Are you a busy RN looking to advance your career in the most efficient way possible? And you are perhaps interested in attending flexible classes while holding down your full time nursing job? Then you’re in the right place!
We’ve compiled a list of the best shortest RN to MSN online programs available today to help you save time and effort. The average duration for these programs on our list is 2 years. Some will allow you to completely bypass a BSN, while others will require obtaining a BSN while pursing the MSN concurrently.
Ok, nuff said. Here are the best options for obtaining your MSN flexibly, and in record time!
10 Shortest RN to MSN Online Programs of 2023/24
1. University of Mississippi RN to MSN Online Program
The University of Mississippi School of Nursing offers an affordable and efficient RN-MSN online program tailored to associate-degree RNs.
This program provides you with six options, including four nurse practitioner tracks, a nurse educator track, and an administrator track. And depending on the track you choose, you can expect to complete the program in just under 2 years.
Duration: 2 years
Nurse Practitioner Tracks:
- Acute Care Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner: 61 hours
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 64 hours
- Family Nurse Practitioner: 66 hours
- Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: 62 hours
Nurse Educator Track: 54 hours
Nursing and Health Care Administrator Track: 53 hours
Unique Learning Environment
By learning at the University of Mississippi, you’ll have access to four major hospitals, providing you with a truly unique learning environment with unlimited resources. This combination ensures you’ll receive the best nursing education in the state.
- No GRE score is required
- Accredited associate degree or diploma in nursing
- Minimum GPA of 3.0
- Completion of prerequisite courses with a minimum “C” grade
- Current unrestricted US RN licensure and eligibility for licensure in Mississippi
- One year RN clinical experience
- One-year waiting period if dismissed from a nursing program
- 4 statements sharing experiences demonstrating perseverance, service, leadership, and diversity
- Multiple mini-interviews (MMI) with members of the Admission Committee
- Official transcripts from all colleges attended
If you reside outside Mississippi, you will pay out-of-state tuition.
2. Chamberlain University Accelerated RN to MSN Program
Chamberlain University’s Accelerated RN to MSN Program is a 100% online program that allows you to earn your MSN faster, with options to tailor your curriculum plan and participate in experiential learning opportunities.
Duration: 2 years
You can customize your learning path by choosing between the Accelerated RN-MSN or Accelerated RN-MSN with Clinical Nurse Leadership (CNL) options. If you’re interested in creating and coordinating care plans for patients, the CNL option may be the right fit for you. This program will help you develop essential leadership skills and knowledge to work at the bedside with patients and evaluate client care.
Flexibility and Convenience
With no prerequisites and no mandatory login times, you can complete your coursework at your own pace. Most classes only require that you login two to three times per week. Please note, some Nurse Practitioner specialty tracks require in-person immersion experiences.
- Nursing diploma or an associate’s degree in nursing (or higher) from an accredited institution
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
- Current, active, unrestricted RN license in the U.S. or in a jurisdiction that is an associate member of the NCSBN
For non-Nurse Practitioner (NP) courses, tuition is $650 per credit hour, while tuition for NP courses is $665 per credit hour.
3. University of San Francisco RN to MSN Online Program
Another great university with one of the shortest RN to MSN online programs is the University of San Francisco. This program is 100% online and asynchronous and caters to RNs with either a BSN or an ASN/ADN. If you’re an RN with a BSN, your program will be 33 credits; for an ASN/ADN, it will be 38 credits. You should complete this program in 2 years.
Duration: 2 years
The program combines online instruction with evidence-based quality-improvement practicum coursework (400 practicum hours), which can be completed at your workplace or with the university’s assistance in finding a site. You also get office hours, within the program, and one-on-one engagement with faculty.
- Active, unencumbered RN license in the state where you plan to complete practicum hours
- Reside in one of the approved states for the online program (see the State Authorization section)
- Completed undergraduate nursing degree (ADN or BSN) from an accredited institution
- GPA 3.0 or higher
- Personal statement
- Professional resume
- Two letters of recommendation
NB: At the moment (2023), the program is not accepting international applications.
The fee is $1,555 per unit.
