Top 25 Online RN to BSN Degrees for 2021

The best RN to BSN online program is the one that fits your needs and provides the education you’re seeking to advance your career. Just about all the best RN to BSN online programs are designed to make it as easy as possible for students to continue their education, maintain a work schedule, and sometimes enable a student to earn their degree more quickly through accelerated programs. Another aspect of what makes the best RN to BSN online program is the area of focus for the degree. For example, you may want to enter into a nursing leadership role, public health, pediatrics, gerontology, or primary care as your focus for your BSN. You can then combine your RN work experience with your schooling for the next stage of your career. How We Ranked The Best Online RN to BSN Programs

Methodology: Ranking The Top 25 Online RN to BSN

The editors focused on trusted, accredited programs across the US for TopRNtoBSN’s ranking of the best online RN to BSN degree programs. We rank programs according to their cost, student satisfaction, and graduate salary. Data comes from IPEDS and Niche.

1. Arizona State University

The Arizona State University online RN to BSN degree program is one of the best nursing programs for registered nurses that want to obtain a BSN. Students enrolled in Arizona State University’s best online RN to BSN programs will be required to complete 39 semester credits – taking classes that each last 7.5 weeks. Students applying to ASU’s RN to BSN program must already hold an RN license to be admitted to this CCNE accredited baccalaureate nursing completion program. Coursework for Arizona State University’s RN to BSN degree program includes health promotion across the life span, nursing management, and innovation in nursing, among others.

Arizona State University was founded in the mid 1880s, prior to the state entering the union. In terms of student enrollment, Arizona State University, with more than 140,000 online and on-campus students, is among the largest in the country. Arizona State University is organized into eighteen graduate and undergraduate schools.

2. CUNY School of Professional Studies

The City University of NY’s School Of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) offers an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program that is among New York’s most affordable and best online RN to BSN programs. CUNY’s best online RN to BSN nursing programs have received accreditation from the CCNE, with about three-quarters of RN to BSN candidates completing the program in about five years. Coursework is organized into these areas informatics research, assessment leadership/management, and global health & policy, among others.

CUNY School Of Professional Studies was founded in 2003, with its campus in midtown Manhattan. Launching twenty-four degrees since 2006, enrollment has risen by more than 30% in the last four years to over 4,000 students in the credit-bearing programs.  

The CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) has been leading online education at the City University of New York for more than 15 years. Offering the most fully online undergraduate and graduate degree options at the University, along with a number of certificate, advanced certificate, and professional non-degree programs, the CUNY School of Professional Studies provides flexible and convenient learning opportunities geared to adults who are looking to advance their education or progress in their careers.

3. University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Nursing (UIC Nursing) offers one of the Windy City’s best online RN to BSN programs, with start dates in the Summer, Fall, and Spring. Coursework for these best online RN to BSN nursing programs from the University of Chicago requires the completion of eight classes – each completed in eight-week terms. Classes for this online RN to BSN degree program include health assessment, concepts of contemporary nursing, and statistics for evidence based practice, to name a few. 

The University of Illinois (UI Chicago) was established in the early 1980s and is now recognized as both a Hispanic and Asian serving public institution of higher learning. More than 33,250 undergraduate and postgraduate students attend classes at the University of Illinois’s two campuses in the Windy City. UIC offers more than 250 academic degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from its sixteen colleges/schools.

4. University of Massachusetts – Amhurst

The College of Nursing within the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers one of the best online RN to BSN nursing programs in New England with its RN to Bachelor of Science degree program designed for those who already hold an unencumbered nursing license. Full time students enrolled in UMass Amherst’s City’s best online RN to BSN programs can finish the degree program in about twelve months, with part-time students completing the program in two years. It is noted that the University of Massachusetts’ BSN completion program offers the same tuition rates for both in and out-of-state residents.

The University of Massachusetts (UM Amherst) is one of the westernmost and flagship campus of the state’s university system. As a member of the Pioneer Valley’s Five College Consortium in Western Mass, UMass Amherst students can take classes in the other member colleges. The Amherst campus was established in 1863 as an agricultural college.

5.West Virginia University

The West Virginia University online RN to BSN degree program is one of West Virginia’s best online RN to BSN programs. Accredited by CCNE and the Higher Learning Commission, the WVU RN-BSN takes a minimum of three semesters to complete once all general education requirements are met. All nursing courses are online, and 28 credits of nursing coursework are required to complete the RN-BSN program. Registered nurses are accepted directly into the School of Nursing with 50 credit hours of undifferentiated nursing credit. Students start classes in either the Fall, Spring, or Summer terms. This RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program offers the same tuition regardless of the student’s residency. 

