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Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Xavier Online’s MSN programs are designed for RNs who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and offer pathways to a wide variety of rewarding careers.

Why Complete your Online MSN Degree at Xavier University?

It’s widely known that a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) can lead to higher earnings and better nursing career opportunities, but earning your MSN from a prestigious university like Xavier can open the door to the nursing career you’ve always wanted.

If you are a registered nurse interested in education, forensics, or becoming a nurse practitioner, Xavier offers exciting online MSN options for you! These online MSN programs are designed for RNs who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and offer pathways to a wide variety of rewarding careers. Our Post Master’s Certificate Programs for those who already have a MSN offer even further ways to expand your career.

Available Start Dates for MSN Programs and PM Certificate Programs

  • MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN- Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
  • Post-Masters Certificate FNP available for those with an MSN
  • Post-Masters Certificate Education available for those with an MSN
  • Post-Masters Certificate Forensics available for those with an MSN
  • Post Masters Certificate PMHNP available for those with an MSN
  • MSN- Education Track
  • MSN- Forensic Track
  • MSN-Forensic Track / MS (Criminal Justice major) Dual Degree

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Program Options

Tailor your MSN degree to your career goals in one of the following tracks:

Choose from four MSN specializations to focus on the career and future you want. If you’re unsure which track is right for you, our advisors will partner with you to discuss your career goals.


Advance Your Career With One Of Our Online Certificates

Xavier offers two nursing online certificates to help you meet the demands of the field.

Why Xavier Online?

You’ll get more from your online education, from the personal attention of faculty to rigorous courses taught in the Jesuit Catholic tradition.

Personalized Experience

You’ll get the personal attention and flexibility needed to reach your goals at your pace. Our invested professors and small class sizes will set you up for success.

Jesuit Values

Our Jesuit Catholic values are based on a vision of a world changed for the better, emphasizing service and community engagement in addition to academics.


We offer exceptional online programs at an affordable cost. Numerous financial aid resources are available for our online students, making education more affordable.

Xavier’s MSN is one of only 17 programs in the U.S. to be endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation.


See How Xavier University’s Online MSN Program Has Been Recognized


Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs
(U.S. News & World Report)

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Best College in Ohio for Nursing

1 of 17

Programs in the Nation Endorsed by American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation

Take the Next Step in Your Nursing Career

The online master’s of science in nursing program trains nurses to serve and lead, empowering nursing students to provide the best possible care while taking on additional responsibilities and higher-level functions in health care. Earn an advanced degree online from a nationally-recognized and highly-accredited program – Xavier’s master’s of science in nursing is one of only 17 schools in the U.S. to be endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation – on a schedule that works for you.

Note: This online master’s of science in nursing (MSN) degree program will not provide licensure in any state.

If you would like to continue your collegiate nursing education beyond a master’s degree, Xavier also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Population Health Leadership (DNP) program.

Ready to Get Started?


This master’s of science in nursing (MSN) online program is an accredited program by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the premier accrediting agency for baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs.

This program is approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing (OBN).

These online programs are endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC). Only seventeen schools in the nation currently have this endorsement, and this endorsement permits graduates to sit for the Holistic Nurse Certification (HNC) examination. The MSN Education Track program (and the PM certificate program in Nursing Education) prepares graduates to sit for the NCC Certified Nurse Educator exam. The MSN FNP program (and the PM Certificate Program) prepares graduates for FNP certification through either ANCC or AANP certification boards.

No. The master’s of science in nursing degree is from Xavier University and is awarded on meeting coursework standards that are independent of course delivery mode. Participants will earn an MSN degree.

Yes! Xavier University and the College of Nursing have been consistently recognized at the national level for having one of the best online master of science in nursing (MSN) programs for nursing education. See a list of all of our accredited programs awards on our Rankings page.
No, online courses for our accredited MSN program are to be the same rates as all other courses.
Students may find that they can get to know their professor/instructor and other students better in an online course than in a traditional face-to-face course. There are many options for interacting with your MSN nursing online program instructors and classmates, including discussion boards, video or audio files from your instructor, email and video conferencing. There may be additional opportunities for interaction available based on the course and instructor.

Participation expectations vary by professor. Courses will be asynchronous with no set meeting times; however, practicum and scholarly project courses may include an online synchronous session (at the discretion of the instructor) at the end of the semester for student sharing/collaboration purposes. Nursing administration and faculty in this program are very sensitive to the need for flexibility of working professionals.

Online MSN program courses include components such as readings, activities, video lectures, discussion boards and other peer interaction, tests/quizzes and group projects. Most courses do not include mandatory synchronous meeting times; however, they are synchronously paced – students progress through the course together according to the scheduled course content and activities. Xavier prides itself on upholding the value of “cura personalis,” or “care of the whole person,” in its classes. Nursing administration faculty maintain those values in our online courses by constructing activities that build a sense of community among participants and by making themselves available for questions and instructional support.
If you are not a registered nurse but hold a bachelor’s degree in another field and would like to earn your MSN degree, Xavier’s MIDAS program may be the right fit. This full-time on-campus 20-month MSN program is designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in another discipline but wish to be a licensed registered nurse (RN). Upon successful completion of the program, the student is awarded the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and is eligible to sit for the National Council Licensing Exam-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN).

