Graceland University - Independence Review

Graceland University has a strong history of online and distance education, and offers a range of advanced nursing degrees. A bridge program also provides alternative entry to registered nurses who do not have a bachelor's in nursing but want to pursue an online master's in nursing.

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The Good

Bridge program for nurses without a bachelor's in nursing degree

Graceland University offers a bridge program for registered nurses who do not have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, but want to pursue a master’s degree in nursing. The bridge program essentially allows you to complete both an online bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) and a master’s in nursing (MSN) in one combined program. You will be awarded both degrees when you graduate, and you’ll also have the option of stopping the program early and finishing with just a bachelor’s degree if you change your mind. In addition to your online courses, you will be required to complete clinical practicums and on-campus sessions for both portions of the program.

Master's in nursing offers two different tracks

The online master’s of science in nursing degree offers a choice of two speciality tracks including family nurse practitioner and nurse educator. Both of these options can be completed at a schedule of your choosing. A part-time pace is usually one or two classes per trimester and full-time status is about 2 or 3 classes per term. In addition to your online courses, there is a clinical practicum component to be completed in your own local community. The practicums are faculty and preceptor guided, and add a component of real-life experience to the course curriculum.

Post-master's certificates and degrees

In addition to the master of science in nursing degree and bridge program, there are opportunities for further study in nursing with a post-master’s certificate or a doctorate of nursing practice degree. Graceland offers a post-master’s certificate in nursing with a speciality in nursing education or family nurse practitioner, which can add to your career potential if your MSN concentration was in a different area. The doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) is a degree option if you have already earned an MSN degree, and you are interested in a DNP with a focus on organizational leadership. The DNP degree at Graceland builds your expertise in clinical management, organizational management, economics, and leadership.

The Bad

On-campus sessions are required

All online degree options in the school of nursing require you to attend focus sessions at Graceland University located in Independence, Missouri. The online master’s in nursing degree requires two campus sessions, the first is your program orientation and the second is scheduled in timing with advanced health assessment and advanced practice procedure laboratory courses. If you enroll in the bridge program, you are required to attend four sessions on campus for the BSN portion of the program and an additional two sessions for the MSN portion. The doctorate of nursing practice degree requires two campus sessions in conjunction with two specific courses.

The Details

General Information

  • Academic Year Founded: 1993-1994
  • Application Deadline: Rolling
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Location: MO
  • Number of Graduate Nursing Programs: 3
  • Region: Midwest
  • School Type: Private
  • Term Schedule: Trimester

Tuition Rates (per Credit)

  • In-State: $650
  • Out-of-State: $650


  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Doctorate of Nursing Practice


  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator


  • Post M.S.N. Certificate

Class Profile

  • Acceptance Rate: 72%
  • Average Student Age: 36
  • Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.60
  • Gender Ratio: 91% female, 9% male
  • Maximum Class Size: 15
  • Total Enrollment: 390


  • Average Online Teaching Experience: 6 Years
  • Full-Time Instructional Faculty: 14
  • Part-Time Instructional Faculty: 17

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2009): 86%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2010): 92%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2011): 89%
  • 1 Year New Student Retention Rate (2013): 92%
  • 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): 74%
  • Graduation Rate Within 3 Years (2012-2013): 82%

U.S. News Rankings

  • Admissions Selectivity Rank: 20
  • Admissions Selectivity Score: 83/100
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Rank: 13
  • Faculty Credentials and Training Score: 89/100
  • Student Engagement Rank: 4
  • Student Engagement Score: 91/100
  • Student Services and Technology Rank: 82
  • Student Services and Technology Score: 47/100

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