For our 2021 rankings of prelicensure BSN programs, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac compiled an extensive database of student performance on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Aspiring registered nurses in the United States must pass this examination before they may commence practice. Thus, student performance on the NCLEX-RN exam provides an excellent benchmark for comparing the relative quality of bachelor’s degree programs.

We used our database to calculate each program’s NCLEX-RN pass rate among first-time test-takers. This is the standard program assessment metric reported by the California Board of Registered Nursing and the test’s administrator, Pearson Vue. Whenever possible, we calculated this first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate over an extensive period of time, typically the past decade of student performance. We then used this metric to rank all of California’s prelicensure BSN programs accordingly.

#1: Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
https://www.sonoma.edu

97.6% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 25 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#2: California State University, Sacramento
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819
https://www.csus.edu

97.3% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 146 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#3: California State University, Stanislaus
One University Circle
Turlock, CA 95382
https://www.csustan.edu

97.0% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 75 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#4: California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90840
https://www.csulb.edu

96.7% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 152 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#5: California State University, Channel Islands
One University Drive
Camarillo, CA 93012
https://www.csuci.edu

96.0% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 45 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#6: Chamberlain University - Sacramento
10971 Sun Center Drive
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
https://www.chamberlain.edu

96.0% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 75 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2018-19 through 2019-20


#7: California State University, San Marcos
333 South Twin Oaks Valley Road
San Marcos, CA 92096
https://www.csusm.edu

95.9% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 169 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#8: Concordia University Irvine
3337 Michelson Drive, Suite 650
Irvine, CA 92612
https://www.cui.edu

95.9% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 74 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#9: California State University, Chico
400 West First Street
Chico, CA 95929
https://www.csuchico.edu

95.4% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 78 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#10: California State University, Bakersfield
9001 Stockdale Highway
Bakersfield, CA 93311
https://www.csub.edu

94.9% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 56 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#11: Simpson University
2211 College View Drive
Redding, CA 96003
https://www.simpsonu.edu

94.5% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 27 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2012-13 through 2019-20


#12: California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032
https://www.calstatela.edu

94.3% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 81 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#13: San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
https://www.sdsu.edu

93.0% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 151 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#14: California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330
https://www.csun.edu

91.6% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 41 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2018-19


#15: California State University, Fullerton
800 North State College Boulevard
Fullerton, CA 92831
https://www.fullerton.edu

91.1% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 48 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#16: San Jose State University
One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192
https://www.sjsu.edu

90.2% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 122 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#17: National University
16875 West Bernardo Drive, Suite 150
San Diego, CA 92127
https://www.nu.edu

90.0% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 247 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#18: Samuel Merritt University
3100 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609
https://www.samuelmerritt.edu

89.3% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 377 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#19: California State University, East Bay
25800 Carlos Bee Boulevard
Hayward, CA 94542
https://www.csueastbay.edu

89.2% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 112 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#20: Loma Linda University
11262 Campus Street
Loma Linda, CA 92350
https://home.llu.edu

88.8% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 113 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#21: California State University, Fresno
2345 East San Ramon Avenue
Fresno, CA 93740
https://www.csufresno.edu

88.3% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 123 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#22: Point Loma Nazarene University
3900 Lomaland Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
https://www.pointloma.edu

87.7% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 61 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#23: University of San Francisco
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
https://www.usfca.edu

87.5% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 178 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#24: California State University, San Bernardino
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407
https://www.csusb.edu

87.4% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 113 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#25: University of California, Irvine
802 West Peltason Drive
Irvine, CA 92697
https://www.uci.edu

87.3% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 47 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#26: West Coast University
12215 Victory Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91606
https://www.westcoastuniversity.edu

87.1% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 1076 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2011-12 through 2019-20


#27: University of California, Los Angeles
700 Tiverton Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095
https://www.ucla.edu

86.5% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 50 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#28: Biola University
13800 Biola Avenue
La Mirada, CA 90639
https://www.biola.edu

86.2% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 39 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#29: California Baptist University
8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504
https://www.calbaptist.edu

85.2% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 110 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#30: Azusa Pacific University
901 East Alosta Avenue
Azusa, CA 91702
https://www.apu.edu

84.3% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 288 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#31: San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
https://www.sfsu.edu

82.7% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 109 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#32: American University of Health Sciences
1600 East Hill Street, Building One
Signal Hill, CA 90755
https://www.auhs.edu

82.4% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 49 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#33: Unitek College
4670 Auto Mall Parkway
Fremont, CA 94538
https://www.unitekcollege.edu

81.0% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 109 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#34: Dominican University of California
50 Acacia Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
https://www.dominican.edu

79.9% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 95 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#35: Mount Saint Mary’s University
12001 Chalon Road
Los Angeles, CA 90049
https://www.msmu.edu

78.7% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 145 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2010-11 through 2019-20


#36: Holy Names University
3500 Mountain Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619
https://www.hnu.edu

63.3% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 23 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2012-13 through 2019-20