Best Online Master’s in Nursing (MSN) Programs for 2024

    January 26, 2024 | Admin

    Masters in Nursing Online Programs

    Nurses are an essential part of the medical field and crucial to the health and well-being of our communities. Due to their vital role, the need for nurses is growing rapidly and shows no sign of slowing. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, they will invariably experience health issues that require medical care by experienced doctors and nurses in a variety of settings. And as medical professionals leave the field to seek different occupations or retire, the next generation of nurses must be ready to step in and fill the gap.

    Pursuing your Master of Science in Nursing can help you be a part of this expanding field, and thanks to an ever-growing number of schools that offer an online MSN program, earning your advanced degree has never been easier. Of course, with so many options available, it can be difficult to determine which is the best fit for your situation.

    Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of schools and programs that can help you achieve your goals.

    Rank School Location
    1Georgetown UniversityWashington, D.C., United States
    2University of South CarolinaColumbia, South Carolina
    3Western Governors UniversitySalt Lake City, Utah
    4Liberty UniversityLynchburg, Virginia
    5Duke UniversityDurham, North Carolina

    Why Should I Get My MSN Online?

    The primary benefit for most people who choose the online path is flexibility: you can complete your coursework from anywhere with a computer and an Internet connection. You can also complete class materials at any time, eliminating the need to choose between family and work obligations or furthering your education and career. This makes it a great option for parents or those who are caregivers for older relatives, as well as those who do not live within easy commuting distance of a program. The online format and web conferencing also allow professors greater flexibility in meeting with students outside of traditional “office hours.”

    This is not to say an online MSN program doesn’t require any in-person coursework. Many programs require some kind of clinical placement or residency program, even if it’s just for a weekend. After all, you may study for your degree online, but you’ll still need in-person experience with patients. So when searching for a program, it is important to consider schools that have a campus within reasonable commuting distance.

    But why should people pursue online master’s degrees in Nursing now? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “overall employment of nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners is projected to grow 45 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

    Benefits of Attending an Online Master in Nursing Program

    • Career Advancement – This is most often code for “a higher salary,” but pursuing your online master’s degree in Nursing could also give you the opportunity to take on more responsibility in your current role or expand into something more specialized. In many cases, senior-level positions can also offer more traditional work hours.
    • Expand Your Network – The best master’s nursing online programs can foster a real sense of community between classmates, with classroom relationships becoming true friendships. Some professors might also be willing to connect students to others in their own network of contacts or help them find a clinical placement.
    • Develop Your Skills – To succeed in an online MSN program, you’ll need to excel in a broad array of skills, including communication, listening, and critical thinking – not to mention computers and technology. A successful MSN will also further develop their compassion, their ability to be detail-oriented, strong interpersonal and leadership skills, and resourcefulness.

    Best MSN Online Programs


    Georgetown University

    • Washington, D.C., United States
    • Graduation Rate: 94%
    Georgetown University online nursing master's programs

    University School of Nursing & Health Studies. At Georgetown University, the nursing program lives by the mission “to improve the health and well-being of all people.” Georgetown offers MSN degrees in several different programs including; Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, and Nursing Education. Georgetown allows students to receive an MSN without having to relocate and gives access to all of the coursework online from anywhere, anytime, as either a part or full-time student. Students are also able to participate in clinical experiences arranged in partnership with faculty.

    School Overview

    Admission: To be admitted to an MSN program at Georgetown, students must have received at least a 3.0 GPA in their BSN from an accredited nursing program, and have a valid nursing license.
    Tuition: Price varies between $21,000 and $36,000 per year full time depending on the program.
    Visit School Website

    University of South Carolina

    • Columbia, South Carolina
    • Graduation Rate: 74%
    University of Southern Carolina-Columbia Online Nursing Master’s Programs

    The University of South Carolina offers a 100% online MSN degree in Organizational Leadership that is designed to prepare nurses to manage the delivery of nursing and healthcare services across the spectrum of healthcare. The program focuses on facilitative processes for organizational leadership, financing health care, and research methods for nursing. Students learn the conceptual basis for family and community health nursing, organizational and management theories emphasizing budgeting, strategic planning, organizational development, and receive preparation for national certification in nursing administration.

