Top Online Nursing Programs

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Find the best schools to earn your nursing programs degree online, and learn more about what these institutions and programs offer.


Our 2016 nursing rankings showcase the top online colleges offering undergraduate BSN programs this year. We based our calculations on the quantifiable factors that we believe contribute to the ideal online learning experience: program cost; student-to-faculty ratio; and institutional financial aid, acceptance, retention, graduation, default, and default rate. Learn more

Top Online Nursing Programs

RankSchoolStudent to
Faculty Ratio
Aid Rate

Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing & Allied Health


About the Program

Founded in 1891, this private not-for-profit school is affiliated with one of the largest health systems in Nebraska: the Nebraska Methodist Health System. Their assortment of online nursing programs sets the standard for nursing distance education. Seven different programs are offered for nurses looking to further their academic credentials, including:

  • RN to BSN
  • RN to MSN, Nurse Educator
  • RN to MSN, Executive
  • MSN, Nurse Educator
  • MSN, Nurse executive
  • Post Master’s Certificate, Nurse Educator
  • Post Master’s Certificate, Nurse Executive

The RN to BSN programs can be completed in 18 months, while RN to MSN will take 36 months. Post master’s certificates usually require 10 months. For those unsure which program is best for them, the school offers a handy flowchart to guide candidates decision making. If you are completely new to nursing, the school provides a free, downloadable PDF guide to what a career in nursing entails.

Online Experience

My Methodist is the online learning management tool at NMC. Prospective students can view a brief online orientation that provides an overview of the system and its perks. To ensure students are participating in a safe and friendly online environment, the school has a progressive online communications policy in place to regulate digital interaction. In addition to standard technical support, online tutoring, and financial aid resources, the school offers a virtual chapel to give spiritual and emotional support to online students.

$300 per credit hour online
720 North 87th Street
Omaha, NE 68114-2852
(402) 354-7000
Program Page

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences


About the Program

Located on the Carolinas HealthCare System Northeast campus in Concord, North Carolina, Cabarrus emphasizes small class sizes and personal attention. Their online RN to BSN degree completion program is no exception to this priority. While small class sizes may not initially seem important in an online program, they allow for individualized attention from professors who would otherwise be overwhelmed with online requests if the class size wasn’t capped.

With the exception of one required course that necessitates three on-campus meetings, all coursework is hosted online. Full-time students may complete their program in six semesters, and new candidates are admitted in the Spring and Fall. The program is designed with working individuals in mind, and students who may be unfamiliar with online learning have access to a complete online orientation to ensure a seamless transition into the life of a working student.

Online Experience

Attending a virtual classroom can be intimidating; however, Cabarrus has taken several steps to ensure that students are ready for a digital format before they begin their education. Among these is an online learning readiness assessment prospective students can take to determine whether or not their learning style is suited to a distance format before they apply.

Canvas hosts the learning management system for Cabarrus, and an orientation to the platform is available for anyone interested. Out-of-state students should keep in mind that the school does require a small amount of classroom attendance to complete this program. Additionally, Cabarrus is not allowed to offer courses in Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Tennessee.

$375 per credit hour online
401 Medical Park Drive
Concord, NC 28025-3959
(704) 403-1555
Program Page

George Washington University


About the Program

GW online offers students 23 different online nursing programs, including certificate, BSN, MSN, and doctoral options. For those looking to obtain a BSN online, the school offers three pathways:

  • ADN-BSN Residency

The two ADN-BSN options are similar; the programs are part time and able to be completed by working adults in four semesters. The difference lies in that the residency program is for graduates of the Northern Virginia Community College. In this track, students work as an RN at the GW hospital while earning their degree. By committing to at least three years of employment, the hospital will pay for their entire tuition. The ADN-BSN/MSN offers a three-year track to both an undergraduate and graduate degree. Students should keep in mind that this program, while flexible, is still very rigorous due to its comprehensive nature.

Online Experience

The school of nursing at GW is consistently top-ranked nationwide. US News & World Report puts their online MSN program as #9 in the country, so you can be sure that this quality is maintained across their spectrum of degree offerings. The school uses a variety of technologies to create its virtual classroom, including Blackboard and GW Lecture Capture. Students participate in all the same activities as a traditional student, with the added benefit of asynchronous scheduling. The format allows working adults to take care of family, professional, and educational priorities in a timeframe that suits them best.

$595 per credit hour online
2201 G St, NW
Washington, DC 20052
(202) 994-6145
Program Page

Union University


About the Program

Union University caters to adult students with an online RN to BSN program designed with maximum flexibility in mind. Intended for working nurses who hold either a diploma or an ADN, the school provides students 37 credit hours for their working experience upon the successful completion of a specific course: NUR 333 – Concepts of Professional Nursing. Admissions is rolling, though priority applications must be received by July 1st.

On average, students can complete this fully online program within 18 months. While the program is available nationwide, applicants are required to hold an unencumbered Tennessee nursing license. Graduates are prepared to be leaders in the workplace through training in advanced level nursing courses and through faith-guided Bible studies.

