Find a nursing school near you

Programs include LPN/LVN, ADN, BSN, MSN, and more

For our 2018 rankings, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on over 3,000 nursing schools and campuses throughout the United States. 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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#1: Duke University | Durham, NC
The National League for Nursing (NLN) has twice designated Duke University a Center of Excellence (COE): in 2013 for promoting the pedagogical expertise of faculty, and in 2015 for enhancing student learning and professional development. The School of Nursing consistently ranks among the highest in the nation among U.S. News & World Report’s top master of science in nursing (MSN) programs, and it was the first school in North Carolina to offer the doctor of nursing practice degree. Duke also graduates 130-150 students each year from its accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program, who have passed the NCLEX exam at a stellar rate of 98% since 2010.


#2: University of California, San Francisco | San Francisco, CA
For the past decade, UCSF School of Nursing has placed among the top two nursing schools in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The school’s master of science in nursing (MSN) program offers 15 specialty areas, including several clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and nurse practitioner (NP) roles. UCSF conducts a master’s entry program which prepares non-nurses for initial licensure; graduates have achieved an outstanding National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) pass rate of 94% since 2008. The university also has an online master’s degree in healthcare administration and interprofessional leadership, as well as doctor of philosophy (PhD) tracks in both nursing and sociology.


#3: Johns Hopkins University | Baltimore, MD
The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is ranked #1 among graduate nursing programs and #5 among online nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report. The school also earned an NLN Center of Excellence designation for enhancing student learning and professional development. Johns Hopkins educates approximately 1,200 diverse nursing students, including 500 full-time and 700 part-time. The university recently transitioned from a prelicensure BSN program to a direct-entry MSN program. The first two graduating classes of the direct-entry MSN have scored a stellar 96% NCLEX pass rate. Johns Hopkins offers two other MSN tracks, a DNP with seven advanced practice specializations, and a doctor of philosophy (PhD) in nursing.


#4: Rush University | Chicago, IL
Since its inception, well over 7,000 baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral students have graduated from Rush University’s College of Nursing. The college currently maintains a graduate enrollment of approximately 1,000, of whom 350 are full-time students. Rush’s direct-entry MSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at an exemplary rate of 97% over the past eight years. The Rush University Medical Center provides a rich environment where students of nursing, medicine, and allied health sciences learn in an interdisciplinary and dynamic setting.


#5: New York University | New York, NY
U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks the adult-gerontology nurse practitioner programs at Rory Meyers College of Nursing among the top ten nationally. The college is also seventh in the nation in terms of NIH nursing research funding awarded over the past decade, and NYU Meyers has twice earned a Center of Excellence designation from the National League for Nursing. In its flagship BSN program, the college graduates approximately 400 students each year who have passed the NCLEX exam at an 86% rate since 2008. NYU Meyers also offers an MSN degree, post-master’s advanced certificates, a DNP program, and a PhD in Research Theory and Development.


#6: University of Washington | Seattle, WA
The University of Washington School of Nursing has been a top-rated nursing school by U.S. News & World Report for twenty years. UW offers the full breadth of nursing degrees: traditional and accelerated BSN programs, an MS in Clinical Informatics and Patient-Centered Technologies, a PhD in Nursing Science, and 11 Doctor of Nursing Practice tracks. Students can also pursue graduate certificates in areas ranging from palliative care to nurse-midwifery. UW’s graduating BSN class of 130-150 students annually has passed the NCLEX exam at a strong 92% rate over the past decade.


#7: University of Pennsylvania | Philadelphia, PA
The MSN program at Penn’s School of Nursing is consistently ranked as one of the top programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report, along with four of its nurse practitioner (NP) specialty tracks in their respective categories. The school enrolls approximately 600 students across its undergraduate and graduate programs, and Penn is in the top tier of research-funded institutions according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Graduates of the BSN program have passed the NCLEX exam at a 92% rate since 2009. Students also benefit from 41 full-time faculty and two world-class hospitals in their backyard.


#8: Emory University | Atlanta, GA
The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University is home to approximately 600 students enrolled in BSN, ABSN, MSN, PhD, and DNP programs. The university is consistently ranked among the top ten graduate nursing schools by U.S. News & World Report, including a number of highly rated specialty programs. At the undergraduate level, Emory produces approximately 200 BSN graduates annually who have passed the NCLEX-RN examination at a 90% rate since 2008. The nursing school has an impressive 82% employment rate immediately after graduation, and students have landed positions at more than 500 diverse clinical sites nationwide.


#9: University of Maryland | Baltimore, MD
The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) currently enrolls almost 1,900 nursing students. The university has received a top-ten ranking from U.S. News & World Report in at least ten different nursing specialty areas. UMSON also places #14 in NIH nursing research funding over the past decade. The school graduates 250-300 prelicensure BSN students annually and another 50-100 direct-entry MSN students. These individuals have passed the NCLEX exam at an impressive 91% rate since 2008. UMSON has 147 faculty members (136 of whom are full-time), engages with more than 600 faculty associates and clinical preceptors, and offers students access to four highly regarded medical centers and institutes.


#10: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center | New Orleans, LA
The LSU Health School of Nursing is an NLN Center of Excellence for promoting the pedagogical expertise of faculty. Undergraduate students can select from a traditional four-year BSN, an RN-to-BSN degree completion program, and the Career Alternative RN Education (CARE) pathway. The CARE BSN is designed for individuals who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. The university’s prelicensure BSN students have averaged a 96% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, including an astonishing nine consecutive years at a 95% pass rate or higher. At the graduate level, LSU Health offers two MSN specializations (clinical nurse leader, nurse educator), an impressive 11 distinct DNP concentrations, and the unique Doctor of Nursing Science degree program.


#11: Samford University | Birmingham, AL
The Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing at Samford University is home to more than 700 nursing students. The undergraduate BSN program offers four education pathways, including a traditional four-year degree, standard and accelerated versions of the second-degree program, and a unique Veterans’ BSN. In total, Samford graduates over 100 newly minted RNs annually. These BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a 94% first-try rate over the past eight years, including an incredible 99% pass rate for the class of 2015. Samford’s graduate nursing curriculum includes specialty programs for family nursing practice, health systems and administration, nursing anesthesia, and nurse education.


#12: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Chapel Hill, NC
The UNC School of Nursing was the first in the state to offer a four-year BSN, an MSN degree, a nurse practitioner (NP) program, and a doctor of philosophy (PhD) in nursing. The school, which also offers RN-to-BSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate programs, ranks near the top 20 in the nation on two separate U.S. News & World Report lists (best MSN programs, best DNP programs). The traditional BSN program graduates a class of approximately 175 students annually, who have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a rate of 96% since 2010.


