Best RN to MSN Programs Online

by NurseJournal Staff

Find the top RN-to-MSN programs to fit your needs.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.
Best RN to MSN Programs Online

This guide prepares you to pick the best registered nurse-to-master of science in nursing (RN-to-MSN) online program for your needs and walks you through the factors to consider, including the importance of accreditation, what to look for in a program, how to apply, and financial aid options.

We use our data-driven methodology to rank the best RN-to-MSN online programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, program offerings, and online flexibility.

Keep reading to find out more about job opportunities and information on how to apply to an online RN-to-MSN program, or click here to learn more about the best online RN-to-MSN programs on our list.

Featured Online RN to MSN Programs

What Can You Do With a Masters in Nursing (MSN)?

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), such as nurse practitioners, are among the highest paying nurse jobs that require an MSN. However, MSN programs provide valuable credentials for other high-level nursing jobs.

msn or dnp Required

Nurse Educator

Nurse educators advise on professional development and continuing education, train entry-level nurses and onboard new nurses, and develop curricula for staff nurses.
Salary $74,470*
Job Outlook 9% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Nurse Educators
msn, dnp, or ph.d. Required

Clinical Research Nurse

Clinical research nurses conduct testing and monitor patient outcomes during clinical trials, communicate with patients on what to expect in the research trial, and act as informed patient advocates when necessary.
Salary $81,500*
Job Outlook 6% increase from 2019-2029 (for medical scientists)
Learn More About Clinical Research Nurses
msn Required
High Demand

Advanced Practice Nurse

APRNs practice with minimal oversight as a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse anesthetist. Please note that soon a doctorate will be required for nurse anesthetists.
Salary $115,800*
Job Outlook 45% increase from 2019-2029
Learn More About Advanced Practice Nurses
*SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What to Look For in an Online RN to MSN Program

With RN-to-MSN online programs, location is now only a minor factor in picking the right program. You will want to consider accreditation, the program's curriculum, the graduation rate, and whether that school's online delivery works for your learning needs.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements not only indicate how likely you are to be admitted, but how competitive the program is, the school's academic expectations for its RN-to-MSN online program, and the likely background of your peers.

Program Curriculum

The program curriculum should fit your career goals, whether it is a specialty that leads to a specific certification, a nurse leadership position, or another objective. The descriptions and options can also reflect the RN-to-MSN program's expectations.

Clinical Experience

Especially if you live far away from the school's campus or in an area with few healthcare providers, you may want to contact the school to see if it has placed students in communities convenient to you. All students will want to consider how the hours are distributed and how that might affect other responsibilities.

Accreditation

Accreditation attests that a school meets objective standards for graduating students who are competent in their field and ready to practice. Many employers and doctoral programs will not consider hiring graduates from schools that are not accredited.

School Graduation Rate

The graduation rate is an indicator of teaching effectiveness and student satisfaction. While some students will leave a program for entirely personal reasons, a significantly higher dropout rate than comparable schools can be a warning sign about the program.

Online Learning Format and Requirements

Consider how the online format and requirements fit your needs and other responsibilities. Does the amount of structure work for your learning style and any current job or personal responsibilities? Would attending synchronous (real time) classes present challenges?


Applying to an Online RN to MSN Program

To apply to an RN-to-MSN online program, you will need your transcripts (most schools accept unofficial copies for applications), contact information for at least two references, and a personal statement or essay on why you want to earn the degree.

Admission Requirements: Most RN-to-MSN online programs require an application that includes at least one essay question on your goals, at least two references from a supervisor or teacher, an active and unencumbered RN license, and 1-3 years of clinical experience as an RN. Program Length: Depending on the specialty, most RN-to-MSN programs take 30-36 months. If you have college credits from another accredited bachelor's or master's program that can transfer, you may be able to finish sooner. Clinical Requirements: The number of required clinical hours will vary based on the program. Most schools can help but do not guarantee placement in your community. If you live quite some distance from the school's campus or in an area without many healthcare facilities, you may want to see if the school has placed students in your region before applying. GPA Requirement: Most RN-to-MSN online programs require at least a 3.0 GPA and some require or strongly prefer a 3.25 or higher GPA. However, strong work experience or references may make up for a borderline GPA. You can also explain extenuating circumstances in your application.

