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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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#41: Saint Louis University | Saint Louis, MO
The School of Nursing at Saint Louis University created the first ABSN and comprehensive online MSN programs in the nation, the first accelerated MSN and nursing PhD programs in Missouri, and the first DNP program in St. Louis. SLU’s BSN graduates have maintained a strong NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of ~90% since 2008, well above both state and national averages. In addition to impressive licensure exam pass rates, all programs are nationally recognized for their innovative and comprehensive curricula.

 

#42: Concordia University Wisconsin | Mequon, WI
The School of Nursing at Concordia University Wisconsin offers traditional BSN and RN-to-BSN programs at the undergraduate level, with a strong foundation in the liberal arts. CUW’s MSN program has specialty tracks for aspiring nurse educators, family nurse practitioners, and adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioners. The school also has an accelerated RN-to-BSN-to-MSN bridge program, a DNP degree, and a unique course in parish nursing. CUW’s four-year BSN program graduates 40-50 students each year, with a cumulative NCLEX pass rate of 94% since 2011. Undergraduates benefit from global study trips and clinical experiences that start during their sophomore year.

 

#43: Valparaiso University | Valparaiso, IN
Valparaiso University's College of Nursing and Health Professions offers its undergraduate students BSN, ABSN, RN-to-BSN, and RN-to-MSN options. At the graduate level, BSN-educated nurses may pursue an MSN with a focus on nursing education, a joint MSN / master of business administration (MBA) program, or a DNP degree. Valparaiso’s graduating BSN class of ~100 students has passed the NCLEX exam at a 92% rate over the past four years. More than 60% of the faculty hold doctoral nursing degrees, and students enjoy access to state-of-the-art facilities such as the Virtual Nursing Learning Center and the SIM-Center.

 

#44: George Washington University | Washington, DC
Founded in 2010, George Washington University’s School of Nursing is already educating nearly 800 students, including ~225 on campus and over 550 online. The school employs 58 faculty and 300 clinical preceptors across its two campus locations in Foggy Bottom and Ashburn. These sites are also home to three premier Skills and Simulation Laboratories. The School of Nursing provides baccalaureate, master's, and doctorate programs, and has earned recognition for its online offerings. In fact, their online MSN is currently ranked #13 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.

 

#45: Creighton University | Omaha, NE
The College of Nursing at Creighton University was the first nursing school in Nebraska to offer CNL and DNP programs. The school also has traditional MSN and post-graduate certificate programs, as well as both a four-year BSN and an ABSN program that can be completed in just one year. The college produces 150 to 200 prelicensure BSN graduates annually, and these students have accomplished a 91% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past five years. Just as impressively, first-time pass rates on the certification examination for NP graduates typically range from 90% to 100%.

 

#46: University of Saint Joseph | West Hartford, CT
A tight student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1 allows the USJ School of Health & Natural Sciences to provide students with intensive personal attention and guidance. It’s no wonder, then, that USJ routinely graduates BSN students with an NCLEX pass rate of 86-94%. Interestingly, the traditional BSN is only available to women, while the accelerated second-degree BSN and RN-to-BSN programs are available to men as well. In addition to FNP master’s and online DNP programs, USJ also offers a post-master's certification for psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners.

 

#47: Allen College | Waterloo, IA
Allen College graduated its first DNP class in 2013. The school also offers four NP tracks in its MSN program, including adult-gerontology acute care, adult-gerontology primary care, family practice, and family psychiatric mental health. The school’s baccalaureate program has three prelicensure tracks (traditional, accelerated, and LPN-to-BSN) and two post-licensure tracks (RN-to-BSN and public health). BSN students have the option to earn a minor in the pioneering area of population health. Allen College produces 100-125 prelicensure BSN graduates annually, and these students have passed the NCLEX exam at a stellar 93% rate over the past six years.

 

#48: York College of Pennsylvania | York, PA
York College’s Stabler Department of Nursing offers traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN, and DNP programs to a total enrollment of nearly 600 students. The school’s flagship BSN program graduates ~120 students each year, and these graduates have passed the NCLEX exam at an 87% rate over the past seven years. Stabler students enjoy personalized attention, with approximately 36 individuals per class and an 8:1 clinical student-to-faculty ratio. York College’s recently renovated nursing building, Diehl Hall, includes state-of-the-art simulation rooms and critical care equipment.

 

#49: Azusa Pacific University | Azusa, CA
Azusa Pacific University has a nursing program for every career objective. Undergraduates can pursue a four-year BSN, a licensed vocational nurse (LVN)-to-BSN bridge, an RN-to-BSN completion program, or the Two-Plus-Two BSN. The final option is a unique track designed for APU transfer students. Prelicensure BSN candidates have passed the NCLEX exam at a solid 84% first-time rate since 2007. The university’s MSN program includes a direct-entry pathway, and these students have demonstrated a similarly strong NCLEX pass rate of 86%. The MSN curriculum features specialties in nursing education, school nursing, two clinical nurse specialist (CNS) areas, and four NP roles. APU also offers a DNP program, a nursing PhD program, and eight post-master’s nursing certificates.

 

#50: Marquette University | Milwaukee, WI
Founded in 1936, the College of Nursing at Marquette University has more than 7,000 alumni and educates ~350 nursing students annually. The college offers BSN, MSN, post-master’s certificates, DNP, and nursing PhD programs, with a low 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio in clinical settings. Graduates of the school’s flagship BSN program consistently pass the NCLEX exam at an 80-90% rate every year. The College of Nursing is housed in 46,000-square-foot Emory T. Clark Hall, where students benefit from new facilities like the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Center for Clinical Simulation.

 

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

Featured Schools

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