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 North Carolina Board of 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 seven years of student performance. We then used this metric to rank all of North Carolina’s prelicensure BSN programs accordingly.

#1: Western Carolina University
One University Way
Cullowhee, NC 28723
https://www.wcu.edu

98.5% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 75 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#2: Duke University
103 Allen Building
Durham, NC 27708
https://www.duke.edu

97.8% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Accelerated Second Degree BSN
Average of 136 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#3: Gardner-Webb University
110 South Main Street
Boiling Springs, NC 28017
https://www.gardner-webb.edu

97.3% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 25 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2014 through 2019


#4: East Carolina University
1001 East Fifth Street
Greenville, NC 27858
https://www.ecu.edu

96.8% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 244 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#5: Campbell University
450 Leslie Campbell Avenue
Buies Creek, NC 27506
https://www.campbell.edu

96.5% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 43 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2018 through 2019


#6: Fayetteville State University
1200 Murchison Road
Fayetteville, NC 28301
https://www.uncfsu.edu

95.7% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 35 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2014 through 2019


#7: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
103 South Building
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
https://www.unc.edu

95.4% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 174 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#8: University of North Carolina Wilmington
601 South College Road
Wilmington, NC 28403
https://www.uncw.edu

95.0% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 95 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#9: Appalachian State University
287 Rivers Street
Boone, NC 28608
https://www.appstate.edu

92.2% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 40 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#10: Chamberlain University - Charlotte
2015 Ayrsley Town Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28273
https://www.chamberlain.edu

92.2% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 39 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2018 through 2019


#11: University of North Carolina at Greensboro
1400 Spring Garden Street
Greensboro, NC 27402
https://www.uncg.edu

91.9% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 98 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#12: University of North Carolina at Charlotte
9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223
https://www.uncc.edu

91.5% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 99 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#13: University of North Carolina at Pembroke
One University Drive
Pembroke, NC 28372
https://www.uncp.edu

91.4% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 37 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#14: Queens University of Charlotte
1900 Selwyn Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28274
https://www.queens.edu

90.7% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 84 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#15: Winston-Salem State University
601 Martin Luther King Jr Drive
Winston-Salem, NC 27110
https://www.wssu.edu

89.2% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 116 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#16: Lenoir-Rhyne University
625 Seventh Avenue NE
Hickory, NC 28601
https://www.lr.edu

89.0% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 33 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#17: Northeastern University - Charlotte
101 North Tryon Street, Suite 1100
Charlotte, NC 28246
https://www.northeastern.edu/charlotte

86.4% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Accelerated Second Degree BSN
Average of 30 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2018 through 2019


#18: South University, High Point Off-Campus Instructional Site
3975 Premier Drive
High Point, NC 27265
https://www.southuniversity.edu

86.2% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 19 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2017 through 2019


#19: North Carolina A&T State University
1601 East Market Street
Greensboro, NC 27411
https://www.ncat.edu

84.1% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 32 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#20: Wingate University
220 North Camden Road
Wingate, NC 28174
https://www.wingate.edu

82.8% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 16 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2014 through 2019


#21: Barton College
200 ACC Drive NE
Wilson, NC 27893
https://www.barton.edu

80.3% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 33 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#22: Pfeiffer University
48380 US Highway 52 North
Misenheimer, NC 28109
https://www.pfeiffer.edu

78.8% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 15 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#23: Methodist University
5400 Ramsey Street
Fayetteville, NC 28311
https://www.methodist.edu

78.7% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 23 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2014 through 2019


#24: North Carolina Central University
1801 Fayetteville Street
Durham, NC 27707
https://www.nccu.edu

78.6% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 61 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2013 through 2019


#25: Mars Hill University
100 Athletic Street
Mars Hill, NC 28754
https://www.mhu.edu

72.2% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 18 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2018 through 2019


#26: South College - Asheville
140 Sweeten Creek Road
Asheville, NC 28803
https://www.south.edu

71.4% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 14 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2019 through 2019


#27: Lees-McRae College
191 Main Street
Banner Elk, NC 28604
https://www.lmc.edu

61.7% first-time NCLEX pass rate
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Average of 20 students graduated per year
Data analyzed from 2017 through 2019