August 2016
In this article, we list the top 30 most affordable master’s in nursing online (MSN online) for 2016.

To be eligible for nursing roles in administration and leadership, teaching, and specialized fields, an accredited master’s in nursing is often required. According to the Nurse Journal and Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning an MSN can improve pay, provide better job prospects, and open the door to career advancement. With online options available from even some of the top-ranked universities, students do not have to give up registered nursing careers to return to school. Part-time and full-time online programs are available, and some offer flexible start dates to accommodate working nurses.

Methodology

We examined approximately 150 institutions that offered online master’s degree programs in nursing. We selected only accredited schools with programs recognized by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing – Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. From initial pool of schools, we narrowed the group to those with rankings in major publications like Forbes magazine and U.S. News and World Report. From among these, we selected the 30 most affordable institutions based on tuition prices published by NCES College Navigator.

Our list of the most affordable online master’s in nursing degree programs are listed below.

#30 – Samford University

Online Master’s in Nursing – Nurse Educator

Birmingham, Alabama

Website
Samford University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,223

Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing offers an online nurse educator option that is designed specifically for nurses who want to work as faculty, instructors, or educators for nursing programs. Admitted students must hold a BSN from an accredited school and possess licensure as a registered nurse. Completion of the program requires 38 credits in nurse educator curriculum. Course requirements include advanced health assessment for nurse education, educational theory and curriculum development, ethical leadership and collaboration, principles of teaching, and statistics for advanced practice nursing. Samford is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News ranks the institution as the 4th best regional university in the South. The online graduate nursing programs are ranked #13 out of 1,200.

#29 – Medical University of South Carolina

Online Master’s in Nursing

Charleston, South Carolina

Website
Medical University of SC - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,000

The Medical University of South Carolina offers an accredited online MSN degree program that is designed to prepare students for careers as advanced nursing professionals. Full and part-time plans of study are open to students, and at the time of enrollment, an individualized program plan is set up. Successful completion of the program earns an MSN degree with available areas of focus including adult-gerontology, family, and pediatric practice tracks. MSN graduates of these focus areas are eligible for certification as a nurse practitioner. The Medical University of South Carolina is a globally ranked institution. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 337th best global university in the world. The school’s online graduate nursing programs are ranked #2 out of 1,200.

#28 – Michigan State University

Online Master’s in Nursing – CNS

East Lansing, Michigan

Website
Michigan State University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,122

Michigan State University offers a completely online MSN degree program that is designed to develop nurses for clinical roles as specialists. Students earn an MSN with Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) degree. The program is administered entirely online with the option of completing an internship close to home. There is no need to travel on campus for any reason. The program is CCNE-accredited, and requires courses and clinicals be completed in the student’s local region. Course requirements include clinical decision making, health care policy and politics, physical assessment for clinical nurse specialist, statistics for healthcare professional, and theoretical foundations and role development for the advanced practice nurse. Major publications like U.S. News and World Report ranks the university. U.S. News and World Report lists the school as the 75th best national university and the 29th top public school. The online graduate nursing programs are ranked #31 out of 1,200.

#27 – Loyola University New Orleans

Online Master’s in Nursing

New Orleans, Louisiana

Website
Loyola University New Orleans - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,090

Loyola University at New Orleans offers an online MSN degree program with specialization in health care systems management. The program is designed for working RNs who want to advance their career with a specialization in management. Course requirements include advanced research methods, informatics, legal and ethical issues in health care, nursing financial resources, outcomes measurement and data management, and population health management. Loyola is a regionally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News lists Loyola as the 11th best regional university in the South. Other rankings include #12 for best value schools, #109 for best graduate nursing schools, and #49 for best online graduate nursing programs.

