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Top 20 Best Graduate Programs in Nursing Informatics and Administration in 2015

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By Kristen Fescoe
Published June 2015

The healthcare industry has seen some of the most dramatic growth of all industries in the United States, and with it the flourishing of nursing informatics degrees, sometimes known as nursing administration degrees. In order to keep up with industry changes and growth patterns, healthcare professionals have been asked to fill new roles to bridge gaps in patient care. Nurses have taken on new and more important roles in order to meet the needs of both patients and the facilities that care for them. Two emerging roles that nurses are now filling are Nursing Informatics Specialists and Nurse Administrators. Those trained in nursing informatics possess the skills and the training to manage important patient data on computers and online. Because patient privacy is paramount in the healthcare field, it is important that Nursing Informatics Specialists can keep patient data both private as well as accessible to doctors, insurance companies, and others responsible for patient care. Nurse Administrators are responsible for the management and administrative aspects of running a medical practice, hospital or other medical facility.

Ranking Methodology

The goal of this ranking list is to outline the top 20 programs offering a master’s degree in the growing field of nursing informatics and administration. The system controlling how points are awarded is as follows:

Likelihood of Acceptance

As more and more individuals are pursuing health informatics degrees, programs are becoming increasingly competitive. Those schools with higher acceptance rate were given additional points. US News and World Report provided the data for this score.

Points:
Acceptance Rates Above 50% / Above 75%
1 Points / 2 Points

Cost of Attendance

Another element being carefully considered is the cost of attendance. Depending upon the program and university, the cost of attendance was reported as either the cost per credit or the cost of graduate training for one year. Cost of attendance data was gathered from US News and World Report and the National Educational Center’s College Navigator Tool.

Points: (Annually)
Under $20,000 / $20,001 – $30,000/ $30,001 – $40,000
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

Points: (Per Credit)
Less that $1,000 / $1,001 – $1,200 / $1,201 – $1,500
3 Points / 2 Points / 1 Point

College Ranking

The next consideration was whether or not a school has been granted acknowledgement by a national ranking body. The major source of such national notoriety comes from the US News and World Report Best Colleges List. The data being considered for this ranking list is Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics and Best Graduate Program in Nursing Administration.

Points:

US News and World Report Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics Ranking:
7-10 / 4-6 / 1-3
1 Points / 2 Points / 3 Points

US News and World Report Graduate Program in Nursing Administration Ranking:
13-20 / 6-12/ 1-5
1 Points / 2 Points / 3 Points

US News and World Report Best Online Graduate Program in Nursing Ranking:
Top 35 = 2 Points

Peer Assessment Score

Additional consideration was given to the Peer Assessment Score issued by US News and World Report ranking lists for best Nursing Informatics and Nursing Administration. US News and World Report arrived at these scores by asking selected respondents to complete a questionnaire, which rated the overall academic quality of the specific program at each institution on a five-point scale.

Points:
U.S. News and World Report Peer Assessment Score
3.5-3.9 / 4.0 – 4.4 / 4.5 – 5
1 Point/ 2 Points/ 3 Points

Student to Faculty Ratio

For many students, it is important to receive the individualized attention of their instructors. Preference is given to those schools that have a low student to faculty ratio.

Points:

7:1 or less/8:1-10:1/11:1-15:1
3 points / 2 points / 1 point

Grading Process

Once the points have been tallied, the schools are arranged into groups by the amount of points they have earned. In the cases of ties, preference was given to those schools that had the highest assessment score, followed by those receiving higher ranking on the US News and World Reports ranking list for Nursing Informatics and Nursing Administration and finally lower cost of attendance. The main purpose of this list is to highlight the top 20 schools offering nursing informatics degrees and nursing administration degrees. Specializations, awards and achievements earned by the school or department have also been noted.

Ranking Top 20 Programs in Nursing Informatics and Nursing Administration

#20 – Rutgers University – Newark, New Jersey

Rutgers University HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe College of Nursing

Points: 6
Master of Science in Nursing
Nursing Informatics Program Website

The Newark campus of Rutgers University is home to a nationally recognized nursing program. In addition to traditional nursing degree options, there is also an online Master of Science in Nursing with a specialization in Nursing Informatics. Graduates of this online program are eligible to take the Informatics Nursing Certification Examination through American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Graduates of the Nursing Informatics program leave the program with advanced training in nursing information systems. Students are trained in the many areas of Nursing Informatics (NI), the specialty area that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing practice. Upon graduation, Nursing Informatics Specialists are prepared to start advancing the health of populations, communities, families, and individuals by enhancing information management and communication. Graduates are adequately prepared to:

  • Use technology as a major part of direct medical care
  • Establish effective administrative systems
  • Manage and delivering educational experiences
  • Support life-long learning
  • Support nursing research

Clinical Leadership Program Website

Also available on the Newark campus is the 35-credit Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a specialization in Clinical Leadership. The program can be completed in six (6) semesters of part-time graduate study. Upon graduation, MSN’s are eligible to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader certification examination offered by CNC (Commission of Nurse Certification), and are prepared to advance to a doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) program, if desired. Graduates of this program are prepared in a number of areas, including:

