Advance with a Master’s in Nursing Online
- $627/credit (39 credits total)
- Transfer up to 12 graduate credits
- 4 career-focused program tracks
- Complete in as few as 20 months
- No GRE/GMAT required
- Program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)1
Online MSN Degree Program Overview
As the healthcare system continues to evolve, opportunities in nursing will steadily emerge. Now is the time to build on yesterday’s success and prepare for tomorrow’s future roles in healthcare.
Southern New Hampshire University's online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) can prepare you for these advanced positions with critical-thinking and leadership skills centered on patient care. This affordable master's in nursing online degree can also start you on the road to becoming an advanced practice nurse.
"The learning experience goes beyond being simply academic to practical in my everyday work," said Les Rothrock '15. "It has given me the edge to be better prepared and equipped in doing my job. I have learned how to research and problem solve issues in my work as well."
New therapies, technologies and complex medical treatments to address patient needs are introduced on a daily basis. Healthcare legislation and regulation are more stringent than ever before. To keep quality of care aligned with the industry's expectations and demands, healthcare organizations need highly educated nurses to fill leadership roles.
The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) online program at SNHU prepares you with the key competencies necessary for continuous improvement of the safety and quality of healthcare systems.
Learn how to:
- Propose initiatives and technologies that facilitate decision-making for patient care
- Motivate change and drive improvement in healthcare
- Create health prevention and promotion initiatives
- Generate solutions for navigating quality and cost in healthcare excellence
- Advocate for policies and effective systems that meet the needs of consumers
- Build effective working relationships across organizations
There are 4 MSN tracks for students. You may choose to customize your degree with electives within the generalist MSN, or choose a specialty track that aligns with your career goals:
- Clinical Nurse Leader: Learn to become a leader in healthcare when you enroll in our Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Clinical Nurse Leader degree track. You'll gain theoretical and practical knowledge in the areas of leadership, research, evidence-based practice, care coordination and transition management. The program requires 400 clinical practice experience (CPE) hours, including 300 precepted practicum hours and 100 practical application hours. Graduates of the master's in nursing leadership program meet the educational requirements to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) exam offered by the Commission on Nurse Certification (CNC).
- Nurse Educator: Instill your passion for teaching – in academia or in the clinical setting – when you enroll in our Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Nurse Educator degree track. SNHU's program provides you with the essential skills required by registered nurses to function in the nurse educator role in academic, online and clinical settings – facilitating learning through curriculum design, teaching, evaluation and advisement. It requires 400 clinical practice experience (CPE) hours, including 120 precepted practicum hours and 280 practical application hours. Graduates of the master's in nursing education program meet the educational requirements to sit for the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) exam offered by the National League for Nursing.
- Patient Safety & Quality: Focus on the improvement of healthcare when you enroll in our online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Patient Safety and Quality degree track. In this master's program, you'll develop knowledge about healthcare quality improvement, risk assessment, communication, legal issues and strategies that contribute to building a culture of safety and assuring accountability and reliability in care processes. This MSN patient safety and quality program requires 400 clinical practice experience (CPE) hours, which includes 280 practical application hours and 120 capstone hours.
No BSN yet? No problem! SNHU offers an accelerated RN to MSN pathway option that allows eligible registered nurses to achieve their MSN faster and for less money.
A report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) titled ''The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health'' identifies a growing demand for qualified nurses who are prepared to meet the complex and changing needs of the 21st-century healthcare workforce.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of nurses with advanced skills and other medical and health services managers is projected to grow 18% through 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.2 And the median annual pay in May 2019 for these managerial roles was $100,980.2
"At Southern New Hampshire University, the quality of the program has allowed me to advance my career into more diverse roles as a director of nursing," said Bonnie Fecowicz '16, now a director of professional development and education at a New Hampshire hospital. "I use everything I learn every day in my position."
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, some of the most common direct and indirect care roles for MSN-educated nurses are3:
- Clinical nurse leaders
- Nurse administrators
- Nurse educators
- Nurse informatics specialists
- Public health nurses
Top treatment centers – including ANCC Magnet hospitals – are actively looking for nurses with advanced degrees to take their patient care to the next level. A master's in nursing online degree can expand your nursing career employment and leadership opportunities and prepare you to serve as a clinical nurse leader, clinical nursing faculty member and a nursing administrator.
