With the ongoing shortage of nurses in the United States and an IOM (Institute of Medicine) initiative to increase the percentage of American RNs (Registered Nurses) holding a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree, nursing schools are offering a variety of academic paths to accommodate this goal. (At the start of the initiative in 2010, only 40% of RNs held a BSN, with the goal being 80% by 2020.)
One such academic option is the RN to BSN track that many nursing schools offer. This type of degree program is designed for working nurses with Registered Nurse licensure and who have either a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (ADN/ ASN).
Students in this category who are seeking to complete a BSN are accommodated in a number of possible ways that allow them to keep working at least part-time, if not full-time, while studying. This includes part-time study options, online courses with minimal on-campus presence, online resources and advising, practicums local to each student, etc.
In addition to the IOM initiative, there are many other reasons for Registered Nurses to complete a bachelor of nursing degree. Because of the added skills and knowledge, BSN-prepared RNs qualify for advanced practice and other nursing roles that may include advocacy, education, informatics, leadership and more. As a result, they can potentially earn more than double of that of some of their counterparts who are only ADN-prepared.
At the time of this writing, the NCES listed 360 colleges and universities as having a bachelor’s level nursing degree or degree completion program offered through distance and/or online delivery. Our list combines various cost values and other institutional factors to come up with 25 “top value” colleges. The majority of programs listed here are for “completion,” consisting of upper-division courses that take 3-5 semesters (roughly 1-2 years). Ranking methodology is provided at the end of this article.
College Ranking Dashboard Information
Each entry for the 25 colleges ranked below provides a summary of online bachelor’s of nursing degrees. A data dashboard supplements each college review entry, and contains charts and data points. The latter either come from NCES (http://nces.ed.gov/) data or are calculated from NCES data. The legend below explains the data points and is followed by the list of 25 ranked colleges. The ranking methodology is at the end of this article.
- Type: public or private, nonprofit institution.
- Location: location of campus, or headquarters for all-distance colleges.
- In-state tuition + fees: listed average undergrad tuition plus mandatory fees for in-state students.
- Out-of-state tuition +fees: listed average undergrad tuition plus mandatory fees for out-of-state students.
- Net price: the yearly average total cost for all students (tuition, fees, books, etc.)
- %fulltime retention: % of full-time 1st-year undergrads who return.
- %allDistEdu: % of undergrads who are taking all distance education courses, online delivery or otherwise.
- %someDistEdu: % of undergrads who are taking some distance education courses, online or otherwise.
- # students: total number of students at all study levels, on-campus and online.
- # undergrads: total number of undergraduate students.
- # grads: total number of graduate students.
- Graduation rate: % of undergrads who eventually graduate, based on first-time, full-time undergrads. Might be zero, if the college has no such students in a given year.
- Affiliation/ governance: religious affiliation, system affiliation, or external board of regents.
- Institutional accreditation: : accrediting body for the college.
- Program accreditation: accrediting body for the degree program or parent department, if applicable.
Rankings: Top Value Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degrees in Registered Nursing
Brigham Young University-Idaho, Spori building (source)
Brigham Young University-Idaho (BYUI) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree completion program (RN to BSN). The program is designed to help current Registered Nurses gain the skills and knowledge to expand career opportunities. Part of the prestigious Brigham Young University system, BYUI has previously ranked in other lists here on AffordableSchools, including: Most Affordable Bachelor’s Degree Colleges in Idaho, 25 Most Affordable Large, Private, Nonprofit Bachelor’s Colleges, and for several topical degrees including healthcare management.
This is a 3-6 month BSN completion program that consists of 27 credits in total in upper division courses (24cr nursing, 3cr biology). Courses can be taken online, on-campus or via BYUI’s Distance Education options. Students choose duration based on number of courses taken per semester, and are allowed up to eight years to complete program. Eligibility requirements include current RN licensure and either a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), which results in 46 nursing transfer credits. All remaining prerequisite/ required courses will need to be completed.
Sample courses: Pathophysiology; Nursing Research; Health/ Wellness in Aging Adult; Advanced Nursing Concepts; Community Nursing.
Western Governors University Administration Building (source)
Western Governors University (WGU) offers two online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degrees: (1) Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN, Prelicensure); (2) RN to BSN degree completion program (post-licensure). These programs are offered through the College of Health Professions. The Pre-licensure program (distance/ online) is only available in these five states: CA, TX, FL, IN, UT. The university itself, which offers entirely distance degrees, ranked at #28 in the 2013 edition of Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies list.