  • Clinical leadership for patient-care practices and delivery, including the design, coordination, and evaluation of care for individuals, families, groups, and populations
  • Involvement in the identification and collection of care outcomes
  • Accountability for evaluation and improvement of point-of-care outcomes
  • Risk anticipation for individuals and cohorts of patients
  • Lateral integration of care for individuals and cohorts of patients
  • Facilitate transitions of care across care settings
  • Design and implementation of evidence-based practices
  • Team leadership, management and collaboration with other health professional team members
  • Information management or the use of information systems and technologies to improve healthcare outcomes
  • Stewardship and leveraging of human, environmental, and material resources
  • Advocacy for patients, communities, and the health professional team

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Informatics Specialization
Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Leadership Specialization
US News and World Report Ranking:
#25 Best Nursing Program
Cost of Attendance: $745 per credit
Enrollment: 243
Peer Assessment Score: 3.4
Acceptance Rate: 44.5%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 6.8:1
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#19 – University of Texas – Arlington, Texas

 University of Texas Arlington HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe College of Nursing

Points: 7
Master of Science in Nursing Administration
Program Website

The University of Texas in Arlington houses the UT College of Nursing. The Master of Science in Nursing Administration (MSN) is a program designed to integrate modern management theory with core competencies to enable graduates to pursue careers in a variety of healthcare settings. The MSN in Nursing Administration program builds upon the framework of undergraduate nursing training and practical experience. Graduates of this MSN program receive advanced training and acquire skills to function in leadership and management positions in the constantly evolving healthcare environment. Some of the most important aspects of the UT MSN in Nursing Administration program include:

  • Course content delivered via a blended learning model. Online technology supports enhanced courses with UT Arlington faculty and supervised clinical experiences at partner hospitals throughout the state
  • An instructional format not linked to traditional semester schedules, which allows students to enter and progress through the program on their own pace
  • Clinical experiences in the healthcare partner’s facilities, enhancing the graduate’s readiness to practice in a management role

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing Administration
US News and World Report Ranking:
#90 Best Nursing Program
#31 Best Online Graduate Nursing Program
Cost of Attendance: $9,728 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 1,604
Peer Assessment Score: 3.1
Acceptance Rate: 60.7%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 48.8:1
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#18 – University of California – Los Angeles, California

University of California Los Angeles HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe School of Nursing

Points: 8
Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The concurrent Master of Business Administration (MBA) and MSN program is a three-year degree program jointly sponsored by the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the UCLA School of Nursing. Upon graduation students are awarded both the MBA degree and the MSN degree. The dual MBA/MSN program was created for individuals who are seeking a management career in healthcare or as a consultant, and desire comprehensive professional preparation for such a career. This interdisciplinary program highlights the combined interest of employers, faculty, and students who have recognized the many challenges present when managing in healthcare delivery within the context of healthcare reforms. This program trains graduates who can meet those challenges head on and create positive change in the industry. In the past, students who planned to obtain both degrees would have had to take one program after the other, typically taking about four years. By earning the two degrees through this concurrent program, both degrees can be earned in as little as three years.

Degrees Offered:
Concurrent Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing with specialization in Nursing Administration Specialist
US News and World Report Ranking:
#19 Best Nursing Program
Cost of Attendance: $19,578 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 390
Peer Assessment Score: 4.0
Acceptance Rate: 45.6%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Accreditations:
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

#17 – University of Minnesota Twin Cities – Minneapolis, Minnesota

University of Minnesota HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe School of Nursing

Points: 9
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Practice
Program Website

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities Nursing Department offers the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program. This degree is a practice-based degree plan, educating nurses who will become leaders who deliver and improve patient-centered care by bringing the latest evidence-based knowledge to clinical practice. Graduates of this DNP program are recognized for positively influencing nursing practice and healthcare delivery for individuals and populations locally, nationally and around the world. DNP graduates are in great demand as the need increases to improve health outcomes and care for people with complex, chronic conditions. The optional nurse informatics concentration area that accompanies this DNP program provides students with innovative and challenging opportunities in a number of areas, including:

  • Clinical health informatics
  • Consumer informatics
  • Population health informatics
  • Systems analysis and design
  • Database design and queries
  • Knowledge representation and interoperability
  • Clinical decision support and evidence-based practice
  • Human factors and usability
  • Leadership and health informatics
  • Research in health informatics
  • Development and project management of health informatics projects
  • Simulations and gaming

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Practice – Nurse Informatics
US News and World Report Ranking:
#2 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
Cost of Attendance: $927 per credit
Enrollment: 377
Peer Assessment Score: Data Not Available
Acceptance Rate: 70.2%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 17:1 (university wide faculty / student ratio)
Accreditations:
American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Commission on Accreditation
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#16 – University of Colorado – Denver, Colorado

University of Colorado HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe UC College of Nursing

Points: 9
Master of Science in Nursing
Informatics Program Website

The Nursing Program at the University of Colorado is home to an excellent MSN program with a specialization in Biomedical Informatics. The curriculum used in this program provides students with the required information and skills to tackle the informatics specialist role. The program was built upon broad ideas and concepts stemming from the American Nurses Association’s Scope and Standards of nursing informatics practice. The core nursing informatics courses offer students with a foundation in information management and decision support, nursing and healthcare terminologies and the general “life cycle” of an information system. Students will complete a practicum experience that focuses specifically on a particular role in informatics. In addition to completing all the MSN core courses and required informatics core courses, each student must select 9 credits of specialty courses. The specialty courses allow informatics students to learn more broadly in various aspects of healthcare informatics. The specialties are fully customizable to meet the individual needs of each student.

