33 Best Online Master’s in Nursing Administration

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The nursing profession is as challenging as they come. Every working day, nurses are on the front lines of providing medical care to the sick and afflicted, offering support to patients and their families, and assisting physicians in diagnosis and recovery. For many, it is how they will spend their entire nursing career. For others, there comes a time when they want to step away from the front lines and become a leader. Taking that step requires a graduate education in nursing administration, which opens doors to another level of health care. Administrators manage staff and develop goals for their department or organization. They make strategic changes, monitor safety measures, and manage budgets. It's an opportunity to take the compassion and organizational skills crucial to hands-on nursing, and apply it on a larger scale.

Graduates of a Master of Science in Nursing program, commonly known as an MSN, who become nursing administrators are well-compensated for their efforts. The median salary in the United States for a health services manager is $99,730, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's a significant jump from the median salary of $71,730 for a registered nurse. Payscale says the average salary for a nursing manager is $82,956. The BLS says the field of health care leadership and management is expected to grow by 20% by 2026. Nursing administrators can find work in hospitals, clinics, physician's offices, insurance companies, and nonprofit and government agencies. 

The 33 universities and colleges on this list offer the best combination of value, academic rigor, and student experience for nurses who want to pursue a master's in administration online. All of the programs provide 100% distance learning, though not all of it happens at a computer. Nursing degrees require fieldwork – real, hands-on experience in a health care setting. The institutions help the student make arrangements in his or her home state. All degrees require the student to be licensed in the state where the fieldwork will be done. Most programs require the applicant to have a bachelor's degree in nursing. And because we're talking about the medical field here, students usually must pass a drug test and a background check. On a related note, it's important to note that online accreditation doesn't always extend to every state. California, in particular, is the only state that isn't part of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which simplifies state-level approval for online education offered across state lines. It is important to note that some colleges and universities don't recognize nursing licenses in certain states. It's crucial to check the institution's requirements, along with the guidelines of the licensing agency in the student's state.

Ranking Methodology

The researchers and writers at Best Master's Degrees don't make recommendations based upon preference– we back our rankings with science. Here's a quick breakdown of how we organize ranking data:

  • Finances (40%)
  • Academic Rigor (35%)
  • Student Gratification (25%)

Nearly half of the data used to score each ranking involves finances and are acquired from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Education, Glassdoor, and PayScale. Financial data encompasses the cost of tuition, fees, and class supplied; the average price of living; access to financial aid and social services; and lastly, the projected annual salary acquired from degree outcomes and income for loan repayment. The second largest category of information involves the quality of education, how competitive degree applicants should be for consideration, and how exclusive a degree program is overall. The final 25 percent of collected data is dependent on student and alumni reviews from sources such as PayScale, Rate My Professor, and Students Review. 

Want to Learn More? 

The amount of information available for specific degrees is plentiful, and Best Master's Degrees aims to provide as many resources as we can. Check out our Methodology page for more information and resource links.

#33 – University of Oklahoma-Health Sciences Center 

Master's in Nursing Administration

Oklahoma City, OK
Website

Students can start the Master's in Nursing Administration program online through the University of Oklahoma-Health Sciences Center in the fall or spring semester. UOHSC tied for No. 19 on U.S. News & World Report's list of best online master's degree in nursing. The program is laid out in sequence and consists of 33 semester hours. Full-time students can complete the program in two years. Part-time students generally require three years. The program is capped by a synthesis course in which the student designs and presents a strong, evidence-based project that reflects best practices in nursing administration. Please take note that because of federal regulations, UOHSC's online master's program doesn't accept applications from residents of California, the only state that isn't part of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. Program applicants must have a bachelor's of science in nursing from an accredited school, and be licensed as a registered nurse. An undergraduate course in research methodology is required, with a final grade of C or better. Applicants also must have a GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours of coursework, supply three letters of recommendation, and, if requested, be interviewed by faculty.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,119 / $19,778

 

