In this profile, we rank the top 50 accelerated MSN online programs of 2020.

These accelerated MSN online programs offer many benefits. Quick completion time means an advanced nursing degree may be earned in less time than most traditional programs require. Also, the online options available with an accelerated MSN mean you won’t need to leave your current job to attend on-campus courses. Online programs offer flexibility, while accelerated pathways allow you to earn a degree in a shortened amount of time. Accelerated MSN online programs offer the best of both worlds.

Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs Methodology

We looked at approximately 250 colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator that offered accelerated MSN online programs. For the purpose of this ranking, accelerated degrees are those which may be completed in less than two years. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: accreditation, accelerated degree offerings (completion time of less than two years), and program or institution rankings with at least one major publication, such U.S. News and World Report. We then listed the top 50 accelerated MSN online programs according to raw affordability.

Below are the results for our top 50 accelerated online MSN programs of 2020.

#50 – Georgetown University

Online MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner

Washington, District of Columbia

Website

Georgetown University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Georgetown University ranks with U.S. News and World Report – Accelerated MSN online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $50,012

Georgetown University’s School of Nursing and Health Studies offers one of the top-rated accelerated MSN online programs in the country designed for individuals with a bachelor’s of science in nursing. The program is a mixture of synchronous, asynchronous, and on-campus coursework and can be completed in just 19 months with accelerated full-time enrollment. Part-time students can complete the program is just 27 months. U.S. News and World Report ranks the program #26 in best nursing schools master’s making it one of the most prestigious and rigorous programs of its kind. 100% of students achieved American Nurses Credentialing Center certification in 2017.

#49 – Vanderbilt University

Online MSN

Nashville, Tennessee

Website

Vanderbilt University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
One calendar year! Vanderbilt University – a top accelerated MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $47,686

Ranked as a top 15 national university by U.S. News and World Report, Vanderbilt University offers an online MSN that prepares students for a variety of careers as nurse practitioners, health systems managers, nurse mid-wives, and much more. Offered through the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, the program requires applicants to have an unencumbered bachelor’s degree in nursing, statement of goals, transcripts, interview, and a passing grade of “C” or better in statistics. Students can view content either live, online or in an asynchronous manner after the lecture or activity has taken place. This accelerated program can be completed in just one calendar year.

#48 – University of Rochester

Online MSN

Rochester, New York

Website

University of Rochester - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Only 16 months! University of Rochester’s online MSN program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $40,328

The University of Rochester School of Nursing offers an online MSN completed in a blend of modalities, including in-person and online. The accelerated program can be started in September, January, or May. Students can graduate from this RN to BSN to MSN in just 16 months from the time of matriculation. The program allows students to choose from several program specialties including adult-gerontology acute care nurse, adult-gerontology primary care nurse, family nurse practitioner, family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, and neonatal nurse practitioner. U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Rochester #29 in national universities and #22 in best value schools.

#47 – University of Pennsylvania

Online MSN

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

School Profile

University of Pennsylvania - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Ranked & accredited – University of Pennsylvania’s accelerated MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $38,630

The University of Pennsylvania offers one of the top online MSN programs for individuals seeking an accelerated option. The direct entry BSN-MSN program is unique in that it allows students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to earn a bachelor’s of science in nursing and a master’s of science in nursing in just 30 months. Admission requirements include personal statement, two letters of recommendation, transcripts, and official GRE scores. Students with a BSN degree with a GPA of at least 3.2 from an accredited institution in the United States and Canada may have their GRE scores waived. The University of Pennsylvania ranks as the #6 national university according to U.S. News and World Report.

#46 – Drexel University

Online MSN

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Website

Drexel University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Accelerated options! Drexel University’s online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $34,995

Drexel University offers one of the top accelerated MSN online programs uniquely designed for nurses with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The nursing program offers specialties including clinical nurse leader, nursing education, nursing leadership, and quality and risk assessment. The program is delivered via four 10-week quarters per year with classes such as critical issues in nursing, genetics and genomics application to nursing practice, and population health local and global. Drexel University ranks well among its peers, coming in at #97 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report, #74 in best value schools, and #23 in most innovative schools.

#45 – Baylor University

Online MSN in Leadership and Innovation

Waco, Texas

Website

Baylor University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Baylor University’s accelerated MSN online program is CCNE-accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $34,146

Baylor University offers a CCNE-accredited and accelerated online MSN program. The 36-credit program includes courses such as innovation for clinical prevention and population health, professionalism of the exemplary nurse leader, and visionary leadership in complex organizational systems. Students considering applying to Baylor’s School of Nursing should know the institution is ranked #79 in top national universities and #42 in top online graduate nursing programs. Application requirements do not require students to submit testing requirements. Further admission requirements include BSN or MSN degree from an accredited school, 3.0 GPA from most recent nursing degree, unencumbered RN license, and current nursing employment with two years minimum experience. The average completion is just 16 months.