Start Your Journey Toward an Online MSN Degree
Why SNHU for your Master's in Nursing
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 12 graduate credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.4 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 5 graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options. Your counselor can also walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application ($40 fee) and providing undergraduate transcripts.
MSN admission requirements:
- Must maintain an active unencumbered Registered Nurse license. Licensure exam must be equivalent to NCLEX-RN examination. (If a student holds active licenses in more than one state/jurisdiction, all licenses must be unencumbered.)
- Must have an earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing program (ACEN, CCNE, and CNEA) with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
- Provisional acceptance may be extended to applicants with an undergraduate GPA between 2.67 and 2.99.
- No BSN? No problem. SNHU offers an accelerated RN to MSN option that allows eligible RNs to achieve their master's in nursing faster and for less money.
SNHU nursing programs are not authorized in the state of Washington or US territories and we are not accepting students residing in Washington state or US territories into nursing programs at this time. Currently enrolled students who move into the state of Washington or a US territory will not be able to continue in nursing courses until they move out of the state of Washington or the US territory. Prospective students are encouraged to contact admission, and current students should contact their advisor, for more information.
How to Apply
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions and walk you through the application process, which includes:
- Completing a graduate application ($40 fee)
- Providing undergraduate transcripts
Courses & Curriculum
The master's in nursing online degree provides you with the opportunity to acquire key competencies necessary for nursing practice.
The MSN electives allow you to customize your degree with specialty knowledge in the areas of continuous improvement, quality and safety of healthcare systems, patient-centered care, inter-professional collaboration and evidence-based practice.
"The instructors at Southern New Hampshire University are professionals, they're friendly and they connect to you as a person," said Bonnie Fecowicz '16. "They share their personal lives with you and want you to share yours."
Curriculum Requirements & Resources
- Clinical practice experience (CPE): SNHU incorporates authentic learning experiences into your MSN program. You'll be able to achieve these CPE hours through coursework and assignments and time spent with a mentor or preceptor, depending on your program choice. Our program requires 280 hours of practical application and 120 capstone hours.
- Capstone project: Implement a scholarly project to facilitate change in a healthcare setting of your choice. You'll be asked to analyze the results and disseminate the findings through a written paper and presentation. SNHU's MSN capstone courses require the completion of precepted hours.
SNHU's MSN degree is 39 credits.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|Courses May Include|
|MSN in Nursing Online|
|IHP 501||Global Health and Diversity||This course provides students with broad foundation in the structure of healthcare delivery systems; the political, financial and social constructs affecting the healthcare systems; and how policy and social determinants of health influence access, equity and outcomes in health. Utilizing this foundation and authentic real world scenarios, students will evaluate the efficacy of existing policy and interventions as well as lead interdisciplinary teams in the design of culturally relevant strategies to prepare students to advance the health for a specific population.|
|IHP 525||Biostatistics||This course provides students with a basic foundation of biostatistics and its role in public health and health sciences. The course covers the statistical principles that govern the analysis of data in public health and health sciences. Included in this course are exploratory data analysis, probability theory, confidence interval testing, hypotheses testing, power and sample size determination, and multivariable methods.|
|IHP 604||Healthcare Quality and Improvement||Gain a broad view of US healthcare quality including its evolution and trajectory given the dynamic US healthcare landscape and changing demographics. Explore key concepts including the integration of health information and technologies to promote healthcare quality at the organizational level.|
|NUR 506||Evidence-Based Practice||Graduate nursing students build upon previous learning of nursing research and evidence-based practice in order to become proficient in critiquing, generating, translating research evidence into practice, and disseminating results to advance nursing knowledge. Emphasis is placed on identifying a researchable practice question, analysis of research findings for evidence-based practice, and ethical issues in nursing research. Students demonstrate proficiency in selection of methodologies which may be used to generate research evidence for practice.|
|NUR 507||Transition to Graduate Nursing Practice||This course is designed to assist the registered nurse with a BSN degree to transition to graduate study in order to maximize their performance and opportunities for success. The course will cover such topics as the standards for scholarly writing, using evidence, study habits, and managing a graduate-level workload. The role of the Master's-prepared nurse as a clinical scholar, clinical expert and as leader in evidence-based practice and transformation of health care will be emphasized. The course will introduce the final capstone course and the development of a professional portfolio.|
