For our 2016 ranking of the Top 50 Online RN to BSN Programs we only considered schools fully accredited by a national nursing accreditation agency. We then ranked programs based on cost, graduation rates (an indicator of whether the school provides a supportive environment to help you graduate), and loan repayment (a rough measure of graduate success in obtaining well paying, secure jobs). Each of these measures were equally weighted. The 50 programs below scored the highest.
#50 – Kaplan University
Kaplan University is a for-profit school that specializes in distance learning. It has around 65,000 students and has been ranked as 79th for best online bachelor programs by U.S. News and World Report.
RN to BSN Program Details – The Kaplan RN to BSN program offers three start dates each year and can be completed in as little as 18 months of full time study. 180 quarter hour credits are required for graduation.
#49 – Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University’s RN to BSN program is part of a university with more than 20,000 students and has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as having one of the best online bachelor’s programs. It has multiple campuses and is based in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
RN to BSN Program Details – WKU offers part-time and full time cohorts that begin each semester with limited on-campus meetings. WKU is a growing program that recently doubled the number of nursing students who attend. Post graduation surveys consistently report 100% employment in the year following graduation.
#48 – University of Colorado
The University of Colorado’s College of Nursing was founded in 1898, and is based in Aurora Colorado where students are able to train in two new hospitals. Near the Rocky Mountains, the campus is located on a beautiful 230 acres.
RN to BSN Program Details – The College of Nursing’s Online RN to BSN program is designed to be completed in four terms or 16 months. Now open to non-Colorado residents, the program can be completed completely online, with available face-to-face advising. The program culminates with students completing a Continuum of Care Project relevant to their nursing practice context. Student cohorts begin in the Spring and Fall.
#47 – Lamar University
Lamar University, part of the Texas State University, is located in Beaumont, Texas and has a reputation for being economically and ethnically diverse. Home to 15,000 students, Lamar has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report for it’s online studies programs.
RN to BSN Program Details – Lamar’s online RN to BSN program allows completion in as little as 13 months. Lamar offers three start dates each year, and caters to military personnel.
#46 – Charleston Southern University
RN to BSN Program Details – the RN to BSN program can be done completely online, and can be completed in one year as a full time student. A part time option is also available. CSU has an active Student Nurses Association that seeks to promote “educational opportunities, leadership experience, and participation in legislative processes, community service, and career networking.”
#45 – Eastern Kentucky University
EKU has six regional campuses and was awarded first place for affordable colleges online by AffordableCollegesOnline.org in Kentucky. A video introduction to the school may be found here.
RN to BSN Program Details – The RN to BSN program is 100% online and can be completed in as little as a year. With three start times each year (August, January, May) most students take one course every 8 weeks and finish in just over two years.
#44 – Jacksonville State University
Jacksonville State has more than 7,000 undergraduate students with international students from sixty-one countries. It is the only school in the nation to have NCAA titles in football, men’s basketball and baseball at the Division I or Division II levels.
RN to BSN Program Details – The RN to BSN program can be completed in just one year and is completely online. Designed for working nurses, program starts are available in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.
#43 – Northwestern State University of Louisiana
RN to BSN Program Details – The RN to BSN program can be completed completely online. Nursing courses are offered in eight week sessions and clinical requirements can be completed in the student’s home community. The core nursing classes can be completed in as little as a year.
#42 – SUNY at Delhi
SUNY (State University of New York) is located on 625 acres in Catskill Mountains of New York and has focused on technical courses. A virtual tour is available here.
RN to BSN Program Details – Designed for working professionals, the RN to BSN program allows nurses to begin in either the Spring or Fall. Program length depends on how many credits a student has upon admission, and whether a student studies full time or part time. Practicum experiences for required courses may be done in the student’s hometown.
#41 – Upper Iowa University
Upper Iowa University has 25 locations around the United States as well as locations around the world. Part of its mission is meeting the educational needs of U.S. military members. UIU allows students to transfer up to 90 hours of undergraduate credit, and has articulation agreements with many community colleges so that credits transfer easily.
RN to BSN Program Details – UIU offers the choice of a hybrid option (on campus and approximately 75% online) or an all online RN to BSN program. Classes start every eight weeks. Three of the core courses focus on the practical knowledge needed to lead others in the complex healthcare delivery environment.
#40 – Bellevue University
A private, non-profit university, Bellevue is based in Nebraska with locations throughout the Midwest. Bellevue requires that students take three classes in the “Kirkpatrick Signature Series” which focuses on core values in the Western intellectual tradition.