WGU’s BSN degree requires120 “competency units” for either track, with some transfer credits awarded to RN track students for prior coursework in, such as for a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing. The curriculum includes both courses and clinical work, the latter of which takes place in simulation labs and various healthcare facilities, including hospitals. Areas of focus for the Pre track include community health nursing, medical-surgical nursing, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatric/ mental health. This track prepares students for writing the NCLEX-RN professional licensing exam upon graduation, to start their nursing career after certification. The RN completion track prepares students for advanced nursing opportunities.
Sample courses: Introduction to Nursing Arts and Science; Health and Wellness Through Nutritional Science; Organizational Systems: Safety and Regulation; Medical Dosage Calculations; Pharmacology.
U of Texas-Permian, Parker Ranch House building (source)
University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) Online completion program. Graduates will be prepared for advanced practice and leadership roles in nursing. This is one of 18 online programs offered by UTPB. The university’s accolades include rankings in several general and topical college review lists, including from U.S. News & World Report (Best Online Bachelor’s Programs: Texas Public; Master’s universities: National and Western; various topical lists), Washington Monthly (Master’s University; social mobility) and others.
UPTB’s BSN completion program requires 120 credits for graduation. Coursework is 100% online, and the timeline is at least 12 months. Students will complete 31 credits of upper division nursing courses, plus outstanding prerequisite/ general education courses, after factoring any transfer credits received for prior coursework (such as a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing) and current RN licensure. Classes are eight weeks in length, and the program has multiple start dates yearly. The program is designed to allow students to work and study simultaneously, with a flexible study schedule.
Sample courses: Practice of Professional Nursing; Theories and Issues in Professional Nursing and Health Care; Transcultural Nursing; Nursing Research and Quality Improvement Science; Multicultural Public Health Nursing.
4: Cox College
Cox College (source)
Cox College (CC) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: RN to BSN/MSN Completion (RN-BSN/MSN). Students can select the RN to BSN track or the dual-degree RN to MSN track (resulting in both a BSN and MSN). These programs are offered through Cox’s Burge School of Nursing. Cox academic programs are primarily focused on health-related topics, and has been delivering nursing education for nearly 110 years.
CC’s RN to BSN completion track requires 128 credits for graduation, with 70 credits awarded for prior coursework in a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (ADN). This leaves 58 credits to be completed, including 34 credits of blended (mostly-online) nursing courses — with some on-campus presence required — and 24 credits of General Education courses, as necessary. A maximum of 12 MSN elective credits can be used towards both the BSN and MSN degrees. (See site for full details on the dual-degree RN to BSN/MSN track.) There are three entry points yearly, and Fall and Spring semesters have two 8-week sessions. Students who previously graduated as a Cox Health RN receive a 20% tuition discount.
Sample courses: Nursing Informatics; Health Assessment; Theories and Research in Nursing; Management and Leadership in Nursing; Community and Public Health Nursing.
Sheridan Hall, Fort Hays State University (source)
Fort Hays State University (FHSU) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the Online RN to BSN Program, offered by the Department of Nursing through FHSU’s College of Health and Behavioral Sciences. RNs can work in a range of specialties, including emergency, intensive care, obstetrics, pediatrics, etc. The university’s online and on-campus programs have both earned ranking spots in various college review lists, including: U.S. News & World Report (Best Online Programs for six topics, including nursing, both nationally and statewide); G.I. Jobs (Top Military-Friendly Colleges and Universities) and others.
FHSU’s BSN degree requires an associate’s degree in nursing and a minimum of 45 credits of general education completed. Graduation requires a minimum 120 credits, at least 30 credits of which must be completed at FHSU. The curriculum focuses on building critical thinking and leadership skills, to prepare graduates for advanced nursing opportunities. Courses are 100% online and can be completed within three semesters (nursing). Students in this RN track will complete 29 credits of upper division nursing courses, including labs, plus any outstanding requirements/ prerequisites — for a total of at least 45 upper division credits. Any necessary clinical hours are completed with a preceptor. Up to 36 credits (nursing) are granted for advanced standing for RN licensure.
Sample courses: Health and Illness; Mental Health Nursing; Pharmacology; Maternal/Infant; Pediatrics.