#26 – Saint Xavier University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Chicago, Illinois

Website
Saint Xavier University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,800

Saint Xavier University offers an affordable online master’s in nursing degree program that is designed for nursing professionals who want to pursue advanced nursing skills and credentials. Two specialized nursing tracks are available, including clinical leadership and executive leadership (nursing administration). The nursing school is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and is one of only forty schools in the United States to receive such distinction. Core courses include health care systems and financing, information technology and health care outcomes, nursing inquiry, and philosophical and theoretical foundations of advanced nursing practice. U.S. News and World Report ranks the university as the 46th best Midwest institution. The school’s online graduate nursing programs are ranked #3 out of 1,200.

#25 – University of Cincinnati

Online Master’s in Nursing

Cincinnati, Ohio

Website
University of Cincinnati - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,468

University of Cincinnati offers an accredited online master’s in nursing program that is designed to provide nurses with advanced practice skills. The online program offers four areas of specialty: adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery, and women’s health nurse practitioner. Core courses include advanced health assessment, advanced physiology, biostatistics for evidence-based practice, and pathophysiology for advanced nursing practice. University of Cincinnati is a nationally ranked institution. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 140th best national university and the 71st top public school. Additional rankings include #28 for best nursing schools – master’s and #8 out of 1,200 for best online graduate nursing programs.

#24 – Jacksonville University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Jacksonville, Florida

Website
Jacksonville University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,960

The accredited online MSN degree program at Jacksonville University offers three specialization areas and part- or full-time completion options. Students may specialize in clinical nurse educator, leadership in healthcare systems, or informatics, depending on interest areas and career goals. The core requirements include classes in information systems and technology for improved healthcare, nursing leadership and advanced roles, nursing research and theory, and organization and policy in healthcare. Jacksonville University is ranked with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. U.S. News lists the institution as the 65th best regional university in the South. The school’s online graduate nursing programs are ranked #39 out of approximately 1,200.

#23 – The Ohio State University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Columbus, Ohio

Website
Ohio State University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,425

The Ohio State University’s College of Nursing offers online graduate nursing programs in a variety of specialties. The online MSN is available with specializations in family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Online coursework follows the traditional MSN program, and university professors teach all distance learning classes. Core curriculum includes evidence based nursing scholarship, innovation leadership in advanced nursing practice, nursing in the American health care system, pathophysiology, and quality improvement and informatics. U.S. News lists the school as the 52nd best national university. The school’s online graduate nursing program is ranked #4 out of approximately 1,200.

#22 – Stony Brook University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Stony Brook, New York

Website
Stony Brook University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,421

Stony Brook University’s School of Nursing offers an affordable online master of science degree program in nursing education with minimal on-site requirements. The program is designed to prepare nurses to teach other nurses in educational facilities and clinical settings. Classes include health policy and advocacy, organizational leadership and role transformation, and quality improvement, safety, and health care technologies. Several areas of concentration are available, including adult-gerontological health, family health, and neonatal health. Stony Brook is a nationally ranked institution. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 89th best national university. Additional rankings include #23 for best graduate nursing and midwifery schools and #10 for best online graduate nursing programs.

#21 – Clarion University of Pennsylvania

Online MSN

Clarion, Pennsylvania

Website
Clarion University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,222

Clarion University of Pennsylvania offers an online MSN in nursing with family nurse practitioner concentration. The program is accredited, and graduates are eligible to apply to the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing for legal certification as certified registered nurse practitioners after passing required examinations. Nursing courses include advanced concepts in pathophysiology, evolution of nursing theory, health promotion in family and community perspectives, and nursing and public policy. Clarion is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a best regional university in the North. The school’s online graduate nursing programs are ranked #28 out of 1,200 similar programs.

#20 – University of Arizona

Online Master’s in Nursing

Tucson, Arizona

Website
University of Arizona - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,048

The University of Arizona offers an accredited online master’s in nursing degree program that is designed to allow students to earn an MSN degree in less time than many traditional nursing programs. Courses are delivered entirely online, and the program requires no on-campus visits or residencies. Class requirements include evidence-based practice improvement, healthcare environments and care coordination, health information and patient care technologies, and quality and safety management. University of Arizona is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the publication ranks the school as the 121st best national university. The graduate nursing school is ranked #30 and the online graduate nursing program is ranked #23 out of 1,200.