#13: Villanova University | Villanova, PA
Drawing on its Christian beliefs and values, Villanova University has provided nursing education for over sixty years. The nursing college typically has more than 700 students enrolled in its undergraduate program. These BSN graduates have achieved an outstanding 94% NCLEX pass rate for three consecutive years. Another 300 students are enrolled across Villanova’s MSN, DNP, and PhD programs. Designated a Center of Excellence by the NLN multiple times, the college boasts 7,000 alumni, 55% of whom live in the tristate area. Over 80% of the college’s full-time and part-time faculty hold doctoral degrees.


#14: East Carolina University | Greenville, NC
East Carolina University has garnered multiple designations as an NLN COE over the last few years. The ECU College of Nursing offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN (ABSN), and RN-to-BSN pathways, plus the innovative Eastern North Carolina Regionally Increasing Baccalaureate Nurses program. This initiative dually admits students to ECU and one of six local community colleges that partner with the university. The College of Nursing’s 250 annual BSN graduates consistently pass the NCLEX exam at a rate of 96% or better, including a phenomenal 98% pass rate during 2015. ECU also offers a breadth of graduate nursing options including MSN, DNP, and PhD programs.


#15: Georgetown University | Washington, DC
Georgetown University has educated more than 8,000 nurses since its nursing program was founded in 1903. The School of Nursing & Health Studies (NHS) provides nursing education across two academic departments. The Department of Advanced Nursing Practice houses several MSN specialties, and the Department of Professional Nursing Practice leads the BSN, CNL, and DNP programs. The school’s BSN students have a remarkable 97% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past decade. Students at NHS further benefit from state-of-the-art facilities like the O’Neill Family Foundation Clinical Simulation Center and the Discovery Center.


#16: Yale University | New Haven, CT
One of the first university schools to prepare nurses under an educational rather than apprenticeship program, Yale School of Nursing (YSN) has educated health professionals since 1923. YSN maintains a consistently stellar NCLEX pass rate of 94-98% in its entry-level MSN program, and the school’s MSN and DNP offerings are both highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The university’s 320 nursing students interact with over 100 faculty members and 1,000+ preceptors focused solely on graduate nursing education. Yale is also one of the top recipients of nursing research funding from the National Institutes of Health, averaging $3.5 million annually in grants over the past decade.


#17: Oregon Health & Science University | Portland, OR
OHSU School of Nursing is one of the state’s largest nursing schools, with an enrollment of 1,100 students across five campuses (Portland, Ashland, Monmouth, La Grande, Klamath Falls) and online. OHSU offers a traditional BSN at all five campuses, an accelerated BSN in Portland and Ashland with seamless MSN/DNP transition, and an RN-to-BSN program in Portland and online. Traditional BSN students have achieved an NCLEX pass rate of 90-95% in each of the past five years. Accelerated BSN students have fared even better, consistently posting 93-99% NCLEX pass rates. OHSU offers graduate specialties in nurse anesthesia, nurse midwifery, and four NP roles: family, adult gerontology acute care, psychiatric mental health, and pediatric.


#18: Indiana University School of Nursing | Indianapolis, IN
Indiana University School of Nursing (IUSON) was the first college in the history of the NLN to hold two simultaneous designations as a Center of Excellence. The school also receives over $3 million annually in NIH funding for its nursing research. Almost 40% of Indiana’s baccalaureate-prepared professional nurses graduate from IUSON each year, with consistently strong NCLEX pass rates of 87-94%. Students benefit from IUSON’s active partnerships with 60+ healthcare providers in Indiana, including five well-known facilities directly on campus. Study abroad courses and bi-national exchanges are also encouraged.


#19: University of Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh, PA
Pitt Nursing earns high marks from U.S. News & World Report across several of their programs. Pitt is also consistently ranked in the top 10 in nursing school research funding by the National Institutes of Health. In addition to its graduate offerings, the school teaches traditional and accelerated bachelor’s degree programs, and its BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a rate of almost 90% since 2009. Pitt Nursing has almost 100 full-time faculty, approximately 98% of whom hold doctoral degrees. The School of Nursing was also recently ranked near the top 10 globally by QS World University Rankings.


#20: University of Massachusetts Medical School | Worcester, MA
UMass Medical School has been consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the leading medical schools in the nation for primary care education. UMMS’s graduate school of nursing, accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, offers master’s degrees, post-master’s certificates, and doctoral degrees. It stands out as the only publicly funded nursing school in the commonwealth with a sole focus on graduate education. It is no surprise, then, that their direct-entry MSN program has boasted an exceptional NCLEX pass rate of 96% over the past ten years.


#21: University of Utah | Salt Lake City, UT
The University of Utah College of Nursing produces 250-300 graduates annually across its many nursing programs. Prelicensure BSN students have achieved an impressive first-time NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of 94% since 2010. The college also offers an RN-to-BSN completion program for existing registered nurses; MSN focuses in care management, education, and informatics; and six DNP subspecialties, including five NP roles and nurse midwifery. The University of Utah’s distance PhD program has both BSN-to-PhD and MSN-to-PhD tracks. Indeed, the College of Nursing ranked #2 nationwide in 2015 NIH funding for nursing research.


#22: Medical University of South Carolina | Charleston, SC
MUSC College of Nursing is ranked #3 in the nation among online graduate nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers MSN, DNP, and nursing science PhD programs, all of which can be completed predominantly online with just a few required visits to campus. MUSC also offers an online RN-to-BSN degree completion program and an on-campus, 16-month accelerated BSN. Nearly 600 students attend MUSC College of Nursing in total, and approximately 100-150 students graduate from the ABSN program in two cohorts annually. These graduates have enjoyed a stellar NCLEX exam pass rate of 94% over the past decade.


#23: Boston College | Chestnut Hill, MA
The William F. Connell School of Nursing is geared towards global diversity and social justice. The college’s nursing students enjoy a liberal arts education and receive a range of cultural healthcare perspectives, with access to six international locations. Approximately 100 BSN and 40 MSN students graduate from the school’s prelicensure programs each year. BSN students have maintained a strong 93% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, while direct-entry MSN students scored a perfect pass rate in eight of the past ten years. The school offers a wide range of graduate programs, including certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) and pediatric or psychiatric nurse practitioner (NP) options.


#24: Case Western Reserve University | Cleveland, OH
The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University prides itself on innovation. The school was among the first in the country to offer several nursing programs, including acute care nurse practitioner, gerontological nursing, and doctor of nursing practice. It is also one of few private research universities to offer both a traditional four-year BSN degree and a direct-entry MSN pathway. BSN graduates have earned as high as a 95% pass rate in recent years. Case Western students benefit from their proximity to University Circle, a 550-acre scientific hub with numerous premier healthcare organizations. The school also has seven centers of excellence for nursing opportunities and experiences.


