35 Best Affordable Online Master’s Degrees in Nursing 2020

Nursing is one of the oldest professions in the world and nurses continue to provide care for individuals, families, and whole communities to this day. If you are interested in entering one of the nursing professions, then you are going to need to pursue a degree in nursing, and the gold-standard baseline degree is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Getting a Masters in the field opens up even more options to choose from, including professions like a case manager, health educator, medical or health services manager, clinical nurse specialist, nurse administrator, or an advanced nurse practitioner.

If you are interested in heading into the profession, now is certainly the time to consider doing so as there is a national shortage of nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor, this profession is expected to grow much faster than the average at around 15% over the next few years. And nurse practitioners are going to be in even more demand, as the profession is expected to grow by 31%. Both registered nurses and nurse practitioners make well above the median wage as well, bringing in as much as $113,000. So, if you are considering a career in healthcare, then check out our list of the 35 Best Affordable Online Masters in Nursing!

Methodology

Best College Reviews provides degree rankings, such as the [title of article], from carefully researched data sets published from government and non-profit organizations across the United States. Five primary factors affect how we rank degrees: 

– 25% Student Satisfaction 

– 30% Earning Potential 

– 15% Retention Data 

– 20% Affordability 

– 10% Acceptance Rates

For an in-depth breakdown of how we calculate each ranking, check out our Methodology page.  

#35 UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NEONATAL NURSING

Website

Score: 83.60

The University of Connecticut is located in Storrs, CT, and is widely known for its athletic prowess, especially on the basketball court. The School of Nursing at UC offers a Master of Science in Neonatal Nursing which is designed to lead to a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner certification. The degree consists of 44 credits and students must have completed at least two years of full-time RN-level practice before they will be admitted to their clinical practicum courses. 

Students can pursue the program on a full-time or part-time basis. Classes in the program include Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics Across the Lifespan, Statistical Methods in Health Sciences Research, and Health Policy and Population-based Advocacy for the Scholarship of Application. Upon graduation, students are eligible to apply for the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner examination. 

Net Price: $14,880 in-state; $36,948 out-of-state

 

#34 MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING 

Website

Score: 85.41

A public research university located in East Lansing, MI, Michigan State University serves as the first example of a land-grant institution. MSU offers a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Nurse Practitioner. There are two areas of specialization available to students: Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, and Family Nurse Practitioner. Courses in the program are delivered online and face to face on campus, and there are onsite clinical expectations. 

Classes in the program include Applied Pharmacology for Advanced Practice, Pathophysiology for Advanced Practice Nurses, and Health Care Policy and Politics. Admission to the program requires a bachelor's degree in nursing with at least a 3.0 GPA, as well as a course in statistics. MSU also offers a seamless MSN to Doctor in Nursing Practice for interested individuals. 

Net Price: $14,460 in-state; $39,406 out-of-state

 

#33 PURDUE UNIVERSITY GLOBAL

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 58.81

Purdue University Global is part of the Purdue University System and is focused specifically on adult-learners with most of its programs offered online. PUG offers a Master of Science in Nursing with five different pathways leading to industry certifications. The pathway options include Family Nurse Practitioner Primary Care, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care.

Each pathway includes a specific practicum or clinical experience as part of the program, which can be done in your local community. Some classes in the program are Scientific and Analytic Approaches to Advanced Evidence-Based Practice, Epidemiology and Health Promotion, and Health Policy, Ethical, and Legal Perspectives of the Health Care System. Admission to the program is on a rolling basis with multiple start times throughout the year. 

Net Price: $14,263 

 

#32 CAPELLA UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 67.08

Chances are good that if you've heard of online education, you have heard of Capella University. Based in Minneapolis, MN, CU offers a Master of Science in Nursing online. Depending on student background, the program can be completed in as few as 12 months. The program offers four specializations, including Care Coordination, Nursing Leadership and Administration, and Nursing Informatics. The specific coursework and practicum or clinical expectations for students depend on which specialization they choose. 

