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2021 Most Popular Nursing Master's Degree Schools

668 Colleges
$97,473 Avg Salary
$48,249 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Nursing Master's Degree School for You

Nursing is the most popular major in the United States with 305,309 degrees and certificates handed out in 2018-2019.

It's not easy to decide which nursing program to enroll in when you have so many options available. With more and more schools offering online options, you could even register for a great program on the other side of the country. On top of that, there are a considerable number of trade schools that offer fast-track entry to many fields.

To help you arm yourself with the information you need to make your decision, Nursing Degree Search has developed this Most Popular Nursing Master's Degree Schools ranking. This report analyzed 668 schools in the United States to see which ones were the most popular master's degree programs for nursing students. To create this ranking we looked at how many students graduated from the Nursing program at each school on the list.

The colleges and universities below are the most popular for nursing majors pursuing a master's degree.

#1

Walden University

Minneapolis, MN

Our 2021 rankings named Walden University the most popular school in the United States for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Located in the large city of Minneapolis, Walden University is a private for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

Women make up 87% of the nursing majors at the school.

The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at Walden University take out while working on their Master's Degree is $51,406. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $637.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Chamberlain University - Illinois. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Most Popular Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. Chamberlain - Illinois is a fairly large private for-profit school located in the suburb of Addison.

Women make up 91% of the nursing majors at the school.

The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at Chamberlain - Illinois take out while working on their Master's Degree is $38,155. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $429.

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#3

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT

A rank of #3 on this year’s list means Western Governors University is a great place for nursing students working on their master’s degree. WGU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Salt Lake City.

About 92% of the students majoring in nursing at the school are women while 8% are male.

The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at WGU take out while working on their Master's Degree is $13,035. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $126.

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#4

Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

The in-demand master’s degree programs at Grand Canyon University helped the school earn the #4 place on this year’s ranking of the most popular nursing schools in the United States. Grand Canyon University is a fairly large private for-profit school located in the city of Phoenix.

Women make up 89% of the nursing majors at the school.

While working on their Master's Degree, nursing majors at Grand Canyon University accumulate an average of around $30,697 in student debt. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $370, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Out of the 668 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, South University’s online programs landed the # 5 spot on the list. South University's online programs is a medium-sized private for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Savannah.

About 88% of the students majoring in nursing at the school are women while 12% are male.

On average, nursing graduates from South University's online programs take out $42,371 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $478.

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The University of Texas at Arlington came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the city of Arlington, UT Arlington is a public school with a fairly large student population.

About 89% of the students majoring in nursing at the school are women while 11% are male.

On average, nursing graduates from UT Arlington take out $38,255 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $474, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Maryville University of Saint Louis landed the #7 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular master’s degree nursing programs. Located in the suburb of Saint Louis, Maryville U is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

Women make up 88% of the nursing majors at the school.

Nursing majors at Maryville U take out an average of $53,938 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $678, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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University of South Alabama did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #8 on the list. USA is a large public school located in the medium-sized city of Mobile.

Women make up 87% of the nursing majors at the school.

Nursing majors at USA take out an average of $47,624 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $579.

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University of Alabama at Birmingham came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking. UAB is a fairly large public school located in the midsize city of Birmingham.

Women make up 86% of the nursing majors at the school.

The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at UAB take out while working on their Master's Degree is $43,073. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $478.

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University of Phoenix - Arizona came in at #10 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking. UOPX - Arizona is a fairly large private for-profit school located in the large city of Tempe.

Women make up 89% of the nursing majors at the school.

While working on their Master's Degree, nursing majors at UOPX - Arizona accumulate an average of around $33,478 in student debt. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $382.

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#11

Kaplan University-Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN

With a ranking of #11, Kaplan University-Indianapolis did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Kaplan University-Indianapolis is a very large public school located in the large city of Indianapolis.

Women make up 89% of the nursing majors at the school.

Nursing majors at Kaplan University-Indianapolis take out an average of $63,248 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $779, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Frontier Nursing University ranked #12 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. Located in the rural area of Hyden, Frontier Nursing University is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

About 96% of the students majoring in nursing at the school are women while 4% are male.

