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Best Shortest Online MSN Programs For 2021 – (Earn Your MSN in Less Than 18-Months)


Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

Are you a registered nurse who is ready to take your career to the next level? Have you considered earning a master’s degree in nursing but don’t know if you have the time or where to begin? Perhaps you would begin today if only you could find the shortest MSN program. If so, I have great news for you! Some master’s in nursing programs are the shortest MSN programs online, which means you can earn your degree online, on your own terms without a disruption in your normal schedule. If this sounds interesting, keep reading to find out detailed information about the best shortest online MSN programs for 2021.


FOLLOWING ARE THE 27 BEST SHORTEST ONLINE MSN PROGRAMS IN THE NATION FOR 2021

(These Fastest MSN Programs are ideal for Nurses who wish to earn their MSN Degree in Eighteen Months or Lesser.)

1. University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ

Concentrations Offered: Clinical Systems Leadership

Program Length: (15-Months)


About the School: Are you a registered nurse who is interested in becoming a clinical systems leader in the fastest time possible? If yes, you are in the right place as the University of Arizona offers you one of the shortest MSN programs online that leads to a specialization in Clinical Systems Leadership. This program trains you to play varied leadership roles, including that of a clinical systems manager, clinical care coordinator, and nurse administrator, to name a few. Here, a BSN-prepared RN, can graduate in as little as 15 months and open the doors to a wide array of career options. Now, if you are wondering whether an online fast-paced program like this can be as effective as the traditional on-campus route, then you will be glad to know that as a student of this program, you will enjoy the same quality of education, even when you take classes from the comfort of your home.

Program Details: This Clinical Systems Leadership program is counted among the best shortest MSN programs online, and in fact, even has the US News & World Report ranking it at # 1 in Arizona. The program comprises eight courses, each taking seven weeks to complete. Graduation requires you to complete 30 credits in courses that educate you on the foundations of systems leadership, health promotion & risk reduction, health information & patient care technologies, healthcare business dynamics, and healing environments & practices. You also learn about quality & safety management, population health, and evidence-based practice improvement. In addition to the didactic training, the program also includes a 16-week clinical systems leadership immersion project, wherein, using concepts in patient-centric leadership, you will devise a management plan for the care of chronically ill patients.

Admission Requirements: To enter this fast-track online MSN program, you must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, an encumbered RN license is required along with at least one year of work experience in either clinical practice, nursing administration, nursing education, or research.


2. University of Texas-Arlington - Arlington, TX

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Administration

Program Length: (18-Months)


About the School: Nursing Administration is currently one of the most desirable fields into which many RNs aspire to enter. If you happen to be one of them but somehow cannot prepare yourself for the rigors of attending on-campus school, then you are in for some good news. At the University of Texas-Arlington, you can not only complete your MSN and become a nurse manager in a short duration of 18 months, but you will complete the program through 100% online coursework. Counted among the best shortest MSN programs online, as a graduate of this MSN, you can swiftly jump the ladder from being an entry-level registered nurse to a leader who is capable of leading various types of healthcare organizations. Furthermore, besides offering high-quality training, this program is also known for its affordability. In fact, here, you can pay your tuition per course and even lock the tuition rate which is applied to at the beginning of the program, provided you fulfill the required conditions.

Program Details: This MSN takes your BSN to the Master’s level and prepares you in nursing administration in the quickest possible duration. As one of the best shortest MSN programs online, the curriculum of this MSN includes extensive case studies, thereby preparing you for various types of processes required in the management of healthcare organizations. The program requires you to complete 36 credits in 11 nursing courses and 1 elective. The duration of these courses varies between 5 to 10 weeks. You will learn concepts in nursing management, science & theories, functions of a nurse administrator, financial management, nursing informatics, and evidence-based practice. Based on your career goals, the elective course can be chosen from either curriculum development, statistics for healthcare, or teaching/learning theories for nurse educators.

Admission Requirements: To qualify for this fast MSN program, you must have a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additionally, apart from having completed an undergraduate statistics course, you must have at least two years of work experience as a registered nurse.


3. University of South Carolina - Columbia, SC

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Administration (12-Months) and Nursing Informatics (16 - Months)


About the School: If you are a registered nurse who is busy with a full-time job or simply engaged in family life and are looking at earning an advanced nursing degree through the quickest route, then you must learn about the University of South Carolina’s online Masters in Nursing education. This college offers two shortest MSN programs online that lead to graduation within 12-16 months. For someone who is inclined towards healthcare leadership, you can choose the Nursing Administration track or instead opt for the Nursing Informatics specialization, should you be interested in data management. Regardless of the specialization track you choose, upon graduation, you will have options galore to explore various types of job positions. The thorough professional preparedness that this program equips you with is the result of an outstanding faculty who are well versed at delivering excellent education through the online medium, little wonder, the US News & World Report ranks it among the best online MSN programs in the nation, proudly positioning it at #1.

Program Details: These two shortest MSN programs in Nursing Administration and Nursing Informatics can be completed entirely online and practicums can be done at your current place of work. While the Administration track requires completing 30 credits, the track leading to a certification in Informatics comprises 33 credits. In any case, you will be able to complete either of these programs within 12 months and gain the eligibility to get certified in your chosen field. To sum it, graduation requires you to complete nursing courses, an elective, and either a seminar in clinical research or a thesis.