#32 – Old Dominion University 

Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Administrator Role

Norfolk, VA
Website

Old Dominion University offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree with a Nurse Administrator track. The coursework can be completed anywhere through Old Dominion's ODU Online system. Classes are both live and recorded, and advisers are available for all students. An internship or practicum is required and that must be done on-site; the university will help arrange one near the student's residence. The program consists of 45 semester credit hours, of which 21 are core classes for the Master's of Science in Nursing degree. The other course drills deeply into the various dimensions of medical administration. Classes include Financial Issues in Nursing Administration, Strategic Leadership, and Organizational and Management Theory. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The online program is not available to Washington state residents. Applicants must have a year of clinical nursing experience, and provide a resume, three reference letters, and GRE or MAT scores if the student's overall GPA is less than 3.5. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,727 / $28,435

 

#31 – Drexel University

Masters of Science in Nursing – Leadership in Health Systems Management

Philadelphia, PA
Website

Drexel University's Masters of Science in Nursing offers four concentrations. One of them is Leadership in Health Systems Management. Drexel tied for No. 53 on the U.S. News & World Report's list of best online master's degree in nursing. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Drexel uses a quarter academic calendar, so there are four sessions per calendar year. The master's program can be completed in two to four years, depending on how many courses are taken per 10-week quarter. There are five core courses that every MSN student must complete; the rest of the coursework focuses on developing leadership skills. The program focuses on two skills considered critical for nursing executives: managing information systems management and making evidence-based decisions. Classes include Advanced Ethical Decision-Making and Power, Politics, and Influence in Health Care. Applicants must have a bachelor's of science in nursing, earned with a GPA of at least 3.0. Other requirements include an RN license, two recommendation letters, and a personal statement of fewer than 1,000 words.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $34,155

 

#30 – Mercy College

MS in Nursing Administration

Dobbs Ferry, NY
Website

The MS in Nursing Administration program at Mercy College is available fully online. It's designed to allow students to take three to nine credit hours per semester. The curriculum is organized into core and specialized courses and usually takes two years to complete. Candidates can jump into the program in the fall or spring semesters. The latter can be taken before or at the same time as the practicum that caps the program. Classes include Philosophical Foundations of Nursing and Strategic Planning for Health Care Organizations. Program candidates who are registered nurses at selected New York hospitals and represented by the New York Nurses Association can qualify for a 15% discount on tuition. The program will accept up to six credit hours from another accredited institution. Requirements for admission to the program include an RN license, a bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum GPA of 3.0, and a personal statement of 350 to 500 words. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $15,896

 

#29 – Excelsior College 

Master's in Nursing Leadership and Administration of Health Care Systems

Albany, NY
Website

Excelsior College offers a Master's in Nursing Leadership and Administration of Health Care Systems. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. A full-time student can complete the program in two years, but it's understood that many online students have busy lives, so the online curriculum designed to accommodate them. The program consists of 38 credit hours, which includes 21 hours of Master of Science in Nursing classes. The remaining curriculum is the concentration in leadership, plus six credit hours for the capstone project. Classes in the leadership concentration include Management of Fiscal and Operational Systems, Leadership in Organizational Systems, and Management Information for Decision Support. The capstone tests the student's ability to apply everything learned in the master's program. It includes about 250 clock hours of design, discussion, journaling, writing, and, finally, presentation. Up to 16 credit hours of previous coursework can be applied to the degree if approved by the university. The coursework can't be more than five years old. Program candidates must be a licensed registered nurse with an accredited bachelor's degree in nursing.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: N/A

 

#28 – Queens University of Charlotte 

Online MSN: Nurse Administrator Specialization

Charlotte, NC
Website

Graduates of the Online MSN: Nurse Administrator Specialization degree from Queens University of Charlotte learn how to communicate from the perspective of a leader, and how to develop strategies that improve the quality of and access to health care. The master's program consists of 39 semester credit hours and can be completed in as little as two years. There are six core courses for the Master of Science in Nursing component. The remaining credit hours are for the administrator specialization, which includes a residency and capstone project. The residency calls for 150 clock hours over 16 weeks – it is offered only in the fall and summer sessions. Master's candidates must have an accredited bachelor of science degree in nursing, along with a current license to practice nursing in the state where the student will do the residency practicum required by the program. The applicant must have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of at least 2.5. No GRE is required, and there is no application fee. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,608

