An online Master’s degree in Nursing Administration prepares you to meet the complex and evolving challenges facing administrators in the healthcare industry. The degree prepares you for leadership and management roles at the department and director level.
Nurse administrators combine business knowledge with compassion for patients. Nursing administrators help ensure the delivery of high quality patient care, while managing and coordinating nursing care. Depending on the healthcare facility, a nursing administrator may oversee a small group of nurses, several nursing units, an entire department, or an entire health system.
Online Master’s degree in Nursing Administration programs typically cover subjects such as nursing administration, finance, health policy, healthcare management, health planning, nursing informatics, nursing research, and more. Colleges typically design the programs for nurses seeking to advance from RN (registered nurse) or BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) to administrative positions.
Graduates with an MSN degree in Nursing Administration are eligible for rewarding administrative positions that include: nurse manager, chief nursing officer, clinical nurse coordinator, chief nurse executive, and nursing director. These positions occur in such healthcare settings as hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, and home healthcare organizations.
Graduates of nursing administration programs can obtain certifications from the AONE (American Organization of Nurse Executives) and the ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center). The AONE provides the CENP certification (Certified in Executive Nursing Practice) and the CNML (Certified Nurse Manager and Leader) certification. The ANCC provides the NE-BC (Nurse Executive) and the NEA-BC (Nurse Executive, Advanced) credentials.
See also: What can I do with a Nursing degree?
Master in Nursing Administration degree program ranking guidelines:
We selected the Master’s in Nursing Administration online programs based on the quality of the program, types of courses provided, and faculty strength, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including reputation for online learning.
The Best Online Nursing Administration Master Degree Programs
1. Pitt Online, University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh, a public university, is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, which is composed of comprehensive research universities in North America. The University of Pittsburgh is one of the largest recipients of federally sponsored research funding among universities in the United States. The university has received recognition for its graduate professional programs.
Pitt Online provides an array of online graduate professional programs. The faculty members who teach the traditional programs also teach the online programs.
The Pitt Online Master of Science in Nursing with a Nursing Administration concentration prepares students for leadership and management roles at the department and director level. The highly ranked University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing provides the program. The program’s core courses provide a foundation in research for evidence based practice, use of technology, nursing outcomes, leadership development, and organizational theory. The program also covers health policy, economics, and health promotion.
The online nursing administration program provides courses such as:
- Finance and Economics for Health Care Leaders
- Introduction to Health Informatics
- Organizational and Management Theory
- Leadership Development
- Public Policy in Health Care
- Health Promotion & Disease Prevention in Culturally Diverse Populations
The program also provides a Nursing Administration Residency.
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education, provides the University of Pittsburgh with accreditation. The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing has received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
2. Tennessee Board of Regents
The Tennessee Board of Regents, one of the nation’s largest public higher education systems, includes 46 institutions, with a combined yearly enrollment of more than 200,000 students. The Regents Online Campus Collaborative provides online graduate and undergraduate degrees.
The Regents Online Degree Program, in collaboration with Colleges of Nursing among the Tennessee Board of Regents system, offers the online Master of Science in Nursing degree with a Nursing Administration concentration. The degree includes 36 credit hours.
The MSN Nursing Administration degree program covers subjects such as organizational theory, complex systems, leadership practice, and financial management.
The Master’s in Nursing Administration online program includes the following nursing administration core classes:
- Nursing Administration I
- Nursing Administration II
- Human Resources Management
- Health Care Finance
- Quality Management in Nursing & Health Care
The program also includes a Nursing Management Practicum and a Nursing Administration Practicum.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges provides the Regents Online Campus Collaborative with accreditation. The Regents Online Master of Science in Nursing program has received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission in Nursing (ACEN)
A public coed university that is part of the University of Texas System, UT-Tyler offers more than 90 academic degree programs at the bachelor, master, and doctoral levels.
The university’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences offers a completely online Nursing Administration-MSN degree. Focused on theory-based best practices in nursing administration, UT-Tyler reports most graduates of this program stay in their current work settings, but are much more promotable.
