Top 10 Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Degree Programs of 2016

Top Online SchoolsAs the population ages, technology advances and more nurses retire from the ranks, nurses with degrees from top online nursing schools will continue to be in high demand especially in California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that nursing employment opportunities will continue to grow at a much faster than average rate in the United States.

Value of a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Degree

Nurses with Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees from the top accredited online nursing degree programs will be in the best position to take advantage of the ever growing demand for skilled leaders in nursing. More than ever an MSN is a prerequisite for registered nurses to climb the professional ladder into management or administrative positions. Nurses looking to do research, consulting or teaching at a nursing school will need an MSN from a recognized and accredited nursing degree program to do so.

Advantages of an Accredited Online Nursing Degree

Online nursing degree programs are among the most popular online degree programs. Nurses seeking an accredited online nursing degree now have several high quality choices for their education. In fact, many of the very best nursing schools in the country now offer their programs online. Among the many advantages of earning an MSN from a top online nursing school is that nurses can maintain their employment and/or family responsibilities while earning their degree. Many of the best online nursing schools and degree programs don’t require any campus visits and allow practicums and clinicals to be completed in the student’s home region.

How We Rank the Best Online Nursing Schools and Degree Programs

Online nursing schools and degree programs vary widely in terms of quality, name recognition, and value. To assist those looking for a quality, accredited online MSN degree program from the best online nursing schools, we’ve put together this ranking of what we consider to be the very best online nursing schools offering online MSN degrees in 2016. Our rankings of the top online nursing schools are based on publicly available data evaluated according to several different criteria, including reputation, accreditation, student satisfaction, ratio of students to instructors, and tuition. You can read more about our rankings philosophy and find a list of our other top college and degree rankings on our rankings page.

Top 10 Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs Ranked

All of the top online MSN degree programs in our rankings require an accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or the completion of an RN to BSN bridge program. If you are interested in a top online BSN program visit our ranking of the best online BSN programs.

#1. Walden University

Assessment: Career-oriented program from an accredited school specializing in high-quality online education.

Program: Walden University offers several specialization tracks for its Master of Science in Nursing degree, including leadership and management, nursing education, and nurse practitioner. All programs can be completed in 36 months, depending on the number of classes taken per semester.

Admissions Requirements: All students must already be a registered nurse. RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing may take the BSN to MSN track. RNs with a hospital diploma, associate degree in nursing, or a bachelor’s degree in a different field may take the RN to MSN track. RNs who want to earn their BSN and then immediately move to earning their MSN may take the RN to BSN to MSN track.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Click here to learn more about online degrees at Walden University

#2. Colorado Technical University

Assessment: Our program is intended to be affordable, grounded in real-world nursing management experience, and cover evidence-based practice, informatics, policy-making and more.

Program: CTU offers two Master of Science in Nursing degree concentrations, MSN – Nursing Administration and MSN – Nursing Education. Each degree program is designed to be completed in as little as 18 months. Students in the MSN-NA program will be taught to apply new systems of thinking to effect positive change and to lead with a strong sense of personal, professional, fiscal and ethical accountability. Students in the MSN-NE program will be taught how to promote quality and safety to students and synthesize evidence-based learning and practices within teaching

Admissions Requirements: Applicants to the MSN General Nursing Specialization must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an institution accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting agency or an internationally recognized institution. At this time, Colorado Technical University cannot accept inquiries for the Master of Science in Nursing program from residents of the states of Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Accreditation:Founded in 1965, CTU offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees, primarily in business, management, and technology. The university is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

Click here to learn more about online degrees at Colorado Technical University

#3. Liberty University

Assessment Liberty University’s Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) Nurse Administration track prepares students who already have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for employment or advancement in nursing leadership/management.

Program: Equipping students to demonstrate consultation and collaboration with interdisciplinary teams and direct health care systems, courses integrate research and scholarship with advanced practices. Combine your passion for nursing and leadership by employing the nursing process to perform strategic planning, fiscal and resources management, and evaluation of outcomes. Liberty’s M.S.N. in Nursing Administration applies a Christian worldview and ethical decision making to advanced nursing practices. Prior to enrollment in Liberty University Online’s M.S.N. program, potential students are encouraged to research their respective State Boards of Nursing for information about clinical nurse specialist practice and certification relevant to the nurse practice act and requirements for certification. Prospective students should also contact their state’s Department of Education to verify access to practicum sites while enrolled in an out-of-state online program. Most M.S.N. courses are offered in an eight-week format year-round. There are no residency requirements for the online M.S.N. program.

Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from an accredited university or college.

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Click here to learn more about online degrees at Liberty University

#4. Capella University

Assessment: In addition to your other coursework, the MSN program includes a flexible practice immersion, allowing for the immediate applicability of knowledge gained in the classroom.

Program: A master’s degree in nursing gives you access to a wealth of new information and knowledge within the health care system. Capella’s flexible program gives you the option choose from one of three emphases: diabetes nursing, nurse educator, or nursing leadership and administration. Meet your goals and advance your career by earning your msn degree online.

