2019 Best Accredited Online Master's in Nursing (MSN) Programs

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These 25 schools offering online master's in nursing (MSN) programs have affordable annual tuitions and high entrance exam scores, with tuition rates under $21,000 per year and NCLEX pass rates above 97%. Ranked #1 on the list is Morningside College with an annual tuition rate of $6,095 and an NCLEX pass rate of 100%. Western Governors University, ranked #3, also has an NCLEX pass rate of 100% and offers a tuition rate of $7,500.

View our methodology for more details, learn more about SR Education Group, or browse our comprehensive guide to an online nursing degree.

Find an Online Degree:
Rank School Annual Tuition NCLEX Pass Rate
#1 #1 Morningside College Annual Tuition $6,095 NCLEX Pass Rate 100%
#2 #2 Delta State University Annual Tuition $7,076 NCLEX Pass Rate 97.22%
#3 #3 Western Governors University Annual Tuition $7,500 NCLEX Pass Rate 100%
#4 #4 McNeese State University Annual Tuition $7,764 NCLEX Pass Rate 97.20%
#5 #5 William Carey University Annual Tuition $7,995 NCLEX Pass Rate 97.01%
#6 #6 University of Mary Annual Tuition $8,100 NCLEX Pass Rate 100%
#7 #7 Southwestern Oklahoma State University Annual Tuition $9,188 NCLEX Pass Rate 97.14%
#8 #8 Thomas Edison State University Annual Tuition $9,352 NCLEX Pass Rate 100%
#9 #9 Ohio University-Main Campus Annual Tuition $10,421 NCLEX Pass Rate 97.70%
#10 #10 Graceland University Annual Tuition $11,000 NCLEX Pass Rate 100%
#11 #11 University of Arkansas Annual Tuition $11,200 NCLEX Pass Rate 97.90%
#12 #12 Benedictine University Annual Tuition $11,700 NCLEX Pass Rate 100%
#13 #13 Southeastern Louisiana University Annual Tuition $12,478 NCLEX Pass Rate 98.48%
#14 #14 University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth Annual Tuition $12,740 NCLEX Pass Rate 97.00%
#15 #15 Middle Tennessee State University Annual Tuition $12,744 NCLEX Pass Rate 98.00%
#16 #16 Morehead State University Annual Tuition $13,680 NCLEX Pass Rate 98.00%
#17 #17 Eastern Kentucky University Annual Tuition $13,902 NCLEX Pass Rate 98.00%
#18 #18 University of North Alabama Annual Tuition $14,217 NCLEX Pass Rate 97.80%
#19 #19 Western Carolina University Annual Tuition $14,377 NCLEX Pass Rate 98.16%
#20 #20 Western Kentucky University Annual Tuition $15,554 NCLEX Pass Rate 98.00%
#21 #21 University of Colorado Denver Annual Tuition $15,900 NCLEX Pass Rate 97.46%
#22 #22 Carlow University Annual Tuition $16,150 NCLEX Pass Rate 100%
#23 #23 University of Iowa Annual Tuition $16,895 NCLEX Pass Rate 97.76%
#24 #24 Charleston Southern University Annual Tuition $20,174 NCLEX Pass Rate 98.08%
#25 #25 Rush University Annual Tuition $20,254 NCLEX Pass Rate 97.00%
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  • Annual Tuition: $6,095
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Morningside College offers an online Master of Science in Nursing degree, which has three tracks: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Clinical Nurse Leader. The Adult Gerontology program requires 46 credits in order to graduate, whereas the Family Primary Care degree requires 47, and the Clinical Nurse Leader program requires 38. These programs range in price from $19,380 to $23,970 for the entire degree. All nursing programs at Morningside College are flexible and designed to accommodate students who are also working full-time.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,076
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi offers a Master of Science in Nursing with three tracks: Nurse Administrator, Nurse Educator, and Family Nurse Practitioner. Full-time students can complete the program in two years, and a part-time option is also available. Online classes include live interaction with faculty members and other students, and example courses include Advanced Theoretical Issues in Nursing and Ethics, Advanced Health Assessment, and Advanced Pharmacology. Applicants are required to have a combination of academic and practical experience, as well as GRE scores and letters of recommendation.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,500
  • Accreditation: NWCCU and DEAC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Western Governors University offers a number of online nursing programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Currently, there are six online Master of Science in Nursing degrees to choose from: three RN to MSN options and two BSN to MSN options. The RN to MSN programs can be completed in one to four years, whereas the BSN to MSN programs typically require 11 to 26 months for completion. WGU's programs are "competency-based," meaning that students are able to take as much time as they need to understand certain concepts, and are able to choose when they write the papers and take the exams that enable them to prove their understanding.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,764
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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McNeese State University offers a Master of Science in Nursing with three concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. The concentrations share certain core classes, including Theoretical Foundations of Nursing, Generating Evidence for Nursing Practice, and Applied Statistics for the Health Sciences. All concentrations are available in both a thesis and non-thesis format, and all students must maintain at least 3.0 GPA at all times and complete the program within six years. Depending on the concentration, students must earn between 40 and 48 credits in order to graduate, though students choosing the thesis versions of their programs must meet additional requirements.