The online Master’s degree in Nursing Administration requires 36 credit hours and includes a 112.5-hour clinically based practicum based on a student’s career goals. Students also complete a scholarly project or write a master’s thesis. Many graduates of the program continue on to pursue a doctorate.
A sampling of courses includes:
- Translational Science I & II
- Health Policy & Population Health
- Delivery of Care
- Leadership in Healthcare Environment
- Health Care Informatics
- Legal, Regulatory, Financial Management
- Organizational and Systems Leadership
The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits the University of Texas at Tyler; the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits master and bachelor programs at UT-Tyler.
(Terre Haute, IN)
Indiana State University, a public university with a diverse student population, offers more than 100 majors.
Indiana State’s online Master of Science in Nursing degree has a Nursing Administration concentration aimed at students with an interest in pursuing higher levels of leadership in healthcare settings, or in advancing their education. The program involves a curriculum consisting of 35–38 credit hours. Students take all the courses online. The students take their clinical placement within their community of residence.
The program length varies depending on whether the student chooses an evidence-based practice course, a project, or a master’s thesis as the culminating course. With full-time study, most students complete the program in two to two and a half years; those studying part-time have up to seven years to complete the program.
The online nursing administration program includes courses such as:
- Health Care Perspectives
- Nursing Theory Development
- Theories of Health Care Administration
- Financial Management for Health Care Managers
- Administrative Practices in Health Care (135 clinical hours)
- Nursing Informatics: Practical Application (90 clinical hours)
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits Indiana State University. Indiana State University’s Department of Advanced Practice Nursing has held accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN) since 1989.
5. New Mexico State University, School of Nursing
(Las Cruces, NM)
New Mexico State University (NMSU), a public research university, is the oldest public higher education institution, and the second-largest four-year university, in New Mexico.
NMSU’s online Master of Science in Nursing with an Administration option degree prepares students for administrative roles in nursing and healthcare. The program also prepares students for pursuing a doctoral degree.
While the program is 100% online, students are required to visit the campus annually for a three-to-four-day orientation session. The program is open to students holding a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and an RN license.
A selection of courses from the Master’s in Nursing Administration online program includes:
- Promoting Health Behavior
- Research in Nursing
- Health Policy
- HR Management
- Nursing Fiscal Management
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits NMSU. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits bachelor and master degree programs within New Mexico State University’s School of Nursing.
Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) is a teaching and research institution. The school has three regional campuses and offers more than 25 online degree programs.
Eastern Kentucky University’s 100-percent online Master of Science Nursing – Nursing Administration degree prepares students for greater leadership in nursing administration. The nursing administration concentration focuses on establishing skills in human resources, finances, management, and organizational change, and the ability to research, analyze, and address diverse health issues.
The online nursing administration program curriculum includes a nursing administration practicum, as well as a nursing administration internship in the area of your residence.
Most of the online courses run eight weeks. A random sampling of courses includes:
- Population-Focused Practice
- Principles of Epidemiology
- Nursing System Quality Management
- Management of Health Care
- Assessment and Collaboration
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredits the university. EKU’s nursing degree programs received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Indian Wesleyan University (IWU), a private liberal arts university, has an affiliation with the Wesleyan Church denomination. IWU is the largest private university in Indiana and the largest member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
IWU’s School of Nursing, Division of Graduate Nursing, offers an online Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Administration degree. Students can usually complete the degree program within 22 months. The Master’s in Nursing Administration online program curriculum includes 38 credit hours of coursework and a practicum assignment.
A sampling of courses offered include:
- Evidence-based Communication
- Ethics and Health Policy
- Nursing Leadership and Human Resources
- Management of Health Care Delivery Systems
- Organization and Finance of Healthcare
- Nursing Investigation
The university also offers a dual degree MSN/MBA program, which combines 30 credit hours from nursing and 30 credit hours from business.
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits IWU. The Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits the School of Nursing, including all nursing programs.
8. LU Online, Lamar University College of Arts and Sciences
Lamar University (LU), a coeducational university, awards bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees.
