In this article, we profile the 30 best affordable online RN to MSN degree programs at accredited colleges and universities in 2017.

According to Nurse Journal, a social community for nurses worldwide, earning a master’s in nursing provides improved job prospects, higher wages, and the ability to specialize in areas of interest. When you hold an MSN degree, career advancement opportunities become available to you. Moving from an RN to MSN degree is an investment of time and money, but may offer a tremendous return.

We reviewed 111 accredited colleges and universities that were listed by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES College Navigator) to offer online RN to MSN degree programs. We looked at the school rankings received from major publications like U.S. News and World Report and selected institutions that had received regional, national, or program rankings. We then listed the 30 most affordable of these recognized schools, with the top spot going to the most affordable school.

Below are the resulting selections for our top 30 best affordable online RN to MSN degree programs for 2017.

#30 – Drexel University

Online RN to MSN

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

WebsiteDrexel University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $33,024

Drexel University’s online RN to MSN degree is a bridge program for registered nurses who have a BSN equivalent or a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing and want to pursue an MSN degree. Several specialty areas are offered so that students may tailor their degree toward career goals like clinical nurse leadership, leadership in health systems management, or nursing education. Courses are delivered online and taught by industry professionals and Drexel professors who instruct on campus. The Drexel MSN degree is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. To be eligible for admission, students must have an unencumbered RN license and a bachelor’s from an accredited college or university. Additional requirements are listed by the program. Drexel is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 96th best national university and 65th best value school. Also, the online graduate nursing programs have been ranked #35 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#29 – George Washington University

Online RN to MSN

Washington, District of Columbia

WebsiteGeorge Washington University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $33,024

The online RN to MSN programs offered by accredited institutions like George Washington University are some of the top-ranked programs on our list. The program is rigorous and allows students to earn a BSN in just 15 months with only two years remaining for the MSN degree. Three available concentrations are offered so that students may tailor their MSN degree toward suitable career interests and goals. These concentrations include adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and nurse-midwifery. To be eligible for admission to the bridge program, students must have a current RN license, a current CPR certification, completion of all prerequisite coursework, and an AND from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0. George Washington University is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 56th best national institution in the country. Also, the online graduate nursing programs are ranked #26 out of more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News.

#28 – West Coast University

Online RN to MSN

Los Angeles, California

Website

West Coast University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $24,000

The 24-month online RN to MSN degree program offers streamlined curriculum that allows for up to 90 transfer credit hours and 270 hours of practice experience. The program is designed to help prepare RNs for graduate level nursing opportunities in various areas of clinical and health settings. Online courses include community practice experience, ethics in healthcare, health promotion and disease prevention, public health nursing, and theoretical foundations of nursing practice. Admission requirements include proof of a current unencumbered RN license from the United States and a complete application. An undergraduate GPA must be at least 3.0 to be favorably considered.

#27 – South University

Online RN to MSN

Savannah, Georgia

Website

South University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,588

South University’s online RN to MSN programs offer specialization options in family nurse practitioner. The streamlined program is offered entirely online and built for RNs without a bachelor’s degree. Students earn a BSN on their way toward the MSN degree by taking online courses and completing hands-on clinical training. Courses include advanced nursing practice, advanced theoretical perspectives for nursing, health policy and health promotion in advanced nursing practice, nursing research methods, role of the advanced practice nurse, and trends in healthcare policy. Practicums in several areas of advanced nursing are also required. South University is ranked and accredited. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as a top regional university in the South.

