Top One-Year Online MSN Programs

13 Min Read Published June 3, 2024
Top 1-Year MSN Programs

Completing a master's in nursing while working full-time is often a tall order. Thankfully, some top colleges and universities have flexible and affordable one-year online MSN programs. These degree paths expand access to graduate-level training for Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduates.

12-month MSN programs cater to working professionals committed to advancing their nursing careers without compromising academic quality. They offer a blend of advanced coursework, hands-on training, and networking and professional collaboration opportunities.

We've curated the top-ranked 1-year online MSN programs for 2024 to help you find one that suits your needs. Continue reading to see which schools stand out to you.

Popular Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University

GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Georgetown University
Nursing@Georgetown delivers Georgetown University’s MS in Nursing program online, preparing RNs with a BSN to pursue certification in an APRN specialty. Students can earn their degree in as few as 19 months.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY and WA.

Top 1-Year MSN Programs

We analyzed program features, accreditation, affordability, flexibility, and graduate outcomes to determine the ten best 1-year online MSN programs. You can read more about our methodology here.

If maximizing career options and earning potential is part of your nursing journey, pursuing an accelerated online master's in nursing degree may be worth it. Learn how these flexible and affordable online tracks can help you attain your academic and career goals.

1. Vanderbilt University

Nashville's Vanderbilt University is home to a fast-track MSN program that students can complete in just 12 months. This one-year master's degree provides preparation for advanced practice roles for nurse informaticists, practitioners, midwives, and leaders. It is ideal for working nurses who want to expand their skills and take on leadership roles.

This distance learning program includes core classes, such as:

  • Human Experience of Health and Illness Across the Lifespan
  • Legal and Ethical Accountability in Professional Nursing
  • Pharmacology for Nursing Care

Prospective students should hold an active registered nurse (RN) license with a cumulative 3.0 GPA. Applicants can apply online and must include answers to essay questions, academic transcripts, and three letters of recommendation.

While the MSN portion is one year, students can seamlessly transition into the DNP program to earn a terminal degree.

  • Tuition: $1,997 per credit hour
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: October 15th
  • Contact Information:
    • Email Address: VUSN-Admissions@vanderbilt.edu
    • Phone Number: (615) 322-3800
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

>> Show Me Online MSN Programs

2. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) is an Ivy League institution that offers one of the best one-year MSN programs. Penn students have access to standout faculty, cutting-edge research, and professional connections.

Students complete at least 12 courses throughout this top MSN program while preparing for accompanying national certifications. Penn has multiple nurse practitioner, nursing administration, and nursing education pathways to choose from. The nurse practitioner programs will take roughly 15 months to complete, even full-time, but an MSN in nursing administration or education can be completed in a year.

Prospective students can apply online and submit academic transcripts, a copy of an active RN license, three letters of recommendation, and answers to various essay questions. Top candidates must complete an interview as part of the admission process.

  • Tuition: $6,392 per credit hour
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: November 1st 
  • Contact Information:
    • Email Address:  admissions@nursing.upenn.edu
    • Phone Number: (215) 989-4271
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

3. Wilmington University

Delaware's Wilmington University is home to an MSN in nursing leadership that students can complete in a year. Throughout this 12-month online MSN program without clinicals, they tackle core classes, which include:

  • Contemporary Concepts in Advanced Practice Roles
  • Evidence-Based Practice in the Health Professions
  • Leadership Roles in Advanced Nursing Practice

Additionally, students can choose from four concentration areas: executive, educator, legal nurse consultant, and public health.

This flexible and affordable CCNE-accredited MSN program offers online and in-person classes. Online learners can complete their courses in 7-week terms. Students can apply online and must provide a copy of an active RN license and official undergraduate transcripts.

  • Tuition: $537 per credit hour
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Contact Information: 
    • Email Address: admissions@wilmu.edu
    • Phone Number: (877) 967-5464
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

Popular Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University

GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Georgetown University
Nursing@Georgetown delivers Georgetown University’s MS in Nursing program online, preparing RNs with a BSN to pursue certification in an APRN specialty. Students can earn their degree in as few as 19 months.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY and WA.