#44 – Oregon Health & Science University

Online MSN in Nursing Education

Portland, Oregon

Website

Oregon Health & Science University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
The accelerated MSN online program at Oregon Health Science University ranks with U.S. News.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $26,845

Oregon Health and Science University offers an online MSN in nursing education. The program offers online coursework in addition to in-person practicum experiences giving them real world experience. Students can choose from specialties such as adult gerontological nursing, community health nursing, and psychiatric mental health nursing. Coursework may include best practices in teaching and nursing education, current issues in pharm: a patho approach, emerging trends in nursing education curriculum, and understanding social determinants of health. Admission requirements include cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, three letters of recommendation, and essay responses. Oregon Health and Science University ranks #24 in best nursing school’s master’s by U.S. News and World Report. The program can be completed in less than two calendar years.

#43 – South College

Online MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner

Knoxville, Tennessee

Website

South College - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
18 months! Accelerated MSN online program at South College.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $26,225

South College offers one of the top accelerated MSN online programs that can be finished in just 18 months from the time of matriculation. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and accepts students with a minimum of an associate’s degree in nursing. Admission requirements include an unencumbered RN license, 3.0 minimum GPA in nursing courses, successful admission interview, three recommendations from health care professionals, two-page personal statement, identification of potential clinical sites, and minimum 2000 hours work experience as an RN. The degree prepares students for a successful career as a family nurse practitioner or as preparation for doctoral studies.

#42 – La Salle University

Online MSN in Nursing Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Website

La Salle University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Only 18 months to earn an online MSN at La Salle University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $25,020

All of LaSalle University’s accelerated online MSN coursework can be completed in just 18 months as it prepares students for a career as an adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner. In addition to coursework, students have the opportunity to gain valuable experience doing clinical hours. The program prepares students to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center or American Association of Nurse Practitioners exams. Admission requirements include a minimum 3.2 GPA and a BSN with an unencumbered license. No test scores are required to apply. LaSalle University ranks well among its northern peers as U.S. News and World Report lists the institution as #38 in regional universities North. Courses may include advanced nursing practice for population-based care and family systems concepts for primary care.

#41 – Marquette University

Online MSN

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Website

Marquette University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
19-21 months – The online MSN at Marquette University is an accelerated program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $20,340

Marquette University’s accelerated online MSN is a direct entry MSN program where individuals with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree can earn their RN licensure and move directly into MSN coursework. The program offers a blend of online coursework, on-campus labs, and clinical hours. The entire program can be completed in just 19-21 months. Once students pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse, they are able to pursue their master’s degree and a certificate in nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nursing administration, or nurse midwife. Marquette is a well-respected institution and ranks #84 in top national universities by U.S. News and World Report and #116 in best online nursing programs.

#40 – Benedictine University

Online MSN

Lisle, Illinois

Website

Benedictine University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Benedictine University offers an accelerated and CCNE-accredited online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,986

Benedictine University provides one of the top-rated accelerated MSN online programs of its kind that prepares students for careers as nurse educators or nurse executives and leaders. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and features courses such as ethical and culturally competent health care professional, health care policy and advocacy, health promotion and interprofessional collaboration, and quality improvement and safety in health care systems. Nursing admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a minimum 2.75 GPA, RN licensure, goal statement, one letter of recommendation, and transcripts. U.S. News and World Report ranks Benedictine #78 in best online graduate nursing programs.

#39 – Southern New Hampshire University

Online MSN

Manchester, New Hampshire

Website

Southern New Hampshire University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Ranked & accelerated – SNHU’s online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,810

Southern New Hampshire University’s online MSN is a fast track degree for those wanting a bachelor’s degree in nursing before earning their master’s. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students with an unencumbered RN license can save 20 weeks of coursework and nearly $4,000 in tuition. Additionally, the program is transfer friendly and gives students 45 credits just for having their RN license in addition to further evaluating their transcript for more transfer credits. Southern New Hampshire University ranks in multiple categories according to U.S. News and World Report including #92 in regional universities North and #1 in most innovative schools.

#38 – Carlow University

Online MSN

Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Website

Carlow University - accelerated online MSN
No GMAT or GRE required! Carlow University’s accelerated online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $18,494

Carlow University’s accelerated online MSN program is designed to prepare individuals for a career in nursing education or leadership. Students can complete the entire degree in just 22 months. No GMAT or GRE required to apply. Students take courses such as health care innovation and quality, leadership in health care ethics and policy, and nursing leadership. Graduates of the program typically go on to fruitful careers as nursing administrators, nursing faculty at community colleges or other educational organizations, or clinical nursing directors. Carlow University’s nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) to confer nursing degrees to those who successfully complete requirements. U.S. News and World Report ranks Carlow #75 in regional universities North.