Why Is RN to MSN Online Program Accreditation Important?

Not only can accreditation factor in future job employment, but it also allows for more financial aid opportunities. See below for additional benefits of accreditation.

  • Accreditation indicates that the school's RN-to-MSN program meets objective standards set by experts in the profession to ensure that graduates will be prepared to practice as nurses.
  • Some unaccredited schools offer very inexpensive programs. However, since employers rarely hire graduates from unaccredited programs and accredited schools rarely accept transfer credits from unaccredited schools, it is not a bargain.
  • Federal grants and some other financial aid programs require that students attend an accredited program.
  • Accredited schools have stronger and better-placed alumni networks, making them more valuable when job hunting or looking for a mentor.

Who Accredits RN-to-MSN Online Programs?

How Do I Know an RN-to-MSN Online Program Is Accredited?

Because accreditation is important, schools and programs will proudly state their accreditation status, usually on the school or program's home page or a prominent navigation link. Accreditation applies to both online and on-campus programs. If you cannot find accreditation information, that might be a warning sign. Check the accrediting agencies' websites listed above to search their list of accredited programs. Please note that all programs listed here or elsewhere on NurseJournal.org are accredited.

Paying for RN to MSN Online Programs

How much an RN-to-MSN program will cost depends on many factors. Some online programs offer different rates for students living in their state, while others charge the same to all students. In planning your budget, consider whether you can work while attending school, any travel costs for on-campus requirements or clinical placements, and how long the program takes.

Financial aid is available from many sources, either as loans or grants:

  • Government grants or loans
  • Foundation or corporate scholarships
  • Student loans or scholarships from the school itself
  • School work-study programs (Not all schools have these for RN-to-MSN online students.)
  • Employer subsidies (Many healthcare employers will help pay for RN-to-MSN programs, though conditions may apply.)
  • Bank loans (for relatively small amounts)

Learn More About the Top RN to MSN Online Programs and Schools

University of Central Florida true View School Profile $$ Orlando, FL 73% 39% 57% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Based in Orlando, UCF offers an online MSN degree comprising 31-36 credits. Online courses at the university may include both synchronous streaming lectures or asynchronous requirements.

Students may choose between three tracks:

  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nursing and Healthcare Simulation

The nursing and healthcare simulation track equips degree-seekers to lead healthcare simulation programs, which teach students how to carry out clinical skills in controlled environments. The nursing leadership track prepares students for management positions in healthcare, while the nurse educator track prepares MSN candidates to work in teaching positions.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Orlando, Florida
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $327.32/credit for Florida residents; $1,152.72/credit for out-of-state residents
  • Admission Requirements: Associate or bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited institution; RN licensure
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.67%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies depending on concentration
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Gonzaga University true View School Profile Spokane, WA 86% 46% 29% Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

The online RN-to-MSN degree at Gonzaga is a bridge program that offers graduate-level preparation courses in addition to MSN courses. The program offers students a nursing leadership in healthcare track, which prepares graduates for management-level positions in the nursing industry.

Degree-seekers must complete 15 undergraduate and 30 graduate credits. The curriculum includes 180 hours in the undergraduate community health practicum course and 360 practicum hours at the graduate level. A nursing leadership in healthcare practicum includes a two-day immersion experience on campus. Many MSN candidates work while pursuing this degree.

  • Program(s): RN-to-MSN
  • Campus: Spokane, Washington
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $965/credit
  • Admission Requirements: Accredited ADN; RN licensure
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.44%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: About 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Ohio University true View School Profile $$$$ Athens, OH 64% 58% 46% Higher Learning Commission

OU offers an online MSN degree for registered nurses. The degree includes both asynchronous and synchronous course components, and some concentrations require on-campus visits.