    School Overview

    Admission: To be admitted to the MSN program at the University of South Carolina, applicants must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0, two letters of reference from master’s prepared RNs, a personal goal statement, a CV, and current RN license.
    Tuition: Tuition for the online MSN program in Organizational Leadership at the University of South Carolina can range $516 – $625 per credit or $16,120 – $19,390 for total tuition and fees.
    Visit School Website

    Western Governors University

    • Salt Lake City, Utah

    Western Governors University is a competency-based, student-focused, nonprofit online university. Programs are designed with the students in mind and developed to benefit those who are busy and working. WGU offers MSN degrees (masters of nursing education), leadership and management, and integrated healthcare management. WGU also offers MSN options for those who are RNs and do not have a formal undergraduate degree. The programs let students go to school on their time and is a flexible program. Students choose when and where they complete their coursework. Because WGU is competency-based, once students demonstrate their competency in a subject, they can move onto the next course.

    School Overview

    Admission: To apply to WGU, students must have a bachelor of science in nursing and must currently hold an RN license. Applicants also must submit a resume, be actively working as an RN at the time of application and enrollment, and submit to a criminal background check.
    Tuition: WGU doesn’t base tuition costs on “part” or “full” time status, instead, WGU charges a flat rate regardless of the number of credits taken. Tuition for the nursing program is $3,250 per term. Nursing students will also be charged a one time consolidated nursing program fee of $350 to cover any additional expenses related to nursing coursework.
    Visit School Website

    Liberty University

    • Lynchburg, Virginia
    • Graduation Rate: 34%
    Liberty University

    Liberty University was founded in 1985 and is an online Christian school. Liberty offers MSN degrees in nursing education and nursing administration. The programs at Liberty integrate research and scholarship with advanced practices. Students will learn to employ the nursing process to perform; strategic planning, fiscal and resources management, evaluation of outcomes, and make ethical decisions in advanced nursing practices. Most courses are offered in an eight-week format and there are no residency requirements.

    School Overview

    Admission: Students must have a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from an accredited university.
    Tuition: Liberty University offers some of the lowest online tuition rates and offers scholarships, flexible payments, and other forms of financial aid.
    Visit School Website

    Duke University

    • Durham, North Carolina
    • Graduation Rate: 95%
    Duke University masters in psychology

    Duke University is known as a world-class university. Duke offers many of the courses required for the MSN online, but all students will have required on-campus activities for a few of their courses. Students will be required to come to the Duke School of Nursing at least once every semester for two- to five-day intensives and participate in face-to-face interactions, simulations, and hands-on activities. Duke offers several different focuses in the MSN program: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (Acute or Primary Care), Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (Acute or Primary Care), Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Students are also able to specialize in cardiology, HIV/AIDS, oncology, orthopedics, veterans healthcare concentration, health informatics, nursing and healthcare leadership, or nursing education. The programs at Duke require students to complete 11 credit hours of clinical core courses as well as a final clinical residency under the mentorship of an experienced clinician.

    School Overview

    Admission: To be admitted to the Duke MSN program, students must have a BSN from an upper division nursing major, an associate degree in nursing, or a diploma in nursing with a BS/BA from an accredited program. They also must have a GPA average of 3.0 or higher in courses required for the undergraduate nursing degrees, and coursework in descriptive and inferential statistics or biostatistics. They must have a satisfactory GRE score or hold a master’s or doctoral degree. Students must have at least one year of nursing experience along with licensure.
    Tuition: Duke charges tuition per credit but also offers financial aid specifically for those students in the Master of Science in Nursing.
    Visit School Website

    Kaplan University

    • Davenport, Iowa
    Kaplan University Online RN to BSN Programs

    Kaplan University designed an online MSN for nurses who desire to advance to the next level in their careers and take advantage of opportunities in management and advanced practice positions. The program at Kaplan offers courses in Organizational Theory, Health Care Finance, Health Policy, Human Resources, Information Technology, and Health Care Systems. They also offer faculty and preceptor-guided practicum or clinical experiences in the community and require an evidence-based project. The MSN at Kaplan also offers four different tracks: Executive Leader or Informatics, Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner.