#19 – Old Dominion University

Online Master of Science in Nursing (BSN to DNP)

Norfolk, Virginia

Website
Old Dominion University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,136

The online MSN degree program at Old Dominion University is unique in that it is not a stand-alone program. The MSN is earned during the completion of the BSN to DNP program pathway. The MSN requires 36 credit hours, with all classes delivered entirely online. The program is designed to prepare students for leadership positions in various health care settings and lay the foundation needed to successfully enter the DNP program. Old Dominion is a globally ranked university. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 606th best global university in the world. The online graduate nursing program is ranked #31 out of 1,200.

#18 – Clarkson College

Online Master’s in Nursing

Omaha, Nebraska

Website
Clarkson College - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,044

The accredited online master’s in nursing (MSN) degree program offered at Clarkson College is available on a part-time (12 or more semesters) or full-time (eight semesters) basis. Students may choose from four specialties, depending on career goals and interests. Specialties include adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nursing education, and nursing health care administration. Core requirements, no matter the specialty, include applied statistics, essentials of scholarly writing, health care delivery systems and managed care, and nursing law and ethics. The 2016 edition of Best Colleges lists the school’s online graduate nursing program as #39 out of 1,200.

#17 – University of Michigan

Master’s in Nursing Online

Flint, Michigan

Website
University of Michigan - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,986

University of Michigan at Flint offers an affordable master’s in nursing online degree program that may be completed on a part-time or full-time basis. Depending on the semester, only one or two campus visits may be required. All classes are taught in a distance-learning format, while practicum courses require clinical visits that are generally determined by the mentor or clinical instructor. According to the program’s website, the pass rate for students taking the Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam is 95-100% over the last three years. Required courses include graduate pathophysiology, graduate pharmacology, health promotion, and management of acute and chronic problems across the lifespan. In the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, the online graduate nursing program ranks #42.

#16 – University of Kansas

Online Master’s in Nursing

Lawrence, Kansas

Website
University of Kansas - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,958

The online master’s in nursing degree program from the University of Kansas offers four specializations so that students may hone their interests and design their studies to fit career goals. The four areas of specialty include clinical research management, nursing informatics, organizational leadership, and public health nursing. Students take online classes that explore topics in essential nursing skills, management, leadership, and scholarly research. U.S. News lists the institution as the 115th best national university. The graduate (master’s) nursing school ranks #48 and the online graduate nursing program ranks #31 out of 1,200.

#15 – University of Colorado

Online Master’s in Nursing

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Website
University of Colorado - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,916

University of Colorado offers an affordable online master’s in nursing degree program that requires no campus visits. The program is designed for professional nurses who want to build upon and expand their skill set. Two concentration options are available: adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner and family primary care nurse practitioner. Core courses include advanced nursing practice and health care policy, clinical pharmacotherapeutics, philosophical foundations in nursing practice, and research analysis and application. The university is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 46th best regional university in the West. The school’s online graduate nursing program ranks #13 out of 1,200.

#14 – Eastern Kentucky University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Richmond, Kentucky

Website
Eastern Kentucky University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,000

Eastern Kentucky University offers an accredited online master’s in nursing degree program that is designed for professional nurses wanting to expand their knowledge and skills. Students take required courses in advanced nursing practice issues, assessment and collaboration, management of health care, program and policy development, and research in rural nursing. The program is delivered entirely online and designed to provide convenient educational options to busy and working nurses. Eastern Kentucky is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 76th best regional university in the South. The online graduate nursing program is ranked #18 out of 1,200.