The program includes five MSN tracks:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Leader
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Students can also earn master's certificates in all of the above concentrations.

The number of required credits varies based on the specialization. Most tracks take at least two years to complete, and students may need to participate in 400-650 clinical hours. They may also need to participate in 2-4 in-person intensives, wherein they practice their skills on campus.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Athens, Ohio
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $601/credit for Ohio residents; $620/credit for nonresidents; $668/credit for Ohio residents on the FNP track; $687/credit for nonresidents on the FNP track
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with minimum 3.0 GPA; active RN licensure; at least two years of nursing work experience
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes, except for the nurse leader track
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Arkansas true View School Profile $$$ Fayetteville, AR 66% 37% 27% Higher Learning Commission

The online MSN at the U of A allows distance learners to enroll full or part time, and asynchronous courses enable degree-seekers to log on and complete coursework at their own convenience. Students can choose the nurse educator concentration or identify their own area of focus throughout the program. Distance learners must also engage in supervised practical experience in addition to completing their theoretical coursework.

Students can choose a thesis or non-thesis option; thesis students carry out their own research, while non-thesis students participate in an independent study course. All degree-seekers must complete a scholarly project to meet a comprehensive exam requirement.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $574/credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 60 credits; active RN licensure; GRE scores
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.6%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 21 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
The University of West Florida true View School Profile $ Pensacola, FL 44% 64% 63% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Students at UWF can complete this RN-to-MSN online. The program allows registered nurses with associate degrees to earn their bachelor's and master's in nursing at the same time. The 59-credit degree typically lasts 3-4 years.

About 20 credits of the degree comprise undergraduate coursework, while the rest covers crossover-level and master's-level nursing. Courses last eight weeks and cover topics like evidence-based nursing practice and public health promotion.

Degree-seekers may choose between two tracks: nursing education and nurse executive. For both concentrations, students must participate in 360 clinical hours. They must also complete an evidence-based project under the guidance of a faculty member.

  • Program(s): RN-to-MSN
  • Campus: Pensacola, Florida
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $282/credit for BSN courses; $425/credit for MSN courses; about $20,503 overall
  • Admission Requirements: ADN with minimum 3.25 GPA; statistics course with a minimum grade of C; active RN licensure
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.45%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Michigan State University View School Profile $$$ East Lansing, MI 80% 42% 22% Higher Learning Commission

This online MSN program at MSU prepares students to become adult gerontology clinical nurse specialists. The full program comprises 54 credits of coursework including supervised clinical practice. Although the program focuses on adult gerontology, degree-seekers also learn about nursing leadership and education.


Distance learners pursue this degree entirely through online coursework. Courses include health informatics, clinical epidemiology for healthcare practice, and advanced pathophysiology. Graduates of the program qualify to take the Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist certification exam.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing - Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Campus: East Lansing, Michigan
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $43,551 in total
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a minimum 3.0 GPA; current RN licensure
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Florida Atlantic University View School Profile $ Boca Raton, FL 52% 35% 44% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

FAU offers an online master's in nursing with several different emphasis areas for RNs looking for a specialization. The program's tracks include:

  • Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Advanced Holistic Nursing
  • Nursing Administration and Financial Leadership
  • Nurse Educator
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The requirements for each track vary. Students must complete 33-39 credits. Most of the concentrations also integrate clinical hours into the curriculum. Degree-seekers may choose part- or full-time enrollment and can also participate in core classes through distance learning or on the university's Boca Raton campus.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Boca Raton, Florida
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $372/credit for Florida residents; $1,027/credit for nonresidents
  • Admission Requirements: BSN degree; active RN licensure
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies, depending on the concentration
  • On-Campus Requirements: Optional
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
DePaul University View School Profile Chicago, IL 71% 55% 29% Higher Learning Commission

DePaul offers an online RN-to-MSN lasting 2-4 years, depending on whether students enroll part or full time. Incoming students can enter the program with an ADN or BSN.