Enrolled students can also choose between two different formats: guided path or flex path. The former provides extra structure, while the latter allows students to take classes at their own pace. Some classes in the program include Curriculum Design, Development, and Evaluation, Ethical and Legal Considerations in Care Coordination, and Health Care Quality and Safety Management. Admission requires either a bachelor's in nursing or an associates degree with RN status. 

Net Price: $14,250

 

#31 OREGON HEALTH & SCIENCE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF NURSING IN HEALTH SYSTEMS & ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND MASTER OF NURSING IN NURSING EDUCATION

Website

Score: 64.74

The Oregon Health & Science University is based in Portland, OR, and features two hospitals on its campus. OHSU offers both a Master of Nursing in Nursing Education and a Master of Nursing in Health Systems & Organizational Leadership. Both programs are available online with some residential intensives and can be taken at a full-time or part-time pace. There are also several need-based and academic scholarships available that students in the online program can apply for.

The MNNE program is designed for individuals interested in either joining a teaching faculty or overseeing an educational program in a clinical setting. The program offers three areas of focus including, Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Community Health Nursing, and Adult Gerontological Nursing. The MNHSOL degree is designed to prepare graduates to oversee the complex organizational demands that face nursing healthcare professionals. 

Net Price: $13,644 in-state; $25,020 out-of-state

 

#30 WILLIAM CAREY UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 75.89

William Carey University is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Church and is a small liberal arts college in Hattiesburg, MS. WCU offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree which is designed to equip registered nurses to move into more advanced roles in their respective institutions. The program is offered online but also includes intensive clinical experiences. 

The MSN program features four specialty areas where students can focus, including Clinical Nursing Education, Nursing Administration, Gerontological Nursing, and Case Management. Core classes include Healthcare Policy and Resource Allocation, and Instructional Strategies and Evaluation of Student Learning. Admission requires a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program with a 3.0 GPA, RN licensure, a personal statement, as well as two letters of recommendation. 

Net Price: $12,300

 

#29 UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING CLINICAL SYSTEMS LEADERSHIP

Website

Score: 86.51

The first university to be established in the Arizona Territory, the University of Arizona is now a large public research university with a student enrollment that annually tops 44,000. UA offers an online Master of Science in Nursing Clinical Systems Leadership through the College of Nursing. The degree is designed to equip individuals with the necessary skills and competencies needed in the rapidly changing world of nursing, especially in regard to new information technologies. 

The program offers pathways for individuals who hold either an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing. Students can complete the program within 15 months. Classes include Health Information and Patient Care Technologies, Healthcare Environments and Care Coordination, and Healthcare Business Dynamics. Admission to the program requires a 3.0 GPA in either a BSN or ADN, RN licensure, as well as evidence of having taken a course in statistics, and one to two years of work experience. 

Net Price: $11,877 in-state; 35,307 out-of-state

 

#28 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA – COLUMBIA

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING ADMINISTRATION ONLINE

Website

Score: 83.17

The main campus of the University of South Carolina is located in Columbia, where over 34,000 students annually enroll. USC offers a Master of Nursing Administration online. The program is entirely online and is designed to prepare practicing professionals to move into supervisory, administrative, and leadership roles. The program does require field study, but those courses can be fulfilled at the current worksites of students.

Courses in the program include Clinical Application of Population Analytics, Facilitative Processes in Nursing Administration, and Financing Health Care. Admission to the program requires either a bachelor's degree in nursing or an associates degree. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is desirable, and applicants must have RN licensure. 

Net Price: $11,862 in-state; $31,962 out-of-state

 

#27 FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 74.49

Ferris State University is named after its founder, Woodbridge Nathan Ferris, and is a public university which is located in Big Rapids, MI. FSU offers a Master of Science in Nursing through the College of Health Professions. There are three different concentrations that students can choose from including Nursing Administration, Nursing Informatics, and Nursing Education. FSU chooses to focus on these areas in order to help meet the nursing educator shortage. 

