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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. Approximately 1,300 of the institutions surveyed were private, including vocational and career schools, liberal arts colleges, and universities. 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: 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.

 

#22: University of Miami | Coral Gables, FL
The University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies (SONHS) will soon host one of the nation’s first education-based simulation hospitals. The school is also first in Florida and 22nd nationwide in NIH funding among nursing schools. A member of the respected UHealth family, SONHS offers BSN, ABSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD degrees in many specializations. Post-master’s certificates are also on the menu. SONHS graduates 160-200 students annually from its flagship prelicensure BSN program. During the 2010-15 time period, more than 94% of these students passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam on their first try.

 

#23: Barnes-Jewish College, Goldfarb School of Nursing | Saint Louis, MO
Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College is recognized as a Laerdal Center of Educational Excellence. The school welcomes more than 700 nursing students annually and awards the bachelor of science in nursing, master of science in nursing, and dual doctor of nursing practice / doctor of philosophy in nursing degrees. Approximately 400 BSN graduates sit for the NCLEX-RN exam annually, and they have passed this licensure test at a strong 91% rate over the past eight years. More than 40% of graduates land positions at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

 

#24: Case Western Reserve University | Cleveland, OH
The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University prides itself on innovation. The school was among the first in the country to offer several nursing programs, including acute care nurse practitioner, gerontological nursing, and doctor of nursing practice. It is also one of few private research universities to offer both a traditional four-year BSN degree and a direct-entry MSN pathway. Case Western students benefit from their proximity to University Circle, a 550-acre scientific hub with numerous premier healthcare organizations. The school also has seven centers of excellence for nursing opportunities and experiences.

 

#25: University of Portland | Portland, OR
University of Portland School of Nursing awards BSN, MSN, and DNP degrees. The baccalaureate program incorporates study abroad experiences in countries like Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Tanzania. UP produces approximately 200 BSN graduates annually who have averaged a solid NCLEX pass rate of 90% since 2008. The graduate program employs a convenient hybrid delivery model of online learning modules and monthly immersion weekends. UP offers an MSN degree with clinical nurse leader and nursing education tracks, as well as a DNP program with a family nurse practitioner focus.

 

#26: University of Rochester | Rochester, NY
The School of Nursing at University of Rochester prides itself on innovation in nursing education, including the country’s first acute care NP program and its first Center for Nursing Entrepreneurship. The school’s most recent initiative is its Council for Diversity and Inclusiveness. Over the past seven years, 92.4% of Rochester’s BSN students have passed the NCLEX licensure exam on their first try. The school also provides RN-to-BSN, MSN, PhD, and post-PhD programs. Nursing students have access to a state-of-the-art Clinical and Educational Resource Center as well as a 52-bed neonatal intensive care unit.

 

#27: Waynesburg University | Waynesburg, PA
Waynesburg University’s nursing programs are offered across the university’s four academic centers, allowing students greater flexibility. The university offers a traditional BSN along with RN-to-BSN, licensed practical nurse (LPN)-to-BSN, accelerated BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. Waynesburg maintains a small BSN graduating class of 40 students, and these nurses have passed the NCLEX exam at a stellar 99.2% first-try rate since 2008. Future nursing students at Waynesburg will enjoy the recent addition of a state-of-the-art simulation lab.

 

#28: Georgia Baptist College of Nursing | Atlanta, GA
Georgia Baptist College of Nursing is part of Mercer University. The school consists of two campuses: an Atlanta campus where the main college is located, and a Macon campus where students take pre-nursing coursework only. Georgia Baptist offers two BSN pathways (traditional, RN-to-BSN), two MSN tracks (adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner), and two doctoral degrees with a hybrid online format (DNP, PhD). The college is the second-largest Baptist-affiliated institution in the world, with access to more than 30 clinical sites for valuable hands-on experience. Georgia Baptist graduates 120-140 prelicensure BSN students each year, who have achieved a superior 94% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past eight years.

 

#29: Marymount University | Arlington, VA
The Malek School of Health Professions houses the Marymount University nursing department. Each year, approximately 35 students graduate from the school’s traditional BSN program, and more than 100 students complete the accelerated BSN program. These graduates have passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam at a strong 91% rate since 2010. Marymount University also offers a hybrid online RN-to-BSN program, an MSN degree with an FNP focus, and an online DNP program that requires just one on-campus component per semester. Clinical experiences and internships take place at some of Virginia’s leading healthcare organizations.

 

#30: Duquesne University | Pittsburgh, PA
The School of Nursing at Duquesne University is recognized for creating Pennsylvania’s first BSN program in 1937 and the nation’s first online nursing PhD program in 1997. Duquesne has been designated an NLN Center of Excellence™ three consecutive times since 2008. In addition to traditional BSN and RN-to-BSN programs, it offers undergraduates an innovative five-year dual degree program in biomedical engineering and nursing. Overall, the school’s BSN graduates have maintained an 86.3% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past five academic years. The School of Nursing also provides graduate programs at the master’s, graduate certificate, and doctoral levels, including both DNP and PhD options.

 

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

Featured Schools

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