Admissions Requirements: Applicants to the MSN General Nursing Specialization must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an institution accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-recognized accrediting agency or an internationally recognized institution. Your official bachelor’s transcripts, minimum grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. RN license verification and work experience acknowledgement form PDF that verifies your current, unrestricted RN license (or its equivalent) to practice in the United States and 1 year of licensed RN work experience or current employment as an RN.

Accreditation: Capella’s MSN General Nursing specialization is accredited* by The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), a nationally recognized accreditation agency approved by the U.S. Secretary of Education. The Commission ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.

Click here to learn more about online degrees at Capella University

#5. Herzing University

AssessmentHelp build the next generation of nurses by sharing the lessons from your practical and academic experience as a nursing educator.

Program: Shape the present and future of healthcare with Herzing’s Master of Science in Nursing program. Herzing University supports a dream of seizing a leadership role in patient care, administration or education with an online nursing master’s program ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Admissions Requirements: Herzing’s MSN program is for licensed, registered nurses who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Accreditation: Herzing University is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Education (IACE)

Click here to learn more about online MSN degrees at Herzing University

 

#6. Georgetown University Online

AssessmentRigorous, values based programs from a prestigious school of nursing at the oldest Catholic university in the country.

Program: The Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies offers an online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) MSN, an online Nurse Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner MSN and an online Nursing Education MSN. All programs can be completed in 17-24 months, depending on number of classes taken per semester. No campus visits required. Clinicals are completed with an assigned preceptor in the student’s geographical region.

Admissions Requirements: Accredited BSN with at least 3.0 GPA and a valid nursing license.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Accreditation Committee for Midwifery Education (ACME); Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

 

#7. Vanderbilt University

AssessmentA management oriented online nursing program from one of the most renowned and highly-rated nursing schools in the world.

Program: Vanderbilt School of Nursing’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Health Systems Management is a 39 credit hour program that can be completed in two years of part-time study. The program is designed for nurses seeking to move into management and leadership positions in health care delivery organizations. Students are not required to visit campus. Observations are arranged within student’s geographic region.

Admissions Requirements: BSN from a regionally accredited university with a GPA of 3.0 or better; GRE scores; valid, unencumbered nursing license.

Accreditation: National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission; Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

 

#8. Benedictine University Online

AssessmentA uniquely customizable and values centered inter-disciplinary program from an established Catholic university in the Benedictine tradition.

Program: Benedictine University’s School of Health Services offers a 36 credit hour online MSN program that can be completed in 16-24 months. Students can choose from six preset areas of focus (Public Health, Health Education, Administration, Leadership, Disaster Management, Health Policy) or design their own. The program emphasizes care for especially vulnerable populations. No residency or thesis is required.

Admissions Requirements: Regionally accredited BSN with GPA of 3.0 or higher (students with lower GPAs considered on case by case basis); valid RN license.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Higher Learning Commission.

 

#9. Loyola University Online

AssessmentA values based degree with a management emphasis from a top-ranked nursing school with one of the largest online nursing programs.

Program: Loyola University’s School of Nursing offers a 36 credit hour online MSN with a concentration in Health Care Systems Management. The program is designed to prepare RNs for administrative management positions and can be completed in two years. The school also offers an RN to MSN bridge program for students who have not completed a BSN. No campus visits are required. Students can complete their practicums at a location convenient to them.

Admissions Requirements: An NLN or CNE accredited BSN with a GPA of 2.8 or higher (if bachelor in another subject, students can complete RN to BSN bridge program); Current and unrestricted RN license; undergraduate equivalent of three semester hours in statistics.

Accreditation: National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC); Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

 

#10. South University

AssessmentFor over a century, South University has given students the personalized attention they need to achieve their career goals.

Program: Nurse Educators play a big role in strengthening the ever-important nursing workforce. With our Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Nurse Educator degree program , you can be on your way to a more fulfilling career, mentoring and developing the skills of entry-level nurses. This specialization provides coursework that focuses on curriculum development, teaching strategies, and evaluation techniques as well as practicum courses.

Admissions Requirements: Accredited BSN with at least 3.0 GPA and a valid nursing license.

Accreditation: South University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#10. Saint Xavier University Online

AssessmentHighly selective leadership oriented degree programs from a top-ranked Catholic university with a nursing school nationally recognized for its excellence in nursing education.

Program: Saint Xavier’s School of Nursing offers an online MSN in Clinical Leadership or Executive Leadership. Student will be trained in all aspects of nursing leadership, including finance, communication, marketing and management economics. The programs emphasize the care of under-served populations and overcoming health care disparities. A three day on-campus residency at Chicago campus is required for students in either program.

Admissions Requirements: CCNE or NLNAC accredited BSN with GPA of 3.0 or higher (exceptions made on case by case basis); Valid nursing license.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Higher Learning Commission.

 

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