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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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#31: Adelphi University | Garden City, NY
With 70 years of nursing education experience, the Adelphi College of Nursing and Public Health is designated a Center of Excellence™ by the NLN. The college currently enrolls over 1,000 undergraduates and approximately 150 graduate nurses. Adelphi students benefit from small class sizes and strong collaboration with faculty. Approximately 250 BSN students appear for the NCLEX exam each year, and they have scored a 77% pass rate since 2010. The college also prides itself on the fact that 89% of Adelphi master’s degree students gain employment within a year of graduation.


#32: University of Scranton | Scranton, PA
Established in 1984, Scranton’s Department of Nursing draws from its Jesuit roots and offers nursing education with a strong base in the liberal arts. The department offers traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, LPN-to-BSN, MSN (with four specialty tracks), and DNP programs. Students benefit from small class sizes and a strong clinical focus, with clinical experiences beginning during sophomore year. Indeed, Scranton’s BSN graduates have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at an impressive 92% rate over the past five years. Undergraduates also have opportunities for research, study abroad, and participation in domestic and international service trips.


#33: Robert Morris University | Moon Township, PA
Robert Morris University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences educates more than 600 students. Its BSN graduates consistently pass the NCLEX exam at a rate of 80% or higher. In fact, the school’s 2015 NCLEX pass rate for first-time test takers was 90.1%, exceeding both the national and state averages. The DNP program also performed extremely well on standardized tests during 2015, with a 95.6% pass rate on the nurse practitioner certification exam. Robert Morris students enjoy a low 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio in clinical settings. Over 50% of undergraduates take advantage of the school’s international program with clinical experiences in Managua, Nicaragua.


#34: Hunter College | New York, NY
Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing (HBSON) offers three undergraduate programs: a traditional BSN, an accelerated second-degree program, and an RN-to-BSN bridge. It also provides six MSN specialization tracks, a post-master’s certificate in psychiatric-mental health, and a DNP program. The school graduates 120-140 BSN students annually, who have passed the NCLEX exam at a solid 87% rate over the past seven years. With an aim to provide care in culturally diverse communities, HBSON has supported nursing education initiatives in Haiti and introduced a Global Health Nursing elective at the undergraduate level.


#35: Gannon University | Erie, PA
Gannon University’s Villa Maria School of Nursing boasts a nearly 100% job placement rate for graduates. Over the past seven years, the school’s traditional BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a stellar 91.4% first-try rate, well above state and national averages. Gannon also offers an online RN-to-BSN program, four distinct MSN programs, and a DNP. Students benefit from a low 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio and at least 980 hours of hands-on experience before graduation. The university also hosts the region’s largest technically advanced Patient Simulation Center, located in the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences.


#36: Catholic University of America | Washington, DC
Established in 1935, the CUA School of Nursing offers on-campus degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school has BSN tracks for traditional and second-degree students, three nurse practitioner MSN specialties, and both DNP and PhD nursing programs. Students in CUA’s nursing programs can gain clinical experience in 100 local healthcare facilities, often with alumni preceptors. The school’s research-intensive doctoral program is located near preeminent research and health facilities, including the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine.


#37: Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania | Bloomsburg, PA
Bloomsburg University's Department of Nursing offers several nursing degree options. Undergraduates can enroll in the school’s traditional BSN program, whose students have achieved an astounding 98% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam since 2010. The BSN program has a small graduating class of 60-80 students each year, enabling close interaction with faculty. Existing nurses may opt instead for the school’s RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN program, both geared towards ADN- or diploma-educated nurses. Graduate students can pursue specialization as a family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, or nursing administrator.


#38: Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences | Lancaster, PA
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences recently announced the launch of a three-year prelicensure BSN program, the first of its kind in the region. Meanwhile, the school’s existing full-time ADN program has graduated 200-300 students annually with an NCLEX pass rate of 89% over the past seven years. PA College also offers an online MSN program with specializations in administration and education, and it boasts the highest-paid alumni from any two-year schools in the state. In 2016, students will enjoy the college’s new 24.7-acre campus with state-of-the-art facilities.


#39: SUNY Downstate Medical Center | Brooklyn, NY
SUNY Downstate College of Nursing offers two baccalaureate options: a second-degree accelerated BSN and an RN-to-BSN completion program. The ABSN class is small, graduating just 50-60 students annually, and they are exceptionally well-prepared for licensure, with an NCLEX pass rate of 93.6% since 2012. SUNY Downstate is one of only four colleges in the state to offer an MSN in all four advanced practice roles: clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, and nurse midwife. The college also offers advanced certificates in family nurse practitioner and women’s health primary care nurse practitioner.


#40: Upstate Medical University | Syracuse, NY
Upstate Medical University’s College of Nursing strives to meet the needs of RNs in the Syracuse and Central New York area. In 1959, to address the region’s nursing shortfall, Upstate Medical University launched an ADN program that educated more than 500 registered nurses over the next two decades. Today, Upstate Medical University is one of the longest-established upper-division nursing schools in the region. It offers an RN-to-BSN degree completion program, three MSN tracks, two post-master's advanced certificates, and a part-time MSN-to-DNP program.


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

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