#26 – Sacred Heart University

Online RN to MSN

Fairfield, Connecticut

Website

Sacred Heart University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,745

The online RN to MSN degree program at Sacred Heart University is a CCNE-accredited program designed to equip students with advanced nursing skills needed for leadership roles in various health care settings. Several MSN specializations are offered so that students may tailor their degree toward career goals and interests. These specialization areas include clinical nurse leader, nursing education, and nursing management and executive leadership. Depending on the specialization, students must also complete between 100 and 348 hours of clinical practicum work. Sacred Heart is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 44th best regional university in the North. Also, the online graduate nursing programs have earned a top ranking of #81 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#25 – Simmons College

Online RN to MSN

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Simmons College - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,718

Some of the top online RN to MSN programs, like the one offered at Simmons College, may be completed entirely online. A bachelor’s degree or BSN is not required for entry into the RN to MSN program, and the degree is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The program also offers and online family nurse practitioner specialization with part-time and full-time enrollment options. Small classes (up to 15 students) are taught by university professors. These classes include advanced health assessment across the life span, contemporary issues in professional nursing, health care system – interdisciplinary perspectives, nursing care of individuals, and research methods. Simmons is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 11th best regional university in the North and the 5th best value school. Also, the online graduate nursing programs are ranked #60 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#24 – Loyola University

Online RN to MSN

New Orleans, Louisiana

Website

Loyola University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $19,442

Some of the top online RN to MSN programs on our list are offered by the nation’s most prestigious nursing schools like Loyola University. The online format for the RN to MSN bridge program is designed for those with an active and unencumbered RN license who want to move seamlessly through an advanced nursing program toward an MSN degree. No BSN is required for admission. Three areas of specialization are offered: family nurse practitioner, health care systems management, and nurse educator. Courses include topics in current advanced nursing issues, health promotion and policy, population health, and professional communication. Loyola is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 10th best regional university in the South and 12th best value school. Also, the online graduate nursing programs are ranked #39 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#23 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online RN to MSN

Manchester, New Hampshire

Website

Southern New Hampshire University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810

Southern New Hampshire University’s RN to MSN online programs offer an accelerated pathway toward an MSN degree. The program is set up to provide an affordable option that saves tuition and time and takes up to 20 weeks to complete. Coursework is delivered online through classes taught by university professors. Four specialization options are available so that students may tailor their degree toward career goals. These specializations include clinical nurse leader, nurse educator, nursing (MSN), and patient quality and safety. Southern New Hampshire University is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the #1 most innovative school and the 101st best regional university in the North.

#22 – Chamberlain University

Online RN-BSN to MSN

Addison, Illinois

Website

Chamberlain University - Online RN to MSN Degree Program

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $17,160

One of the top online RN to MSN programs is offered by Chamberlain University and allows registered nurses to earn a BSN and MSN together. This cost effective program provides full-time and part-time enrollment options with classes offered online every eight weeks. Courses include advanced research methods, evidence based practice, fundamentals of nursing informatics, RN community health nursing, theoretical basis for advanced nursing practice, and transitions in professional nursing. No courses are required prior to admission, only a current RN license that is approved by your state. Chamberlain is a ranked nursing school that has received accreditation. The online graduate nursing programs have received recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

#21 – Gonzaga University

Online RN to MSN

Spokane, Washington

Website

Gonzaga University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,881

Gonzaga University’s online RN to MSN degree program is designed for registered nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing who want to pursue an advanced nursing degree without giving up their daytime obligations. The online nursing program provides flexible online courses and a health systems leadership specialization option. Courses include community health, nursing research, person and conduct, and statistics for health professions. Advanced level nursing courses are also required to complete the master’s portion of the degree. Gonzaga’s admission standards are competitive, and a GPA of 3.0 or better is a must; otherwise, GRE or MAT scores are required. Gonzaga is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top institution. Also, the online graduate nursing programs are ranked #94 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#20 – Bradley University

Online RN to MSN

Peoria, Illinois

Website

Bradley University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,560

One of the CCNE-accredited RN to MSN online programs on our list is offered by the regionally ranked Bradley University. The program is offered 100 percent online with no campus residency requirements, which means that you complete your clinicals in your own geographic location. All courses are delivered online and taught by industry professionals and experienced professors. These courses include conceptual basics for professional nursing practices, evidence-based practice, health informatics, leadership in the healthcare delivery system, legal and ethical issues in healthcare, nursing administration theory, and the RN to MSN practicum. Bradley is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 6th best regional university in the Midwest and 36th best value school. Also, the online graduate nursing programs are ranked #97 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#19 – Capella University

Online RN to MSN

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Website

Capella University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,003

Several accredited online RN to MSN programs are available from Capella University. They include specializations in areas like care coordination, diabetes nursing, nursing education, nursing informatics, and nursing leadership and administration. The specialties allow students to tailor their advanced degree toward personal interests and career goals. All classes are delivered online and taught by Capella professors with industry experience. Courses include health assessment and promotion for disease prevention in population-focused health, introduction to nursing research, and leadership for nursing practice. Capella has earned recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report in recent years as a top national institution.

