This is a list of the top 15 best value accelerated online master of science in nursing degrees for 2017. It’s common these days to hear about shortages in the nursing field. But many of those shortages are in mid-level to top-level positions. In order to advance in the field, nurses must increase their specializations and level of education, and earning a master of science in nursing can go a long way toward advancing a nurse’s career. However nurses work demanding schedules, and taking time off from the profession to earn a degree can be difficult. Most online graduate programs in nursing are only offered on a part time basis and thus take 2-3.5 years to complete. The programs featured in our ranking can all be completed in 20 or fewer months. Many of these programs are as short as 12 months long. Some of these accelerated online programs will require a certain amount of prep before nurses can qualify for them in that they have requirements that the nurses be licensed as RNs in the state in which the program takes place. Online education for nurses is still relatively new compared to the opportunities available to other professions. We can expect to see the options available to nurses for online education increase in the coming years.

Methodology

This ranking was compiled from all online nursing programs that can be completed in 20 months or under, and ranked according to the affordability of those programs. More information on the sources used to compile this ranking can be found at the bottom of the page.

#15. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

Online Master of Science in Nursing

Due to the structure of course delivery students in this online MSN program can only start during the fall.

Due to the structure of course delivery, students in this online MSN program can only start during the fall.

Website

The online master’s in nursing from the University of Michigan can be completed in as few as 18 months. This degree focuses on health systems, nursing leadership, and effectiveness science. Students will take courses like foundations of quality science and analytics, policy analysis and development for healthcare leaders, and systems assessment and leadership effectiveness.

Tuition: $41,688

#14. Johns Hopkins University

Doctor of Nursing Practice–Clinical Nurse Specialist

Nurse practitioners with a DNP degree earn an average of $96,000/year.

Nurse practitioners with a DNP degree earn an average of $96,000/year.

Website

Johns Hopkins has eliminated their MSN program and wrapped it into the Doctor of Nursing Practice program. This is a great value as it allows students to skip the step of getting their master’s and go straight from the BSN to the DNP degree. The program is 73 credits and takes three years to complete. In the end, for just an extra year of study, graduates will hold the highest degree in nursing practice from one of the most prestigious medical universities in the United States. Students must have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, hold at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and have one full year of professional experience with RN licensure. The RN licensure must be in Maryland or a compact state.

Tuition: $39,557

#13. Sacred Heart University

Online Master of Science in Nursing

Sacred Heart’s flexible eight week class format allows students to pursue the degree quickly, but not mess things up if they have to take a session off or dial back their course load.

Sacred Heart’s flexible online eight week class format allows students to pursue the degree quickly, but not mess things up if they have to take a session off or dial back their course load.

Website

Students in Sacred Heart University’s online master of science in nursing program can complete the degree in 12-18 months if they take two classes in each of the 8-week sessions. Students can specialize in clinical nursing leadership, nursing management and executive leadership, and nursing education.

Tuition: $23,125

#12. Pennsylvania State University World Campus

Online Master of Science in Nursing

The online master of science in nursing program at Penn State is CCNE-accredited.

The accelerated online master of science in nursing program at Penn State is CCNE-accredited.

Website

Students in Penn State’s online MSN program can choose between concentrations in nurse education or nursing administration. The program can be completed in 18 or fewer months depending on how many credits per semester students choose to take. Some of the courses available in the program are healthcare economics and policy for nurse administrators, nursing research, and pathophysiology.

Tuition: $19,328

#11. Southern New Hampshire University

Online Master of Science in Nursing

This online master of science in nursing program does not require GMAT or GRE scores for admittance.

This accelerated online master of science in nursing program does not require GMAT or GRE scores for admittance.

Website

The CCNE-accredited online MSN program at Southern New Hampshire University can be completed in as few as 20 months. Students will take courses like advanced pathophysiology, global health and diversity, healthcare quality and improvement, epidemiology, advanced health assessment, and care coordination and outcomes management.

Tuition: $18,810

#10. Augusta University

Online Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL)

This program is intended for people with undergraduate degrees outside the nursing field.

This accelerated online program is intended for people with undergraduate degrees outside the nursing field.

Website

The accelerated online master’s in nursing (CNL) program from Augusta University can be completed in just 16 months. This program is designed for people with a bachelor’s degree outside the nursing field and qualifies people simultaneously to take on leadership roles, while also being qualified to take the licensure exam for registered nurses.

Tuition: $17,544

#9. Carlow University

Online Master of Science in Nursing Education and Leadership

Students who want can add an MBA to their nursing degree in Carlow’s 2.5 year MSN/MBA dual degree program.

Students can add an MBA to their nursing degree in Carlow’s 2.5 year MSN/MBA dual degree program.

