Choose the Best Online Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN) for You 2020

Earning an online master’s in nursing (MSN) degree can be your gateway to a more advanced career, one that leads to management, specialization and entrepreneurship opportunities as well as more income. Accredited MSN programs offer convenient ways to earn an advanced nursing degree online, such as accelerated BSN-to-MSN programs, RN-to-MSN bridge programs, entry-level master’s degrees and RN-to-APN programs.

When considering a master’s in nursing online, check out admissions requirements, curriculum, focus areas and whether the institution is accredited. Also, ask about modes of learning. For instance, are there set times each week you’re required to be online? Are computer simulations available? Find out the length of courses, experience of the faculty, how you can interact directly with faculty and students, and what kinds of student support are available.

Sponsored Online Nursing Programs

Sponsored

Earn an MS in Nursing online from Georgetown University.

  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 23 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice

Earn a Master of Science in Nursing online from Simmons University.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Preparation to pursue certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Part-time, full-time, and extended plans of study

Earn your MSN online from USC’s Top-Ranked School of Social Work.

  • Prepares RNs to pursue board certification as family nurse practitioners
  • Earn a CCNE-accredited MSN in as few as 21 months
  • Choose from part-time and full-time study options

Sponsored

Compare 20 + Accredited Online Master’s in Nursing (MSN) Programs

Online Master’s in Nursing Programs
School Location MS in Nursing Program Specializations Length Clinical Hours Credits

Angelo State University
San Angelo, TX
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator
  • Leadership & Administration of Health Care Systems
24-36 Months 150-600 Hours 39-49 Credits

Benedictine University
Lisle, IL
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Executive Leader
20-30 Months 690 Hours 47 Credits

Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute/Primary Care NP
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Leadership in Health Systems Management
  • Nursing Education
  • Pediatric Acute and/or Primary Care NP
  • Psychiatric Mental Health NP
  • Quality, Safety, & Risk Management in Health Care
  • Women’s Health/Gender Related NP
Varies Varies 46-62 Credits

Excelsior College
Albany, NY
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Leadership & Administration of Health Care Systems
24-48 Months 247.5 Hours 36-38 Credits

Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, KY
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Rural Health Family Nurse
42-52 Months 750 Hours for Rural Health Family Nurse 46-47 Credits

Ferris State University
Big Rapids, MI
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing Informatics
24-33 Months 240 Hours 37 Credits

Georgetown University
Sponsored Program
Washington, D.C.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP
  • Women’s Health NP
  • Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health NP
19-27 Months 600–1,000 Hours 40-49 Credits

Jacksonville University
Jacksonville, FL
  • Clinical Nurse Educator
  • Leadership in Health Care Systems
  • Informatics Specialization
24 Months (Full-Time) Not Available 24-33 Credits

Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville, AL
  • Population Health Nursing
  • Population Health – Nursing Education
  • Population Health – Emergency Management
14-24 Months Not Available 38-58 Credits

Lewis University
Romeoville, IL
  • Nursing Education
  • Health Care Systems Leadership
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Not Available 300-540 Hours 36-49 Credits

Liberty University
Lynchburg, VA
  • Community Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Informatics
24-36 Months Not Available 36 Credits

Norwich University
Denver, CO
  • Health Care Systems Leadership
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Informatics
18-24 Months 300-700 Hours 36-40 Credits

Nova Southeastern University
Davie, FL
  • Executive Nurse Leadership
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Informatics
24-48 Months 130 Hours 36 Credits

Sacred Heart University
Fairfield, CT
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Nurse Management & Executive Leadership
  • Nursing Education
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
24-28 Months 120-540 Hours 36-42 Credits

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
Standish, ME
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care NP
  • Administration
  • Family Nurse Practitioner/Individual Across the Lifespan NP
  • Education
24 Months 135-720 Hours 42-48 Credits

Saint Xavier University
Chicago, IL
  • Clinical Leadership
  • Executive Leadership
  • Nurse Educator
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
30 Months 225-375 Hours 35-38 Credits

Simmons University Sponsored Program
Boston, MA
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
24-32 Months Minimum 672 Hours 48 Course Credits

Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, NH
  • Generalist MSNNurse Educator
  • Nursing Patient Safety and Quality
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
20 Months 90-400 Hours 39 Credits

University of Southern California Sponsored Program
Los Angeles, CA
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
21-33 Months 784 Hours 49-51 Credits

University of West Florida
Pensacola, FL
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Executive
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
Two to Three Years 360-600 Hours 39-45 Credits

Western Governors University
Salt Lake City, UT
  • Nurse Educator 
24 Months Not Available 36 Credits

Angelo State University

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator
  • Leadership and Administration of Health Care Systems

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 39-49 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 150-600 Hours
Length of Program: 24-36 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • U.S. Citizen and Reside in Texas
  • Acceptance into the College of Graduate Studies and Research
  • Undergraduate Statistics with At Least a Grade of a C
  • At least 1 year of RN Experience
  • Three References
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume/CV

Program Description: Angelo State University’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program may require on-campus visits, depending on the track you choose. The online MSN’s clinical requirements are to be completed at a city of residence in Texas—only students who live in Texas are likely to be accepted to this program.

Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing online programs at Angelo State University.

Benedictine University

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Executive Leader

Enrollment Options: Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 36-39 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: Not Available
Length of Program: Two Years

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • Completed Application
  • Transcripts
  • One Letter of Recommendation
  • Resume
  • Letter of Intent

Program Description: In addition to the two concentrations, the online MSN at Benedictine also offers a dual MSN/MBA option for those seeking opportunities in healthcare settings under finance, operations, marketing and management. Students who are full-time typically take one course per eight-week session, with six academic sessions a year.

Learn more about the Master of Science in Nursing Online Degree at Benedictine University.

Drexel University

Program Name: Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute or Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Leadership in Health Systems Management
  • Nursing Education
  • Pediatric Acute and/or Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Quality, Safety, and Risk Management in Healthcare
  • Women’s Health/Gender Related Nurse Practitioner

Enrollment Options: Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 46-62 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: Varies by Concentration
Length of Program: Varies by Concentration

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • A Current, Unrestricted United States RN License
  • Completed Application
  • Transcripts
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume
  • There may be other requirements per concentration.

Program Description: Drexel University’s online MSN delivers five core MSN courses before selecting one of the five offered concentrations. The MSN features board certified faculty from the College of Nursing and Health Professions and a three-year tuition lock for students who complete the program within that timeline.

Learn more about the Online MSN Programs at Drexel University.

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Excelsior College

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Leadership and Administration of Health Care Systems

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 36-38 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 247.5 Hours
Length of Program: 24-48 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • Transcripts
  • Completed MS Capstone Requirements Form

Program Description: The three options for online MSN programs at Excelsior cover core nursing classes, concentration coursework and capstones. Each degree path offers a waiver of up to 16 credits and doesn’t require a GRE for admission.

Learn more about the Nursing Degree Programs at Excelsior College.

Eastern Kentucky University

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • Rural Health Family Nurse

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 46-47 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 750 Hours for Rural Health Family Nurse
Length of Program: 42-52 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • 3-Hour Undergraduate or Graduate Statistics Course with at least a grade of a C
  • Minimum One Year Experience as a RN
  • Professional Reference
  • Occupational Profile
  • Professional Statement
  • Transcripts

Program Description: The online MSN at EKU is offered in eight-week terms with no campus visits required. Apart from the two MSN pathways, Eastern Kentucky also offers three post-MSN certificates online. Up to 12 hours of credits can be transferred upon department approval into the MSN programs.

Learn more about the Online MSN Programs at Eastern Kentucky University.

Ferris State University

Program Name: Nursing MSN Online
Concentrations:

  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing Informatics

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 37 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 240 Hours
Length of Program: 24-33 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • Completed Application
  • 3 Professional References
  • Writing Sample
  • Clinical Nursing Experience
  • Transcripts
  • CV
  • TOEFL (International Students)

Program Description: Ferris State’s online MSN consists of nursing core courses, advanced leadership concentration courses, practicum and scholarly projects. Ferris State accepts 60 students a year into the MSN program and they may be able to take more than one specialty concentration.

Learn more about the Nursing MSN Online Programs at Ferris State University.

