Effective health care considers ethics, evidence, and innovations. Grad School Hub's 25 Best Online Master's Degrees in Nursing prepare nurses to provide informed contemporary care. 

Adequate healthcare is vital, from birth to death and everything in between. The health care system needs nurses who can provide care supported by research, compassion, and modern technology. The following list of the 25 Best Online Master's Degrees in Nursing includes specialized programs that train nurses to care for various populations. These specializations include the areas of family care, gerontology, midwifery, and mental health practice. 

Advanced nursing programs typically require a bachelor's degree in nursing and require extensive clinical experience. Other programs listed take a less clinical route, focusing on areas of nursing such as administration and leadership, education, and health informatics. Each degree program is completed entirely online or via hybrid classrooms for student or professional nurses.

Students pursuing MSN degrees are typically already registered nurses upon entry, or they seek RN licensure during or following the MSN program. All RNs must be licensed. Registered nurses generally provide patient care, health education, and emotional support to patients and communities. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses made a median annual salary of $71,730 in 2018. The demand for registered nurses is growing at a projected rate of 15 percent, which is much faster than the industry average. This is due to factors including the growing emphasis on preventative care, and the large and aging baby-boom population. 

Methodology

The staff of Grad School Hub has compiled the following 25 Best Online Master's Degrees in Nursing for the 2019-20 academic school year based on public data released from educational, commercial, and government databases. Data contributed from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor plays a significant role in how graduate degree programs are ranked because institutional transparency is essential for deciding which career path is right for you. Based on this data, GSH organizes information into five weighted categories, which are:

  • Alumni Feedback: 20% 
  • Continued Enrollment: 20% 
  • Degree Selectivity: 10%
  • Graduate Expenses: 25%
  • Projected Annual Salary: 25%

A more comprehensive evaluation of how each category is determined and scored is accessible through our Ranking Methodology page. 

Here are the 25 Best Online Master's Degrees in Nursing for 2019 – 2020!

#25 – University of Pittsburgh

Master of Science in Nursing

Pittsburgh, PA

Website

The University of Pittsburgh awards an online program leading to a Master of Science in Nursing. Students can major in Clinical Nurse Leader, Nursing Administration, or Nursing Informatics. Courses can be accessed entirely online through interactive learning technologies allowing for discussion and networking. Course examples include Finance and Economics for Healthcare Leaders, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention for Culturally Diverse Populations, and Research for Evidence-Based Practice. The degree requires 420 clinical practicum hours, which can typically be arranged in the student's community. The curriculum culminates in a comprehensive exam. The program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Pitt began in 1787 as a preparatory school in a log cabin. Today, it is a state-related research university in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is a member of the Association of American Universities, an organization of the top research universities in North America. The university is a major recipient of health research funding from sources such as the National Institute of Health. U.S. News & World Report ranks Pitt at No. 70 in National Universities, No. 55 in Most Innovative Schools, and No. 26 in Top Public Schools. The university ranks at No. 35 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs and its School of Nursing ranks at No. 12 at the master's level.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,846 in-state; $38,736 out-of-state 

#24 – University of St. Francis

Master of Science in Nursing

Joliet, IN

Website

The University of St. Francis awards an online program leading to a Master of Science in Nursing. Students can follow a track for Family Nurse Practitioner, Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, Nursing Educator, or Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science to Master of Science in Nursing. The core curriculum consists of four courses, including Advanced Nursing: Roles & Issues, Biostatistics & Nursing Research, and Evidence-Based Health Care. The Practitioner tracks require three to four clinical practicum courses, while the others require one four-credit practicum each. The Nursing Administration track requires students to complete a minimum of 27 credit hours on campus. 

