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Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs


Why Is Online Master’s in Nursing Program Accreditation Important?

Accreditation is such a vital part of program quality and value that this guide only lists accredited programs. During accreditation, an independent group reviews the program to determine if graduates who pass the board certification are ready to practice safely. To be eligible to earn board certification for almost all nursing certifications, you must graduate from an accredited program.

What to Look For in an Online Master’s in Nursing Program

The best online MSN program for you depends on many different factors. Some of these, such as school culture or the exact amount of financial aid, are subjective or hard to determine before applying.

Others, such as board examination pass rates, are objective and readily available.

Important eligibility criteria for most students applying for online nursing degree:

1. Admission Requirements
Considering admission requirements when finding the best online master’s in nursing for you helps you not waste time. You want to know how likely you are to be accepted before putting in the work of applying.

Admission requirements also tell you more nuanced things, such as what your fellow students might be like and what the school values.

2. Specializations
Unlike undergraduate bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs, MSN programs all have a particular specialty to prepare you for a specific career, such as family practice nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse educator.

3. Program Curriculum
While MSN programs are standardized, students still have some electives to choose from. The way that the school describes the curriculum is a strong indicator of program culture, as well.

4. Clinical Experience
Clinical experience is key to your success. Not only is it a vital learning opportunity, but it helps you build your network and references. Some of the best online MSN programs may provide clinical placement assistance to students.

5. Accreditation
Accreditation means that the program has passed detailed assessments to ensure that graduates are professionally competent. State licensure and national certification applications require that students graduate from an accredited program. All of the nursing programs listed on this site are accredited.

6. Program Length
The right program length for you depends on your background and needs. If you work full-time and your schedule is not flexible, a part-time option might be the best online master’s in nursing program for you. For students with a flexible schedule or responsibilities, a faster program may work better.

7. School Graduation Rate
A high graduation rate, combined with a high board pass rate, is another excellent indicator of what might be the best online MSN for you.

If the graduation rate is high but the pass rate is low, that might be a sign that the school doesn’t do enough to help students learn. Similarly, a high pass rate but low graduation rate suggests issues with the program.

8. Online Learning Format and Requirements
The best online MSN format for you depends on your learning needs, existing responsibilities, and schedule. If you learn best from live discussions, synchronous classes may be better for you, but if your schedule is unpredictable, asynchronous classes could be easier to manage.

How Online Master’s in Nursing Programs Work
Depending on the program, you can take most or all of your classes online during your MSN. Some programs have a mandatory in-person onboarding or an in-person component for particular classes. If this is a requirement for a class, you will be informed ahead of time.

However, whether you attend an online or an on-campus program, you must complete your clinical hours in person. The best online MSN program for you should enable you to get placement in your community or other location that works well for you.

Applying to an Online Master’s in Nursing Program

Now that you have picked the best online master’s in nursing programs for you, make sure you give yourself every possible advantage when applying. Leave plenty of time and have a trusted colleague or mentor review your application to make sure it makes the most of your strengths and reflects your potential.

1. Admission Requirements
BSN from an accredited program, current and unencumbered nursing license, often at least one year of experience as a registered nurse (RN)

2. Admission Materials
Copy of your nursing license, at least two letters of recommendation, an essay or personal statement, documentation of malpractice insurance

3. GPA Requirement
Often 3.0 or higher

Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs

University of Central Florida
Johns Hopkins University
University of South Florida
University of Southern California
Ohio State University-Main Campus
Stony Brook University
The University of West Florida
Texas A & M International University
George Washington University
Cedarville University


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