#18 – Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health

Online RN to MSN

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

Nebraska Methodist - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,942

Several RN to MSN online programs are available at Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health. The online program offers three specialization areas so that students may tailor their degree toward career goals and personal interests. Available specializations include nurse educator, nurse executive, and nursing informatics. Courses are delivered online, and most programs can be finished in 24 to 36 months. Requirements for admission include an associate degree or diploma RN from a state-approved program that is professionally accredited. No GRE is required for admission. Nebraska Methodist College has earned recognition in recent years from major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

#17 – University of Arizona

Online RN to MSN

Tucson, Arizona

Website

University of Arizona - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,383

The College of Nursing at University of Arizona offers an RN to MSN online degree program that allows students to earn an MSN in less time than many traditional nursing programs. Courses are delivered 100 percent online, and there are no on-campus residencies or onsite clinical requirements. In fact, students complete their clinical requirements in their hometown or geographic location. Online courses include clinical systems leadership immersion, evidence-based practice improvement, foundations of systems leadership, healthcare environments and care coordination, quality and safety management, and principles of statistical inference for clinical practice. University of Arizona is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. Also, the online graduate nursing programs have earned a #43 spot in a ranking of more than 1,200 surveyed nursing programs.

#16 – Thomas Edison State University

Online RN to BSN/MSN

Trenton, New Jersey

Website

Thomas Edison State University - 30 Online Master’s in Nursing Education

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,024

One of the most affordable RN to MSN online programs on our list is offered by Thomas Edison State University. The online master’s in nursing program offers a bridge for registered nurses to earn a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) on the road to their MSN degree. Three areas of nursing specialty are also offered, including nurse educator, nursing administration, and nursing informatics. Classes are offered entirely online and in quarterly terms. The school even has a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, which may be completed online and in just 18 months. The online RN to BSN-MSN degree lays the foundation for those interested in pursuing doctoral studies. Thomas Edison State has earned recognition from major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the North.

#15 – MidAmerica Nazarene University

Online RN to MSN

Olathe, Kansas

Website

MidAmerican Nazarene University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,000

One of the cheapest RN to MSN online degree programs on our list is the RN-MSN from MidAmerica Nazarene University. The program is designed for students to complete both their BSN and MSN within a single plan of study and in as little as 36 months. Considered an accelerated program, students attend online classes that move at a fast pace. Courses include community health nursing, emerging trends in healthcare delivery, health promotion for a global society, nursing theories and concepts, research and evidence-based practice in nursing, and theory and research in nursing. The institution is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 115th best regional university in the Midwest.

#14 – University of North Carolina

Online RN to MSN

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Website

North Carolina State University - 30 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Educational Psychology

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,606

One of the top online RN to MSN degree programs on our list is offered by the School of Nursing at University of North Carolina. While not entirely an online program, there are many courses that can be completed via distance learning. Two nursing tracks are available–health care systems and nurse practitioner. The program is open to qualified candidates with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing and an unencumbered RN license. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for all master’s level programs at UNC, including the RN to MSN. Typical courses taken include community health nursing for public health, conceptual bases of professional nursing practice, and improving nursing practice – application of concepts, theories, and research. UNC is a highly ranked and accredited institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks it as the 30th best national university.