4. Florida Atlantic University

Founded in 1961, Florida Atlantic University is a public research institution that offers a standout nursing master's that students can complete online and in a single year. For future healthcare leaders, this MSN specializes in nursing administration and financial leadership and allows RNs a chance to fast-track their career prospects. 

Throughout this 100% online program, students work closely with a hand-picked mentor and complete core classes such as:

  • Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Leadership in Nursing Administration
  • Finance in Advanced Practice Nursing
  • Financial Administration of Nursing Systems

To be eligible for this program, MSN applicants must have an active and unencumbered RN license.

  • Tuition: 
    • In-state: $371.81 per credit hour
    • Out-of-state: $1026.81 per credit hour
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: 
    • Spring: November 15th 
    • Fall: July 1st 
  • Contact Information: 
    • Email Address: kchadwel@health.fau.edu
    • Phone Number: (561) 297-6261
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

5. University of Nevada-Las Vegas

The University of Nevada-Las Vegas is a public research institution that serves over 30,000 annually. Established in 1957, UNLV is home to in-person and online master's programs in nursing. This flexible and affordable master's in nursing education offers the knowledge and skills needed to train the next generation of clinical practitioners.

Throughout this online master's degree in nursing, students take classes like:

  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Nursing Theory
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Public Policy for Advanced Practice Nursing 

Despite being entirely online, students are required to attend mandatory on-campus sessions. This varies based on the course and program. 

Additionally, students spend 15 credit hours tackling nurse education coursework. Before graduation, students complete a degree-culminating nurse educator scholarship project. Interested learners must hold a bachelor's in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

  • Tuition: 
    • In-state: $344.25 per credit hour
    • Out-of-state: $723 per credit hour
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: February 1st
  • Contact Information:
    • Email Address: gradnursingadmissions@unlv.edu
    • Phone Number: (702) 895-3360
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

>> Show Me Online MSN Programs

6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) is the state's flagship public institution. It offers a standout array of master's in nursing programs. These programs equip current and future nurses with advanced clinical skills, leadership acumen, and a strong foundation in evidence-based practice.

UNC nursing programs cater to diverse student interests, offering nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and nurse leadership pathways. Nursing students at UNC can also pursue a healthcare leadership and administration specialization that they can complete in about one year. Core classes include topics such as:

  • Healthcare Policy
  • Organizational Theory
  • Applied Health Informatics

Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree from a CCNE-accredited program and have an active, unencumbered nursing license. Applicants must have a minimum 2.75 GPA, but the university prioritizes students with a 3.0 GPA or higher.

  • Tuition: $1,019 per credit hour
  • Program Length: 12 to 15 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: November 28th 
  • Contact Information:
    • Email Address: nursing@unc.edu
    • Phone Number: (919) 966-4260
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

7. University of North Carolina-Wilmington

UNC Wilmington is a mid-sized public school offering an online master's in nursing with a nurse educator specialization. This accelerated online MSN program dives into advanced theory and facilitates hands-on learning opportunities to ensure graduates have the tools they need to inspire future nurses.

Some core classes in this CCNE-accredited program include the following:

  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Best Practices for Nursing Education
  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Health Care Systems
  • Education Informatics

Before graduation, online degree-seekers complete two hands-on nursing education practica. Interested students can complete the online application and provide proof of RN licensure and academic transcripts. Students with a cumulative GPA over 3.0 don't need to submit GRE scores for admission.

  • Tuition: 
    • In-state: $309.74 per credit hour
    • Out-of-state: $1,152.85 per credit hour
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: 
    • Summer 1: April 13th
    • Summer 2: May 25th
    • Fall 1: July 27th
    • Fall 2: September 21st
    • Spring 1: December 7th
    • Spring 2: February 8th
  • Contact Information:
    • Email Address: CHHSOAP@uncw.edu
    • Phone Number: (855) 306-4734
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

8. University of Alabama in Huntsville

UAH is a public university offering a 1-year BSN to MSN program with a specialization in nursing administration. Throughout this online program, students dive into the American healthcare system to foster leadership and operational skills for effective nursing management. Core classes include topics such as:

  • Foundational Concepts for Nurse Administrators
  • Leadership in Human Resources Management
  • Scholarly Inquiry for Advanced Practice

This online MSN degree is only available as part of the Summer Expedited Plan. 