#37 – Saint Xavier University

Online MSN

Chicago, Illinois

Website

Saint Xavier University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Ranked with U.S. News! Saint Xavier University’s online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,450

Saint Xavier University ranks as one of the top online MSN programs that prepare students for a variety of advanced nursing careers in nursing leadership and education. Students can choose from specialty tracks in education, clinical leadership, or executive leadership. All three tracks prepare students for in-demand careers in the nursing field. Courses may include epidemiology and population based health care, health care systems and financing, information technology and health care outcomes, and philosophical and theoretical foundations of advanced nursing practice. The Saint Xavier program is ranked #3 in best online graduate nursing degree programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#36 – Mercy College

Online MSN in Nursing Administration

Dobbs Ferry, New York

Website

Mercy College - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
CCNE-accredited – Mercy College offers an accelerated MSN online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,338

Mercy College offers one of the top one-year online MSN programs preparing students for a career in nursing administration. Course classes may include computer technology, diversity family as lens, health policy, philosophical foundations of nursing, and research perspectives and methods. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredited program requires applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Graduates are well prepared for leadership positions across a variety of health care organizations. Mercy College’s rigorous online master’s in nursing is ranked #132 in best online graduate nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report for its 202 rankings.

#35 – Franklin University

Online MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Franklin University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Graduate in 18 months – Franklin University’s accelerated MSN online degree program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,080

Franklin University offers one of the top online MSN programs, blending rigor and flexibility. Students who matriculate to the program will acquire the knowledge and clinical skills to be leaders in the nursing field. Students accepted into the program can graduate in just 18 months. The 38-credit program is accredited by the Commission on College Nursing Education and includes classes such as advanced physical assessment, evidence based practice and quality improvement, health care delivery systems, and population focused care. Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA, nursing license, admission essay, resume, and transcripts.

#34 – University of Mary

Online MSN

Bismarck, North Dakota

Website

University of Mary - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Only 2 months to earn the accelerated MSN online degree at University of Mary.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,630

The University of Mary offers one of the top accelerated MSN online programs designed to take people from an ADN to an MSN in a period of just 20 months. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and requires applicants have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum 2.75 GPA. Additionally, students should possess an unencumbered RN license and submit a resume, professional goal statement, two references, and background check form. Ranking #293 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report, students can expect a quality nursing education that combines online flexibility and course rigor.

#33 – Independence University

Online MSN in Administration

Salt Lake City, Utah

Website

Independence University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
CCNE-accredited and 15 months to complete – Independence University’s accelerated online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,616

Independence University’s online MSN is designed for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in nursing who desire a career in nursing administration and leadership. The program focuses on business and leadership concepts within the context of nursing. Graduates go on to work in a variety of healthcare settings such as public and private hospitals, managed-care groups, clinics, long-term care facilities, and more. The degree is employment focused and gives students the job skills needed to succeed. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and can be completed in just 15 months. Courses may include health services financial management, health care information systems, legal and ethical considerations in nursing practice, and outcomes assessment and quality management.

#32 – University of Cincinnati

Online MSN in Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Cincinnati, Ohio

Website

University of Cincinnati - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Ranked with U.S. News! University of Cincinnati offers an accelerated pathway to the online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,468

The University of Cincinnati has one of the highest ranked online MSN programs for individuals seeking an education in adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner. According to U.S. News and World Report, the program ranks #10 in best online graduate nursing programs in the entire country. The program prepares students to see patients 13+ and prepares graduates to sit for the national certification exam in adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner. Applicants should hold a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing with an unrestricted RN license along with at least one year of nursing experience. This accelerated program can be completed in just two years.

#31 – Jacksonville University

Online MSN

Jacksonville, Florida

Website

Jacksonville University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Less than 2 years – Jacksonville University’s online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,274

Jacksonville University offers an accelerated online MSN with three specialties that can be finished in just 24 months. The program’s specialties include clinical nurse education, leadership in healthcare organizations, and informatics specialization. Students considering applying have little wait time with six start times to choose from. With 8-week course sessions, students can attend full-time without having to take multiple courses at the same time. Ranking #42 in best online graduate nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report, students will receive an excellent education while maintaining their current commitments such as work and family. A bachelor’s of science in nursing is required to apply. Students with an undergraduate nursing GPW of 3.0 or higher will have the GRE test score requirement waived.

#30 – Roberts Wesleyan College

Online MSN

Rochester, New York

Website

Roberts Wesleyan College - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Ranked and affordable options – Roberts Wesleyan College offers an online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,196

Roberts Wesleyan University offers an online MSN for individuals with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, ADN, or nursing diploma. Students accepted into this accelerated degree program can earn both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing in just 29 months. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education to confer bachelor’s and master’s degrees to students that successfully complete the program. And because the program is delivered entirely online, students can keep their personal commitments intact. Additionally, students can choose a specialization in either nursing leadership and administration or nursing education. Ranked #84 in best online graduate nursing programs, students earn a degree from a top program.

#29 – University of South Carolina

Online MSN in Nursing Administration

Columbia, South Carolina

Website

University of South Carolina - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
12-18 months – The online MSN at University of South Carolina.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,050

The University of South Carolina offers one of the top ranked accelerated MSN online programs according to U.S. News and World Report. Ranked #6 in best online graduate nursing degree programs, students receive a top education from dedicated nursing faculty. The MSN in nursing administration requires students complete 30 credits. Finish times vary between just 12-18 months from the time of matriculation. Required courses may include clinical application of population analysis, conceptual basis of health systems, coordinating processes in nursing administration, facilitative processes in nursing administration, and integrative process in nursing administration. Applicants are required to possess a bachelor of science in nursing from a nationally accredited program.