 

#27 – University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley 

Master of Science in Nursing Administration Online

Edinburg, TX
Website

Nurses who enroll in the Master of Science in Nursing Administration Online at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley can graduate in about a year. There are 36 semester credit hours of coursework, with each course lasting seven weeks. In addition to sharpening their health care skills, graduates learn everything from cost analysis, strategic planning, to marketing. There are seven core courses, ranging from Theoretical Foundations in Nursing to Advanced Nursing Informatics. Four courses lay out the administration aspect of the degree. The final course is a capstone project in which the student identifies a need or program, researches it, and presents findings to an audience. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Candidates for the master's program must have a current license in the state where the capstone will be carried out, along with a bachelor's degree in nursing. Other requirements include a short essay that states goals and purpose, along with the completion of an undergraduate statistics course.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,720 / $13,190

 

#26 – University of Texas at Arlington

Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Administration Online

Arlington, TX
Website

There are 36 semester credit hours in the online master's program, which can be completed in 18 to 20 months. It is important to note that UT-Arlington's online program is not available for residents of Washington state, Colorado, New York, and North Dakota. Courses are taught with a blended learning model, and the schedule doesn't follow the semester calendar, allowing the coursework to move more quickly. There are 12 courses that vary in length from five to 10 weeks, and they must be taken in an exact sequence. The tradeoff of the program's accelerated schedule is the pace – students will devote around five hours outside of the class environment for every one credit hour. UT-Arlington recommends the professionals limit work schedules so they can keep up. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Program candidates must have a current RN license and two years of clinical experience, and an accredited bachelor's in nursing. Other requirements include the completion of a statistics course. GRE scores aren't required for students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or more.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,898 / $18,996

 

#25 – University of Texas at El Paso 

MSN – Nursing Administration and Management

El Paso, TX
Website

There are 33 semester credit hours in the MSN – Nursing Administration and Management degree program at The University of Texas at El Paso. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Though it's understood that online students often have busy lives, UTEP recommends that students limit their work schedules in the last three semesters. There are 11 courses, which are offered in sequence. The first three are core classes for the Master of Science in Nursing. The last eight focus on developing administration and management knowledge and skills. Classes include Communications and Conflict Management, and Administration Roles and Operations. The final step is a mentored residency arranged through the university. The residency requires at least 90 hours of work, during which the student tackles a management issue in a health care setting and comes up with an evidence-based solution. Degree students must maintain a B average to stay in good standing. Master's candidates must have a current RN license and a bachelor's degree in nursing.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,941 / $13,649

 

#24 – Lenoir-Rhyne University 

MSN Nursing Administration

Hickory, NC
Website

Lenoir-Rhyne University is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, but students of all religious backgrounds are welcome to enroll. LN notes that its Master of Science in Nursing programs are "grounded in Christian faith, liberal arts, and the related sciences." The university's online MSN Nursing Administration degree isn't a cohort program, which gives the student a bit more flexibility. Coursework can begin in fall, spring, or summer. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The degree program consists of 33 semester credit hours. There are four classes aimed at the MSN core. Two courses are in informatics and advanced leadership, which address the functional core of the degrees. Nine credit hours are chosen from elective subjects such as bioethics and global health. The remaining credit hours are devoted to a project or thesis, along with a practicum. Degree candidates must have an unrestricted RN license, and provide a resume, a 500-word statement of purpose, two professional recommendations, and two letters of endorsement.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,620

 

#23 – Pennsylvania State University World Campus 

MSN Nurse Administrator

University Park, PA
Website

The World Campus is the name of Pennsylvania State University's online learning program. Students in Penn State World Campus' Master of Science in Nursing with the Nursing Administration concentration normally take at least two courses each in the fall and spring semesters. Courses also are offered in the summer. The degree program consists of 37 credit hours and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Coursework includes a capstone project and a practicum. Degree candidates must have current RN licenses and bachelor's degrees in nursing. Penn State offers different approaches to the master's degree. A student can earn a Nurse Administrator Graduate Certificate, then apply the credits to the MSN program if accepted. Existing nurse administrators can go into the online Doctor of Nursing Practice directly from the bachelor's in nursing program, then complete the master's courses through the doctoral program. Degree candidates also must supply two references and a 300-word statement of purpose.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $21,268