Admission Requirements: To be considered for either of these two quickest MSN programs online, you must have completed your BSN from an accredited college or university. Also, in addition to having an encumbered RN license, the college requires you to submit three letters of reference.


4. University of Nevada-Las Vegas - Las Vegas, NV

Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner (16 Months), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (16 Months) and Nursing Education (12 Months)


About the School: The COVID-19 pandemic has left a wide gap not only in primary care but also created a huge demand for mental health practitioners who are required to treat the increasing number of mental health patients. If you are eager to play a role in primary care or help mental health patients, then you must consider enrolling in one of University of Nevada-Las Vegas’s best fastest MSN programs online that prepare you to contribute to the nation’s health & wellness. The college currently offers two MSN-NP tracks, so, depending on your interest you can choose from either family health or psychiatric mental health. Alternatively, should you aspire to teach future nurses, you can opt for the college’s nursing education-MSN track. These programs not only train you as competent healthcare professionals but also provide you with the flexibility of taking classes through the distance format.

Program Details: Whether you enroll in the FNP, PMHNP, or the Nursing Education track, you will leave the college with exceptional leadership skills to function as an agent of change in your chosen area. While both the NP programs take 16 months to complete, if you choose to become a nurse educator, you can graduate in as little as 12 months. The NP programs integrate concepts of medicine into nursing and train you to treat the patient as a whole. On the other hand, the nurse education track makes you an expert in curriculum design, use of educational technologies, and evaluation strategies. While the NP tracks require completing 46 credits, with the NE track you must earn 33 credits to graduate.

Admission Requirements: Admission into either of these fastest MSN programs online is held once a year, in the fall. The process is competitive and requires you to fulfill the minimum admission requirements which include having a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additionally, you must submit three letters of recommendation and a current resume. Also, you must have a current RN license in the state you reside in.


5. University of Central Florida - Orlando, FL

Concentrations Offered: Healthcare Simulation

Program Length: (16-Months)


About the School: Have you ever thought of advancing your nursing career in simulation technology? Well, if you are someone who aspires to achieve leadership in healthcare simulation without much delay, then you must learn about the short online MSN program offered by the University of Central Florida. This innovative track is one of the few MSNs in the nation and the only such program in Florida that prepares professionals for the rapidly growing field of healthcare simulation technology. Here, during the 16 months of the program, you will be mentored by leading industry experts. The program also focuses on the interdisciplinary learning experiences between educators, NPs, computer scientists, and engineers. As such, this MSN offers all the courses through the distance format. However, if you are someone who desires in-person learning experiences, then you will be glad to know that this program takes you through short on-campus intensives and even includes an optional simulation practicum.

Program Details: This 31-credit coursework is one of the fastest routes you can take to earn an MSN degree in healthcare simulation. The courses you take teach you about pathophysiological bases, theory for advanced practice nursing, introduction to nursing & healthcare simulation, research methodology, core clinical concepts, legal & professional behavior, and evidence-based practice. Additionally, the curriculum includes a practicum in a clinical specialty of your choice. The program starts twice a year in the fall and spring. Each year, the program admits 10-20 students coming from interdisciplinary backgrounds.

Admission Requirements: To enter this fast MSN program, you must have a BSN and be registered as a nurse. Also, the college requires to have completed an undergraduate course in statistics. Additionally, you must submit your official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a written essay, and a resume.


6. University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center - Oklahoma City, OK

Concentrations Offered: Education

Program Length: (18-Months)


About the School: Are you shortlisting the best fastest MSN programs online that can take your career as a registered nurse to the level of a nurse educator, rather swiftly? If so, the MSN program offered by the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center - Oklahoma City will serve you quite well. Here, within 18 months you master skills in nursing education and enter the promising field of academics which is currently facing a dearth of well-trained nurse educators. The program not only offers excellence in didactic education but also blends a teaching practicum that adds valuable hands-on experience. Being based on the standards set by prominent professional organizations, this program prepares you with updated skills & knowledge that are applied today in the nursing classroom.

Program Details: This fast MSN program is delivered through the distance format, allowing you to continue working while pursuing an advanced degree in nursing. The program starts in the fall and takes 18 months to complete. To earn your MSN, you are required to complete 32 credits in nursing and science courses. You will learn about the use of evidence-based practices to enhance healthcare delivery. As an aspiring nurse educator, through this program, you will build on your nursing knowledge and leave the college as an expert, who is thoroughly prepared to propose, design, and deliver education that will improve health outcomes across diverse populations.

Admission Requirements: The minimum requirements for admission into this fast-track MSN program is a BSN from a regionally accredited college or university and an active RN license. Additionally, you must have completed a research methodology course with a minimum grade of C. Also, the college requires you to submit three letters of recommendation along with the CAS application.