HCI Certificate Program Website

The Healthcare Informatics (HCI) Certificate Program at the University of Colorado offers interested students an opportunity for healthcare professionals, in many cases those professionals without a BS in nursing, to gain the knowledge and skills in the quickly evolving field of informatics. Recent years have seen a shift towards the adoption of an electronic health record (HER) system, which has created an increasing need for IT infrastructure to increase patient safety and facilitate evidence-based practice, thereby creating a growing need for more highly skilled informatics specialists. By earning this certificate, students are given the opportunity to practice in the field.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Healthcare Informatics / Nursing Informatics
Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Healthcare Systems
US News and World Report Ranking:
#5 Best Online Graduate Nursing Program
Cost of Attendance: $540 per credit
Enrollment: 155
Peer Assessment Score: 3.7
Acceptance Rate: 92%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: Data not available
Accreditations:
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#15 – University of Alabama – Birmingham, Alabama

University of Alabama HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramUAB School of Nursing

Points: 9
Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice

Program Website

The UAB School of Nursing offers a number of options in nursing and nursing informatics degrees. The MSN with Nursing and Health Systems Administration (NHSA) specialty track offers students the training to investigate innovative healthcare delivery systems in preparation for positions ranging from unit managers to executive managers. Graduates of this program are amply prepared for management at all levels of the organization, with a robust, encompassing knowledge base and skill set. Graduates also have skills in a number of relevant areas, including customer service and finance, strategic and quality management, and the ability to design and implement care delivery models that extend beyond the walls of the organization into the community. Students learn how to work with a diverse group of stakeholders and other professional experts.

The MSN with Nursing Informatics Specialization trains graduates who will be able to participate in the analysis, design, and implementation of information and communication systems, effectiveness and informatics research, and the education of nursing informatics and information technology. The curriculum is a combination of computer science, cognitive science, information science, and nursing science. The general focus of the Nursing Informatics program is to help students understand the organization, analysis, and dissemination of information, rather than the computer itself. Graduates of this specialty track are prepared to manage and process nursing data, information, and knowledge to support the practice of nursing and the delivery of nursing care.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program builds upon more than 15 advanced specialty tracks currently offered in various master’s degree programs at UAB for nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and nurse administrators. The DNP degree plan is a practice-focused terminal degree to prepare graduates for practice at the highest level in specialty practice or to assume leadership positions in healthcare or nursing education.

Degrees Offered:
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing and Health Systems Administration
Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Informatics Specialists
Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Leader
US News and World Report Ranking:
#9 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
#13 Best Program in Nursing
Cost of Attendance: $476 per credit
Enrollment: 1,636
Peer Assessment Score: 4.0
Acceptance Rate: 65.7%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 38.2:1
Accreditations:
Alabama Board of Nursing (ABN)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#14 – University of Iowa – Iowa City, Iowa

University of Iowa HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe College of Nursing

Points: 10
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The College of Nursing at the University of Iowa offers a degree in Clinical Nurse Leadership (CNL) that has been ranked the second best such program in the country. The role of the CNL is an evolving nursing role developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in conjunction with leaders from the education and practice arenas. The AACN is expanding the CNL as a clinical expert focused upon improving the quality of patient care and helping professional nurses to thrive in the healthcare system. The CNL role has also demonstrated effectiveness in improving outcomes, elevating current evidence-based practice and enhancing quality. As this role becomes more and more essential to the practice of medicine and direct patient care, more fully trained CNL positions will become available.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing: Clinical Nurse Leader Track
US News and World Report Ranking:
#2 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Administration
Cost of Attendance: $14,720 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 13
Peer Assessment Score: Data not available
Acceptance Rate: 100%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 16:1 (university wide faculty/student ratio)
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#13 – New York University – New York, New York

New York University HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe College of Nursing

Points: 10
Master of Science in Nursing Informatics
Program Website

The Master of Science in Nursing Informatics at New York University is an excellent opportunity for those individuals who want to work at the crossroads of technology and patient care. This unique MS in Nursing Informatics degree has a number of strengths, including:

  • Innovative advanced study in nursing informatics
  • A unique computer lab available to students
  • Practicum experience in five of six specialty courses
  • Exciting opportunities to work with informatics specialists and leaders in this new and exciting field
  • A strong emphasis on clinical informatics in the major healthcare centers in the New York metropolitan area
  • Graduates of the Nursing Informatics program are eligible to sit for the ANCC Nursing Informatics Certification Examination