USF was established in 1920 as Assisi Junior College. Now a private university, it is affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church and specifically the Franciscans. The university has a main campus in Joliet, Illinois, a second in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and additional locations throughout the United States. Around two-thirds of USF students are enrolled off-campus or online. It was among the nation's first institutions of higher education to offer a fully online MBA program. The university is particularly noted for its professional preparation of health care professionals. U.S. News & World Report ranks USF at No. 28 in Regional Universities Midwest and No. 13 in Best Value Schools. The university ranks at No. 62 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,464

#23 – University of Connecticut

Master's in Neonatal Nursing

Storrs, CT

Website

The University of Connecticut awards an online program leading to a master's degree in Neonatal Nursing. To be admitted, students must complete a minimum of two years of full-time, RN-level experience in a level-three neonatal intensive care unit. The 44-credit curriculum includes courses in Health Policy and Populations-Based Advocacy, Nursing Science and Patterns of Knowing, and Statistical Methods in Nursing. It also contains three advanced neonatal nursing practicum experiences. Students can complete the degree on a full-time or part-time basis. Graduates of the program are eligible to work as neonatal nurse practitioners and to apply for the national exam for gynecologic, neonatal, and obstetric specialties.

UConn was founded in 1881 as an agricultural school. Today, it is a flagship public research university. It is a Carnegie-classified top-tier research university with land, sea, and space grants. Located in Storrs, Connecticut, the university is one of the founding institutions of New England's Knowledge Corridor. U.S. News & World Report ranks UConn at No. 89 in Best Value Schools, No. 63 in National Universities, and No. 22 in Top Public Schools. The university also ranks at No. 70 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. Its School of Nursing ranks at No. 46 in Best Nursing Schools: Masters.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,350 in-state; $36,962 out-of-state 

#22 – University of Texas at Arlington

Master of Science in Nursing

Arlington, TX

Website

The University of Texas at Arlington offers a Master of Science in Nursing through its College of Nursing and Health Innovation. The MSN's accelerated online programs include Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Nursing Administration, Nursing Education, Pediatric Acute Care, and Pediatric Primary Care. The 39-credit Nursing Education program emphasizes experiential learning through active, hands-on clinical practice, and can be completed in 24 months. The 36-credit Nursing Administration program can be completed in 20 to 26 months. Courses include Evidence-Based Practice, Exploration of Science and Theories for Nursing, and Principles of Research in Nursing. 

UTA was a member institution of the Texas A&M University System before joining the University of Texas System. The public research university is among the nation's fastest-growing universities. It is the largest university in North Texas and the fourth-largest in the state. The campus is located in Arlington, halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA at No. 221 in National universities and No. 126 in Top Public Schools. The university ranks at No. 75 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs and No. 56 in Best Nursing Schools: Masters. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,533 

#21 – Clarkson College

Master of Science in Nursing

Omaha, NE

Website

Clarkson College awards an online program leading to a Master of Science in Nursing. The degree program prepares graduates for independent and collaborative work in health care strategy in advanced practice nursing roles. Students can choose an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education, or Nursing Health Care Administration specialty. Those who choose practitioner specialties must attend minimal on-campus visits. Nursing students culminate their studies by writing an evidence-based practice journal article and a presentation on clinical research findings. Practitioner graduates will be prepared to sit for the national nurse practitioner certification exam.

Clarkson College was founded in 1888. It is a private, non-profit college that specializes in the health sciences. The college explores areas of the health sciences such as community health, health information management, nursing, physical therapy, and radiologic technology. Located in urban Omaha, the college is affiliated with the Nebraska Medicine public health sciences center. It is also affiliated with the Episcopal Church. U.S. News & World Report ranks Clarkson at No. 102 in National Universities and No. 31 in Best Value Schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,764

#20 – University of Arizona

Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Systems Leadership

Tucson, AZ

Website

The University of Arizona offers a Master of Science in Nursing in Clinical System Leadership. The online degree program is designed to strengthen students' skills in patient care and leadership. The curriculum covers emerging technologies and the inner workings of a wide range of healthcare systems and environments. The program offers two tracks: an ADN track for students with an associate degree in nursing and a BSN track for those with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Courses include Healing Environments and Practices, Healthcare Business Dynamics, and Health Promotion and Risk Reduction. The curriculum culminates in a 16-week Clinical Systems Leadership Immersion. Students can complete the degree program in as few as 15 months.