7. Anderson University - Anderson, SC

Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Executive Leadership, and Nurse Educator

Program Length: (15-Months)


About the School: Anderson University offers four of the best shortest online MSN programs in the nation that can prepare you to jump the bandwagon of highly lucrative advanced nursing positions in hardly any time. With specialization options in family health, psychiatric mental health, leadership, and nursing education, you can earn an MSN in an area of your interest and graduate within 15 months. Furthermore, the online format of instructions makes it rather feasible for working nurses to pursue a degree from the comfort of their home and promptly enter any of the four rapidly growing fields of nursing. Also, being one of the well-known Christian universities in the nation, here, you will achieve faith-based MSN education that is committed to treating a patient, holistically.

Program Details: Whether you enroll in the FNP, PMHNP, Executive Leadership, or Nurse Educator track, in addition to didactic training, you will undergo experiential learning experiences. The training not only prepares you for your role in your chosen field but also helps you get certified. The two NP tracks require completing 48-49 credits, whereas, with the Leadership track, you must earn 41 credits. On the other hand, if you choose the Nurse Educator specialization, you must complete 40 credits in courses that teach you curriculum design, teaching & technology, and data assessment. Regardless of the track you choose, the coursework builds on your previous nursing education and expands on it to equip you with specialized skills and knowledge.

Admission Requirements: If you are keen on applying to either of these four fastest MSN programs online, then ensure you fulfill the minimum admission requirements. To start with, you must have a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.2. Additionally, an active RN licensure is required along with the CPR certification. Furthermore, you are required to submit all your official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, and a resume.


8. University of North Carolina - Wilmington, NC

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Education

Program Length: (12-Months)


About the School: A nurse educator is an empowering position, wherein you can influence future nurses to improve healthcare delivery. If you see yourself playing this impactful role, then why wait any longer when you can achieve this goal within a brief period of time. Well, the University of North Carolina offers one of the best fastest MSN programs online that leads to a career as a nurse educator in just 12-months. Here, you will be trained to teach in both, university as well as clinical settings. Through extensive didactic training and practicum experiences in various higher education institutions, you will gain the preparedness to teach various types of programs.

Program Details: This short MSN program requires completion of 33 credits in courses that educate you on health care systems & education informatics & technology, advanced health assessment, teaching & learning theories for evidence-based practices, population health, finance & policy, and clinical instructions. The program includes two practicums wherein you play your role as a nurse educator in either an academic or healthcare setting. The program also includes a choice of electives from narrative pedagogies, test & rubric construction, and any special topic in nursing, out of which you must select one. To sum it up, the coursework comprises courses in graduate nursing core, functional area content, direct care core, and an elective. Upon completion of this program, you will gain the eligibility to take the Certified Nurse Educator exam and be prepared to teach not only in person but also through the distance format.

Admission Requirements: To be considered for admission into this fast-track online MSN program, you must be a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.69. Also, the college requires you to complete a course in statistics with a minimum grade of B.


9. The University of Alabama at Huntsville - Huntsville, AL

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Administration

Program Length: (12-Months)


About the School: Enrolling in one of the well-known shortest MSN programs online can be a life savior for someone aspiring to enter healthcare leadership without investing much time. Well, if you are one of them who is keen on earning an advanced nursing degree quickly, then you may want to learn about the MSN program offered by the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Here, within 12 months not only will you be equipped with the skills and knowledge to play leadership roles, but the quality of education you gain will prepare you to work in any type of work environment. Besides, with this program, in addition to conserving time, you will also save some tuition dollars as the college is known for its affordable online nursing education.

Program Details: To graduate from this short MSN program, you are required to complete 30 credits in 10 nursing courses. As a full-time student who is keen on graduating as quickly as possible, here, you will complete two courses at a time. The fast-track format of the program is rigorous and teaches you concepts in foundational concepts, leadership in human resource management, healthcare finance & economics, informatics for nurse administrators, U.S. health care system, strategic planning, quality, safety & risk management, and health assessment & promotion. Furthermore, the curriculum includes an internship in nursing leadership which requires you to complete 135 clinical hours.

Admission Requirements: Similar to most other shortest MSN programs online, to qualify for admission, you require a BSN degree and an encumbered RN license. Also, you are required to submit all your official transcripts along with a resume.


10. Herzing University Milwaukee - Menomonee Falls, WI

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Education, and Nursing Leadership & Administration

Program Length: (16-Months)


About the School: By advancing your BSN to an MSN, you will not only increase your earning potential but also be able to explore a wider range of career options. Now, if you are wondering, how do you take this next step without having the time for it, then enrolling in one of the best shortest MSN programs online will be your best bet. Herzing University Milwaukee’s MSN is one such program that can prepare you for either of the two promising fields of Nursing Education or Nursing Leadership in as little as 16 months. Besides, the online format of the program makes it rather feasible to accommodate an academic schedule into your busy life. As a graduate of the Education track, you will influence future nurses, whereas if you choose the Leadership program, you will be equipped with relevant tools to influence change in healthcare delivery.

Program Details: Whether you choose to become an educator or a leader, with these two fast MSN programs, you will be able to reach your professional goals sooner than you think. Both the programs start six times a year, so you can begin with the coursework when you are ready. Regardless of the track you enroll in, graduation requires you to complete 36 credits. The education track mainly focuses on teaching & learning strategies, and curriculum development & evaluation. Whereas the leadership program takes you through healthcare economics, finance & resource management, healthcare leadership, and organizational systems behaviors.