The program is designed with adult learners in mind and all classes are offered online, though one or two classes do require face to face meetings on Saturdays. Students complete two practicum experiences as part of their capstone requirement, which enables them to get hands-on experience in a chosen area of study. Admission requires a bachelor's in nursing or a related field, with a 3.0 GPA, as well as two letters of recommendation and licensure as a registered nurse. 

Net Price: $11,628 in-state; $18,588 out-of-state

 

#26 TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING-FAMILY NURSE PRACTITIONER

Website

Score: 82.93

Texas A&M University was originally founded in 1948, and since has grown to become one of the largest institutions of higher learning in the country with an annual student enrollment of over 69,000. TAMU offers a Master of Science-Family Nurse Practitioner degree which prepares graduates to function as primary care providers. Most of the courses in the program are delivered online, though there are a few on-campus requirements which meet clinical objectives. 

Classes in the program include Prevention and Population Health, Leadership & Policy, and Diagnostics and Procedures. During clinical learning experiences which occur off-campus, students can work with someone already at their current place of work. Because of nursing regulations, this program is only open to residents of the state of Texas. 

Net Price: $11,234 in-state; $36,606 out-of-state

 

#25 UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 88.10

Since 1989, the University of Cincinnati has been undergoing significant construction on its campus, which has included building new facilities for various health-related departments and programs. The College of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing which features six different concentration options for online students. The program can be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis and can be completed within two years. 

The concentration options offered at UC include Nursing Administration, Women's Health, and Family Nurse Practitioner, among others. Though the number of hours may vary according to the specialization, students generally complete about 672 clinical hours, and 42 laboratory hours. Admission requires a bachelor's in nursing and licensure as a registered nurse. For individuals without a BSN, there is another option offered by UC. There are also state-based restrictions for applicants that must be followed. Unfortunately, individuals residing in Arizona, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Tennessee cannot apply for the program. 

Net Price: $11,000 in-state; $27,334 out-of-state

 

#24 CALIFORNIA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 76.99

Located in California, PA, California University of Pennsylvania is a public university with a student population of over 7,000. Among their offerings is included a Master of Science in Nursing which is available online. The program offers two specializations including Nursing Administration and Leadership, Nursing Education, as well as a dual-degree MSN and Master of Business Administration. 

Each program is specifically designed to equip graduates to perform at higher levels of service in their organizations, whether in regard to creating, evaluating, and implementing educational programs or supervising in a health care setting. The degree features a 150-hour practicum that students fulfill requirements with a preceptor and under faculty guidance. Upon graduation, students are also prepared to take certification exams from organizations like the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Admission requires a bachelor's in nursing with at least a 3.0 GPA, as well as licensure as a registered nurse. 

Net Price: $10,840 in-state; $15,326 out-of-state

 

#23 UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 74.12

Famous for its football teams, the University of Alabama is also a large public research university that is located in Tuscaloosa, AL. UA offers a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Nurse Administration through the College of Continuing Studies. The degree consists of 32 credits and aims to prepare graduates to take up leadership roles or administrative positions in a variety of healthcare settings. 

Classes in the degree include Nursing Informatics in Healthcare, Theoretical Models for Advanced Nursing Practice with Rural Populations, and Evidence-Based Practice Roles and Processes for Nurse Administrators. The program also features a practicum. Admission requirements include licensure as a registered nurse, as well as a bachelor's degree in nursing with at least a 3.0 GPA. 

Net Price: $10,780 in-state; $28,100 out-of-state

 

#22 OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 93.29

Though not the oldest university in Ohio, Ohio State University is certainly the largest with an annual student population of over 61,000 at its Columbus, OH campus. OSU offers a Master of Science in Nursing online. The main goal of the program is to prepare students for advanced practice in the field of nursing. The program features four distinct specializations, all of which are available in the online program. 