Students enrolled in this program are required to complete a practicum experience to apply their classroom learning to a real-world setting. Some of the available practicum sites include premier teaching hospital centers and clinical agencies such as Mt. Sinai Medical Center, NYU Langone Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, NYC Health & Hospital Corporation, Continuum Health Partners and NY Presbyterian. Each of the placements that students experience are full of excellent nursing informatics role models to learn from directly. Faculty arranges all placements and there are placement possibilities available throughout the tri-state area.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing Informatics
US News and World Report Ranking:
#7 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
#6 Best Program in Nursing
Cost of Attendance: $36,192 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 618
Peer Assessment Score: 4.1
Acceptance Rate: 67.6%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 8.8:1
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#12 – University of Utah – Salt Lake City, Utah

University of Utah HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe College of Nursing

Points: 11
Master of Science in Nursing Informatics
Program Website

The MSN in Nursing Informatics is at the center of informatics activities at the University of Utah. Students enrolled in this program collaborate across many different disciplines, such as psychology, architecture, computer science, biomedical engineering and clinical departments on fascinating projects. Some of the possible projects include developing novel designs for physiological monitors, designing patient-centered decision support applications, creating risk mitigation strategies for implementing solutions, or developing web-based educational programs for families of NICU. This innovative and exciting program offers an ideal site for student experiences, informatics projects and employment opportunities. By earning a degree in nursing informatics, students become capable of leading or assisting with the development, implementation and evaluation of information system applications for many different areas of practice. This relatively new area of practice in healthcare will provide graduates with the skills to improve the health of consumers and improve organizational processes through information management and information technology. The University of Utah provides unique experience for students to learn with biomedical, pharmacy and other informatics students, and students complete many of their courses jointly with students in other disciplines, working together on projects and learning from nationally known faculty. The College of Nursing also now has a student-centered education building, available to students around the clock.

The Nursing Informatics master’s program is available in both full-time (9+ credit hours per semester) and part-time options. The full-time program of study is completed in two years, including a summer semester. The part-time program of study is typically completed in three years. Forty credit hours are required to complete this program. Students have the option to complete some of their coursework online; however, the program cannot be fully completed online.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing Informatics
US News and World Report Ranking:
#7 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
Cost of Attendance: $13,042 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 52
Peer Assessment Score: 3.8
Acceptance Rate: 100%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 1.6:1
Accreditations:
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)

#11 – University of Illinois – Chicago, Illinois

University of illinois HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe College of Applied Health Sciences

Points: 11
Bachelor of Science, Graduate Certificate, Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice
Informatics Program Website

The study of nursing informatics at the University of Illinois College of Applied Health Sciences teaches students how to maintain and operate systems, as well as instructs others on effective use of the data and information system to increase their knowledge. Graduates of the Nurse Informatics program are experts in understanding patient care workflow and possess the education and experience required to understand the technology and information systems. The responsibilities of Nurse Informaticists are to:

  • Communicate and coordinate patient care with all other clinical disciplines
  • Evaluate and improve discharge planning and transitions of care
  • Manage all information related to the nursing process for patient care delivery

The Master of Science in Health Informatics degree or Post-Master’s certificate from the University of Illinois at Chicago can qualify nurses for a variety of different types of positions at a wide variety of organizations. This inclusive degree program allows nurses to supplement their skills and expand upon their existing informatics knowledge for advancement within the field.

Leadership Certificate Program Website 

The Administrative Nursing Leadership (ANL) certificate is designed to integrate the Scope and Standards for Nursing Administrators (2009) published by the American Nurses Association (ANA). Administrative nursing combines the disciplines of nursing and management to more efficiently and effectively direct nursing operations in healthcare agencies toward realization of the goals of all members of the healthcare field. The focus of this program includes human resources, fiscal management, leadership, strategic management, health informatics, and managerial functions of the nurse administrator. This program is ideal for those individuals seeking employment as a Nursing Manager, Nursing Director, or Program Manager/Coordinator. The 18-semester hour certificate program can be completed in 4 semesters of part-time study and can be completed fully online.

Doctor of Nursing Practice Program Website

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program is designed to train nurse leaders for the highest level of professional nursing practice. Doctoral level nursing practice involves advanced clinical practice that impacts healthcare outcomes for patients, families, and populations. This includes the direct care of patients, management and care coordination for patients and populations, administration of nursing and healthcare organizations, and the development and implementation of health policy. Graduates of this DNP program are prepared for direct care roles (nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse midwives), systems-focused roles (administrative, public health, and policy roles) as well as a blend of these roles. The DNP curriculum consists of three domains of competencies for advanced practice in direct clinical care or systems, including:

  • Core practice competencies
  • Specialty-specific practice competencies
  • Role competencies

The overall program mission is to “develop advanced practitioners of nursing into evidenced-based, intra-disciplinary providers who meet the needs of a rapidly expanding healthcare field.” Upon completion of the DNP program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the specialty competencies needed for doctoral practice in nursing
  • Translate science to influence healthcare policy
  • Implement evidence-based practices to optimize healthcare outcomes and reduce disparities
  • Practice strategic management skills to improve the effectiveness of nursing interventions and health systems outcomes
  • Develop interdisciplinary ventures to create innovative healthcare delivery models
  • Demonstrate fiscal leadership in planning and in management for nursing practice
  • Integrate technology with nursing practice skills to improve quality and accessibility of care