West Virginia University (WVU) was established as the Agricultural College of West Virginia in the late 1860s. The university is the state’s flagship land grant and space grant school. It has multiple campuses that serve early 30,000 students. West Virginia University alumni include more than two dozen Rhodes Scholars and another two dozen Truman Scholars.

6. Drexel University

One of Pennsylvania’s best online RN to BSN nursing programs is at Drexel Nursing Online. Students can complete the Drexel University Online RN to BSN Degree in as few as twelve months.  Like all Drexel baccalaureate programs, these best online RN to BSN programs require the completion of a total of 180 quarter credits, of which 125 may be transferred. Additionally, Drexel university’s RN to BSN completion degree has received full accreditation from the CCNE, and there are no campus-required visits to meet graduation requirements. Students receive a tuition freeze for three years if they complete the degree in that time.

Drexel University is a multiple campus institution of higher education that was established in the early 1890s. More than 24,100 students attend classes online and on Drexel’s campuses in Pennsylvania. Drexel is well known for its cooperative education model in which students can earn full time salaries while studying full time. Drexel offers nearly 200 academic and professional programs on its campuses and through the distance learning platform.

7. Linfield University

Linfield University’s School of Nursing (LU SON) offers one of Oregon’s best online RN to BSN degrees. The Linfield University online RN to BSN is a CCNE accredited program designed specifically for working nurse professionals. Coursework included in Linfield University’s 24 credit best online RN to BSN nursing programs include trauma informed care, the evolution of Nursing or palliative care, care across the lifespan, professional communication in health care, population-based nursing, transition to professional practice, and informatics.

Linfield University was established in 1858 (before Oregon became a state) as a private higher learning school by the American Baptist Church. Although historically affiliated, Linfield now operates nonsectarian, with nearly 2,000 students attending classes online and on-campus. The Wildcat football team holds the distinction of having the longest streak of consecutive wins at all levels of college football.

8. Appalachian State University

The online RN to BSN program at Appalachian State University offers one of the best online RN to BSN programs in North Carolina. The program requires completing thirty-semester credits at Appalachian State University to fulfill a 120-semester credit degree program. Courses are offered in the fall, spring, and summer. The ASU program takes one year to complete and includes nontraditional clinical research and projects. Classes for Appalachian State University’s best online RN to BSN nursing programs include nursing care of older adults, nursing informatics, professional nursing synthesis, nursing research, and health assessment.

Appalachian State University (Appalachian or App State) was established as a normal teacher’s training school in the late 1890s. Appalachian State University became a member school of the University of North Carolina system in the early 1970s and now offers more than 200 undergraduate and postgraduate degree and professional programs. More than 18,850 students attend classes online and on the rural college-town campus in Boone, North Carolina.

9. University of North Florida

The School of Nursing at the University of North Florida offers an accelerated RN to BSN degree. The UNF Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is one of the Sunshine State’s best online RN to BSN nursing programs. Students enrolled in UNF’s best online RN to BSN programs are required to complete thirty semester credits in about twelve months. In addition, the University of North Florida is considered as a top regional higher learning university offering a variety of CCNE-accredited nursing degree programs. UNF offers RN to BSN degree candidates six start dates each calendar year.

The University of North Florida is a space grant institution located in the northern Florida city of Jacksonville. The school’s urban campus is located on the city’s south side amid a nature preserve with a student enrolment of more than 17,000 students. The University of North Florida is home to the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art.

10. Indiana Wesleyan University

The Indiana Wesleyan University online RN to BSN degree is one of Indiana’s best online RN to BSN programs. The BSN completion degree program is offered through the IWU School of Nursing. Students can complete the degree in about fifteen months. Core coursework for Indiana Wesleyan University’s best online RN to BSN nursing programs requires 31-semester units with a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.75. WU’s School of Nursing offers a faith-based curriculum and educational environment. The RN to BSN program is delivered in a 100% online format or a hybrid online/onsite format. Nursing students can complete the RN to BSN degree in just over a year. Tuition discounts are available through WU’s partner organizations. Classes for the BSN completion degree from Indiana Wesleyan University include population health – local, national & global approaches, foundations for professional practice, health indicators & clinical prevention, and leadership in nursing, plus a bachelor’s capstone project.  

Founded in 1920 as a private teacher’s training school, Indiana Wesleyan University now operates as a private evangelical Christian school. Nearly 3,000 students attend classes on the Indiana Wesleyan University Marion campus, studying for more than 126 academic degree programs. According to US News and World Report, Indiana Wesleyan University ranks among the top twenty regional Midwest schools.