The specializations include Clinical Nurse Leader, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. There are specific residency requirements depending on the specialization which interested applicants will want to review. Core classes include Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Across the Life Span, Health Policy and Advocacy, and Advanced Health Assessment. 

Net Price: $10,592 in-state; $29,696 out-of-state

 

#21 WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 81.44

Located in western Kentucky in the town of Bowling Green, not far from the Tennessee border, lies Western Kentucky University. WKU is a mid-sized public university that offers a Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. The program is only available to individuals who hold licensure as a registered nurse and reside in either Kentucky or Tennessee. 

The program consists of 43 credits and includes clinical practicum and internship experiences consisting of 600 hours. Classes include Theoretical Foundations of Professional Nursing, Advanced Physiological and Pathophysiological Concepts, as well as Nursing, Politics and Health Policy. Cohorts begin each spring and summer. Applicants should hold a bachelor's in nursing or its equivalent for consideration for admission and should have at least one year of practice in a clinical setting by the time of matriculation. 

Net Price: $10,202 in-state; $25,512 out-of-state

 

#20 UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT ARLINGTON

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 82.65

Located in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, the University of Texas at Arlington is a large public research university. The College of Nursing and Health Innovation offers a Master of Science in Nursing which features six different concentrations including Nursing Administration, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology, Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Nursing Education, among others. 

Each program has distinct clinical expectations, though all include working with a preceptor at a current place of work and receiving faculty oversight. Some core classes in the program include Exploration of Science and Theories of Nursing, Financial Management in Nursing, and Evidence-Based Practice. Some courses have on-campus requirements on Saturdays which individuals should be aware of. The program offers three different start periods during the year to provide flexibility for incoming students. 

Net Price: $9,952 in-state; $25,152 out-of-state

 

#19 BALL STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 80.45

Ball State University is located in Muncie, IN and is a public research university with an R2 classification for its research output. BSU offers a Master of Science in Nursing which features three distinct concentrations. Students can choose between Nurse Educator, Nurse Administrator, or Family Nurse Practitioner. The program is designed to be completed within three and a half years. 

Students can take classes like Nursing Concepts in Health Promotion/Disease and Injury Prevention Populations, Data Analysis in Nursing Research, or Nursing Information Technology. Beyond the basic core courses, students also take more discipline-specific classes. Most classes are asynchronous to provide flexibility for working students. BSU offers a whole array of student support services for online students, including a Writing Center, online library, and tutoring and technology support services. 

Net Price: $9,774 in-state; $25,942 out-of-state

 

#18 EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 79.20

Eastern Kentucky is a regional university located in Richmond, the sixth-largest city in the state. EKU offers several online degree programs, including a Master of Science in Nursing. The program features two concentrations, one is the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, the other is the Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner option. The programs are between 46-47 credits total. 

Classes are in an eight-week format and some options in the program include courses like Advanced Nursing Practice Issues, Principles of Epidemiology, and Advanced Pharmacology. Students take several practicum and clinical courses. Applicants should have at least one year of work experience as a registered nurse prior to submission of their application. 

Net Price: $9,366 in-state; $18,250 out-of-state

 

#17 GEORGIA COLLEGE & STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 76.94

Georgia College & State University is a public institution located in Milledgeville, GA, close to Macon. GCSU offers a Master of Science in Nursing online which features four different concentration options to choose from. Students can pursue concentrations in areas such as Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, or Family Nurse Practitioner. 

Most of the classes are online, though there are some classes that have an intensive on-campus component. Courses in the program include Healthcare Research & Statistical Analysis, Ensuring Healthcare Safety Quality, and Nursing Theory: Principles & Application. All clinical practicums and internships must be completed in the state of Georgia, though GCSU does assist students in securing a qualified preceptor. 

