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Online Catholic Universities

The Society of Jesus, better known among educators and students as the Jesuits, operates some of the finest universities in the nation. Many of their schools have not been hesitant in opening an online branch; in some cases the degree options are relatively limited as with many established universities, all of them just getting started in an entirely new educational medium. Other schools on our list were founded by orders of Sisters, several of them initially for the purpose of educating women. Two were founded by other men's orders. Today all of them are coed, passing along the educational quality that accompanies the academic discipline Catholic Universities are known for.

1. Lewis University was founded by the De la Salle Christian Brothers in 1932. Today the main campus is located in Romeoville Illinois with five satellite campuses in Chicago and assorted suburbs. The online degrees at Lewis include a Masters in Nursing program offering the MSN in Nursing Administration and the MSN in Nursing Education. There are also Master's Degrees in Public Safety Administration, Organizational Leadership, Information Security, and an unusual option: the Masters in Aviation and Transportation.

2. Gonzaga University is a Jesuit institution founded in 1887 in Spokane, Washington. The online options are all graduate level degrees; one of the most popular is the Masters in Nursing which is offered with concentrations in Nursing Education, and Health Systems Leadership. There is also an online RN to MSN program. Other choices include the Masters in Organizational Leadership, and an excellent hybrid program culminating in the Masters in Communications and Leadership Studies.

3. Georgetown University School of Nursing has just introduced (for 2011) an online Masters in Nursing program that is an impressive program, coming from one of the top nursing schools in the nation. The MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner is offered as an online degree to applicants who hold a bachelor's in nursing. The MSN in Nurse Midwifery is also an online option as of the spring of 2011. For both degrees, the coursework is done online and the clinical studies are arranged for each student by Georgetown faculty at a facility convenient to the distance learner's location.

4. Sacred Heart University is located in Fairfield Connecticut, founded in 1963 and today the second largest Catholic university in New England. The online graduate program in nursing includes the RN-MSN option which is open to nurses who do not hold a baccalaureate and the MSN in Clinical Nurse Leader, in Patient Care Services Administration, or in Nursing Education. The Master of Applied Psychology degree is available with as a general degree or with concentrations in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and Community Psychology.

5. Benedictine University was founded as St. Procopius College by Benedictine monks in 1887 in Chicago. It was moved to Lisle, Illinois at the turn of the century and was given its present name in 1971. The online education component is led by the MBA program with six areas of concentration including Accounting, Finance, International Business, and three others. The Masters in Nursing is offered with six areas of concentration including the MSN in Public Health. There is also a Masters of Public Health (MPH) available online, as well as a Master of Education and Masters in Organizational Behavior.

6. Creighton University is another Jesuit university, founded in 1878 in Omaha Nebraska where the campus remains today. The online degree program developed by Creighton is a fascinating synthesis of academic training that develops skill sets which can be used in an executive role in many settings. The Masters' in Negotiation & Dispute Resolution is a rigorous academic undertaking available with four concentrations that can lead to careers in several areas: Organizational Negotiation, International Negotiation, Educational Collaboration, and Healthcare Collaboration.

7. St. Xavier University is Chicago's oldest Catholic University, founded in 1846 by the Sisters of Mercy. Today it is a liberal arts institution that has ventured into the online education medium with a Master's in Nursing degree offered with two areas of concentration. The MSN in Clinical Leadership is for nurses interested in staying with clinical medicine, while the MSN in Executive Leadership trains RNs to take on management roles. The Master's in Curriculum & Instruction is offered for teachers who are interested in expanding their educational careers.

8. College of St. Scholastica was established in Duluth MN in 1912 and today has four extended campuses within the state. St. Scholastica has also ventured into the online education field with the Masters in IT Leadership, a degree that focuses on two key elements: mastery of sophisticated software systems and the application of IT tools to business operations and decision making. There is also a Master of Education (MEd) degree offered 100% online for educators who are interested in taking a leadership role in the K-12 universe.

9. Loyola University of New Orleans Online was established in 1894, but the Jesuits first arrived in New Orleans in 1725 and opened the College of Immaculate Conception in 1849. Eventually that school evolved into the university at another location. Since Loyola of New Orleans has opted into the online education field they have introduced a Master of Science in Nursing for RNs who hold a baccalaureate, in the form of a MSN in Healthcare Systems Management. There is also an online RN-MSN Bridge program for nurses who do not hold a baccalaureate. Also available as an online degree is the Master of Criminal Justice with concentrations in Justice Administration and in Forensic Science Administration.

10. Marylhurst University was founded in 1893 in Portland, Oregon making it the oldest Catholic university in the state. The most important online program available is the MBA, offered with concentrations in Finance, Marketing, Nonprofit Management, Healthcare Management, and General Management. There is also an accelerated program for the MBA in Sustainable Business.