Admission Requirements: To enroll in either of these two fastest MSN programs online, you must fulfill the minimum admission requirements which include a BSN and an RN license. Also, ensure you have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0.


11. Capella University - Minneapolis, MN

Concentrations Offered: Care Coordination, Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, and Nursing Leadership & Administration

Program Length: (13-Months)


About the School: With four of the fastest MSN programs online, Capella University, offers desirable professional pathways for registered nurses seeking to advance their careers in the fastest possible time. Here, depending on your interests, you can choose either from Care Coordination, Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, or Nursing Leadership & Administration. Furthermore, through the college’s employer partnerships with more than 400 healthcare organizations, should you happen to be working with any of these employers, you may be eligible for a tuition discount. Also, in addition to the fast-track duration, the college offers a flex path and a guided path, depending on whether you want to self-pace your study or follow a structured format. These options can provide working nurses with the flexibility to choose a pace of study matching their life schedule.

Program Details: Regardless of the track you choose, these four shortest online MSN programs, comprise core courses, four specialization courses, and a practicum. Now the specialization courses and practicums could vary depending on the track you choose; however, the core courses remain the same for all four tracks. Graduation requires earning around 54 credits. The core courses take you through communication, collaboration & case analysis, health care law & policy, economics & decision making, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and biopsychosocial concepts. Thereafter, you progress through the program to complete your track-specific coursework.

Admission Requirements: A BSN degree and an encumbered RN license are the minimum requirements for admission into any of these four shortest MSN programs online offered by Capella. Additionally, you must submit all your official transcripts and pay an application fee of $50 to process your application.


12. Western Governors University - Salt Lake City, UT

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Informatics

Program Length: (18-Months)


About the School: As an RN, you probably have understood the importance of data in improving health outcomes. Now, if you are keen on entering the field of data and informatics, but are simply procrastinating your academic journey due to a packed life schedule, then the fast MSN program offered by Western Governors University can make it easy for you to reach this goal. Here, the MSN track in Nursing Informatics takes as little as 18 months, and moreover, being an online program, you can continue working alongside and graduate in a flash. One of the quickest MSN programs online, this program blends nursing science with data management and analysis. The curriculum trains you to effectively use data to care for the health needs of diverse populations.

Program Details: This fast MSN program comprises 14 courses that aim towards developing employable skills and knowledge. Basically, you will complete courses in MSN core and the nursing informatics specialty. The core courses take you through advanced pathopharmacological foundations, informatics for transforming care, evidence-based innovation, and healthcare leadership & management. Additionally, the nursing informatics specialty courses educate you on data modeling & database management systems, informatics system analysis, and data scene and analytics. Also, the program includes a capstone and an in-field experience where you apply your analytical skills to improve health outcomes.

Admission Requirements: To qualify for this fast-track online MSN program, you must have a BSN degree and an active RN license valid in your state of residence or employment. Additionally, you must send all your transcripts along with an application fee of $65.


13. Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN

Concentrations Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner - Intensivist, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Lifespan), and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Program Length: (12-Months)


About the School: Are you keen on a career as a nurse practitioner, which currently happens to be one of the most promising nursing positions? If you are aspiring on reaching this position quickly and are already on the lookout for the best shortest MSN programs online, then you may want to add Vanderbilt University’s MSN program to your shortlist. Here, you can choose any specialization based on your interest as the college offers eight NP tracks that can make you certified within as little as 12 months. Not only will you graduate in hardly any time, but you will also be mentored by an accomplished faculty who have extensive real-world experience. Furthermore, as a student of Vanderbilt, you will have the opportunity to go through plenty of hands-on experiences at its network of clinics, some of which are operated by the college itself while others are affiliated.

Program Details: Whether you are interested in adult-gerontology care, family health care, psychiatric mental care, or the care of newborns or women, through this MSN, you will be able to build on your BSN and specialize in an advanced practice nursing area of your interest. Listed in the US News & World Report’s list of top MSN programs, Vanderbilt’s wide range of Master’s in Nursing programs are also counted among the nation’s popular shortest online MSN programs, especially for those seeking fast-track NP education. Regardless of the NP track you choose, to graduate you must complete anywhere close to 40 credits in core courses, specialty-specific courses, and clinical experiences. Besides, if you choose the adult gerontology track, you can also opt for the intensivist focus area that prepares you to treat adults in intensive care settings.

Admission Requirements: The college reviews applications holistically, so ensure in addition to the minimum requirements, you add other markers to strengthen your application. To qualify for any of Vanderbilt’s fastest MSN programs online, you must have a BSN and an RN license. Additionally, the college requires you to complete a statistics course and that you submit all your official transcripts.


14. Weber State University - Ogden, UT

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Educator and Nursing Executive

Program Length: (12-Months)


About the School: Do you see yourself training the future generation of nurses or would you rather prefer to lead healthcare organizations? Whatever your dream role maybe, if you are keen on climbing the career ladder but are unable to spare enough time to attend school, then enrolling in one of the shortest MSN programs online will be the most prudent move. Weber State University offers two MSN programs that lead to graduation in just 12 months. Here, you can choose from either the Nursing Educator or Nursing Leadership track, depending on your goals. As a graduate of the education track, you can explore job positions as a professor, director of education, or clinical instructor. Whereas with the leadership program, you will be equipped with skills to take on roles such as chief nursing officer, nurse manager, quality director, and nurse administrator, to name a few.