4. Franklin University RN to MSN Online Program
Franklin’s RN to MSN online program allows you to complete your degree on your terms- 100% online. You can balance your education with work, family, and life, and finish in just 16-30 months. This program is among the best RN to MSN online programs for international students. Not many programs accept non-US applicants. Fortunately, this does!
Duration: 16-30 months
However, there’s a bridge course that you must complete to qualify for admission to the program. The course is NURS 500 – Essentials of Professional Nursing. You must achieve at least a grade of B to qualify. The cost of this bridge course is $1,200.
- Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner track (27 months)
- Family Nurse Practitioner track (27 months)
- Generalist track (18 months)
- Nurse Administrator track (16 months)
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track (28 months)
- For the MSN-Generalist and MSN-Nurse Administrator tracks: An associate degree/diploma with a minimum 2.75 GPA
- For the MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner, MSN-Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and MSN-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner tracks: An associate degree/diploma with a minimum 3.0 GPA
- Active nursing license
- International students must demonstrate English language proficiency
The cost is $298 per unit, making this program one of the most affordable RN to MSN online programs available.
5. Herzing University Accelerated RN to MSN Online Program
Herzing University offers an accelerated RN to MSN online program, allowing you to obtain your master’s degree in as little as 20-24 months. Designed for busy, non-traditional students, this program is 100% online, and so flexible enough for a balanced school-life experience.
Duration: 20-24 months
There are 7 MSN concentration options available:
- Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
- Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Nursing Education
- Nursing Leadership and Administration
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
You can find your own preceptor and clinical sites to enhance your learning experience. If you face challenges, don’t worry – Herzing comes to the rescue with extensive support.
- Reside in a state where Herzing University is authorized to offer the program
- Crrent, active, and unrestricted RN license in the state where you practice
- Associate degree (ADN/ASN/AASN) in nursing from an accredited college or university
- Participate in an interview to identify your goals and assess if the RN to MSN program is right for you
Herzing’s tuition and charges vary depending on your chosen MSN concentration. The cost per credit ranges from $615 to $735. To estimate your expenses, use the Tuition Wizard on the Herzing website here.
6. Drexel University RN To MSN Online Nursing Program
Drexel’s RN to MSN Online Nursing Program is perfect for RNs who wish to pursue an MSN but have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing, or a BSN equivalent degree. It is a 100% online program, featuring interactive, synchronous e-learning methods.
There’s a bridge course, though, that you must pass before beginning on the MSW classes. This course is called NURS 335: Genetics and Genomics: Application to Nursing Practice (4.5 quarter credits) – which can be completed in just one 10-week term.
After completing the bridge course, you can start on your graduate-level MSN classes in the MSN Advanced Role track of your choice. Depending on the track selected, the average completion time ranges between 2-3 years.
Duration: 2-3 years
- Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
- Recommended cumulative GPA of 3.0
- Official transcripts from all post-secondary educational institutions
- Two professional letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
- Copy of your United States RN license
Tuition is $1,069 per credit.
7. University of Maryland RN to MSN Program
The University of Maryland’s RN to MSN Program offers an accelerated path for registered nurses to earn both a BSN and an MSN degree. This program is designed for RNs with a baccalaureate degree in another discipline or those without a baccalaureate degree but possess a strong interest in pursuing leadership and specialty preparation at the master’s level.
You can choose from 3 specialties, but note that one of them is attended in-person:
- Health Services Leadership and Management (online)
- Nursing Informatics (online)
- Community/Public Health Nursing (in-person)
The entire program consists of 69-71 credits and can be completed in as little as 2 years.
Duration: 2 years
- Complete this Prerequisite Course List
- Have a minimum undergraduate 2.5 GPA, with a science GPA of at least 2.75 (chemistry, anatomy and physiology I and II, microbiology)
- One letter of recommendation
- Official transcripts
- Valid, unrestricted (current) RN license in the United States
The tuition rates for the program are:
- In-State: $856.00/credit
- Out-of-State: $1,519.00/credit
8. Loyola University Chicago Online RN to MSN program
Loyola University Chicago’s online RN to MSN program, with a concentration in Nursing and Health Care Administration, is designed for nurses who have completed an ADN or a diploma in Nursing. This accelerated pathway allows you to earn both a BSN and an MSN degree within 2.5 to 3 years.