  • Annual Tuition: $7,995
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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William Carey University currently offers two online master's programs in nursing: a Master of Science in Nursing and a dual Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Business Administration. Students in the Master of Science in Nursing program take courses such as Teaching Advanced Assessment Across the Lifespan, Role Development for the Nurse Educator, Teaching Pathophysiology and Pharmacology Across the Lifespan, and Testing and Evaluation for Nurse Educators. This program consist of 41 credit hours. Students in the Nursing/Business Administration program can take such as Accounting for the Healthcare Decisions, Healthcare Economics and Financial Management, and Accounting for the Healthcare Decisions. This program requires 53 credit hours for graduation.

  • Annual Tuition: $8,100
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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The University of Mary's online students can choose from four different Master's of Science in Nursing degrees. The university offers an MSN in Nursing Informatics, a BSN to MSN Nurse Educator program, an ADN to MSN in Nursing Leadership and Management, and a BSN to MSN in Nursing Leadership and Management. All of these programs can be completed entirely online, and GRE scores are not required for admission, although there are other academic and professional requirements that applicants must meet in order to be considered. Courses that students might take include Healthcare Across the Population, Influential Nursing Leadership, and Contemporary Issues in Healthcare.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,188
  • Accreditation: HLC and ABHES
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Southwestern Oklahoma State University's offers three different online BSN to MSN programs: a BSN to MSN in Administration, a BSN to MSN in Informatics, and a BSN to MSN in Education. Students in the MSN in Administration program can take courses in Principles of Nursing Management, Business Communication in Healthcare, Performance Standards and Personnel, and Healthcare Budgeting. All BSN to MSN programs are available in a part-time or full-time format, and full-time students are often able to complete the program in as little as one year, though all students have up to five years to graduate once accepted.

  • Annual Tuition: $9,352
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Thomas Edison University's W. Carey Edwards School of Nursing offers an online BSN to MSN program with concentrations available in Nurse Educator, Nursing Informatics, and Nursing Administration. The program requires 36 credits for graduation, including 12 core courses, nine electives, and 15 courses pertaining to a student's chosen concentration. Core courses common among all concentrations include Nursing Leadership in a Global Community, Evidence-Based Nursing Practice, and Health Policy. Applicants are required to have a BSN from an accredited institution, and a minimum of two years of nursing experience are recommended.

  • Annual Tuition: $10,421
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Ohio University-Main Campus offers an online Master of Science in Nursing degree with four tracks: Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Leader. Students in all tracks can complete the majority of their coursework online, though they will be required to attend between two and four on-campus intensives, depending on the track. The program typically takes two years to complete, with the first year consisting of core courses and the second consisting of clinical courses and practicums. This blend of courses ensures that graduates will have both the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to be successful in their careers .

  • Annual Tuition: $11,000
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Graceland University's online programs include an MSN program with two specializations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Students can choose either full-time or part-time status, but even the full-time program is designed to allow students to hold a full-time job for the duration of the program. Graceland University operates on a trimester system, with each trimester lasting 16 weeks. MSN students must also attend a two-day intensive session at Graceland University's School of Nursing, located in Independence, Missouri, in order to graduate.

