East Carolina University Review

East Carolina University is a public university located in Greenville, North Carolina and is a recognized leader offering a large selection of online nursing degrees that involve both virtual and real-life clinic components.

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The Good

Seven areas of concentration for Master of Science in Nursing

East Carolina University (ECU) offers a wide range of concentrations for the online master of science in nursing (MSN) degree program. The areas of concentration include adult gerontology nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nursing leadership, neonatal nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery, and nursing education. All of these options are offered for full- and part-time schedules. As a full-time online student you can complete the program in two years, while a part-time pace will take you about three years. Also note that each of these areas of concentration have different application deadlines, and some programs have multiple start dates a year while others do not.

Doctoral degree options

A doctorate of nursing practice degree is available online for both full-time and part-time students. The program is flexible to accommodate your schedule as a working nurses, and it requires a minimum of 36 semester credit hours. The program does require that you meet with faculty and peers on-campus for two to three days at the beginning of each semester. If you are an online student from far across the country this may be an inconvenience, but these interactions are meant for you to decide on study objectives for the term.

Virtual and clinical practicums

The online nursing program at ECU requires on-site clinical practicums to be completed. The school makes every effort to assist you with your clinical placement, and generally they can place you at a location that is near to you, no matter what state you live in. Clinic experiences are an opportunity to gain real-world, practical knowledge, and help you learn to apply coursework materials in an actual healthcare setting. Additionally, the college of nursing also offers virtual, or simulated clinical experiences which offers students clinical exposure in a controlled environment that is also easily accessible for online students. ECU distinguishes itself as one of the only online nursing programs that offers virtual delivery of clinical experiences to online students.

College of Nursing recognized as elite

East Carolina University’s College of Nursing was recently named a Center of Excellence for 2011-2015 by the National League for Nursing. East Carolina University was recognized for offering a wide variety of programs, and for utilizing leading technology in distance learning, simulation labs, clinical placements, and study abroad. Only the top eight schools in the country are recognized, and ECU is one of six schools to be a repeat designee.

The Bad

Extra fees for online students

Online students in the college of nursing at ECU pay an extra $100 per credit hour for classes in the MSN program, certificate programs, and doctorate of nursing program compared to on-campus equivalents. Additionally, when you take your required clinic courses, there is an additional $150 fee per semester since these courses require such a small student to faculty ratio. You also must purchase individual liability insurance prior to enrolling in clinical courses, but this is fairly common among other nursing programs.

Expensive application fee

Applying to East Carolina University will cost you $70. Most students looking to earn a graduate degree end up applying to multiple schools and these application fees can definitely add up. To be fair, there are other top online graduate nursing programs with higher applications fees, but there are also several online programs that charge $25 – $50.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 1993-1994
  • Application Deadline: Varies by program
  • Application Fee: $70
  • Location: NC
  • Number of Graduate Nursing Programs: 1
  • Region: Southeast
  • School Type: Public
  • Term Schedule: Semester

Tuition Rates (per Credit)

  • In-State: $307
  • Out-of-State: $911


  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Doctorate of Nursing Practice
  • PhD in Nursing


  • Adult Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Midwifery
  • Nursing Education


  • Post-MSN Certificate in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse-Midwifery
  • Nurse Anesthesia
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Nursing Education

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Average Student Age: 37
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.42
  • Gender Ratio: 93.6% female, 6.4% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 25
  • Total Enrollment: 622


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 4 Years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 29
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 8

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009): 82%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010): 87%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011): 90%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2013): 100%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2009-2010): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2010-2011): N/A
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2011-2012): 53%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 57%

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 23
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 81/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 32
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 83/100
  • Student Engagement Rank: 32
  • Student Engagement Score: 76/100
  • Student Services and Technology: 2
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 88/100

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