2020 Most Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

2020 Most Affordable Nurse Practitioner (NP) Masters Degrees Badge

The 24 schools on this list offer the most affordable online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs with nurse practitioner specializations. At #1, University of Southern Indiana offers an online Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for $5,105 per year. Second-ranked Middle Georgia State University has an annual tuition of only $5,610, as compared to the $17,000 average for MSN programs. Online MSN students study patient care theories and techniques and apply their coursework during clinical experience in a field setting. These degree programs prepare students for further national certification exams after graduation so they can become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Below, we provide information about courses, options for funding a degree, and answers to frequently asked questions.

You can read more about our ranked schools below or browse our rankings of the most affordable online master's programs. View our methodology or learn more about OnlineU.

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Rank School Annual Tuition
# 1 #1 $5,105
# 2 #2 $5,610
# 3 #3 $6,060
# 4 #4 $6,300
# 5 #5 $6,600
# 6 #6 $6,930
# 7 #7 $7,345
# 8 #8 $7,460
# 9 #9 $7,501
# 10 #10 $7,800
# 11 #11 $8,049
# 12 #12 $8,208
# 13 #13 $8,293
# 14 #14 $8,370
# 15 (tie) #15 (tie) $8,470
# 15 (tie) #15 (tie) $8,470
# 17 #17 $9,000
# 18 #18 $9,200
# 19 (tie) #19 (tie) $9,450
# 19 (tie) #19 (tie) $9,450
# 21 #21 $9,617
# 22 #22 $9,856
# 23 #23 $9,936
# 24 #24 $10,200
Find an Online Degree:
OnlineU is supported by advertising. Schools that compensate us advertise via school search results and featured placements. This does not influence our college rankings or our content.
  • Annual Tuition: $5,105
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 1,458
  • Example Classes: Advanced Concepts of Pathophysiology; Healthcare Informatics for Advanced Nursing Practice; Nursing Leadership in Healthcare Systems; Population Based Care and Health Policy; Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Practice Nursing

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitiioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $5,610
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 218
  • Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment/Diagnostic Reasoning; Advanced Pharmacology/Therapeutic Interventions; Leadership/Management & Healthcare Policy; Project Management in Healthcare; Quality/Safety/Improvement Processes; Research and Evidence Based Practice

Online Master's Degrees

  • MS in Nursing - Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $6,060
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 1,746
  • Example Classes: Advanced Pharmacology; Contemporary Health Care Ethics; Nursing Theory for the Advanced Practice Role; Statistical Analysis; The Politics of Health Care

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $6,300
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 8,094
  • Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning; Advanced Nursing Roles; Epidemiology and Health Promotion; Health Policy, Ethical, and Legal Perspectives of the Health Care System; Promoting Optimal Models and Systems for Health Care Delivery; Scientific and Analytic Approaches to Advanced Evidence-Based Practice

Online Master's Degrees

  • MS in DNP Path (Doctor of Nursing Practice)
  • MS in DNP Executive Leader
  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner Primary Care Population
  • MS in DNP Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • MS in DNP Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Adult - Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $6,600
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: MSCHE
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 2,011
  • Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment; Advanced Nursing: Primary Care I; Advanced Pathophysiology; Advanced Pharmacology; Intro to Advanced Nursing Philosophies, Theories, Roles & Issues; Theory Development and Advanced Research

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $6,930
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 441
  • Example Classes: Health Care Policy; Health Promotion & Problems of Adults and Their Families; Health Promotion and Problems of the Elderly & Their Families; Health Promotion of Children and Their Families; Population Health and Emerging Disease

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $7,345
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 8,062
  • Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning+; Application of Basic Statistics for Nursing Practice and Service Management; Clinical Application of Population Analysis; Diagnostic Interpretation and Therapeutic Modalities; Introduction of Acute Care Adult and Gerontological Health Problems; Pharmacological Management of Pediatric, Adult and Gerontological Patients Across the Lifespan

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Online)
  • Annual Tuition: $7,460
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 1,031
  • Example Classes: Advanced Nursing Assessment; Applied Pharmacology; Ensuring Healthcare Safety Quality; Psych Mental Health Nursing I

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $7,501
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 640
  • Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment; Advanced Healthcare Policy and Politics; Advanced Nursing Research and Evidence Based Practice; Differential Diagnosis in Primary Care; Informatics in Clinical Practice; Role Synthesis (Nurse Practitioners)

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $7,800
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 370
  • Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment; Advanced Nursing Research; Nursing Theory Developement; Primary Care of Adults; Primary Care of Women

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $8,049
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 2,187
  • Example Classes: Advanced Health Appraisal; Advanced Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan; FNP Primary Care of Children; FNP Women's Health; Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $8,208
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 221
  • Example Classes: Analysis of Evidence-Based Practice; Biostatistics; Information Systems & Technology for Transformation of Health Care; Organizational Management & Leadership in Health Care Systems; Principles of Gerontology in Advanced Nursing Practice; Roles & Issues in Advanced Practice Nursing