Degrees Offered:
Administrative Nurse Leadership Certificate
Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
Master of Science in Health Informatics
Post-Master’s Certificate in Health Informatics
US News and World Report Ranking:
#9 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
#4 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Administration
#13 Best Program in Nursing
Cost of Attendance: $19,680 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 640
Peer Assessment Score: 4.2
Acceptance Rate: 45.5%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 13.1:1
Accreditations:
Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Health Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#10 – Columbia University – New York, New York

Columbia University HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe School of Nursing and The Department of Biomedical Informatics

Points: 11
Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy
Program Website

The terminal Master of Arts (MA) degree program prepares students for practical, hands-on careers in health informatics. Graduates of this program have secured employment at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University, as well as enrolled in the Columbia PhD program. There are two tracks for the MA degree, including the applied track for workforce training and the research track. There is some overlap of coursework, and either track can be pursued full-time or part-time, depending on the needs of the student. While both tracks culminate in a master’s essay, the content for the applied track essay is a summer practicum, whereas the content for the research track is a project. Full-time students can complete the applied MA track in 12 months (coursework in the fall and spring terms with a full-time summer practicum). The research track typically takes 18-24 months on a full-time basis. For part-time students, both tracks must be completed within 4 years.

The PhD program in Biomedical Informatics is part of the Coordinated Doctoral Programs in the Biomedical Sciences at the Department of Biomedical Informatics. Students in this program receive training to understand how the scientific approach must be applied to healthcare and biomedicine. The program can only be completed full-time, as required by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), and the first two years are typically devoted to coursework and research. Later years focus on independent research that culminates in a dissertation. The degree requirements for the PhD degree program include:

  • 60 points of approved coursework and 6 residence units (the equivalent of 3 years of full-time study)
  • Teaching assistant for 2 courses
  • Regular paper and poster submissions to national conferences beginning the first year
  • Attendance at relevant conferences or training programs
  • Mid-semester reports
  • Yearly meetings with advisory committee
  • Regular meetings, either individually or in a group, with research advisor
  • Two preliminary examinations
  • Completion of the Doctoral Dissertation

Degrees Offered:
Master of Arts in Biomedical Informatics
Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Informatics
US News and World Report Ranking:
#3 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
#11 Best Program in Nursing
Cost of Attendance: $1,366 per credit
Enrollment: 441
Peer Assessment Score: 4.2
Acceptance Rate: 81.6%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 23.9:1
Accreditations:
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#9 – Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tennessee

Vanderbilt30 Great Colleges for INTP Personality TypesThe School of Nursing

Points: 12
Master of Science in Nursing
Informatics Program Website

The MSN with a specialization in Nursing Informatics at Vanderbilt combines nursing science, information science and computer science. This master’s degree program trains nurses to engage in nursing informatics as an informatics nurse specialist. Once the degree is completed, as an informatics nurse specialist, graduates are responsible for identifying, collecting, processing and managing data and information to support nursing practice, administration, education, research and the expansion of nursing knowledge.

Administration Program Website

The MSN with a specialization in Healthcare Leadership degree program prepares graduates for advanced roles in nursing and healthcare management. This specialty is designed to train nurses at the graduate level so they are capable of managing the direct delivery of nursing and healthcare services across the continuum of healthcare settings. Graduates of this unique degree program gather the breadth of management knowledge and skills necessary to manage effectively and assume leadership positions in healthcare delivery organizations. The Healthcare Leadership curriculum is offered in a full-time and a part-time, online format. Students have the option of entering the part-time program during fall and spring semesters; however, full-time students must begin in the fall each year.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing with Nursing Informatics Specialization
Master of Science in Nursing with Health Leadership Specialization
US News and World Report Ranking:
#2 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
#10 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Administration
#11 Best Program in Nursing
Cost of Attendance: $1,195 per credit
Enrollment: 649
Peer Assessment Score: 4.1
Acceptance Rate: 54.5%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 30:1
Accreditations:
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#8 – University of Washington – Seattle, Washington

University of washington HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe School of Medicine

Points: 12
Master of Science in Clinical Informatics
Program Website

The Online Clinical Informatics and Patient-Centered Technologies Master of Science (CIPCT) degree at the University of Washington trains health professionals to understand, implement, manage, and evaluate the use of health informatics applications as applied to advanced patient care. The CIPCT degree program is supported jointly by the University of Washington’s #1 Ranked School of Medicine (Primary Care) and #4 Ranked School of Nursing (by US News and World Report). This online master of science degree program is designed for healthcare professionals who possess an interest in learning about the information technology (IT) tools available for use in the clinical setting and how to integrate those tools efficiently and effectively to improve healthcare. Graduates of this program can secure employment in healthcare organizations or industry vendors, helping to create, choose, implement, manage and assess the use of these tools. The curriculum in this program involves a number of disciplines, including nursing informatics, medical informatics, public health informatics, biomedical informatics, and several others. The interdisciplinary CIPCT program overlaps many of these areas by focusing on the use of information technology to support, improve and appraise clinical care. Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree and have at least one year of experience in healthcare delivery.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Clinical Informatics and Patient Centered Technology
US News and World Report Ranking:
#9 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
Cost of Attendance: $15,207 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 72
Peer Assessment Score: 4.4
Acceptance Rate: 80.9%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 0.6:1
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCACS)