U of A was founded in 1885 as the first university in the Arizona Territory. Today, it is a public research university. The main campus is located in Tucson, and the College of Medicine also has facilities in Phoenix. The university is affiliated with Banner – University Medical Centers in Tucson and Phoenix. It is Arizona's only member of the Association of American Universities. U.S. News & World Report ranks U of A at No. 106 in National Universities, No. 97 in Best Value Schools, and No. 46 in Top Public Schools. The university also ranks at No. 47 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs and No. 30 in Best Nursing Schools: Masters. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,716 in-state; $32,065 out-of-state 

#19 – Texas A&M University

Master of Science in Nursing – Family Nurse Practitioner

College Station, TX

Website

Texas A&M University offers a Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner program. To be admitted, applicants must live in the state of Texas and hold an active Registered Nurse license. The degree program prepares graduates to provide primary care for a range of clients with a focus on disease prevention, health promotion, illness management, and risk reduction. While the program is offered primarily online, two on-campus clinical experiences are required. Students must also attend campus once or twice while taking Primary Care courses. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for national nurse practitioner certification and family nurse practitioner credentialing exams. 

Established in 1871, Texas A&M is now a public research university and the founding member of the Texas A&M University System. Located in College Station, the A&M campus is one of the largest in the United States. The university also has the largest student body in Texas and the second-largest in the nation. U.S. News & World Report ranks A&M at No. 66 in National Universities, No. 44 in Best Value Schools, No. 37 in Most Innovative Schools, and No. 24 in Top Public Schools. The university also ranks at No. 84 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,552 in-state; $17,904 out-of-state 

#18 – Saint Xavier University

Master of Science in Nursing

Chicago, IL

Website

Saint Xavier University offers three different online programs leading to a Master of Science in Nursing degree. Students can choose a Clinical Leadership, Executive Leadership, or Nurse Educator track. Each MSN program is designed to advance professionals' business, clinical, leadership, and management skills. The core curriculum includes courses in Communication, Culture, Collaboration, and Conflict in Health Care; Information Technology and Health Care Outcomes; and Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice. Graduates of the program are equipped to sit for national certification exams in their area of specialization. 

SXU was founded as a women's college in 1846 by the Sisters of Mercy. Today, the University offers programs in the arts and sciences, management, and nursing and health sciences. The School of Nursing and Health Sciences is recognized as a Center of Excellence by the National League of Nursing. The university serves one of the most ethnically diverse student populations in Chicago, Illinois. U.S. News & World Report ranks SXU at No. 72 in Regional Universities Midwest and No. 46 in Best Value Schools. The university also ranks third in the nation in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,000

#17 – George Washington University

Master of Science in Nursing

Washington, D.C. 

Website

George Washington University offers a Master of Science in Nursing through its School of Nursing. The degree program is offered in a hybrid format that combines online courses and in-person training in simulation centers. The School of Nursing prioritizes global policy and underserved communities. Students can choose from seven program options, including but not limited to Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Course requirements include Children and Families; Evidence-Based Practice for Health Care Researchers; and Patient Safety and Health Care Quality. The curriculum culminates in a six-credit Transition into Professional Practice capstone, which focuses in part on preparation for the National Council Licensure Examination.

GWU was chartered in 1821 by an act of the United States Congress. This was in part due to first U.S. president George Washington's documented wishes to establish a university in the nation's capital. Today, the private research university is located within blocks of the White House in Washington, D.C. It is consistently ranked among the nation's top research universities. U.S. News & World Report ranks GW at No. 68 in Best Value Schools, No. 63 in National Universities, and No. 37 in Most Innovative Schools. The university also ranks sixth in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $30,780

#16 – Florida Atlantic University

Master of Science in Nursing Administrative and Financial Leadership 

Boca Raton, FL

Website

Florida Atlantic University offers a Master of Science in Nursing Administrative and Financial Leadership. The degree program can be completed entirely online. A minimum of 37 to 39 credit hours of study is required to complete the program. The curriculum covers advanced topics in finance and management in nursing. Course offerings include Clinical Informatics, Financial Administration of Nursing Systems, Healthcare Financing, and Human Resource Management. A minimum of 180 to 270 practicum hours is also required, which can be completed in the student's local area. Each student is expected to find a preceptor mentor, with help from a faculty advisor. 