Website

This is one of the shortest nursing education programs we found, as it can be completed in just 20 months (many nursing education programs take closer to three years). Courses students in this program will take include evidence-based practice, leadership styles, fiscal management, healthcare ethics and policy, evaluation and measurement, statistical applications, and leadership in adult education.

Tuition: $16,040

#8. University of South Carolina

Online Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration

According to U.S. News and World Report the University of South Carolina has the best online graduate nursing programs in the United States.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the University of South Carolina has the best online graduate nursing programs in the United States.

Website

The online MSN in nursing administration program from the University of South Carolina features an additional focus on organizational leadership. The program can be completed in as few as 12 months. Both in-state and out-of-state students pay the same price. Students will take courses like theoretical and conceptual foundations for nursing, conceptual basis of health systems, and introduction to biostatistics.

Tuition: $15,990

#7. University of South Alabama

Online Master of Science in Nursing

This online MSN program offers twelve specializations.

This accelerated online MSN program offers twelve specializations.

Website

The University of South Alabama’s BSN to MSN pathway program can be completed in just 12 months. Students can choose between specialties in adult-gerontological acute or primary care, clinical nurse leader, executive nursing administration, family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, nursing informatics, pediatric acute or primary care, psychiatric family nurse practitioner, or women’s health nurse practitioner.

Tuition: $15,550

#6. University of Texas at Arlington

Online Master of Science in Nursing Administration

The online courses in this online master’s in nursing program vary in length from 5-10 weeks.

The online courses in this online master’s in nursing program vary in length from 5-10 weeks.

Website

The University of Texas at Arlington’s accelerated online master of science in nursing degree can be completed in just 18 months. Students can opt into an advanced nursing educator certificate on top of their master’s, but it’s an extra 12 credits. Students should expect to take courses like nursing management in the healthcare environment, exploration of science and theories for nursing, and roles and functions of the nurse administrator.

Tuition: $14,713

#5. Saint Xavier University

Online Master of Science in Nursing

Saint Xavier University is a four-year Roman Catholic university affiliated with the Sisters of Mercy.

Saint Xavier University, a four-year Roman Catholic university affiliated with the Sisters of Mercy, is offering an accelerated MSN online.

Website

Students can complete the online MSN program at Saint Xavier University in as few as 18 months. The program offers both clinical and executive tracks. Students will take core courses like philosophical and theoretical foundations of advanced nursing practice, nursing inquiry, healthcare systems and financing, and information technology and healthcare outcomes.

Tuition: $14,400

#4. Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health

Online Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Executive

 

This online nursing program is accredited by the CCNE.

This accelerated online nursing program is accredited by the CCNE.

Website

Nebraska Methodist College’s online master of science in nursing program can be completed in 21 months. Students can choose between specializations in nursing informatics, nursing executive, or nurse educator. Courses are 5-10 weeks long and students get a one-week break between courses. Students in this program will take courses like issues in advanced nursing roles, measurement and statistical concepts for data interpretation, and critical appraisal of knowledge for practice.

Tuition: $13,262

#3. California University of Pennsylvania

Online Master of Science in Nursing Administration and Leadership

Even though the program is offered online enrollment is limited to 35 students per class, ensuring professors will have time for their students.

Even though the program is offered online, enrollment is limited to 35 students per class, ensuring professors will have time for their students.

Website

This program is designed to qualify graduates to serve in leadership positions in hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, long-term care agencies, corporate settings, rehab settings, and the insurance industry. This is a 20-month online master of science in nursing program and it can be combined with an MBA by adding just an extra ten months of study.

Tuition: $12,690

#2. Kennesaw State University

Online Master of Science in Nursing Leadership

Kennesaw State University bachelor of international relations

Students in the online MSN: Administration and Transformational Leadership program are required to meet on campus once or twice per semester.

Website

The accelerated online master of science in nursing administration and transformational leadership can be completed in just 15 months. Applicants are required to submit GRE scores, have RN licensure in Georgia, and have a baccalaureate degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Courses cover subjects like healthcare policy theory, transformational leadership skills, and conflict management.

Tuition: $8,559

#1. Western Governors University

Online Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Education

At WGU, flexibility is key. You can choose to take as many, or as few credits as you like.

At WGU, flexibility is key. You can choose to take as many or as few credits as you like.

Website

WGU incentivizes students to complete their accelerated online nursing degree as fast as possible by pricing based on semester instead of by credit. The more credits you take, the cheaper your degree, and the faster you finish. Roughly 18% of MSN students finished their degree in one year, and 23% took just 18 months. You’ll take courses on contemporary pharmacotherapeutics and facilitating learning in the 21st century.

Tuition: $6,500

Sources

All information in this article was drawn either directly from each school’s website or the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator database.

This concludes our ranking of the top 15 best value accelerated online master of science in nursing degrees for 2017.

CVO Staff
April 2017