Net Price: $9,346 in-state; $28,060 out-of-state

 

#16 STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 90.34

Stony Brook University is a public research university located in Stony Brook, NY on Long Island. SBU offers a Master of Science in Nursing with multiple concentrations available for online students. Concentrations that individuals can choose from include Nursing Education, Nursing Leadership, and several Nurse Practitioner options like Pediatric, Family Health, and Psychiatric Mental Health. 

All of the programs include online classes, as well as some on-site requirements. Classes in the program include Health Care Policy and Advocacy, Quality Improvement, Safety, and Health Care Technologies, and Organizational Leadership and Role Transformation. Admission requires a bachelor's degree in nursing or its equivalent, and the program prefers that applicants have at least one year of clinical practice as a registered nurse. 

Net Price: $9,257 in-state; $26,767 out-of-state

 

#15 UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 72.41

The flagship campus of the state's university system, the University of Arkansas is located in Fayetteville, AR. The Eleanor Mann School of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing online. The program can be completed in two years. The program also has a concentration in Nursing Education. Students can either pursue a project or a thesis for the degree and can receive credit for an internship beyond the normal clinical requirements. 

Classes in the program include Concepts of Health Promotion with Diverse Populations, Curriculum Design and Development in Nursing Education, as well as Methods of Assessment and Evaluation in Nursing Education. Applications are accepted year-round. Admission requires GRE scores as well as licensure and a BA or BS in Nursing. UA offers financial aid in the form of loans, grants, and scholarships to qualified applicants.

Net Price: $9,062 in-state; $24,308 out-of-state

 

#14 INDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING EDUCATION 

Website

Score: 68

Located in western Indiana in Terre Haute, Indiana State University is a public university with over 75 graduate degree programs. ISU offers a Master of Science in Nursing Education that is available online. All classes are offered online and students can do their clinical experiences in their home state. There are no on-site requirements and full-time students can expect to complete the program within two and a half to three years, depending on the capstone experience. 

The program is aligned with the National League for Nursing and graduates will be prepared to meet their certification requirements when they finish the program. Courses include Measurement and Assessment in Nursing, Curriculum Process in Nursing, and Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nursing. There are also a limited number of scholarships available through the Department of Advanced Practice Nursing. 

Net Price: $8,916 in-state; $19,452 out-of-state

 

#13 UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 83.25

As a public research university, the University of Alabama at Birmingham provides a robust assortment of offerings for individuals interested in obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing online. There are 19 different degree options to choose from which range from various Nurse Practitioner options to Nursing Informatics, Clinical Nurse Leader, or Nursing Health Systems Administration. 

All of the programs are blended, meaning that classes are online, but require periodic residency on-campus for clinical and learning experiences. With such a large number of degree options, the course options are very diverse and include classes like Health Care System Overview for Nurse Leaders, Nursing Financial Management, and Evidence-Based Practice and Management Descriptive Statistics. Admission requires an undergraduate nursing degree with a 3.0 GPA, as well as standardized test scores, among other items. 

Net Price: $8,328 in-state; $19,032 out-of-state

 

#12 UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO, COLORADO SPRINGS

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 77.98

One of the campuses of the state's university system, the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs is a mid-sized public research university. UCCS offers a Master of Science in Nursing online with a focus on Nurse Practitioner. There are three different areas to choose from, including Primary Care for either Adults/Geriatrics, Family practice, as well as a Psychiatric-Mental Health option. 

The program requires 46-48 credits and students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher. Admission to the program requires a bachelor's in nursing with a 2.75 cumulative GPA and 3.3 in the nursing major. Applicants also need licensure as a registered nurse. Due to accreditation restrictions, the program does not accept students from all states and interested individuals should check the website to see if their state is included. 

Net Price: $8,314 in-state; $19,498 out-of-state

 

#11 UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 77.36

One of only two campuses in the state university system with a medical school, the University of Missouri-Kansas City is a mid-sized public university. The School of Nursing and Health Studies offers a Master of Science in Nursing online. The program is designed for working professionals and offers a thesis or project option for the capstone experience. 