#7 – University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina

University of North Carolina HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe School of Nursing

Points: 13
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The MSN degree at the UNC College of Nursing is offered with a Healthcare Systems (HCS) Advanced Practice Area of study. This degree program prepares students with information and skills required to succeed in a variety range of leadership positions within healthcare organizations. The curriculum for this advanced practice area includes content in management and leadership, informatics, financial management, human resource management, quality improvement, outcomes management, and education. The approach used by the department trains graduates with both a breadth and a depth of knowledge and skills that will help them to develop, implement, and measure the impact of innovations in care delivery. To further hone their skills, nursing students in the Healthcare Systems track can further specialize in the following areas of study:

Administration: This area prepares students by providing them with cutting-edge knowledge and skills in the management, organization, and delivery of systems of care, with emphasis on human and financial resource management.

Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL): This area is designed to prepare students to provide and manage care for individuals and groups of patients, with an emphasis on understanding patients’ clinical progression, care transitions and processes, evidence-based practice, quality improvement and patient safety. Students in this track must complete core specialty courses focused on client and system assessment, outcomes management, clinical nurse leadership, as well as coursework in advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, and advanced assessment. Upon graduation, students are eligible to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader Certification Examination.

Education: This track prepares students by arming them with advanced knowledge and skills in teaching and nursing education to fill roles in patient education, staff development, or academic settings. Students in the education program will complete coursework addressing the 3 P’s, as well as in advanced assessment. There are several courses that address the foundation of nursing education, evaluation, and clinical teaching. Upon completion of the program, education graduates are eligible to sit for national certification as a Certified Nurse Educator.

Informatics: This track prepares students with in-depth knowledge and skills in information management and processing principles to support data, information, and knowledge needs in the practice of nursing.

Outcomes Management: This area prepares students with advanced skills in managing patient and systems outcomes, emphasizing quality and performance improvement, outcomes measurement, and introducing practice innovations.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing: Health Care Systems
US News and World Report Ranking:
#5 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
#17 Best Program in Nursing
Cost of Attendance: $13,693 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 215
Peer Assessment Score: 4.2
Acceptance Rate: 63.8%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 4>1:1
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#6 – Duke University – Durham, North Carolina

Duke University HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe School of Nursing

Points: 13
Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The Master of Science in Nursing with Health Informatics Certificate trains students for careers as nurse informaticists. These are skilled professionals who undertake critical roles in the development and implementation of healthcare IT systems in areas such as clinical documentation, computerized practitioner order entry, and electronic health records. Students in the nursing informatics degree program gather information and skills in clinical information systems, strategic planning, project management, and a variety of technologies. The curriculum builds upon concepts of “data-information-knowledge meta-structures” and combines “systems lifecycle planning and expert clinical domain modelling.” The demanding program uses both online instruction as well as one campus session each semester. The final course in this major (Nursing 725, Synthesis of Specialty Practice) is an intensive individualized practicum in a healthcare organization (minimum of 224 practicum hours) in which students complete a project under the mentorship of an experienced clinician in the nursing informatics specialty.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing with Health Informatics Certificate
US News and World Report Ranking:
#3 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
#6 Best Program in Nursing
#6 Best Online Graduate Program in Nursing
Cost of Attendance: $1,495 per credit
Enrollment: 491
Peer Assessment Score: 4.3
Acceptance Rate: 37.8%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 6.5:1
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)

#5 – University of Maryland – Baltimore, Maryland

University of Maryland HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe School of Nursing

Points: 15
Master of Science in Nursing and Concurrent Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing
Informatics Program Website

The Nursing Informatics degree program at the University of Maryland School of Nursing trains students to pursue careers as nurse informaticists. This specialty trains nursing professionals so they may enhance the quality of direct patient care and improve outcomes through the development, implementation, and evaluation of information technology. As the push for the adoption of universal electronic information systems grows, the push is creating a rapidly growing need for nursing informatics in healthcare organizations and businesses that develop and sell healthcare information technology. Graduates of this specialty program are able to analyze nursing information requirements, design system alternatives, manage information technology, identify and implement user-training strategies, and evaluate the effectiveness of clinical and/or management information systems in healthcare. Graduates are also prepared to become leaders in the conceptualization, design, and research of computer-based information systems in healthcare organizations and in the informatics industry. This is a post-BSN route for obtaining a master’s degree with the Nursing Informatics specialty. Doctoral degrees (DNP and PhD) and a certificate at the post-master’s level are also available in full-time and part-time plans of study, online and in the classroom. The online program overview includes:

  • Nursing informatics courses are offered only online. Core courses and electives may also be taken online, although some face-to-face options are available.
  • Faculty members are fully committed to distance learning. You receive individual attention from your advisor and communicate with them via telephone or email.
  • For the required practicum, students and their advisor arrange a mutually agreeable site in their local area.

