November 22, 2022

Top RN to MSN Programs

Top RN to MSN Programs

RN to MSN programs are designed to facilitate a better-educated nursing workforce. The bridge program provides access to the education necessary to progress in the profession of nursing. 

The program does not circumvent the BSN curriculum but provides a foundational bridge to graduate study. RNto MSN programs allow for an ADN-prepared nurse to continue their education in a seamless manner.

Graduates of an RN to MSN bridge program can complete the certification to be a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist.

Fast Facts About RN to MSN Programs


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the median pay for a master's prepared nurse practitioner, nurse midwife or nurse anesthetist is $123,780.

Program Length

Up to 3 years


  • Registered nurse license
  • Minimum of one-year clinical experience
  • Minimum GPA between 2.75 and 3.0
  • Associate’s Degree in Nursing from accredited school
  • Candidate Interview if applicable 
  • GRE if applicable
  • TOEFL if applicable

Top RN to MSN Programs

Every ADN to MSN bridge program has its own benefits and features, and the program that is best for one potential attendee may not be the right choice for another. In assembling our list of top programs, we paid particular attention to objective criteria, paying special attention to ensuring that each is accredited and has proven outcomes for its graduates. 

Our selection process considered the following factors:

  • Cost of attendance

  • Program length

  • Admission requirements

  • Variety of available programs

  • Ranking according to U.S. News & World Report

  • Additional accolades that the program has received 

1. Franklin University

Franklin University is an online program that provides a contemporary curriculum offered by seasoned in-field practitioners. 

Students can finish bridge courses and be on their way to their MSN in 12 weeks. The admission process is streamlined and hassle-free. Specific programs include Generalist, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, and Family nurse practitioner tracks. 

  • Tuition: $670 per credit

  • Program Length: 16- 30 months

  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

  • Application Deadline: Rolling

  •  Contact Email: 

  • Contact Phone Number: (614) 797-4700

  • Online Options Available? Yes

2. Baker University

Baker University allows the graduate to progress at their own pace and shortens the time to graduation. This program has start times in January and August. 

All course work is done online, and practicums take place in your community, so you can earn your degree where you live and work. Applicants are required to have a 3.0 GPA.

  •  Tuition: $100 per credit hour (bridge courses only additional fees required)

  • Program Length: 15-30 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline:  Rolling

  • Contact Email:

  • Contact Phone Number: 785.594.6451

  • Online Options Available? Yes  

3. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS)

The online bridge program at MCPHS builds on the students’ ADN so they can move into graduate studies seamlessly. This allows the student to earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner without earning a bachelor's degree first. 

The program is designed to meet the needs of busy students with a majority online curriculum with four on-campus meetings. A personal statement is required as part of the admission process.

  • Tuition: Online tuition is calculated at a cost-per-credit rate based on the program you choose and the number of credits for which you register.

  • Program Length: 24 months

  • Accreditation:  CCNE

  • Application Deadline: April 1

  • Contact Email:

  • Contact Phone Number: (800)225-5506

  • Online Options Available? Yes 

4. University of Mary

The University of Mary offers an online ADN to MSN with a focus in Nursing Leadership & Management. This degree program allows students to advance their careers while continuing to work full-time. 

This program is best for nurses seeking leadership positions, unit managers, care coordinators, and more. 

  • Tuition: $460 per credit

  • Program Length:  up to 20 months

  • Accreditation:  CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Rolling

  • Contact Email:  enroll@umary.ed

  • Online Options Available? Yes

5. University of Mississippi

The RN to MSN program at the University of Mississippi offers a flexible plan of study. There are six predominantly online options to choose from including nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and administration. 

  • Tuition:   $525 per credit

  • Program Length:  Varies on chosen program

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline:  April 15

  • Contact Email: 601-984-1000 

  • Contact Phone Number:

  • Online Options Available? Yes

6. LaSalle University

The RN to MSN bridge program at LaSalle University provides students with a strong foundation to build a professional nursing career.  Upon acceptance to the program, students will be required to complete four undergraduate courses.

  • Tuition: $905 per hour (additional college and university fees)

  • Program Length: 24-36 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: April 1 

  • Contact Email:

  • Contact Phone Number: (215)951-1322

  • Online Options Available? Yes

7. Wilkes University

The RN to MSN bridge program at Wilkes University is completely online with three concentrations in Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care and Psychiatric/Mental Health. 