Degree-seekers can specialize in four different tracks:

  • Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing Education

For each concentration, students must complete a capstone course and clinical practicum experience. Adult-gerontology and family nurse practitioner students must complete 600 clinical hours; nursing education students participate in 225 clinical hours; and nursing administration students fulfill a 105-hour practicum.

Distance learners who begin the program with an ADN take 26 credits that count toward a bachelor's in nursing and take the remainder of the credits at the master's level.

  • Program(s): RN-to-MS in Nursing
  • Campus: Chicago, Illinois
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $735/credit
  • Admission Requirements: ADN or BSN with minimum 2.75 GPA; statistics course with a minimum grade of C; active RN licensure
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Appalachian State University View School Profile $$ Boone, NC 72% 48% 20% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

At App State, the online MSN degree concentrates on preparing students for roles as nurse educators. Distance learners take 39 credits of coursework in total.

Specialization courses cover topics like educational theories and instructional strategies for nursing and informatics. MSN candidates participate in two practicum courses, including one general advanced clinical and one nursing education practicum. Degree-seekers may complete a thesis or research project. In addition, all students must complete a comprehensive assessment comprising an oral defense of their project or research project presentation.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Boone, North Carolina
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $266/credit for North Carolina residents; $925/credit for nonresidents
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with minimum 3.5 GPA, OR BSN with minimum 3.0 GPA + GRE or MAT scores; active RN licensure; one year of nursing experience
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Johns Hopkins University View School Profile Baltimore, MD 93% 32% 43% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

At JHU, online MSN students may pursue two options: an MSN with a healthcare organizational leadership track or a dual MBA/MSN with the leadership concentration.

The MSN degree requires 35 credits, while the MSN/MBA dual degree comprises 65 credits. Both programs require students to complete 504 clinical hours. The MSN degree follows a strict curriculum plan, while the MSN/MBA program allows students to choose from a variety of business electives.

Degree-seekers can enroll either part or full time. They may also choose to participate in some on-campus opportunities, although they complete the majority of their coursework online.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $48,872 per year for healthcare organizational leadership track; $56,032 per year for organizational leadership/MBA dual degree
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with minimum 3.0 GPA; active RN licensure
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.49%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 21 months for MSN degree; 36 months for MSN/MBA dual degree
  • On-Campus Requirements: Optional
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
West Virginia University View School Profile $$ Morgantown, WV 60% 50% 29% Higher Learning Commission

WVU's School of Nursing facilitates an online MSN program with two possible concentrations: family nurse practitioner and pediatric nurse practitioner.

Full-time learners can complete the program in five semesters, including one summer semester. Part-time students typically graduate in three years. Courses include lifespan health promotion, health assessment, and healthcare informatics. The curriculum includes synchronous and asynchronous course components.

Degree-seekers participate in two practicum courses, which allows them to practice supervised clinical experience. In addition, both concentrations prepare graduates to take the respective certification exams in adult gerontology and pediatrics.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $12,627/semester for West Virginia residents; $20,743/semester for nonresidents
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a minimum 3.0 GPA; active RN license
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.44%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 21 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
California State University-Chico View School Profile $$ Chico, CA 66% 45% 30% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

The MSN degree at CSU - Chico prepares students for advanced nursing roles in rural communities. The online program offers two concentration options: nurse educator and nurse leader.

The core curriculum covers a broad foundation in nursing technology, healthcare organizational systems, and advanced nursing roles.