Online Experience

Moodlerooms powers Union University’s virtual classroom. Through a variety of digital collaboration methods, online students receive the same high-quality education as their traditional counterparts. Distance learners will still actively participate in class discussion through message boards; partner or group projects with video communication software; and complete tests, quizzes, and assignments. An online orientation and tech support is available to ensure students transition to online learning as smoothly as possible. The IT department at UU also provides a general guide to the school’s technology resources for interested applicants.

$450 per credit hour online
1050 Union University Dr
Jackson, TN 38305-3697
(731) 668-1818
Program Page

Simmons College


About the Program

Simmons College has taken over 100 years of experience educating nurses and developed a leading online nursing school. Known as Nursing@Simmons, the department offers RNs three programs to further their education:

  • RN to BSN
  • RN to MSN
  • Family Nurse Practitioner

Working nurses interested in completing their BSN online need 128 credits to graduate. The school awards up to 80 credits for prior experience, meaning full-time students can complete their degree in four terms, while part-time students usually take five terms; terms are on a trimester schedule, meaning three total terms in a calendar year. There are multiple start dates throughout the year, with applications accepted on a rolling basis. Graduates will be prepared to focus on community-based and preventative care, becoming leaders in a variety of healthcare settings.

Online Experience

Through a partnership with 2U, nursing students at Simmons are given access to an entirely virtual campus. Online, students are able to participate in their education as if they were sitting in the front row at every lecture. They can choose to participate in synchronous courses or wait and view their recorded class at a later time. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1, class sizes are small, giving students the chance to personally connect with their professors and peers. Unique features include:

  • Live office hours
  • Campus immersion
  • Clinical placement
  • Social engagement
$1,247 per credit hour online
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115-5898
(617) 521-2000
Program Page

Eastern Mennonite University


About the Program

Steeped in Mennonite values like peacemaking, community, and service, the online nursing programs at EMU produce well-rounded and effective nurses. Program options include an RN to BSN, a 24-month online master’s in nursing, and an online faith community nursing certificate.

A BSN from EMU requires 124 semester hours. Credit is granted for prior coursework and experience. Students progress through the program in cohorts of up to 15 students, meaning that, upon completion, graduates will have a tight network of fellow nurses to turn to for networking and support.

Online Experience

With a primarily asynchronous format, employed adults can balance family, education, and work responsibilities without the additional stress of having to attend to their courses at a specific time. Applicants should be aware, however, that a two-day, on-site orientation is required at the beginning of the program. Using Moodle, EMU creates a highly interactive, collaborative virtual classroom that promotes interactions through video streaming, chat rooms, message boards, and online tutoring. An FAQ is available for prospective students to explore before applying to the program.

$385 per credit hour online
1200 Park Rd
Harrisonburg, VA 22802-2462
(540) 432-4000
Program Page

Villanova University


About the Program

One of the three programs in the nation to be consecutively awarded the National League for Nursing’s Center of Excellence in Nursing Education Award, Villanova offers a 100% online RN to BSN program with clinical components that can be completed at a student’s place of employment or nearby facility. Intended for candidates who want to expand their professional responsibilities, Villanova graduates are skilled in analytical techniques, public health, clinical assessment, and management.

The curriculum and coursework in the online program are identical to the long-running campus-based program, meaning students will receive the exact same education and degree that has made Villanova’s College of Nursing nationally renowned. Central areas of focus include:

  • Nursing science and practice
  • Research
  • Public health
  • Leadership
  • Ethics

Online Experience

Villanova’s 24/7, video-based virtual classroom is powered by Blackboard Learn. Through this portal, working students can manage their education in way that suits their busy lifestyles. Student resources include a host features like:

  • Two-way online phone chat
  • Live chat rooms
  • Message boards
  • Streaming lectures
  • Shared whiteboards

All of these advanced features are supported by 24/7 tech support, so you can be confident of guaranteed access to your classwork, no matter when you schedule your study time. In addition, every student is assigned a dedicated program representative to give personal advice and guidance throughout the online learning process.

$593 per credit hour online
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085-1699
(610) 519-4500
Program Page

Roberts Wesleyan College


About the Program

Roberts Wesleyan College is a Christian university with a rich heritage. The school believes in educating the entirety of the student body by addressing the physical, psychological, social, rational, and spiritual aspects of the human experience. Nurses graduating from this school are prepared to be community and workplace leaders anchored in a Christian worldview. The schools offers five online nursing options:

  • RN to BS
  • Nursing Education MS
  • Nursing Education Certificate
  • Nursing Leadership and Administration MS
  • Nursing Leadership and Administration Certificate

Roberts has designed the ideal program for RNs wanting a quick, simple path to an online BSN. Online students can graduate from this degree completion program in 15 months. The curriculum has no exams, instead evaluating students through papers, presentations, and projects. In addition, the clinical components of the program can be completed at the student’s place of employment, making this program ideal for those juggling work and family responsibilities.

Online Experience

With books included in the cost of tuition, students can tackle their online learning experience without additional costs. Coursework is asynchronous and due weekly, meaning students are given maximum flexibility to complete assignments on their own schedule. Through the Moodle LMS, students can stay in constant contact with peers and professors, allowing for real-time discussion of course materials and topics.

