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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 included the following states within our Southeast rankings: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. 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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#41: Georgia College & State University | Milledgeville, GA
Georgia College graduates approximately 100 students from its prelicensure BSN program each year. These students have posted consistently excellent scores on the NCLEX licensure exam, with a cumulative 96% pass rate since 2008. The School of Nursing also offers an RN-to-BSN degree completion program, two MSN majors (FNP and NED), a post-master’s FNP certificate, and a post-master's DNP that can be completed in just five semesters of fulltime study. The DNP program is offered in an online, executive-style format with minimal campus requirements.

 

#42: The University of Tennessee Health Science Center | Memphis, TN
The UTHSC College of Nursing offers several different types of programs. Undergraduates can pursue a four-semester accelerated BSN or an RN-to-BSN completion program. All 36 members of the accelerated BSN class of 2015 passed the NCLEX licensure exam on their first attempt. The college also offers an MSN program that prepares existing nurses for CNL certification. Doctoral candidates have several options. UTHSC’s DNP program has concentrations in adult-gerontology acute care, family nursing, neonatal nursing, nurse anesthesia, pediatric nursing, and psychiatric mental health nursing. PhD and dual DNP/PhD programs are also on the menu.

 

#43: University of Mississippi Medical Center | Jackson, MS
The UMMC School of Nursing is the state’s flagship nursing school. Located on the state's only academic health science campus, UMMC offers four BSN pathways: traditional, early entry, accelerated, and RN-to-BSN. The school graduates approximately 250 students annually across these BSN programs. Roughly half take the NCLEX licensure exam, with a phenomenal three-year pass rate of 98.4%. The graduate nursing department offers eight master’s tracks and two doctoral options (DNP and PhD), all with multiple entry options. In addition to the primary Jackson campus, UMMC has an Oxford campus that offers the ABSN and nearly all graduate programs.

 

#44: Shenandoah University | Winchester, VA
Shenandoah University’s Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing recently launched a unique volunteer opportunity called Project FIRST (Free Individual Risk Factor Screening & Treatment). The project serves uninsured and underserved members of several local counties, targeting individuals at risk of developing – or living with – chronic diseases. The university offers a breadth of nursing pathways including BSN, ABSN, RN-to-BSN, Veteran-to-BSN, MSN, joint MSN/MBA, DNP, and post-graduate certificate programs. Across its two campuses in Winchester and Ashburn, Shenandoah University produces 100 to 150 prelicensure BSN graduates annually who consistently achieve NCLEX-RN pass rates of 83-87%.

 

#45: Georgia Southern University | Statesboro, GA
Georgia Southern University’s School of Nursing offers two prelicensure BSN programs (traditional, LPN-to-BSN), plus an RN-to-BSN degree completion program. The school’s prelicensure students have achieved a 90% pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam since 2010. Graduate students can pursue the BSN-to-DNP program with MSN opt-out, or the post-master’s DNP program. Georgia Southern also offers post-MSN certificates for family nurse practitioners and psychiatric / mental health nurse practitioners. All nursing students can participate in a two-week study-abroad summer program titled “Nursing & Cultural Immersion: Costa Rica.”

 

#46: University of North Carolina at Wilmington | Wilmington, NC
The UNC Wilmington School of Nursing has 1,000 current students and more than 2,100 alumni in North Carolina alone. Undergraduates can pursue a traditional prelicensure BSN, an online RN-to-BSN program, or a unique Bachelor of Science in Clinical Research degree – one of just four such programs in the United States. UNC Wilmington’s prelicensure BSN students have enjoyed a 95% NCLEX pass rate over the past three years, with a stellar 98% pass rate in 2015. The school’s graduate offerings include an MSN with FNP focus, a Master of Science in Clinical Research degree, post-master’s FNP and NED certificates, and a newly launched DNP program.

 

#47: Southern Adventist University | Collegedale, TN
Southern Adventist University’s School of Nursing is housed in Florida Hospital Hall, a state-of-the-art center for nursing education. The school’s prelicensure pathways are a traditional ASN degree and an LPN-to-RN bridge program. Since 2009, graduates of these associate’s degree programs have maintained an 89% overall NCLEX exam pass rate. Registered nurses seeking further education can pursue an RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN completion program. The graduate nursing department leads MSN and DNP programs with numerous emphasis areas, including several NP roles. The School of Nursing offers a unique option in alternating years that allows students to begin clinical nursing classes during the summer months.

 

#48: University of Louisville | Louisville, KY
The UofL School of Nursing has two campus locations: Louisville and Owensboro. Each year, 140-180 prelicensure BSN students graduate from the Louisville campus, achieving an excellent 93% NCLEX pass rate over the past eight years. Owensboro graduates a smaller class of ~30 BSN students, boasting a solid 85% NCLEX pass rate. UofL also offers a master’s entry into professional nursing (MEPN) pathway for candidates with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Post-licensure candidates can pursue an RN-to-BSN completion program, post-MSN certificates in four different specialties, or either type of doctoral nursing program (DNP and PhD).

 

#49: University of North Florida | Jacksonville, FL
In July 2005, UNF selected the College of Health’s School of Nursing as its first flagship program. The school’s RN-to-BSN offering has earned recognition on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best online bachelor’s programs. UNF also offers on-campus RN-to-BSN, traditional BSN, and ABSN pathways for its undergraduate students. The school graduates over 100 prelicensure BSN students each year, who have posted a strong NCLEX exam pass rate of 91% since 2010. Graduate nursing students can pursue three APRN roles through the DNP program: nurse anesthetist, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

 

#50: Bob Jones University | Greenville, SC
Since 2002, Bob Jones University’s School of Nursing has enjoyed a cumulative NCLEX-RN pass rate above 95%. The school, which produces approximately 40 BSN graduates annually, ensures success on the exam by offering a full-year NCLEX review program, including a live review course at the end of senior year. The nursing curriculum at Bob Jones University includes six semesters of clinical experience rather than the standard four. Throughout the BSN program, students have the opportunity to work at Greenville Health System, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System.

 

The accredited schools below also offer highly regarded nursing programs in the Southeast region.

Featured Schools

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