Administration Program Website

The nursing administration MS/MBA specialty is offered in conjunction with the University of Baltimore Robert G. Merrick School of Business and the University of Maryland, College Park Smith School of Business. The dual degree option prepares administrators with a unique integration of advanced nursing and business management expertise, that trains them to analyze, plan, implement, and assess innovative and creative responses to health care marketplace needs. Upon graduation, students are prepared for senior management level positions where they can make decisions on a number of important factors including financial, strategic planning, resource management, and governance issues. The MS/MBA program involves 66-72 credits of required coursework and can be completed in two years of full-time, year-round study. Part-time study can be completed over the course of a maximum of seven years. Graduates are awarded an MS from the University of Maryland School of Nursing and an MBA from the University of Baltimore Robert G. Merrick School of Business or the University of Maryland, College Park Smith School of Business.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing
Concurrent Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing
US News and World Report Ranking:
#1 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
#5 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Administration
#6 Best Program in Nursing
Cost of Attendance: $641 per credit
Enrollment: 719
Peer Assessment Score: 4.2
Acceptance Rate: 52.7%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 17>3:1
Accreditations:
Association of American Universities (AAU)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#4 – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe School of Nursing

Points: 15
Master of Science in Health Systems, Nursing Leadership, and Effectiveness
Program Website

Master of Science in Health Systems, Nursing Leadership, and Effectiveness program is designed to train graduates for leadership positions in multifaceted organizations where they can improve health outcomes across many areas of direct patient care. Students have the option of selecting one of two focus areas, in informatics or leadership. Upon graduation from this unique program, students will possess the skills to apply theory and knowledge gained through course work and expert-driven immersion experiences. Graduates of this MS program are prepared to face the difficult challenges facing health systems in a global society. The curriculum is a web-blended MS program that integrates self-paced learning with on-campus engagement. Students interact with world-class faculty as well as their student peers online and during the four to eight distributed days of on-site classes each semester. The entire program is supplemented by virtual learning experiences. Due to the web hybrid nature, the program accommodates working students as well as students living outside of the Ann Arbor/metro-Detroit area. Students who complete the MS in the informatics focus area have the training in the content and practice of the field to qualify them to sit for a variety of informatics certifications.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Health Systems, Nursing Leadership, and Effectiveness
US News and World Report Ranking:
#6 Best Program in Nursing
#2 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Administration
Cost of Attendance: $19,980 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 288
Peer Assessment Score: 4.3
Acceptance Rate: 68.1%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 5.3:1
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#3 – University of Pittsburg – Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburg HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe School of Nursing

Points: 15
Master of Science in Nursing
Informatics Program Website

The MSN with a specialization in nursing informatics is a program that integrates cognitive science, computer science, information science, and nursing science. The program includes the development, analysis, and evaluation of information systems amplified by technologies that maintain, improve and manage patient care. Throughout the program students have the opportunity to observe, apply, analyze, and practice processes and skills relevant to nursing informatics. This concentration area stresses the development of leadership in nursing. Graduates of this area of concentration are eligible for the Nursing Informatics Certification Exam, offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and prepared for the theoretical components of the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information & Management Systems (CAHIMS) or Certified Professional in Healthcare Information & Management Systems (CPHIMS), offered by Healthcare Information and Management Systems (HIMMS). The School of Nursing offers the MSN with the Nursing Informatics area of concentration online. The interactive online classroom, led by University of Pittsburgh faculty, provides opportunities for active learning, discussion, problem solving, debating, critical thinking, research, networking, and community building.

Administration Program Website

The MSN with nursing administration concentration prepares nurses to tackle leadership and management roles at the department or director level. The curriculum uses students’ experiences and applies them to direct care nursing roles, providing the knowledge base needed to develop the conceptual, interpersonal, and technical skills required to function in healthcare management and administration. This concentration is designed for students who want to make a positive contribution to patient outcomes and service delivery in ways that support and complement direct patient care. The curriculum is designed to train nursing leaders to meet complex and rapidly evolving challenges facing the healthcare industry. Required courses offer a strong framework in research for evidence-based practice, nursing outcomes, use of technology, health promotion and organizational theory.

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Informatics
Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Administration
US News and World Report Ranking:
#6 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
#5 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Administration
#5 Best Program in Nursing
#21 Best Online Graduate Program in Nursing
Cost of Attendance: $36,480 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 189
Peer Assessment Score: 4.4
Acceptance Rate: 30%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 3>5:1
Accreditations:
American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (ANCCCA)
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#2 – University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe School of Nursing

Points: 15
Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing
Program Website

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a focus in Nursing and Healthcare Administration at the University of Pennsylvania combines concepts and principles from eleven courses in nursing administration, one nursing leadership elective and three elective courses from the healthcare management major in the Wharton School of Business or the Organizational Dynamics Graduate Program in the School of Arts & Sciences. Nursing students have the ability to focus their study in operations management, healthcare consulting, or project management. There are optional minors, including health informatics, organizational dynamics or quality improvement and safety processes in healthcare to further specialize the program of study. Each of these programs, regardless of concentration or minor, culminates with a capstone administrative practicum that offers student the exciting opportunity to work closely with a nurse leader in the field.