#25: University of Miami | Coral Gables, FL
The University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies (SONHS) will soon host one of the nation’s first education-based simulation hospitals. The school historically ranks in the top 25 nationwide in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding among nursing schools. A member of the respected UHealth family, SONHS offers BSN, ABSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD degrees in many specializations. Post-master’s certificates are also on the menu. SONHS graduates 160-200 students annually from its flagship prelicensure BSN program. During the 2010-16 time period, more than 94% of these students passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam on their first try.


#26: Ohio State University | Columbus, OH
Designated a Center of Excellence (COE) by the National League for Nursing (NLN), Ohio State’s College of Nursing has educated over 12,000 nurses since its inception. The college places a strong emphasis on research and patient-centered practice across its various program offerings. Ohio State’s online MSN program consistently ranks among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Several of its offline programs have garnered top-30 rankings, including the traditional MSN, nursing-midwifery MSN, and doctor of nursing practice (DNP). The school graduates 200-230 students annually from its four-year BSN program, with an excellent first-time NCLEX pass rate of 94% since 2009.


#27: University of Rochester | Rochester, NY
The School of Nursing at University of Rochester prides itself on innovation in nursing education, including the country’s first Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program and its first Center for Nursing Entrepreneurship. The school’s most recent initiative is its Council for Diversity and Inclusiveness. Over the past decade, 91% of Rochester’s BSN students have passed the NCLEX licensure exam on their first try. The school also provides RN-to-BSN, MSN, PhD, and post-PhD programs. Nursing students have access to a state-of-the-art Clinical and Educational Resource Center as well as a 52-bed neonatal intensive care unit.


#28: University of Michigan | Ann Arbor, MI
The University of Michigan School of Nursing (UMSN) offers the #8 MSN program and the #18 DNP program in the country according to U.S. News & World Report. The school’s nursing administration, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and nursing informatics specialties are all ranked in the top ten nationally. At the undergraduate level, BSN students have achieved strong NCLEX pass rates, as high as 97% in some recent quarters. In addition to a wide range of nursing courses, the school provides innovative opportunities like its Global Health Concentration. Students benefit from state-of-the-art clinical simulation labs and partnerships with some of the best preceptors in the country.


#29: University of Kansas | Lawrence, KS
The University of Kansas School of Nursing has twice been designated an NLN Center of Excellence for enhancing student learning and professional development. The university also ranks among the top 25 public nursing schools nationwide in terms of National Institutes of Health research funding. KU School of Nursing offers a notable breadth of programs including advanced practice clinical, leadership, and nurse educator certificates; traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN, and DNP degrees; and a PhD program in nursing, the only one of its kind in the region. BSN graduates have consistently earned outstanding NCLEX-RN pass rates of 87-95% each year for the past decade.


#30: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston | Houston, TX
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is located in the renowned Texas Medical Center. The School of Nursing offers bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), master of science in nursing (MSN), doctor of philosophy in nursing (PhD), and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees. UTHealth currently enrolls more than 1,000 nursing students, and it confers over 400 undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees annually. BSN students have earned a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) pass rate of 96% for the past decade.


#31: Simmons College | Boston, MA
Simmons’s low student-to-faculty ratio allows it to concentrate on strong, clinically based baccalaureate, master’s, post-master’s, and doctoral programs in nursing. Simmons students can also take advantage of Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, which features 21 renowned medical and academic institutions in their immediate backyard. The school graduates 200-250 students annually from its prelicensure BSN program, with a strong 92% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Simmons’s direct-entry MSN program graduates an additional 30-50 students annually. It has boasted a phenomenal 98% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, with most cohorts scoring a perfect 100% pass rate.


#32: University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN
The University of Minnesota School of Nursing is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the region. It was the first nursing school in the nation to offer DNP programs in certified registered nurse anesthetist, nursing informatics, and health innovation and leadership. Indeed, the school’s DNP program was recently ranked among the top 30 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. The University of Minnesota also offers highly regarded BSN and MSN programs. The school produces 120-140 BSN and 60-65 MSN prelicensure graduates annually. These students have achieved NCLEX first-time pass rates of 87% and 92%, respectively, over the past decade.


#33: Northeastern University | Boston, MA
Northeastern’s School of Nursing, part of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, provides students broad interaction across Bouvé’s entire faculty. The school maintains a strong focus on research and an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare. Indeed, Northeastern was designated an NLN Center of Excellence in 2013 for enhancing student learning and professional development. Prelicensure students perform well on the NCLEX exam: the school’s BSN program has posted a 91% pass rate since 2008, while its direct-entry MSN program boasts a phenomenal 96% pass rate. Northeastern also offers an online RN-to-BSN program, an MSN curriculum with six NP specialties, two doctoral nursing degrees (PhD, DNP), and nurse anesthesia programs at both the master’s and doctoral levels.


#34: Columbia University | New York, NY
As part of Columbia University Medical Center, Columbia Nursing enjoys a unique collaboration with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, and the College of Dental Medicine. In fact, Columbia is one of eight nursing schools in the nation associated with a major academic medical center. Since its establishment in 1892, Columbia Nursing has graduated approximately 12,000 nurses. The school has a history of innovation: it launched the first master’s degree in clinical nursing in 1956, and it recently introduced a fifteen-month direct-entry MSN program for non-nurse college graduates. Columbia Nursing is proud to boast 38% ethnic diversity.


#35: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center | Lubbock, TX
Texas Tech’s School of Nursing holds the National League for Nursing Center of Excellence designation for enhancing student learning and professional development. The university offers four undergraduate pathways: traditional BSN, second-degree web-based, Veteran-to-BSN, and a degree completion program for existing registered nurses. Graduate offerings include nine MSN specializations, eight post-master’s programs, graduate certificates in global health and rural community health, and a DNP program designed for working professionals. The school produces ~350 BSN graduates annually who have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at rates as high as 97% in recent years.


#36: University of Wisconsin - Madison | Madison, WI
Established in 1924, the UW Madison School of Nursing enrolls more than 1,000 students across its undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. The school graduates approximately 150 prelicensure BSN students annually, who consistently achieve solid NCLEX pass rates of 85-93% each year. Graduate students can pursue either type of doctoral degree (DNP, PhD) as well as four certificate programs (clinical nurse specialist, nurse educator, psychiatric mental health, school nursing). The school’s new Signe Skott Cooper Hall has state-of-the-art simulation labs and research facilities. Adjacent is the Health Sciences Learning Center that brings students together across the disciplines of nursing, medicine, and pharmacy. Nursing students also have access to leading facilities in Madison for their clinical practice and research.


#37: Jefferson College of Nursing | Philadelphia, PA
Jefferson College of Nursing enrolls over 1,000 students across its nursing programs. Its 250-280 annual BSN graduates have achieved an admirable NCLEX pass rate of 90% since 2009. The school also has an extensive range of programs for graduate students, with many MSN specializations and doctoral programs. Students benefit from access to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, one of the top-ranked hospitals nationwide. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) recently recognized Jefferson for its quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing.


