When you visit your doctor or find yourself in the hospital, the person tending to most of your needs is a nurse. They make sure you’re comfortable, that you’re getting your necessary medications in the proper doses, that you’re able to get to and from the bathroom, and more. 

They also draw blood and do other prep work for testing, too, as well as monitor your overall condition. In your doctor’s office, a nurse weighs you and takes down your information. Sometimes, you might also see a nurse practitioner at your doctor’s office, which requires a specific type of nursing degree.

Have you ever wanted a career in nursing? If you’re already a nurse, do you want your Master’s degree in nursing, but don’t have the time to commute to campus every day? Perhaps you don’t live anywhere near the school through which you’d like to earn your degree. What do you do? You can check out our list of the 30 best online master’s degree programs in nursing. 

To be sure, you might still have to do your practicum work in person depending on whether or not you’re already an RN. Even so, an online Master’s degree in nursing may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Methodology

Which online nursing program is the best, though? The truth is that there are dozens, even hundreds, of excellent programs available. If the school nearest to you is too expensive, or you don’t know who has an online nursing program, we’ve broken down the top 30 programs to make your choice easier. 

We used the following methodology weighing tuition, admission rates, and graduation rates, to develop our list of the 30 best online nursing programs out of a pool of over 50 candidates. Where point values were tied, we used tuition to determine which school ranked higher. All programs have accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Graduate Tuition/Fees

Less than $10,000/year – 3 Points

$10,001-$20,000/year – 2 Points

More than $20,000/year – 1 Point

Applicants Admitted

Less than 25% – 1 Point

25% to 50% – 2 Points

More than 50% – 3 Points

Graduation Rate

50% or Greater – 3 Points

25%-49% – 2 Points

Less than 25% – 1 Point

SchoolTuitionAdmission PercentageGraduation PercentagePoints
University of South Carolina$67,56863%83%7
George Washington University$66,96077%89%7
Medical University of South Carolina$65,22090%83%7
Duquesne University$63,37889%67%7
Johns Hopkins University$60,83088%72%7
Virginia Commonwealth University$50,47094%100%7
University of Pittsburgh$47,12481%57%7
Oregon Health and Science University$41,25093%95%7
University of Connecticut$40,700100%100%7
East Carolina University$40,08059%82%7
University of Central Florida$40,06866%68%7
Texas A&M University Health Science Center$38,92877%88%7
University of Colorado – Colorado Springs$37,58255%57%7
University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston$37,04470%92%7
University of North Carolina – Greensboro$35,26464%78%7
Ball State University$31,06777%82%7
University of Cincinnati$29,78878%85%7
University of Texas – Tyler$29,05277%71%7
Clarion University of Pennsylvania/Edinboro University of Pennsylvania$27,58598%73%7
Winston-Salem State University$26,75493%100%7
University of Massachusetts – Amherst$24,00096%100%7
University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical Campus$21,33090%92%7
University of Arizona$21,08085%93%7
University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa$18,90046%74%7
Northwestern State University of Louisiana$19,950100%84%8
Cleveland State University$19,278100%62%8
University of Southern Indiana$16,84288%82%8
Georgia College & State University$14,54793%82%8
University of West Georgia$14,42073%86%8
Fort Hays State University$10,72885%83%8

Top 30 Online Masters Degrees in Nursing

30. University of South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $67,568

Points: 7

The University of South Carolina has more than 20 years of experience delivering education to online students. You can attend classes live or listen to the archived lessons later, giving you flexibility with your schedule.

They offer five different online Master’s degrees in nursing, including:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

29. George Washington University

Washington, D.C.

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $66,960

Points: 7

George Washington University has made it its mission to address and deal with gaps in our healthcare system with its interdisciplinary Master of Science in Nursing. You get to choose from one of six specialty areas:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Midwifery
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

28. Medical University of South Carolina

Charleston, SC

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $65,220

Points: 7

Besides having over 20 years in the world of online education, the Medical University of South Carolina boasts a 100 percent pass rate for certificate programs in Family, Pediatric, and Psychiatric Mental Health.

They only offer one online Master’s degree in nursing, but they also offer undergraduate nursing degrees and doctoral degrees, including a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice), and the standard Ph.D. program.

27. Duquesne University

Pittsburgh, PA

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $63,378

Points: 7

Located in Pennsylvania, Duquesne is a private school with 81 years of history attached to its name and reputation. They place heavy emphasis on community service, ethics, and social justice. 