#28 – Colorado Technical University

Online MSN

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Website

Colorado Technical University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Accelerated MSN online options at Colorado Technical University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,766

Colorado Technical University offers one of the shortest online MSN programs that can be finished in just 18 months. Students seeking one year online MSN programs may find the CTU program a plausible option. The program features a proprietary learning system that allows current registered nurses to move swiftly through course content they already know. Students seeking a career as a family nurse practitioner can finish the program in just 24 months and be prepared to sit for the FNP certification exam. In addition to the family nurse practitioner track, students can choose from degree options in nursing administration and nursing education, both can be completed within the 18-month timeframe. Colorado Tech’s online graduate nursing degree program is ranked #132 in the entire nation by U.S. News and World Report.

#27 – University of Arizona

Online MSN

Tucson, Arizona

Website

University of Arizona - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
100% online – University of Arizona’s online accelerated MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,044

The University of Arizona College of Nursing offers one of the top online MSN programs in the country and the #1 ranked program in Arizona according to U.S. News and World Report. Practicing RNs with an associate degree in nursing can earn their bachelor’s and master’s in a period of just 24 months. Students who possess a bachelor’s in nursing can graduate with their master’s in just 15 months. The degree offers maximum convenience with 100% online course delivery. Classes may include evidence based practice improvement, foundations of leadership systems, health information and patient care technologies, healthcare environments and care coordination, and leadership for patient centered care.

#26 – ECPI University

Online MSN

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Website

ECPI University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Only 15 months! Online MSN options at ECPI University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,960

Individuals searching for one-year online MSN programs may find the ECPI University online MSN program an excellent option as students can finish the degree with an optional family nurse practitioner track in just 15 months. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) to confer nursing degrees to those who complete all requirements. In addition to the family nurse practitioner track, students can choose the nursing education track. Graduates go on to work in a wide variety of educational and health care settings including colleges, universities, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and more. Courses may include advanced health assessment for providers, advanced procedures and diagnostic reasoning, nursing research and evidence based practice, and topics in population health.

#25 – Old Dominion University

Online MSN

Norfolk, Virginia

Website

Old Dominion University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Ranked, accredited, and affordable options for the accelerated MSN online program – Old Dominion University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,552

When searching for one-year online MSN programs, the accelerated program at Old Dominion University may be a viable option for some students. Administered through the College of Health Science’s School of Nursing, students with a bachelor’s degree may apply (bachelor’s in nursing preferred but not required). The program offers several specialty tracks including family nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, nurse administrator, nurse midwifery, and clinical nurse specialist. Potential applicants are required to submit test scores with a GPA less than 3.5. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the program features a 100% success rate for certification exams. Additionally, ODU’s online graduate nursing program ranks #53 in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

#24 – Ohio State University

Online MSN

Columbus, Ohio

Website

Ohio State University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Accelerated online MSN degree options – Ohio State University!

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,425

When searching for one-year online MSN programs or even two-year programs, Ohio State University offers potential students with an excellent program ranked #2 in the country according to U.S. News and World Report. The program features four specialty tracks including family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and clinical nurse leader. The courses offer depth and breadth as well as a focus on the skills needed to succeed on the job. Featured courses include advanced health assessment, health promotion and disease prevention across the life span, leadership in advanced nursing care, and quality improvement in advanced nursing care.

#23 – Herzing University

Online MSN

Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Website

Herzing University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Herzing University’s online MSN takes less than 2 years to complete.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,590

Herzing University offers an accelerated online MSN that can be completed in less than two years. The program is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and an unencumbered registered nursing license. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and all coursework is delivered online for maximum flexibility. Students can choose from pathways in family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and nursing leadership and administration. The family nurse practitioner program is typically completed in just 20 months and includes 48 credit hours, 675 clinical hours, and 500 total patient encounters. The clinical hours ensure students are well prepared to succeed once they earn permanent placement upon graduation should they receive an offer of employment.

#22 – Northern Kentucky University

Online MSN

Highland Heights, Kentucky

Website

Northern Kentucky University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
A popular online accelerated MSN – Northern Kentucky University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,418

In terms of one-year online MSN programs, the degree at Northern Kentucky continues to be a popular choice among those seeking a master’s in nursing with an emphasis in nursing education. The coursework prepares graduates to succeed in a variety of educational modalities and contexts. Graduates go on to careers at colleges and universities, clinics, hospitals, and more. Courses may include advanced theoretical foundations of nursing practice and research, analysis and application of health data for advanced nursing practice, health care policy and economics in population health, and theoretical foundations of nursing practice and research. Admission requires a current nursing license, bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program, minimum GPA of 3.0, and a minimum of 1,000 hours experience as an RN.

