For our inaugural rankings, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on over 3,200 nursing schools and campuses throughout the United States. We included the following states within our Mid-Atlantic rankings: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. We evaluated each nursing school in the region on three dimensions:
- The institution’s academic prestige and perceived value
- The breadth and depth of nursing programs offered
- Student success, particularly on the NCLEX national licensure exam
We then combined these assessments into an overall score and ranked the schools accordingly. For a detailed description of our assessment methodology and dimension weights, please see here.
#1: Johns Hopkins University | Baltimore, MD
The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is ranked #1 among graduate nursing programs and #6 among online nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report. It also holds a Center of Excellence™ (COE) designation by the National League for Nursing (NLN). The school educates ~1,200 diverse students each year: 500 full-time and 700 part-time, 500 graduate and 700 undergraduate. JHU’s bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) students score excellent NCLEX pass rates of 90-96% each year. The school also offers a master of science in nursing (MSN), doctor of nursing practice (DNP), doctor of philosophy (PhD) in nursing, and several graduate certificates.
#2: University of Pennsylvania | Philadelphia, PA
The MSN program at Penn’s School of Nursing is ranked #2 in the country by U.S. News & World Report, and four of its nurse practitioner (NP) specialty tracks are ranked #1 in their respective categories. The school enrolls approximately 600 students across its undergraduate and graduate programs, and Penn is in the top tier of research-funded institutions according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Graduates of the BSN program have passed the NCLEX exam at a 91.7% rate over the past seven years. Students also benefit from 41 full-time faculty and two world-class hospitals in their backyard.
#3: University of Maryland | Baltimore, MD
University of Maryland’s School of Nursing (UMSON) teaches nearly 1,700 nursing students each year. Indeed, the school is responsible for educating 40% of Maryland’s nursing workforce. UMSON is ranked #8 among graduate nursing schools by U.S. News & World Report and #21 in research funding by NIH. The school graduates 200-250 BSN students annually, and these students have passed the NCLEX exam at an impressive rate of 92% over the past five years. UMSON has 154 faculty members (136 of whom are full-time), engages with more than 300 preceptors, and offers students location access to four reputed medical centers and institutes.
#4: New York University | New York, NY
NYU’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing holds the #2 ranking from U.S. News & World Report for its NP gerontology program, the #8 ranking for nursing research funding by the National Institutes of Health, and a COE designation from the National League for Nursing. In its flagship BSN program, NYU graduates approximately 400 students each year who have passed the NCLEX exam at an 87% rate since 2010. With a strong focus on research, NYU also offers an MSN degree, post-master's advanced certificate programs, a DNP, and a PhD in Research Theory and Development.
#5: Thomas Jefferson University | Philadelphia, PA
Jefferson College of Nursing enrolls almost 1,000 students across its nursing programs. Its 250 annual BSN graduates have achieved an admirable NCLEX pass rate of 90.2% over the past seven years. The school also has an extensive range of programs for graduate students, with many MSN specializations and doctoral programs. Students benefit from access to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, one of the top-ranked hospitals nationwide. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) recently recognized Jefferson for its quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing.
#6: Villanova University | Villanova, PA
Drawing on its Christian beliefs and values, Villanova University has provided nursing education for over 60 years. The nursing college currently has 716 students enrolled in its undergraduate program, and BSN graduates achieve a steady 85-90% pass rate on the NCLEX exam each year. Another 297 students are enrolled across Villanova’s MSN, DNP, and PhD programs. Twice designated a Center of Excellence™ by the NLN, the college boasts 7,000 alumni, 55% of whom live in the tristate area. The college also has 49 full-time and 40 part-time faculty, 82% of whom hold doctoral degrees.
#7: Georgetown University | Washington, DC
Georgetown University has educated more than 8,000 nurses since its nursing program was founded in 1903. The School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS) provides nursing education across two academic departments: the Department of Advanced Nursing Practice houses several MSN specialties, and the Department of Professional Nursing Practice leads the BSN, CNL, and DNP programs. The school’s BSN students have a remarkable 97% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past eight academic years. Students at NHS further benefit from state-of-the-art facilities like the O'Neill Family Foundation Clinical Simulation Center and the Discovery Center.
#8: Columbia University | New York, NY
As part of Columbia University Medical Center, Columbia Nursing enjoys a unique collaboration with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, and the College of Dental Medicine. In fact, Columbia is one of eight nursing schools in the nation associated with a major academic medical center. Since its establishment in 1892, Columbia Nursing has graduated approximately 12,000 nurses. The school has a history of innovation: it launched the first master's degree in clinical nursing in 1956, and it will introduce a fifteen-month direct-entry MSN program for non-nurse college graduates this summer. Columbia Nursing is proud to boast 38% ethnic diversity.
#9: University of Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh, PA
Pitt Nursing earns high marks across the board from U.S. News & World Report, including the #4 ranking for nursing anesthesia, #8 ranking among DNP programs, and several top-ten rankings for nurse practitioner specialties. Pitt is also ranked #10 in nursing school research funding by the National Institutes of Health, with 106 active and 52 new grants. In addition to its graduate offerings, the school teaches traditional and accelerated bachelor’s degree programs, and its BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a rate of almost 90% over the past seven years. Pitt Nursing has 91 full-time faculty, 98% of whom hold doctoral degrees. The School of Nursing was recently ranked #12 globally by QS World University Rankings.
#10: Drexel University | Philadelphia, PA
Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions has developed and refined more than 25 undergraduate and graduate nursing programs since 2002. The college currently includes more than 5,000 students, 200 full-time faculty, and 104 staff. Drexel graduates approximately 400 traditional BSN students each year with an exemplary NCLEX pass rate of 94-98%. The college’s performance on numerous other board certification and licensing exams is well above average, including recent 100% pass rates for the physician assistant and nurse anesthesia programs.
The accredited schools below also offer highly regarded nursing programs in the Mid-Atlantic region.