Great Basin College (source)
Great Basin College (GBC) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN to BSN. Students gain the experience necessary to pursue additional career opportunities in nursing, including leadership or management roles (public or private sectors), and will be able to serve in any healthcare environment, including in rural and community settings. Students wishing to broaden their academic scope can take advantage of GBC’s option for earning a second degree
GBC’s BSN completion program requires RN (Registered Nurse) licensure and an associate’s degree in nursing. The program is fully online and designed for working RNs, who can choose either full- or part-time studies for this track. Other upper and lower division courses are also available online and clinical hours are not a requirement. Full-time study can be completed in four semesters, and part-time in six semesters. Both have a Summer semester option for select courses. Credits required for completion are 54 credits of upper division courses (primarily nursing), plus any outstanding prerequisite/ required courses. Note: this is a limited-enrollment program with one entry date yearly (Fall).
Sample courses: Health Assessment and Health Promotion; Transition to Professional Nursing; Pathophysiology; Information Systems and Quality Management; Evidence Based Practice and Research in Nursing.
Downtown Columbia, MO (source)
Columbia College (CC) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN to BSN Program, offered through the Nursing Department. Students gain the skills and knowledge to pursue advance career opportunities in nursing after graduation, such as management roles. Eligible students will be currently licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN) and have completed an associate’s degree in nursing. The college itself has 36 locations in the U.S., plus a Day Campus, Evening Campus and Online Campus. While there is a mutually beneficial affiliation with the Disciples of Christ church, the college is nonsectarian.
CC’s BSN completion track requires 120 credits for graduation. Core requirements for this track total 36 credits, including four non-nursing courses. General Elective courses take 40-43 credits, while General Education courses take 38-41 credits. Courses are online and eight weeks long and there are six class sessions per year. It takes about two years in total to complete this degree (excluding any outstanding prerequisite or general education courses), and allows RNs to continue working while studying. Areas of skills focus include clinical reasoning and collaboration.
Sample courses: Pharmacology for Nursing; Professional Nursing Practice; Principles and Applications of Human Nutrition; Health Assessment; Nursing Research and Evidence-based Practice.
Library, University of South Florida (source)
University of South Florida (USF) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, RN to BS, offered through the College of Nursing. The program builds on the RN student’s skills, which may lead to nursing roles in leadership and management, education, or advanced clinical practice. Graduates are also prepared if they wish to seek an MSN, PhD or DNP program. The university earned a top 10 ranking for public schools in a U.S. News & World Report college review list (2014).
USF’s BSN completion program requires RN licensure and a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing. Courses are fully online, and the RN track consists of 30 credits of upper division nursing courses. This breaks down to 15 credits of Core Nursing courses, 6cr Cluster Nursing courses, 9cr Nursing Electives, plus any outstanding General Education or prerequisite courses. The program is part-time (five semesters) by default, to facilitate students continuing to work as nurses, but a request to go full-time (three semesters) can be made to an academic advisor. Practicums are part of the program.
Sample courses: Information Technology Skills for Nurses; Nursing as a Profession; Foundations of Nursing Healthcare Leadership and Management; Population Health.
Eastern New Mexico University (source)
Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN/BSN Advanced Placement Option, which is offered through the College of Health and Human Services. The program prepares students with the leadership and managerial skills that they need to pursue advanced nursing roles after graduation. The university has ranked in a number of college review lists, including USA Today’s “Five Best Bargains” (2014). It has also previously ranked here at AffordableSchools.net for non-nursing topics.
ENMU’s BSN completion program requires a diploma or an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN/ ASN) and currently licensure as an RN. To earn the BSN degree, students need to complete 120 credits. Of that 120 credits, Nursing courses take up 42cr (minimum), Statistics takes 4cr, General Education takes 38cr, and Electives make up the rest. Students receive 30cr for prior coursework, and at least 50 of 62 credits of prerequisites completed before starting the program. The RN track is online, although students have the option to take on-campus instruction. Three clinical components are included in the curriculum.
Sample courses: Foundations of Professional Nursing; Nursing Ethics; Economics and Nursing; Economics and Nursing; Nursing Management of Pain.
Mississippi University for Women (source)
Mississippi University for Women (MUW) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the Bachelor of Science in Nursing RN/BSN Advanced Placement Option, offered by the Nursing department within MUW’s College of Nursing and Speech-Language Pathology (CNSLP). The program helps RNs update their education in order to pursue new career opportunities, including via a subsequent graduate nursing degree such as an MSN. The university has earned a number of accolades for its academic offering, including ranking spots on various college review lists: Victory Media/ G.I. Jobs (Military Friendly School); U.S. News & World Report (Best Colleges for Veterans; top public regional universities: South); Washington Monthly (Best Bang for the Buck: South) and others.