While working on their Master's Degree, nursing majors at Frontier Nursing University accumulate an average of around $57,899 in student debt. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $657, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#13

Simmons University

Boston, MA

Simmons University ranked #13 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. Simmons is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Boston.

Of the 592 students majoring in nursing at Simmons, 6% are male and 94% are female.

While working on their Master's Degree, nursing majors at Simmons accumulate an average of around $76,041 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $836.

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#14

Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Capella University ranked #14 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. Capella University is a fairly large private for-profit school located in the large city of Minneapolis.

Of the 509 students majoring in nursing at Capella University, 9% are male and 91% are female.

Nursing majors at Capella University take out an average of $28,485 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $341.

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University of Cincinnati - Main Campus landed the #15 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular master’s degree nursing programs. UC is a fairly large public school located in the large city of Cincinnati.

Women make up 87% of the nursing majors at the school.

After completing their Master's Degree, nursing graduates from UC carry an average student debt load of $50,319. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $571.

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With a ranking of #16, Indiana Wesleyan University - National & Global did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Located in the rural area of Marion, IWU is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

Of the 421 students majoring in nursing at IWU, 10% are male and 90% are female.

While working on their Master's Degree, nursing majors at IWU accumulate an average of around $48,552 in student debt. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $597, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#17

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

With a ranking of #17, Drexel University did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Drexel is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Philadelphia.

About 88% of the students majoring in nursing at the school are women while 12% are male.

Nursing majors at Drexel take out an average of $55,456 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $594.

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#18

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

Vanderbilt University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #18 on the list. Located in the large city of Nashville, Vanderbilt is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population.

Women make up 89% of the nursing majors at the school.

Nursing majors at Vanderbilt take out an average of $88,534 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $895.

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#19

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY

Stony Brook University landed the #19 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular master’s degree nursing programs. Located in the suburb of Stony Brook, SUNY Stony Brook is a public college with a fairly large student population.

Women make up 90% of the nursing majors at the school.

On average, nursing graduates from SUNY Stony Brook take out $40,641 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $475, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#20

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking. Located in the city of Philadelphia, UPenn is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

Of the 318 students majoring in nursing at UPenn, 11% are male and 89% are female.

After completing their Master's Degree, nursing graduates from UPenn carry an average student debt load of $70,711. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $740, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#21

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #21 on the list. Johns Hopkins is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Baltimore.

About 87% of the students majoring in nursing at the school are women while 13% are male.

The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at Johns Hopkins take out while working on their Master's Degree is $80,545. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $905, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #22 on the list. Located in the large city of Houston, UTHealth is a public school with a medium-sized student population.

Of the 313 students majoring in nursing at UTHealth, 13% are male and 87% are female.

The average amount in student loans that nursing majors at UTHealth take out while working on their Master's Degree is $34,111. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $398, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#23

Georgetown University

Washington, DC

Georgetown University landed the #23 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular master’s degree nursing programs. Located in the city of Washington, Georgetown is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population.

About 92% of the students majoring in nursing at the school are women while 8% are male.

After completing their Master's Degree, nursing graduates from Georgetown carry an average student debt load of $104,089. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $1,253.

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University of South Florida - Main Campus did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #24 on the list. Located in the large city of Tampa, USF Tampa is a public school with a fairly large student population.

Of the 282 students majoring in nursing at USF Tampa, 16% are male and 84% are female.

After completing their Master's Degree, nursing graduates from USF Tampa carry an average student debt load of $55,829. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $684, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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American Sentinel University ranked #25 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. Located in the city of Aurora, American Sentinel University is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

Of the 254 students majoring in nursing at American Sentinel University, 8% are male and 92% are female.

On average, nursing graduates from American Sentinel University take out $25,793 in student loans while working on their Master's Degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $260.