Wilkes University provides engaging clinical placement services that prepare students for success in their future practice.

  • Tuition:  $728 per credit hour

  • Program Length:  36 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: May 1

  • Contact Phone Number:  (888) 413-5633

  • Online Options Available? Yes

8. Aspen University

The RN to MSN bridge program is an affordable way for registered nurses to return to school and expand their career opportunities. This liberal-arts foundation prepares nurses to assume leadership positions in education, management and clinical practice.

  •  Tuition: Monthly payment plan $325/month (0%- interest)

  • Program Length:  24-32 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Rolling

  • Contact Info:  (800) 373-7814

  • Online Options Available? Yes

9. Herzing University

The RN to MSN program at Herzing college provides 100% online coursework. The Herzing Everywhere Classroom offers learning on your schedule and at your own pace from experienced faculty.

  • Tuition: Tuition Wizard is used to determine cost based on start date, credit hours, and program.

  •  Program Length:  24-32 months

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline:  Rolling

  • Contact Phone Number:  800-596-0724

  • Online Options Available? Yes

10. University Texas of Arlington

The RN to MSN program at the University of Texas Arlington Online offers two fast-track options for nurses who want to move straight into a master’s degree program. 

With flexible online courses and expert instructors, students will qualify for the national family nurse practitioner certification exam or be prepared to lead the next generation of professional nurses as nurse educators or nurse administrators.

  • Tuition: $362 per credit

  • Program Length: Up to 36 months

  • Accreditation:  CCNE

  • Application Deadline: Rolling

  • Contact Phone Number: (866) 489-2810

  • Online Options Available? Yes 

Types of RN to MSN Bridge Programs


On-campus ADN to MSN programs would require you attend classes in person with your cohort along with clinical experiences. While many students prefer this format, it does require adhering to a specific class schedule.  While this format provides the greatest opportunity for networking, taking advantage of a robust support system, and ensuring that you fully understand the course material, it also makes adhering to a work schedule or fulfilling family responsibilities more challenging.


Online RN to MSN programs are offered via a learning management system that the student must log into regularly to access lectures, and assignments. It also allows students to communicate with faculty and peers.


A hybrid RN to MSN bridge program requires students to engage both online and in-person. Students may be required to attend class in person on certain days and engage in other course requirements online.

RN to MSN Program Overview

Admission Requirements

  • Active and unencumbered RN license

  • Completed school application with the applicable fee

  • CV/resume

  • Original goal statement or personal essay 

  • Official transcripts sent to the school

  • Prerequisite courses 

  • Three personal letters of recommendation, with at least one from a current supervisor 

  • In-person or phone interview may be required

  • Additional testing may be required for international students 

Program Length

The program length for the majority of ADN to MSN programs is up to 36 months. If the program is completed on a part-time basis it can take longer to complete.  

Program Cost

The program cost for ADN to MSN programs varies significantly from institution to institution. Students should take time to compare different programs to determine which tuition plan best meets their financial needs. Variables include, 

  • Reputation of the program 

  • Quality of the faculty

  • Number of specialty tracks offered

  • Program is offered by a private or public institution

  • Online versus hybrid versus in-person instruction

  • Full-time or part-time attendance


Students in the ADN to MSN bridge program will first be required to take courses at the undergraduate level. 

These courses include physical assessment, pharmacology, and pathophysiology along with other courses as determined by the institution. Once the student transitions to the graduate program they will determine what track of the MSN program they prefer to pursue.  

Other classes include:

  • Community Health Nursing

  • Advanced Pharmacology

  • Advanced Pathophysiology

  • Advanced Physical Assessment

  • Evidence-Based Practice

  • Professional Practice

  • Health Policy and Promotion

  • Global and Population Health

  • Research

  • Leadership and Management in Advanced Practice

FAQs About ADN to MSN Bridge Programs

  • How long does it take to bridge from RN to MSN?

    • The bridge process generally takes about 1 to 2 semesters in order to meet the bachelor's degree requirements.
  • Are RN to MSN programs worth it?

    • Yes, RN to MSN programs are worth it. They are designed for nurses who have been in clinical practice and are ready to take the next step in their professional careers. 
  • Is MSN the same as NP?

    • No, MSN and NP are not synonymous. One must complete an MSN degree in preparation for the NP certification exam. A graduate with an MSN degree can choose to pursue a career as a nurse educator, nurse anesthetist, or nurse administrator.