Program Details: These two fastest MSN programs online provide you the benefit of completing the coursework entirely from the comfort of your home as well as having the residency arranged within your geographical location. Regardless of the track you choose, you will start the program with core courses that strengthen concepts in research & evidence-based practice, research & statistics, theoretical foundations, improving patient care through informatics, and advanced nursing leadership. The 42-credit MSN coursework then progresses to specialization-specific courses that train you with employable skills in your chosen area of practice.

Admission Requirements: If you are interested in applying for any one of these two shortest MSN programs online, then to start with, you must have a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, an RN license is required to be eligible to apply. Furthermore, the college prefers students who have a working knowledge of statistics.


15. Jacksonville University - Jacksonville, FL

Concentrations Offered: Clinical Nurse Educator, Leadership in Healthcare Systems, and Nursing Informatics

Program Length: (18-Months)


About the School: Counted among the best shortest online MSN programs in the nation, Jacksonville University’s MSN tracks not only prepare you for desirable leadership positions in healthcare but also provide you the flexibility of earning your degree remotely, that too pretty quickly. Depending on your aspirations, at Jacksonville University you can choose to become either a clinical nurse educator, healthcare leader, or nursing informatics professional in as little as 18 months. While you can pursue your chosen professional role soon after graduation, here you also gain a solid foundation, should you desire to earn the terminal nursing degree in the future. Also, the college’s 8-week format, allows you to take a break whenever you need it, making it rather convenient for students who are juggling personal and professional responsibilities.

Program Details: With these three tracks, you can achieve your dream professional role in a rather short duration. Regardless of the track, you enroll in, you start your coursework with courses in nursing theory & research, organization, delivery & policy in healthcare, nursing leadership & advanced roles, information systems & technology for improved healthcare, nursing, and research & theory. Now, if you choose to become a nurse educator, you will master concepts in academic and clinical nurse education. Whereas, the leadership track prepares you in financial management, human resource management, nursing leadership, and quality & safety in healthcare. On the other hand, the informatics program educates you on population health informatics, epidemiology, and evidence-based nursing informatics in a global society.

Admission Requirements: To apply to either one of JU’s fast MSN programs, you must have a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additionally, you must hold an active RN license. The college also requires you to submit your transcripts, resume, and letters of recommendation.


16. National University - San Diego, CA

Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Program Length: (12-Months)


About the School: Does becoming a nurse practitioner within a year sound good to you? Well, if you have been procrastinating taking your career from a registered nurse to the NP level, then with National University’s two well-known shortest online MSN programs, you can become certified as an FNP or PMHNP even before you blink. Besides, both the programs are primarily online and require minimal campus meets. As a student of San Diego’s top private non-profit university, here, you will be mentored by an expert faculty, who are well versed with the online medium of teaching. Also, being a military-friendly school, if you happen to come from the armed forces, you will find support in terms of financial benefits and guidance.

Program Details: At National, enrolling in either the FNP or PMHNP program can give your career a great boost in no time as the demand for these two advanced practice nursing professionals was never this high as it is now in the post-COVID world. Regardless of the program you choose, to graduate, you must complete around 45 credits in core and specialization courses while maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0. The core courses are centered on advanced practice nursing, theory in advanced practice, biomedical statistics, health policy & finance, and project management. While the FNP specialization trains you in the care of adults across the lifespan, the PMHNP program teaches you to provide psychiatric care to mental health patients of all age groups. Both the programs end with a practicum and a capstone.

Admission Requirements: This college allows students to apply throughout the year. To be eligible for admission into either of these fast MSN programs, you must have an undergraduate degree in nursing and an active RN license. Also, you need to submit letters of recommendation, a personal goals statement, a resume, and official transcripts.


17. Northeastern State University - Tahlequah, OK

Concentrations Offered: Administrative Leadership, Nursing Education, and Nursing Informatics

Program Length: (12-Months)


About the School: Well, if you are keen on completing your graduate nursing education very swiftly and are looking out for short MSN programs leading to a degree in Leadership, Education, or Informatics, then, your search may end with Northeastern State University’s MSN programs. With three tracks in Administrative Leadership, Nursing Education, and Nursing Informatics, you can choose the field that matches your aspirations. Whatever path you may opt for, you will leave the college with excellent professional skills and knowledge in as little as 12 months. With six start dates and 100% online coursework, here you can enjoy the flexibility of beginning the program when you are ready. Also, counted among the nation’s popular affordable fastest MSN programs online, the college allows you to pay per course, in addition to offering several financial aid opportunities to eligible students.