Duration: 2.5-3 years
The program’s courses are taught online and asynchronously, which means you get to have that utmost flexibility to balance your professional work and education. Both part-time and full-time study options are available.
Curriculum: From BSN to MSN
Unlike other RS to MSN online programs that completely bypass a BSN, in Loyola Chicago’s program, you’ll need to complete 120 credits to obtain your BSN degree before transitioning to the MSN portion of the program. The School of Nursing helps secure practicum sites for you at one of over 300 healthcare organization partners, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, healthcare accreditation bodies, consulting firms, and professional associations.
On-site Immersion Weekend: Connect and Network
The Nursing and Healthcare Administration track includes an on-site immersion weekend, where you can connect with fellow students, faculty, and network with nursing leaders.
- Active RN license from a U.S. state
- Cumulative 2.5 GPA
- Official transcripts
- Personal statement
The tuition rate for the program is $1,150.00 per credit hour.
9. Jacksonville University RN to MSN Online Program
JU’s RN to MSN program also allows RNs to earn both a BSN and an MSN degree concurrently. The program is offered 100% online, with 8-week flexible course formats that let you start year-round and take terms off when needed. You can complete the program in as few as 18 months- making it one of the shortest RN to MSN online programs on our list.
Duration: 18 months
- Clinical Nurse Educator
- Leadership in Healthcare Systems
- Informatics Specialization
- Hold an active US nursing license
- Submit all transcripts
If you have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or below, you may also be asked to provide:
- A statement of intent
- Letters of recommendation
Rates for the program are as follows:
- For the undergraduate coursework part, it’s $325 in-state, and $400 out-of-state per credit hour.
- For the graduate coursework part, it’s $675 per credit hour.
10. Queens University of Charlotte Online RN To MSN Pathway
Queens University of Charlotte’s Online RN to MSN Pathway allows you to advance directly from an RN to an MSN without the need for a BSN. By completing two bridge courses and moving on to the core MSN courses, you can earn a master’s degree in just 2.5 years.
Duration: 2.5 years
- Nurse Educator
- Nurse Administrator
- Clinical Nurse Leader
- Nursing Informatics
Each track requires a total of 43 credit hours.
- Minimum GPA of 2.5
- Associate Degree in Nursing or higher
- Current, unrestricted license to practice nursing in the state where you will complete your practicum
Quick Tip– Unlike many other programs, Queens University of Charlotte does not charge an application fee.
The cost per credit hour is $609, with the total estimated tuition for each track amounting to $26,187.
In conclusion, this list of the top 10 shortest RN to MSN online programs offers incredible opportunities for you to elevate your career without sacrificing valuable time.
These programs provide flexibility, convenience, and quality education that can help you achieve your professional goals.
Besides, with an MSN, you can propel yourself into higher-paying positions, specialized roles, and increased job satisfaction.
So, don’t let time hold you back – seize the moment, and enroll in one of these top programs. Your future in advanced nursing practice awaits!
Yes, many RN to MSN online programs are designed for RNs with an associate degree or diploma in nursing who wish to pursue a master’s degree in nursing without first obtaining a BSN.
These programs provide an accelerated pathway, allowing you to earn your MSN in a shorter period, compared to completing a BSN and then an MSN separately.
Yes, you can go from being an RN to obtaining an MSN through RN to MSN programs. These programs are specifically designed for RNs who hold an associate degree or diploma in nursing and want to advance their careers by earning an MSN.
Depending on the program you choose, you may be able to complete your MSN in as little as 2 years.
Obtaining an MSN degree is worth it for most nurses, as it leads to career advancement, higher earning potential, and increased job opportunities.
With an MSN degree, you can pursue various nursing specialties, such as nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nurse administrator, or nurse informaticist.
Also, MSN-prepared nurses often have more autonomy in their roles and are better equipped to influence healthcare policy, contribute to patient care improvements, and collaborate with interdisciplinary teams.
- Information on these programs may change without notice. So, we cannot guarantee their authenticity and accuracy. You’d have to check with the school and do further research. Our review list is simply for guidance and cannot be relied upon exclusively without research on your part.
- Before enrollment, check with your state regarding licensing rules or whether your desired program meets your home state’s certification requirements and licensure.
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