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2023 Best Nursing Master's Degree Schools

515 Schools Ranked
$42,844 Avg Student Debt

It's not easy to decide which nursing program to enroll in when you have so many options available. You're no longer limited to schools in your local area, either, since online programs are becoming more prevalent. Also there are many trade schools and bpptcamp that offer short-term programs that open up more career options.

Along with in-depth profiles of schools and the programs they offer, Nursing Degree Search has created the Best Nursing Master's Degree Schools to help you in your search for the best school for you. This report analyzed 515 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best master's degree programs for nursing students. The factors used to develop this ranking include those related to how in-demand the school us, the overall quality of the school, and post-graduation wages, and more.

View our full ranking methodology.

Top Nursing Master's Degree Schools in the United States

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

Saint Vincent College

Latrobe, Pennsylvania
55 Total Awards
$15,194 Average Tuition & Fees
$66,826 Avg Student Debt

Our 2023 rankings named Saint Vincent College the best school in the United States for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Latrobe, Pennsylvania is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out master’s degrees to 55 students in 2021-2022.

By the time they get their master’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $66,826 in student loans.

One thing to take note of is that Saint Vincent does offer online graduate classes in some areas. In fact, around 31% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2020-2021.

Read More…

#2

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
1,038 Total Awards
$39,328 Average Tuition & Fees
$65,104 Avg Student Debt

A rank of #2 on this year’s list means Wake Forest University is a great place for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school handed out 1,038 master’s degree awards in 2021-2022.

On average, master’s degree students take out $65,104 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Depending on your major, you may be able to take online graduate classes at Wake Forest University. In fact, around 32% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2020-2021.

Full Wake Forest University Report

#3

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California
9,291 Total Awards
$64,666 Average Tuition & Fees
$76,502 Avg Student Debt

The excellent master’s degree programs at University of Southern California helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best nursing schools in the United States. USC is located in Los Angeles, California and has a large student population. In 2021-2022, this school awarded 9,291 master’s degrees to qualified students.

Master’s Degree recipients from USC accumulate an average of $76,502 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

If you are interested in distance education, be sure to check with the school since USC does offer online graduate classes for certain majors. In fact, around 60% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2020-2021.

Full University of Southern California Report

#4

Mount Marty University

Yankton, South Dakota
23 Total Awards
$9,995 Average Tuition & Fees
$92,313 Avg Student Debt

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Mount Marty University. It ranked #4 on our 2023 Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. Mount Marty is a small private not-for-profit school situated in Yankton, South Dakota. It awarded 23 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

By the time they get their master’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $92,313 in student loans.

Mount Marty does have options available for those who want to take online graduate classes. You will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your specific major. In fact, around 98% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2020-2021.

Full Mount Marty University Report

#5

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee
1,810 Total Awards
$53,722 Average Tuition & Fees
$60,852 Avg Student Debt

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Vanderbilt University. It ranked #5 on our 2023 Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Nashville, Tennessee, and it awarded 1,810 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

Master’s Degree recipients from Vanderbilt accumulate an average of $60,852 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

Vanderbilt does offer online graduate classes for certain degree levels. In fact, around 21% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2020-2021.

Read More…

#6

Texas Wesleyan University

Fort Worth, Texas
129 Total Awards
$18,547 Average Tuition & Fees
$66,541 Avg Student Debt

Texas Wesleyan University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #6 on the list. Located in Fort Worth, Texas, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 129 master’s degree awards in 2021-2022.

By the time they get their master’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $66,541 in student loans.

If you are interested in distance education, be sure to check with the school since Texas Wesleyan does offer online graduate classes for certain majors. During the 2020-2021 year, about 77% of the graduate students at the school took at least one online course.

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#7

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina
3,256 Total Awards
$61,522 Average Tuition & Fees
$69,699 Avg Student Debt

Duke University ranked #7 on this year’s Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. Duke University is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in Durham, North Carolina that handed out 3,256 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

By the time they get their master’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $69,699 in student loans.

Depending on your major, you may be able to take online graduate classes at Duke. In fact, around 31% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2020-2021.

Read More…

#8

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
4,922 Total Awards
$44,162 Average Tuition & Fees
$71,063 Avg Student Debt

University of Pennsylvania did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #8 on the list. UPenn is a private not-for-profit institution located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school has a large population, and it awarded 4,922 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

On average, master’s degree students take out $71,063 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Online graduate courses are available at UPenn, but you will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your field of interest. In fact, around 25% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2020-2021.