RN to BSN Program Details – Bellevue offers both online and campus based RN to BSN tracks. The BSN requirement is 127 hours, and Bellevue strives to be generous in transferring credits from other schools.
#39 – Wright State University
Named after aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright, Wright State University has nearly 18,000 students and is based 12 miles outside of Dayton, Ohio. It offers over 200 degrees and has both on-campus and online options.
RN to BSN Program Details – The RN to BSN program can be completed in as little as 15 months and requires 30 program credit hours. The program requires a 2.0 GPA for entry. In 2013, about 700 undergraduate nursing students were enrolled.
#38 – California State University – Dominquez Hills
CSU Dominiquez Hills is part of the 23 campuses that comprise the California State University system and offers the largest distance learning program in California. It currently has more than 14,000 students, and enjoys the mild weather of southern California in a location not far from the beach.
RN to BSN Program Details – Online classes are offered each semester and must be completed within the semester. A GPA of 2.0 is required for admission to the RN to BSN program and up to 96 credits may be transferred from a four year institution toward the 120 unit requirement for graduation.
#37 – West Texas A&M University
RN to BSN Program Details – Designed with the working nurse in mind, courses in the RN to BSN program may be completed in as little as a year or students may take more time if needed. There is a Special Package Price Tuition Rebate for Texas residents who qualify. Staff and students of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences volunteer at a clinic for underserved residents of Amarillo.
#36 – Southeast Missouri State University
RN to BSN Program Details – Southeast’s RN to BSN program can be done completely online and is flexible in terms of scheduling. Field experiences can be completed where the student lives, and often in his or her current place of employment. Out of state students do not pay additional fees. A 2.8 GPA is required for admission.
#35 – Wilmington University
RN to BSN Program Details – Wilmington offers 100% online, 100% campus based, and hybrid options for its RN to BSN program. Students may take just one class a semester or enroll full time. Enrollment is always open and classes begin every eight weeks.
#34 – Kent State University
Kent State, located in Kent, Ohio, has over 41,000 undergraduates and an eight campus system. 100 countries are represented in it’s student body. Its School of Nursing is the forth largest in the United States.
RN to BSN Program Details – Kent State’s respected School of Nursing offers on campus, online, or hybrid options to complete it’s RN to BSN program. Applications are accepted in the Fall, Spring, or Summer and classes are 7 weeks long. Full time students can complete the program in as little as a year depending on eligible transfer credits.
#33 – McKendree University
Established in 1828, McKendree is a private college with around 3,000 students located in Lebanon, Illinois. It has external locations in Radcliff and Louisville Kentucky as well as an online presence.
RN to BSN Program Details – students applying for the RN to BSN program are assigned an advisor who provides assistance from the application to graduation. Classes are offered in 8 week segments. 120 credit hours are required for graduation; 32 must be from McKendree.
#32 – Old Dominion University
RN to BSN Program Details – the RN to BSN program at ODU requires a total of 120 credit hours, 30 of which must be completed at ODU. All online courses follow ODU’s academic calendar. Out of state students pay a modest amount more per credit hour than Virginia residents. Faculty mentors work with students to develop a professional portfolio.
#31 – Drexel University
One of America’s largest private universities with approximately 26,000 students, Drexel is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Drexel has a faculty to student ratio of 1:9 and is one of the oldest providers of online classes. In 2002 the MCP Hahnemann University became the Drexel University College of Medicine, College of Nursing and Health Professions, and Dornsife School of Public Health.
RN to BSN Program Details – Drexel’s RN to BSN program requires 180 quarter credits, 135 of which may be transferred from other schools. Drexel offers access to the award winning W.W. Hagerty Library, a writing center, and a 10 day study abroad option.
#30 – Arizona State University
Ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report for innovation, ASU is a public university with an undergraduate enrollment of around 40,000. Based in Tempe Arizona, ASU has three other campuses and offers more than 300 undergraduate programs.
RN to BSN Program Details – most classes are online but a few require on-campus visits. The RN to BSN program allows 64 credits to be transferred from community colleges and requires a 2.0 GPA. The program may be completed in 15 to 18 months if done full time.
#29 – University of Southern Indiana
RN to BSN Program Details – Applicants must have an unencumbered RN license, a 2.7 GPA, and access to a work environment in which to practice. The RN to BSN program is offered in semester segments and students may take just one class, a full load, or anything in between.
