Top 10 Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Degree Programs of 2014

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 2014. 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. 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.

#2. University of Southern California

Assessment – A comprehensive program from a leader and pioneer in the field of gerontology education, including the world’s first Ph.D. in Gerontology, the first joint master’s degree in Gerontology and Business Administration, and the first undergraduate Health Science Track in Gerontology.

Program: The University of Southern California’s Master of Arts in Gerontology online program is a 28-unit program that can be completed in a year by taking 12 units or more a semester. It can also be completed in two years by taking eight units per semester, or two-and-a-half years by taking four units a semester. The program is designed for busy professionals who already have at least five years of work experience in the field who want to advance their careers and more effectively meet the needs of an aging population. It does not require an internship, research methods, or grant writing.

Admissions Requirements: Bachelor’s from an accredited university or college with a GPA of 3.0 or better; equivalent 1000 GRE; two letters of recommendation.

Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities.

Click here to learn more about online degrees at University of Southern California

 

#2. 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.

 

#3. 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.

 

#4. 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.

 

#5. Gonzaga University Online

AssessmentA unique, social justice oriented program from a highly regarded Catholic university with a respected department of nursing.

Program: Gonzaga University’s Department of Nursing offers a 36 credit hour online MSN program with specializations in Nurse Educator and Health Systems Leadership. The school also offers an online RN to MSN program with a Nurse Educator specialty. The programs are designed to prepare professionals nurses with the knowledge, skills and values they need for advanced nursing practice and leadership. Special emphasis is given to preparing nurses for working with historically under-served populations. Some campus visits required, with length of stay dependent on program specialization.

Admissions Requirements: Accredited BSN; valid nursing license.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Northwest Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities, Commission on Colleges.

 

#6. Boston University Online

AssessmentA flexible program with lots of options from one of the country’s best public universities and a top-ranked college of nursing.

Program: UC’s College of Nursing offers an online MSN with specializations in Adult Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwifery, Nursing Administration, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing, and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Required number of credit hours vary by concentration, but most can be completed in two years or less. Clinical practicums are completed in student’s home community. No campus visits are required.

Admissions Requirements: Accredited BSN; valid nursing license.

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

 

#7. Drexel University Online

AssessmentA program with several unique concentrations from a top-ranked private university with an award winning online education division.

Program: Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions offers an online MSN program with concentrations in Innovation and Intra/Entrepreneurship in Advanced Nursing Practice, Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education, Nursing Leadership in Health Systems Management, Clinical Trials Research, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. The school also offers an online RN to MSN bridge program. Credit hour and residency requirements vary by concentration. Some travel may be required.

Admissions Requirements: National League for Nursing accredited BSN with GPA of 3.0 or higher or 3.25 or higher on last 60 credits; current, unrestricted nursing license.

Accreditation: National League for Nursing (NLN); Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

 

#8. 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.

 

#9. Sacred Heart University Online

AssessmentA regionally accredited and respected career-oriented Catholic university with an excellent reputation for online education.

Program: Sacred Heart University offers a 36-39 credit hour online MSN with concentrations in Clinical Nurse Leadership, Patient Care Services Administration and Nursing Education. The program can be completed in two years. The school also offers an online RN to MSN bridge program that allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing while working towards their MSN. No campus visits are required. Practicums completed in student’s area of residency.

Admissions Requirements: A bachelor’s degree in any subject with GPA of 3.0 or higher; valid nursing license; proof of malpractice insurance. RN to MSN bridge program available to those who qualify.

Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); New England Association of Colleges and Schools (NEASC).

 

#10. Lewis University Online

AssessmentAn accelerated but flexible program from an established Catholic university offering small class sizes and individualized attention.

Program: Lewis University’s College of Nursing & Health Professions offers a 42 credit hour online MSN with specializations in Nursing Administration and Nursing Education. Students are not required to come to campus at any time. Practicum can be completed in student’s area of residence. A thesis must be completed for graduation.

Admissions Requirements: A CCNE or NLNAC accredited BSN with a GPA of 3.0 or higher; valid RN license; undergraduate equivalent of three semester hours in statistics and nursing research.

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

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