Online Master's Degrees

  • MSN - Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $8,293
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 730
  • Example Classes: Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics; Diagnostics for Mental Disorders; Pathological Processes for Advanced Nursing Practice; Population Health in Graduate Nursing; Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice Across the Lifespan

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $8,370
  • School Type: For-Profit
  • School Accreditation: WSCUC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 717
  • Example Classes: Advanced Health and Physical Assessment Across The Lifespan; Advanced Pathophysiology Across The Lifespan; Advanced Pharmacology Across The Lifespan; Health Promotion, Education, and Disease Prevention Across The Lifespan; Nursing Leadership and Health Policy; Primary Health of Acute Clients/families Across the Lifespan

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $8,470
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 1,436
  • Example Classes: Diagnostic & Clinical Reasoning for Advanced Practice Nurses; Health Promotion of Adults; Health Promotion of Elderly; Health Promotion of Women and Children; Heath Care Delivery Models, Economics and Policy; Scientific Underpinnings of the APN Role

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $8,470
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 440
  • Example Classes: Diagnostic & Clinical Reasoning for Advanced Practice Nurses; Health Care Delivery Models, Economics and Policy; Health Promotion of the Elderly; Health Promotion of Women And Children; Scientific Underpinnings of the APN Role

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $9,000
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 3,114
  • Example Classes: Advanced Health Assessment; Advanced Pharmacology; Care of the Child and Family; Integration of Evidence in Advanced Nursing Practice; Population Health Promotion and Management; Women's Health

Online Master's Degrees

  • MS in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $9,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 1,111
  • Example Classes: Advanced Diagnostics; Advanced Pathophysiology; Advanced Skills Primary Care; Growth and Development Across the Lifespan; Leadership for Quality, Safety and Health Policy; Theory Integration

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $9,450
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NECHE
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 874
  • Example Classes: Advanced Health Policy; Advanced Role of the Nurse; Biostatistics for the Health Sciences; Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing and Healthcare; Quality Healthcare Improvement; Research Capstone Advisement

Online Master's Degrees

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $9,450
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 1,335
  • Example Classes: Advanced Clinical Pathophysiology; Advanced Nursing Pharmacology; Advanced Physical Assessment; Diversity, Ethics, Health Promotion, & Informatics in Patient-Centered Care; Evidence Based Practice and Research; Health Policy, Social Issues, & Theory

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $9,617
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: SACS COC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 2,050
  • Example Classes: Advanced Practice Nursing: Family Health I; Applied Statistics for the Health Sciences; Business, Leadership and Health Policy for Nurse Practitioners; Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning for Advanced Practice; Pharmacotherapeutics for Advanced Practice Nursing; Population-Based Primary Care

Online Master's Degrees

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $9,856
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 6,171
  • Example Classes: Advanced Maternal and Child Care; Advanced Pathophysiology in Nursing Practice; Assessment and Intervention for Families; Primary Care of Adults and Older Adults; Psychotherapeutic Treatment Modalities for Advanced Nursing Practice; Theoretical Basis of Practice

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Nurse Educator
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $9,936
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: HLC
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 511
  • Example Classes: Advanced Physical Assessment; Behavioral Health Care for Practitioners; Evidence-Based Practice Research Project I; Health Care Delivery Systems/Managed Care; Pharmacology for Practitioners; Primary Care of the Geriatric Client

Online Master's Degrees

  • Master of Science in Nursing - RN to MSN - Adult–Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - RN to MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Adult–Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Annual Tuition: $10,200
  • School Type: Non-Profit
  • School Accreditation: NWCCU
  • Total Graduate Enrollment: 2,259
  • Example Classes: Advanced Pathophysiology; Clinical Prevention for Diverse Populations; Contemporary Healthcare Environment; Primary Care: Adult/Geriatric; Primary Care: Gender Based; Theoretical Foundations for Healthcare Improvement

Online Master's Degrees

  • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Second MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Second MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Common Nurse Practitioner Courses

Students may take the following courses while pursuing their master's degrees. While course names will vary at different schools, the topics below are commonly covered in nurse practitioner programs.

  • Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning: This course teaches experienced nurses advanced techniques for assessing and diagnosing patients beyond recording personal and family medical histories. Students will apply a reasoning process to the problems patients present in order to find the ultimate causes. These skills are crucial to any nurse practitioner, so assessment and diagnostic courses are required in all programs featured on our rankings list.
  • Advanced Healthcare Policy and Politics: This course outlines major trends in healthcare policy, including those affected by social demographics, politics and legislation, and the corporate and economic landscape. The nation’s general health depends on a wide range of factors, and students will examine how these variables can impact their practice. They’ll also discuss the effects of policy advocacy by professional nursing organizations such as the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
  • Advanced Pharmacology: This course teaches nurses about medications used to treat patients. Students learn pharmacological delivery methods, how drugs affect different systems in the body, and potential adverse effects of particular courses of treatment. Prescribing medications is an essential part of a nurse practitioner’s job, and all advanced nurse practitioner tracks require a similar course.
  • Project Management in Healthcare: This course is designed to help advance practice registered nurse (APRN) managers run their projects efficiently and on budget. Professors apply research and methods from the business world to a healthcare context through discussions of strategic planning, process analysis, and quality assurance.
  • Research and Evidence-Based Practice: Good practice requires good data, along with trained analysts to interpret that data. In this course, students learn quantitative and qualitative techniques to analyze evidence from case studies, with the goal of improving nursing practice by identifying the best interventions for given situations.