  • Annual Tuition: $11,200
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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The University of Arkansas's Master of Science in Nursing program can be taken entirely online and requires no on-campus attendance. The program's non-thesis option consists of 39 credits, whereas the thesis option requires 42. The estimated tuition is $560 per credit hour, and students in this program can take courses in Concepts of Health Promotion within Diverse Populations, Evidence-Based Practice and Innovation in Nursing, Health Care Policy, and Healthcare Informatics, among other courses that will appeal to a wide range of online learners.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $11,700
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Benedictine University's online Master of Science in Nursing provides students with two concentrations: Nurse Educator, which requires 24 credits, and Nurse Executive Leader, which requires 21 credits. Both concentrations can be completed in two years. There are three start dates per year, but applications are reviewed and accepted throughout the year on a rolling basis. GRE scores are not required for admission, but applicants must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and be licensed as a registered nurse to be considered. Foundational courses that all students will take include Health Promotion and Interprofessional Collaboration, Healthcare Policy and Advocacy, and Quality Improvement and Safety in Healthcare Systems.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,478
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Southeastern Louisiana University offers 100% MSN program with four concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Nurse Executive, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Depending on the concentration, students must complete between 38 and 48 semester credit hours in order to graduate, and they are also required to write a thesis or final project. All students have the opportunity to participate in research alongside faculty members who locally and nationally recognized as experts in their field. Southeastern Louisiana University is also a member of the Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing Program.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,740
  • Accreditation: NEASC CIHE
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth offers a fully online Master of Science in Nursing degree. The MSN program has two concentrations available: Global Public Health and Nursing and Healthcare Education. Students in these concentrations must take at least 39 academic credit hours and 112 individualized practicum hours in order to graduate. Students in the Nursing and Healthcare Education program can take courses in Theoretical Foundations for Advancing Nursing Practice, The US Health Care Delivery System, Translating Research Evidence for Advancing Nursing Practice, and Promoting the Health of Populations, among other courses.

  • Annual Tuition: $12,744
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Middle Tennessee State University's Master of Science in Nursing program is open to potential students who reside in Tennessee, hold a current Registered Nurse license, have earned a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, and have taken an undergraduate level statistics course. Students must complete 47 graduate credit hours and earn a grade of B or better in all of them in order to graduate. Some courses students can take are Advanced Nursing Research, Theoretical Foundations of Evidence Based Practice, Healthcare Policy, Advanced Pharmacology, and many more.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $13,680
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Morehead State University's online MSN program is designed for students who are already registered nurses and who have previously earned a bachelor's degree. The program is a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNPP) program, meaning that graduates will be able to manage the healthcare needs of patients of all ages, diagnose and treat illnesses, help patients implement disease prevention strategies, prescribe medication, and perform other essential duties. The program consists of 49 credit hours, and new students are admitted every fall. GRE scores are not required for admission.

  • Annual Tuition: $13,902
  • Accreditation: SACS COC and ACCET
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Eastern Kentucky University offers an online MSN program with both full-time and part-time options. The program requires no on-campus visits, so out-of-state students are encouraged to apply. Classes are conducted in eight-week terms, with multiple start dates per year. Students in the MSN program may choose from two available concentrations: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner. Examples of core courses include Nursing Research, Complex Client Care, Leadership and Management, and Public Health Nursing.

  • Annual Tuition: $14,217
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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The University of North Alabama offers a fully online Master of Science in Nursing degree. Available tracks include Family Nurse Practitioner, Leadership, and Teaching-Learning. In order to apply, students must hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited university, a minimum GPA of 3.0, and one year of full-time experience as a registered nurse. The curriculum for this degree includes courses such as Health Policy, Social Issues and Theory, Advanced Nursing Pharmacology, and Evaluation in Collegiate Nursing.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $14,377
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Western Carolina University offers two fully online nursing degrees at the master's level: a Master of Science in Nurse Educator degree, which will prepare students for roles an academic, staff, or patient educator, and a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership. Both tracks are available with thesis and non-thesis options, and most students study part-time, taking six to nine credit hours each semester. New students are admitted twice per year for the start of the fall or spring semester. GRE scores are not required for admission to the program, but there are several other requirements, including current licensure as a registered nurse, a GPA of at least 3.0 in the student's final 60 hours of undergraduate coursework, and at least one year of clinical experience completed within the last five years.

  • Annual Tuition: $15,554
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Western Kentucky University offers an online Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. The MSN degree requires 43 program hours and 600 total clinical hours in order to graduate. Students in this program can take courses such as Transition to Advanced Nursing Practice and Advanced Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Assessment and Clinical Interviewing Techniques. The program consists of 43 credit-hours and is intended for students who want to study part-time so that they can maintain a full-time job and attend to personal responsibilities.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $15,900
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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The University of Colorado Denver's online MSN program is ideal for students who are looking for a flexible curriculum that will offer them many options. This university offers 11 different specializations for MSN students, with some of the more unusual being Veteran and Military Health Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Acute Care, Health Care Informatics, and Nurse-Midwifery, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner. Some specialization tracks can be completed fully online, whereas others require minimal on-campus attendance. The university helps residents of the Denver metro area secure clinical placements, but students who live outside of this area will have to find their own clinical placements.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,150
  • Accreditation: MSCHE
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Carlow University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania offers a variety of online and hybrid nursing programs at the master's level. Fully online programs include a Master of Science in Nursing Education and Leadership and a dual Master of Science in Nursing-Master of Business Administration. The MSN-MBA degree requires 51 credits in order to graduate. Students in this program can take courses such as Healthcare Project Management, Healthcare Innovation and Quality, and Nursing Leadership, among others. Available hybrid degree programs include a Master of Science in Nursing - Women's Health Nurse Practitioner and a Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner.