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#29

Olivet Nazarene University

Bourbonnais, IL
#29

Aspen University

Denver, CO
#32

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ
#32

Sacred Heart University

Fairfield, CT
#34

DePaul University

Chicago, IL
#35

Jacksonville University

Jacksonville, FL
#36

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA
#39

Duke University

Durham, NC
#40

Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia, PA
#42

George Washington University

Washington, DC
#43

New York University

New York, NY
#44

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, FL
#45

Wilkes University

Wilkes-Barre, PA
#49

Spring Arbor University

Spring Arbor, MI

Remaining Award Winners

This section represents the rest of the colleges awarded a Most Popular Nursing Master's Degree Schools badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 668 different United States nursing schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
52 National University College Bayamon, PR
53 The University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX
54 Universidad del Turabo Gurabo, PR
54 Augusta University Augusta, GA
56 Hunter College New York, NY
56 Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA
58 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
58 Rush University Chicago, IL
60 Florida International University Miami, FL
61 Marquette University Milwaukee, WI
62 Regis University Denver, CO
63 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, CO
64 Kent State University at Kent Kent, OH
65 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
66 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
67 Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
68 Emory University Atlanta, GA
69 Barry University Miami, FL
69 Excelsior College Albany, NY
71 Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science Los Angeles, CA
72 West Coast University - Orange County Anaheim, CA
72 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
72 Miami Regional University Miami Springs, FL
75 Molloy College Rockville Centre, NY
76 University of California - San Francisco San Francisco, CA
77 Clarkson College Omaha, NE
78 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
79 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, NC
79 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
81 Herzing University - Madison Madison, WI
82 Ohio University - Athens Campus Athens, OH
83 Mount St. Joseph University Cincinnati, OH
84 Yale University New Haven, CT
84 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
86 University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, AL
87 East Tennessee State University Johnson City, TN
88 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
88 Regis College Weston, MA
90 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
90 Ball State University Muncie, IN
92 University of Virginia - Main Campus Charlottesville, VA
92 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, TX
94 Texas Wesleyan University Fort Worth, TX
94 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
96 University of San Diego San Diego, CA
96 Pace University - New York New York, NY
98 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, NC
98 Northeastern University Boston, MA
98 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR
98 MGH Institute of Health Professions Boston, MA
98 St Catherine University Saint Paul, MN

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional popular schools for Nursing students that almost earned our Most Popular Nursing Master's Degree Schools award.

Rank College Location
103 University of Southern Indiana Evansville, IN
103 SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University Brooklyn, NY
105 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY
106 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
106 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH
106 Rivier University Nashua, NH
106 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
106 Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, TX
111 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
112 Carlow University Pittsburgh, PA
113 D’Youville College Buffalo, NY
114 South University, Tampa Tampa, FL
115 University of Mississippi University, MS
115 Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
117 Fairleigh Dickinson University - Metropolitan Campus Teaneck, NJ
118 Seattle University Seattle, WA
119 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
119 Loyola University New Orleans New Orleans, LA
119 King University Bristol, TN
122 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
123 LIU Post Brookville, NY
124 University of St Francis Joliet, IL
124 University of Toledo Toledo, OH
126 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
127 Saint Xavier University Chicago, IL
128 Western University of Health Sciences Pomona, CA
128 Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate, TN
130 California State University - Dominguez Hills Carson, CA
130 Lewis University Romeoville, IL
132 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC
132 The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio, TX
132 Oakland University Rochester Hills, MI
132 Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC
132 Auburn University Auburn, AL

Nursing by Region

View the Most Popular Nursing Master's Degree Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

Nursing Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
Registered Nursing 251,279
Family Practice Nurse/Nursing 15,536
Nursing Administration 9,071
Other Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing 6,319
Nursing Practice 6,250
Nursing Science 4,704
Nurse Anesthetist 2,031
Adult Health Nurse/Nursing 2,012
Nursing Education 1,991
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse/Nursing 1,266
Public Health/Community Nurse/Nursing 1,022
Critical Care Nursing 643
Clinical Nurse Leader 527
School Nursing 523
Nurse Midwife/Nursing Midwifery 475
Geriatric Nurse/Nursing 464
Clinical Nurse Specialist 428
Perioperative/Operating Room and Surgical Nurse/Nursing 236
Maternal/Child Health and Neonatal Nurse/Nursing 211
Emergency Room/Trauma Nursing 37
Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing 35
Palliative Care Nursing 23

Related Major Annual Graduates
Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants 93,192

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Aleksahgabrielle.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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