#13 – Western Kentucky University

Online RN to MSN

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Website

Western Kentucky University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,400

Western Kentucky University’s RN to MSN online programs are designed for registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing who want to advance their career trajectory. The program is fully online and offers two specialization options: nurse administrator and nurse educator. Online courses include advanced nursing research, advanced nursing theory, politics and health policy in nursing, research applications, and transitions to advanced nursing practice. Admission to the program requires an accredited associate nursing degree and the completion of the GRE if your undergraduate GPA falls below 3.0. Western Kentucky is a regionally ranked institution. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 31st best regional university in the South and 10th top public school. Also, the online graduate nursing programs are ranked #21 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#12 – Regis University

Online RN to MSN

Denver, Colorado

Website

Regis University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,250

Regis University’s RN to MSN online degree program offers a focus in education or management and is designed for working registered nurses who want to advance their careers. The program combines the RN to BSN completion and the master’s in nursing (MSN) into a single curriculum to provide a fast track toward an advanced nursing degree. Online courses include advanced nursing practice leadership and theoretical frameworks, evidence-based practice in nursing, health promotion concepts, and professional role development. Admission requires two years of clinical practice as an RN and an unrestricted, active RN license. U.S. News and World Report ranks Regis as the 23rd best regional university in the West, and the online graduate nursing programs have also earned recognition.

#11 – The University of Alabama

Online RN to MSN

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Website

University of Alabama - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,470

The University of Alabama’s RN to MSN online degree program is designed for registered nurses who hold associate degrees from accredited institutions and are interested in earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing. Students complete a total of 50 credit hours, completely online, with a practicum. Two specialization options are offered so that students may tailor their degree toward career goals. These specializations include case management leadership and clinical nurse leader. Admission to the program requires an unencumbered RN license and accredited associate’s degree, as well as the completion of undergraduate work with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. University of Alabama is a nationally ranked institution by major publications like U.S. News and World Report.

#10 – University of Memphis

Online RN to MSN

Memphis, Tennessee

Website

University of Memphis - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,463

Loewenberg College of Nursing at University of Memphis offers an accredited online RN to MSN degree with four available concentrations so that students may tailor their education toward career goals. These concentrations include executive leadership, family nurse practitioner, nursing administration, and nursing education. Students with a bachelor’s degree in nursing may enter the program in pursuit of their master’s, while an accelerated 18-month RN to BSN option is available. University of Memphis is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as a top national university. Also, the online graduate nursing programs are ranked #101 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#9 – Clarkson College

Online RN to MSN

Omaha, Nebraska

Website

Clarkson College - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,422

One of the most affordable RN to MSN online programs on our list is offered by Clarkson College. The program offers a pathway for registered nurses to earn both a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) and MSN degree without giving up their daytime obligations and responsibilities. Convenient online coursework allows students to interact with their peers and instructors without attending traditional classes. Also, specializations are offered so that students may tailor their master’s degree in areas of interest or to match career goals. These specialty areas include adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nursing education, and nursing health care administration. Clarkson is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as having the 39th best online graduate nursing programs in the country.

#8 – Concordia University

Online RN to MSN

Mequon, Wisconsin

Website

Concordia University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,290

Concordia University’s RN to MSN online degree program is accredited and affordable, earning a spot on our list of the top 30 programs. The online RN to BSN to MSN is offered to students who hold an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) from an accredited college or university and are working as registered nurses or are licensed as an RN in the state they reside. Courses are delivered online and include basic statistics for the health care professional, dimensions of professional nursing, health care policy and issues, leadership – the future of nursing, nursing research for RNs, and theoretical foundations for advanced nursing roles and interprofessional collaboration. Several specializations like nurse practitioner are offered for those who want to tailor their degree toward career goals. Concordia is a regionally ranked university according to U.S. News and World Report, and the online graduate nursing programs have earned a ranking of 92 out of 1,200.

#7 – Graceland University

Online RN to MSN

Lamoni, Iowa

Website

Graceland University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,451

Graceland University’s RN to MSN online programs are CCNE-accredited and offer a pathway for registered nurses to earn a BSN while pursuing an MSN degree. There are two MSN specialization areas that include adult, gerontology, and acute care and family nurse practitioner. The specialty MSN programs do require a two-day on-campus session, but otherwise courses are delivered online. Admission requires an unencumbered and active RN license and an associate’s degree in nursing from an accredited college or university. Graceland is ranked by major publications like U.S. News and World Report as the 113th best regional university in the Midwest.

