Best Online Master’s in Nursing MSN

Best Online Master’s in Nursing MSN

Find top-ranked online master’s in nursing (MSN) degree programs for students wanting to acquire positions such as nurse practitioner, director of nursing, nursing informatics specialist, and nurse educator.

Frequently Asked Questions About MSN Degrees

Why get a master’s in nursing?

Registered nurses looking to build their resume and earn credentials for more specialized positions should consider a master’s in nursing (MSN). This degree provides in-depth instruction for a variety of concentrations, including family nurse practitioner, healthcare policy, nurse educator, nursing informatics, pediatric acute care nurse practitioner, and nurse-midwifery.

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How long does it take to get a master’s in nursing?

Both online and on-campus programs are available, and depending on the chosen field, required credits range from 30 to 57. Most tracks involve a capstone project or thesis and practicum hours. Students can typically fulfill these requirements in about two years.

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What can you do with a master’s in nursing?

Some students pursue doctoral studies after graduating, but many go on to acquire positions that are in line with their specialization, such as nurse practitioner, director of nursing, nursing informatics specialist, and nurse educator.

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Learn more about what you can do with a master’s degree in nursing.

Best Online Master's in Nursing-MSN

How do we determine the best online nursing-MSN master's degree programs?

Methodology

Pursuing your degree online doesn’t mean you need to settle for an inferior school. Today, most universities and colleges offer online degrees, and many respected schools are seeing significant growth in their numbers of online students.

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why influence — i.e., the academic impact of faculty and alumni associated with a school — gets at the heart of what is truly best in education. The combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers is the best indicator of academic excellence. For our online degree rankings, we focus on the academic influence of faculty and alumni in the specific disciplines we’re ranking.

If you are serious about finding the best online colleges, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching, and whether their graduates themselves are advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence. Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

50 Best Online Master’s in Nursing MSN Degree Programs

  1. #1

    Duke University

    Durham , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $60K

    Acceptance

    8%

    Graduation

    96%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1525/34

    Online Degrees

    MSN: Master’s of Science in Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. #2

    University of Cincinnati

    Cincinnati , OH
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    33K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1235/26

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing Systems Leadership
    • Required Credits: 36-40
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  3. #3

    University of Southern California

    Los Angeles , CA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $62K

    Acceptance

    16%

    Graduation

    92%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1445/32

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 51
    • Completion time: 3-4 years
    • Format: Online
  4. #5

    Loyola University Chicago

    Chicago , IL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1225/27

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Population-Based Infection Control & Environmental Safety, Advanced Practice Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSN in Nursing and Healthcare Administration
    • Required Credits: 38
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    19K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1227/25

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Maternal and Child Health
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. #11

    Excelsior College

    Albany , NY

    Student body

    6K

    Online Degrees

    MSN: RN to MSN

    Concentrations

    • Nursing Education
    • Nursing Informatics
    • Required Credits: 142
    • Completion time: 4-5 years
    • Format: Online
  7. #12

    William Carey University

    Hattiesburg , MS
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Acceptance

    55%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/24

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 41
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  8. #13

    Samuel Merritt University

    Oakland , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $51K

    Student body

    2K

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 49
    • Completion time: 2.5-3.5 years
    • Format: Online
  9. #14

    Simmons University

    Boston , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    79%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/26

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing: RN to MSN
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  10. #15

    Marshall University

    Huntington , WV
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    89%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1045/22

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing Administration
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSN in Nursing Education
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  11. #16

    Oakland University

    Rochester Hills , MI
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $15K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    16K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/23

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Forensic Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  12. #17

    Frontier Nursing University

    Versailles , KY

    Student body

    1K

    Online Degrees

    MSN: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: 57
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSN: Women’s Healthcare Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: 58
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSN: Nurse Midwife
    • Required Credits: 64
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  13. #18

    Oklahoma City University

    Oklahoma City , OK
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1200/25

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Community-Based Public Health
    • Education
    • Required Credits: 33
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  14. #19

    Baker University

    Baldwin City , KS
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    93%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1085/22

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 40-43
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  15. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    88%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    18K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/22

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Nursing Education
    • Required Credits: 38
    • Completion time: 36 months
    • Format: Online
  16. #21

    Texas Christian University

    Fort Worth , TX
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    48%

    Graduation

    82%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/28

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing Administration and Leadership
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  17. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Student body