Their online learning technology is leading-edge and curriculum, and they offer some students the opportunity to study abroad. You have your choice of several different Master’s in nursing programs, including:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Executive Nurse Leadership and Health Care Management
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Forensic Nursing
  • Nursing Education and Faculty Role
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

26. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $60,830

Points: 7

Few people don’t recognize the name Johns Hopkins. Besides being a fantastic hospital and research institution, they have an excellent medical school. That includes their online Master’s degree in nursing. 

You can choose a full-time, part-time, or dual schedule at a school that uses doctorally-prepared faculty to ensure students reach their fullest potential. 

Johns Hopkins only has two Master’s programs for nursing, both in Health Systems Management, but one is the dual-degree program where you earn an MBA as well. 

25. Virginia Commonwealth University

Richmond, VA

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $50,470

Points: 7 

Virginia Commonwealth University is a public school that focuses heavily on Nursing Leadership and Organizational Science, training new leaders in the field of nursing. You get the option of graduating in just four semesters or six part-time semesters, giving you a certain degree of scheduling flexibility.

Virginia Commonwealth has just one, overarching Master’s degree in Nursing Leadership and Organizational science. However, if becoming a leader in the nursing field is what you want, then this program may be a good fit for you because of that emphasis.

24. University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $47,124

Points: 7

The University of Pittsburgh boasts a faculty full of experts in teaching, research, and leadership. Their graduates sit for national exams with a 100 percent pass rate and go on to careers all over the healthcare industry. 

While they only offer one Master’s degree in nursing, they offer a Post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice degree online as well. You can further your education after obtaining your Master’s degree or you can go on and further your career. 

23. Oregon Health and Science University

Portland, OR

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $41,250

Points: 7

This institution’s faculty has national recognition for their innovation in developing and teaching nursing practices. They must adhere to rigorous standards at all times and deliver the best online nursing education possible. 

You have a choice of two Master’s programs at Oregon Health and Science University: Nursing Education and Health Systems and Organizational Leadership. Both are excellent degrees, particularly if you’re already an RN looking to further your education and advance your career.

22. University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $40,700

Points: 7

The University of Connecticut’s online nursing program focuses entirely on neonatal nursing. Every member of the Master’s program faculty is a practicing Neonatal Nurse Practitioner serving in leadership positions at national levels. 

Some schools require some visits to campus and the University of Connecticut is one of them. However, those visits are minimal and shouldn’t impact you too greatly should you choose to earn your Master’s in neonatal nursing here.

21. East Carolina University

Greenville, NC

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $40,080

Points: 7

Online students at East Carolina University have the unique privilege of practical learning in a virtual clinic. The faculty places students strategically throughout the clinic in various positions to help them get a feel for what nursing is like in the real world.

Their official online Master’s degree in nursing is a single program, but you can concentrate on areas like:

  • Nursing Midwifery
  • Nursing Education
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – adult/gerontology and neonatal
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

20. University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $40,068

Points: 7

At the University of Central Florida, full-time, tenured faculty, some of whom hold positions as Fellows at various national academies, take students through their Nursing and Healthcare Simulation program, among others. 

You can choose from three different Master’s degrees including:

  • Nurse Educator
  • Nursing and Healthcare Simulation
  • Nursing Leadership and Management

All three of these are excellent fields with simulated environments becoming an emerging field and technology. The University of Central Florida places itself on the leading edge of nursing education with its online Master’s nursing degree programs.

19. Texas A&M University Health Science Center

Bryan, TX

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $38,928

Points: 7

Texas A&M is a well-known, regionally accredited school with high-quality Master’s programs in a wide variety of fields. They’ve designed their online nursing programs to meet all the needs of nurses who want to further their career and educational goals. 

You can learn and refine your skills in simulated clinical environments that include adult, maternal, geriatric, adolescent, and pediatric patients, and apply your skills in clinical settings. Texas A&M offers three programs:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Forensic Nursing
  • Nursing Education

18. University of Colorado – Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs, CO

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $37,582

Points: 7

If you’re looking for a program that doesn’t require any campus visits at all, the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs offers a 100 percent online Master’s degree in nursing. Students get practical experience via a primary care clinic and simulation center, while faculty practice in these settings.

Also, unlike many other online university programs, the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs offers courses of gender studies, helping nurses develop the understanding necessary to tend to patients of all genders.

17. University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston

Galveston, TX

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $37,044

Points: 7

This school has a long history of providing medical education. Since 1890, they’ve educated medical practitioners and were the first school west of the Mississippi to offer Master’s programs to nurses. 