#21 – Purdue University Global

Online MSN

Indianapolis, Indiana

Website

Purdue University Global - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Accelerated pathway to an online MSN – Purdue University Global.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,414

Purdue University Global offers a program very similar to one-year online MSN programs. The Purdue offering is competency based and allows students to accelerate through coursework at their own pace by choosing their own speed and setting their own deadlines. The proprietary learning system, known as ExcelTrack, truly gives students control over their coursework. Students can choose from nursing executive leadership or nursing education depending on their interest and career path. Courses may include advanced nursing roles, epidemiology and health promotion, promoting optimal models and systems for health care delivery, and scientific and analytic approaches to advanced evidence based practice.

#20 – University of Alabama

Online MSN

Huntsville, Alabama

Website

University of Alabama - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Quality program – University of Alabama offers accelerated online MSN pathways.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,214

The University of Alabama Huntsville offers one of the top one-year online MSN programs. The coursework aligns directly with American Organization of Nurse Executives and Quality and Safety Education for Nurses competencies. The program is designed specifically for registered nurses with a bachelor’s in nursing seeking a master’s degree in nursing with a specialty in nursing administration. Courses may include concepts of health assessment and promotion for nurse executives, foundational concepts for nurse administrators, leadership in human resource management, and scholarly inquiry for advanced practice. Students can feel confident in the quality of education as U.S. News and World Report ranks the program #42 in best online graduate nursing degrees.

#19 – St. Thomas University

Online MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner

Miami Gardens, Florida

Website

St. Thomas University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Only 18 months – St. Thomas University’s accelerated MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,596

Research shows St. Thomas University offers one of the most competitive one-year online MSN programs when it comes to cost and return on investment. While the program does take 18 months to complete, the institution ranks #1 in top performers in social mobility by U.S. News and World Report. The ranking indicates students who graduate from the institution are able to increase their socioeconomic standing as a direct result of graduating from St. Thomas. The program is designed for individuals seeking a career as a family nurse practitioner and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Featured core classes include advanced clinical pharmacology, diversity in advanced health practice, health promotion and disease prevention, and role transition to advanced practice nursing.

#18 – Rasmussen College

Online MSN

Ocala, Florida

Website

Rasmussen College - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
CCNE-accredited – Accelerated MSN online program at Rasmussen College.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,530

When searching for one-year online MSN programs, Rasmussen College offers an excellent 18-month option designed specifically for individuals seeking an advanced degree in nursing education or nursing leadership. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) to confer master’s degrees. The degree is geared towards working professionals and allows them to take just one course at a time and still finish in just 18 months. The curriculum is practically minded and focuses on teaching students the necessary skills and knowledge that apply to their chosen career trajectory. The practical efficiency makes Rasmussen’s program a top choice among students.

#17 – University of Missouri

Online MSN

Columbia, Missouri

Website

University of Missouri - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Affordable options! University of Missouri’s online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,017

Through the Sinclair School of Nursing, the University of Missouri offers an accelerated online MSN that can be completed in just two years. The program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and consists of 33-41 credits based on specialty. Students can choose tracks in nursing education or nursing administration. Students have the option to enroll full-time or part-time. Clinical experiences are embedded in the program and can be taken in the student’s own community upon approval. Courses may include advanced nursing role acquisition, public health and sociocultural issues, research basis for advanced nursing, theoretical basis for advanced nursing, and translational evidence-based nursing practice.

#16 – Oklahoma Baptist University

Online MSN

Shawnee, Oklahoma

Website

Oklahoma Baptist University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
18 months to complete! Oklahoma Baptist’s online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,900

Oklahoma Baptist University, ranked #7 in regional universities West by U.S. News and World Report, is one of the shortest online MSN programs. Students can choose from nursing education or global/public health based upon their career aspirations. Designed specifically for working adults, the program allows students complete in 18 months while taking just one course at a time. Courses may include advanced nursing practicum, curriculum design and evaluation, and strategies and evaluation. Students must possess a copy of their valid, unencumbered nursing license as part of their application. Oklahoma Baptist University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to confer graduate degrees.

#15 – The University of Texas

Online MSN in Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Arlington, Texas

Website

The University of Texas - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
100% online – The University of Texas – Accelerated MSN online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,672

While searching for the shortest online MSN, potential students may find the program at University of Texas Arlington a suitable option if they are looking for a graduate degree leading to a career as a pediatric acute care nurse practitioner. The program is 100% online and can be completed in just 31 months including clinical hours. Students can complete clinical hours in their own communities. The 45-credit program features a 95% pass rate for students initial attempt at passing the pediatric acute care nurse practitioner exam, which is among the highest pass rates in the nation. UT-Arlington ranks #75 in top online graduate nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#14 – Ball State University

Online MSN

Muncie, Indiana

Website

Ball State University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Ranked and accredited – Ball State University’s accelerated MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,392

Students will find Ball State University’s program a viable option when searching for the shortest online MSN. Students can choose from concentrations in nurse educator, nurse administrator, or family nurse practitioner. The program has been lauded by several organizations including the National League of Nurses, which named the institution a designated center of excellence and by U.S. News and World Report, which ranked the program #13 in best online graduate nursing programs for its 2020 rankings. Nursing core classes may include concept analysis and decision-making, nursing concepts in health promotion disease and injury prevention in populations, nursing information theory, and nursing theory.