Program Details: Whatever track you may enroll in, this MSN coursework builds on your BSN and expands it to impart specialized knowledge in your chosen advanced area of nursing. All of the three shortest online MSN programs at Northeastern State require completing 32 credits in six core and four specialization courses, in addition to a practicum. Through the core courses, you will lay a solid foundation in theoretical foundations for nursing, advanced research & evidence-based practice, cultural perspectives, policy, ethics & quality, and issues & trends in professional nursing. While the leadership track prepares to play roles such as director nursing, chief nursing officer, nursing supervisor, or nursing manager, with the education track, you can explore positions as faculty, dean, or instructor. On the other hand, as a graduate of the informatics track, you gain specialized skills in managing data to improve health outcomes.

Admission Requirements: Admission into either one of these programs, requires you to be a BSN-prepared registered nurse. Also, in your undergraduate nursing coursework, you must have a minimum GPA of at least 2.50. A completed application with all official transcripts must be submitted online.


18. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley - Edinburg, TX

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Administration and Nursing Education

Program Length: (12-Months)


About the School: When you can become a leader in just 12 months, that too without even leaving your home, then why wait to take the next step in your nursing career. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers one the sought-after shortest MSN programs online that can be completed even before you know it. With two tracks designed to take you to leadership levels, you can choose from either Nursing Administration or Nursing Education, depending on your interests. At UTRGV, you not will graduate quickly, but also achieve an education that is affordable compared to other similar programs in the region. Apart from the flexibility of paying per course, if eligible, you can even avail financial aid or earn a scholarship to further save tuition dollars.

Program Details: Whether you choose the administration or education track, your 36-credit coursework first starts with core courses, followed by specialization-specific courses, finally culminating with the capstone requirement. The initial core courses take you through theoretical foundations in nursing, nursing informatics, nursing research, statistics in nursing, advanced leadership, policy & population health, holistic nursing approach, and evidence-based practice. Now, depending on the track, you will progress through the program completing courses in either nursing administration, healthcare finance, clinical leadership or gain deep insights into curriculum design, delivery of nursing education, online teaching, and evaluation in nursing education. Finally, the program’s culminating capstone experience requires you to present your project in both written and oral format to a select audience.

Admission Requirements: If you are keen on applying to either of UTRGV’s fast MSN programs, ensure you first fulfill the minimum admission requirements that include a BSN and an active RN license. Also, the college requires you to have completed an undergraduate statistics course. Additionally, you must submit your official transcripts, an essay, and a personal goals statement.


19. Kennesaw State University - Marietta, GA

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Administration & Transformational Leadership

Program Length: (15-Months)


About the School: As an RN if you are looking at increasing your earning potential then there is no better way to do it than advancing your nursing education. Now, if you are someone who prefers to fast pace your study, then enrolling in one of the shortest MSN programs online should be your best bet. Kennesaw State University’s MSN program is one such option that allows you to head straight into the program and graduate as a leader in as little as 15 months. Alternatively, should you choose to continue working, the online format this program makes it rather convenient to juggle both, earning a degree and fulfilling your job duties. Either way, you will be able to explore a plethora of job options in nursing administration and leadership after you graduate.

Program Details: With this short MSN in Nursing Administration & Leadership you can fetch handsome pay as well as rise in the professional hierarchy, rather too quickly! Through this track, you will learn about transforming healthcare, conflict management, safety & quality control, finance & operations, and population & global health. The program is a 40-credit coursework that combines didactic online classes with practical learning. To successfully graduate, you must earn a grade of B or higher in all the courses. Now, if you are wondering if the college allows the transfer of credits, then yes, you can transfer up to 9 semester hours of graduate coursework already taken at an accredited institution. If allowed this transfer, you will be able to lessen your burden of credits as well as tuition.

Admission Requirements: To be eligible for this fast MSN program, you must have a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, you require to hold an active RN license in Georgia. Furthermore, the college requires the submission of a personal goals statement and two professional letters of reference. Besides, completion of an undergraduate research course is also a requirement to fulfill the minimum eligibility criteria.


20. D'Youville College - Buffalo, NY

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Management & Quality Leadership

Program Length: (18-Months)


About the School: Are you shortlisting the best shortest online MSN programs that can take your career as a registered nurse straight to the management and leadership levels as swiftly as possible? Well, be it a nursing officer, hospital administrator, nursing manager, or nursing supervisor, if these look like some of the dream positions you are aspiring to pursue, then you may want to add D'Youville College’s MSN program to your schools' list. Here, through the fast 18-month Nursing Management & Quality Leadership program, you will be mentored by nurse leaders who are relentlessly improving health outcomes utilizing their leadership skills. Furthermore, apart from being known for its affordable education, the college is also a popular choice among veterans for the solid support it offers to students coming from the armed forces.

Program Details: This short MSN program comprises 12 courses that require earning a total of 30 credits. Apart from the core and track-specific courses, the program also includes a 180-hour leadership practicum, which can be completed at your current workplace. The curriculum is designed to educate you on theory development in nursing research, research methods in nursing, and nursing leadership & communication. You also learn about financial management, healthcare quality & safety, nursing informatics, and organizational leadership. Additionally, the coursework takes you through health policy & advocacy and population health & outcomes.

Admission Requirements: To qualify for admission, you must first foremost have a BSN and an RN license in your state of residence. Additionally, you must submit all your official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal goals statement.