#13 – Ball State University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Muncie, Indiana

Website
Ball State University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,904

Ball State University offers an affordable master’s in nursing online that requires no campus visits and a clinical component that may be completed in the student’s geographic location. Three paths of study are available: family nurse practitioner, nurse administrator, and nurse educator. Depending on career goals and interests, students may take courses in a specialty area. For example, the nurse educator concentration requires courses in data analysis in nursing research, nursing information technology, nursing theory, and teaching in nursing. Ball State is ranked nationally by U.S. News and World Report. In the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, U.S. News lists the institution as the 168th best national university. Ball State’s graduate nursing school is ranked #149 and the online graduate nursing program is ranked #23 out of 1,200.

#12 – University of Central Florida

Online Master’s in Nursing

Orlando, Florida

Website
University of Central Florida - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,872

The University of Central Florida offers three online MSN degree pathways. Students may earn accredited online MSN degrees in leadership and management, nurse educator, or nursing and healthcare simulation. The program is designed to build upon the foundation of a baccalaureate in nursing education and the student’s professional experience. Structure of the online MSN program is also designed to prepare students for ongoing education and entry into a doctor of nursing practice degree program. University of Central Florida is nationally ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. Additional rankings include #100 for best nursing schools (master’s) and #42 out of 1,200 for best online graduate nursing programs.

#11 – Texas Tech University

Online MSN in Nurse Midwifery

Lubbock, Texas

Website
Texas Tech University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,390

Texas Tech University’s School of Nursing offers an accredited online MSN degree in nurse midwifery. The program requires 51 semester hours, with classes administered in a distance education format. Although considered an online program, occasional travel to the Lubbock campus is required. Upon successful completion of the online MSN program, students qualify to take the American Midwifery Certification Board examination. Required courses include evidence for advanced nursing practice, health policy essentials for advanced nursing practice, and leadership for advanced nursing practice. Texas Tech is a nationally ranked institution. U.S. News and World Report lists the school as the 168th best national university. The school is also listed as the 442nd best global university.

#10 – University of Alabama

Online Master’s in Nursing (RN to BSN – MSN track)

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Website
University of Alabama - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,340

The University of Alabama offers an online master’s in nursing through its RN to BSN/MSN program. This accelerated option of study is designed for qualified registered nurses who meet MSN program admission criteria. Delivery format is online with 50 credit hours and a practicum required. Courses for the MSN degree include community health in registered nurses, fiscal resource management, human relations management, and nursing informatics for registered nurses. The university is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 96th best national university in the country. Additional rankings include #43 for top public schools and #52 for best graduate nursing schools.

#9 – University of Missouri

Online Master’s in Nursing – Nursing Education

Kansas City, Missouri

Website
University of Missouri - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,215

The University of Missouri offers an online master’s in nursing degree program that combines theoretical and clinical practice to help equip students with the skills needed to work as nurse educators. The program is also set up to assist students who desire to pursue a doctoral degree. Two, three, and four year study plans are available so that students may take classes as their schedules permit. Required courses include advanced nursing role acquisition, advanced physiology and pathophysiology, public health and sociocultural issues, and theoretical basics for advanced nursing. University of Missouri is ranked nationally by U.S. News and World Report as the 103rd best national university.

#8 – Georgia College and State University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Milledgeville, Georgia

Website
Georgia College and State University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,174

Georgia College and State University’s School of Nursing offers an affordable online MSN degree program with two concentrations: family nurse practitioner and nurse educator. The nurse practitioner study plan is broken into two specialty areas – general nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health. All programs are offered entirely online and include a clinical experience, which may be completed in the student’s home community. Core courses include healthcare safety and quality, perspectives of advanced nursing practice, and nursing theory. The university is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the 2016 edition of Best Colleges ranks the school as the 28th best regional university in the South. The graduate nursing school ranks #157 and the online graduate nursing programs rank #8 out of 1,200.

#7 – East Carolina University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Greenville, North Carolina

Website
East Carolina University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,857

East Carolina University offers an accredited online MSN degree program with five areas of concentration – clinical nurse specialist, neonatal nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery, nursing education, and nursing leadership. While the MSN programs are considered to be fully online, the neonatal nurse practitioner and nurse midwifery specializations require at least some on-campus attendance. Full time and part time courses of study are available. East Carolina University is a nationally ranked institution. U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 194th best national university in the country. Additional rankings include #88 for best graduate nursing schools, #15 for best nursing-midwifery nursing school, and #23 out of approximately 1,200 for best online graduate nursing programs.