They were also the first in Texas to offer an online Master’s degree in nursing, and are a world-class residency and research school to boot. As a prospective student, you’ll get to choose between the following programs:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Executive Nurse Leader
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator

16. University of North Carolina – Greensboro

200

Greensboro, NC

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $35,264

Points: 7

The University of North Carolina – Greensboro is a public university that not only offers an online Master’s degree in nursing, but also internship courses in many students’ places of work. Even better, class sizes are small with just 15 to 20 students per class. 

They offer three choices for Master’s programs:

  • Nursing Administration/Leadership
  • Nursing Administration/Master of Business Administration and Health Management
  • Nursing Education 

15. Ball State University

Muncie, IN

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $31,067

Points: 7

Ball State’s nursing program is one of the few in the country that’s designated a National League of Nursing Center for Excellence, and they use the Quality Matters Implementation Plan to ensure their online courses promote engagement and provide certain tools to be successful

They limit their program enrollments to 20 at a time, and they have full-time, tenured faculty teaching all their courses. 

As a student there, you can choose one of three degrees:

  • Nursing Administration/Leadership
  • Nurse Administrator
  • Nurse Educator

14. University of Cincinnati

Cincinnati, OH

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $29,788

Points: 7

A large majority of the faculty at the University of Cincinnati hold doctorates, and are certified and actively practicing in their respective fields of specialty. They’re also a six-time recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award and work to ensure that online students get the same quality education that in-person students receive.

Prospective students looking for an online Master’s degree in nursing can choose one of five specialties:

  • Adult-Gero Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Midwifery
  • Nursing Administration
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

13. University of Texas – Tyler

Tyler, TX

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $29,052

Points: 7

Except for the Nurse Practitioner Master’s degree, every class you take through the University of Texas – Tyler is online, giving you the convenience of fully completing your degree without having to visit campus. 

If you’re enrolled in the NP program, though, you’ll have to pay a visit to campus a couple of times a semester for clinical work. You can also take advantage of periodic in-person classes if you like. 

At the University of Texas – Tyler, you can earn a Master’s degree in the following fields:

  • Nursing Administration
  • Nurse Educator
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Informatics, Quality, and Safety
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

12. Clarion University of Pennsylvania/Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

Clarion, PA

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $27,585

Points: 7

This particular university places a specific emphasis on meeting underserved areas like rural and inner-city areas. In fact, program graduates often remain in these areas in Western Pennsylvania, serving their local communities in the best way they know how.

Students also get opportunities for advanced clinical practice to help them further their skills. You can earn your Master’s in nursing or, if your formal education is more advanced, you can earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice.  

11. Winston-Salem State University

Winston-Salem, NC

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $26,754

Points: 7

While most graduate programs, online or not, require you to take and pass the GRE, Winston-Salem University does not. However, they do require nursing experience and nursing-related undergraduate coursework and degrees. 

Winston-Salem focuses heavily on social justice and health equity. You can take your classes full-time or part-time, or if you just want a certificate, you can go through their 12-credit Nurse Educator Certificate program.

You do only get one Master’s program, which is as an Advance Nurse Educator. However, you get the flexibility you need to get your Master’s degree in nursing.

10. University of Massachusetts – Amherst

Amherst, MA

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $24,000

Points: 7

The University of Massachusetts – Amherst is a public school that has several unique aspects to it. It’s the first 100 percent online university that’s accessible worldwide, giving them a diverse, international body, and you have the benefit of cultural diversity you probably won’t get from any other university.

Even better, they offer a common core that allows for a seamless transition between Master’s, Post-Master’s, DNP, and Ph.D. programs. 

You can earn degrees or certificates in the following words:

  • Certificate in Nursing Education
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master’s in Nursing Education
  • Master’s in Nursing Science

This is one of the few award-winning online programs in the country that offers an incredible education and opportunity.

9. University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical Campus

Aurora, CO

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $21,330

Points: 7

Something unique about the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus is that they offer all their online courses for the same rate, whether you live in- or out-of-state. As a student, not only do you get the benefit of in-state affordability despite your residency, but you also benefit from an internationally-known faculty.

Active learning technologies and methods help give you the tools and education necessary to thrive in the nursing field because your coursework transfers over to your practice smoothly. Even better, you can specialize in working with veterans. You have a decision between three different programs:

  • Healthcare Informatics
  • Nursing Healthcare and Leadership Systems
  • Veteran and Military Healthcare

8. University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $21,080

Points: 7

If you’re looking for a 1.5 to two-year course specific to a certain nursing specialty, the University of Arizona will have you covered. They offer a program designed for RNs or even nurses with Associate’s degrees that are already employed and working.