MUW’s BSN completion program requires RN licensure and a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (ASN or ADN), as well as completion of 50 hours of prerequisites. Students will complete 62 credits of upper division Core courses, including nursing, plus any outstanding requirements. The RN track is run out of MUW’s Tupelo, MS, campus, but students can choose between the Partial Distance Option (combination of distance learning and classroom sessions) and the Total Distance Option. The CNSLP offers Skills and Simulation Labs, for those choosing the former.
Sample courses: Introduction to Scholarly Activity for the Professional Nurse; Introduction to Health Promotion; Introduction to Professional Nursing Concepts in Leadership and Management; Pathophysiology for Nursing; Comprehensive Health Assessment Across the Lifespan.
Florida International University (FIU) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN to BSN (Online) program, offered through FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences (NWCNHS). The program prepares graduates advanced nursing roles, as well as eligibility to take advanced nursing programs such as master’s or doctoral degree. The university has ranked here at AffordableSchools in several previous topical college review lists.
FIU’s BSN completion program requires an RN license and diploma or associate of science in nursing (ASN) degree. (Note: a provision allows for student with select other academic status to be eligible. See site for details if you have an Associate in Arts or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.) Graduation requirements are 120 credits, with 60 lower division credits transfered from prior coursework (e.g., ASN). Students are granted 30 credits of clinical proficiency, upon completing challenge exams. Additional clinical skills are developed partly through using the resources and simulation technology at the STAR Center (Simulation Teaching And Research Center) — which includes mannequins and hospital beds. The RN track itself consists of 24cr upper-division Nursing courses. Due to the university’s 30-credit residency requirement, students also take an additional 6cr of elective courses. The program timeline is three full-time or five part-time semesters. BSN graduates can enter advanced nursing degree programs such as an MSN, DNP, or BSN to PhD.
Sample courses: Professional Nursing Leadership: Concepts and Issues; Health Assessment and Promotion; Evidence-Based Nursing and Research; Nursing in Global Health Care Systems; Adult Nursing.
University of Central Florida library (source)
University of Central Florida (UCF) offers two online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: (1) AS to BSN and (2) RN to BSN. While both options are Web-based and require RN licensure, the former is for RNs earning an ASN (Associate of Science in Nursing) in Dec 2000 or later from a public college in Florida. The latter is for RNs with either a diploma or ASN earned before Dec 2000. Both programs prepare graduates for seeking additional nursing career opportunities, as well as advanced nursing degree programs. The university has earned various “best-value” rankings by Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s (public colleges), as well as “most affordable colleges” ranking by Forbes magazine.
Total credit requirement for graduation is 120 credits for both tracks. The ASN track requires completion of 12 UCF general education courses (typically covered in an ASN) and either two semesters of foreign language studies in college, or two years in high school. Both tracks are web-based/ online, with some courses optionally available on-campus. The ASN track takes as little as three semesters, though up to 10 is allowed. The RN track takes five semesters at six credits per semester, which allows flexibility for working nurses. A minimum three semesters is need. Practicums are completed local to the student. Prior learning credits are awarded in the final semester for specific topics. See site for specific details of each track, or discuss with an academic advisor.
Sample courses: Health Assessment; Pathophysiology for Nursing Practice; Pathophysiology for Nursing Practice; Dimensions of Professional Nursing Practice; Leadership, Management, and Role Transition.
Beacom School of Business, University of South Dakota (source)
University of South Dakota (USD) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-B.S.N.), with three study plan options to suit working nurses. The program is offered through the Nursing Department in USD’s School of Health Sciences. Graduation brings with it additional career opportunities in nursing, and prepares students for an advanced nursing degree such as an MSN. The online programs at USD collective earned it a spot in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 college review list of Best Online Programs: Bachelor’s, and it has received two military-friendly/ best for vets designations (Victory Media, Military Times).
USD’s BSN completion program requires RN licensure and an associate’s degree in nursing. Credit requirement for graduation is 120, and an ASN graduate from USD would typically have earned 65 credits in total. The RN track requires 43 credits in the Major, including 27cr Nursing Core courses and 16cr non-nursing credits (including 10 elective credits). USD grants a maximum of 90 transfer credits, for prior coursework/ licensure. Students are paired with both an academic advisor and a faculty mentor.
Sample courses: Information Management and Technology Application; Research and Evidence-Based Practice; Leadership and Professionalism; Nursing Practice in a Global Society; Optimizing Health of Populations.
Downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina (source)
Fayetteville State University (FSU) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN to BSN, offered by the Department of Nursing (DON) within FSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. Students gain the skills and knowledge for seeking new nursing career opportunities, as well as being eligible for graduate nursing studies such as an MSN. The university is an HBCU (historically black college/ university) and a member of the TMCF (Thurgood Marshall College Fund). Recent accolades received include several topical non-nursing college rankings from U.S. News & World Report (USNWR), as well as a spot on USNWR’s Top HBCUs lists (2015: #10 public HBCUS; 2015: #25 all HBCUs). Military Times also ranked FSU as top school for veterans, in the state, in 2014.
FSU’s BSN completion program requires RN licensure and an associate’s degree in nursing, or the equivalent. Students must have four or fewer non-nursing courses left to complete before starting this 32-credit RN track (nine 3-credit and one 5-credit nursing courses). However, it’s recommended that all non-nursing courses be completed beforehand. In total, 120 credits are required for graduation. This includes 32cr of upper division major courses and 81cr of program required courses, of which students earn 32 transfer credits for major courses. The DON does have adult and child simulation mannequins, accessible to students studying on-campus, but required clinical hours for two of the courses are taken local to each student. Students wanting full-time study take 2.5 semesters at two classes per 8-week session. For part-time study, it’s five semesters at one class per 8-week session. There are two start times per year (Spring, Fall).
Sample courses: Transition to Professional Nursing; Nursing Research; Nursing Leadership; Transcultural Nursing; Pathophysiology.
Southeast Missouri State University (source)
Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN To BSN Online program, offered by the Department of Nursing. The program builds knowledge and skills for nursing leadership or management roles after graduation, as well as for taken an advanced nursing degree such as an MSN. Past graduates of the program are working in area hospitals and medical centers. The university’s overall academic offering has earned it rankings in college review lists published by Princeton Review (Best in the Midwest; various topical lists), U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges (Best Online Programs: Bachelor’s and Master’s, including nursing; Best Colleges: Midwest).
SEMO’s BSN completion program requires current RN licensure, an ADN (associate’s degree in nursing. Students need to complete 120 credits minimum for graduation and can choose full- or part-time studies. Full-time students can complete the track in three semesters (including Summer). Part-time students need at least five semesters (incl. Summer). This excludes outstanding General Education or support courses. Students receive transfer credit granted for previous course work and professional competency, based on the number of years of RN licensure and nursing work experience. The RN track’s six upper division nursing courses (25 credits) are 100% online and do not require on-campus presence. (SMSU provides a Web browser-based demo of an online course.) There are a total of six nursing courses plus outstanding University Studies and support courses, and clinical experiences are taken local to each student. Online courses are 16-week sessions (Fall, Spring). Some non-nursing courses are offered in Summer and are 8-week sessions. Additional short sessions are available for select non-nursing courses. Note: tuition is the same for in- or out-of-state students.
Sample courses: Holistic Assessment; Research for Professional Practice; Professional Practice: Community Health; Framework for Professional Nursing; Professional Practice: Leadership and Management.
Downtown Concord, NH (source)
Granite State College (GSC) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: B.S. in Nursing Completion — RN to BSN Program. The program prepares students with what they need to pursue additional nursing opportunities, as well as an advanced degree such as an MSN. Students with an ADN (associate’s degree in nursing) from an institution in the Community College System of New Hampshire (CCSNH) have access to an affordability option. They can take junior year courses at their institution and complete senior year at GSC, to earn their BSN. (Reduced course rate for this 4th year, for in-state students eligible for this option.) The college itself is deemed military-friendly, earning ranking spots in college review lists from Victory Media (Military Friendly School) and U.S. News & World Report (Best Online Programs: Bachelor’s and Veterans Bachelor’s, plus topical non-nursing lists).
GSC’s BSN completion program requires an RN license and an associate’s degree in nursing. Students complete courses in the Major + General Education + Open Electives to earn their BSN degree, for a total of 120 credits, up to 90 of which can be transferred in to the program. (Students having a non-nursing bachelor’s or master’s degree need not take additional General Education credits.) The RN track itself requires 30 credits, which satisfies GSC’s 30-credit residency requirement. The curriculum includes a Capstone Practicum course. GSC has articulation agreements with some institutions (some at a reduced tuition) for BSN graduates who with to take an MSN advanced nursing degree.
Sample courses: The Emerging U.S. Health Care System; Law and Ethics for Health Care and Human Services; Evidence-Based Nursing Care; Nursing Care of Populations; Nursing Care of an Aging Population.
