Top 10 Online Master’s in Nursing for 2020


Registered nurses (RNs)  work hard to improve the quality of life for all of their patients. Many work in hospitals, mental health facilities, outpatient clinics, or may work for government agencies through both private or public sectors. RN’s can benefit individuals, families, and communities by increasing their education level in advanced practices. Earning one of these best online msn programs will expand a student’s knowledge and skills in the healthcare industry, offer specializations or concentrations in areas of nursing, and provide a sense of accomplishment when delivering care to patients.

The RN to MSN programs that are found online have the same benefits that on-campus learning provides. However, with online courses, the program may offer more flexibility, affordability, and the convenience. Accredited online RN to MSN programs offers students with courses that can be completed with one to two years. Here are the top rn to msn online master’s in nursing programs of 2020. 

1. Ohio State University (Columbus, OH)

Ohio State University’s RN to MSN online programs offers the graduate an evidence-based curriculum and clinical experience that best prepares each working student for the growing nursing field. Students will learn advanced practice nursing that can be beneficial to the student when they are faced in clinical settings.  The nursing program at Ohio State University comes in four concentrations; Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader, and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. However, the Clinical Nurse and Neonatal Nurse programs are only available online. Ohio State University offers both affordability and flexibility of courses for students in the RN to MSN program. The average course takes about two years for full time students and three years for part time students. 

Founded in 1914, the College of Nursing has been educating and training nurses in advanced medicine for over 100 years. The school is approved by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Nursing and was the first public institution to offer PhD degree programs in the state of Ohio. OSU was also named on the US News and World Report as one of the best online MSN programs for graduates. 

Program Duration: two to three years

2. University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (Aurora, CO)

The University of Colorado provides an online masters degree program with three concentrations available. They are the MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), MSN-HealthCare Informatics, and the MSN-Leadership degree. Each concentration provides an exceptional curriculum and trained faculty to bring your nursing career on the fast track of success. For instance, graduates taking the MSN-FNP, the program will cover the clinical skills and knowledge of academic standards that promotes health and treatment of both the psychological and physiological of health, including disease prevention and the assessment and management of common illnesses; acute and chronic. The College of nursing does have a specialty degree called the MSN-VMHC, specifically for Veteran and Military patient care.The CU Anschutz Medical Campus is actually located in Aurora, CO; with their main campus in Denver. The RN to MSN degree is affordable and worth the investment. 

University of Colorado offers degrees in all educational levels. The University is also recognized for higher education and provides high-quality courses with fully engaged online programs. The College of Nursing at CU is accredited by the CCNE and Ranked #17 for the Best Online Graduate Nursing Program on U.S. News & World Report. 

Program Duration: MSN-FNP: 56 credits; MSN-HCI: 34 credits; MSN-Leadership: 30 credits; MSN-VMHC: 32 credits. 

3. Clarkson College (Omaha, NE)

The RN to BSN degree at Clarkson College offers a total of four concentrations for graduates heading into the nursing field. These top choices will give graduates a deeper understanding of advanced preparation of nursing healthcare and the strategies that implement the nursing roles of today. The five concentrations include Nursing Healthcare Administration, Nursing Education, Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Both the AGACNP degree and the PMHNP degree are new specialties at Clarkson College. The programs offer a patient-focused curriculum; depending on the concentration, the nursing program will have 39 to 51 credits toward completion.  The length of the programs are eight semesters for full time students and twelve semesters as a half time student. Clarkson College is among the top rn to msn online programs. 

Clarkson College is a private institution; founded in 1888, has its primary focus on healthcare. The college prepares their nursing students in workplaces such as hospitals, clinics, and doctor offices. Some may find employment through government agencies and nonprofit organizations as well. Outpatient clinics and nursing homes are also common places of work for graduates with the RN to BSN degree program.

Program Duration:  39-51 credits, eighteen months to two years. 

4. University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR)

University of Arkansas’ online MSN program prepares nursing graduates in improving patient outcomes and providing nursing care that will impact the nursing field for generations to come. The program is fully online and can be completed within two years. The program is thirty-nine credits, for those who opt out of the thesis option. Students are required to keep a GPA of 3.0, provide two letters of recommendation, and submit their GRE scores to be eligible for the MSN degree program. The MSN degree at UA is one of the most affordable programs nationwide. However, the school does offer scholarship programs for eligible students. 

University of Arkansas is a public research institution that offers flexible options for students in all educational levels of learning. Founded in 1871, the college has enrolled over 27,000 students in degree programs in just the past year. The average length of courses is twelve weeks. The school offers a wide range of degrees; from Bachelors, Masters, Doctoral, and certifications. The school’s mascot is the Razorback. 

Program Duration: 39 credits, up to two years. 

5. University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, MA)

The University of Massachusetts in Amherst offers the MSN degree program, designed to prepare nursing students to become the leaders of a diverse nursing setting. Three concentrations offered with the MSN degree are the Clinical Nurse leader, Nurse Education, and Nurse Science programs. Every concentration will provide the student with the knowledge and skills needed to educate them through the advanced curriculum and enhance their nursing career.  The school provides affordable tuition rates to most students and flexible class schedules. 