In addition, one-on-one academic advising is available for all online students, meaning those new to online learning or unsure about the learning system will receive personalized guidance while completing their degree.

$638 per credit hour online
2301 Westside Dr
Rochester, NY 14624
(585) 594-6000
Program Page

Northwestern College


About the Program

As a Christ-centered school, Northwestern teaches its RN to BSN students to address the entirety of their patients, including their mental, physical, and spiritual well-being; a philosophy they describe using the Hebrew word ‘shalom.’ Nursing courses include:

  • Shalom and Nursing Science
  • Lifespan Health Assessment
  • Promoting Shalom with Cross Cultural Populations
  • Nursing Science and Informatics
  • Promoting Shalom with Diverse Populations
  • Nursing Leadership and Clinical Scholarship
  • Living Shalom

Students progress through their courses in a cohort, giving them the chance to build personal relationships that create lifelong friendships, as well as helping with professional networking. In keeping with maximum flexibility, students are evaluated through projects, papers, and assignments. There are no exams. Clinical components of the course can be completed within range of the student’s residence, so there is no need to visit the Northwestern campus.

Online Experience

With both synchronous and asynchronous requirements, students receive the flexibility of online coursework with the real-time benefits of virtual meetings. Support, guidance, and group learning is facilitated by Collaborate, software that allows streaming video communication as well as the ability to share your desktop. The virtual classroom is powered by Blackboard, and prospective students can view a comprehensive online learning handbook for an idea of how the digital learning environment works prior to applying.

For a firsthand view of how the online learning experience at Northwestern fits into the lifestyle of a busy working nurse, take a look at the story of 2007 graduate Crystal Kiel.

$390 per credit hour online
101 Seventh St SW
Orange City, IA 51041
(712) 707-7000
Program Page

Mount Carmel College of Nursing


About the Program

This private Catholic institution located in Ohio prides itself on focusing on community service, holistic education, and the respect of diverse spiritual and cultural values. In their online RN to BSN program, students engage with a diverse curriculum that addresses the humanities, liberal arts, and science within the framework of the issues facing modern medicine.

Student-to-faculty ratios are kept small, ensuring students receive the personal attention that is often lacking in larger online programs. Priority status is given to graduates of ACEN accredited programs, though applicants from non-ACEN programs are still considered on a case-by-case basis. The program can be completed in only four semesters as a full-time student, with flexible part-time scheduling available for students who need more time to plan their courses.

Online Experience

Mount Carmel recently chose to transition to the Canvas learning management system after testing multiple options. Through this platform, students have the ability to record and transfer video for class discussion, projects, and exams; collaborate through live chat rooms, message boards, and private messaging; and receive 24/7 tech support.

To ensure all students are well-versed in the nuances of the digital learning environment, the program begins with an online technology orientation. Prospective students unsure about adjusting to the online learning environment can give the platform a test drive by sending an email to requesting a “Test Drive” username and password.

$385 per credit hour online
127 So. Davis Ave
Columbus, OH 43222-1504
(614) 234-5800
Program Page

St. John Fisher College


About the Program

Rooted in a history dating back to the Cadet Nurses Corps of World War II, the programs at St. John Fisher College’s Wegman’s College of Nursing adhere to the same values and rigor that created some of the army’s top nurses. Every faculty member is a practicing nurse, providing students with firsthand knowledge of the challenges facing modern healthcare practitioners. Graduates return to the workplace prepared to care for patients as nursing leaders focused on evidenced-based practice.

With seven-week modules organized into a readily accessible online format, students can complete their education in 12-18 months. Books are included in the cost of tuition, making returning to school as simple and affordable as possible. Highly motivated students have the option of pursuing an RN-to-BSN to MS Fast-Track option that will earn both an undergraduate and graduate degree in nursing. Candidates must have received at least 2.0 in their previous studies.

Online Experience

St. John Fisher uses a number of programs to help its online students get the most from their distance education. They provide a general orientation to technology to give prospective students an idea of the services they will be using. The primary platform of the virtual classroom is Blackboard. Through this portal, students will be able to submit their asynchronous coursework, participate in discussion forums and network with faculty and peers. In addition, 24/7 academic assistance is available through the Smarthinking service.

Because experiential learning is essential to developing modern nurses, the online program integrates three clinical nursing components through a project-based model. Occasionally, projects and group-based work will require synchronous online collaboration.

$625 per credit hour online
3690 East Ave
Rochester, NY 14618-3597
(585) 385-8000
Program Page

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Saint Anselm College


William Carey University


Webster University


University of Saint Francis-Fort Wayne


Bryan College of Health Sciences


Saint Louis University


Anderson University


Eastern University


Oral Roberts University


Mercy College of Ohio


Quinnipiac University


University of Saint Mary


Chatham University


Ursuline College


The College of Saint Scholastica


University of Florida


Ohio State University


St. Catherine University


Gwynedd Mercy University


DeSales University


Rowan University


Spring Arbor University


Oklahoma Christian University


Endicott College


Belmont University


Ashland University


Drexel University


University of Delaware


Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences


Pacific College


Viterbo University


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