#38: Purdue University | West Lafayette, IN
Purdue University’s School of Nursing is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences. The school enrolls 550 undergraduates in its traditional and second-degree BSN programs, as well as 50 graduate students in its MSN and DNP programs. Purdue’s graduating BSN class has passed the NCLEX exam at a strong rate of 92% since 2011. Nursing students can take advantage of unique facilities including the Center for Nursing History, Ethics, Human Rights, and Innovations; the Center for Nursing Education and Simulation; and the Nursing Center for Family Health. They can also seize the opportunity to study in four international locations.


#39: Allen College | Waterloo, IA
Allen College graduated its first DNP class in 2013. The school also offers four nurse practitioner 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 postlicensure 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 94% rate over the past decade.


#40: University of North Carolina at Greensboro | Greensboro, NC
The UNCG School of Nursing has earned multiple COE designations from the National League for Nursing in recent years. The school offers three undergraduate pathways: traditional four-year BSN, RN-to-BSN, and BSN as a second degree. UNCG graduates close to 100 prelicensure BSN students annually, who have achieved a strong NCLEX exam pass rate of 91% since 2010. The school’s online MSN program is ranked near the top 50 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. UNCG also offers a dual MSN / master of business administration (MBA) degree and very selective DNP and PhD programs.


#41: Duquesne University | Pittsburgh, PA
The School of Nursing at Duquesne University is recognized for creating Pennsylvania’s first BSN program in 1937 and the nation’s first online nursing PhD program in 1997. Duquesne has been designated an NLN Center of Excellence multiple times since 2008. In addition to traditional BSN and RN-to-BSN programs, it offers undergraduates an innovative five-year dual degree program in biomedical engineering and nursing. Overall, the school’s BSN graduates have maintained an 88% first-time NCLEX pass rate since 2009. The School of Nursing also provides graduate programs at the master’s, graduate certificate, and doctoral levels, including both DNP and PhD options.


#42: University of Connecticut | Storrs, CT
Founded in 1942, UConn’s School of Nursing is the only research-focused nursing university in New England. Recently designated by the NLN as a Center of Excellence, the school also ranks among the top 20 public universities in the United States. Moreover, its Homer D. Babbidge Library is considered among the nation’s 30 best research resources, housing over 2.5mm volumes in its ever-expanding database. The school provides bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. UConn graduates over 200 students each year from its BSN programs, which include a traditional four-year offering on the Storrs campus and accelerated pathways in four cities. Collectively, these BSN students have achieved a strong NCLEX pass rate of 93% since 2010.


#43: University of New Hampshire | Durham, NH
The Department of Nursing at UNH’s College of Health and Human Services offers several nursing pathways including a traditional four-year BSN degree, a direct-entry MSN program, an MSN degree with three tracks, and an online DNP program. Students from the traditional BSN program have scored a 94% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past eight years, while their counterparts in the direct-entry MSN program have achieved a 96% pass rate over the same time period. The MSN curriculum offers specializations in clinical nurse leader, evidence-based nursing, and family nurse practitioner. The school also offers post-master’s certificates in family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health.


#44: University of Illinois at Chicago | Chicago, IL
Educating a diverse student body of more than 1,300 nursing students, UIC College of Nursing is consistently in the top tier of colleges for research funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It also has three specialty programs historically ranked in the top ten nationally by U.S. News & World Report: family nurse practitioner (FNP), adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, and nursing administration. The college offers nursing degrees and certifications across five regional campuses. Nursing students have access to seven health science colleges at UIC, enabling enhanced interprofessional classroom and clinical opportunities.


#45: Ball State University | Muncie, IN
Ball State University’s nursing department focuses intensely on the use of information technology. Designated a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing, Ball State’s MSN program is the eleventh-largest such online offering in the country. In fact, the department archives all graduate courses for easy access. The traditional BSN program graduates approximately 150 candidates each year, with an impressive NCLEX pass rate of 92% over the past seven years. Nursing students can use Ball State’s recently updated Simulation and Information Technology Center on campus.


#46: University of Scranton | Scranton, PA
Established in 1984, Scranton’s Department of Nursing draws from its Jesuit roots and offers nursing education with a strong base in the liberal arts. The department offers traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, LPN-to-BSN, MSN (with four specialty tracks), and DNP programs. Students benefit from small class sizes and a strong clinical focus, with clinical experiences beginning during sophomore year. Indeed, Scranton’s BSN graduates have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at an impressive 93% rate since 2009. Undergraduates also have opportunities for research, study abroad, and participation in domestic and international service trips.


#47: Texas A&M University Health Science Center | Bryan, TX
The BSN program at Texas A&M University Health Science Center has posted a phenomenal 98% NCLEX exam pass rate since 2010. The school has graduated hundreds of new nurses over the past decade and maintains a 95% job placement rate within three months of graduation. Texas A&M offers three BSN tracks: a traditional program in Bryan, an accelerated second degree in both Bryan and Round Rock, and an online RN-to-BSN pathway. Graduate students can pursue an online MSN in nursing education or a hybrid MSN for aspiring family nurse practitioners. Clinical locations include St. Joseph Health System and College Station Medical Center, the oldest healthcare facility in Bryan.


#48: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston | Galveston, TX
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB Health) has recently been ranked among the top 20 online graduate nursing programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers a prelicensure BSN program, which boasted an impressive 97% NCLEX-RN exam pass rate in 2017. UTMB Health also leads RN-to-BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD programs. Six MSN tracks are available including clinical nurse leader (CNL), family nurse practitioner (FNP), neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP), and nurse educator (NED). Post-BSN and post-MSN students can also quickly earn a certificate in nursing education by completing three focused courses.


#49: University of Iowa | Iowa City, IA
The College of Nursing at the University of Iowa is a Big Ten nursing school, hailed as a national leader in gerontology, nursing service administration, pediatric nursing practice, and nurse anesthesia. Indeed, the university frequently receives top-ten national rankings in all four of these specializations. UI College of Nursing offers a full slate of graduate programs including DNP and PhD degrees, seven different post-graduate certificates, and an MSN with clinical nurse leader focus. At the undergraduate level, the college produces approximately 130 BSN candidates annually. These students have passed the NCLEX licensure examination at a rate of 94-98% an amazing seven years in a row.


#50: University of Nebraska Medical Center | Omaha, NE
The University of Nebraska Medical Center is a prominent and vast institution that enrolls more than 3,700 students. Nearly half of the state’s bachelor-prepared nurses, physicians, dental professionals, pharmacists, and allied health professionals have graduated from UNMC. The school’s College of Nursing offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN programs for undergraduates, as well as MSN, DNP, and PhD degrees for graduate nurses. In addition, a post-master’s certificate is offered in areas ranging from adult gerontology to women’s health. Prelicensure BSN graduates have enjoyed an excellent 91% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN examination over the past eight years.