Funding a Nurse Practitioner Program

The cost of an accredited MSN program doesn’t need to be a barrier for students. Here are some ways to make a master’s degree more affordable:

  • Employer education assistance: Some organizations partially subsidize their employees’ graduate education on the condition that they continue to work for the employer for a set period. Students can exclude up to $5,250 a year from their taxable income if they receive such assistance.
  • Federal financial aid: The government offers loans and grants for graduate students. Loans require repayment after graduation, at more favorable interest rates than most private lenders offer. Grants don’t require repayment as long as the student maintains certain academic standards. Work-study programs may be available, which allows a student to work for their school or other institution in exchange for tuition assistance. We’ve put together a Guide to Financial Aid for Online Students that provides additional information.
  • Grants: These programs offer money for students conducting original research, such as the AANP’s $5,000 grant for evidence-based study to benefit nurse practitioners. Sigma, a professional nursing organization, details other grant opportunities on its website.
  • Military programs: Each service branch offers a form of tuition assistance, alongside special programs like loan forgiveness for certain veterans. Military spouses may also qualify for tuition funding.
  • Scholarships: Students generally don’t need to repay these benefits as long as they maintain a certain GPA. Scholarships can be awarded based on a student’s need or merit, and are sponsored by government agencies, private organizations, or schools. One government scholarship is the Nurse Corps Scholarship program, which covers tuition and fees and provides a monthly stipend to recipients. Another option is the AfterCollege/AACN $10,000 Scholarship Fund, a collaboration between two private organizations that disburses one $2,500 award each quarter. Some scholarships are intended for students from specific backgrounds, such as the American Indian Nurse Scholarship Program or National Black Nurses Association scholarship.

Frequently Asked Questions About Affordable Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees

How much does an online nurse practitioner program cost?

An online MSN program from an accredited institution will average about $17,000 annually. Online courses often come with technology fees that their on-campus equivalents lack, but are still generally more affordable. The schools on this page have lower tuition rates than the average cost of an MSN program. In addition, four of the schools also earned spots on the rankings list of online nurse practitioner master’s degrees with the best return on investment (ROI). ROI is a more comprehensive look at cost, factoring in future earnings versus debt.


What factors should I consider when choosing a program?

The first factor to consider is whether a master’s degree with a nurse practitioner concentration is a good career move. Registered nurses have good job prospects, especially master’s-prepared APRNs. Employment prospects for APRNs, classified as healthcare diagnosing or treating practitioners by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), are projected to grow by 10% through 2029. APRNs also average $9,000 more a year than RNs at the bachelor’s degree level. Another important factor in any school search is accreditation. Schools should be nationally and regionally accredited, and their nursing programs must be certified by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). It also may be useful to consider each online program’s design and how it aligns with your learning style. Synchronous versus asynchronous learning, comprehensive student support, and clinical opportunities in your area are all important factors for student success in an online MSN program.


What are some nurse practitioner specializations?

Here are a few of the many specializations a nurse practitioner can pursue, including one of the most common and two of the highest paying.

  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist: Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia and monitor patients undergoing surgery or sensitive procedures. These professionals are among the highest paid in nursing, with a median salary of $174,790 per year. The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists certifies nurses for this career track.
  • Family nurse practitioner (FNP): FNPs work in a wide range of settings with patients of all ages. Their duties have expanded over the years to include many services once performed exclusively by family-practice doctors: physically examining patients, ordering tests, diagnosing illnesses, and (in most states) prescribing medication. A few different organizations offer FNP certifications, including the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).
  • Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP): These practitioners diagnose and treat the full spectrum of mental health disorders among patients of all ages. They may work in private practice, hospitals, or inpatient facilities, where they provide emergency psychiatric care to distressed patients. The AANP certifies PMHNPs.


Should I pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) after my master’s degree?

Currently, a master’s degree and relevant nurse practitioner certification opens up a large number of job opportunities in a rapidly-growing field. However, since 2004, the AACN has pushed to make a DNP the entry-level requirement for nurse practitioners. This reflects a call for more stringent credentialing in the complex healthcare industry. A doctoral degree is an investment in money, effort, and time, and includes over 1,000 required clinical hours. Whether pursuing a DNP will be worth it for a student will depend on their professional goals and how much time and money they are able to commit. Nursing schools have academic and career services professionals who can help students weigh the costs and potential benefits of a DNP.