Chamberlain University

Chamberlain University is a private college that was founded in 1889. It offers primarily online nursing degrees that include both bachelor’s of science, master of science in nursing, and a doctor of nursing practice.

Favorite Features

Nursing programs are accredited by the CCNE

One of the most important parts of earning a college degree is ensuring that the education you are paying for is of very high quality. You want to ensure that you are learning things that will provide you with the skills you need to succeed in your profession. Also, you want your degree to be recognized by employers as a ‘serious’ degree so that they can be confident you have the skills required to do the job.

In the field of nursing, the gold standard for nursing program accreditation is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or CCNE. This Commission is recognized by the US Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency.

CCNE is know for ensuring the integrity and quality of bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and residency programs in nursing.

The CCNE is administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing or AACN, which is the national association dedicated to the education of nurses from the bachelor’s to doctoral levels.

Chamberlain offers a 3 year BSN

Most bachelor of science degrees in nursing take four years to complete. However, Chamberlain is unusual in that it offers a fully online program that allows you to earn your BSN in only three years. This involves foregoing summers off, but it allows you to enter the workforce a full year early.

The bachelor’s program online benefits from small class sizes with only a 25:1 or better student-faculty ratio in the classroom. It also has an outstanding student-faculty ratio during the clinical sessions.

Tuition costs are low for master’s program

The tuition per credit hour for the MSN program is a very reasonable $665 per credit hour for specialty courses and $650 per credit for MSN core courses. This means that you could conceivably earn your master’s degree for approximately $30,000. Nurses with a master’s degree can easily earn $90,000 to $100,000 or more as a family nurse practitioner. Thus this is quite a good value for a graduate education.

Many scholarships are available for undergraduate and graduate students

The Chamberlain University has many scholarships available for both bachelor’s and master’s students. For example, the school offers the Working Parent Grant, which is for current RNs with dependent children who want to earn their MSN in an indirect care concentration, such as executive, educator, healthcare policy or informatics. This scholarship is for up to 15% of tuition pricing, up to $3480.

Another master’s scholarship option is the Clinical Educator Scholarship. This is a scholarship for RNs who have clinical experience and want to be educators in nursing in either a school or hospital. This scholarship is for $580 per semester, or $1160 per year up to $3480.

For undergraduates, you can get the New RN Grant. This is a program for any student enrolled who has gotten their RN license in the last 60 months. The scholarship offers a 10% savings on tuition up to $2655.

With all of the scholarships that are available, it is very possible to substantially reduce the amount of tuition you pay. This is especially noteworthy for experienced nurses who are earning a graduate degree.

Fully online doctor of nursing practice degree is available

Chamberlain University is one of the few schools to offer a fully online DNP degree. It features a high level of faculty support for all doctoral students, from your first course all the way through your project and practicum at the end of your degree program.

The required practicum experience in the DNP program consists of four parts and allows you to complete an entirely customized project based upon your experience in your area of practice.

According to the program website, the DNP curriculum is based upon the eight key areas that are outlined in the AACN document, The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice.

Also, input from vital stakeholders in the nursing field have been incorporated into the DNP program. These include the Institute of Medicine, Quality and Safety Education for Nurses, and other national efforts that are focused on change and transformation to improve patient safety and clinical care.

Least Favorite Features

Low standards of admission

Students do not need to supply letters of recommendation to be admitted into the graduate nursing program. There also is no application essay required. The major criteria for admission into Chamberlain is your undergraduate GPA and record. SAT/ACT scores are recommended, but aren’t a requirement for admission, however, Chamberlain may require another entrance exam like Wonderlic or WISC-III. TOEFL exams are recommended for non-native English speakers applying to the program.

With such lenient admission standards, it is reasonable to question just how rigorous the nursing program is.

Unranked by US News and World Report

This school is not ranked by US News and World Report; their profile on the college only contains limited information about the programs offered. There are no rankings of any of its programs.

The college also is not ranked by any other national organization. While it is accredited by the CCNE, the fact that there are no independent, third parties recognizing its program quality is a concern.

The Details

General Information

  • Founded in 1889
  • Application deadline: Rolling
  • Application fee: BSN ($95); RN-BSN, MSN or Cert, DNP, MPH ($60);
  • School type: Private
  • Term Schedule: Semester
  • Location: Downers Grove, Illinois
  • 23:1 student-faculty ratio

Tuition Rates (Per Credit)

  • In state or out of state: BSN ($675); RN-BSN ($590); MSN or Certificate ($665 for specialty courses and $650 for core courses); DNP ($750); MBH ($550)


  • RN to BSN Degree Completion
  • RN-BSN to MSN
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Graduate Certificate Programs
  • Master of Public Heath


Class Profile*

  • 15,697 total undergraduate enrollment
  • 11,402 total graduate nursing enrollment

Graduation and Retention Rates*

  • 86.7% of undergraduates return for their sophomore year, which is higher than the national average of 70.9%.
  • 79% of students graduate within two or four years.
  • 21% of students failed to graduate within 150% of the expected time. Many students transfer to other schools.

*Enrollment numbers, graduation and retention rates for online programs are not available. Data shown for Illinois.

US News Rankings

  • This college is not ranked by US News and World Report