The nurse educator track includes courses covering the instructional and curriculum processes of nursing education. For the nursing leadership track, MSN candidates study financial management and healthcare informatics. Both specializations include a practicum course and a culminating activity, which can be an original research thesis or professional project.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Chico, California
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $3,116/term for students taking 1-6 units; $4,622/term for students taking 6+ units; in addition to $396/unit for non-California residents
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with a minimum 3.0 GPA; a calculus class with at least a grade of B; active RN licensure
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.33%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 21 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
New Mexico State University View School Profile $ Las Cruces, NM 46% 33% 43% Higher Learning Commission

NMSU offers an online master of science in nursing for registered nurses who already possess bachelor's degrees. These students may enroll in the full-time, two-year option, or the part-time, three-year track.

The degree concentrates on nursing leadership and administration. Students take courses like quality improvement for healthcare leaders and management of fiscal and human resources. Degree-seekers complete at least 320 clinical hours of fieldwork over the course of the program. The degree comprises 32 credits in total.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $329/credit for New Mexico residents; $398/credit for nonresidents
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with minimum 3.0 GPA; undergraduate statistics course; active RN licensure
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.9%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 21 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Georgetown University View School Profile Washington, DC 94% 27% 13% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Located in the nation's capital city, Georgetown offers an online MSN program involving asynchronous and synchronous components and requires some on-campus visits.

This program allows students to choose from four concentrations:

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Nurse Midwife/Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (NM/WHNP)
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP)

Each track comes with its own requirements.

  • The AG-ACNP track comprises 40 credits, requires 600-700 clinical hours, and includes three on-campus intensives.
  • The FNP track comprises 44 credits, requires 650 clinical hours, and includes two on-campus intensives.
  • The NM/WHNP track comprises 49 credits, requires over 1,000 clinical hours, and includes three on-campus intensives.
  • The AG-ACNP track comprises 44 credits, requires 784 clinical hours, and includes two on-campus intensives.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Washington, D.C.
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $2,214/credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with minimum 3.0 GPA; undergraduate statistics course with at least a grade of C; active RN licensure; for the AG-ACNP track, at least one year of experience working in intensive care or similar unit
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 19 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
The University of Alabama View School Profile $$$$ Tuscaloosa, AL 72% 39% 39% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

The online RN-to-BSN/MSN program at UA breaks down the curriculum into BSN coursework and MSN coursework. When learners graduate, they obtain a bachelor's and master's.

Students can complete the BSN and MSN phases in three semesters each. The BSN phase comprises 25 credits, while the MSN component comprises 26 credits. While the undergraduate-level curriculum covers nursing in general, the MSN focuses on nursing administration.

The program includes 540 clinical hours in nursing leadership, healthcare systems, and financing and strategic planning practicum courses. Degree-seekers may also carry out an optional thesis before they graduate.

  • Program(s): RN-to-BSN/MSN
  • Campus: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $375/credit
  • Admission Requirements: ADN with a minimum 3.0 GPA; active RN license
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.06%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Webster University View School Profile Saint Louis, MO 59% 54% 43% Higher Learning Commission

Webster operates as a private school in the suburbs of St. Louis. The MSN program allows students to choose between two concentrations: nurse educator and nurse leader.

The degree follows an entirely online format and is designed for part-time enrollment. Distance learners pursue their coursework year-round and may graduate in 2.5 years. Courses last eight weeks and cover topics like population health and pathophysiology.

On the education track, students take a concentration course in curriculum development and evaluation. On the leadership track, students complete a course in financial issues for nurse leaders. All students must receive a satisfactory grade in their practicum to graduate.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: St. Louis, Missouri
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $780/credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with minimum 3.0 GPA; undergraduate statistics course with a grade of C or above; RN licensure; minimum one year of RN experience
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 30 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
George Washington University View School Profile Washington, DC 82% 36% 24% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Registered nurses with associate degrees can enroll in GW's online RN-to-MSN program, which prepares students to become nurse practitioners. The degree offers three tracks:

  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse-Midwifery

Although distance learners complete the majority of their coursework online, they also need to complete their supervised clinical hours for their practicum on location. Overall, the program comprises 54 credits and 600 clinical hours.