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1,076 Total Awards
$36,945 Avg Student Debt

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Winona, Minnesota, and it awarded 1,076 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

On average, master’s degree students take out $36,945 in loans while pursuing their degree.

You may have the opportunity to take online graduate classes at SMU MN. In fact, around 84% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2020-2021.

Read More…

#10

Newman University

Wichita, Kansas
113 Total Awards
$8,484 Average Tuition & Fees
$56,719 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #10, Newman University did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Newman University is located in Wichita, Kansas and has a small student population. In 2021-2022, this school awarded 113 master’s degrees to qualified students.

By the time they get their master’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $56,719 in student loans.

Some students may be able to take online graduate classes at Newman University. In 2020-2021 about 44% of the graduate students at the school chose to take one or more online courses.

Full Newman University Report

#11

Gonzaga University

Spokane, Washington
689 Total Awards
$19,811 Average Tuition & Fees
$43,656 Avg Student Debt

Gonzaga University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #11 on the list. Gonzaga University is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in Spokane, Washington that handed out 689 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

On average, master’s degree students take out $43,656 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Gonzaga does offer online graduate classes for certain degree levels. In fact, around 58% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2020-2021.

Read full report on Gonzaga University

#12

York College of Pennsylvania

York, Pennsylvania
101 Total Awards
$59,931 Avg Student Debt

York College of Pennsylvania did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #12 on the list. YCP is located in York, Pennsylvania and has a small student population. In 2021-2022, this school awarded 101 master’s degrees to qualified students.

On average, master’s degree students take out $59,931 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Depending on your major, you may be able to take online graduate classes at YCP. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 50% of graduates took at least one course online in 2020-2021.

Read More…

#13

Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
977 Total Awards
$23,103 Average Tuition & Fees
$61,499 Avg Student Debt

Thomas Jefferson University came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking. Thomas Jefferson University is a private not-for-profit institution located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school has a medium-sized population, and it awarded 977 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

Master’s Degree recipients from Thomas Jefferson University accumulate an average of $61,499 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

Thomas Jefferson University does have options available for those who want to take online graduate classes. You will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your specific major. During the 2020-2021 year, about 65% of the graduate students at the school took at least one online course.

Read full report on Thomas Jefferson University

#14

University of California - Davis

Davis, California
1,340 Total Awards
$13,906 Average Tuition & Fees
$60,000 Avg Student Debt

University of California - Davis ranked #14 on this year’s Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. UC Davis is a large public school situated in Davis, California. It awarded 1,340 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

On average, master’s degree students take out $60,000 in loans while pursuing their degree.

If you are interested in distance education, be sure to check with the school since UC Davis does offer online graduate classes for certain majors. Of all the graduate students enrolled at the school during the 2020-2021 academic year, around 20% took at least some of their classes online.

Full University of California - Davis Report

#15

University of Providence

Great Falls, Montana
121 Total Awards
$31,265 Avg Student Debt

University of Providence did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #15 on the list. Great Falls, Montana is the setting for this very small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out master’s degrees to 121 students in 2021-2022.

Master’s Degree recipients from University of Providence accumulate an average of $31,265 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

Since the graduate programs at University of Providence are primarily online school, so it is a great choice for returning adults and students who work full time.

Read full report on University of Providence

#16

Villanova University

Villanova, Pennsylvania
1,251 Total Awards
$21,307 Average Tuition & Fees
$33,496 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #16, Villanova University did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Located in Villanova, Pennsylvania, the fairly large private not-for-profit school handed out 1,251 master’s degree awards in 2021-2022.

Master’s Degree recipients from Villanova accumulate an average of $33,496 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

Villanova does offer online graduate classes for certain degree levels. Of all the graduate students enrolled at the school during the 2020-2021 academic year, around 46% took at least some of their classes online.

Read full report on Villanova University

#17

Gannon University

Erie, Pennsylvania
367 Total Awards
$21,410 Average Tuition & Fees
$49,850 Avg Student Debt

Gannon University landed the #17 spot in the 2023 rankings for the best master’s degree nursing programs. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Erie, Pennsylvania, and it awarded 367 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

On average, master’s degree students take out $49,850 in loans while pursuing their degree.