APRNs are nurses who have met advanced educational and clinical practice requirements. The four types of Advanced Practice Registered Nursing roles include:

  • Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Having a master’s degree in nursing opens the door for many different career opportunities. Some potential career paths for a nurse holding an MSN degree may include:

  • Family nurse practitioner
    • A family nurse practitioner is an APN who may work individually or with a healthcare practice to provide family-focused medical care. A family nurse practitioner is able to develop treatment plans for acute and chronic illnesses, educate patients on disease prevention, conduct exams, perform diagnostics and screening evaluations, prescribe medications and emphasize preventative care. 
  • Pediatric nurse practitioner
    • Similarly to a family nurse practitioner, a pediatric nurse practitioner may work independently or with a healthcare organization. A pediatric nurse practitioner works to provide services such as well-child exams, childhood immunizations, routine developmental screenings, diagnostic and treatment of childhood illnesses, provide counseling to families on health-related issues and interrupt lab results. 
  • Nursing informatics specialist
    • Nurses working as nursing informatics specialists use their nursing education combined with information technology and apply them to patient care. Nursing informatics specialists can often work remotely while still maintaining a career within the health profession. 
  • Geriatic nurse practitioner
    • A gerontological nurse practitioner focuses on serving the aging population. A gerontological nurse practitioner will often diagnose and treat age-related impairments such as blindness, hearing loss, dementia and malnutrition. A gerontological nurse practitioner is able to order diagnostic tests, interrupt results, design, coordinate and manage patient care, prescribe medications and counsel patients and their families. 
  • Clinical nurse researcher
    • Clinical nurse researchers are vital to pharmaceutical and medical research. Using their clinical nurse education, they write proposals for grants, evaluate data, and analyze large amounts of information. 
  • Psychiatric nurse practitioner
    • A psychiatric nurse practitioners treat patients with organic and function psychiatric disorders. Working alongside other mental health professionals, psychiatric nurse practitioners will use their nursing leadership qualities and nursing education to treat disorders ranging from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. In order to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you must have a minimum of two years of nursing experience, 2,000 hours of clinical practice in a mental health setting, and will be required to complete 30 hours of continuing nursing education in mental health every three years.
  • Forensic nurse consultant
    • Forensic nursing merges the healthcare profession with the justice system. Forensic nurses perform a variety of roles including evaluating and caring for victims of assault and abuse, neglect, and sexual crimes. While they treat the victims, forensic nurses collect the evidence and information needed for court. Forensic nurses may be asked to provide medical testimony in court. Forensic nurses can work in a variety of areas. While typically found in hospitals, they may also be available to work with non-profit organizations, be on call for law enforcement, teach community education classes or work in correctional facilities. 
  • Nurse ethicist
    • Solving ethical issues that arise in the science of nursing is an art in itself. Nurses in the career path will use their nursing leadership qualities to weigh in on tough ethical issues such as quality of life decisions and capital punishment. Using their nursing education, nurse ethicists work on interdisciplinary teams to solve ethical issues that require careful conversation and research. 
  • Nurse educator
    • Nurse educators shape the next generation of nurses. Educators develop lesson plans, supervise students’ clinical practice, and serve as mentors to students. Many educators are able to teach nursing education classes and work in a career path, caring for patients. 
  • Legal nurse consultant
    • Nurses who specialize in law, either as a consultant or lawyer understand the ins and outs of many legal cases. A legal nurse consultant helps provide insight on evidence and medical records to law professionals.

Choosing the right nursing online program for your MSN degree is important. When evaluating different masters programs, keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure the master’s programs are accredited.
    • Graduating from an accredited MSN program ensures that you received the best education possible for your degree.
  • Research the state licensing requirements of where you want to practice
    • Make sure to research the state you plan to practice in. Knowing the state licensing requirements and if they will accept the MSN degree program you completed is critical to being able to use your degree once it’s completed. 
  • Determine the tuition cost and financial aid options
    • Each school MSN program varies in overall tuition cost. Research the best option for you and speak with a financial aid officer about any grants, scholarships, or other ways to receive assistance with the tuition cost of the masters program. 
  • Ask about in person requirements
    • Most accredited MSN programs require students to attend clinical and practicum parts of the program. See what the requirements are for the program you are interested in and think about how far you are willing to travel in order to complete these. 
  • Take inventory of your technology
    • Make sure to take inventory of your technology equipment to ensure you have the right hardware and software needed for nursing online.
Accreditation is very important for online nursing degree programs. Employers often want to verify the legitimacy of an online nursing degree, and agencies such as the CCNE are reliable authorities on legitimate programs. CCNE works to ensure that schools maintain quality nursing education and curriculum in their master’s and baccalaureate degree programs. In order for schools to be CCNE accredited, they must have a nursing degree program established for a minimum of one year. Next, the school’s program’s mission, goals, and expected outcomes are evaluated. Once the BSN degree program and master’s nursing degree program have met the standards of CCNE, an onsite visit is conducted by accredited nursing and health professionals who then send a report to the council. The council will then inform the schools if they are accredited for the BSN and master of nursing programs.

None of the MSN programs or Post Master’s certificate programs here (Education, FNP, Forensics) provide nursing licensure in any state. Nursing licensrue is a pre-requisite for admission to these programs.

If you would like to continue your collegiate nursing education beyond a master’s degree, Xavier also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Population Health Leadership (DNP) program.