University of Maryland School of Nursing’s Online Graduate Programs Rank Among the Best in the Nation

February 5, 2021

UMSON ranked among the Best Online Master's in Nursing Programs for Veterans nationwide

Baltimore, Md. – In U.S. News & World Report’s newly released “2021 Best Online Programs” rankings, the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) ranked among the Best Online Master's in Nursing Programs for Veterans nationwide, at No. 18. UMSON’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Health Services Leadership and Management specialty ranked No. 7 in the nation in the Nursing Administration Programs category, and its post-baccalaureate Teaching in Nursing and Health Professions Certificate ranked No. 8 in the nation in the Nursing Education Programs category.

The U.S. News rankings represent the most respected and in-depth evaluation of U.S. graduate programs that are designed to be administered online. UMSON is among the 173 schools ranked, out of 571 surveyed. The 2021 rankings do not evaluate schools or programs that are temporarily virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is gratifying to be recognized nationally for our online programs, particularly for providing excellent nursing education to veterans,” said UMSON Dean Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The School of Nursing has a long history of preparing nurses for military service, and many graduates have served with great distinction in both the Army and Navy Nurse Corps. Our faculty includes veterans and reservists who bring the unique expertise gained through military experience to their teaching of our students.” 

The School’s first superintendent, Louisa Parsons, was a decorated nursing veteran of the British Army, both before and after her time at the School of Nursing; she was awarded the Royal Red Cross, the highest honor bestowed on nurses in Britain. Since its founding, UMSON nurses have served in every major military engagement since the Spanish-American War in 1898, including WWII and the Korean War. From 1964 - 78, under an arrangement with the U.S. Department of the Army, UMSON graduated over 1,100 men and women through the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing who became commissioned officers in the Army Nurse Corps.

Today, 12.5% of students have served, currently serve, or are a dependent of a military veteran, and 8.5% of faculty and staff have served or are currently serving in the military. As veterans and active-duty service members benefit substantially from online education that is affordable, accessible, and reputable, U.S. News’ rankings measure these factors and also take into account participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a provision of the G.I. Bill that provides assistance with education expenses. Through the Yellow Ribbon Program, UMSON offers up to $1,200 to 10 qualified students each year, and the VA matches those funds.

UMSON’s MSN Health Services Leadership and Management specialty, also ranked among the nation’s top programs in U.S. News & World Report’s “2021 Best Graduate Schools,” offers leading-edge courses, personalized mentorship, and individual placements in practicums that support students’ career goals to refine advanced nursing leadership and nursing administration skills. Practicum placements are with leaders at hospitals and health care systems, universities and community colleges, national and state agencies, and more.

UMSON’s Teaching in Nursing and Health Professions Certificate program, offered through the School’s Institute for Educators, the first such entity of its kind in the nation, was designed to prepare nurses and other health professionals as teachers. The program provides the essential knowledge and teaching skills to work effectively with students, patients, or consumers in academic, clinical, or professional settings. The certificate focuses on innovative teaching strategies to enhance learning experiences across a range of settings, including online and clinical learning environments.

U.S. News’ rankings are based on indicators such as student and faculty engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, student excellence, and expert opinion, using data collected directly from each institution. Only degree-granting programs that are offered primarily online by regionally accredited institutions were considered, and the programs that score the highest are those applying educational best practices specific for distance learners.


The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the nation and is ranked among the top nursing schools nationwide. Enrolling nearly 2,100 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.

Pictured above: Col. Jacqueline C. Mitchell, MS ’07, CRNA, director of Clinical Education, from the spring 2018 issue of Nursing For/um