Find a nursing school near you

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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#61: Point Loma Nazarene University | San Diego, CA
The School of Nursing at Point Loma Nazarene University offers several unique opportunities. These include a study abroad program which Open Doors ranked #15 in the nation, the LoveWorks short-term mission program, and a Health Promotion Center which serves residents of City Heights, a low-income multicultural area of San Diego. BSN candidates can pursue a traditional, LVN-to-BSN, or RN-to-BSN pathway to their degree. The 50 annual graduates of the BSN program have consistently scored well on their licensure exams, with a strong 93% NCLEX pass rate since 2007. PLNU also conducts an MSN degree program with a general track and three CNS specializations: adult / gerontology, family / individual health, and pediatrics.


#62: Belmont University | Nashville, TN
Belmont University’s School of Nursing has program options for aspiring nurses, registered nurses looking to complete their BSN, and seasoned nurses seeking career advancement. Undergraduate offerings include traditional four-year BSN, ABSN, and RN-to-BSN programs. Belmont graduates 100-150 prelicensure BSN students each spring, who have posted an impressive first-time NCLEX pass rate of 92.4% over the past seven years. Graduate options include MSN, post-baccalaureate DNP, and post-master’s DNP programs. The School of Nursing provides several innovative opportunities in its curriculum, include the Cambodia Study Abroad Program and the Nursing Christian Fellowship.


#63: Elmhurst College | Elmhurst, IL
Elmhurst’s School for Professional Studies offers a traditional prelicensure BSN, an RN-to-BSN completion program, and an MSN degree with three tracks (clinical nurse leader, nurse educator, nurse administrator). Since 2008, graduates of the school’s traditional BSN program have passed the NCLEX exam at an impressive 91.5% rate on their first attempt. Elmhurst is focused on innovation in nursing education: the school’s new preoperative nursing course was the first of its kind in the Chicago area. Located just 16 miles from downtown Chicago, the school’s students have access to a wealth of premier institutes for clinical studies.


#64: Loma Linda University | Loma Linda, CA
At Loma Linda University, students have access to the largest medical simulation center in the United States. They are also proximally located to Loma Linda University Medical Center, which hosts some of the nation’s largest clinical programs. Undergraduate pathways include the traditional BSN, accelerated BSN for non-nursing degree-holders, LVN-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN. The prelicensure pathways have grown rapidly in recent years: LLU graduated over 150 new BSN-educated nurses during the 2014-15 academic year, with a solid NCLEX pass rate of 86%. The university also offers MSN tracks for aspiring CRNAs, nurse administrators, and nurse educators, in addition to DNP and nursing PhD programs.


#65: Ursuline College | Pepper Pike, OH
Ursuline was the first women's college in Ohio and one of the first women’s colleges in the country. Its Breen School of Nursing maintains this tradition, educating female nurses in the following programs: traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN-to-BSN, traditional MSN, RN-to-MSN, and DNP. The school provides five distinct MSN tracks: adult nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, palliative care, adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist, and nursing education. Approximately 100 students graduate annually from the four-year BSN program, and they have maintained a solid NCLEX exam pass rate of 87% since 2009.


#66: Mount Carmel College of Nursing | Columbus, OH
Mount Carmel College of Nursing enrolls over 1,000 students and conducts one of the largest baccalaureate nursing programs in the state, with 200+ annual BSN graduates. Over the past seven years, these students have passed the NCLEX exam at an 88% rate on their first effort. The college also offers an MSN program with four specialty tracks and a DNP program. Mount Carmel fosters 12% ethnic diversity in its student body and emphasizes small class sizes and personal faculty attention. Students have easy access to hands-on learning at Mount Carmel West Hospital, located right on campus.


#67: Nova Southeastern University | Fort Lauderdale, FL
Nova Southeastern University’s College of Nursing enrolls more than 1,300 students from coast to coast. Nursing programs are offered at the university’s primary campus in Fort Lauderdale, through satellite campuses in Miami and Fort Myers, and online. The prelicensure BSN program graduates 250-300 new nurses each year, who have passed the NCLEX exam at a solid 86% rate over the past six years. NSU also offers RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN bridge programs through its undergraduate nursing department. Graduate nursing students can pursue three nonclinical MSN tracks, two clinical MSN tracks for aspiring nurse practitioners, an online DNP, or a PhD focused on nursing education.


#68: Augsburg College | Minneapolis, MN
The nursing programs at Augsburg College are designed to address the specific needs of diverse populations in the U.S. and abroad. As such, immersion courses and study abroad experiences are integrated into all of the school’s nursing programs. Many of these experiences take students to overseas locations from England to Namibia. Classes for the school’s BSN completion (BSN-C), master of arts (MA) in nursing, DNP in transcultural nursing leadership (DNP: TCN), and DNP in family nurse practitioner (DNP: FNP) programs meet at the Minneapolis and Rochester campuses.


#69: Loyola University Chicago | Chicago, IL
In 1935, Loyola University Chicago was the first Illinois university to offer a BSN degree. Today, the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing offers undergraduate (BSN), master’s (MSN), and doctoral (DNP and PhD) nursing programs. More than 85% of the school’s full-time faculty have doctoral degrees. Loyola’s BSN graduates have scored an impressive NCLEX pass rate of 91.8% over the past four years. Community outreach is a priority for the school, and it operates two nurse-managed centers that also serve as clinical sites for student practice.


#70: University of Indianapolis | Indianapolis, IN
UIndy’s School of Nursing is the only institution in the state that offers both nurse-midwifery and neonatal nurse practitioner programs. The school also provides five other MSN specializations; traditional, accelerated, and degree-completion BSN programs; and a doctorate of nursing practice. Prelicensure students from UIndy’s BSN programs have achieved an NCLEX exam pass rate of ~92% over the past decade. The school’s “Education for Service” motto is deeply embedded in its nursing curriculum: students can join a number of volunteer and mission opportunities each year.


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

Featured Schools

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