#13 – University of Central Florida

Online MSN

Orlando, Florida

Website

University of Central Florida - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
University of Central Florida’s online MSN is ranked and affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,872

The University of Central Florida offers one of the top ranked online MSN programs that can be completed in just 4-5 semesters. The accelerated program is so efficient that students attending part-time can finish in just five semesters. Students can choose from concentrations in nurse education, leadership and management, and healthcare simulation. The healthcare simulation program is was the first program of its kind in Florida and is one of the few programs of its ilk nationwide. The program focuses on using simulation technology to improve patient care, training, and education. Students can expect a quality education from UCF as it ranks #50 in top online graduate nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report.

#12 – Wilmington University

Online MSN

New Castle, Delaware

Website

Wilmington University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Only 12 months! Wilmington University’s online MSN.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,636

Wilmington University offers one of the shortest online MSN programs that can be completed in just 12 months from the time a student matriculates. The program offers four concentrations including nurse education, nurse executive, legal nurse consultant, and public health. Courses require advanced concepts in pathophysiology and pharmacology, advanced physical assessment for nurse leaders, contemporary concepts in advanced practice roles, and evidence based practice in the health professions. Admission requires students have a bachelors degree in nursing from an accredited institution and a passing grade in a statistics course. Students without a statistics course will need to submit an MAT test score of 308 or higher.

#11 – Liberty University

Online MSN

Lynchburg, Virginia

Website

Liberty University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Ranked and accredited – Liberty University’s accelerated MSN online degree.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,333

Liberty University offers one of the shortest online MSN programs where students can earn a bachelor’s and master’s in nursing where they receive up to 75 credits toward the degrees. Additionally, students can also apply for the Experience Plus program where they may receive credit for practical experience. It is not uncommon for students to earn both their bachelor’s and master’s in just 24 months. Courses may include health assessment, leadership in nursing, organizational design and structure, and strategies for community health. Students are required to have an unencumbered RN license in order to apply. Liberty University is ranked in multiple U.S News and World Report categories including #126 in best online graduate nursing programs and #293 in best national universities.

#10 – Union University

Online MSN in Nurse Practitioner

Jackson, Tennessee

Website

Union University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Union University’s online MSN only takes 16 months to complete.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,220

Union University offers one of the top accelerated online MSN programs where students can graduate in just 16 months. Students can choose from the family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner track or the family nurse practitioner track. The program accepts students at all levels of nursing provided they have an unencumbered RN license. Students without a bachelor’s degree in nursing should have completed 8 hours of anatomy and physiology, 3-4 hours of microbiology, 3 hours of pathophysiology, and 3 hours of statistics. Completion of a bachelor’s degree should be from an ACEN or CCNE accredited program. Additionally, students should have a 3.0 GPA in their previous 60 credit hours.

#9 – University of Utah

Online MSN

Salt Lake City, Utah

Website

University of Utah - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
The accelerated MSN online program at University of Utah is fully accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,151

The University of Utah’s College of Nursing offers an accelerated online MSN with specialty tracks in care management, nursing education, or nursing informatics. The programs are designed for students with specific interests and career aspirations. In providing both depth and breadth, students are well prepared for the many challenges and opportunities they will face as part of their burgeoning career. And with praxis, career-centered curriculum, students learn the required skills they need to succeed on the job. Courses may include foundation in informatics, health and systems influences on organizations, health and systems policy and social determinants of health, and telehealth IPE.

#8 – Western Governors University

Online MSN

Raleigh, North Carolina

Website

Western Governors University - Accelerated MSN online programs
11-26 months to earn the online MSN at Western Governors University.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,790

Western Governors University (WGU) offers one of the shortest online MSN programs in the country that can be completed in just 11 months. In fact, 77% of students finish the BSN to MSN program in 11-26 months time. Because WGU uses a competency based educational model, students can progress through coursework based on achieving skill competency rather than using a calendar based education model. This model bodes well for nursing students as they can achieve mastery quickly and move on to the next course. Professional core courses may include comprehensive health assessment for patients and populations, essentials of advanced nursing practice field experience, organizational leadership and interprofessional team development.