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Georgetown University – Sponsored Program

Program Name: MS in Nursing
Specialty Areas:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)
  • Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (NM/WHNP)

Enrollment Options: Part-Time for FNP Program; Part-Time for AG-ACNP, WHNP, and NM/WHNP program
Coursework Credits: 40-49 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 600-1,000+ Hours
Length of Program: 23-27 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or CNL/entry-level MSN from a CCNE- or ACEN-accredited program
  • Hold a current U.S. registered nurse (RN) license
  • Have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and a 3.0 science GPA
  • Have successfully completed a college level three-credit course in statistics with a grade of C or better

Program Description: In as few as 19 months, registered nurses with a BSN can earn a Master of Science in Nursing from the highly regarded Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies. Through a blend of on-campus intensives, live online class sessions, and in-person clinical experiences, graduates are prepared to pursue certification in one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP or WHNP.

Sponsored Nursing Program

Jacksonville University

Program Name: Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Clinical Nurse Educator
  • Leadership in Healthcare Systems
  • Informatics Specialization

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 24-33 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: Not Available
Length of Program: 24 Months; Full-Time

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • Completed Application
  • GRE Scores of 290 or higher
  • Completion of Undergraduate Courses in Statistics and Physical Assessment
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of Intent
  • TOEFL (International Students)

Program Description: The online MSN program at Jacksonville University is offered at one course per eight-week session with six sessions a year. Clinical experiences are completed where the student resides. Students will take 18 credits of core nursing education with 24-33 in their specialization.

Learn more about the Online Master of Science in Nursing Programs at Jacksonville University.

Jacksonville State University

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Population Health Nursing
  • Population Health – Nursing Education
  • Population Health – Emergency Management

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 38-53 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: Not Available
Length of Program: 14 – 24 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • Transcripts
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Personal Statement

Program Description: JSU’s online MSN focuses on population health nursing in addressing vulnerable populations and communities. Students in this MSN program will focus on needs assessments, analysis of data, health planning and program development, and integrating nursing informatics.

Learn more about the Online MSN Programs at Jacksonville State University.

Lewis University

Program Name: Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Nursing Education
  • Healthcare Systems Leadership
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 36-49 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 300-540 Hours
Length of Program: Not Available

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • Completion of Statistics and Nursing Research Course with at least a grade of a B
  • Two Completed Recommendation Forms
  • Resume or CV
  • Essay
  • Fingerprint Background Checks

Program Description: Students in the online MSN at Lewis University take 18 core courses and 18 to 22 specialty courses. Lewis University also offers an online post-master’s certificate in a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner focus.

Learn more about the Nursing Graduate Programs online at Lewis University.

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Liberty University

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Community Health
  • Health Policy
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Informatics

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 36 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: Not Available
Length of Program: 24-36 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • At least One Year of RN experience
  • One Recommender’s Contact Information
  • Statement of Essential Attributes
  • Transcripts
  • Proof of English Proficiency
  • For BSN Applicants: Completion of Undergraduate Statistics and Health Assessment courses

Program Description: Liberty’s online MSN allows for up to 50% of transferred credits toward the degree. The MSN program takes about 1.5 years to complete. There are tuition discounts for military students and veterans who are civilian first responders.

Learn more about the online Master of Science in Nursing programs at Liberty University.

Norwich University

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Healthcare Systems Leadership
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Informatics

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 36-40 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 300-700 Hours
Length of Program: 18-24 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • An Unencumbered RN License

Program Description: The online MSN at Norwich has four starts a year with a maximum of 15 students per class. In addition to the offered MSN specialties, there is an online post-master’s certificate in nursing. There is a one week residency for online MSN students.

Learn more about the Online Master’s Degree in Nursing at Norwich University.

Nova Southeastern University

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Executive Nurse Leadership
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Informatics

Enrollment Options: Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 36 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 130 Hours
Length of Program: 18-24 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An Unencumbered RN License

Program Description: At NSU, students in the online MSN program take 15 semester hours of core nursing courses and three semester hours of practicum. All other hours are compiled of their selected specialization. Each specialization is offered with a bridge course for students without an undergraduate degree in nursing.

Learn more about the MSN Programs at Nova Southeastern University.