FAU was established in 1961 by the Florida state legislature. It was built on the former Boca Raton Army Airfield. Today, the public university also has five satellite campuses in cities throughout South Florida. FAU research conducts significant research in areas such as bioterrorism, marine biotechnology, ocean engineering, and renewable energy. U.S. News & World Report ranks FAU at No. 23 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,467 in-state; $16,695 out-of-state

#15 – University of Texas at Tyler

Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Administration

Tyler, TX

Website

The University of Texas at Tyler offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree in Nursing Administration. The degree program can be completed entirely online, and students are expected to communicate with faculty through online tools such as instant messenger. The theory-based curriculum includes required courses such as Delivery of Care, Health Care Informatics, Health Policy and Population Health, and Nursing Education Curriculum Development. Students must also complete 112 clinical practicum hours. The curriculum culminates in two capstone courses.

UT Tyler was founded as a college in 1971. It is now a public state university and a member institution of The University of Texas System. The main campus is located in the East Texas town of Tyler, near the Dallas metropolitan area. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTT at No. 81 in Regional Universities West and No. 27 in Top Public Schools. The university is ranked at No. 19 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,472 in-state; $13,374 out-of-state 

#14 – Loyola University New Orleans

Master of Science in Nursing

New Orleans, LA

Website

Loyola University New Orleans offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree program. The program can be completed entirely online. Students can follow one of three career preparation tracks: Family Nurse Practitioner, Healthcare Systems Administration & Leadership, or Nurse Educator. The requirements for each track range from 36 to 48 credit hours of study, plus 180 to 720 supervised practicum hours. Students following the rigorous Family Nurse Practitioner track attend on-campus conferences each spring. Core MSN courses across all tracks include Advanced Research Methods, Informatics, and Population Health Management. Depending on their chosen track, students can complete the program in two to three years.

Loyola was established in 1904 as a college by Jesuits. It was named after Society of Jesus founder Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Today, it is a private Roman Catholic research university in New Orleans, Louisiana. The university's research institutes include the Jesuit Social Research Institute, the Center for the Study of Catholics in the South, and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 12 in both Best Value Schools and Regional Universities South. The school ranks 42nd in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,724

#13 – University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Master of Science in Nursing

Charlotte, NC

Website

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers a Master of Science in Nursing. Three specialization areas are offered online in the area of Systems Population: Community/Public Health Nursing, Nurse Administrator, and Nurse Educator. Program requirements range from 36 to 39 credit hours of study. Students can complete their program of choice in 27 to 36 months of part-time study. The Nurse Administrator and Nurse Educator programs each require 180 hours of a clinical study, and the Nurse Educator program requires an additional 15 hours of classroom instruction. The Community/Public Health Nursing specialization requires 360 hours of clinical practice. 

UNC Charlotte was established in 1946 to educate returning World War II veterans. Today, it is a public research university comprised of nine colleges focused on areas of study including Arts and Architecture, Computing and Informatics, and Health and Human Services. The university offers three campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina. U.S. News & World Report ranks UNC Charlotte at No. 194 in National Universities and No. 106 in Top Public Schools. The university is also listed at No. 62 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,337 in-state; $17,771 out-of-state 

#12 – University of Central Florida

Master of Science in Nursing

Orland, FL

Website

The University of Central Florida offers a Master of Science in Nursing. The online degree program teaches strategies in leadership, management, and teaching in nursing. It also emphasizes patient safety, global and community nursing, and research skills. The program is designed for students who hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Students can choose from three tracks: Nurse Educator, Nursing and Healthcare Simulation, and Nursing Leadership and Management. Track options require 31 to 36 credit hours of study, plus 60 to 315 clinical hours. Depending on their chosen track, students can complete the program on an accelerated, full-time, or part-time basis in four to seven semesters.