#28 Indiana University
RN to BSN Program Details – The nursing curriculum may be completed in as little as 12 months, or 18 – 24 months part time. The RN to BSN Program offers classes 7-8 weeks in length. Classes are based out of the eight Indiana University campuses and use an online format so that all classes are distance accessible.
#27 – Regent University
RN to BSN Program Details – Regent’s RN to BSN Program is offered entirely online and has no travel requirements. 120 units are required for graduation, 34 of which are nursing classes.
#26 – MidAmerica Nazarene University
A private, evangelical Christian University located in Olathe Kansas, it has around 1,900 students. In 2014, 93.75% of MNU’s BSN graduates passed the NCLEX-RN® exam—higher than state and national averages.
RN to BSN Program Details – MNU’s RN to BSN program may be completed in just 12 months, or at your own pace. Classes, either on-site or online, meet one day a week.
#25 – Brandman University
RN to BSN Program Details – Brandman’s RN to BSN program requires a 4 day immersion session at the Irvine Campus at the beginning of the program. It utilizes 8 week courses and the entire program may be completed in one year of full time study. For interested students, it prepares students for a transition to Brandman’s Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, which can be completed in just 4 years.
#24 – Pennsylvania State University
RN to BSN Program Details – Penn’s highly respected online RN to BSN program may be done completely online, or as a hybrid program if a student lives close to one of its campuses. It offers an accelerated track or standard length classes to accommodate individual schedules. It provides certificate programs in Nursing Management, Nursing Infomatics, and Nursing Forensics, which can help enhance one’s credentials.
#23 – Northern Arizona University
RN to BSN Program Details – NAU offers a RN to BSN program with classes online and clinical projects that can be completed where a student works. 120 units are required to graduate, and up to 90 units may be transferred in from community colleges, or unlimited units from 4 year schools.
#22 – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
RN to BSN Program Details – UWM allows students to participate in the RN to BSN program at associated UW schools or online. For most students, degree completion requires 2-4 years. UW offers the “UW Flexible Option” that allows students to start whenever, demonstrate existing knowledge by passing assessment exams, advance at one’s own pace, and receive personalized support.
#21 – Fort Hays State University
FHSU is a public university in which the majority of its 11,000 students are online (6,000) in its “Virtual College.” The university was originally on the grounds of a frontier military outpost called Fort Hays.
RN to BSN Program Details – The FHSU RN to BSN program has start times in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Students may choose the number of classes they take. While all work may be done online, classes have weekly deadlines. 124 hours are required to graduate, 30 of which must be taken at Fort Hays.
#20 – University of Illinois at Chicago
RN to BSN Program Details – UIC’s esteemed College of Nursing offers instruction that can be 100% online. Courses are usually eight weeks and the entire RN to BSN program can be completed in 16 months if the courses are taken consecutively.
#19 – University of Cincinnati
RN to BSN Program Details – The UC RN to BSN program allows students to study full or part time. The program can be completed in one year or part time in 18 months. An academic adviser follows each student from the initial information session through graduation.
#18 – Chatham University
Chatham began as a women’s college, but is now fully co-ed and about 10% of its students are male. Through its College for Continuing and Professional Studies, Chatham offers a number of degrees that can be completed entirely online.
RN to BSN Program Details – Focused on leadership and managment skills, Chatham’s RN to BSN program utilizes an accelerated online distance learning format. Courses are offered in 7 week sessions and the program may be done full or part time.
#17 – California State University – Chico
CSU Chico is a part of the California University system and has around 17,000 students. Although historically it has a reputation as a party school, it has one of the top graduation rates in the California State University system.
RN to BSN Program Details – While most classes require attendance on campus for an orientation, this does not usually exceed one or two days each semester. The RN to BSN program lasts 15 months and students are encouraged to not work full time while in attendance. A 3.0 GPA is required for applying students.
#16 – University of South Dakota
RN to BSN Program Details – The online RN to BSN program at USD offers three tracks: fast (full time 2 semester option), traditional (part time 4 semesters), progressive (1 course a semester). With the part time options, students can continue to work full time.
#15 – Georgia Southern University
RN to BSN Program Details – The RN to BSN program can be completed in two to four semesters, or one to one and a half years. Students may start in either the spring or fall.
#14 – Villanova University
Villanova is a private, Catholic university located in Philadelphia with an enrollment of around 10,000. Villanova has an excellent academic reputation and a lush campus with more than 1,500 trees on its 254 acres.