11. University of South Carolina Aiken

The University of South Carolina Aiken offers an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program (BSN) that can be completed 100% online in as few as twelve months. USCA’s best online RN to BSN programs require degree candidates to complete 31 semester units to graduate. The University of South Carolina’s best online RN to BSN nursing programs include ethical & legal issues in nursing, pathophysiology, community health nursing, leadership/management, professional nursing, and nursing research, among others.

The University of South Carolina (USCA) was founded as a public school in the early 1960s. The Aiken campus USC – the University of South Carolina covers more than 400 acres and serves more than 3,150 undergraduate and postgraduate students. USCA’s campus is about fifteen minutes from Augusta and about an hour from downtown Columbia, South Carolina.

12. The University of Missouri   

The University of Missouri online RN to BSN degree nursing program is one of the Show-Me State’s best online degrees. The BSN is offered through the Sinclair School of Nursing and is hosted by Missouri Online. The University of Missouri online RN to BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing and the Higher Learning Commission. Classes are all online, and there are no campus visits required. Coursework for the University of Missouri’s RN to BSN program includes leadership & management, communication in nursing, health assessment, nursing theory & research, and nursing ethics & the law.

The University of Missouri is the flagship school of the state’s university system. The main campus in Columbia, Missouri, covers more than 1,000 acres. Founded in 1838, the University of Missouri now serves more than 30,985 students each year. The university’s campus is home to the State Historical Society and the Museum of Art/Archaeology, plus a national historic District.

13. The University Of Cincinnati    

One of Ohio’s best online nursing programs is the University of Cincinnati’s online RN to BSN degree. The UC College of Nursing has six program start dates offered each year. Full-time students enrolled in UC’s State’s best online RN to BSN nursing programs can complete this program in only two semesters or nine months. Part-timers can complete it in three to five semesters. Classes in the University Of Cincinnati’s BSN completion program include informatics, scientific basis for evidence-based practice, and nurse as professional manager.

The University Of Cincinnati was established in 1819 and is a member of the state’s university system. The school maintains multiple campuses and is recognized to be the oldest school in Cincinnati. The University Of Cincinnati is ranked among the best regional public schools organized into fourteen colleges and schools.

14. Ohio University   

The Ohio University online RN to BSN degree program is an excellent fit for working nurses. Offered through the Ohio University School of Nursing, the RN-BSN program requires 120 credits to complete. Most of the credits can be transferred to Ohio University if completed at a previous school. There are no expiration dates or limit to the number of credits students can transfer into the program. The nursing component consists of 9 required nursing courses that are 31 credit hours. Each nursing class is five weeks long, and classes are asynchronous. The format provides students with the flexibility to study and submit assignments online on their schedule from any location. In addition, there are eight start dates each year to facilitate timely degree completion. Some RN-BSN classes include leadership in nursing, health assessment, community health nursing, gerontological nursing care, and nursing excellence. The Ohio University RN-BSN program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the CCNE. 

Established in 1804, Ohio University now operates multiple campuses in the Athens vicinity and beyond. The university serves more than 30,899 students across all campuses. In addition to being Ohio’s oldest university, Ohio University is the tenth oldest in the nation.

15. Sam Houston State University

Sam Houston State University’s College of Health Services School of Nursing offers one of the most affordable and best online RN to BSN nursing programs in the Lone Star State. The Sam Houston State University online RN to BSN program is 30 credit hours. It is available to full-time and part-time students. Classes for the degree completion program include community nursing, informatics, legal/ethical issues, rural health nursing, older adult health, and nursing genetics & genomics.

am Houston State University was founded in the late 1870s and is the third-oldest institution of higher education in Texas. Established as a teacher’s training school, Sam Houston State University is recognized as one of the oldest schools located to the west of the Mississippi River.

16. Pennsylvania State University–World Campus

The Pennsylvania State University World Campus online RN to BSN degree is one of Pennsylvania’s best online nursing programs. The Penn State online RN to BSN program is available through an online accelerated delivered format that is CCNE accredited. Classes for this RN to BSN completion program include nursing informatics, family & community health concepts, integrated concepts in nursing practice, and advanced health assessment for the registered nurse.

Pennsylvania State University (PSU WC) was established as the Penn State distance learning campus in the late 1990s. The administration and technical center are located in University Park, PA. PSU World Campus serves nearly 15,000 undergraduate ad postgraduate students. Penn State World Campus is the electronic extension of its distance learning programs that began in the early 1990s.

17. Loyola University Chicago 

The online RN to BSN program at Loyola University Chicago can be finished in only twelve months or three semesters. The fast-track online RN to BSN is offered through Loyola’s Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. The BSN program requires degree candidates to complete thirty online semester credits through Loyola’s distance learning platform. Loyola’s classes are asynchronous, and no on-campus visits are required. 

