Why the need for an MSN?
Registered nurses pursue the master of science in nursing (MSN) degree to take on more advanced roles in nursing. MSN programs allow nurses to enter specialized fields such as nursing administration, nursing education, and family practice nursing. This degree may also be used as a prerequisite for doctorate-level nursing education. The duration of the MSN program varies by school; many full-time programs require one year of study, while part-time programs typically require two years. This time frame can even be extended at schools like Elmhurst College. There are over 20 colleges and universities in Illinois with MSN degree programs. Schools like Bradley University, Loyola University Chicago, and Saint Xavier University offer a wealth of specialized degree tracks.

Direct entry for non-nurses
For career switchers from non-nursing fields, there are also direct-entry MSN programs at schools such as DePaul University, Rush University, and University of Illinois at Chicago. These students are prepared to take the NCLEX-RN national licensure examination at the conclusion of their studies.

Career outlook
Graduates of MSN programs may pursue specialized roles like nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist. These career paths typically offer higher pay than traditional RN roles. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nurse practitioners in Illinois earn a median annual salary of $86,460, while the state’s nurse midwives earn $90,140 per year on average. Nurse anesthetists do even better, earning an impressive median annual salary of $154,810. These nursing specialists are employed by healthcare organizations throughout the state, including Sinai Health System and The University of Chicago Hospitals.

To help aspiring nursing leaders further their careers, we have assembled below a list of the top MSN programs throughout the state of Illinois.

Chicagoland metro area

Aurora University
347 South Gladstone Avenue | Aurora, Illinois 60506
  • Direct Entry MSN
Benedictine University
5700 College Road | Lisle, Illinois 60532
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Chamberlain University
1221 North Swift Road | Addison, Illinois 60101
  • Accelerated RN-to-MSN Option
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Healthcare Policy
  • MSN: Nurse Educator
  • MSN: Nurse Executive
  • MSN: Nursing Informatics
  • MSN: Population Health
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • RN-to-BSN-to-MSN Option
Chicago State University
9501 South King Drive | Chicago, Illinois 60628
  • MSN: Community Health Nursing
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • Master of Science in Nursing
DePaul University
990 West Fullerton Avenue | Chicago, Illinois 60614
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nurse Administrator
  • MSN: Nurse Educator
  • Master's Entry to Nursing Practice
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Elmhurst University
190 Prospect Avenue | Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
  • Direct Entry MSN
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Governors State University
One University Parkway | University Park, Illinois 60484
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Lewis University
One University Parkway | Romeoville, Illinois 60446
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Loyola University Chicago
1032 West Sheridan Road | Chicago, Illinois 60660
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • MSN: Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
North Park University
3225 West Foster Avenue | Chicago, Illinois 60625
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Northern Illinois University
1240 Normal Road | DeKalb, Illinois 60115
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Oak Point University
1431 North Claremont Avenue | Chicago, Illinois 60622
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nurse Educator
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Rush University
600 South Paulina Street, Suite 1080 | Chicago, Illinois 60612
  • Direct Entry MSN
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Saint Xavier University
3700 West 103rd Street | Chicago, Illinois 60655
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
University of Illinois Chicago
845 South Damen Avenue | Chicago, Illinois 60612
  • Direct Entry MSN
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
University of St. Francis
500 Wilcox Street | Joliet, Illinois 60435
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
School Address Programs offered
Aurora University 347 South Gladstone Avenue
Aurora, Illinois 60506
  • Direct Entry MSN
Benedictine University 5700 College Road
Lisle, Illinois 60532
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Chamberlain University 1221 North Swift Road
Addison, Illinois 60101
  • Accelerated RN-to-MSN Option
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Healthcare Policy
  • MSN: Nurse Educator
  • MSN: Nurse Executive
  • MSN: Nursing Informatics
  • MSN: Population Health
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • RN-to-BSN-to-MSN Option
Chicago State University 9501 South King Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60628
  • MSN: Community Health Nursing
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • Master of Science in Nursing
DePaul University 990 West Fullerton Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60614
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nurse Administrator
  • MSN: Nurse Educator
  • Master's Entry to Nursing Practice
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Elmhurst University 190 Prospect Avenue
Elmhurst, Illinois 60126
  • Direct Entry MSN
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Governors State University One University Parkway
University Park, Illinois 60484
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Lewis University One University Parkway
Romeoville, Illinois 60446
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Loyola University Chicago 1032 West Sheridan Road
Chicago, Illinois 60660
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • MSN: Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
North Park University 3225 West Foster Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Northern Illinois University 1240 Normal Road
DeKalb, Illinois 60115
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Oak Point University 1431 North Claremont Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60622
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nurse Educator
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Rush University 600 South Paulina Street, Suite 1080
Chicago, Illinois 60612
  • Direct Entry MSN
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Saint Xavier University 3700 West 103rd Street
Chicago, Illinois 60655
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
University of Illinois Chicago 845 South Damen Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60612
  • Direct Entry MSN
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
University of St. Francis 500 Wilcox Street
Joliet, Illinois 60435
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion

Peoria

Bradley University
1501 West Bradley Avenue | Peoria, Illinois 61625
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Methodist College
7600 North Academic Drive | Peoria, Illinois 61615
  • MSN: Generalist
  • MSN: Nurse Educator
  • MSN: Nurse Leader Executive
  • MSN: Prelicensure
Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing
511 NE Greenleaf Street | Peoria, Illinois 61603
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
School Address Programs offered
Bradley University 1501 West Bradley Avenue
Peoria, Illinois 61625
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Methodist College 7600 North Academic Drive
Peoria, Illinois 61615
  • MSN: Generalist
  • MSN: Nurse Educator
  • MSN: Nurse Leader Executive
  • MSN: Prelicensure
Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing 511 NE Greenleaf Street
Peoria, Illinois 61603
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion

Rockford

Saint Anthony College of Nursing
3301 North Mulford Road | Rockford, Illinois 61114
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
School Address Programs offered
Saint Anthony College of Nursing 3301 North Mulford Road
Rockford, Illinois 61114
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion

Springfield

St. John's College of Nursing
729 East Carpenter Street | Springfield, Illinois 62702
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration and Leadership
School Address Programs offered
St. John's College of Nursing 729 East Carpenter Street
Springfield, Illinois 62702
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration and Leadership

St. Louis suburbs

McKendree University
701 College Road | Lebanon, Illinois 62254
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
125 Peck Service Road, Suite 2117 | Edwardsville, Illinois 62025
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
School Address Programs offered
McKendree University 701 College Road
Lebanon, Illinois 62254
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 125 Peck Service Road, Suite 2117
Edwardsville, Illinois 62025
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing

Other Illinois cities

Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing & Health Sciences
3609 North Marx Drive | Quincy, Illinois 62305
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Illinois State University
110 South University Street | Normal, Illinois 61790
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Millikin University
1184 West Main Street | Decatur, Illinois 62522
  • Direct Entry MSN
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Olivet Nazarene University
One University Avenue | Bourbonnais, Illinois 60914
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences
2122 25th Avenue | Rock Island, Illinois 61201
  • Direct Entry MSN
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
School Address Programs offered
Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing & Health Sciences 3609 North Marx Drive
Quincy, Illinois 62305
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Illinois State University 110 South University Street
Normal, Illinois 61790
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Millikin University 1184 West Main Street
Decatur, Illinois 62522
  • Direct Entry MSN
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Olivet Nazarene University One University Avenue
Bourbonnais, Illinois 60914
  • Master of Science in Nursing
Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences 2122 25th Avenue
Rock Island, Illinois 61201
  • Direct Entry MSN
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-MSN Degree Completion
Category: 
Illinois