#6 – Augusta University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Augusta, Georgia

Website
Augusta State University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,834
Augusta University offers a highly affordable master’s in nursing degree online program that prepares students with advanced nursing skills as a clinical nurse leader. The program is set up for students who hold a BSN or RN and desire advanced clinical training. Required courses include advanced pharmacology and nutrition, essentials of the clinical nurse leader role, integrated health care – population health, and management of information technology. Augusta is regionally ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, Augusta ranks #71 for best regional universities in the South. The school is also ranked as having the 31st (out of 1,200) best online graduate nursing program.

#5 – Angelo State University

Online MSN

San Angelo, Texas

Website
Angelo State University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,264

Angelo State University offers an affordable online MSN degree program designed for nurses with baccalaureate degrees. The program is offered almost entirely online, although minimal campus attendance is required. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates earn a nurse educator master’s degree (MSN). Required courses include advanced health assessment, evidence-based practice and theory for advanced nursing, informatics and healthcare technology for advanced nursing, and research foundations for advanced nursing. Angelo is a regionally ranked institution, according to U.S. News and World Report. The school’s online graduate nursing program ranks #39 out of approximately 1,200.

#4 – University of Texas

Online Master’s in Nursing Education

Tyler, Texas

Website
University of Texas Tyler - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,142

The University of Texas at Tyler offers an affordable and accredited online master’s in nursing education degree program designed to equip nurses as skilled nurse educators. Several tracks of study are offered online, including the online nursing administration (MSN), online nursing education (MSN), and the online MSN-MBA. Required courses for the traditional nursing education track includes health care informatics, health policy and population health, organizational and systems leadership, and translational science. The graduate nursing school has received recognition by U.S. News as the #192nd best nursing school (master’s). The online graduate nursing program is ranked #7 out of approximately 1,200.

#3 – Delta State University

Online Master’s in Nursing

Cleveland, Mississippi

Website
Delta State University - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,112

The Robert E. Smith School of Nursing at Delta State University offers an online master of science in nursing program that may be completed on a part-time or full-time basis. Three program concentrations are available, including family nurse practitioner, nurse administrator, and nurse educator. Typical course requirements, no matter the concentration, include advanced health assessment, advanced healthcare policies and politics, and advanced theoretical issues in nursing and ethics. Delta’s nursing programs have earned rankings with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. The graduate nursing school ranks #180 and the online graduate nursing program ranks #42 out of approximately 1,200 similar program.

#2 – University of West Georgia

Online MSN

Carrollton, Georgia

Website
University of West Georgia - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,958

The University of West Georgia offers a CCNE-accredited online master’s degree in nursing with part-time and full-time options. Students may specialize in two areas of concentration: education or health systems leadership. Required courses include curriculum development in nursing education, health promotion and advanced health assessment, role of caring in healthcare profession, and pathophysiology and pharmacology. The University of West Georgia is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, in the 2016 edition of Best Colleges, U.S. News ranks the school as the 87th best regional university in the South. The online graduate nursing program is ranked #31 out of approximately 1,200.

#1 – University of Nevada Las Vegas

Online Master’s in Nursing

Las Vegas, Nevada

Website
UNLV - 30 Online MSN
Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,500

The University of Nevada (UNLV) offers an affordable online master’s in nursing degree program that is designed for professional nurses who want to become family nurse practitioners. All classes are web-based, but some may require an on-campus session during the semester. The on-campus visit may vary in length between one and three days. Required courses include advanced health assessment, health policy and population health, informatics and quality improvement, and nursing theory and research. The graduate nursing school is recognized by U.S. News, and the online graduate nursing program is ranked #13 out of 1,200.