There are seven areas of specialization offered including Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Educator. Though most courses are offered online, there are some on-campus residency requirements. Different specializations offer different start dates which can run from fall, spring, or summer. Admission requires an undergraduate nursing degree with a 3.2 GPA and RN licensure. 

Net Price: $8,011 in-state; $19,793 out-of-state

 

#10 UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT TYLER

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING ADMINISTRATION ONLINE

Website

Score: 81.70

The University of Texas at Tyler is a mid-sized public university which offers a 20:1 student to faculty ratio. UTT offers a Master of Science in Nursing in Administration online through the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The program is designed to prepare individuals to become supervisors and leaders in healthcare settings and broadly focuses on leadership in healthcare, expertise in healthcare delivery, as well as regulatory and financial issues in healthcare. 

Classes in the program include Health Care Informatics, Leadership in Healthcare, and Health Policy and Population Health. Students are expected to complete 112.5 hours of clinical work in an area of their choosing. UTT also offers an MSN in Nursing Education, as well as a dual-degree MSN and Master of Business Administration. 

Net Price: $7,822 in-state; $20,872 out-of-state

 

 

#9 UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA-LAS VEGAS

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 80.87

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is an R1 institution with a large student body of over 30,000 students. UNLV offers a Master of Science in Nursing through the School of Nursing which can be taken online. There is a Nurse Educator and a Family Nurse Practitioner option for students to choose between, the former focusing on preparing individuals to educate nurses either in an academic or clinical setting, and the latter focusing on direct care.

Each track consists of a mix of core and specialization courses, as well as a capstone project experience. Some of the courses in the program include Nursing Theory and Research, Informatics and Quality Improvement, and Health & Public Policy for Advanced Practice of Nursing. Both programs offer online courses, but there are some residency requirements and UNLV cannot offer the program to students living in every state due to nursing compliance differences across the country.

Net Price: $7,665 in-state; $21,853 out-of-state

 

#8 SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING LEADERSHIP IN HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS

Website

Score: 83.31

One of the oldest state universities in California, San Diego State University is a large public research university. The School of Nursing at SDSU offers a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems online. The program is designed for individuals already working in nursing who want to expedite their careers by moving into a leadership position. The program can either be completed in two or three years. 

Classes include Quality Improvement & Program Evaluation, Financial Management in Health Systems, and Information Systems for Nursing. Admission requires an undergraduate degree accredited by one of the major nursing accrediting bodies in the US. Students must also submit a GRE score and must hold a California RN licensure. 

Net Price: $7,460 in-state; $19,340 out-of-state

 

#7 APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 71.40

Appalachian State University, located in Boone, NC, has a long history of delivering excellent professional programs to their students. ASU offers a Master of Science in Nursing which can be pursued in a hybrid, online, or traditional format. The online program is designed to be taken part-time and focuses on Nursing Education to ensure that graduates are prepared to oversee education programs in a variety of settings. 

The curriculum includes classes like Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing, Educational Theories for Nursing Academic and Practice Settings, and Instructional Strategies for Nursing and Informatics. Students are also required to complete a practicum and can either write a thesis or pursue a research project. Admission requires an undergraduate nursing degree with a 3.5 GPA or higher as well as GRE or GMAT scores, licensure in North Carolina, and at least one year working as a nurse. 

Net Price: $7,302 in-state; $22,109 out-of-stat

 

#6 EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 80.67

East Carolina University is a public research university with an annual student body of over 29,000. The ECU College of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree online. The program has seven different options to choose from, including Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education, and Neonatal Clinical Nurse Specialist. Some of the programs do have residency requirements. 