 

#22 – University of Pittsburgh 

Master of Science in Nursing

Pittsburgh, PA
Website

The University of Pittsburgh's nursing program doesn't offer an administration master's degree, per se. Instead, it points nurses looking for leadership careers to its Clinical Nurse Leader concentration of its Master of Science in Nursing degree. Graduates learn how to manage a clinical health unit and to access patient-care models and methods of care delivery. Pitt is tied for No. 35 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best online master's degree in nursing. Its MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The program consists of 42 credit hours and requires about two years to complete. There is a clinical practicum in the final semester, and students prove their knowledge at the end with a comprehensive exam. Program candidates must have a current RN license and a bachelor's in nursing from an accredited school. Other requirements include a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, an interview, a ‘B' grade or better in a statistics course, three letters of recommendation, and a 500-word essay that states the applicant's philosophy about nursing.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,846 / $38,736

 

#21 – Saint Xavier University 

MSN Executive Leadership (Nursing Administration)

Chicago, IL
Website

Saint Xavier has earned a reputation as one of the best institutions for nursing academics. SXU is ranked No. 3 on the U.S. News & World Report's list of best online master's degree in nursing. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The coursework covers areas such as project management, budgeting, and strategic planning, and teaches the skills needed to communicate effectively with staff and peers. The program can be done completely online and there is no residency requirement. It consists of 35 semester credit hours, which include 18 for core instruction for a master's in nursing and 17 for specialty courses in leadership. The latter includes a capstone practicum. Program candidates must have a nursing license and three to five years of relevant experience in leadership or management. Other requirements include a 3.0 minimum GPA in all previous coursework, a statement of personal goals, a resume, and a written recommendation from a current or former nursing supervisor. After getting the master's degree and securing a job in nursing administration, the graduate can take examinations for Nurse Executive, Board Certification; or Nurse Executive, Advanced Board Certification.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $16,000

 

#20 – Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville 

Nursing – Healthcare and Nursing Administration (MS)

Edwardsville, IL
Website

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville is tied for No. 53 on the U.S. News & World Report's list of best online master's degree in nursing. The Nursing – Healthcare and Nursing Administration online program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Note that the program requires 315 hours for a practicum. Online students tapping into the program from out of state are urged to discuss clinical requirements with the assistant dean of graduate programs. Arrangements can't be made in all states. The program consists of 33 semester credit hours that are a combination of classes and practicums on subjects like organizational leadership and managing human resources. To graduate, students must do a master's terminal project that folds together research, practicum experience, and coursework. The project is presented to students and faculty. Program applicants must have an unencumbered nursing license, one year of professional experience, and a bachelor of science degree in nursing from an accredited institution. Other requirements include a statement of goals, a resume, and three references.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,925

 

#19 – Liberty University 

Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Administration

Lynchburg, VA
Website

Liberty University – a nonprofit, Christian-based institution – is proud of the fact that it has not raised tuition on its online degree programs for four years. The Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Administration program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Classes last eight weeks, and the degree can be completed fully online in about two years. There is an accelerated schedule in which the degree can be finished in a year. The program consists of 42 credit hours, which includes a capstone project. No grades lower than ‘B-' will be accepted for the degree. Up to 50% of the degree coursework can be transferred to Liberty with faculty approval. Liberty offers deep tuition discounts for military veterans and even greater savings for veterans who served as first responders when they were civilians. Degree application requirements include one year of professional nursing experience, one professional reference, and a personal statement. Students also must complete an undergraduate course in statistics and health assessment.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,904

 