#51: Barnes-Jewish College | Saint Louis, MO
The Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College is recognized as a Laerdal Center of Educational Excellence. The school welcomes more than 700 nursing students annually and awards the bachelor of science in nursing, master of science in nursing, and dual doctor of nursing practice / doctor of philosophy in nursing degrees. Approximately 400 BSN graduates sit for the National Council Licensure Examination annually, and they have passed this test at a 90% rate over the past decade. More than 40% of graduates land positions at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.


#52: Drexel University | Philadelphia, PA
Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions has developed and refined more than 25 undergraduate and graduate nursing programs since 2002. The college currently includes more than 5,000 students, 200 full-time faculty, and 104 staff. Drexel graduates approximately 300-400 traditional BSN students each year with an exemplary NCLEX pass rate of 97% since 2009. The college’s performance on numerous other board certification and licensing exams is well above average, including recent 100% pass rates for the physician assistant and nurse anesthesia programs.


#53: University of Florida | Gainesville, FL
UF College of Nursing is the oldest baccalaureate and graduate nursing school in Florida. The university launched the state’s first NP program and its first BSN-to-PhD track. Currently, UF offers BSN, ABSN, and RN-to-BSN programs to approximately 700 undergraduate students. Graduates of the BSN program have passed the NCLEX-RN exam at a remarkable rate of 93% from 2010-2016. The College of Nursing also educates 370 graduate nursing students, offering BSN and MSN entry points to both its DNP and PhD programs. Specialization certificates can be earned in nurse education and five nurse practitioner fields.


#54: Seattle University | Seattle, WA
The Seattle University College of Nursing offers a unique nursing curriculum that combines local and international nursing education. Students may take single academic courses abroad or enroll in a short- or long-term study abroad experience. Locations run the gamut from South America to Africa to Australia. The college offers a four-year BSN program as well as traditional and non-nurse immersion pathways to a DNP degree. Prelicensure students perform well on the NCLEX exam: over the past decade, 88% of BSN students and 94% of graduate immersion students passed the exam on their first attempt. Graduate students can choose from several nurse practitioner specializations, nurse midwifery, or advanced community public health nursing.


#55: Vanderbilt University | Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing focuses solely on graduate nursing study. The university offers traditional and direct-entry MSN programs, 11 distinct post-master’s certificates for aspiring advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and two doctoral options (DNP and PhD). The direct-entry MSN program graduates approximately 150 new nurses annually who have passed the NCLEX exam at a 93% first-try rate over the past decade. Vanderbilt’s APRN specialties run the gamut from family nurse practitioner to nurse-midwifery to nursing informatics. The MSN program also partners with Vanderbilt Divinity School to offer two innovative dual degrees.


#56: University of Virginia | Charlottesville, VA
The University of Virginia School of Nursing was recently ranked among the top four percent of nursing schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers an impressive breadth of program options, including prelicensure BSN, RN-to-BSN, seven distinct MSN tracks, two DNP entry points, and a PhD in nursing science. UVA graduates two BSN classes each spring: one of approximately 90 students on the main Charlottesville campus, and one of 15-25 students from the College at Wise. Both cohorts have maintained approximately a 90% NCLEX pass rate over the past five years. UVA’s direct-entry clinical nurse leader students have performed even better on the licensure exam, with a 93% NCLEX pass rate over the past five years and a perfect pass rate in 2017.


#57: Virginia Commonwealth University | Richmond, VA
The VCU School of Nursing boasts a state-of-the-art Clinical Learning Center with a skills lab and two intensive care simulation suites. The center was recognized in 2010 as a Laerdal Center of Educational Excellence. VCU also provides nursing students with 45,000 square feet of classrooms, auditoriums, and research laboratories. The university offers three BSN pathways (traditional, accelerated, RN completion), five MSN concentrations, and both doctoral nursing degrees (DNP and PhD). VCU graduates approximately 150 prelicensure BSN students each year, who have passed the NCLEX exam at an impressive 93% first-try rate over the past decade.


#58: University of Portland | Portland, OR
The University of Portland School of Nursing awards BSN, MSN, and DNP degrees. The baccalaureate program incorporates study abroad experiences in countries like Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Tanzania. UP produces approximately 200 BSN graduates annually who have averaged a solid 89% NCLEX pass rate since 2008. The graduate program employs a convenient hybrid delivery model of monthly immersion weekends and online learning modules. UP offers an MSN degree with clinical nurse leader and nurse educator tracks, as well as a DNP program with a family nurse practitioner population focus.


#59: Illinois State University | Normal, IL
Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programs. Approximately 150 BSN graduates from the college appear for the NCLEX exam annually, with an excellent pass rate of 94-100% every single year since 2008. MCN students have access to a 10,000-square-foot Nursing Simulation Laboratory, enjoy an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio in clinical settings, and can travel to five international locations for nursing experiences. The college is focused on diversity and recently received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services towards increasing nursing education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.


#60: Samuel Merritt University | Oakland, CA
Samuel Merritt University has prepared professional nurses for a century. Undergraduates can enroll in either a traditional or accelerated BSN program. Across the two pathways, SMU graduates 350-400 BSN students each year who have passed the NCLEX exam at an 88% rate since 2008. Just as impressively, the school’s entry-level MSN program, which graduates 80-100 students annually, has a 90% NCLEX exam pass rate over that same time period. MSN students may prepare for careers as a case manager, certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), or family nurse practitioner. The university also offers a DNP degree with an FNP specialization. All SMU nursing students have access to global medical mission opportunities as well as the Health Sciences Simulation Center, one of the region’s most advanced healthcare simulation facilities.


#61: Quinnipiac University | Hamden, CT
With a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio that beats the national average of 15:1, Quinnipiac University allows students closer interaction with faculty. USA Today has named Quinnipiac one of the top ten places to earn a nursing degree in the country. The school’s flagship bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program graduates well over 100 students annually from its traditional four-year pathway. Another 50 students graduate from the accelerated BSN program each year. Quinnipiac students have passed the NCLEX exam at a solid 90% rate over the past decade, including an impressive 93% pass rate for the accelerated BSN program. Quinnipiac also offers an online BSN for registered nurses and a full slate of graduate degrees and certificates.


#62: University of California, Los Angeles | Los Angeles, CA
UCLA School of Nursing has earned numerous national accolades. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the school #20 in the country for graduate nursing studies, and UCLA ranked #9 in 2016 NIH research funding for schools of nursing. Approximately 600 nursing students are enrolled across the university’s BSN, MSN, and PhD programs. The MSN program offers a direct-entry track for non-nurses which leads to CNL certification, as well as numerous advanced practice tracks in various NP and CNS specialties. UCLA students are well prepared for licensure: the school’s BSN graduates have maintained an 83% first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate since program launch, while direct-entry MSN candidates have passed the exam at an 89% clip.


