In the next ten years, the number of nursing jobs is expected to rise 16%. This means that there is an increasing need for well-training nurse professionals. A field with a vast array of areas for specialization, there are now hundreds of schools offering graduate programs for nurses looking to further their knowledge base. Many schools are offering online programs to accommodate the busy schedules that most nurses maintain. Below are the most affordable online programs that will lead to a Master of Science in Nursing degree. Many programs require different numbers of credit hours depending on the specialization the student chooses – these numbers reflect the lowest number of required credit hours possible at each school. Program tuition does not include fees, so with the institution for a complete list of costs. Our data was derived directly from the university websites and from U.S. News and World Report.
#1. Missouri State University
Missouri State University is a public school with four campuses, the main of which is in Springfield. They offer a Master of Science in Nursing with Nurse Educator specialization that requires 34-37 hours of study for students to complete. Curriculum for this program includes research methods, health assessment, and health policies.
Accreditation: Missouri State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Tuition: $10,710
#2. Fitchburg State University
Located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Fitchburg State University is a public institution with 7,000 graduate and undergraduate students. They offer a 39-credit Master of Science in Nursing – Forensic Nursing. This program can be completed in three years for students who purse the degree full-time. Students who complete this degree will be prepared for careers as death investigators, sexual assault nurse examiners, risk management specialists, or legal nurse consultants.
Accreditation: Fitchburg State University is regionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Tuition: $11,856
#3. Gardner-Webb University
Gardner-Webb University is a private Christian institution located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. They offer a Master of Science in Nursing with two possible specializations: Nursing Administration and Nursing Education. The Nursing Education concentration seeks to train students to become educators in either a health care or academic setting, while the Nursing Administration concentration is geared toward educating students for roles in health care organization leadership. The program requires 30 to 36 credit hours of its students depending on specialization. Curriculum for this degree includes theory, research methods, evaluation strategies, and statistics.
Accreditation: Gardner-Webb University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Tuition: $12,990
#4. University of Alabama
The University of Alabama is a public research university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with over 36,000 undergraduate and graduate students. They offer a Master of Science in Nursing with two options for concentrations: Case Management and Clinical Nurse Leader. Both tracks require students to complete 38 to 41 credits for graduation. The Case Management concentration prepares its students to work with patients to develop long-term health care plans, while the Clinical Nurse Leaders will be educated in a way that will enable them to oversee care coordination for small groups of patients, and serve as a resource for decision-making as part of an interdisciplinary team. U.S. News and World Report ranks the University of Alabama’s nursing program at #52.
Accreditation: The University of Alabama is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Tuition: $13,680
#5. Delta State University
Delta State is a public university located in Cleveland, Mississippi. They offer a Master of Science in Nursing with possible concentrations in nurse administrator, family nurse practitioner, or nurse educator. This degree can be completed in two years if pursued full-time. Depending on the concentration, students will need to complete 42-48 credit for this degree. Core curriculum includes theoretical issues, nursing research, and health care policy. U.S. News and World Report ranks Delta State’s nursing program at #180.
Accreditation: Delta State University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.
Program Tuition: $14,028
#6. California University of Pennsylvania
California University of Pennsylvania is a private university located in California, Pennsylvania with 8,600 undergraduate and graduate students. They offer a Master of Science in Nursing– Nursing Administration and Leadership that can be can be finished in 20 months. This program seeks to prepare its students to address a variety of health and administration issues, as well as in research tools and methods. 30 credit hours are required for completion of this degree.
Accreditation: California University of Pennsylvania is regionally accredited by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education.
Program Tuition: $14,370
#7. University of North Dakota
Enrolling over 15,000 students, the University of North Dakota is located in Grand Forks. They offer a Master of Science in Nursing with several options for concentration: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nursing, Advanced Public Health Nurse, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, and Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing. Ranging from 41 to 76 credit hours for completion, graduation typically takes between two and three years. No matter the specialization, UND seeks to prepare its students to be knowledgeable, competent nurses who are also compassionate caregivers.
Accreditation: University of North Dakota is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Tuition: $14,454
#8. West Texas A&M University
A public university located in Canyon, Texas, West Texas A&M enrolls about 10,000 students. Their Master of Science in Nursing program prepares its students to take their clinical practice to an advanced level. Students will study pathophysiology, pharmacotherapeutics, and advanced assessment. Graduates of this 39-40 credit-hour degree will be prepared to work in hospitals, outpatient settings, and in administrative and educator positions.
Accreditation: West Texas A&M University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Tuition: $14,768
#9. Georgia College
Georgia College is a public liberal arts university located in Milledgeville, Georgia with approximately 7,000 students. They offer a Master of Science in Nursing degree with two options: Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator. The Family Nurse Practitioner specialization can be further concentrated into Psychiatric Mental Health. Both programs require 40 credit hours for student completion. The nursing school at Georgia College is committed “to the formation of nurse leaders to engage in evidence-based practice, lifelong learning and civic participation in a health information intensive environment through the development and mastery of clinical reasoning, professional nursing skills and values.” U.S. News and World Report ranks their online nursing program at #8.
Accreditation: Georgia College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Program Tuition: $14,920
#10. Northeastern State University
A public university with its main campus located in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Northeastern state enrolls approximately 10,000 students. It offers a 32-hour Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Education. Its purpose is to provide educational mobility to qualified registered nurses, recognizing the great need for nurse educators in the city and region in which the university is located.
Accreditation: Northeastern State University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Tuition: $16,000