Additionally, the university requires all nurse practitioner candidates to attend campus for a few evaluations. Learners take a skills intensive course and participate in structured clinical exams on campus. Students also undergo a skills assessment at the end of the program. Some concentrations may require additional on-campus activities.

  • Program(s): RN-to-MSN
  • Campus: Washington, D.C.
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,395/credit
  • Admission Requirements: ADN with minimum 3.0 GPA; active RN licensure; CPR certification
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Ohio State University View School Profile $$$ Columbus, OH 84% 38% 33% Higher Learning Commission

OSU runs an online MSN program for registered nurses hoping to become nurse practitioners or leaders.

The curriculum includes four specializations:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Leader

Students may need to travel up to three times over the course of the program depending on their concentration. These on-campus experiences usually last 2-3 days and allow students to practice their skills while connecting with faculty members and classmates. Clinical practicum requirements also vary depending on the nursing track.

Nurses from several states can apply to this degree; to find the full list of eligible states, you can visit the program website.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Columbus, Ohio
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • Tuition: $46,568 in total for full-time students living in Ohio + $1,000 out-of-state resident fee; $64,512 in total for part-time students living in Ohio + $1,000 out-of-state resident fee
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with minimum 3.0 GPA; active RN licensure
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 21 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Wilkes University View School Profile Wilkes-Barre, PA 60% 68% 60% Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Students at Wilkes can pursue the RN-to-MSN online. The program was designed for RNs with associate degrees who aim to become nurse practitioners. Instructors teach courses in an asynchronous format. This allows students to pursue their studies while keeping up with other responsibilities.

Students may choose between three concentrations:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health

The degree may take 2-3 years to complete, depending on the concentration. Distance learners do not need to visit campus for any courses but do need to complete a practicum on location. MSN candidates complete 500-584 clinical hours before graduating.

  • Program(s): RN-to-MSN
  • Campus: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $728/credit
  • Admission Requirements: ADN with minimum 3.0 GPA; active RN licensure; at least one year of nursing experience
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.55%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of Hawaii at Manoa View School Profile $$$ Honolulu, HI 59% 34% 16% Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission

The online MSN degree at UH Manoa aims to prepare advanced practice nurses and nurse leaders to focus on population health promotion in Hawaii. Distance learners can choose the advanced population health track or a concentration in adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist.

Students can enroll directly in the MSN program or enter as an RN with an ADN. The full program comprises 30-39 credits, and students complete all of their coursework, besides fieldwork, online. Additionally, degree-seekers must participate in a capstone project, which they can carry out in their local communities.

  • Program(s): Master of science in nursing
  • Campus: Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,001/credit for Hawaii residents; $1,896/credits for nonresidents
  • Admission Requirements: ADN with a minimum 3.0 GPA; successful completion of an undergraduate research course; active RN licensure
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: (Yes/No)
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Georgia College & State University View School Profile $$$$ Milledgeville, GA 64% 44% 25% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Students at GCSU can pursue several different pathways for their online MSN degree. The program includes concentrations in:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Midwifery
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Full-time students can generally complete the program within two years. Courses include asynchronous and synchronous components, so distance learners must sometimes log on at specific times.

The school facilitates this degree through a mostly online learning format, but MSN candidates must also visit the college's Milledgeville campus for a lab immersion week. This experience allows students to practice their skills in an academic setting before they apply them during their clinicals. The required clinical hours vary between 450-810 hours, based on a student's concentration.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Milledgeville, Georgia
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $543/credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with minimum 2.75 GPA; active nursing license
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99.06%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 21 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
University of North Alabama View School Profile $$ Florence, AL 46% 58% 59% Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

This online RN-to-MSN program at UNA takes a structured two-degree approach, allowing students to enroll in BSN coursework before moving on to graduate coursework. They first complete 12 hours of bachelor's level courses and must maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate. After that, students may enroll in the MSN degree.

