A Complete Guide to Online Nursing Master's Programs

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 22, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Completing a nursing program online is a flexible option that offers a practical solution to those who want to study around their existing commitments. A master's program in nursing is a great way to increase your earning potential and improve your career prospects. There are many options available based on your availability and needs. In this article, we will look at some of the most popular reasons for studying online and the best programs to enroll in.

Related: What Can You Do With A Nursing Degree?

What are the benefits of online nursing master's programs?

Nurses who want to complete a Master of Science in Nursing often have established careers and want to be able to study around their existing work commitments. Studying online is an option that offers plenty of flexibility and the chance to earn a high-level qualification on a schedule that suits you.

A master's degree is a great way to expand your options for advancing in your career and increasing your earning power. Learning new skills while continuing to gain more experience shows employers that you are hard-working, committed and have excellent time-management skills.

Online nursing programs give students access to faculty members and other students to create an interactive experience, so all the benefits of learning with others in person can be recreated at your convenience.

Related: ADN vs. BSN: Which Nursing Degree Is Right for You?

List of online nursing masters programs

There are a number of institutions offering online nursing mater's programs, some of which have a reputation for providing an excellent student experience.

  • Georgetown University

  • Johns Hopkins

  • Drexel University

  • Kaplan University

  • Loyola University

  • The University of Texas-Tyler

  • Jacksonville University

Georgetown University

As one of the oldest universities in the country, Georgetown focuses on a personal approach to supporting students. They offer four different online programs for those wishing to study a Master of Science in Nursing:

  • Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner

  • Family nurse practitioner

  • Nurse-midwifery/women's health nurse practitioner

  • Nursing practice

Students can complete courses both online and in person, with the availability to finish their degree part time.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University offers master's degrees in nursing that focus on health systems management. These programs are ideal for those who want to focus on leadership and executive roles within nursing. They could also be a good foundation for students who want to pursue a Doctor of Nursing in the future.

Drexel University

Drexel University has seven different nursing master's programs with options to suit a number of specialties:

  • Adult gerontology acute nurse practitioner

  • Adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner

  • Family nurse practitioner

  • Pediatric primary care nurse practitioner

  • Pediatric acute care nurse practitioner

  • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner

  • Women's health/gender related nurse practitioner

Purdue University Global (Kaplan University)

Purdue University Global offers four online nursing master's degree programs that allow students to specialize in specific areas of nursing, including adult-gerontology, family practice, executive leadership or nurse education. Kaplan offers courses to those who might otherwise struggle to access traditional master's programs, including those who are stationed abroad in the military and trained nurses who want to advance their careers without taking a break from working.

Loyola University

Loyola University offers several programs for individuals who wish to practice, manage or research in nursing. They focus on student engagement and satisfaction, student services and technology and faculty credentials.

The University of Texas-Tyler

The University of Texas-Tyler's online program offers students the chance to earn a degree through flexible study. Their program is aimed at working professionals who need to fit courses around their existing commitments.

Jacksonville University

With three different options for specialization, Jacksonville University has programs that are ideal for students who want to focus on becoming clinical nurse educators, work in informatics or pursue a leadership pathway. There are part- and full-time options to suit students who want to complete their program within two years as well as those with existing commitments who need longer to finish their studies.

Related: 11 Top Professional Nursing Organizations: Networking, Certifications and More

FAQs about online nursing master's programs

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about online nursing master's programs:

  • How do I complete clinical hours?

  • Do I need to take the GRE?

  • What are the common admission requirements?

  • How many hours per week do I need to dedicate to studying?

  • Do you need nursing experience to apply for an online masters program?

  • Can I transfer my credits from another program to an online nursing master's?

How do I complete clinical hours?

If you are already working as a nurse, then you can usually fulfill the clinical requirements for an online nursing program as part of your work. If you are not currently practicing, you need to complete a practicum or internship to satisfy the requirements of your course. The university you attend will help you schedule your clinical experience hours as part of your program.

Do I need to take the GRE?

Most programs require you to submit a GRE score as part of the application process, but some programs don't or the GRE requirements can be waived for applicants with high GPAs. GRE subject tests are sometimes required for specific programs usually in subjects like biology and psychology.

What are the common admission requirements?

Most online nursing master's programs require applicants to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an awarding body accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. You also need to have a registered nurse license and may need to submit letters of recommendation, complete an interview and take the GRE.

How many hours per week do I need to dedicate to studying?

Many programs recommend that you allocate around 15 to 20 hours per week to your studies. A full-time course is usually 35 to 40 hours per week and takes two years to complete, so a part-time course usually takes between three and four years, depending on how many courses you can take per semester.

Do you need nursing experience to apply for an online master's program?

Not all programs require students to have nursing experience. Search for programs that allow you to apply with a bachelor's degree and other minimum requirements, like a GRE score and letters of recommendation.

Can I transfer my credits from another program to an online nursing master's?

Many schools allow you to transfer your academic credits from another accredited body. There may be a limit to the number you can transfer, so you should speak to the admissions team to check their policy.

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