    School Overview

    Admission: Applicants to Kaplan University must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Prior to registering for clinical courses or an externship experience, nursing students must submit documentation of any required health examinations, tests, and immunizations.
    Tuition: Tuition at Kaplan is calculated per credit. Each credit in the MSN program costs $385. With 60 credits required for the MSN, you can expect to pay about $23,100 for total tuition without any tuition discounts.
    Visit School Website

    Vanderbilt University

    • Nashville, Tennessee
    • Graduation Rate: 92%
    Vanderbilt University Online Nursing Master’s Programs

    Vanderbilt offers many different options for completing an MSN degree. There are three different learning options; distance, modified block, and online. Distance learning includes periods of time where the student is required on campus, depending on the program. Modified block courses are offered in concentrated blocks of time on campus. Vanderbilt offers students wanting to complete an MSN the option of an MSN in Healthcare Leadership, which can be completed online. In the Healthcare Leadership program, students learn the skills and management knowledge needed to assume leadership positions in healthcare delivery organizations.

    School Overview

    Admission: Applicants to Vanderbilt MSN must have a valid nursing license, have a BSN from a regionally accredited university, a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, and answer all application questions.
    Tuition: The cost of tuition per credit hour at Vanderbilt University is $1,356.
    Visit School Website

    John Hopkins University

    • Baltimore, Maryland
    • Graduation Rate: 92%
    John Hopkins university Online Nursing Master’s Programs

    John Hopkins University offers a high quality and comprehensive education for those interested in learning more and taking their career to the next level. John Hopkins offers several different tracks in their MSN program: Nurse Practitioner Specialty, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Health Systems Management Specialty, and Public Health Nursing Specialty. Specifically, they offer online clinical nurse specialist programs and health systems management programs.

    School Overview

    Admission: John Hopkins requires applicants to have a BSN with a GPA of at least 3.0 from an accredited college or university. They must have served in their community, have a professional commitment, be interviewed by a faculty member. They should have a written expression of their goals, and letters of recommendation. Applicants must have a current nursing licensure as well.
    Tuition: Tuition for either the clinical nurse specialist program or the health systems management program is $1,509 per credit or $39,688 total.
    Visit School Website

    Loyola University New Orleans

    • New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Graduation Rate: 55%
    Loyola University New Orleans Online Nursing Master’s Programs

    Loyola University’s School of Nursing was formally established in 1979, in 2010 the MSN program was brought to a completely online format. Students are involved in an interactive online environment with peer-to-peer interactions, discussion boards, and multimedia learning tools. The online MSN program at Loyola prepares students with the skills and knowledge needed in a variety of nursing leadership positions. The program focuses on preparing nurses for positions as Care Coordinators, Case Managers, Nurse Consultants, Nurse Executives, Nurse Managers, Outcomes Managers, and Product Line Managers.

    School Overview

    Admission: Applicants must have a current and unrestricted RN license, a BSN degree from an accredited school (or a bachelor’s degree), a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and an undergraduate equivalent of three credit hours in statistics.
    Tuition: The Online Master of Science in Nursing costs $744 per credit hour. Loyola University also offers many scholarship opportunities for students in the MSN program to help alleviate costs.
    Visit School Website

    University of Texas – Tyler

    • Tyler, Texas
    • Graduation Rate: 58%
    University of Texas at Tyler Online accounting degree

    The University of Texas-Tyler is known for high student engagement and is a respected public institution. The online program has been designed around working professionals and is ideal for students that need to fit in their studies around busy schedules. UT Tyler offers five different tracks in the MSN program; Online Nursing Administration, Online Nursing Education, Web-Enhanced Nurse Practitioner, RN-MSN, and MSN-MBA. Through the program, students complete their master’s degree in nursing entirely online and get to interact with faculty through Instant Messenger, Web-based meetings, and other interactive programs. They also gain hands-on experience working with leading healthcare executives.

    School Overview

    Admission: Admission to the University of Texas-Tyler requires a 3.2 or higher GPA on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work or an entrance exam with a 3.0 GPA. Applicants must have an acceptable score on the GRE or MAT, three letters of recommendation, a resume and CV, proof of current licensure, CPR certification, immunizations, and hold a BSN degree from a nationally accredited college with coursework in statistics with a “C” grade or better.
    Tuition: Tuition for the online MSN programs at UT Tyler vary depending on credit hours and residency. In addition to tuition, a $14 per semester credit hour is charged for online courses.
    Visit School Website

    South University

    • Savannah, Georgia
    South University

    South University provides students interested in nursing, the knowledge, clinical proficiency, technical skill, and confidence that is required for a position in healthcare. South University also offers many different tracks and specializations within the online MSN program; Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Education, Nurse Administrator, and Nursing Informatics.