UCF was founded in 1963 with the mission to prepare personnel for the U.S. space program on Florida's Space Coast. Focused initially on engineering and technology, UCF is now a public state space-grant research university. Located in Orlando, the university has the largest on-campus student enrollment in the nation. It operates ten regional campuses in Central Florida and leads the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium. U.S. News & World Report ranks UCF at No. 165 in National Universities, No. 87 in Top Public Schools, and No. 10 in Most Innovative Schools. The university is also listed at No. 50 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,916 in-state; $25,759 out-of-state 

#11 – University of Cincinnati

Master of Science in Nursing

Cincinnati, OH

Website

The University of Cincinnati offers a Master of Science in Nursing. The online degree program is designed to prepare nurses for advanced roles in health care settings. The university offers six online MSN program options, including Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, and Women's Health. The online Nurse Midwifery and Occupational Health programs require campus visits. Requirements and schedules vary by program, but programs typically include 40 to 50 credit hours and can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Most programs also require extensive clinical practicum hours and some laboratory study.

Founded in 1819, UC is the oldest institution of higher education in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is also the second largest university in the state by student enrollment. The public research university is a member institution of the University System of Ohio. The university's off-campus research facilities include the Cincinnati Observatory and the UC Metabolic Diseases Institute. The UC Academic Health Center is noted for developing the first live polio vaccine. U.S. News & World Report ranks UC at No. 147 in National Universities and No. 75 in Top Public Schools. The university is also ranked 10th in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,790 in-state; $24,532 out-of-state 

#10 – Gonzaga University

Master of Science in Nursing

Spokane, WA

Website

Gonzaga University offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree program. MSN students can choose from three career track options: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Leadership in Healthcare, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. The practitioner programs consist of 47 credits, 660 clinical practicum hours, and five to six on-campus immersions. The programs are typically completed in nine semesters. The Nursing Leadership in Healthcare program includes 30 credits, 180 clinical hours, and one on-campus immersion. The program is typically completed in six semesters. MSN core courses include Contemporary Healthcare Environment, Information Technology & Data Management, and Theoretical Foundations for Healthcare Improvement.

Gonzaga was founded in 1887 by the Society of Jesus and named for the Jesuit Saint Aloysius Gonzaga. Today, the University is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The school's academic programs are rooted in the liberal arts. It has a main campus in Spokane, Washington, and an international campus in Florence, Italy. U.S. News & World Report ranks GU at No. 7 in Most Innovative Schools, No. 6 in Best Value Schools, and No. 4 in Regional Universities West. The university is also listed at No. 93 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,725

#9 – San Diego State University

Master of Science in Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems

San Diego, CA

Website

San Diego State University offers a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems. The degree program is designed to prepare nurses for innovative leadership positions in the health care sphere. Suitable for working students, the program combines online courses, traditional classroom meetings at convenient times, and summer immersion sessions. Students may follow a two-year or three-year completion plan of study. The 37-credit curriculum includes courses such as Financial Management in Health Systems, Information Systems for Nursing, and Quality Improvement & Program Evaluation. It also includes two practicum experiences, an independent study, and a culminating experience with a thesis option.

Founded in 1897 as a teacher training school, SDSU is the third-oldest of the 23 members of the California State University system. It is a public research university and a space-grant institution. The university's research facilities include the Coastal and Marine Institute Laboratory, the Mount Laguna Observatory, and the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve. In addition to its main San Diego campus, the university operates two branch campuses in California and one in the country of Georgia. U.S. News & World Report ranks SDSU at No. 127 in National Universities, No. 60 in Top Public Schools, and No. 45 in Most Innovative Schools.

 Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,176 in-state; $16,680 out-of-state 

#8 – University of Southern California

Master of Science in Nursing

Los Angeles, CA

Website

The University of Southern California offers a Master of Science in Nursing through its Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. All applicants should have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, Registered Nurse licensure, and at least one year of clinical experience. The program incorporates social work, research, and evidence-based practice. The MSN program also provides a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization. Coursework covers topics such as community-based research, health care technology and innovation, and pharmacology. The 49-unit specialized program makes use of video conferencing software and online communities to deliver its rigorous curriculum. All students are required to attend two on-campus intensive sessions and complete 784 clinical hours.

Founded in 1880, USC is now a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The university's innovations include antivirus software, image compression, and the Domain Name System. U.S. News & World Report ranks USC at No. 37 in Best Value Schools, No. 28 in Most Innovative Schools, and No. 22 in National Universities.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $44,712

#7 – Liberty University

Master of Science in Nursing

Lynchburg, VA

Website

Liberty University offers a Master of Science in Nursing. The degree program is designed to be completed entirely online. It equips students with modern nursing skills for advanced clinical practice, research, and teaching. Students must choose one of the following five specializations: Community Health, Health Policy, Nursing Administration, Nurse Educator, and Nursing Informatics. The 42-credit curriculum consists of eight-week courses. Core courses include Health Policy & Ethics; Managing Population Health; and Nursing Issues, Informatics & Technology. The degree program takes students an average of two years to complete.

Liberty was founded in 1971 as Lynchburg Baptist College. Today, it is one of the largest Christian universities in the world. It is also the largest private nonprofit university in the United States in terms of student enrollment. The main campus is located in Lynchburg, Virginia, though most students are enrolled in a fully online capacity. The evangelical Christian university has conservative views toward education, student conduct, and politics. U.S. News & World Report ranks LU at No. 126 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,904

#6 – Vanderbilt University

Master of Science in Nursing

Nashville, TN

Website

Vanderbilt University offers a Master of Science in Nursing through its School of Nursing. The flexible degree program offers multiple entry options for practicing nurses and non-nurses. The program can be completed through distance learning, concentrated blocks of on-campus courses, a hybrid format, or traditional on-campus learning. Depending on their chosen program, distance students may have to spend short periods on campus. Several advanced nursing practice specialties are offered, including but not limited to Emergency Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner. The program incorporates nursing informatics, fusing computer science, and information science with its study of nursing science.

Vanderbilt was founded in 1873 and named after its first donor, Cornelius Vanderbilt. The business magnate hoped the university could help renew the South following the Civil War. Today, it is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. Its affiliated research centers include Dyer Observatory, the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, and the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities. U.S. News & World Report ranks Vanderbilt at No. 37 in Most Innovative Schools, No. 14 in National Universities, and No. 7 in Best Value Schools.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $47,208

#5 – Stony Brook University

Master of Science in Nursing

Stony Brook, NY

Website

Stony Brook University offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree. Students can choose from nine programs leading to the MSN degree. Options include, but are not limited to, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Leadership, Nurse-Midwifery, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner. Applicants to the practitioner programs should have a nursing-related undergraduate degree or clinical practice experience. All programs are offered primarily through distance education, with some on-site requirements. The core MSN curriculum consists of three courses: Health Care Policy and Advocacy; Organizational Leadership and Role Transformation; and Quality Improvement, Safety, and Health Care Technologies.

Stony Brook was founded in 1957 as a college in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Today, it is a public research university in Stony Brook, New York. A sea- and space-grant institution, SBU is a member of the Association of American Universities. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University at No. 80 in National Universities, No. 32 in Top Public Schools, and No. 15 in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,090 in-state; $22,650 out-of-state 