Midwestern State University (source)
Midwestern State University (MSU) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN to BSN — RN Transition Program, offered by the Wilson School of Nursing within MSU’s Gunn College of Health Sciences and Human Services. The program builds on the skills that RNs have coming into the program, to qualify them for advanced nursing roles, and prepares them for advance nursing degrees such as an MSN, FNP, etc. The university ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s “10 Public Colleges with the Cheapest Out-of-State Tuition and Fees” (2014 edition), thanks to the special rate offered to out-of-state students. MSU claims the title of being the only public liberal arts university in the state of Texas.
MSU’s BSN completion program requires RN licensure and diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (ADN). The degree requires 120 credits for graduation, at least 30 of which must be upper division and completed at MSU. The RN track requires 27 credits of upper division nursing courses. The BSN degree requires this 27 credits, plus 42cr of Core/ Foundations courses, 30 credits of transfer for prior nursing course work, additional required courses, and any outstanding prerequisites or general education, as necessary to reach 120 credits. The program is online, has a Fall start date, and takes two semesters full-time or four semesters part-time.
Sample courses: Transitions to the BSN Role; Leadership Roles; Foundations of Comprehensive Pathophysiology in Nursing; Introduction to Evidence-based Practice; Ethics in Healthcare.
University of North Carolina Wilmington (source)
University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN to BS in Nursing Online, offered by the School of Nursing within UNCW’s College of Health and Human Services. The program prepares students for new career opportunities in nursing, including administration, consulting, research, teaching and more. The university has earned ranking spots on topical and general college review lists published by Princeton Review (Best Value Public – four years), U.S. News & World Report (Best Regional Public University – 15 years), Kiplinger’s (Best Value University – three years) and others.
UNCW’s fully online BSN completion program requires RN licensure and a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), with at least 24 credits of transferable coursework completed. Students have a choice of six start dates yearly, and a minimum timeline of 12-month to earn their BSN through this completion program – requiring at least 124 credits. Because of a minimum 31cr residency requirement at UNCW, the 29 credits of upper division nursing courses required for this RN track are supplemented by electives. Students must also complete outstanding required courses as necessary, factoring in transfer credits provided for their prior coursework. The majority of courses in the curriculum for this RN track, including non-nursing, are available online and are seven weeks in length (with the exception of one 10-week nursing course).
Sample courses: Introduction to Health Assessment; Professional Nursing Practice for the Baccalaureate Nurse; Gerontological Nursing and the End of Life Care; Population and Community Health Nursing; Leadership and Management in Nursing.
Appalachian State University (source)
Appalachian State University (ASU) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the Nursing RN-BSN program, offered by the Department of Nursing within ASU’s College of Health Sciences. Graduation from this completion program leads to advanced practice roles, and possibly advanced nursing degrees such as an MSN. The university has earned a number of rankings, including from Victory Media (Military Friendly School), Princeton Review (Green Schools; Best in the Southeast), U.S. News & World Report (Best Regional Universities: Public, South).
ASU’s BSN completion program requires RN license and diploma or associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), for which 64 credits of lower-division transfer credits are granted upon completing the third term. Graduation requirements include completing 124 credits in total, with 30cr in upper division nursing for this track (one year part-time – Fall, Spring and Summer), and 44cr Core courses, 18cr Cognates, plus necessary Electives, minus any granted transfer credits. Coursework is 100% online and can be completed in one year. Note: clinical hours are being revised and may change from what is indicated on the ASU Web site.
Sample courses: Nursing Informatics; Concepts of Professional Nursing; Health Assessment; Nursing Care of Older Adults; Nursing Care of Communities.
Winston-Salem State University (source)
Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN-BSN Outreach Option, offered by the Division of Nursing in WSSU’s School of Health Sciences. The program is designed with flexibility for adult learners, allowing them to continue working as nurses while studying. WSSU is an HBCU (historically black college/ university) and a member of the TMCF (Thurgood Marshall College Fund). It has appeared in a number of general and topical review lists here at AffordableSchools, including one for affordable online nursing degrees (based on net price), and two HBCU lists for top enrollment and affordability. Outside rankings include U.S. News & World Report (Top HBCUs nationwide; 2014 edition of the Best Colleges guide)
WSSU’s BSN completion program requires RN licensure and an associate’s degree in nursing for eligibility. Fall 2017 will see the start of an online-only cohort (full- and part-time). Currently, classes are available online, with limited seats, and can also be taken at 18 off-site WSSU locations. The program has two entry points yearly (Spring, Summer) and can be completed in 12 months of full-time study (three semesters), or longer for part-time study. The nine upper division courses in this RN track total 35 credits.