#18 – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi 

Nursing Administration MSN

Corpus Christi, TX
Website

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is tied for No 59 on U.S. News & World Report's list of best online master's degree in nursing. The Nursing Administration MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and designed to be completed part-time online so that students can work professionally full-time. The coursework is designed to be completed in three years and is offered in sequence with classes in fall, spring, and summer. There are 37 semester credit hours in the program, which weaves clinical practicums into several classes. One of the courses scheduled for the student's final semester, Patterns of Care Delivery, calls for 135 clinical laboratory hours. Students who live outside Texas should contact the university's College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and check with the home state's licensing agency, to ensure that the master's program is a good fit. Application requirements include an unencumbered nursing license, three references, a resume, and a personal essay. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $$3,965 / $12,817

 

#17 – Lamar University 

Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Administration Online

Beaumont, TX
Website

With nationwide health reform changing the rules of access to care, learning to manage those changes is a crucial role in health care. That's one of the primary focuses of Lamar University's Master of Science in Nursing in Nursing Administration Online degree program, which is accredited by the Accreditation Committee for Education in Nursing. The curriculum consists of 37 semester credit hours and can be completed in as few as 24 months. Coursework is offered fully online, and the program can be started at five points in the academic calendar. Fifteen credit hours are devoted to the core Master of Science in Nursing requirements. The rest of the coursework prepares the student for leadership roles in the field. Tasks include extensive practicums that deal with planning and organizing health care, and managing human resources. Application requirements for the degree program include an unencumbered nursing license and an accredited bachelor's degree in nursing. Other requirements include a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all previous coursework and an undergraduate statistics course. Candidates with lower GPAs have the ability to submit GRE scores for consideration. 

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,234 / $13,704

 

#16 – University of Colorado Denver 

Master of Science in Nursing Leadership (i-LEAD)

Denver, CO
Website

The University of Colorado Denver's Master of Science in Nursing Leadership degree is called i-LEAD by the institution's Anschutz Medical Campus, where the program offered. That stands for Innovation in Leadership and Administration. UC Denver is tied for No. 4 on the U.S. News & World Report's list of best online master's degree in nursing. The nursing program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The coursework can be done fully online and the hands-on practicum or internship can be set up in the student's home state. The degree is designed to work within the busy schedule of a health care professional. It is a streamlined degree that calls for just 30 semester credit hours. Students who take a full course load in fall, spring, and summer and finish in two years. Degree applicants must have an unencumbered nursing license and a bachelor's in nursing. Other requirements include three reference letters, a resume, a personal essay, and an interview.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $6,786 / $22,590

 

#15 – California University of Pennsylvania 

MSN in Nursing Administration and Leadership

California, PA
Website

Just to clarify, California University of Pennsylvania has no connection to the Golden State. CUP's campus is in the small town of California, PA, tucked against the Monongahela River and about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh. That said, the university's nickname is Cal U. The MSN in Nursing and Administration program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The streamlined, 30 credit hour program can be completed in 20 months, though many students who are unable to carry a full load will need two years or more. The coursework is offered fully online and in sequence. Students can begin the program in the fall or spring semester. Classes are designed to be taken one at a time, at the start and midpoints of each semester. A final practicum covers the full semester and requires 150 clock hours of work. Applicants to the program must have an unencumbered nursing license and a bachelor's of nursing degree earned with a GPA of at least 3.0. Other requirements include at least one year of nursing experience, preferably in some form of management, and a personal essay.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $12,384 / $18,576

 

#14 – Walden University 

Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Executive

Minneapolis, MN
Website

Options abound with Walden University's Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Executive online degree. There are three tracks, which correspond to the student's academic and professional history in nursing. The most common track is for licensed nurses who have an accredited bachelor's degree in the field. There is also a track for nurses who don't have a bachelor's but do have an associate's degree or a diploma from a hospital, and a track for nurses who want to earn credits for a bachelor's in nursing while pursuing the master's degree. Whatever approach is taken, the Walden program is available fully online, accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, and taught by a 100% doctorate-level faculty. Walden runs on a quarter system. The bachelor's-to-master's track consists of 53 to 63 quarter credits. The other two tracks call for a larger amount of coursework because of the catching up that needs to be done. Classes in the Nurse Executive specialty include Strategic Planning in Healthcare Organizations and Quality Assurance and Regulatory Compliance. All tracks finish with a capstone project. Students can join Phi Nu, the university's chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society, and network with colleagues around the globe.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $11,739

 