    4K

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  18. Tuition + fees

    $4K

    Acceptance

    99%

    Graduation

    23%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    985/18

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Nursing
    • Required Credits: 43
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
  19. #24

    King University

    Bristol , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1097/22

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Nursing
    • Required Credits: 35-45
    • Completion time: 16-20 months
    • Format: Online
  20. #25

    Montclair State University

    Montclair , NJ
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    83%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    19K

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    MSN in Nursing-Pre Licensure
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: 18 months
    • Format: Online
  21. #26

    Graceland University

    Lamoni , IA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1020/21

    Online Degrees

    BSN/MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
    • Required Credits: 64
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  22. #27

    Wilmington University

    New Castle , DE
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Graduation

    21%

    Student body

    11K

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing Leadership

    Concentrations

    • Executive
    • Educator
    • Legal Nurse Consultant
    • Public Health
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  23. #29

    Georgia Southern University

    Statesboro , GA
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    24K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1125/22

    Online Degrees

    MSN: Nursing Education
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: 14 months
    • Format: Online
    MSN: Chronic Care Management
    • Required Credits: 26
    • Completion time: 12 months
    • Format: Online
  24. Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    36%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/19

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Nursing
    • Nursing Leadership/Management
    • Required Credits: 36-44
    • Completion time: 22 months
    • Format: Online
  25. #31

    Quinnipiac University

    Hamden , CT

    Tuition + fees

    $51K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    76%

    Student body

    9K

    Online Degrees

    MSN: RN to MSN
    • Required Credits: 140
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  26. #32

    Auburn University at Montgomery

    Montgomery , AL

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    96%

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 44
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online
  27. #33

    University of Hartford

    West Hartford , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1130/24

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  28. #34

    Azusa Pacific University

    Azusa , CA

    Tuition + fees

    $42K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1145/23

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing Education
    • Required Credits: 37
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
  29. #35

    Queens University of Charlotte

    Charlotte , NC
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/24

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Nurse Administrator
    • Nurse Educator
    • Clinical Nurse Leader
    • Nursing Informatics
    • Required Credits: 37
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  30. #36

    Florida Atlantic University

    Boca Raton , FL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/24

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Advanced Holistic Nursing
    • Required Credits: 33
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  31. #37

    University of Bridgeport

    Bridgeport , CT
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    71%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/20

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  32. #38

    Shenandoah University

    Winchester , VA

    Tuition + fees

    $34K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1100/22

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Midwifery
    • Required Credits: 49
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  33. #39

    Lourdes University

    Sylvania , OH

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/20

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing: RN to BSN
    • Required Credits: 61
    • Completion time: 3-4 years
    • Format: Online
  34. #40

    East Tennessee State University

    Johnson City , TN
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    12K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/23

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Nursing
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: 12 months
    • Format: Online
  35. #41

    Idaho State University

    Pocatello , ID
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    9K

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: None Reported
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  36. #42

    Felician University

    Lodi , NJ

    Tuition + fees

    $36K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/17

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 30
    • Completion time: 19 months
    • Format: Online
  37. #43

    Madonna University

    Livonia , MI

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1030/21

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing Leadership
    • Required Credits: 34
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  38. #44

    Nova Southeastern University

    Fort Lauderdale , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $35K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/24

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing – Non-Clinical

    Concentrations

    • Executive Nurse Leadership
    • Nursing Informatics
    • Nursing Education
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  39. #45

    University of West Georgia

    Carrollton , GA

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1000/20

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Nursing
    • Required Credits: 35-38
    • Completion time: 24 months
    • Format: Online
  40. #46

    Sacred Heart University

    Fairfield , CT

    Tuition + fees

    $45K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    73%

    Student body

    9K

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing Education
    • Required Credits: 39
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    MSN: RN to MSN Operational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 30-120
    • Completion time: 3.5 years
    • Format: Online
    MSN in Nursing Management and Executive Leadership
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    MSN in Nursing Clinical Nurse Leader
    • Required Credits: 39
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    MSN in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 36-39
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
  41. #47

    Elms College

    Chicopee , MA

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/21

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing And Health Services Management
    • Required Credits: 35
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    MSN in School Nursing
    • Required Credits: 42
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    MSN in Nursing Education
    • Required Credits: 37
    • Completion time: 2 years
    • Format: Online
    MSN/MBA in Nursing
    • Required Credits: 64
    • Completion time: 3 years
    • Format: Online
  42. #48

    Austin Peay State University

    Clarksville , TN

    Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    91%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    9K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1065/21