#63: University of Kentucky | Lexington, KY
The University of Kentucky College of Nursing created the nation’s first DNP program and Kentucky’s first nursing PhD program. UK was also the first nurse researcher in the U.S. to be awarded a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) grant. Home to more than 1,400 students, the college provides four BSN pathways: traditional, second degree, MedVet-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN. Over the last decade, UK’s 160-180 annual BSN graduates have enjoyed an astonishing 97% NCLEX pass rate, including three consecutive years of 99% or higher. The college also offers graduate certificate programs in four nurse practitioner specialties, clinical nurse specialist, and populations and organizational systems leadership.


#64: Regis College | Weston, MA
The Richard and Sheila Young School of Nursing at Regis College has received three consecutive NLN Center of Excellence designations since 2008. With small class sizes and four high-tech simulation labs, the school provides its students experience-oriented nursing education. Enrollees in the direct-entry MSN program have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a stellar 96% rate over the past ten years. The school also offers a traditional four-year BSN, an RN-to-BSN program with two pathways (non-nursing bachelor’s, no bachelor’s), a postlicensure MSN program with ten specialty tracks (five in leadership, five for nurse practitioners), and a DNP program that is delivered both on campus and online.


#65: The College of New Jersey | Ewing, NJ
The Department of Nursing at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) was recently designated an NLN Center of Excellence for enhancing student learning and professional development. BSN students have achieved an impressive 93% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Moreover, 100% of BSN graduates that seek full-time employment are placed within six months. Class sizes are small: the typical nursing class has 15 to 30 students, and the school limits clinical groups to a maximum of eight students. TCNJ also offers MSN programs for aspiring adult, family, and neonatal nurse practitioners; clinical nurse leaders; and school nurses.


#66: Fairfield University | Fairfield, CT
Ranked #9 in the country by RNtoBSN.org for their hybrid RN-to-BSN program, Fairfield University’s graduate nursing program is also listed among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In fact, their Master’s in Nursing Leadership (LEAD) program was recently recognized for its excellence by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies also offers both traditional and accelerated BSN tracks. Graduates have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a rate of ~90% over the past decade.


#67: University of Alabama at Birmingham | Birmingham, AL
UAB School of Nursing is nationally ranked among the top three percent of nursing schools by U.S. News & World Report. The school provides several unique opportunities for veterans, Peace Corps volunteers, and nurse practitioner students who plan to provide primary care in one of Alabama’s rural counties upon graduation. UAB offers two BSN entry points (traditional, ADN) and two MSN entry points (BSN, second degree), as well as DNP and PhD programs. The school’s traditional BSN program has more than 250 graduates annually, and they are well prepared for their licensure exams, tallying a 93% NCLEX pass rate over the past eight years.


#68: Saint Mary’s College | Notre Dame, IN
The Department of Nursing Science at Saint Mary’s College offers three distinct nursing programs: traditional BSN, DNP with BSN entry, and DNP with MSN entry. With just 40-60 graduates annually, the BSN program is very selective. It also prepares students well for their licensure exams: over the past decade, approximately 90% of graduates have passed the NCLEX exam on their first try. Students begin clinical experiences during sophomore year under the supervision of qualified faculty members in small classes. These experiences are facilitated by the school’s affiliations with local hospitals, long-term care facilities, health departments, and other community settings.


#69: University of Texas at Austin | Austin, TX
The UT Austin School of Nursing has recently been ranked among the top 20 in the nation for its graduate nursing program by U.S. News & World Report. The school also ranks among the top 30 universities in nursing research funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). UT Austin enrolls nearly 1,100 students across a wealth of nursing programs, including traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, traditional and alternate-entry MSN, traditional and alternate-entry PhD, and DNP options. The school produces approximately 120 prelicensure BSN and 50 prelicensure MSN graduates annually. Both programs produce graduates who have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a rate of 94% since 2008.


#70: Waynesburg University | Waynesburg, PA
Waynesburg University’s nursing programs are offered across the university’s four academic centers, allowing students greater flexibility. The university offers a traditional BSN along with RN-to-BSN, LPN-to-BSN, accelerated BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. Waynesburg maintains a small BSN graduating class of 40-50 students, and these nurses have passed the NCLEX exam at a stellar 99% first-try rate since 2009. Nursing students at Waynesburg enjoy the recent addition of a state-of-the-art simulation lab.


#71: University of North Carolina at Charlotte | Charlotte, NC
The UNC Charlotte School of Nursing achieved a 92% NCLEX pass rate among its 2016 BSN graduates. Just as impressively, August 2015 graduates of the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AG-ACNP) MSN track achieved a 100% pass rate on their certification exam. In addition to traditional BSN, MSN, and DNP degrees, UNC Charlotte leads an interdisciplinary, collaborative PhD program in the College of Health and Human Services. The school also offers an online RN-to-BSN completion program, an RIBN option in partnership with local community colleges, and several post-master’s and graduate certificates.


#72: Pacific Lutheran University | Tacoma, WA
The School of Nursing at Pacific Lutheran University offers a top-tier MSN program with several entry points and specializations. Entry points include the traditional post-BSN program, an RN-to-MSN pathway for nurses with a bachelor’s degree in another field, and an entry-level program for non-nurses. Students can specialize as either an advanced generalist or a clinical nurse leader. The entry-level MSN program is select, admitting just twenty candidates each year, and its students have maintained an exceptional 97% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past decade. The School of Nursing also offers two BSN pathways – traditional and LPN bridge – as well as a DNP program that prepares aspiring FNPs and PMHNPs. Approximately 80 BSN graduates each year consistently achieve NCLEX exam pass rates of 90-98%.


#73: Mercer University | Atlanta, GA
Georgia Baptist College of Nursing is part of Mercer University. The school consists of two campuses: an Atlanta campus where the main nursing college is located, and a Macon campus where students take pre-nursing coursework. Georgia Baptist offers two BSN pathways (traditional, RN-to-BSN), two MSN tracks (adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner), and two doctoral degrees with a hybrid online format (DNP, PhD). The college is the second-largest Baptist-affiliated institution in the world, with access to more than 30 clinical sites for valuable hands-on experience. Georgia Baptist graduates 120-140 prelicensure BSN students each year, who have achieved a superior 94% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past decade.


#74: Bradley University | Peoria, IL
Bradley University’s Department of Nursing offers two BSN pathways (four-year, accelerated) and three traditional MSN tracks (general, nursing administration, nursing education). The BSN program graduates 65-90 students annually and has maintained a remarkable 94% NCLEX pass rate over the past ten years. Undergraduates learn from 22 experienced faculty and begin clinical experiences during sophomore year. Bradley’s traditional MSN program is complemented by its extensive online curriculum, including an RN-to-MSN bridge, two MSN concentrations (nursing administration, FNP), and two DNP concentrations (leadership, FNP). These online programs provide flexibility and easy access so that working nurses can improve their educational qualifications while in the field.