#13 – Capella University 

MSN, Nursing Leadership and Administration

Minneapolis, MN
Website

Capella University is built on online learning and flexible options. The university's MSN, Nursing Leadership and Administration degree program can be completed anywhere a student can log on and set up a capstone practicum in a health care setting. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Capella claims that more than 600 organizations, including health care institutions, recommend the university's programs to their employees. The nursing leadership program consists of 54 quarter credits spread throughout 13 courses. Students can follow the traditional GuidedPath approach to learning, which adheres to the 10-week quarter schedule and includes weekly assignments and classroom discussions or they can use FlexPath, in which students can take up to two classes per 12-week billing period, and move immediately to other classes when they're done. There are no classroom discussions, and students set their own deadlines. If a student can handle this kind of loose structure and take a full load, the degree can be completed in about a year. As for the practicum, the student must help arrange for a preceptor – a mentor or teacher with a medical background – to oversee the capstone project.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $14,516

 

#12 – Saint Joseph's College of Maine 

Master's in Nursing Administration

Standish, ME
Website

The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Coursework in nursing is offered as a cohort and can begin at four points in the academic calendar. The degree can be completed in as little as two years but must be finished in at least five. Students in the program must have an unencumbered nursing license and a bachelor of science degree in nursing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. There is a fast-track option for the latter; students pursuing a nursing bachelor's can take up to three master's-level courses for the BSN, which can be applied to the master's program. Up to six graduate-level credit hours can be transferred to the Saint Joseph's program. The master's degree in administration consists of 24 credit hours of core coursework and 21 credit hours of specialty coursework. Examples of the latter include Healthcare Financial Management, Health Services Administration, as well as Ethical and Legal Perspectives. The final piece of the degree is the capstone course, in which the student writes an academically rigorous article that targets health care issues and offers solutions. The capstone is done with a faculty member serving as a mentor.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,982

 

#11 – Seton Hall University 

Online MSN – Health Systems Administration with Case Management

South Orange, NJ
Website

Seton Hall University offers a master's degree designed to prepare nurses who want a leadership role with which they can advocate for quality health care while not losing sight of the realities of cost, especially in the era of health care reform. The Online MSN – Health Systems with Case Management degree is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The program consists of 30 semester credit hours and can take about two years to complete. The student must help arrange for a total of 85 clinical hours for two practicums/internships: Managed Care and Reimbursement Systems, and Managerial Internship in Health Systems Administration. Other classes in the administration specialty include Case Management, and Managed Care and Reimbursement Systems. Applicants to the program must be a licensed nurse with a bachelor's degree in nursing earned with a minimum GPA of 3.0. They also must provide a statement of personal goals and two letters of reference – one academic recommendation and one professional.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $22,662

 

#10 – Fort Hays State University 

Online Masters in Nursing Administration

Hays, KS
Website

Fort Hays State University offers an Online Masters in Nursing Administration that has rolling classes each semester, which makes it easier to fit coursework into a busy schedule. Please note that Fort Hays' nursing program doesn't accept applications from the Tennessee, Utah, Alabama, or Washington state. Fort Hays State tied for No. 35 on the U.S. News & World Report's list of best online master's degree in nursing. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The university's department of nursing features small class sizes and offers personalized advising for distance learners. The program consists of 32 semester credit hours. There are four courses that require the arrangement of practicum or apprenticeship hours in a health care setting. The student works with the nursing college to arrange locations and mentors. Program applicants must have a bachelor's in nursing earned with a GPA of at least 3.0, along with a current nursing license. Other requirements include two recommendation letters, a statement of goals, and the completion of an undergraduate statistics course.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $3,582 / $10,206

 