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing

    Concentrations

    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Nurse Educator
    • Required Credits: 12
    • Completion time: 12 months
    • Format: Online
  43. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    82%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    27K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1040/19

    Online Degrees

    MSN in Nursing Administration
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online
    MSN in Nursing Education
    • Required Credits: 36
    • Completion time: 2-3 years
    • Format: Online

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Online Degree Frequently Asked Questions

If this is your first time taking an online course, the experience may require some adjustment. While you’ll generally learn the same content and take the same exams as your on-campus peers, the medium will likely require you to manage much of this experience independently. You’ll be accountable for your own time management, your ability to harness the technology at your fingertips, and your ability to focus on the lectures, lessons, and assignments at hand. This means you’ll need to create a suitable workspace for yourself, maintain a realistic schedule, and take it upon yourself to build relationships with your instructors and classmates. With online college, your goal is to find a balance between independence and engagement.

No. The only part of online education that’s easier is actually getting there. Taking the commute out of the equation means getting to class should be a lot more manageable. But that’s where it ends. In general, your online courses will incorporate the very same materials, concepts, and testing methods as would a traditional classroom.

And in many cases, you’ll even have the same instructors as your on-campus counterparts. In fact, if you are adjusting to the experience of independent learning or working with remote learning technology for the first time, online college may even be a little more challenging for you. For a few insights on how to manage this new experience, check out our 10 Tips for Adjusting to School Online.

Accreditation is especially important when it comes to online college. This is because the online education landscape is a mix of highly-reputable institutions and less-than-reputable for-profit schools. Accreditation gives you the power to differentiate between the two. Accreditation is a stamp of approval from an independent accrediting agency which indicates that a college or university is meeting standards of quality, credibility, and currency. School-wide accreditation falls into two major categories: regional and national accreditation. Regional accreditors generally hold jurisdiction only over schools in the states comprising their region, whereas national accreditors hold jurisdiction over schools in all states. Regional accreditation is widely regarded as a more rigorous standard of quality and credibility than national accreditation.

Attending a college or university which is not regionally accredited could limit your opportunities. When seeking an online education, we strongly recommend that students opt for regionally accredited schools. Regional accreditation ensures eligibility for federal loans and grants, ensures your college credits can be transferred between schools, and ensures that your degree credits can be accepted if you wish to earn an advanced degree.

As long as your online college degree is regionally accredited, you should have little difficulty transferring most of your credits or credentials to another regionally accredited undergraduate school. Every school carries its own standards and procedures for granting a transfer. In many cases, you will be required to navigate a bureaucracy in which some of your credits will be transferred and others will be jettisoned. However, provided that you have attended an online school with the proper regional accreditation, you should have plenty of options for transfer.

In most cases, as long you graduate from a well-regarded, regionally-accredited online college, prospective employers won’t look sideways at your degree. In fact, unless you attend an exclusively online college or university, there will likely be no specific indicator on your degree, transcript or resume differentiating your school from its brick-and-mortar counterpart. This means that your employer will likely only differentiate between an online and in-person degree if you mention this distinction.

While some employers may express concern about making the adjustment from online education to in-person workplace collaboration, many other employers will view your online degree as evidence of valuable 21st Century professional skills such as independence, self-motivation, time management, and tech savvy.

If you are a student who thrives on the dynamic energy of in-person discussion, who requires the physical surroundings of a classroom to feel engaged, or who considers the social aspects of education to be of equal importance to the actual content of your courses, online education will require some adjustment.

While there is much that can be supplanted or simulated through the online medium, some students may find that there is nothing which can replace the conversation, collaboration, and motivation that occur in an actual classroom setting. As you make the adjustment to online education, one of the biggest challenges you will likely face is overcoming this difference in order to the get the most out of your classes. Fortunately, we’ve got some great Tips for Online Education Beginners.

The advantages of online classes are many. First and foremost, online courses give you the freedom and flexibility to attend class from anywhere that works for you, whether you’re at home, in a coffee shop, or in a quiet conference room at work. In many cases, you’ll also enjoy the convenience of asynchronous learning opportunities—educational experiences that you can complete on your own schedule. This may include pre-taped lectures, ongoing chat-board discussions, and 24/7 access to digital materials. And of course, just as there are some learners who prefer the energy of a live classroom, there are those who learn best when working in their own personal space, free from distractions. If this sounds like you, you might find the solitude of online learning to be a major advantage.

Resources for Prospective Grad Students