#4 – Ohio State University

Master of Science in Nursing

Columbus, OH

Website

The Ohio State University offers a Master of Science in Nursing through its College of Nursing. The program is designed for students who have a bachelor's degree in Nursing or Registered Nurses who have an unrelated bachelor's degree. It combines coursework, clinical experience, and evidence-based practice in general healthcare settings. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for certification in their specialty area. All coursework is completed online, and all clinical experiences are completed in the student's local area. Some online coursework requires students to participate at set times throughout the week. Up to three on-campus visits may be required. Distance learning specialty options include Clinical Nurse Leader, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Ohio State was founded in 1870 as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, a land-grant university. It has since developed into a comprehensive public research university with land, sea, and space grants. Located in Columbus, OSU has the third-largest university campus in the nation in terms of student enrollment. The university operates five additional regional schools across Ohio. U.S. News & World Report ranks OSU at No. 56 in National Universities, No. 18 in Most Innovative Schools, and No. 17 in Top Public Schools. The university is also ranked second in the nation in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,560 in-state; $34,064 out-of-state 

#3 – Johns Hopkins University

Master of Science in Nursing

Baltimore, MD

Website

Johns Hopkins University offers a Master of Science in Nursing through its School of Nursing. Students with an unrelated bachelor's degree can enroll in the full-time Entry into Nursing MSN program. Those with a bachelor's degree in nursing can pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice Advanced Practice track, which offers clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner specialties, or a Health Systems Management track. Only the MSN Health Systems Management track and the MSN/MBA dual degree program offer online options. The Health Systems Management track consists of 35 credit hours of study and 376 clinical hours. Core courses include Biostatistics for Evidence-Based Practice, Context of Healthcare for Advanced Practice Nursing, and The Research Process and its Application to Evidence-Based Practice.

JHU was founded in 1876 and named after its benefactor, American entrepreneur, and abolitionist Johns Hopkins. At the time, Hopkins' bequest was the most significant philanthropic gift in United States history. Half of the money went to the establishment of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, the private university is considered the nation's first research university. It was a founding member of the Association of American Universities. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $53,740

#2 – Georgetown University

Master of Science in Nursing

Washington, DC

Website

Georgetown University offers a Master of Science in Nursing through its School of Nursing & Health Studies. Students can choose from four specializations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery/Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner. Each program is offered in a hybrid format that combines live class sessions, online courses available at students' convenience, and on-campus intensives. The programs require 40 to 49 credit hours of study, two to three required on-campus intensives, and 600 to 1,000-plus clinical hours. Each program is offered on a part-time basis and takes 27 months to complete, except for the Family Nurse Practitioner program, which is offered on a full-time basis and takes 19 months to complete.

Georgetown was founded in 1789 as a Roman Catholic college. Today, it is a private research university. It is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit-affiliated higher education institution in the United States. Despite this affiliation, the university is not governed by the church, and most students are not Catholic. The university's main campus is located in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. U.S. News & World Report ranks Georgetown at No. 32 in Most Innovative Schools, No. 25 in Best Value Schools, and No. 22 in National Universities.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $49,560

#1 – Duke University

Master of Science in Nursing

Durham, NC

Website

Duke University's Master of Science in Nursing is Grad School Hub's No. 1 online master's program in nursing. The program offers eight majors for advanced practice registered nurses, such as Neonatal Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. It also offers three non-clinical majors: Health Informatics, Nursing Education, and Nursing and Health Care Leadership. While all major programs are offered via distance learning, all include required on-campus activities. Students are required to visit campus at least once per semester for two- to five-day intensives. Each program includes 11 clinical core credit hours and final clinical residency experience. The programs range from 42 to 49 required credit hours of study. Students may choose to add a specialty, such as Cardiology, HIV, or Orthopedics.

Duke was founded in 1838 by Methodists and Quakers. Today, it is a nonsectarian private research university. It is spread out over three sub-campuses in Durham, North Carolina, and a marine lab in Beaufort, North Carolina. It marks one corner of the region's Research Triangle, along with North Carolina State and UNC-Chapel Hill. U.S. News & World Report ranks Duke at No. 16 in Most Innovative Schools, No. 13 in Best Value Schools, and No. 8 in National Universities. The university also ranks sixth in Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $53,540