Why This Matters

  • 40% JOB GROWTH PROJECTED THROUGH 2031

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the job growth rate for nurse practitioners and similar occupations to be much faster than average over the next ten years, with a projected 118,600 new jobs becoming available during this time.

  • EARN OVER $120,000 PER YEAR

    The average nurse practitioner makes $123,780, and the top 10% of workers in this field earn more than $200,540.

  • DON’T LEAVE $40,000+ ON THE TABLE

    If you only have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, you’ll make an average of $77,600 per year. By earning the master’s degree that you will need to advance into a nurse practitioner role, you’ll be able to make an extra $40,000+ per year.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online master’s in nursing programs at top colleges across the country. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. The programs on our list are available at institutions accredited by professional organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

We evaluated each school’s program on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Next, we compared this comprehensive list of online master’s in nursing programs to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The Top 49 Online Master’s in Nursing Programs

Best Master's in Nursing Programs 2023
01
Intelligent Pick
Johns Hopkins School of Nursing
01
Best Private Institution
Georgetown University School of Nursing
01
Best Public Institution
The Ohio State University
01
Most Flexible Admissions
University of Central Florida
01
Best Hybrid Program
GW School of Nursing
01
Best for Nursing Administration
The University of Alabama
01
Most Affordable
Appalachian State University
01
Best Specialization Options
Duke University School of Nursing
01
Best for Entry-Level Nurses
University of South Carolina
01
Best Scholarships
Saint Xavier University
01

University of Cincinnati College of Nursing
01

Stony Brook School of Nursing
01

The University of Texas at Tyler
01

Georgia College
01

Georgia Southern University
01

University of Colorado Colorado Springs
01

University of West Florida
01

University of Southern California
01

University of Nevada at Las Vegas
01

University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
01

Duquesne University School of Nursing
01

University of San Francisco
01

The University of Alabama at Birmingham
01

Fort Hays State University
01

UNC School of Nursing
01

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
01

AdventHealth University
01

Oregon Health and Science University
01

University of Mary
01

Simmons University
01

Touro University Nevada
01

Rush University
01

Texas A&M International University
01

University of Arizona College of Nursing
01

Baker University
01

TCU Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences
01

University of Arkansas
01

Troy University
01

Samuel Merritt University
01

UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies
01

Southern New Hampshire University
01

Xavier University
01

California State University at Dominguez Hills
01

Benedictine University
01

Maryville University
01

Texas A&M School of Nursing
01

Mercy College of Ohio
01

Eastern Kentucky University
01

Sacred Heart University

What You Should Know About This Degree

There are a few caveats to be aware of with online MSN degrees. If you live close enough to a university campus to attend on-campus sessions, more clinical-focused MSN degrees than those on our list will be open to you. So while the degrees listed for each university are (at time of writing) 100% online, this meant we excluded a fair number of clinical-focused programs that required on-campus work.

Similarly, if you want to become a nurse anesthetist or nurse midwife, you’ll probably need to commit to some on-campus work. For more details, see our Best Online Nursing Degrees.

What’s Next?

Here are a few questions you should consider when researching MSN programs:

  • Is the program authorized in your state? If your state of residence is different from the state where your future university is located, you’ll need to check whether your home state has authorized your school’s state to teach classes online. Most universities include a “state authorization” page to help you out. If it’s unclear or missing, contact the nursing department or your local board of nursing for clarification before you apply.
  • Do you need a BSN? While some MSN programs allow registered nurses to apply without having earned a BSN first, many require that intermediary step.

Also, it’s important to keep track of any requirements and deadlines that may apply to the documentation that you need to submit for admissions. If this information cannot be found on the school’s website, contact their admissions department.

You should consider how you will finance your degree as well. Research scholarships, grants, federal loans, and any other financial aid options that are available to you.