#7 – Charleston Southern University

Online MSN

Charleston, South Carolina

Website

Charleston Southern University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Charleston Southern University’s online MSN is highly affordable.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,540

Charleston Southern University offers multiple accelerated MSN online programs for those with an ADN or BSN. The program is designed for working nurses who desire a flexible and academically rigorous program. Additionally, students seeking an institution with Christian-based values will find Charleston Southern a good fit. Students enrolled full-time in the BSN to MSN program can finish in 19 months while full-time ADN students can complete in just 19 months. Admission requirements include admission essay, resume, transcripts, UGPA of at least 3.0, unrestricted nursing license, three letters of recommendation, and GRE/MAT scores if GPA is less than 3.5. Students with an ADN should have a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

#6 – University of North Carolina

Online MSN

Wilmington, North Carolina

Website

University of North Carolina - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Only 12 months to complete the accelerated MSN online program at University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,367

The University of North Carolina Wilmington offers an accelerated online MSN that can be completed in just 12 months. Additionally, the 33-credit hour program offers affordable tuition. The program is designed for individuals seeking a graduate degree in nursing education. Graduates go on to work for colleges and universities, clinics, hospitals, and non-profits where their main job function is healthcare teaching and learning. The University of North Carolina Wilmington ranks in multiple U.S. News and World Report categories including #185 in national universities and #132 in best online graduate nursing programs. Coursework may include advanced health assessment and diagnostic reasoning and foundations of evidence based practices for nursing clinical instruction.

#5 – Ferris State University

Online MSN

Big Rapids, Michigan

Website

Ferris State University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Ranked and affordable – Ferris State University’s accelerated MSN online programs.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,320

When searching for accelerated MSN online programs, Ferris State University offers an option with multiple specialty tracks including nursing education, nursing administration, and nursing informatics. The program is fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. The program is designed for working adults and offers flexibility and course rigor. Classes may include critique of evidence for practice, introduction to advanced nursing roles, organizational and systems leadership, and quality improvement and safety. The institution is highly regarded among ranking organizations, as evidenced by its #68 ranking in best online graduate nursing programs and #293 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report.

#4 – Kennesaw State University

Online MSN

Kennesaw, Georgia

Website

Kennesaw State University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Kennesaw State University’s accelerated MSN online degree requires no test scores for admission.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,226

Through its Advanced Care Management & Leadership Program, Kennesaw State University offers one of the top ranked accelerated MSN online programs of its kind geared towards individuals seeking a career in nursing administration and health policy. The 40-credit program includes courses such as advanced nursing leadership role, health policy leadership seminar, and theoretical foundations and research applications. The institution ranks in multiple U.S. News and World Report categories including #293 in national universities, #72 in most innovative schools, and #90 in top social mobility performance. Students need a bachelor’s degree in nursing and an unrestricted nursing license. No test scores are required to apply.

#3 – Augusta University

Online MSN

Augusta, Georgia

Website

Augusta University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Augusta University’s accelerated MSN online degree program is ranked and accredited.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,064

Augusta University offers an online MSN with a specialty in nursing leadership. Augusta offers a rigorous education and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as well as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs, and Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Courses may include advanced pharmacology and nutrition, advanced professional health assessment, health care delivery models economics and policy, and immersion into the clinical nurse leader role. Represented in multiple categories, Augusta University ranks #293 in national universities and #165 in top social mobility performers. The program accepts students with unrestricted nursing licenses.

#2 – Florida Atlantic University

Online MSN

Boca Raton, Florida

Website

Florida Atlantic University - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Affordable options! Florida Atlantic University – a top accelerated MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,657

Florida Atlantic University offers an online MSN with several concentration options including gerontological nurse practitioner, advanced holistic nursing, family nurse practitioner, and nurse educator. The program is conducted in a hybrid manner, with all core courses being offered online. Additionally, each specialty allows students to enroll part-time. In addition to ranking #283 in national universities by U.S. News and World Report, the institution ranks #23 in best online graduate nursing programs. Students are given the opportunity to spend several hundred hours in each program completing clinical hours gaining valuable experience with co-workers and patients. Graduates go on to fruitful careers in several health care contexts and organizations.

#1 – University of West Georgia

Online MSN

Carrollton, Georgia

Website

University of West Georgia - Top 50 Accelerated MSN Online Programs
Ranked with U.S. News. University of West Georgia – #1 most affordable accelerated MSN online program.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,110

Through its Tanner Health System School of Nursing, the University of West Georgia offers one of the top accelerated MSN online programs with concentration in nursing education and nursing leadership. The nursing program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and ranks #53 in graduate online nursing programs and #293 in top national universities. Courses may include case management and case coordination, care of diverse populations, holistic health assessment, and leadership and management. The curriculum is employment centered so students learn the required skills and knowledge to be successful on the job. Graduates go on to work in public and private hospitals, colleges, universities, clinics, and more.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What nursing jobs can I get with an accelerated MSN online degree?

There are several employment opportunities by earning an accelerated MSN online degree. Most accelerated MSN degrees offer a wide variety of specializations leading to specific careers. Specializations include family nurse practitioner, nursing administration, nursing education, pediatric nurse practitioner, psychiatric nurse practitioner, adult gerontology nurse practitioner, and neonatal nurse practitioner. Each of these specialties teaches the skills and knowledge needed to work with specific populations.

Often referred to as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) nurse practitioners perform many of the same duties as registered nurses in addition to more complex care and coordination. Nurse practitioners can assess patient health and determine the best course of action. Moreover, they can prescribe medicine and often work independently from a physician, although they often collaborate.
referring their patients on to specialists.