#75: University of St. Francis | Joliet, IL
USF’s Cecily & John Leach College of Nursing draws on its Catholic heritage of community service. The school offers a broad range of baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing degrees, including a popular RN-to-BSN bridge program for existing nurses with an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or hospital diploma. The school has a small graduating class of 60-90 traditional BSN students who consistently perform very well on the NCLEX licensure exam. Indeed, USF’s first-time NCLEX pass rate over the last decade has been an impressive 93%. Students have access to a virtual simulation laboratory, and they can take advantage of acute and long-term care clinical experiences in a variety of community settings.


#76: Marymount University | Arlington, VA
The Malek School of Health Professions houses the Marymount University nursing department. Each year, approximately 50 students graduate from the school’s traditional BSN program, and roughly 100 students complete the accelerated BSN program. Across these two pathways, graduates have passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam at a strong 90% rate over the past decade. Marymount University also offers a hybrid online RN-to-BSN program, an MSN degree with a family nurse practitioner focus, and an online DNP program that requires just one on-campus component per semester. Clinical experiences and internships take place at some of Virginia’s leading healthcare organizations.


#77: Saint Louis University | Saint Louis, MO
The School of Nursing at Saint Louis University created the first accelerated BSN 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% over the past decade, well above both state and national averages. In addition to impressive licensure exam pass rates, all of Saint Louis University’s programs are nationally recognized for their innovative and comprehensive curriculum.


#78: North Dakota State University | Fargo, ND
The School of Nursing at North Dakota State University offers several degree programs, both for students with no prior healthcare experience and for licensed nurses looking to enhance their careers. Options include prelicensure BSN, LPN-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN tracks as well as a BSN-to-DNP program with a family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialty. Each year, 130-160 BSN graduates take the NCLEX exam across both the NDSU Fargo campus and NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health Bismarck. These students have averaged an impressive first-time pass rate of 94% over the past decade. The number of FNP graduates who pass the certification examination for advanced practice also well exceeds the national average.


#79: Messiah College | Mechanicsburg, PA
The Department of Nursing at Messiah College recently constructed a state-of-the-art advanced simulation lab. This complements the college’s slate of newly renovated labs including a maternal-child lab, a psychiatric-mental health lab, two basic skills labs, and a physical assessment lab. Messiah College also maintains contracts with a wide variety of excellent clinical agencies in the Central Pennsylvania area. In the college’s flagship BSN program, students have achieved an outstanding 96% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past four years. Graduate nursing students can pursue an MSN degree with a nurse educator or nursing administration focus, a post-graduate certificate in nursing education, or a DNP with a family nurse practitioner focus.


#80: Teachers College at Columbia University | New York, NY
Teachers College at Columbia University has trained nurse education leaders since 1899. Offered through the Department of Health & Behavior Studies, the college conducts programs for MSN-prepared and advanced practice nurses. Teachers College’s doctor of education (EdD) in nursing education has a newly revised curriculum, designed by nursing education experts and recently approved by the State of New York as an online offering. Doctoral students who would like clinical expertise in diabetes management may take advantage of the school’s Diabetes Education and Management curriculum. The school also offers a five-course advanced certificate in nursing education specifically designed for doctorally prepared nurses.


#81: University of Vermont | Burlington, VT
Viewing nursing as a science and an art, University of Vermont’s Department of Nursing lays heavy emphasis on behavioral, natural, and nursing sciences. The school integrates interdisciplinary education with clinical experience and gives students an opportunity to study public health in international locations. Its BSN students have averaged a 92% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination since 2015, including a stellar 99% pass rate in 2017. UVM’s graduate nursing programs include an MSN degree with a clinical nurse leader focus, a DNP curriculum with two nurse practitioner tracks (adult-gerontology and family), and a unique direct-entry pathway for DNP students with a bachelor’s degree or higher in a non-nursing discipline.


#82: Upstate Medical University | Syracuse, NY
Upstate Medical University’s College of Nursing strives to meet the needs of RNs in the Syracuse and Central New York area. In 1959, to address the region’s nursing shortfall, Upstate Medical University launched an ADN program that educated more than 500 registered nurses over the next two decades. Today, Upstate Medical University is one of the longest-established upper-division nursing schools in the region. It offers an RN-to-BSN degree completion program, three MSN tracks, two post-master’s advanced certificates, and a part-time MSN-to-DNP program.


#83: Belmont University | Nashville, TN
Belmont University’s School of Nursing has program options for students new to nursing, RNs looking to complete their baccalaureate education, and seasoned nurses seeking career advancement. Undergraduate offerings include a traditional four-year BSN, an accelerated BSN, and an RN-to-BSN program. Belmont graduates 100-150 prelicensure BSN students each spring, who have posted an impressive first-time NCLEX pass rate of 91% over the past decade. Graduate options include MSN, post-bachelor’s 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.


#84: Western University of Health Sciences | Pomona, CA
The College of Graduate Nursing (CGN) at Western University of Health Sciences launched the nation’s first online curriculum for family nurse practitioners. The school also established the first DNP and direct-entry MSN programs in Southern California. CGN’s direct-entry MSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a strong 90% rate over the past decade, including a 100% pass rate during the 2012-13 academic year. In addition to direct entry, the MSN program offers a bridge option for RNs with an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN). MSN students can choose to specialize as administrative nurse leaders, clinical nurse leaders, ambulatory care nurses, or family nurse practitioners. A post-master’s FNP certificate is also available.


#85: University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh | Oshkosh, WI
Graduating its first class of 22 in 1970, the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing has since graduated approximately 6,000 nurses. It offers students a range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including an innovative, predominantly online accelerated bachelor of science in nursing. Each year, approximately 200 prelicensure BSN students pass the NCLEX exam at a consistently high rate of 92-97%. UW Oshkosh’s clinical nurse leader graduate program has also maintained a stellar 100% pass rate on the Commission on Nurse Certification CNL certification exam since 2009. The school provides students evidence-based hands-on clinical training, with opportunities for international study in South America and India.


#86: Hunter College | New York, NY
Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing (HBSON) offers three undergraduate programs: a traditional BSN, an accelerated second-degree program, and an RN-to-BSN bridge. It also provides six MSN specialization tracks, a post-master’s certificate in psychiatric-mental health, and a DNP program. The school graduates 90-130 BSN students annually, who have passed the NCLEX exam at a solid 88% rate over the past ten years. With an aim to provide care in culturally diverse communities, HBSON has supported nursing education initiatives in Haiti and introduced a Global Health Nursing elective at the undergraduate level.


