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Nursing is a profession for those wanting to make a difference. To make nursing an emotionally fulfilling and financially rewarding career, you'll need a top-quality education. In particular, a degree from a four-year college or university will put you leagues ahead of most registered nurses, enabling you to garner more knowledge, greater responsibilities, and higher pay.

In a four-year college or university, you will receive a classic university-style education and earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. The course of study for a BSN is four years if you’re attending full-time, but part-time study is also possible in many programs. To apply for a BSN program, you must prepare an application as you would for any university or college. Standard undergraduate admissions requirements include a high school diploma or equivalent, strong SAT or ACT scores, and successful completion of any entrance exams.

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Allen College and the University of Iowa are the two largest four-year nursing programs in Iowa. Both schools offer numerous options for nursing specializations, with 15-20 distinct programs apiece including graduate-level study. Employers often recruit directly from these programs. Iowa's BSN-educated nurses have a number of strong career options at top recruiters throughout the state, including the Department of Veteran Affairs and DaVita Healthcare, a Fortune 500 company.

To help you kick-start your nursing education, you’ll find below a handy list of the best four-year colleges and universities for nursing in Iowa.

Featured Schools

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Cedar Rapids

Coe College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Mount Mercy University
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Purdue University Global - Cedar Rapids
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Upper Iowa University - Cedar Rapids
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
School City Programs offered
Coe College Cedar Rapids
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Mount Mercy University Cedar Rapids
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Purdue University Global - Cedar Rapids Cedar Rapids
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Upper Iowa University - Cedar Rapids Cedar Rapids
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion

Des Moines

Grand View University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Mercy College of Health Sciences
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Purdue University Global - Des Moines
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Upper Iowa University - Des Moines
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
School City Programs offered
Grand View University Des Moines
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Mercy College of Health Sciences Des Moines
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • Nursing Assistant Certificate
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Purdue University Global - Des Moines Urbandale
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Upper Iowa University - Des Moines West Des Moines
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion

Other Iowa cities

Allen College
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Administration
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Education
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Briar Cliff University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Master's Certificates
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Clarke University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Dordt College
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Iowa Wesleyan University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Luther College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Morningside College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
Northwestern College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
St. Ambrose University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
St. Luke's College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
University of Dubuque
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
University of Iowa
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • DNP: Anesthesia Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Baccalaureate PhD
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Upper Iowa University
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
William Penn University
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
School City Programs offered
Allen College Waterloo
  • Accelerated Second Degree BSN
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Nursing Education
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Emergency Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Administration
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Nursing Education
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Briar Cliff University Sioux City
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Master's Certificates
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Clarke University Dubuque
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Dordt College Sioux Center
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Iowa Wesleyan University Mount Pleasant
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Luther College Decorah
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Morningside College Sioux City
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • LPN-to-BSN Bridge Program
Northwestern College Orange City
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
St. Ambrose University Davenport
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
St. Luke's College Sioux City
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
University of Dubuque Dubuque
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
University of Iowa Iowa City
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • DNP: Anesthesia Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
  • MSN: Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Leader
  • MSN: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • MSN: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Nursing Administration
  • MSN: Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Baccalaureate DNP
  • Post-Baccalaureate PhD
  • Post-Master's Certificate: Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
Upper Iowa University Fayette
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion
William Penn University Oskaloosa
  • RN-to-BSN Degree Completion