|NUR 515||Advanced Nursing Concepts||In this course, students will analyze the history and evolution of nursing conceptual models and theories. Students examine the linkages between empirical, aesthetic, ethical, personal, and sociopolitical patterns of knowing with the conceptual models and paradigms of nursing. Students will explore the components of conceptual-theoretical-empirical structures for theory-generating, theory-testing research, and application to practice. Students who successfully complete the course (B- or better, course work & projects) will receive 45 indirect practice hours.|
|NUR 601||Advanced Pathophysiology||Students build upon prior knowledge of physiology and pathophysiological processes to acquire advanced knowledge of the relationships between normal physiology and specific system alterations produced by injury and disease to foster clinical reasoning skills. Focus is placed on etiology, pathogenesis, developmental, genetic, environmental influences, and clinical manifestations of major health problems across the lifespan.|
|NUR 602||Advanced Pharmacology Across the Life Span||Content focuses on current concepts in the pharmacologic therapies of common health care problems seen in primary and acute care health care. Basic pathophysiology, clinical pharmacology, modes of therapy, and monitoring parametrics are explored. Diagnosis and management of health care problems and their treatment regimens are discussed. Case studies are utilized to clarify, reinforce, and correlate therapeutics with specific health care problems.|
|NUR 607||Advanced Health Assessment||In this course, students will build on previous clinical experience, as well as undergraduate course work to master health assessment skills and communication strategies. Students conduct comprehensive, evidence-based health assessments encompassing environmental, genetic, multicultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic factors. Students also explore ways of adapting their communication style to meet the specific needs of their audience. The course also focuses on mastering the physical and mental health exam and formulating plans to ensure effective patient-centered care. Periodic hands on simulation assignments will be utilized formatively to practice knowledge and skill acquisition. *This course may incur additional costs for practice simulation software.|
|NUR 682||Generalist Nursing Capstone||Explore the MSN/Generalist role with an authentic demonstration of program outcomes and competencies. Students synthesize prior learning to implement a scholarly project to facilitate change in a healthcare setting of their choice. Analysis of the project's results and dissemination of findings in a comprehensive written summary and presentation complete the successful achievement of program outcomes.|
|Total Credits: 39|
Students enrolled in the MSN Generalist and MSN Patient Safety and Quality programs must comply with requirements of the healthcare organizations where their practicum experiences will be completed at least one term in advance of the capstone course. These requirements may include (but are not limited to) criminal background checks and verification of licensure, immunization records, health insurance, and liability insurance. Students may incur additional costs to meet the healthcare organization requirements.
Tuition & Fees
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
|Online Graduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour|
(U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)*
Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed Annually.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Students enrolled in MSN programs may be subject to ongoing licensure checks through a third party vendor, additional fees will apply and may vary by state.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are online nursing degrees accredited?
Yes, you can enroll in and graduate from online nursing programs that are accredited and can help you in your career.
The baccalaureate degree program in nursing and the master’s degree program in nursing at Southern New Hampshire University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202.887.6791.
CCNE is an autonomous accrediting agency that ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate and residency programs in nursing across the country.
In 2019, SNHU's online nursing programs received a 10-year reaccreditation from CCNE, which awarded initial accreditation in 2014.
“The goals of accreditation are to ensure that nursing programs consistently fulfill their stated mission and expected program outcomes through self-evaluation, continuous program improvement and the pursuit of academic excellence,” said Dr. Lisa Urban, associate chief of nursing at SNHU. “These [CCNE] accreditation goals align with the university and SNHU nursing program missions.”
How long does it take to get a Master of Science in Nursing?
Full-time students who satisfactorily complete their coursework could expect to complete an MSN degree in less than 2 years.
SNHU's master's in nursing program is 39 credits, which equals 13 classes. Full-time status means you'd take 2 courses during each 10-week term. At that rate, you could finish your degree in about 20 months.
Attending school as a full-time student isn't always feasible for working adults. At SNHU, taking 1 class per term puts you at part-time status, which means it would take longer for you to earn your degree. However, it can be worth it, if it gives you the time you need to learn the information and do the coursework.
What's most important in deciding whether to enroll at full- or part-time status is how successful you can be at that level. If you feel comfortable taking 2 courses per term with your schedule, it may be worth it to you so that you can reach that finish line sooner.
