What Are the Top Online Nursing Schools?

Review some important considerations for selecting a school with a good online program in nursing. Read about three schools with well-ranked nursing programs, and explore the degree programs they each offer in an online or hybrid format. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Should I Look For in a Top Online Nursing School?

There are many specialties within nursing, such as labor and delivery, pediatrics and acute care, so knowing which area of specialization you are interested in will be important while you shop for a quality school. A school's overall ranking is a good indicator of success, as is accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the quality of the core coursework, faculty and technical support.

As an online student, you will want to know what type of support and student services the school offers. Questions you should ask include the hours of availability for instructors, tech support staff and front office personnel. Faculty should be experienced in the nursing profession and recognized for their achievements. You might also want to research the alumni and see how successful graduates have been in their career paths. Check out the profiles of three well-ranked schools below.

What Are Three Top Online Nursing Schools?

University of South Carolina

Ranked first among online graduate nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2016, the University of South Carolina's College of Nursing offers online master's degree programs in various specialties, including nursing administration and several nurse practitioner areas. It also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and post-master's certificate program online. Undergraduate options include an online RN-BSN program. Designed for nurses who already possess an unencumbered RN license, this program features flexible scheduling options and can be finished in as little as a year. Programs offered at USC include:

  • MSN in Nursing Administration (fully online or hybrid, depending on specialty)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (fully online)
  • Post-master's Certificate in Advanced Practice Nursing (hybrid)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (hybrid)

Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) College of Nursing was ranked second among best online graduate nursing schools (2016) by U.S. News & World Report. Faculty members are clinicians, researchers and instructors experienced in many areas of nursing; many hold leadership positions for professional organizations and participate in research and scholarly projects. Student services include financial aid, scholarships and the Nursing Technology Center. Although MUSC offers specialty nursing programs that require on-site clinicals and a Ph.D. in Nursing that requires a residency, they do offer a fully online Master of Science in Nursing.

  • Master of Science in Nursing (fully online)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) (hybrid)
  • Ph.D. in Nursing Science (hybrid)

St. Xavier University

U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Xavier third among online graduate schools for its College of Nursing (2016). As one of only nine schools to be designated by the NLN as a Center for Excellence in Nursing Education, St. Xavier University records and archives all of its online courses. This allows students to access material whenever it is most convenient. 100% of entering students were already employed prior to entering the program at SXU. Online programs include:

  • Master of Science in Nursing (fully online)
  • RN-BSN (fully online)
  • Nurse Educator Certificate (fully online, local practicum)

Top Online Schools for Nursing

College/University Institution TypeLocation
Ohio State University 4-year, Public Columbus, OH
Duke University4-year, Private Durham, NC
Johns Hopkins University4-year, Private Baltimore, MD
University of Texas-Tyler 4-year, Public Tyler, TX
Georgia College & State University 4-year, PublicMilledgeville, GA
University of Cincinnati 4-year, Public Cincinnati, OH
Stony Brook University--SUNY 4-year, Public Stony Brook, NY
Oregon Health and Science University 4-year, Public Portland, OR
Rush University 4-year, Private Chicago, IL
George Washington University 4-year, Private Washington, DC

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • South University

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