Sacred Heart University

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Nursing Management and Executive Leadership
  • Nursing Education
  • Family Nurse Practitioner

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 36-42 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 120-540 Hours
Length of Program: 24-28 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Current U.S. Registered Nurse (RN) License
  • Transcripts
  • Professional Liability Insurance
  • Criminal Background Check
  • Completed Application
  • Statement of Professional Goals
  • Resume
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Interview with Graduate Nursing Faculty
  • Completion of Undergraduate Statistics, Research, Health Assessment Courses

Program Description: Sacred Heart University’s online MSN can be completed in two to six years with no on-campus visit requirement. The asynchronous MSN program curriculum requires 12 core courses, with the rest focused on your specialty. Students may be able to transfer up to 12 credits from other master’s level coursework toward their MSN.

Learn more about the MSN Specializations online from Sacred Heart University.

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Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Administration
  • Family Nurse Practitioner/Individual Across the Lifespan Nurse Practitioner
  • Education

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 42-48 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 135-720 Hours
Length of Program: 24 Months; Full-Time

Admissions Requirements:

  • Current U.S. Registered Nurse (RN) Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • Completed Application
  • Transcripts
  • Resume or CV
  • Career Statement
  • Three References
  • Undergraduate Statistics and Health Assessment Course with at least a grade of a B
  • TOEFL (International Students)

Program Description: Saint Joseph’s College of Maine offers an online MSN program with no campus visit requirements, with the exception of the AGACNP concentration. MSN students must complete the program within five years. Courses are offered in cohorts during 12 week periods at four terms a year.

Learn more about the MS in Nursing Online at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.

Saint Xavier University

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Clinical Leadership
  • Executive Leadership
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 35-38 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 225-375 Hours
Length of Program: 30 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • For Executive Leadership Applicants: Must Have 3-5 years of Relevant Leadership or Management Experience
  • Transcripts
  • Applicants are required to be working Full-Time
  • One Written Recommendation
  • Personal Goal Statement
  • Resume

Program Description: At Saint Xavier University, students have five paths to their online MSN degree. Most of these offer 14-week semesters and may take 2.5 to 3 years to complete. The FNP online MSN program is only accepting students from nearby states and requires a two-day on-campus intensive.

Learn more about the Online MS in Nursing Programs at Saint Xavier University.

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Simmons University – Sponsored Program

Program Name: Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time and Extended Track Option
Coursework Credits: 48 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: Minimum of 672 Hours
Length of Program: 24-32 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree awarded by a regionally accredited U.S. college or institution
  • Resume
  • Personal statement
  • Transcripts from all academic institutions attended
  • Successfully completed (with a grade of 83 or better) a three-credit course in statistics and a three-credit course in health assessment.
  • A current unencumbered and unrestricted U.S. Registered Nurse (RN) license
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score, if your native language is not English.

Program Description: Simmons University’s online Nursing@Simmons program offers licensed RNs an opportunity to earn their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to become Family Nurse Practitioners. The online MSN program is designed for RNs who already hold a bachelor’s degree, preferably a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Nursing@Simmons students benefit from:

  • Renowned faculty members who are recognized experts and continue to work as clinical practitioners.
  • Engaging online classes with intimate class sizes.
  • Learning experiences that provide opportunities for real-world application through case studies and clinical placements.

Sponsored Nursing Program

Southern New Hampshire University

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Generalist MSN
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nursing Patient Safety and Quality
  • Clinical Nurse Leader

Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 39 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 90-400 Hours
Length of Program: 20 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An Unencumbered RN License

Program Description: The asynchronous online MSN from SNHU offers four program tracks with the option to transfer up to 12 graduate credits toward the degree. Clinical experience and a capstone project are required. The online generalist MSN may be customized with electives.

Learn more about the Online MSN Programs at Southern New Hampshire University.

University of Southern California – Sponsored Program

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing
Concentration: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: Traditional – 49 credits or Bridge Program – 51 credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 784 Hours
Length of Program: 21-33 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum 3.0 grade point average in your BSN or MSN program
  • Completion of a 3-credit course in statistics, with a grade of C or better
  • Must be a U.S.-licensed registered nurse (RN) and reside within the United States upon application and throughout the duration of the program
  • One year of clinical experience

Program Description: The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing prepares registered nurses (RNs) to provide advanced care informed by an understanding of the social determinants of health that influence patient well-being. Through USC’s CCNE-accredited online program, RNs with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing can earn a Master of Science in Nursing in as few as 21 months.