What can you do with a Master of Science in Nursing?
Earning your master's degree means you're creating more opportunity for yourself. It opens so many more doors for your career and, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)3, it positions you to be able to:
- Conduct research
- Consult with corporations
- Impact public policy
- Implement evidence-based solutions
- Lead health systems
- Provide direct patient care at an advanced level
- Teach online and in the classroom
With a projected 18% growth for medical and health services managers2, the outlook looks good for MSN-educated nurses. The AACN notes that because of the high demand, established and new positions are opening in practice areas like administration, forensics, genetics/genomics, geriatrics, informatics, pediatrics, public health and systems improvement.3
Is it worth it to get an MSN?
If you have career goals that align with where an MSN can take you, then, yes, earning a master's in nursing is definitely worth the investment.
"A degree opens doors that were previously closed," said Sherry Consolin '19. "As I proceed through the program, I discover new opportunities for nurses that excite me."
Beyond the reward of expanded knowledge, nurses who earn their MSN degree broaden their range of opportunities and open the door to a potential boost in pay.
"The employer interprets the additional credential as a highly desirable indicator of future performance and assigns value to the degree holder accordingly," said Laurie Lewis, an SNHU Career advisor.
Some value may not be monetary rewards, either. Though the potential of a bumped-up paycheck is certainly one of the biggest benefits, there may be other perks. You may find it valuable to be eligible for positions that come with better hours – meaning an MSN could have benefits to your personal life, too.
And while you may have a career goal in mind as the reason behind getting your master's, an MSN continues to open the door to opportunity beyond that first role that you land.
Plus, getting your master's in nursing doesn't have to be expensive. The cost of tuition for an entire online MSN degree at SNHU is $24,453 – meaning you could achieve your return on investment (ROI) on your degree faster. And with a tuition freeze that's been in place since 2012, the university continues to show its commitment to affordable education.
Can I get my MSN online?
Yes. Students who are already registered nurses – and who have previously earned their BSN – can enroll in an online MSN program.
Because you've already mastered the clinical portion of your education through an on-site undergraduate program, earning a master's in nursing through an online program allows you to acquire the key competencies necessary for nursing practice.
Not only are nurses able to pursue this advanced credential online, but for many, the pathway makes sense. Many nurses have demanding schedules that aren't always the same week to week, making it nearly impossible to attend set classes at a brick-and-mortar institution.
"The flexibility and support the nursing program offers students is exceptional and has been instrumental in helping me achieve my goals," said Sherry Consolin '19, who spent time as a travel nurse throughout her program and needed the convenience of an online degree.
By earning a master's in nursing online, it allows you to continue your career as a nurse – while working to advance it at the same time. SNHU's program was designed so that the learnings from each course are immediately applicable to your career, which can help patients reap the rewards right away.
What is the best online MSN program?
The best online MSN program is the one that can help you reach your personal and professional goals, at an affordable price, on your timeline and is accredited.
At SNHU, that translates to:
- Career focused: Our MSN program was built by nurses, for nurses. It was designed around recommendations by "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health" report from the Institute of Medicine, which outlined how roles should change in our healthcare system.
- Affordability: Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation.
- Convenient: Enroll in 1 or 2 classes per term – whichever works best for your busy schedule. Plus, you'll have 24/7 access to your courses, meaning you can do your assignments on your terms.
- Accredited: SNHU's MSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).1 CCNE is an accrediting agency that ensures baccalaureate, graduate and residency programs meet quality standards.
SNHU also offers 3 MSN specialty programs – clinical nurse leader, nurse educator and patient safety & quality – which may meet your needs more closely as you determine the next path of your career.
SNHU has provided additional information for programs that educationally prepare students for professional licensure or certification. Learn more about what that means for your program on our licensure and certification disclosure page.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
Sources & Citations (1, 2, 3, 4)
1 The baccalaureate degree program in nursing and the master’s degree program in nursing at Southern New Hampshire University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202.887.6791.
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the internet, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm (viewed June 11, 2020). Cited projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.
3 American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Master's Education, on the internet, at https://www.aacnnursing.org/Nursing-Education-Programs/Masters-Education (viewed Nov. 21, 2019)
4 According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.