As a prospective student, you should be aware that the University of Arizona only has three annual start dates, whereas many online programs have rolling or more frequent admission. However, your studies will focus heavily on systems leadership while you work on nursing; Their online nursing program is in Clinical Nurse Leadership.

They pace the program for working nurses so you shouldn’t feel like the program is moving too quickly or too slowly as you go through it.

7. University of Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $18,900

Points: 7

Prospective students are always looking for schools that have a good employment rate for graduates. The University of Alabama boasts that, along with a student-focused philosophy and very affordable tuition. The vast majority of their students are also already employed, many as nurses, when they enroll in the Master’s program for nurses.

Whether you want to be a Nurse Administrator or a Nurse Practitioner, you get the benefit of your education coming from one of the oldest schools in the state of Alabama. You can also further specialize in Family/Primary Care or Psychiatric/Mental Health Care. 

6. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Shreveport, LA

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $19,950

Points: 8

Northwestern State University of Louisiana might sound like a no-name school to you, and indeed, many of the best online Master’s degrees in nursing come from smaller schools. However, this school has some of the brightest minds in both the field and academia, and practices and hospitals all over the country seek out graduates. 

That, combined with their excellent graduation rates and affordable tuition, makes them one of the best online nursing schools in the country. You may only be able to get a Master of Science in Nursing, but you can specialize in the following:

  • Adult/Geriatric Primary Care
  • Family/Primary Care
  • Pediatric Primary Care
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Care
  • Women’s Health
  • Nursing Education
  • Nursing Administration/Leadership
  • Nurse Practitioner

5. Cleveland State University

Cleveland, OH

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $19,278

Points: 8

Cleveland State University uses a blended learning method, where you get a combination of online classroom learning and 500 hours of practical experience in the city where you live. Since the School of Nursing arranges the practicum work, you don’t need to worry about finding a place that will allow you to do your schooling.

You can choose from several different learning paths, which include:

  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Forensic Nursing
  • Nursing Education
  • Specialized Populations
  • Dual MSN and MBA

100 percent of students who enroll at Cleveland State University are already employed, including in the nursing field. You can become a better nurse at this school.

4. University of Southern Indiana

Evansville, IN

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $16,842

Points: 8

A very affordable program at a public university, the University of Southern Indiana offers several different options for an online Master’s degree in nursing. Unlike most schools, Southern Indiana doesn’t offer rolling applications, but you can enroll for specific terms as long as you do so by the deadline. 

While they do only offer two programs that don’t involve becoming a nurse practitioner, if the truth of the matter is that you want to be a nurse practitioner, Southern Indiana definitely has the focus you need.

  • Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner – Acute
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Education
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

3. Georgia College & State University

Milledgeville, GA

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $14,547

Points: 8

Georgia College & State University is an excellent school for those who want to attend school part-time. Their part-time program is only one or two classes per semester during the first year of classes, while full-time students will take two to three classes per semester.

However, you have to go to the state of Georgia to complete your practical coursework; they won’t allow or arrange for you to do it out of state. Nevertheless, you get:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Midwifery
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

2. University of West Georgia

Carrollton, GA

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $14,420

Points: 8

The University of West Georgia offers many online Master’s degree programs and makes liberal use of online mentors and orientation programs for all students. You would also have access to quantitative and qualitative consultants while you’re going to school there.

The University of West Georgia receives a grant from the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, giving the school additional funding for students in the nursing program.

You can only work towards and obtain a Master of Science in Nursing from this school, but that may be enough for you.

1. Fort Hays State University

Hays, KS

Program Link

Tuition/Fees: $10,728

Points: 8

Professional faculty with extensive experience in both healthcare and academia comprise much of the faculty at Fort Hays University and are there to give students constructive feedback on their work. 

You’ll get some of the best technological learning through electronic media and integrated simulations to help students improve patient outcomes all across the medical field. As a student at Fort Hays, you can choose between Nursing Administration and Nurse Educator paths, although you can pursue your Doctor of Nursing Practice, too.

Final Thoughts

Are you ready to jump in with both feet and earn your Master’s degree in nursing? Remember, online degrees aren’t pieces of cake. They involve just as much hard work as any brick-and-mortar school you’ve ever attended. They require a lot of self-discipline because you can choose to attend your classes in real-time or listen to them later. 

Nevertheless, with the right mindset and the right focus, you can earn an online Master’s degree in nursing while growing and refining your skills and opening up new career paths for yourself. You have the chance to become the best nurse possible with any one of these programs.

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