Loyola University Chicago was founded in the early 1870s by the Society of Jesus. With more than 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Loyola University Chicago is recognized to be one of the largest Catholic higher learning institutions in the nation. Loyola University Chicago maintains several campuses through the greater Chicago area and internationally in China and Italy.

18. The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee 

The College of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program (BSN) completion degree for those who hold a registered nursing (RN) license. The University of Wisconsin online RN to BSN degree program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the State of Wisconsin Board of Nursing. The RN-BSN program has three curriculum delivery modes: face-to-face, online, or the UW-FLEX Option. Students can enroll full-time or part-time. The coursework provided by the University of Wisconsin online RN to BSN nursing programs is self-paced and taught by UW faculty.

The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee was established in the 1880’s as a research institute and teacher’s training school. The school now operates as the largest in the Milwaukee area, with more than 26,050 students attending classes each year. The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee is the 2nd largest of all higher learning institutions in Wisconsin.

19. Pacific Union College  

Pacific Union College’s Nursing & Health Sciences (PUC) offers one of the west coast’s best online RN to BSN nursing programs. It seamlessly integrates with PUC’s Associate of Science degree program. The Pacific Union College online RN to BSN degree program caters to working nurse professionals who simultaneously balance work and education life. Classes for Pacific Union College’s BSN completion degree program include community health nursing, health assessment, and a practicum and capstone project.

Pacific Union College was established as an Adventist Christian Academy in 1882. The college’s rural campus in Napa Valley serves about 1,500 students. It is among the only residential coed colleges that serve a primarily undergraduate population. Pacific Union College holds the distinction of being the first Adventist Church school established west of the Mississippi River.

20. Minot State University 

The Minot State University online RN to BSN  is one of North Dakota’s most affordable and best online nursing programs.  Minot State University’s flexible and customizable online RN to BSN degree program has received accreditation from the CCNE and ranked a best-value degree program among national competitors. The nursing curriculum from Minot State University includes professional nursing 1 & 2, public health for the professional nurse, transcultural healthcare, nurse theory & research, and issue in healthcare regulations.

Minot State University (MISU) is a public school that was established in 1913 as a teacher’s training school. More than 3,500 students attend classes from Minot State University, which is a member school of the state’s university system. Minot State University is ranked as the third largest institution of learning in North Dakota.

21. Pace University

Pace University offers one of the best online RN to BSN nursing programs in the New York City vicinity. The online RN to BSN program from Pace University requires degree candidates to finish 21 to 30 credit units, depending on the student’s experience or educational background. Classes for Pace’s RN to BSN degree include multidimensional care, innovations in leadership, health assessment, evidence-based practice for healthy aging, and nursing research. Pace nursing students with an RN and a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 are eligible to take up to 9 credits at the graduate level. Additionally, the graduate credits can double-count towards both the BSN and the master’s degree requirements.

Pace University was founded in 1906 as a business school by two brothers. The school now operates as a private university with multiple campuses in the southern region of New York State. Pace University is home to about 13,200 students and the TV show – Inside the Actor’s Studio. Pace University’s campuses are in the Big Apple, aka New York City, and its neighboring northern county – Westchester in Yorktown and Pleasantville.

22. The University of St. Francis  

Working nurses will love the University of St. Francis online RN to BSN program. The Leach Nursing College at the USF offers one of Indiana’s best online RN to BSN nursing programs designed for practicing nurses. Applicants to USF’s best online RN to BSN programs must hold a valid RN license before enrollment in this CCNE accredited program. Coursework for USF’s RN to BSN completion program emphasizes the mandatory skills nurses need to succeed – critical thinking and critical decision-making. Clinicals may be available in mental health, hospitals, or long-term care, to name a few options.

The University of St. Francis was established in 1920 in Joliet, Indiana. The school began as a junior college and later converted to a college. The university’s main campus serves about 1,250 students, with several thousand attending classes throughout the United States. Two Illinois state senators are proud alumni of the University of St. Francis – Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and Pat McGuire.

23. Ball State University

Ball State University’s Nursing School (Ball State Online Nursing) offers an RN to BSN completion program that is nationally ranked among the best online RN to BSN nursing programs, according to US News. Coursework for the Ball State University online RN to BSN degree program include nursing foundation issues, management & leadership, health assessment, applied nursing concepts, and community health, to name a few. Students can opt to attend the three or the six semester option to complete the degree program.