Sample courses: Gerontological Nursing; Research in Nursing; Financial Management for Nurses; Global Health Nursing; Health Assessment.
Western Carolina University clock tower (source)
Western Carolina University (WCU) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN to BSN Program, offered by the School of Nursing in WCU’s College Of Health and Human Sciences. Graduates of the program might find nurse leadership or educator opportunities in addition to advanced practice, and are prepared for taking a master’s or doctorate nursing degree. The university has ranked for military-friendliness (Victory Media), green/ environmental initiatives (Princeton Review) and best in the South (U.S. News & World Report), amongst others.
WCU’s BSN completion program requires RN licensure and an associate nursing degree. Students can apply while taking prerequisite courses, but only start the RN track after completion of these courses. The RN track requires 24 credits of nursing (including two practicums) and 6-8 credits of elective courses — with both categories in upper division. Practicums can be chosen local to each student, with instructor approval. Nursing courses are organized in four blocks of three courses (6cr per block). Up to 30 credits are granted for prior nursing coursework upon completion of a Clinical Update course, as well as up to 60 credits of non-nursing courses (both categories are lower division). The timeline is part-time study over two years, or full-time in two semesters, and there are two start dates early (Fall, Spring).
Sample courses: Professional Transitions in Nursing; Community Health Nursing I: Theory; Community Health Nursing II: Intervention Project; Nursing Leadership; Nursing Research I: Research Process.
Bemidji State University (source)
Bemidji State University (BSU) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the Nursing, BS — RN To Baccalaureate Track, a BSN completion program offered by the Department of Nursing within the School of Nursing. The university has earned several rankings in general and topical college review lists, including those by Victory Media (Military Friendly School), U.S. News & World Report (topical; Best in the Midwest: Public), Princeton Review (Green Colleges) and others.
BSU’s BSN completion program requires an RN license and diploma or associate degree in nursing (ADN). Students need a minimum 120 credits for graduation and can choose full-time (three semesters) or part-time (five semesters) study options. Courses are delivered in blended format, with a combination of online and on-campus delivery, at BSU and five participating community colleges. Each semester, students must be on-campus for three days for select courses, while other courses are entirely online. This facilitates working nurses as well as students who may have to commute. Students can complete outstanding general education courses while in the RN-BS program, or at a community college beforehand. The RN track requires 36 nursing credits and four elective credits — both upper division — to satisfy BSU’s minimum 40-credit residency requirement. As well, there are 30 hours of clinical/ practicum experiences to be completed, local to each student. Graduates of the program are prepared for nurse generalist roles and are eligible for PHN (Public Health Nurse) certification in the state.
Sample courses: Concepts of Nursing and Health Care; Advanced Health Assessment; Integrative and Cultural Nursing; Health Education in Nursing Practice; Health Care Policy, Finance, and Regulatory Environments.
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (source)
Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (SRU) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN-BSN completion program, offered by the Department of Nursing, in SRU’s College of Health, Environment and Science. Students gain skills and knowledge for leadership and decision-making roles, as well as being prepared for advanced nursing programs such as an MSN degree. The university itself has earned rankings in college review lists published by U.S. News & World Report (Master’s University, 2017) and Washington Monthly (Master’s, 2016).
This BSN completion program requires an RN license and diploma or associate degree in nursing for minimum eligibility. The program is fully only, with two 8-week sessions per semester, and offers either part-time (one course per semester) or full-time (3+ courses per) study options, to suit the schedules of working nurses. All RN track requirements offered online, while some Liberal Studies courses are also online. Students need 120 credits for graduation, including 39 upper division credits for the RN track, 26-30 credits transfer credits awarded (as Electives) for licensure/ prior course work, and any outstanding required/ prerequisite courses. The 39 credits consists of 6cr supporting courses (Ethics, Statistics) and 33cr of nursing courses (27cr required, 6cr elective — two selected from 11 choices) — all three categories upper-division courses. SRU claims 100% employment rate for 2015 graduates (based on survey respondents).
Sample courses: Introduction to Health Care Informatics; Nursing in Transition; The Teaching-Learning Process in Nursing; Group Process for Nursing; Evidence Based Health Assessment and Promotion.
SUNY College of Technology at Delhi (source)
SUNY College of Technology at Delhi (SUNY Delhi) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the Online RN to BSN Program. The college, deemed military-friendly, has ranked several times in various editions (four years including 2017) of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Online Programs: Bachelor’s” college review lists, and a Top 50 spot in the “North” (2010), amongst others.