21. King University - Bristol, TN

Concentrations Offered: Nurse Education, Administration, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Program Length: (16-Months)


About the School: Enrolling in one of the best shortest MSN programs online will not only help you graduate sooner but also turn out to be an economically wise move. One such option you may want to consider is King University’s MSN that offers three desirable career paths. Here, you start as an entry-level nurse and leave the college either as a nurse educator, nurse administrative, or a pediatric nurse practitioner, all within just 16 months. Whether you are seeking the convenience of online study, affordability in tuition costs, or military benefits, at King’s you will be able to fulfill your career aspirations with the help of exceptional student support.

Program Details: These three fast MSN programs online train you with the skills and knowledge to excel in your chosen professional role. Depending on the track you choose, you must earn credits anywhere ranging from 35 to 45. Regardless of the specialization track, you start your coursework with 15 credits of core courses in theoretical foundations in nursing practice, research design in nursing, social, cultural & political perspectives in healthcare, global health awareness, and healthcare informatics. For the education concentration, you are required to earn an additional 24 credits, whereas, with the administration track, 20 additional credits are required. On the other hand, in the NP program, you must earn an additional 30 credits.

Admission Requirements: To apply for either of these tracks, you must have a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additionally, besides having an active RN license, you must have completed undergraduate courses in statistics, and also preferably in nursing research, health assessment, and pathophysiology.


22. Colorado Technical University - Colorado Springs, CO

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Administration

Program Length: (18-Months)


About the School: Ever thought of getting onto a leadership role in nursing? If you are among the many aspiring RNs waiting to reach higher levels but are unable to do so due to lack of time and funds, then enrolling in one of the best fastest MSN programs online will serve you well. Now, you may ask how does this help? Well, with a fast-track MSN-Administration program like the one offered by Colorado Technical University, you will not only be able to graduate in 18 months and pay off your student loans faster but also be able to take classes remotely while continuing to work. With the MSN in Nursing Administration, you will be equipped with employable skills that are in tune with the demands of the nursing industry. Proudly ranked among the nation’s best online MSN programs by the US News & World Report, Colorado Technical offers high-quality online instructions that effectively train healthcare leaders of the future.

Program Details: This MSN program in Nursing Administration is a 48-credit coursework that prepares you to lead and manage a team of nurses. The program starts with 24 credits of core courses in healthcare informatics, professional nursing practice, policy & politics, and evidence-based practices. The concentration-specific courses will provide you will the skills and knowledge in various areas of healthcare administration, including finance, innovations for quality care, strategic planning, and systems in healthcare. The coursework also includes two practicums of 60 hours each, which can be completed at your current workplace.

Admission Requirements: To be considered for admission into this program, the college requires to have a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additionally, you must hold an active RN license in the US. Also, along with your application, you must submit all official transcripts, a resume, and a personal goals statement.


23. Texas A&M International University - Laredo, TX

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Administration

Program Length: (10-Months)


About the School: If you are still undecided on the next step in your nursing career, then how about attaining nursing leadership by earning an MSN. Well, you can advance your career to leadership within as little as 10 months by enrolling in the MSN program offered by Texas A&M International University. Now, if you are pondering over whether such a fast-track MSN program offers the same quality of education as a traditional program, then here, not only will you complete a rigorous coursework that takes you through every aspect of nursing administration, but you will also go through a 180-hour leadership practicum. Administrative and management roles are in demand across the world to cope with challenges the healthcare sector has faced in recent times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The college understands the current needs of the industry and equips graduates with relevant tools to serve in various types of healthcare environments.

Program Details: One of the shortest online MSN programs in the nation, this MSN requires completing 31 credits for graduation. Whether your goal is to become a nurse executive or a healthcare manager, here, you will learn various topics, ranging from communication skills to social justice issues, through a flexible online coursework. The coursework takes you through theories influencing practice, research & advanced role, healthcare policy & social justice, research methods & statistical analysis, organizational behavior, finance, and healthcare informatics. You also learn about population health and undergo a nurse executive practicum towards the end of the program. As a graduate of this program, you will leave the college with excellent skills in communication, critical thinking, and oral & written presentation skills.

Admission Requirements: To apply to this fast-track program, you must have a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, you must have one year of work experience as a registered nurse. Besides, the college requires you to have completed an undergraduate statistics course.


24. ECPI University - Virginia Beach, VA

Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner and Nursing Education

Program Length: (15-Months)


About the School: Primary care and nursing education are two fields that are facing a shortage of skilled professionals. If you are keen on pursuing either one of these areas of advanced nursing, then ECPI University’s MSN programs can be considered as a good option. Here, within just 15 months you can gain the knowledge to make an impact in primary care or nursing education, depending on whether you choose to enroll in the FNP or the Nursing Education track. As a registered nurse, by now you have already realized how an MSN is required to propel your career, and if you can earn the degree quickly that too through an online program, then why delay. ECPI’s FNP track opens up positions in public health departments, urgent care, occupational health, and hospitals, whereas the education track prepares you to train future nurses through acquired expertise in both, online as well as on-campus mode of teaching.