Pediatric nurse practitioners work with children through adolescents in regards to their overall health needs. They also spend their time teaching their patients about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

Family nurse practitioners provide direct care for families through health assessments in people of all ages. They often collaborate with other health care providers by referring them on special types of healthcare.

Nursing educators work to educate stakeholders within various contexts such as nursing students, patients, and other audiences. Many work as faculty members at community colleges teaching and training future nurses while others work at hospitals and clinics teaching about specific healthcare topics.

How much will I earn with an accelerated MSN online degree?

While salaries vary depending on career path for those who earn an accelerated MSN online, it is clear from our salary research based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), that a master’s in nursing provides graduates with strong wages. According to the BLS, the top 10% of nurse anesthetists, practitioners, and midwives earned $182,750 annually while the lowest 10% earned $80,670. The median (average) salary for those occupations, which require an MSN, earned $113,930. For context, the average salary of all United States occupations is $38,640. Nursing educators, another common career field for those with an MSN, earn an average salary of $71,260 with top 10% earners making $124,090 and bottom 10% owners making $40,630.

When disaggregating the data by organizational type, individuals working within state and local private hospitals earn the highest average wage of $120,540 annually. Outpatient care centers come in second with an average salary of $115,720. Of the data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners working in educational services earned the lowest average wages of $104,310.

When drilling down into geographical data, we see that California, New York, and Texas pay the highest average salaries of $133,780, $120,970, and $111,060 respectively.

What are the admission requirements for accelerated MSN online programs?

Admission requirements for accelerated online MSN programs vary by institution and type of program. Below we discuss the admission requirements for the various program types:

Direct-entry MSN Program

To address the pending nursing shortage likely to occur within the next decade, many institutions have started offering the direct-entry MSN program, which allows students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing followed by a master’s in nursing. Students typically take bachelor’s level nursing classes the first year followed by two to three years of master’s level coursework. The curriculum also includes clinical hours. Because entering students have bachelor’s degrees, they do not need to take general education courses and can jump right into nursing classes.

RN-to-BSN-to-MSN

This type of program requires students to have an associate degree in nursing, which means they have graduated with an ADN from a community college or allied health institution. As many states are now requiring nurses to have at least a bachelor’s degree, this type of program is becoming increasingly popular.

BSN-to-MSN

The BSN to MSN online degree is for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) seeking to earn a master’s degree. These programs require the possession of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution recognized by one of the major nursing accreditation organizations.

Programs that require students to have a minimum of an associate’s degree in nursing also require students to have what is known as an unencumbered or unrestricted RN license. An unencumbered RN license is free of any disciplinary restrictions. Any potential applicant with an encumbered license will have to resolve the issue with their state licensing board before applying.

What is the job outlook for individuals with an accelerated MSN online degree?

The overall job outlook for individuals with an accelerated MSN degree are overwhelmingly positive according to our research conducted using data from the United States Department of Employment. For the ten-year period covering 2018-2028, the employment for nurse practitioners is expected to grow by a staggering 26%, which far outpaces the overall average growth rate of 5% for all occupations. There are several variables driving the rapid growth rate.

As health care models of delivery change, an increased emphasis is being placed on preventative care, which has been a major driving force in the need for nurse practitioners. Moreover, advanced practice nurses (APRNs) can perform many of the same duties as physicians yet are less expensive to employ for many health care organizations. And has the baby boomer population continues to age, they will need increased medical services that can be provided by individuals with a master’s degree in nursing.

The overall employment projections are strong for individuals with a master’s in nursing. Those willing to move to larger metropolitan areas should have even better employment prospects. In addition, individuals specializing high demand specialties such as family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, and nursing education should find favorable employment conditions.

How long does it take to earn an accelerated MSN online degree?

Accelerated MSN online degree programs vary in length depending on the program type, structure, and institution. Direct-entry MSN programs typically take the longest followed by RN-to-MSN and BSN-to-MSN.

Because direct entry students do not possess any nursing training, those programs take the longest, ranging from 3-4 years. Students enter those programs with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees and therefore need to build a strong foundation in the sciences and statistics. Students generally spend one year taking foundational courses in cellular biology, anatomy and physiology, and chemistry, among others. From there, the curriculum dictates 2-3 years of nursing classes and clinical hours.

RN-to-MSN program students are licensed nurses with a strong foundation in science and nursing courses. Those programs can take anywhere from 2-3 years to complete as the student progresses towards a bachelor’s degree culminating with an eventual master’s degree.

BSN-to-MSN programs take anywhere from 12-24 months to complete as students already have a bachelor’s degree in nursing in combination with work experience as an RN. Depending on the structure of the program, it is not uncommon for students to complete accelerated BSN-to-MSN programs in 12-15 months, even with part-time enrollment.

Programs that allow students to receive transfer credits or life experience credits also play a role in how fast the student can graduate.

BCO Staff
November 2019

Related:

This concludes our list of the top 50 accelerated MSN online programs of 2020.