Lamar University’s Joanne Gay Dishman Department of Nursing, Graduate Nursing Studies, offers an online Accelerated Master of Science in Nursing Administration degree. The program aims to a prepare nurses to assume more of a primary care role. The degree requires 37 credit hours.
Here is a sampling of the MSN program courses:
- Marketing Concepts
- Planning & Organizing Healthcare Delivery
- Health Technology for Nurse Administrators
- Healthcare Policy & Finance
- Theoretical Foundations
- Advanced Nursing Issues
- Special Topics: Nursing Administration
- Directing & Controlling Healthcare Delivery
Online Master’s degree in Nursing Administration requirements also include successfully completing two practicum and two evidence-based projects.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits Lamar University. The Texas Board of Nursing and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) provides accreditation to LU’s Joanne Gay Dishman Department of Nursing, Graduate Nursing Studies.
Benedictine University, a private Catholic university founded by Benedictine monks, has retained a close relationship with the Benedictine Order.
Benedictine University’s Nursing School offers an online Master of Science in Nursing degree with a Nurse Executive Leader (Nurse Administrator) focus. The program prepares graduates to assume nursing care administration positions in any care setting. The 36-credit-hour program includes Foundation courses (18) and Nurse Executive Leadership courses (18).
Some courses in the online nursing administration program include:
- Health Care Informatics & Emergent Technologies
- Health Care Policy & Advocacy
- Building Effective Communication & Relationships
- Nursing Leadership & Systems Thinking
- Professionalism & Executive Career Development
According to Benedictine, completion of the MSN degree with a Nurse Executive Leader concentration can help prepare students for certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, a credential which affirms nursing leadership abilities.
Benedictine University received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) provides accreditation for the university’s nursing programs.
10. Gardner-Webb University
(Boiling Springs, NC)
Gardner-Webb University, a private liberal arts university, offers close to 60 fields of study.
Gardner-Webb University’s online Master of Science in Nursing degree features a concentration in Nursing Administration. The program involves application of research, quality improvement, patient care technology, and leadership in a team-based setting.
The program, which consists of 30–36 semester hours, culminates in a capstone course leading to completion of a thesis. Courses include required common core courses, required courses by concentration, and capstone courses for practicum and thesis.
A sampling of online online nursing administration program courses includes:
- Perspectives of Caring
- Theoretical Basis for Advanced Caring
- Nursing and Health Care Systems and Issues
- Nursing Economics and Finance
- Health Care Law & Ethics
- Administration of Nursing and Health Care Organizations
Gardner-Webb University also offers a 63-semester-hour MSN/MBA program in conjunction with its School of Business. Applicants must apply to, and be accepted by, both schools for this program.
Gardner-Webb University received accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits Gardner-Webb University’s nursing programs.
11. Clarkson College
Clarkson College, a small private college, confers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the health sciences, including nursing, medical imaging, imaging informatics, radiologic technology, healthcare business, physical therapist assistant, and professional development. The college has an affiliation with the Episcopal Church and the Nebraska Medical Center.
Clarkson College’s Online Master of Science in Nursing: The college targets the Health Care Administration degree to registered nurses seeking greater career opportunities and challenges. The healthcare administration specialty is one of four, including nursing education, family nurse practitioner, and adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner.
The program requires 42 credit hours. The college offers all the courses online; however, students must make minimal on-campus visits based on the MSN Student Handbook. During the final semester, students complete a scholarly, evidence-based practice journal article and poster presentation based on research they performed in an approved clinical setting.
Some courses from the Master’s in Nursing Administration online program include:
- Essentials of Scholarly Writing
- Health Care Delivery Systems/Managed Care
- Health Care Project Management
- Finance for Health Care Leaders
- Human Resources/Organizational Behavior
- Health Care Strategic Planning/Marketing
- Nursing Law and Ethics
Clarkson College has received accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Clarkson College’s bachelor, master, and doctoral nursing programs receive accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
Liberty University (LU), a private not-for-profit university, has been training Champions for Christ since 1971, and pioneering distance education since 1985.
Liberty University has more than 15,000 on-campus students and more than 90,000 online students, making them the nation’s largest private non-profit university and the largest Evangelical Christian university in the world.