Ball State University (BSU) is a multiple campus public university that was established in 1918 as a normal school. BSU is also a space-grant school with its Muncie, Indiana campus of more than 1,100 acres that serves nearly 22,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Ball State University has adopted a primary component of environmental sustainability.

24. Ferris State University

Ferris State University offers an online RN to BSN degree program (RN to BSN) that ranked among Michigan’s best online RN to BSN nursing programs. To be considered for admission to Ferris State University’s best online RN to BSN programs, applicants must hold a Registered Nursing license (RN). Classes and coursework for FSU’s are designed to offer working learners the convenience and flexibility required to fit busy working nurse professionals.

Ferris State University (Ferris) was established as an industrial school that was established in the mid 1880s. The university maintains several campuses in the area that serve nearly 15,000 students each year, which makes it among the top ten schools in terms of the size of the school’s student enrollment. The school was founded by an educator from upstate New York who later became Michigan’s governor – Woodbridge Nathan Ferris.

 

25. McKendree University  

McKendree University (MKU) School of Nursing/Health Professions offers one of the Midwest’s best online RN to BSN nursing programs that can be completed 100% online. Many students enrolled in the McKendree University online RN to BSN programs complete the program in about five semesters – taking classes that are delivered in eight-week formats. Students graduate from McKendree University to find rewarding and more advanced nursing careers in clinics, nursing facilities, and hospitals, to name a few.

McKendree University (McK) was initially founded as a seminary in the late 1820s by the United Methodist Church. More than 2,350 undergraduate and postgraduate students attend classes online and on the suburban campus of McKendree University. McKendree University’s campus in Lebanon is located less than thirty miles from the downtown St. Louis area.

 


Which RN to BSN online program is the best?

When all is said and done, the best RN to BSN online program helps you learn, has supportive faculty, ease of interaction with teachers and students, and provides you with the access you need to a practicum or clinical rotation opportunity. It should also consider the fact that you’re a working student who needs flexibility in their schooling. The program should have live and pre-recorded classes for you to view at times convenient for you and have reasonable deadlines for schoolwork, quizzes, and tests. You should look for these aspects when considering which RN to BSN online program is right for you and your immediate needs. 

How long does it take to get an online RN to BSN?

The length of time needed to earn one of the available online RN to BSN degrees can be as little as 12 months and as long as two years. You’ll need an average of 30 credit hours to complete an online RN to BSN degree. Still, it’s worth noting that all online RN to BSN degrees have different credit hour requirements for completion. Some schools make it easier for students to complete their degree sooner. Provided they have sufficient transferable credits from an undergraduate degree program or work experience before applying for acceptance to the program, students can finish sooner.

Schools offering online RN to BSN degrees provide the education in time structures that make it easier for students to attend and earn their degree quickly. Some schools have a rolling class start throughout the year in that they have 10-week sessions that start four or five times a year, while other schools use a quarter or semester system for classes. These time structures for education are designed to help students earn their BSN sooner than they would in a traditional bachelor’s degree program. 

Some schools accept work experience or credits earned through another degree program to help students earn their BSN in less time. These programs are optimal for students who have worked as nurses in the private sector or in the military and have extensive hours working in the field. It also helps students with existing degrees save time on their continuing education in order to earn their BSN sooner than later and start enjoying the advantages of earning the degree. 

Always check for accreditation from accepted nursing education accrediting bodies before applying to any online RN to BSN degree program. This will ensure that the standard of education offered is accepted by employers, licensing bodies, and the public.

Do you need an RN license to enter a BSN program?

Yes, you need an RN license to enter into an RN to BSN program. You need it because the BSN program is designed to further the education of an RN. Most RN to BSN programs are designed to accommodate a working student. These nurses want to improve their employment prospects while maintaining their work schedule. Someone without an RN license but has an existing degree can enter into a different BSN degree program. Other BSN paths provide the necessary education to earn a pre-licensure BSN. These programs will also make you eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. 

The basic premise of an RN to BSN program is to educate an RN with work experience to earn their baccalaureate degree. A student who has not sat for the NCLEX-RN to earn their RN license is best served by enrolling into BSN program. Many nursing schools have more than two paths to a BSN.

Non-nurses who have an existing degree and wish to become nurses should look into a different program. Many accelerated BSN programs can accommodate their current credits and awards a BSN upon successful completion of the degree program. These programs are often 100% online. They also enable students to sit for the NCLEX-RN to get their RN license. Earning your BSN will improve your employment opportunities! 

Related Rankings:

Best Residential Accelerated BSN Programs

Best Online RN to BSN Programs

Sandra Janowicz
Author

Keeley Jones
Registered Nurse

Carrie Sealey-Morris
Editor-in-Chief