Sponsored Nursing Program

University of West Florida

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Concentrations:

  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Executive
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Enrollment Options: Full-Time
Coursework Credits: 39-45 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: 360 Hours for Nursing Education and Nursing Executive; 600 for FNP
Length of Program: Two to Three Years

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from an Accredited Program
  • At least a 3.0 GPA
  • An Unencumbered RN License
  • Transcripts
  • Application
  • GRE or MAT Scores
  • Undergraduate Statistics with at least a grade of a C
  • Resume/CV
  • For FNP Applicants: Career Goals Statement

Program Description: The online MSN coursework at UWF is offered in eight and 16 week lengths with up to nine allowed transferred credits. There are 14 credit hours of common core coursework required, with the rest focused on your specialization. The FNP program requires nine credit hours in direct care courses.

Learn more about the Online Programs in Nursing at the University of West Florida.

Western Governors University

Program Name: Master of Science in Nursing – Education (BSN to MSN program)
Enrollment Options: Full-Time or Part-Time
Coursework Credits: 36 Credits
Clinical Practice Hours: Not Available
Length of Program: 24 Months

Admissions Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
  • A Current, Unrestricted United States RN License
  • Resume
  • Criminal Background Check

Program Description: Western Governors University includes virtual reality training in their online BSN to MSN program and the opportunity to earn the National Association for Healthcare Quality Principles certificate. The online BSN to MSN program has 15 core courses.

Learn more about the Online BSN to MSN Program at Western Governors University.

Things to Consider When Choosing an Online School

Accredited MSN programs offer convenient ways to earn an advanced nursing degree online, such as accelerated BSN-to-MSN programs, RN-to-MSN bridge programs, entry-level master’s degrees and RN-to-APN programs. An MSN degree requires a set of core classes plus electives or specialty-focused courses and hands-on clinical hours. 

Goals

Are you hoping to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN)? Do you consider yourself a leader? The answers to these questions may help you develop your goals for earning an MSN degree. All APRN licenses across the United States require a graduate-level degree. Earning your MSN degree may help prepare you for APRN positions. An online MSN program may be flexible enough for you to pursue a graduate degree while still maintaining your current employment.

Schedule

If your time is limited due to career obligations, an online MSN program may be dynamic enough for you to earn your degree during your free time. Some MSN online programs incorporate asynchronous learning, which means that you learn on your own time. However, live classes may also be integrated. Full-time and part-time enrollment options are available at most MSN programs for students to create schedules that meet their needs.

Program Length

Full-time programs are likely to be completed within two years, part-time within four years. Be sure to check requirements for nursing licensure in your state with your preferred university.

Clinical Hour Experience

All accredited online MSN programs will require some level of clinical experience hours. Each university that offers an online MSN program has varying hours, mostly depending on concentrations available. CCNE-accredited programs will have a clinical hours requirement that is often a part of your nursing licensure, once you complete your program.

Potential Earnings and Jobs

Because U.S. states require a graduate degree for APRN careers, consider what that job outlook is for your state. For some APRN careers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 17% more nurse anesthetist positions, 16% more nurse midwives and 28% more nurse practitioner jobs.

Skills Obtained From an Online MSN Program

When enrolling in an MSN program online, you may already have specific medical/nursing skills. According to the CCNE-accredited program standards, you will likely learn more about core courses such as advanced physiology, advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, and population focused or state focused coursework. According to an O*Net report, nurse practitioners have skills in:

  • Active learning
  • Critical thinking
  • Judgment and decision-making
  • Service orientation
  • Systems evaluation
  • Negotiation

Sponsored Online Nursing Programs

Sponsored

Earn an MS in Nursing online from Georgetown University.

  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 23 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice

Earn a Master of Science in Nursing online from Simmons University.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Preparation to pursue certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Part-time, full-time, and extended plans of study

Earn your MSN online from USC’s Top-Ranked School of Social Work.