#9 – University of St. Francis 

MSN in Administration

Joliet, IL
Website

The University of Saint Francis is operated by the Franciscan Catholic Church. While the university aims to provide a liberal education with religious dimensions, USF says it respects the beliefs of others while sticking to its Catholic ideals. USF has provided online courses since 1997. It uses the Canvas digital classroom, which allows for asynchronous learning on the student's own time. The typical student in USF's MSN in Administration program, offered by the Leach College of Nursing, has worked in a health care setting for several years. The program consists of 36 semester credit hours offered in a three-semester academic year. A student typically takes one four-hour class a semester; the program can be completed in three years. A capstone course includes a comprehensive project paper. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Application requirements for the degree include a valid nursing license, a bachelor's degree in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA, two years of full-time clinical nursing in the past four years, an overall undergraduate GPA of at least 2.0, a completed undergrad statistics class, a personal essay, and an interview with College of Nursing faculty.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $13,464

 

#8 – University of Texas at Tyler 

Nursing Administration MSN

Tyler, TX
Website

The Nursing Administration MSN online degree can begin in either the fall or spring semesters at the University of Texas at Tyler, which tied for No. 19 on the U.S. News & World Report's list of best online master's degree in nursing. The administration program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. UT Tyler has two- and three-year schedules for completing the program's 36 semester credit hours. All work is done online except for the hands-on practicums, which are arranged at a health care facility in the student's home state. There are three practicums, and each requires 37.5 hours of clinical work. Nursing students at UT Tyler can join the Iota Nu At-Large chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society – a performing networking tool. Applicants to the program must be licensed nurses in the state where the practicums will occur and must have earned an accredited bachelor's degree in nursing. Other requirements include a personal essay or YouTube video, a completed undergraduate statistics course, and references from three professional or academic sources.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,472 / $13,374

 

#7 – Kennesaw State University 

MSN in Nursing Administration

Kennesaw, GA
Website

Online courses and hands-on practicum work weave their way through Kennesaw State University's MSN in Nursing Administration degree. If students follow the course plan, the Master of Science in Nursing specialty degree can be completed in 15 months. Most of the online study is not live, allowing students to fit it into their busy schedules. The program, offered by KSU's WellStar School of Nursing, is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The courses prepare students for things like crisis management, finance, information management, and making ethical decisions. The coursework consists of 31 to 34 semester credit hours. Up to nine credit hours can be transferred. There are three practicums, spread through the program schedule, that each call for 90 hours of work. In addition, a thesis paper measures competencies in research and analysis. A grade of ‘B' or better must be earned in all MSN courses. Program applicants must be registered nurses with a valid license, and have a bachelor's in nursing earned with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Other requirements include a completed undergraduate course in research, a statement of personal goals, and two letters of reference. No GRE scores are required.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $5,220 / $18,810

 

#6 – Ball State University 

Online Master's in Nursing – Nurse Administrator

Muncie, IN
Website

Ball State University is tied for No. 13 on the U.S. News & World Report's list of best online master's degree in nursing. Its Online Master's in Nursing – Nurse Administrator program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The online experience is largely asynchronous, with students and faculty staying connected through email, discussion boards, and live chats. The Nurse Administrator curriculum consists of 36 semester credit hours – 17 credits are devoted to nursing and research core concepts, and the remainder focuses on the leadership concentration. There are 180 hours of practicum work that must be set up in your community at a health care facility approved by faculty. A valid nursing license is required, as is an accredited bachelor's degree in nursing. However, if a nurse has only an associate's degree in nursing and a bachelor's in another field, Ball State has an "RN to MS" option that allows the pursuit of the master's degree without having to get a second bachelor's. The coursework for RN to MS usually takes nine to 11 semesters.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $8,730 / $21,666

 

#5 – Clarkson College 

Master of Science in Nursing: Health Care Administration

Omaha, NE
Website

Clarkson College is all about health care. From its roots as a nursing school in the late 1880s, Clarkson grew into a private, nonprofit institution that offers degrees and certificates in areas such as medical imaging, physical therapy, health information management, and, of course, nursing. The online Master of Science in Nursing: Health Care Administration consists of 42 semester credit hours. The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Up to nine credit hours can be transferred. Students able to handle a full-time load can complete the degree in eight semesters. Part-time students can finish in at least three years. Leadership classes include Finance for Health Care Leaders, Strategic Planning/Marketing, and Health Care Economics. Program applicants much have a valid RN license in the state where the degree's practicum will be done. Applicants also must have an accredited bachelor's degree in nursing, and provide a scholarly essay, two professional recommendations, and a resume. GRE scores are not required.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $10,764

