Whether you're a seasoned nurse or have worked entirely outside of healthcare thus far, there is a Master of Science Nursing program for you, and we've compiled the best!
Amidst the looming physician shortage, there has been a marked increase in demand for advanced practice nurses and nurse practitioners to take over many of the responsibilities that the current lack of physicians has caused. Since Americans are increasingly living longer as the quality of healthcare improves, more patients are at risk of misdiagnosis or potentially going without treatment altogether. This creates a bottleneck of sorts on the quality of care in the U.S. and has led hospitals and healthcare organizations to look to nurses as the solution, making this a great time to gain more education!
There are many benefits to investing in your education and pursing this path. Primarily, you can look forward to much higher salaries and even higher demand. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while registered nurses earn an average of $67,490, nurse practitioners earn a whopping $107,460. Over the course of 30 years you'll earn $1,199,100 more as a nurse practitioner or advanced practice nurse! In order to help you reach this goal, we've put together a list of the 20 best MSN programs that you should consider in 2019.
Duke University's Master of Science in Nursing program offers students a choice of 7 advanced practice registered nurse majors and 3 non-clinical including:
Each major requires students to complete 11 credit hours of clinical core courses and a clinical residency under the mentorship of an experienced clinician, but the number of hours ranges from 42 - 49 in total. All students must complete or exceed the requirements set forth by credentialing organizations like the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP), American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), National Certification Corporation (NCC) and Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PCNP).
Johns Hopkins University offers prospective MSN students 3 possible tracks in which they can pursue:
Whether you're a seasoned registered nurse looking to advance your career or someone who's yet to be acquainted with the field, JHU has you covered!
For the Entry into Nursing Practice track, students with non-nursing degrees from non-nursing fields must complete 17 - 20 credits of prerequisite coursework from an accredited institution in addition to 72 hours to complete the program.
The Advanced Practice Nursing and Public Health programs offer an avenue for current nurses to move into advanced practice, management, or public health nursing. Each has the same core courses that must be taken, but diverge after the first couple of semesters into their own specialty areas.
The University of Pennsylvania offers a Master of Science in Nursing with many programs available, including:
Most of the above programs include coursework in advanced physiology and pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, advanced physical assessment, and others that are central to the nursing field. With so many choices, aspiring advanced practice nurses have a litany of options to choose from if they end up choosing to UPenn.
At Emory, aspiring advanced practice nurses can choose between an Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) specialty, a MSN, or a dual degree program including:
Each single-track specialty can be completed at full-time enrollment over the course of 4 semesters or part-time in 7 while those pursuing a dual-track can expect to attend full-time for 5 semesters.
Ohio State's MSN program offers a broad range of clinical and classroom-based education with a strong emphasis on patient-centered care. The institution offers students of any background a way to transition into nursing through their Graduate Entry option while also offering the Traditional MS option as well. Specialty areas for Ohio State's programs include:
As the healthcare industry becomes more demanding about educational requirements, some universities have switched primarily to offering doctoral programs rather than a MSN. The University of Washington is among these, offering only a Master of Science in Clinical Informatics & Patient-Centered Tech but several DNP paths including:
The Master’s of Science in Nursing curriculum at Yale is designed to prepare students as practitioners with selected specialties and evidence-based practice. MSN students at Yale who enter as an RN move directly into a chosen area of clinical specialization with a curriculum that places emphasis on clinical competence and nursing scholarship. Students enrolled in the MSN program can choose from several specialties including:
Columbia offers prospective students multiple different paths to enter into advanced practice nursing regardless of their background via the Masters Direct Entry programs including the basic 15 month program, a Masters Direct Entry/Doctor of Nursing Practice, and a Masters Direct Entry/Doctor of Philosophy.
Students with a background in nursing can choose from the following programs:
Each requires nearly identical core coursework to be completed and begin to diverge after the first few semesters.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing works to provide students with a concrete educational background through evidence-based practice, scholarly activities, and translate health sciences knowledge to improve the delivery of healthcare. For 75 years the school has been educating nurses and, in that time, have developed one of the best msn programs in the country at a price that won't leave you saddled with too much debt.
Programs offered by the school include:
The University of Maryland School of Nursing shares a 61-acre campus in downtown Baltimore with the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s five other professional schools—Dentistry, Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Social Work—and the Graduate School. Students can take courses at 3 locations throughout Maryland at the Baltimore, Rockville, and Laurel College campuses. They have 24 clinical simulation laboratories at their disposal and 40 of entry-level graduates are employed at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The school also offers an abundance of choices in education, including:
The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing (FPB) at Case Western Reserve University is a globally recognized leader in nursing education and research. In fact, almost every major nursing organization has been led by an FPB graduate, including the International Council of Nurses, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, American Academy of Nursing, National Black Nurses Association, Inc., American Nurses Association, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the Canadian Nurses Association.
They've even been the first to pursue numerous educational and research including the practice doctorate in nursing, the acute care nurse practitioner program, the gerontological nursing program, the BSN preoperative requirement, BSN with informations in all four years, and the advanced practice flight nursing program.
Programs they offer include:
The University of Michigan School of Nursing offers "critical study of theory, cutting-edge curriculum, state-of-the-art technology, authorship of research, advanced clinical practice, and mentored leadership in complex organizations."
The school offers several different pathways for nurses seeking to make an upward career change:
The NYU MSN program is designed for nurses seeking advanced clinical roles like nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nursing administration, education, and informatics while providing the foundation for doctoral studies, preparing graduates for leadership positions. The curriculum's core includes nursing theory, research, statistics, population-focused care, and issues and trends in healthcare delivery.
The MSN program at UAB offers nurses several pathways to becoming an advanced practice nurse with many opportunities for graduates available nearby. UAB prepares its students to be capable of assessing patient conditions, discussing and explaining conditions to patients and families, managing lower-level nurses, overseeing patient records, researching, educating, and developing treatment plans.
The following program specialties are available:
UCLA is one of the few schools on this list to offer a MSN degree to students from a non-nursing background through their Masters Entry Clinical Nurse program. Students who pursue this two-year pre-licensure path must also enroll in summer courses between both. They're ultimately awarded the MSN degree and are eligible to take the National Council Licensing Exam (NCLEX) examination.
However, traditional nursing students have the expected pathways of a MSN or PhD as their path into advanced practice nursing:
Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Vanderbilt University's MSN program offers both nurses and non-nurses a pathway to advanced practice nursing, flexible course formats, an extensive faculty practice network, dual degree options, great certification pass rates, and many specialty areas to choose from including:
UNC - Chapel Hill's MSN program aims to prepare students for advanced practice roles through their research-intensive institution in a diverse, energetic, and collegial environment. The two available pathways for study include BSN-MSN and RN-MSN, each with specialty areas including:
Rush University's College of Nursing, located in the Illinois Medical District near Chicago's loop uses a holistic admissions process and offers several MSN and DNP programs designed to prepare students for higher-level clinical roles. With over 40 different degree and certificate programs to choose from, students from any background ought to consider Rush as solid option. Their programs are offered through Rush Medical College, Rush University College of Nursing, The College of Health Sciences at Rush University, and The Graduate College at Rush University.
Programs and specialties offered at Rush include:
The University of Virginia's MSN program offers students both generalist and specialty programs to choose from including:
The Penn State College of Nursing offers students a Master of Science in Nursing track with several different specialty areas including:
NP graduates are qualified to sit for national certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and/or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). After completing their licensure, NP graduates are eligible to become licensed by the state.