Once students reach the MSN level, they can choose between three concentrations:

  • Teaching and Learning, 32 credits
  • Leadership, 32 credits
  • Family Nurse Practitioner, 41 credits

The family nurse practitioner track requires students to attend campus twice, while distance learners can complete the other two concentrations entirely online. Over the course of the program, students participate in both virtual and in-person clinical hours.

  • Program(s): RN-to-MSN
  • Campus: Florence, Alabama
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $225/three-hour course; $300/four-hour course; $320 per four-hour course
  • Admission Requirements: ADN; Active RN licensure
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.49%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Varies; at least 21 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Xavier University View School Profile Cincinnati, OH 73% 54% 30% Higher Learning Commission

At Xavier, students can enroll in a 36-hour online MSN degree. The program includes two concentrations: forensics and education. The forensics track prepares degree-seekers for careers at the intersection between criminal justice and nursing, such as sexual assault nurse examiner or forensic psychiatric nurse. The education track equips nurses for teaching roles.

All students complete two practicum courses and one scholarly project. The project counts as a capstone course, and students can fulfill this requirement by carrying out research, proposing a solution to nursing challenges, developing a health-related application, or developing a business or education proposal.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $670/credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN; Active RN license
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 82.89%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Simmons University View School Profile Boston, MA 80% 66% 51% New England Commission on Higher Education

Simmons offers an online MSN degree for aspiring family nurse practitioners. RNs with associate degrees may apply to this program, completing enough credits to earn a bachelor's and master's of nursing.

The program may last anywhere from 24-32 months, depending on a student's pace of study. Distance learners start the program with an on-campus immersion weekend at the university's Boston campus. Next, they complete core courses, 672 clinical hours, and a research project. The research project gives students the opportunity to write a quality improvement proposal, a critique of existing medical literature, or their own original research.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Campus: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $1,210/credit
  • Admission Requirements: ADN with a minimum 3.0 GPA; active RN license
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid
Minnesota State University Moorhead View School Profile $$$ Moorhead, MN 46% 56% 51% Higher Learning Commission

The MSN degree at MSU Moorhead allows students to complete their education online with monthly synchronous meetings.

Distance learners can choose between a 42-credit nurse educator track and a 41-credit nurse administration and organizational systems leadership (NAOSL) track. The NAOSL concentration includes courses like human resources management and applied healthcare financial management, which prepare degree-seekers for leadership roles. Nurse education students enroll in courses like educational foundations and teaching strategies.

No matter their concentration, students must complete a practicum and capstone. Finally, MSN candidates may also pursue a dual degree along with a master of healthcare administration.

  • Program(s): Master of Science in Nursing
  • Campus: Moorhead, Minnesota
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $513/credit
  • Admission Requirements: BSN with minimum 3.0 GPA; active RN license
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84.47%
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 21 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School site: Tuition | Financial aid

Helpful RN to MSN Program FAQs


Can you go straight from receiving an RN license to an MSN?

Most RN-to-MSN online programs require at least 1-3 years of clinical experience as an RN. (MSN programs typically require this also for students with a bachelor's.) However, once you have clinical experience, RN-to-MSN programs will let you go straight from the RN to the MSN.

How long does it take to go from RN to MSN?

The exact time to complete your RN-to-MSN online program will vary based on the program (for example, advanced practice nursing programs take longer). Other factors include whether you have a degree in a field other than nursing and whether you have existing college credits that can transfer.

Can you get your MSN without a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN)?

RN-to-MSN programs are designed to provide a pathway to the MSN degree specifically for students without a BSN. Approximately the first year of an RN-to-MSN program provides an intensive equivalent of the upper-level courses of a BSN degree.

How do I go from an RN to a nurse practitioner?

Many schools offer accredited RN-to-MSN nurse practitioner programs. These provide a pathway for RNs without a BSN to earn the required MSN to become a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioner jobs are demanding but offer a higher level of professional autonomy and responsibility, along with higher salaries, than RN jobs.

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