#6 – Ball State University

Online RN to MSN

Muncie, Indiana

Website

Ball State University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,048

The online RN to MSN programs at Ball State University are designed for registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing. The online RN to MS option also offers three concentrations so that students may tailor their degree toward interests and career goals. These concentrations include family nurse practitioner, nurse administration, and nurse educator. While the courses are delivered online, clinicals are completed in and near the student’s geographic location. Ball State is ranked and accredited. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school as the 176th best national university and 93rd top public school in the country. Also, the online graduate nursing programs are ranked #13 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#5 – Gardner-Webb University

Online RN to MSN

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Website

Gardner-Webb University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,772

Gardner-Webb University offers an RN to MSN online degree program designed for registered nurses with active RN licenses who want to pursue graduate level nursing. The program works in combination with the RN to BSN degree also offered at Gardner-Webb and requires acceptance to both programs. Admission requires official transcripts, a criminal background check, immunization records, and a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. All curriculum emphasizes Christian values in alignment with the school’s mission and purpose. Gardner-Webb is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 220th best national university in the country. Also, the online graduate nursing programs are ranked #92 out of more than 1,200 surveyed programs.

#4 – Spring Arbor University

Online RN to MSN

Spring Arbor, Michigan

Website
Spring Arbor University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,217

Spring Arbor University offers RN to MSN online programs designed to equip registered nurses for careers in advanced nursing roles. There are two program tracks: Family nurse practitioner and adult-gerontology and primary care nurse practitioner. These concentration tracks allow students to tailor their master’s degree toward career goals and personal interests. All classes are delivered online and taught by the same professors who instruct on campus. Admission to the program requires official transcripts, a 3.0 GPA from the most recent 60 academic credits, an unrestrictive and current nursing license, and two letters of recommendation. Spring Arbor is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 63rd best regional university in the Midwest and the 19th best value school in the country.

#3 – Aspen University

Online RN to MSN

Denver, Colorado

Website

Aspen University-30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,125

Aspen University’s RN to MSN online degree bridge program is designed for registered nurses who have earned an associate’s degree in nursing and would like to expand their skills. Graduates of the program often pursue and are placed in various leadership nursing roles. Admission requires a complete resume, an associate’s degree in nursing, an active RN license, and a minimum of one year nursing experience within the past five years. Courses are delivered online and include concepts and theories in nursing, essentials of nursing research, health assessment, issues and trends in professional nursing, legal and ethical issues in health care, and nursing leadership and management. There are several specialization areas offered so that students may tailor their MSN degree. These include administration and management, forensic nursing, informatics, nursing education, and public health.

#2 – Western Governors University

Online RN to MSN

Salt Lake City, Utah

Website

Western Governors University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,790

One of the most affordable RN to MSN online degree programs on our list is offered by Western Governors University. Three RN to MSN tracks are available, including the nursing education option, the leadership and management option, and the nursing informatics option. The program is designed for RNs with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing, a current RN license, and want to pursue a master’s in nursing degree. All courses are delivered online and include comprehensive health assessment for patients and populations, foundations of nursing education, organizational leadership and interprofessional team development, and professional presence and influence. Western Governors is accredited and ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top regional university in the West.

#1 – Grantham University

Online RN to MSN

Lenexa, Kansas

Website

Grantham University - 30 Online RN to MSN Degree Programs

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,080

Grantham University’s online RN to MSN degree bridge program is the most affordable on our list. The program is 100% online and provides RNs holding an associate degree in nursing with an opportunity to receive a master’s degree in an accelerated time period. In fact, the online option can be completed in just 18 months. Multiple start dates are also available and allow students to jump into the program at frequent times during the year. There are also four specialization options that allow students to tailor their MSN degree toward career goals. These concentrations include case management, nursing education, nursing informatics, and nursing management and organizational leadership. Grantham’s online RN to MSN degree is our #1 most affordable program.

GSH Staff
June 2017

This concludes our list of the 30 best affordable online RN to MSN degree programs for 2017.