Program Details: These two shortest online MSN programs are designed to prepare you with specialized skills in your chosen area of interest. While the education track requires completing 36 credits, for the FNP concentration, you must earn 49 credits. The core courses, common to both the tracks educate you on theoretical foundations, advanced pathophysiology, policy, politics & advocacy, healthcare informatics, physical assessment, pharmacology, and healthcare statistics. Thereafter, you progress to the specialization courses. The education track centers on curriculum planning, nursing education, teaching & learning strategies, and assessing & evaluating nursing education. On the other hand, the track in family health educates you on the primary care of individuals and families of all age groups.

Admission Requirements: To apply to the fast-track online MSN program of your choice, you must have a BSN and an active RN license. Additionally, the college requires you to complete an undergraduate course in statistics, and health assessment or research.


25. Liberty University - Lynchburg, VA

Concentrations Offered: Nurse Educator, Nurse Administration, and Nurse Informatics

Program Length: (18-Months)


About the School: If you are dreaming of earning a higher salary in indirect patient care job roles, then you might want to know that you can reach this goal sooner than you think. So, what are the options, you may ask? Well, Liberty University’s shortest MSN programs online could be a befitting answer to your question. Here, you can choose from three indirect patient care roles in education, administration, and informatics and open doors to promising career options. Besides, should you plan to earn a doctorate, this MSN lays a solid foundation for the terminal nursing degree. At Liberty, you will not only earn your MSN degree faster but also with an affordable tuition cost. Being a non-profit, this college is one of the few online schools to have not raised tuition costs in a while.

Program Details: Education, Administration, or Informatics, whichever fast-track online MSN program you may enroll in, at Liberty, through 100% online coursework, you will be able to accommodate classes into your busy life with much ease. Regardless of the track, you will require earning 36 credits to earn your MSN. The program builds upon your previous degree and even allows you to transfer almost 50% credits towards this MSN, provided you are eligible. The education track educates you on evaluation strategies, advanced clinical applications, and curriculum development, whereas with the administration track, you learn about organizational design, systems management, financial resource management, and leadership. Now, if you opt for the informatics track, you will master the use of data and information technology to improve health outcomes.

Admission Requirements: Similar to other well-known shortest MSN programs online, to be eligible for admission, you must have a BSN from an accredited university and hold an active RN license in your state of residence. Additionally, the college requires at least one year of work experience as a registered nurse. To fulfill the admission requirements, you must submit all official and unofficial transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a personal goals statement.


26. Mercy College - Dobbs Ferry, NY

Concentrations Offered: Nursing Administration and Nursing Education

Program Length: (15-Months)


About the School: The best fastest MSN programs online can take you from a registered nurse to being a leader in barely any time. If you are looking out for MSN programs that quickly lead to specializing in either nursing administration or education, then you are in the right place. Mercy College’s MSN programs can advance your nursing career in just 15 months. As a graduate of this college, you will be able to attain leadership or faculty positions, depending on whether you choose the administration or education track. Regardless of what you choose, here you will be trained by an expert faculty through 100% online coursework.

Program Details: Both these shortest MSN programs online require completion of 36 credits. The 15-credit core courses common to both programs teach you computer technology, health policy, research perspectives, and diversity. With the administration track, you complete the remaining 21 credits in courses that educate you on healthcare & human resource management, finance, strategic planning, and enhancing organizational performance. On the other hand, if you choose to become an educator, you will learn curriculum processes, instructional strategies, and student evaluation. Also, both the tracks include a capstone and a practicum.

Admission Requirements: To qualify for admission, you must earn a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Additionally, along with having an RN license, the college requires you to submit your official transcripts.


27. Wilmington University - New Castle, DE

Concentrations Offered: Nurse Leadership

Program Length: (12-Months)


About the School: With an MSN, you know you can greatly expand your role in nursing and even enjoy a high level of autonomy. If you are eager to lead and inspire, then you need not wait to fulfill your aspiration as with Wilmington University’s MSN program you can do it in as little as 12 months. Furthermore, if you are seeking affordable quality education, then you will be happy to know that this is one of the shortest MSN programs online out there that also offers you the benefit of low tuition costs. With a track in Nurse Leadership, here you be mentored for leadership positions in nursing by a team of experts, comprising veterans and practitioners. Besides, an online coursework with a 7-week block format can offer you the flexibility you need to juggle a rigorous curriculum with a job.

Program Details: Counted among the popular fastest MSN programs online, this leadership track offers you the unique opportunity to further specialize either as a nurse executive, nurse educator, legal nurse consultant, or take up the public health concentration. This interdisciplinary program integrates courses from business, public health, and law. Regardless of the concentration you choose, to graduate, you must complete 12 credits MSN core, 12 credits in leadership core, and 12 credits in concentration-specific courses, making it a total of 36 credits. While the nurse executive concentration emphasizes management roles, the educator concentration is suited for nurses interested in teaching. The legal nurse concentration is ideal for those keen on practicing in a legal setting, whereas the public health specialization tarins you to improve health at all levels.

Admission Requirements: To qualify for admission into this fast MSN program, you must have a BSN and should have completed an undergraduate statistics course with a minimum grade of C. Additionally, you must submit all your official transcripts along with an application fee of $35.

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