You may have the opportunity to take online graduate classes at Gannon. In 2020-2021 about 30% of the graduate students at the school chose to take one or more online courses.

Read More…

#18

Georgetown University

Washington, District of Columbia
4,313 Total Awards
$57,049 Average Tuition & Fees
$74,795 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #18, Georgetown University did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Washington, District of Columbia is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out master’s degrees to 4,313 students in 2021-2022.

By the time they get their master’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $74,795 in student loans.

One thing to take note of is that Georgetown does offer online graduate classes in some areas. In fact, around 38% of the graduate population registered for at least one online class in 2020-2021.

Read More…

#19

Webster University

Saint Louis, Missouri
2,159 Total Awards
$12,800 Average Tuition & Fees
$53,123 Avg Student Debt

Webster University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #19 on the list. Webster is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school situated in Saint Louis, Missouri. It awarded 2,159 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

On average, master’s degree students take out $53,123 in loans while pursuing their degree.

If you are interested in distance education, be sure to check with the school since Webster does offer online graduate classes for certain majors. In 2020-2021 about 64% of the graduate students at the school chose to take one or more online courses.

Read More…

1,567 Total Awards
$50,878 Average Tuition & Fees
$77,136 Avg Student Debt

Case Western Reserve University came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools ranking. Case Western Reserve University is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in Cleveland, Ohio that handed out 1,567 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

By the time they get their master’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $77,136 in student loans.

You may have the opportunity to take online graduate classes at Case Western. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 27% of graduates took at least one course online in 2020-2021.

Full Case Western Reserve University Report

#21

Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut
2,728 Total Awards
$60,664 Avg Student Debt

Yale University landed the #21 spot in the 2023 rankings for the best master’s degree nursing programs. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in New Haven, Connecticut, and it awarded 2,728 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

Master’s Degree recipients from Yale accumulate an average of $60,664 in student debt by the time they complete their degree.

Yale does have options available for those who want to take online graduate classes. You will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your specific major. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 1% of graduates took at least one course online in 2020-2021.

Read More…

322 Total Awards
$9,168 Average Tuition & Fees
$29,671 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #22, California State University - Stanislaus did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Stan State is located in Turlock, California and has a fairly large student population. In 2021-2022, this school awarded 322 master’s degrees to qualified students.

By the time they get their master’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $29,671 in student loans.

Online graduate courses are available at Stan State, but you will need to check with the school to see if they are available for your field of interest. To give an idea of how popular online courses are at the school, 77% of graduates took at least one course online in 2020-2021.

Read More…

#23

The College of New Jersey

Ewing, New Jersey
391 Total Awards
$15,624 Average Tuition & Fees
$28,152 Avg Student Debt

With a ranking of #23, The College of New Jersey did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students working on their master’s degree. Located in Ewing, New Jersey, the medium-sized public school handed out 391 master’s degree awards in 2021-2022.

By the time they get their master’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $28,152 in student loans.

One thing to take note of is that TCNJ does offer online graduate classes in some areas. During the 2020-2021 year, about 36% of the graduate students at the school took at least one online course.

Read More…

#24

Emory University

Atlanta, Georgia
1,662 Total Awards
$46,700 Average Tuition & Fees
$80,550 Avg Student Debt

Emory University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best places for nursing students to get a master’s degree. It came in at #24 on the list. Located in Atlanta, Georgia, the fairly large private not-for-profit school handed out 1,662 master’s degree awards in 2021-2022.

On average, master’s degree students take out $80,550 in loans while pursuing their degree.

Emory does offer online graduate classes for certain degree levels. Of all the graduate students enrolled at the school during the 2020-2021 academic year, around 38% took at least some of their classes online.

Read full report on Emory University

#25

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia
2,404 Total Awards
$21,742 Average Tuition & Fees
$46,902 Avg Student Debt

University of Virginia - Main Campus ranked #25 on this year’s Best Nursing Master’s Degree Schools list. University of Virginia is a public institution located in Charlottesville, Virginia. The school has a large population, and it awarded 2,404 master’s degrees in 2021-2022.

By the time they get their master’s degree, students from this school have racked up an average of $46,902 in student loans.

University of Virginia does offer online graduate classes for certain degree levels. Of all the graduate students enrolled at the school during the 2020-2021 academic year, around 29% took at least some of their classes online.

Full University of Virginia - Main Campus Report

Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • 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 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).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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