Find a nursing school near you

Programs include LPN/LVN, ADN, BSN, MSN, and more

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 evaluated each school 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.

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#21: Columbia University | New York, NY
Established in 1892, the Columbia University School of Nursing is one of the oldest nursing schools in the country. Columbia recently retired its BSN program, whose graduates frequently scored a 90-95% pass rate on the NCLEX exam, in favor of a direct-entry MSN. This accelerated 15-month program for non-nurse college graduates will launch in the summer of 2016. Columbia University is the only school of nursing in the country designated a Collaborating Center for Advanced Practice Nursing by the World Health Organization.


#22: Ohio State University | Columbus, OH
The Ohio State University College of Nursing is one of the most on-the-rise schools in the country. For the first time in its history, the college is ranked #4 in U.S. News & World Report’s compendium of online master’s programs. recently recognized Ohio State as the best RN-to-BSN program nationally. The Buckeyes were also named a Center of Excellence™ by the NLN in 2014. As these designations illustrate, Ohio State’s College of Nursing offers some of the most up-and-coming programs in the country.


#23: Yale University | New Haven, CT
The Yale School of Nursing (YSN) consistently lands in U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of the top 25 graduate nursing schools. YSN prepares its students for success on their licensure exams. Historically, 94-97% of direct-entry MSN students have passed the NCLEX exam, while most advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) programs maintain a 90%+ pass rate on their respective national specialty exams. YSN was the first university-based school to prepare nurses within an educational program instead of simply an apprenticeship program, underlying the school’s long-standing dedication to treating and teaching nursing as a profession.


#24: University of North Carolina at Greensboro | Greensboro, NC
Recognized as a Center of Excellence™ by the NLN three times since 2011, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) School of Nursing has also earned acknowledgment for its online programs. In U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 rankings of the best online programs, UNCG’s MSN program was #45 in the country, tied with Yale and ahead of the same program at Duke. Furthermore, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing selected UNCG as one of only two schools in North Carolina to receive funding for White Coat Ceremonies.


#25: Simmons College | Boston, MA
Graduates of the entry-level MSN program at the Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences perform impressively well on the NCLEX-RN exam, with a 100% pass rate in each of the past six years. Students receive significant hands-on training thanks to the school’s close partnerships with Boston-area teaching hospitals and health facilities, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Tufts Medical Center. Simmons also offers a rigorous DNP curriculum and a number of shorter online programs, including a certificate in sports nutrition.


#26: University of Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh, PA
The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing is recognized as the #13 graduate nursing school by U.S. News & World Report. The school is also tenth in the country in NIH funding, with additional contributions from the National Cancer Institute, Department of Education, and Neuroscience Nursing Foundation. Pitt’s flagship BSN program graduates over 200 students annually, who have achieved an 88% NCLEX pass rate over the past five years. The School of Nursing was recently ranked #12 globally by QS World University Rankings.


#27: Medical University of South Carolina | Charleston, SC
Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center. Named by U.S. News & World Report as the top South Carolina hospital for the treatment of ear, nose, and throat disorders, MUSC consists of the College of Nursing and five other colleges. BSN students have consistently earned an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 90-99%, well above state and national averages, and graduate students have scored similarly impressive pass rates on many APRN certification exams. The school is also ranked #15 in the country in NIH funding.


#28: The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston | Houston, TX
Consistently ranked in the top 5% of graduate nursing programs, the UT Health School of Nursing is part of the most comprehensive academic health center in the University of Texas system and the entire Gulf Coast area. A popular option among Texas residents, the school graduates 250-300 undergraduate nurses annually, who consistently earn a 95-99% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam. Graduate students have several master’s and doctoral program options in the fields of nursing education, family practice nursing, and nursing anesthesia.


#29: Samford University | Birmingham, AL
The Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing at Samford University has a tradition of preparing its students incredibly well for nursing careers. In fact, the December 2014 BSN graduating class earned a 100% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam. Historically, 85% of students in Samford’s BSN program have graduated within four years. Beyond the BSN degree, Samford offers a number of graduate nursing programs, including a rigorous DNP curriculum, an RN-to-MSN bridge, and MSN specializations in family nursing practice and nursing anesthesia.


#30: University of Connecticut | Storrs, CT
Consistently ranked among the top 20 public universities, the University of Connecticut is New England’s only public research university. The UConn School of Nursing offers a variety of degree options, including accelerated master’s programs for adult-gerontology primary care, family, and neonatal nurse practitioners. With a first-time NCLEX pass rate of 94.2% for the class of 2015, it’s no surprise that the National League for Nursing recently designated the school a Center of Excellence™ for promoting the pedagogical expertise of faculty.


The accredited schools below also offer highly regarded nursing programs. Many of them are taught online.

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