UMass in Amherst is all about innovation, learning, and discovery. The main focus for nursing students at UMass is providing engaged models to learn from, creating innovative environments, and enhancing the art and science of the nursing field. UMass is among the top 30 universities in the nation for both MSN and DNP programs

Program Duration: MSN-NE: 11 courses, 33 credits 

6. Florida State University (Gainesville, FL)

Florida State University’s MSN Nurse Leader program offers students preparation of the nursing setting that is right for them. The MSN Nurse Leader degree focuses on nursing leadership skills; along with management of human resources, financial and material resource management. The course program is thirty-two credits and 315 clinical hours. The MSN Nurse Leader degree at FSU is ranked at number twenty-four on the best nursing schools on the US News and World Report.  This program is perfect for nursing students looking for higher level clinical studies within the nursing field. 

Florida State University’s College of Nursing was founded in 1950. It has been considered nationally accredited since 1952 and has educated over 7,000 nursing graduates in the past several decades. The University itself has opened its doors to undergraduates and graduate students since 1851. FSU College of Nursing is dedicated in preparing future nursing students in settings such as acute care, clinicals, bedside needs, and throughout the nursing community. 

Program Duration: 32 credits, 315 clinical hours. 

7. University of Texas Medical Branch (Galveston, TX)  

The University of Texas Medical Branch offers seven nursing degree concentrations (four NP tracks and three NE tracks) that will prepare each student in advanced nursing practices and improve the patient care system. The Nurse practitioner (NP) tracks will cover Adult Gerontology/Acute Care NP, Adult/Gerontology Primary Care NP, Neonatal Nurse practitioner, and Family Nurse Practitioner program; while the Nurse Education tracks will educate students in both the Clinical Nurse and Executive Nurse Leadership programs, including the Nurse Educator Program. The UTMB school of Nursing desires that all students be successful by applying their knowledge of what is taught to real-world situations and integrate their skills through advanced nursing practices and nursing disciplines. All MSN programs do require students to receive their BSN degree completion before moving forward with the MSN graduate program. 

Founded on 1890, the UTMB campus strives to maintain an environment free from any form of discrimination. The college is a Military-friendly institution and offers tuition discounts to those who serve our nation. UTMB ranks at number fifteen nationwide for their online MSN programs. 

Program Duration: Six to Seven semesters, fourteen to Sixteen courses. 

8. University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA) 

The online MSN degree program at University of Pittsburgh offers nursing students three concentration options that provide the best education in advanced practice nursing.The three concentrations include Clinical Nurse Leader, Nursing Administration, and Nursing Informatics. In the MSN-CNL program, students will learn from a hands-on approach to projects and clinical experiences. With the MSN-Nurse Administration degree, nursing students will concentrate on evidence-based practices and healthcare outcomes. For those interested in the MSN-NI, the program will cover cognitive science, computer science, information science, and nursing science. 
The University of Pittsburgh is among the top RN to MSN online programs using Blackboard. Pitt Online and Blackboard, a user-friendly online learning platform, allows students to bring their online learning experience to the max. Students who take courses online receive the same benefits of exceptional faculty members as do on-campus students; the only exception is they  are learning from the comfort of home. In some cases, clinical hours will be presented at local hospitals or medical clinics for completion of the online MSN degree program.

Program Duration: 37 to 42 credits. 

9. Bradley University  (Peoria, IL)

Bradley University’s Online MSN degree with the concentration in Family Nurse Practitioner offers nursing students a curriculum that promotes evidence-based knowledge and skills designed for career advancement and financial growth within the nursing field. The MSN-FNP program at Bradley includes courses such as Leadership in Healthcare, Health Informatics, Healthcare Policy, Statistical Procedures, Advanced Pharmacology, and the Principles of FNP Practice course load. The program at Bradley is affordable to most students and provides several start up dates to enroll. 

Bradley University online programs deliver an education that supports collaboration, convenience, and practical experience that can be used in the nursing workplace. Each course is taught by exceptional leaders in the Nursing field. Bradley offers a wide variety of degrees and certificates and has over 77,000 alumni.  The University ranked at number four for the top Regional Universities in the Midwest. 

Program Duration: 74 credits, 11 semesters, 800 clinical hours.

10. University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ)   

The RN to MSN graduate program at University of Arizona offers a fast track to advanced medicine and clinical systems with an innovative curriculum. Students will learn the best comprehensive patient care plans through the high quality instructions from experts in the nursing field. The RN to MSN degree can be completed in less than twenty-four months. However, those with a BSN already, it may only take fifteen months. The college is one of the most affordable tuition rates; however,  both scholarship opportunities and financial aid to those who are eligible.  

University of Arizona is in Tucson; a sunny environment with a laid back culture. The school ranks at #20 for the top public research universities in the nation. Having Wildcat pride, UA provides many clubs and organizations for students to participate in. The University provides over 250 majors to choose from; offering both undergraduate and graduate options, including certificates.

Program Duration: fifteen to twenty-four months.

The Importance of Choosing from the Best Online MSN Programs

The nation’s aging population is continually growing. More than fifty million people in America alone are considered senior citizens. Compared to the largest US cities, New York holds the record of the most seniors with over one million. It is also predicted by 2030 there will be over seventy-one million Americans, sixty-five years of age and older. With changing healthcare regulations and the shortage of primary care physicians that is growing, the demand for highly-qualified Registered Nurses are desperately needed. So, what does this mean for you? This means it is the best time to continue your education and earn a Master of Science degree in nursing. 

Job Outlook for the best online MSN programs

Nurses do need a RN license to work in almost any state in the USA. However, did you know that the BSN and the MSN has begun to be the norm for employers looking for top nurses in the field? Even the nursing career outlook for graduates of MSN degree programs come with a vast number of job opportunities, including possible job advancement in a rewarding career where you will be always needed. Take the plunge today and earn your RN to MSN degree. It will change the way you look at a nursing career for the rest of your life.