 

#4 – University of North Carolina at Charlotte 

MSN in Nursing Administration

Charlotte, NC
Website

The MSN in Nursing Administration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte prepares nurses for careers in areas such as ambulatory care management, nurse executive or management, and quality improvement management. The program consists of 36 semester credit hours, and online students with busy lives taking a part-time load can expect to finish the degree in 27 months. Courses in the administration specialty are offered every other year. Students can begin courses at any time in the academic year, but most begin in the summer. Coursework includes a hands-on practicum under the eye of an accepted preceptor – a mentor/educator from the medical field – that requires at least 180 hours of fieldwork. A capstone project is done in the student's final year. Program applicants must have a valid RN license in the state where they will do clinical practice for the degree, along with at least a year of professional practice. A bachelor's degree is required. A degree in nursing is preferred, as is a minimum GPA of 3.0. Applicants also must pass a statistics course and provide a statement of purpose and three recommendation letters.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,337 / $17,771

 

#3 – New Mexico State University

Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Las Cruces, NM
Website

New Mexico State University's online learning system offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree with a Nursing Administration concentration. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and consists of 36 semester credit hours. It rolls out in a specific order, that means that part-time students can complete the coursework in three years. However, if a student can take on a full course load, the degree can be achieved in two years. Students can transfer no more than half the credits needed for the degree. New Mexico State uses the Instructure Canvas system for its online instruction. The coursework includes practicums and a fieldwork class that must be done in a real health care setting – New Mexico State's School of Nursing works with the student to arrange the location and a preceptor, or field supervisor. The fieldwork class requires 180 clock hours of effort. Students also must complete a final project, in lieu of a thesis. Nursing Administration students have tackled issues like creating a chief safety officer position or a review board for a regional medical center. Students can apply for membership in New Mexico State's Pi Omega chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau honor society for nursing, which can be a powerful networking tool. Program applicants must have an unencumbered RN license in the state where the degrees fieldwork will be done. A bachelor's degree in nursing also is required, as is a completed undergraduate course in statistics. The School of Nursing asks for three recommendations, a letter that describes personal goals, and an online interview with a faculty member.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $4,549 / $15,860

 

#2 – Wheeling Jesuit University 

Online Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration

Wheeling, WV
Website

Wheeling Jesuit College is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Others include Boston College, Creighton University, and Santa Clara University. WJC offers an Online Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration degree. It is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Nursing students at WJU can take courses that earn them a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Those courses fulfill the core requirements of the MSN degree, so all the graduate student needs to do is complete the specialty courses for Nursing Administration. The degree consists of 42 semester credit hours of coursework. There is one practicum that calls for 56 hours of time and presents online simulations of patient-care scenarios. The other practicum must be done in a real health care setting, under the mentorship of a field supervisor. Program applicants must have a valid RN license in the state where the practicum will be done, along with an accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Other requirements include a 3.0 cumulative GPA, a statement of academic and professional goals, and three letters of recommendation.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $9,450

 

#1 – Western Governors University 

MSN – Leadership and Management

Salt Lake City, UT
Website

Time is relative at Western Governors University. The 20-year-old, nonprofit institution offers what it calls "competency-based education," and it only offers online learning. In brief, WGU disconnects coursework from the schedule of a traditional semester or quarter. Guided by faculty and advisers, the student moves at his or her own pace. When the requirements of a class are met and the student proves by examination that the knowledge has been mastered, it's on to the next. WGU offers an MSN – Leadership and Management degree. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The university says nine out of ten graduate students complete the degree in 14 to 32 months. The degree has 36 competency units, which are comparable to semester credit hours but, again, aren't tied to an academic calendar. There is a field experience course at the end of the program schedule that requires hands-on, practicum work in a real health care setting, with the field supervisor overseeing the student. The final piece of the program is a capstone project in which the student pulls together all the things learned in the degree's coursework. Program applicants must have a bachelor's degree in nursing and a current, valid RN license. The prospective student must be active in nursing at the time he or she applies.

Graduate Tuition/Fees: $7,500