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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.

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#21: DeSales University | Center Valley, PA
DeSales University established the Department of Nursing and Health in 1974, along with its first BSN program. Today the school offers an abundance of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. DeSales has both full-time and part-time study options, and the school partners with more than 300 clinical sites and preceptors to provide clinical experiences. Its BSN graduates have achieved a 91% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam over the past five years. Moreover, the MSN program boasts a 100% pass rate on all national certification examinations across all program tracks since its inception in 1984.


#22: Chatham University | Pittsburgh, PA
Chatham University offers RN-to-BSN, MSN, and DNP programs in nursing. The RN-to-BSN option is designed for practicing RNs and offered online through the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Chatham’s graduate nursing program includes specialty tracks in education and leadership / management. The school redesigned its online MSN program in 2013; modeled after the DNP program, it offers three tracks: leadership, education, and informatics. In 2015 the school introduced its first international track in the MSN program and had 21 Chinese nurses learning at Chatham.


#23: Widener University | Chester, PA
Formerly the Crozer College of Nursing, Widener’s School of Nursing opened in 1966 and marked the first time women were admitted as students. The school graduates 100-120 BSN students annually, and they have passed the NCLEX exam at an 88% rate over the past five years. Widener is particularly recognized for its graduate nursing programs: the school offers five specialty master’s tracks, two doctoral programs (DNP and PhD), and three accelerated graduate options. Students at Widener enjoy an 8:1 student-to-faculty clinical ratio and state-of-the-art facilities at the Center for Simulation and Computerized Testing.


#24: University at Buffalo | Buffalo, NY
University at Buffalo’s School of Nursing has educated nurses for over 75 years. The school provides a traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN-to-BSN bridge, master’s in nursing leadership, DNP program, and PhD program. The latter two are available in a distance learning format. The university graduates ~130 new nurses from its BSN program each year, and these students have passed the NCLEX exam at an 87.2% rate over the past five years. UB School of Nursing students can access a varied list of clinical partners including a major cancer center, several comprehensive healthcare providers, a hospice center, and a veterans’ medical center.


#25: Binghamton University | Binghamton, NY
Since its establishment in 1969, the Decker School of Nursing (DSON) has earned a reputation for its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing programs in the state of New York. DSON graduates 150-200 BSN students each year that routinely pass the NCLEX exam at a rate of 80-90%. The school provides its nursing students with intensive clinical experiences and state-of-the-art facilities. Students complete hundreds of clinical rotation hours in acute care and community settings, and they also enjoy access to DSON’s Simulation and Practice Center.


#26: Stony Brook University | Stony Brook, NY
At Stony Brook University’s School of Nursing, all graduate-level and online classes are recorded and archived, allowing students to access lecture materials at their convenience. Not surprisingly, Stony Brook’s online MSN program ranks among the top ten in the country according to U.S. News & World Report. The school annually sits 100-140 BSN students for the NCLEX exam, and they have passed at a strong 88% rate since 2008. Stony Brook also offers a wide breadth of graduate nursing programs, including nine MSN / advanced certificate tracks and a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


#27: St. John Fisher College | Rochester, NY
The Wegmans School of Nursing recently launched three new MSN specializations with an eye on the healthcare needs of the Rochester community: adult-gerontology primary care, adult-gerontology acute care, and psychiatric-mental health. The graduate nursing department also offers an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling and a Doctor of Nursing Practice, while the undergraduate department leads traditional BSN and online RN-to-BSN programs. Wegmans’ BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a solid 89% rate since 2010.


#28: Indiana University of Pennsylvania | Indiana, PA
With an admirable 94% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past five years, IUP’s Department of Nursing and Allied Health Professions is recognized for its excellence. In addition to four- and five-year BSN programs, the department offers MSN tracks in administration and education, two PhD pathways, and several healthcare certificates. IUP strives for state-of the-art facilities: the nursing department introduced its first simulation laboratory in 2007 and recently received a $300,000 federal grant to fund a second one.


#29: University of Delaware | Newark, DE
Founded 50 years ago, University of Delaware’s School of Nursing is focused on increasing the cultural and ethnic diversity of nurses in the state. In fact, the school received a three-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration in 2014 towards this effort. Roughly 140-180 students graduate from UD’s BSN program each year, achieving a first-time NCLEX pass rate of 88.6% since 2008. The school places an emphasis on learning experiences and students have access to well-equipped simulation labs, including the Clinical Critical Care Lab and the Clinical Maternal Child Lab.


#30: Pennsylvania State University | University Park, PA
Penn State’s College of Nursing offer an experience grounded in a student-centered environment with low student-to-faculty ratios. The college’s graduating BSN class of approximately 150 students consistently performs very well on the NCLEX exam, with a 93% pass rate over the past five years. Undergraduates can study abroad in four international locations to observe different healthcare and nursing education systems. Penn State also offers a breadth of master’s and doctoral nursing degrees, and the school’s Center for Nursing Research provides consulting services for quantitative and analytical work.


The accredited schools below also offer highly regarded nursing programs in the Mid-Atlantic region.

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