State might not be the best fit for students who:

Like the comforts of the known world

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 77%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 22,400+ (Online students 3,200+)
  • Accreditation: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Learn More about Boise State University.

 Sacred Heart University

See beyond the Catholic principles at work at the Sacred Heart University and realize that, indeed, it’s among the country’s best national universities! Known for its excellence in nursing, business, and social work, its students prepare for leadership and service in their fields and communities. Character and career are equally important here, too.

The CCNE-accredited Master of Science in Nursing program doesn’t require GRE and a BSN degree for application purposes but requires a current RN license. Students choose from three concentrations on their way to nursing leadership positions: Nursing Education, Clinical Nurse Leader, and Nursing Management & Executive Leadership.

There are no residency and cohort requirements. Students can also complete their clinical experiences in their local communities instead of traveling to sites near the school.

  • Required Credits: 39
  • Completion time: 2 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about Sacred Heart:

The esports program is a cross-college initiative that attracts the best and brightest in this emerging industry. Students learn not just about the gaming industry, but also about the behind-the-scenes parts of esports that make it so exciting.

Sacred Heart is great for students who:

Love the Goldilocks balance in campus size and student body

Sacred Heart might not be the best fit for students who:

Prefer a more secular college education

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Fairfield, Connecticut
  • Institution Type: Private Roman Catholic university
  • Admission Rate: 66%
  • Graduation Rate: 70%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 9,785
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education

Learn More about Sacred Heart University.

 Kennesaw State University

Among the elite group of Carnegie-designated doctoral research institutions, Kennesaw State University focuses on four themes in its research: sustainable and safe communities, human development and well-being, biomedical and health, and computing and technology. There are 180+ academic programs that promote these focus areas of research, too.

Among these programs is the Master of Science in Nursing program that places emphasis on precepted clinical internships ranging from 360 to 630 clinical hours depending on concentration. There are three pathways to choose from: Nursing Administration, Nursing Education, and Wellstar Primary Care Nurse Practitioner.

Minimum admission requirements include a BSN degree with at least 3.0 GPA, current RN license, and undergraduate research course.

  • Required Credits: 40 for all tracks
  • Completion time: 2 years
  • Format: Hybrid

What we love about Kennesaw State:

Freshmen and transfer students can easily find their community in the 300+ student clubs and organizations. There’s even a club for cheering for its sports teams!

Kennesaw State is great for students who:

Want a comprehensive college education while getting the most out of a fun college experience

Kennesaw State might not be the best fit for students who:

Would rather be a big fish in a small pond

University Fast Facts

  • Location: Kennesaw, Georgia
  • Institution Type: Public research university
  • Admission Rate: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Total Student Enrollment: Nearly 43,000
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Learn More about Kennesaw State University.