  • Annual Tuition: $16,895
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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The University of Iowa offers an entirely online Master of Science in Nursing - Clinical Nurse Leader degree, which includes courses such as Clinical Education in Care Environment, Health Promotion and Assessment for Clinical Nurse Leaders, Applied Epidemiology, and Healthcare Infrastructure and Informatics. The program can typically be completed in three years. Applicants must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an accredited institution with at least a 3.0 GPA, as well as one year of clinical experience. The must also complete a prerequisite course in statistics, either at the University of Iowa or elsewhere, before the program starts.

Online Master's Degrees (1)

  • Annual Tuition: $20,174
  • Accreditation: SACS COC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Charleston Southern University offers two Master of Science in Nursing degrees: an MSN with a Nurse Educator emphasis and an MSN with a Nursing Leadership and Healthcare Administration emphasis. The courses for the MSN-Nurse Educator track are offered in ten five-week increments per year, allowing students to complete the degree in 16 months. Students who are employees of Trident Health Systems, Spartanburg Regional Hospital, and Greenville Health System can receive a 10% discount on their tuition. Without the discount, the program costs $625 per credit hour.

  • Annual Tuition: $20,254
  • Accreditation: HLC
  • School Type: Non-Profit
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Rush University offers an online MSN in Clinical Nurse Leadership, which can be completed in two years of part-time study. Most students take only two courses per term, allowing them to work full-time. Three on-campus visits are required in order to complete the program. Unlike many other MSN programs, applicants are not required to have clinical experience. They must, however, already have a bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. GRE scores are not required. The program has three start dates per year, allowing students who apply when they are ready.

Online Master's in Nursing

A Master’s in Nursing is a post-graduate degree program that helps students with a strong professional or academic background in nursing to broaden their knowledge of the field and advance their careers. This level of education is usually undertaken by Registered Nurses (RN) with some years of work experience. It focuses on developing leadership and research skills to prepare students for advanced positions in the workplace and higher levels of responsibility. 

What are the Prerequisites for an Online MSN?

There are three primary types of master's degrees in nursing for aspiring students to consider: RN to MSN programs, BSN to MSN programs, and direct entry MSN programs.

Online RN to MSNs are the most common master's in nursing program and are perfect for individuals who are already Registered Nurses but would like to further advance their knowledge. Applicants will need to hold a valid RN license and an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a nursing diploma. In many cases, RN to MSN programs also confer a BSN upon students once they complete the undergraduate portion of the coursework. These programs allow students to accelerate the process of earning their BSN and MSN degrees, compared to enrolling in separate BSN and MSN programs. Online RN to MSN programs may take up to four years of study.

Online BSN to MSN programs are geared toward students who already have an accredited bachelor's degree in nursing. Applicants to these online programs will need to have a valid RN license in addition to their BSN, and may need to have experience working as a nurse to be eligible. Aspiring nursing master's students with a BSN will want to look for this type of online MSN program.

Online direct entry MSN programs are designed for students who already have an accredited bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing. These degree programs enable students to fast-track their nursing careers by allowing them to skip the process of earning a BSN before enrolling in a graduate nursing program. Direct entry programs are not intended for students with an RN or a BSN-those students should select RN to MSN or BSN to MSN programs depending upon their credentials.

What Classes Will I Take in an Online MSN Program?

The curriculum of the MSN depends on the program specialization; there are a variety of MSN program specializations available online including nursing education, nursing leadership, nursing administration, and nurse informatics. Clinical programs focus on advanced skills for assessing patients, managing cases, and promoting health in patients. Within these clinical programs, students choose a particular focus, such as nurse practitioner, midwife, clinical nurse specialist, or psychiatric nursing. Clinical care MSN degrees always require clinical rounds in a healthcare facility, where nurses practice advanced hands-on care.

What can I do with an Online MSN?

A Registered Nurse with a Master’s in Nursing are referred to as Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and will be eligible for positions such as a Nursing Consultant, Research Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Administrator, and many other positions. Salary range for an Advanced Practice Registered nurse starts at around $78,286 up to $119,562 a year. 

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