RN to BSN Program Details – Villanova’s nursing program has an outstanding reputation. The RN to BSN program requires that students maintain a half time status of at least six hours per term. 120 credits are required for graduation, 42 of which must be completed at Villanova. Although Villanova has one of the highest per unit tuition rates of the rated programs, it offers generous financial aid packages.
#13 – Azusa Pacific University
APU is a private, evangelical Christian university located in the LA suburb of Azusa. It has a student body of nearly 11,000. Azusa has an ethnically diverse student body with more than half of its students identifying as non-white.
RN to BSN Program Details – The average time required for the RN to BSN program is 15 months and requires completion of 40 program units. APU emphasized “reality based learning” in which instructors use the experiences of students as a basis to teach theory and practice.
#12 – Western Carolina University
RN to BSN Program Details – The RN to BSN program has two start dates per year and requires completion of 24 hours of online nursing classes along with 8 hours of upper division electives. WCU estimates that the entire program costs in-state students $5,500.
#11 – University of North Florida
The University of Florida is part of State University System of Florida, is located in Jacksonville, and has 16,000 students. It has been named as a best college by The Princeton Review and Forbes Magazine.
RN to BSN Program Details – UNF is known to have a high quality RN to BSN program that requires a 2.9 GPA from previous study. The program can be completed in as little as 12 months, and estimated tuition and fees come to $7,695 (partner rate) or $8,550 (non-partner).
#10 – Loyola University Chicago
RN to BSN Program Details – Offered by the esteemed Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the LUC RN to BSN program allows students to complete their degree in as little as three semesters 100% online. Classes are taught in 6-8 week sessions and three priority application deadlines take place in the Fall, Spring, and Summer.
#9 – University of Alabama
RN to BSN Program Details – The UA online RN to BSN program allows part time or full time enrollments, requires 25 credit hours of nursing classes for graduation, and has an application deadline of March 1st in order to begin the program each summer.
#8 – Oregon Health and Science University
RN to BSN Program Details – The OHSU RN to BSN program can be done full or part time. Students with an associate degree from an OCNE (Oregon Consortium for Nursing education) school must complete 33 hours of senior level courses and students from non-OCNE schools must complete an additional 6 credits. Classes are online but one class requires a 1-2 conference on campus. Practicum courses take place as close as possible to the student’s home.
#7 – Ball State University
A public university known for its research focus, BSU is located in Muncie, Indiana and has around 25,000 students. Ranked 34th by U.S. News and World Report for its online programs, BSU offers extensive online and distance education.
RN to BSN Program Details – The BSU RN to BSN program can be completed entirely online and allows clinical hours to be done in the student’s community. There is a six or three semester option.
#6 – East Carolina University
This public university is located on four properties with 1,600 acres and 27,000 students. The schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, and allied health sciences are all on the health science campus.
RN to BSN Program Details – The RN to BSN program requires four semesters. Most courses are 7 weeks long allowing students to focus on one or two courses at a time. Tuition is just $2,078 per semester for full time in-state residents making ECU one of the most affordable options available.
#5 – University of Wyoming
RN to BSN Program Details – The Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing offers a RN to BSN program that can be completed in as little as a year. Applications are accepted in the Spring and Fall. With a per unit fee of $119 for in-state residents, this is one of best values available.
#4 – Southern Connecticut State University
RN to BSN Program Details – The RN to BSN program requires 124 credits. The course can be completed in 3 semesters depending on how many transfer credits qualify. The program is primarily online, with two classes that require work in the community. In-state residents pay $1,800 per semester for full time making it one of the least expensive programs in this list of colleges.
#3 – University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Part of the University of Arkansas System, UAMS specializes in healthcare. The UMAS Medical Center is part of it, the John L. McClellan Veterans Administration Hospital is adjacent, and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital is nearby.
RN to BSN Program Details – The UAMS RN to BSN program consists of 26 nursing credit hours, is 100% online, requires 12-18 months to complete, and has five program start times per year.
#2 – University of Massachusetts – Amherst
RN to BSN Program Details – The RN to BSN program requires completion of 30 credits in the online nursing program. The program starts in either the Spring or Summer and can be done on either a one year or two year track.
#1 – Ohio State University
As the third largest university campus in the United States, OSU enrolls almost 70,000 students on all campuses. Praised for its diverse student body, OSU is known for its excellence in research and its athletic teams.
RN to BSN Program Details – The RN to BSN program requires 120 units for graduation, 30 of which must be taken at OSU. Designed for the working nurse, applicants must have a 2.75 GPA and may apply in the Spring and Autumn semesters.