The Health Leadership program at Penn is a very cutting edge program, like almost no other. Unlike traditional nursing graduate programs, this program offers students the opportunity to design their own focus of study. The program requires six requisite courses, two nursing leadership electives and four leadership concentration electives that can be taken in any graduate program in the University of Pennsylvania. Students have the ability to complete courses in the School of Arts & Sciences (in Organizational Dynamics), in the School of Public Health, or in the Bioethics Program.

Degrees Offered:
Concurrent Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in Health Leadership
Master of Science in Nursing with a focus in Nursing and Healthcare Administration
US News and World Report Ranking:
#1 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Informatics
#1 Best Program in Nursing
Cost of Attendance: $36,620 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 536
Peer Assessment Score: 4.6
Acceptance Rate: 55.3%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 7.7:1
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

#1 – Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Maryland

Johns Hopkins University HCM Best Graduate Nursing Informatics ProgramThe School of Nursing

Points: 17
Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nurse Practice
MA Program Website

Topping the list as the best program among nursing informatics degrees is the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. This school offers several unique and exciting graduate nursing program. The first offering at the school allows nursing students to expand their expertise in adult or child health with the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) master’s degree. This program allows students to build competencies in clinical theory and research-based nursing practice, while putting newly acquired skills to use delivering direct patient care, organizing resources while controlling costs, and educating nurses to improve healthcare delivery systems. The program uses a broad educational and holistic approach, allowing students to experience professional roles as varied as the interests of the students, including expert clinician, clinical leader, staff or academic educator, consultant, or researcher. Students can also learn to manage the entire spectrum of healthcare by combining the CNS and health systems management master’s programs. Those who earn a master’s degree as a clinical nurse specialist:

  • Serve as educators, outcomes managers, consultants, researchers, change agents, and case managers, as well as clinical nurses
  • Lead and collaborate in an interdisciplinary healthcare team that can include pharmacists, physical therapists, or social workers
  • Provide guidance and support to patients and their families in navigating the complex healthcare delivery system

DNP Program Website
The DNP program at Hopkins is designed to prepare students to lead healthcare innovations and influence policy. The program is founded in the science and theory of nursing, analytic principles, evidence-based practice, and strong leadership at all organizational levels. Students learn to address significant healthcare problems that fit within the guidelines of the students individual interests and based on experiences, in real time and practice settings. Students will have numerous opportunities for collaboration, challenging problems for study, and a tradition of rigorous scholarship. Graduates of the Johns Hopkins DNP degree program:

  • Demonstrate organizational and systems leadership for quality and safety in healthcare systems
  • Apply clinical scholarship, as well as information systems and technology, to provide and/or transform healthcare
  • Use strategies of risk reduction/illness prevention, health promotion, and health maintenance to improve the care of individuals, families, and populations
  • Develop, evaluate, advocate, and provide leadership for healthcare policy that shapes healthcare financing, regulation, access, and delivery

Degrees Offered:
Master of Science in Nursing – Clinical Nurse Specialist
Doctor of Nurse Practice
US News and World Report Ranking:
#2 Best Program in Nursing
#5 Best Graduate Program in Nursing Administration
#3 Best Online Graduate Program in Nursing
Cost of Attendance: $29,020 annual graduate tuition
Enrollment: 278
Peer Assessment Score: 4.5
Acceptance Rate: 50%
Master’s Degree Student / Faculty Ratio: 6.1:1
Accreditations:
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Opportunities for a Health Informatics Degree

The healthcare industry in the United States continues to expand more rapidly than any other industry in the nation. In order to meet this boom in the industry, the field of nursing is growing and expanding as well. Nurses are being asked to fill in roles that they have never tackled before. As the medical industry must address this rapid expansion, as well as the advancements of technology, there are many unique issues and complications to address. To meet these needs, nurses have to become trained in the management of health information and the management of medical practices and facilities. Those nurses who are trained in health informatics are trained to manage information, maintain health systems administration and many more technologically based responsibilities. As this need is expected to rise dramatically, more graduate nursing programs are offering training in this area. There are also several graduate programs offering training in Nursing Administration. This means that a whole new group of highly skilled and specialized nurses will be able to tackle the changes occurring in the modern healthcare industry.

About the Author

After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Rutgers University and then a Master of Science in Clinical and Forensic Psychology from Drexel University, Kristen began a career as a therapist at two prisons in Philadelphia. At the same time she volunteered as a rape crisis counselor, also in Philadelphia. After a few years in the field, she accepted a teaching position at a local college, where she currently teaches online psychology courses. Besides tracking nursing informatics degrees, Kristen keeps current on the healthcare management industry in general.