Before graduation, MSN students must complete a nursing leadership internship at an approved site. Prospective students must hold a BSN from an accredited nursing program and an active, unencumbered RN license.

  • Tuition: $421 per credit hour
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: August 1st
  • Contact Information:
    • Email Address: nursing@uah.edu
    • Phone Number: (256) 824-1000
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

9. Northeastern State University

Based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Northeastern State University is a public school that offers three 1-year online MSN programs. In addition to honing advanced nursing skills, online degree-seekers choose between specializations in administrative leadership, nursing education, and nursing informatics. 

Throughout these 32-credit MSN pathways, students complete a blend of core requirements and specialization classes. Core classes include topics such as:

  • Cultural Perspectives
  • Theoretical Foundations for Nursing Practice
  • Issues and Trends in Professional Nursing

Before graduating, MSN students must complete a nursing practice capstone and a degree-culminating practicum. There are six available start dates for students and classes are accelerated on a 7-week timeline. Applicants must hold a BSN degree with an active RN license.

  • Tuition: $370.40 per credit hour
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Contact Information:
    • Email Address: admissions@nsuok.edu
    • Phone Number: (844) 351-6656
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

>> Show Me Online MSN Programs

10. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

UTRGV is a public research institution that offers two MSN pathways that online learners can complete in a year. With more than 32,000 students, this Hispanic Serving Institution doesn't just meet the needs of its community. It also offers a catalog of flexible and affordable online options, expanding access to higher education in West Texas and beyond.

Online UTRGV students have access to two accelerated MSN pathways: MSN in nursing administration and nursing education. Throughout these programs, students take core MSN classes such as:

  • Statistics in Nursing
  • Advanced Nursing Informatics
  • Theoretical Foundations of Nursing 

Before graduation, students gain hands-on experience in their specialization area. Interested MSN students must hold a BSN degree with an active nursing license in their state of residence.

  • Tuition: 
    • In-state: $749.40 per credit hour
    • Out-of-state: $1,159.40 per credit hour
  • Program Length: 12 months
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Contact Information:
    • Email Address: admissions@utrgv.edu
    • Phone Number: (956) 882-5070
  • Online Options Available? Yes
  • Website

Popular Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University

GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has a nearly 35-year tradition of preparing students to fill evolving healthcare roles as highly qualified professionals. GCU offers a full spectrum of nursing degrees, from a pre-licensure BSN degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Georgetown University
Nursing@Georgetown delivers Georgetown University’s MS in Nursing program online, preparing RNs with a BSN to pursue certification in an APRN specialty. Students can earn their degree in as few as 19 months.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY and WA.

FAQs About 1-Year Online MSN Programs

  • How fast can you get an MSN?

    • The fastest MSN programs allow you to graduate in about one year. These accelerated programs allow nurses to advance their careers in shorter time frames than traditional degree paths.
  • Is earning an MSN hard?

    • Earning a nursing master's in just 12 months can be challenging because of the condensed nature of the curriculum. Students should ensure that they can balance coursework with personal and professional obligations.
  • How much can I make with an MSN?

    • An MSN nurse's salary can vary based on specialization, location, and experience. That said, MSN grads tend to earn considerably higher wages than those with an ADN or BSN degree.

>> Related: Top Shortest RN to MSN Online Programs

James Mielke
James Mielke
Nurse.org Contributor

James Mielke is a freelance writer currently based in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to writing extensively about higher education and career topics, he has contributed to Eaten: The Food History Magazine, The Midwesterner, and Golfweek. James has a history degree from Nashville's Belmont University and is on a spiritual quest to make the world's best biscuit.

Read More From James
Go to the top of page