  • Prepares RNs to pursue board certification as family nurse practitioners
  • Earn a CCNE-accredited MSN in as few as 21 months
  • Choose from part-time and full-time study options

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Education Requirements

Acceptance into an online master’s in nursing program typically requires:

  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing higher education program.
  • GPA of 3.0-4.0.
  • Current, unrestricted U.S. or a National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) registered nurse (RN) license.
  • Active, unencumbered RN license for the state in which the student’s clinicals will be conducted.
  • Letters of recommendation, a resume, a statement of purpose, and high school or GRE transcripts may also be required.

Curriculum

The core curriculum for a Master of Science in nursing (MSN) online may include courses in advanced physical assessment, ethics, healthcare quality, safety and regulatory management, pharmacology, research and evidence-based practice, healthcare delivery systems and policy, information systems, transcultural theories and disease prevention.

Along with the core curriculum, online MSN programs allow students to specialize in a specific area of study, such as administration, public health or informatics. Specializing in a practice is a sure way to set the course for a career in in-demand nursing fields.

Is an Online Master’s in Nursing Right for me?

The Institute of Medicine’s landmark report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” states that building a culture of lifelong learning and competency-building is essential for nurses as healthcare becomes more complex.

With nursing and doctor shortages and nurses aging out of work, nurses with master’s degrees are urgently needed to serve as primary care providers, managers and leaders, educators, researchers, clinicians, case managers, specialists (especially in geriatrics, informatics, public health, and quality and safety), and policy and public consultants.

MSNs are uniquely qualified to change, design, innovate and implement evidence-based practice. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), nurses with MSN degrees earn higher salaries and increased respect from administrators, physicians and fellow nurses.

An online master’s in nursing degree is a graduate-level academic program that typically requires a BSN degree, an unencumbered RN license, and may be completed in two to three years. However, the AACN also notes there are RN-to-MSN bridge programs, accelerated master’s programs, and dual-degree programs.

RN-to-MSN or APN programs require courses to bridge the gap between an associate and graduate degree. Bridge courses may include topics such as research and evidence-based practice, health assessment, informatics, statistics, population health/epidemiology, leadership in clinical settings, nursing theory and scientific inquiry.

Additional Nursing Programs

While an online MSN program may be right for some students, there are opportunities to further specialize in different career paths in nursing. Consider the following programs:

Program Accreditation

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits online Master of Science in Nursing programs. The CCNE is recognized as a national accrediting agency for bachelor’s, graduate, and residency programs in nursing. Programs and schools of nursing may also be regionally accredited by agencies such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. However, some states may require a CCNE-accredited degree.

Scholarship Options for Nursing Students

There are numerous options for nursing student scholarships. Some states offer scholarships for nurses pursuing education locally such as the California School Nurses Organization’s graduate scholarship for school nurses. There are also options for undergraduate, graduate, minority students, and opportunities to apply for grants and fellowships. Most states also offer a loan repayment program for healthcare professionals. Be sure to check with your university, state organizations, and state health departments for more information.

FAQs

How do online MSN programs work?

Most online MSN programs will follow the same curriculum and have the same faculty as on-campus programs, with learning via a computer instead of a lecture room or hall. 

How is course content delivered in an online MSN program?

Some online MSN programs have asynchronous and synchronous coursework—not live and live. You will likely need to complete weekly discussions with classmates, assignments, research and other academic responsibilities. 

Are there in-person requirements for online MSN students?

Some universities may require on-campus visits as immersions, or to meet your cohort and faculty members. However, this isn’t always the case. Clinical placements and experiences are likely to take place in-person at your approved site of practice. Be sure to check with your preferred online MSN program.

Do I need a nursing degree to enroll in an online MSN program?

You do not need a nursing degree to enroll in a direct-entry MSN program online. This type of MSN program accepts students who are career changers with different undergraduate or graduate degrees looking to make the transition to nursing. There may be additional admission requirements for non-nursing students. Be sure to check with your preferred program and university for more information.

What are the differences between an MSN and a DNP?

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is the first graduate-level nursing degree required for most APRN state licenses. A Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP, degree may help prepare students for advanced clinical nursing roles in clinical research trials as well as executive-level positions in patient care.

Information on this page was last retrieved in August 2020.