Liberty University’s online Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Administration degree uses a “Christian worldview and ethical decision-making with its nursing practices.” The university provides most of the courses in eight-week online sessions.
The 42-credit-hour online Master’s degree in Nursing Administration includes core courses and nursing administration concentration courses, including one elective relevant to the concentration. The program also requires completion of a capstone project/practicum. Applicants should contact their respective State Department of Education to confirm whether practicum sites in an out-of-state online program are valid.
A selection of courses includes:
- Nursing Theory & Advanced Practice
- Managing Population Health
- Organization Design & Structure
- Nursing Administration I: Role of the Nurse Administrator
- Nursing Issues, Informatics & Technology
- Nursing Administration III: Management of Resources
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredits Liberty University and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits Liberty University’s MSN program.
13. Norwich University
Norwich University, a private university, is the oldest private military college in the United States. The school’s diverse enrollment includes both a Corps of Cadets and traditional civilian students.
The Online Master of Science in Nursing degree with a track in Nursing Administration equips nurses with the broader perspectives of healthcare along with strong leadership skills. The university provides online coursework in 11-week sessions. Students generally complete the program within 18 months.
Norwich’s MSN program requires 36 credit hours: three core courses and three nursing administration concentration courses. The university expects students to complete projects relevant to their current work environments. The final requirement of the program is a week-long residency at the university, culminating in recognition and commencement ceremonies.
The online nursing administration program includes six classes:
- Health Systems Analysis: Policy, Environment, and Structure
- Theoretical Constructs of Leadership Roles in Nursing
- Evidence-Based Practice
- The Health Care Organization
- Business Planning and Strategic Management in Nursing Administration
- Nursing Resource Management
Norwich University received accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits the MSN program at Norwich University.
14. Our Lady of the Lake University
(San Antonio, TX)
The Sisters of Divine Providence, a French religious order, founded Our Lady of the Lake University, a private, Catholic, co-educational institution.
The online Master of Science in Nursing degree with a Nurse Administration specialization helps leadership-oriented nurses who seek to develop their strategic management of policies, resources, people, and finances, while managing the best of patient care.
The 33-credit-hour program includes core courses and nursing administration courses which students can usually complete in about two years. The university requires a one-on-one practicum experience with a nurse leader in the student’s community.
The nearby Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center affords access to strong faculty and healthcare resources.
Courses in the Master’s in Nursing Administration online program include:
- Theoretical Foundations of Nursing
- Critical Thinking Strategies in Nursing Practice
- Leadership Strategies and Processes
- Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse Leader
- Managed Care for Commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid Populations
The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Our Lady of the Lake University. The nursing programs received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
15. King University Online
King University, a private university formerly known as King College, offers graduate programs in nursing, education, and business administration. King University has covenant affiliations with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).
The university’s online Master of Science in Nursing degree with an Administrator concentration focuses on career advancement of nurses to management-level nursing and/or healthcare positions.
Students can typically completed the program in four consecutive 15-week semesters. The nursing administration concentration has 35 semester hours, which includes 15 hours in core courses and 20 hours in the nursing administration courses.
Students must complete a clinical practicum of 240 hours. Nurses in the nurse administration concentration may also choose the dual MSN/MB program, which entails 63 semester hours.
The core courses include:
- Research Design in Nursing
- Healthcare Informatics
- Social, Cultural, and Political Perspectives on Healthcare and Delivery Systems
- Theoretical Basis of Nursing Practice
- Research Seminar
The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools provides King University with accreditation. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits King University Nursing School.
16. Roberts Wesleyan College
(North Chili, NY)
Roberts Wesleyan College, the first educational institution established for Free Methodists in North America, is a liberal arts college with a Christian focus.
The college offers an online Master of Science degree in Nursing Leadership and Administration intended to prepare nurses as visionary leaders who can create change in the healthcare industry.
The 39-credit-hour online Master’s degree in Nursing Administration generally takes 20 months to complete. Students need to complete a practicum and graduate project.