    School Overview

    Admission: South University requires students to have a BSN from an accredited school, a minimum 3.0 GPA, and a valid nursing license.
    Tuition: Tuition for South University varies depending on credit hours, residency, and program. Financial aid and scholarships are available for nursing students.
    Visit School Website

    Saint Xavier University

    • Chicago, Illinois
    • Graduation Rate: 51%
    Saint Xavier University best online colleges in illinois

    Saint Xavier University has been ranked among some of the best online schools for MSNs. SXU offers two different tracks to earn an MSN degree; the Clinical Leadership track or Executive Leadership track. The CL track focuses on giving students the advanced clinical knowledge and leadership tools needed to take a leading role in assessing, improving, implementing, and evaluating patient care. The EL track focuses more on the impact of patient outcomes at an organizational level. Students learn about budgeting, project management, and strategic planning.

    School Overview

    Admission: Applicants must complete a free Saint Xavier Graduate Student application that includes a personal statement. They also must have a BSN from an accredited school with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, current nursing license, three professional recommendation letters from nursing professionals, a current resume or CV, and at least one year of full-time work experience as a registered nurse.
    Tuition: Tuition for the MSN degrees at SXU varies between the two tracks. The CL track requires 37 credit hours for completion and is $690 per credit hour. The EL track requires 35 credit hours for completion and is $690 per credit hour.
    Visit School Website

    Drexel University

    • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Graduation Rate: 70%
    Drexel University Online Nursing Master’s Programs

    Drexel University is dedicated to developing students that are highly competent in technology, evidence-based practice, customization of care, leadership, and outcomes and risk assessment. Drexel offers a wide variety of specialization for MSN students; Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner (Individual Across the Lifespan), Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary/Pediatric Acute Nurse Practitioner Dual Program, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health/Gender Related Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader, Clinical Trials Research, Nurse Education and Faculty Role, Nursing Innovation Concentration, Nursing Leadership and Health Systems Management, and Nurse Anesthesia.

    School Overview

    Admission: Drexel University requires applicants to have a BSN from a fully accredited program with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Applicants also must have two years of current critical care experience, a current unrestricted RN license, two professional letters of recommendation from nursing professionals, and a personal statement.
    Tuition: The tuition rate for the online MSN degrees at Drexel for the 2015-2016 academic year is $887 per credit. (A 10% discount off Drexel’s regular tuition rate of $985 per credit). The MSN programs are also eligible for Financial Aid and tuition reduction through a network of partner companies and organizations.
    Visit School Website

    What Can I Do With an MSN?

    Online master’s degrees in nursing allow graduates to become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), which opens up many specialized career tracks:

    • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP)
    • Nurse Practitioner
    • Nurse Anesthetist
    • Nurse Midwife
    • Nurse Manager
    • Forensic Nurse Consultant
    • Nursing Informatics
    • Research Nurse
    • Nurse Ethicist

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics1, the largest employers of APRNs are as follows:

    • Offices of physicians
    • Hospitals; state, local, and private
    • Outpatient care centers
    • Educational services; state, local, and private
    • Offices of other health practitioners

    Many people who complete their Master of Science in Nursing degree also choose to become nursing educators. As a faculty member at a teaching hospital or nursing school, you’ll have the opportunity to train the next generation of nurses. Of course, you’ll still need to continue working as a practicing nurse in parallel in order to stay informed on current practices, methods, and technology for you to bring back into the classroom.

    Careers + Salary

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics1 offers annual median wage data for several types of APRN roles:

    • Nurse anesthetists – About $195,600
    • Nurse practitioners – About $120,700
    • Nurse midwives – About $112,800

    Average MSN Salary

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics1, the median annual wage across several types of MSN-related careers was $123,780 in May 2021. Payscale.com pins the median annual MSN salary at about $98,000.

    Online Master’s in Nursing Program Requirements

    Requirements will vary across programs, but you can generally expect schools to require a BSN degree from an accredited institution as well as an active RN license. Others may require:

    • A minimum cumulative GPA
    • Letters of recommendation
    • A personal statement

    How Long Will It Take to Earn an Online MSN Degree?

    The time it takes to reach a degree varies between master’s nursing online programs. Some take as little as two years, while others could take three years or more.

    Find the program that’s right for you

    Whether you’re trying to start your career or make a big change, we can help you find the perfect school to help you reach your goals.

    Woman in graduation cap and gown
    Scroll to Top