SUNY Delhi’s BSN completion program requires 120 credits for graduation. Students typically enter the program with 60-80 transer credits, which includes general education, and nursing and support prerequisite courses. The program, which is 100% online, is designed for working nurses, with practicums completed local to each student. Students will complete 61 credits of upper division courses (minus completed requirements) through either a full- or part-time study plan, with web-supported classes and state-of-the-art curriculum. Part-time students in this track typically take one course per 7-week session. There are two sessions per semester. Some upper division Liberal Arts courses are available online as well. As the college points out, this is a competitive program that fills up quickly, so apply early.
Sample courses: Transitions to Professional Nursing Practice; Health Assessment; Principles of Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice; Health Promotion; Leadership and Management.
Texas Woman’s University (source)
Texas Woman’s University (TWU) offers one online bachelor’s Registered Nursing degree: the RN-BS degree completion program, offered through the College of Nursing. TWU is the largest primarily-female university in the United States, and graduates the most healthcare professionals in the state. It claims to have the largest doctoral nursing program in the country, and has ongoing research in important areas of health, including diabetes and childhood obesity, amongst others. The Dean of Nursing, Anita Hufft, was honored as one of the “2017 DFW Great 100 Nurses” in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. The university has previously ranked here at AffordableSchools.net for affordable online master’s nursing education degrees.
TWU’s BSN completion degree requires 120-121 credits for graduation. Prior coursework/ current RN licensure — such as in the form of a diploma or associate’s degree in nursing — provides 28 transfer credits towards the total requirement. Students will complete 32 credits of upper division nursing courses, some of which students can earn credit for through passing a challenge exam. RN track coursework is 100% online, and the program is designed for RNs working full-time. Students work with a preceptor to complete the clinical components of courses as class/ capstone projects, where necessary.
Sample courses: Pathophysiology; Introduction to Baccalaureate Nursing; Introduction to Nursing Research; Nursing Assessment; RN with Families and Groups.
This ranking system combines affordability (60%) with a number of institutional “value” metrics (total of 40%) that together give an overall sense of a college’s reputation (or potential) with undergrad students, based on available statistics. These factors are consistently applied against all colleges listed in the NCES database (http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/) as having a bachelor’s program in “Registered Nursing” categories. E.g., the “candidate cohort.” As such, some colleges listed here may have already been listed in our various other bachelor’s of nursing rankings.
The affordability metrics are calculated using a relative scale based on the cost values for all the initial candidate colleges. E.g., based on the minimum and maximum values for each cost metric across the candidate cohort. Where any given college’s value for that cost metric falls in the overall range determines the score in that metric for that college. For example, assume a topic of accounting, for illustration purposes, and that there are about 300 colleges listed in NCES as offering a bachelor’s program in accounting. If the in-state tuition values for all 300 colleges range from $1,200 per year to $60,000 per year, points are awarded to each college based on where their in-state tuition falls in that range. The lower the relative cost value, the more points a college is awarded. This approach is applied to all three cost metrics.
Non-price metrics, on the other hand, are typically already a percentage from 0-100. So their scores are determined by applying a multiple. So if Retention (see below) is worth 10% of the overall score, each college’s full-time undergrad retention score is multiplied by 0.10, to get the value of this ranking factor’s score.
Missing values are handled differently based on what they represent. Incomplete info for a college is not penalized in most cases. However, an unreported graduation rate means a college is filtered out. Otherwise, that ranking factor is set to zero, giving colleges a chance to get ranked if enough other, more important, factors support it.
The ranking factors used in this article, in approximately declining order of weight, are as follows:
- In-state tuition — Covers relative affordability for the bulk of students.
- Out-of-state tuition — Covers relative affordability for non-resident students taking one of these online programs.
- GradRate — Score based on percentage of first-time, full-time undergrads who graduate their program. Colleges without such students may have a zero score here. However, if other ranking factors support it, the college may still appear in the 25 ranked colleges on that basis.
- Net price — Covers relative affordability for all undergrads based on average yearly net prices
- Retention — Covers the percentage of full-time undergrads continuing in degree programs after freshman year.
- OnlyDE — Score based on percentage of undergrads taking all Distance Education courses (including online) for their degree program.
- SomeDE — Score based on percentage of undergrads taking some DistEd courses for their degree program.
Note that ranking factors and their weighting may vary slightly from article to article in the “Top Value Affordable” series.