The MSN degree requires around 43 credits and features classes like Theory for the Practice of Advanced Nursing, Concepts of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for Advanced Nursing Practice, as well as Healthcare, Finance, and Economics. Admission requires an undergraduate degree in nursing, with at least a 2.7 cumulative GPA, and a 3.0 GPA in the nursing major. Applicants also need to hold licensure as a registered nurse, and some of the options require GRE or GMAT test scores. 

Net Price: $7,143 in-state; $23,420 out-of-state

 

#5 UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHARLOTTE

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 83.74

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is located in the northern metro area on a sprawling campus. The School of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree. There are six different concentration options available through the MSN, including Nurse Administrator, Nurse Anesthesia, and Community Public Health Nursing. Some of the programs are offered online while others are hybrid or evening programs. 

The degrees are generally structured around core classes, clinical experiences, and concentration courses, with either a thesis or a senior project as the capstone. Classes in the program include Advanced Health Assessment, Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Practice, and Theoretical Basis for Nursing Practice, among many others. Admission requires a bachelor's in nursing with a 3.0 GPA, licensure as a registered nurse, and one year of practice in nursing. 

Net Price: $6,832 in-state; $20,266 out-of-state

 

#4 UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 84.1

The University of Central Florida is currently the nation's largest university in terms of on-campus enrollment. It is a public university located in Orlando, FL. UCF also has a very robust online program and they offer a Master of Science in Nursing among other degrees. There are three tracks within the program to choose from. Nursing Leadership and Management focuses on preparing the next generation of leaders in nursing. 

The Nurse Educator track is great for individuals who are interested in teaching either in an academic setting or in various health care settings. The third track is for Nursing and Healthcare Simulation and prepares individuals to assess medical and healthcare simulation programs. Admission requires a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited institution, as well as Florida licensure as a registered nurse.

Net Price: $6,368 in-state; $22,467 out-of-state

 

#3 UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 69.61

Located about 45 miles west of Atlanta in the town of Carrollton, the University of West Georgia is a mid-sized public institution. UWG offers a Master of Science in Nursing online. The program has received national recognition in U.S. News & World Report's list of the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. The program is designed to be completed in two years and there are three tracks for individuals to choose from in the program, including a Health Systems Leadership track, a Nursing Education track, and a Health System Leadership track.

Some classes in the program include Informatics, Technology, and Healthcare Outcomes, Leadership for Quality, Safety, and Health Policy, and Leading Human Resource Systems. Admissions requirements include a bachelor's in nursing with a 3.0 GPA in upper-division nursing courses, as well as licensure as a registered nurse. 

Net Price: $6,226 in-state; $17,010 out-of-state

 

#2 COLUMBUS STATE UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

Website

Score: 73.07

Located in Columbus, GA, Columbus State University is a small public institution with a suburban campus. The School of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing. The program is jointly run with Georgia Southwestern University. The degree is between 36-38 credits and offers three concentrations, including Nursing Education, Informatics, and Leadership. 

The degree is structured around core courses, concentration courses, and a thesis or project. Classes include Principles of Education in Nursing, Health Care Delivery Systems, and Health Information and Exchange Standards & Models. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to graduate. Admission requires a bachelor's in nursing with a 3.0 GPA, as well as licensure as a registered nurse in the state where clinical work will take place.

Net Price: $6,134 in-state; $16,920 out-of-state

 

#1 FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY

MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING

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Score: 82.54

Florida Atlantic University is a large public university located in Boca Raton, FL. The College of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing available either fully or partially online. There are four different tracks to choose from, including Administrative Financial Leadership, Nurse Educator, Advanced Holistic Nursing, and Clinical Nurse Leader. Depending on which track, the degrees can be composed of between 33 and 39 credits. 

Students take core classes as well as classes in their specialty such as Philosophical & Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice Roles, Leadership, Policy, & Finance in Advanced Nursing Practice, or Advanced Nursing Situations: Influencing Health Policy. The program at FAU was ranked among the Top 50 Masters Programs online by U.S. News & World Report.

Net Price: $4,831 in-state; $17,276 out-of-state