A selection of courses includes:
- Theoretical Foundations for Advanced Nursing Practice
- Human Resources in Health Care Organizations
- Informatics in Nursing
- Health Care Policy Ethics & Law
- Enlightened & Strategic Leadership in Nursing with Integrated Internship
- Nurse Leader: Educational Responsibilities
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Roberts Wesleyan College. The nursing school received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Fort Hays State University (FHSU), a public institution, is the fourth-largest of the universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. The school has more than 6,000 online students.
Fort Hays State University’s online Master of Science in Nursing Administration degree, a 34-credit-hour program, aims at developing nurses to assume leadership/management roles in hospitals and other healthcare settings. The curriculum includes core courses (19 hours), nursing education courses (9 hours), a graduate elective (3 hours), and a thesis (3 hours).
FHSU also offer post-masters certification in nursing administration.
The online nursing administration program includes courses such as:
- Foundations for Advanced Nursing
- Healthcare: Policy/Politics/Organization/Cost
- Holistic Perspective and Health Potential
- Complexity in Health Care Organizations
- Administrative Management in Health Care
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Fort Hays State University with accreditation. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits the MSN program at Fort Hays State.
18. Saint Joseph’s College Online
Saint Joseph’s College is a private Catholic liberal arts college. While the college grants bachelor’s degrees in an on-campus setting, it also offers bachelor and master degree programs online.
The college’s online Master of Science in Nursing degree with an Administration track prepares students for the Chief Nursing Officer and other advanced nursing leadership positions. The Nursing Administration program requires 45 credit hours, including core courses and specialization courses.
The Master’s in Nursing Administration online program includes a capstone project and a practicum. Students perform clinical work in their community.
Applicants should contact their respective State Department of Education to confirm whether out-of-state online nursing programs are valid in their state of residence.
Examples of courses in the program include:
- Population Health & Interprofessional Collaboration
- Advanced Health Assessment
- Advanced Pathophysiology
- Health Services Administration
- Ethical and Legal Perspectives
- Policies, Politics & Change
St. Joseph’s College also offers two dual-degree programs: the MSN/MBA and the MSN/MHA, both of which require 60 credit hours.
The college received accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The college’s nursing programs received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Capella University, a for-profit higher learning institution, delivers most of its educational offerings online.
The online Master of Nursing degree with a specialization in Nursing Leadership and Administration prepares students to manage and lead in a wide range of high-performance healthcare settings.
Each academic segment is three months in length, with a three-week break in between quarters. The degree includes 56 credit hours: 36 in core courses and 20 in specialization courses.
Students must also complete a 100-hour practice immersion and a capstone project.
Some online Master’s degree in Nursing Administration courses include:
- Professional Nursing Practice Framework, Scope, and Role
- Diversity and Advocacy in Professional Nursing Practice
- Advanced Nursing Leadership and Management
- Evidence-Based Practice in Health Promotion & Disease Management & Prevention
- Leadership and Management for Nurse Executives
- Leading the Future of Health Care
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) provides Capella University with accreditation. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits the MSN program at Capella University.
20. Excelsior College
With more than 36,000 students, Excelsior College, a private non-profit college, offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level.
The college’s School of Nursing offers an online Master of Science Nursing degree with a Nursing Leadership and Administration of Health Care Systems specialization. The program prepares students to assume positions such as vice president of nursing, chief nursing officer, and nurse administrator.
Students need at least 38 credit hours in a specific sequence to complete the degree program: 24 hours for Phase I: Graduate Nursing Core and Informatics Courses; 9 hours for Phase II: Clinical Systems Management Component; and 5 hours for Phase III: The Capstone Experience.
The Capstone Experience includes completion of a capstone project and a leadership retreat.
The online nursing administration program includes courses such as:
- Leadership in Organizational Systems
- Management of Clinical Systems
- Management Information for Decision Support
- Healthcare Delivery Systems: Political, Social and Economic Influences
- Community Nursing: Human Diversity & Public Health
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education provides Excelsior College with accreditation. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits Excelsior’s nursing degree programs. The National League for Nursing (NLN) designated the Excelsior College School of Nursing a 2011–2016 Center of Excellence in Nursing Education.