#87: James Madison University | Harrisonburg, VA
The School of Nursing at James Madison University has a number of unique offerings for nursing students, including international study abroad opportunities in Costa Rica, Spain, Tanzania, and Malta. JMU offers a broad range of nursing programs, from traditional BSN and RN-to-BSN pathways to MSN and DNP degrees. A chronic illness minor is also on the menu. Undergraduates have posted a stellar 92% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN national licensure exam over the past decade. JMU’s graduate nursing students can pursue concentrations in clinical nurse leader, nurse administrator, nurse midwifery, and three nurse practitioner roles (adult / gerontology primary care, family, psychiatric mental health).


#88: Sacred Heart University | Fairfield, CT
Drawing from its Catholic traditions, Sacred Heart University’s College of Nursing places a strong focus on community and service. Its state-of-the-art laboratory, furnished with a high-tech patient simulation system, lets students practice in a realistic and risk-free environment. Smaller classes and hands-on experience have helped the college’s BSN students to pass the NCLEX licensure exam at an impressive 96% rate since 2011. Sacred Heart also offers several graduate nursing programs, including MSN specializations for aspiring clinical nurse leaders (CNLs), nurse managers, nurse educators, and family nurse practitioners (FNPs).


#89: University of South Carolina | Columbia, SC
The USC College of Nursing has the #5 online graduate nursing program in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. USC’s graduate nursing curriculum includes several MSN, post-master’s certificate, and DNP specializations – all delivered online – as well as an on-campus PhD program with flexible scheduling and tuition support. At the undergraduate level, the College of Nursing offers a traditional four-year nursing degree and an online RN-to-BSN pathway. USC produces the largest number of prelicensure BSN graduates in the state with approximately 200 annually, or roughly 20% of the statewide total. These newly minted nurses have passed the NCLEX exam at a rate of 92% or higher in each of the past seven years, including a stellar 98% pass rate in 2017.


#90: Winona State University | Winona, MN
The College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Winona State University focuses on both undergraduate and graduate nursing education. The undergraduate program produces approximately 150 BSN graduates annually, who have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a solid 89% rate over the past decade. Similarly impressive is the number of graduate nursing offerings available. Graduate students may pursue an MSN, DNP, or graduate certificate, including specializations in family practice nursing and adult health nursing. Winona State also offers RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN degree completion programs for existing registered nurses.


#91: Salisbury University | Salisbury, MD
The Department of Nursing at Salisbury University graduates 80-100 BSN students each year. These students consistently maintain one of the strongest baccalaureate NCLEX performances in Maryland, scoring a 93% pass rate over the past decade. Salisbury has three BSN options: the traditional undergraduate degree, an accelerated pathway for non-nursing college graduates, and an RN-to-BSN completion program. Its MSN program has two tracks: nurse educator and healthcare leadership. Salisbury also offers post-BSN and post-MSN entry points for its DNP program.


#92: MGH Institute of Health Professions | Boston, MA
The MGH Institute of Health Professions is always innovating. In 2007, its School of Nursing was one of the first four institutions in the country to create an accredited DNP program. The school introduced a holistic Mind Body Spirit program in 2011 and a Global Health Nursing certification program in 2013. More than 80% of the school’s faculty members possess a doctoral degree. MGH Institute students perform very well on licensure and certification exams. For example, prelicensure BSN students have achieved an 87% NCLEX pass rate since the program’s inception, while their counterparts in the direct-entry MSN program scored a 90% pass rate over the same time period. Advanced practice students perform similarly well on their APRN certification exams.


#93: University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire | Eau Claire, WI
UW Eau Claire graduated its first nursing class in 1968. Today, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences offers a range of nursing degrees including traditional BSN, BSN completion, MSN, and DNP programs. In total, the college educates 800 undergraduate and graduate students and offers 300+ clinical affiliations. Approximately 100-130 students complete the traditional BSN program annually, with a stellar 92% first-time NCLEX pass rate since 2012. Nearly 100% of students are either employed or enrolled in further nursing education within six months of graduation.


#94: Pace University | New York & Pleasantville, NY
The Lienhard School of Nursing (LSN) at Pace University’s College of Health Professions offers its students learning opportunities by partnering with many well-known primary, acute, and tertiary care facilities and community agencies. LSN’s small class sizes ensure greater faculty attention, enabling BSN students to pass the NCLEX exam at an 89% rate over the past ten years. Across its two campuses in Pleasantville and New York City, LSN offers traditional and accelerated BSN programs for undergraduates as well as a variety of graduate degree and certificate programs.


#95: University of Missouri | Columbia, MO
The University of Missouri’s Sinclair School of Nursing (SSON) is a member of one of the most comprehensive healthcare networks in Missouri, including the School of Health Professions, the School of Medicine, and University of Missouri Health Care. SSON educates nurses at all levels through its traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, online RN-to-BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD degree programs. At the undergraduate level, SSON produces 150-180 prelicensure BSN graduates annually. These students have consistently passed the NCLEX-RN exam at an exceptional rate of 92-96% for at least ten years in a row.


#96: 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. Since 2009, 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 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.


#97: South Dakota State University | Brookings, SD
The College of Nursing at South Dakota State University has an 80-year history of providing high-quality nursing education. Home to more than 1,000 nursing students across its BSN, MSN, post-graduate certificate, DNP, and PhD programs, SDSU has posted an enviable job placement rate as high as 100% for some recent graduating classes. The undergraduate nursing program produces approximately 300 prelicensure candidates each year. These students have scored an impressive 92% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade. Recent years have also witnessed a perfect 100% pass rate for APRN graduates seeking certification through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.


#98: University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus | Denver, CO
In 1965, the University of Colorado (CU) College of Nursing instituted the first nurse practitioner and school nurse programs in the United States. In 2005, the college became one of the first seven schools in the nation to launch the new DNP program. Today, the College of Nursing enrolls approximately 1,000 students across a wide breadth of nursing degree and certificate programs. Undergraduates can pursue five BSN pathways: traditional, honors, accelerated, an integrated community college partnership, and RN-to-BSN. For an astonishing twelve years in a row, the college’s 200-plus annual BSN graduates have passed the NCLEX exam at a 91% or higher rate. At the graduate level, CU offers eleven MSN specialty tracks, a distance-accessible PhD program, a DNP degree with a public health nursing (PHN) focus, and a dual DNP/MPH track.


#99: 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, and graduates have earned a solid NCLEX pass rate of 86% since 2008. The university also offers MSN tracks for aspiring CRNAs, nurse administrators, and nurse educators, in addition to DNP and nursing PhD programs.


#100: University of Delaware | Newark, DE
Founded 50 years ago, University of Delaware’s School of Nursing is focused on increasing the cultural and ethnic diversity of nurses in the state. In fact, the school received a three-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration in 2014 towards this effort. Roughly 150-180 students graduate from UD’s BSN program each year, achieving a first-time NCLEX pass rate of 88% over the past decade. The school places an emphasis on learning experiences and students have access to well-equipped simulation labs, including the Clinical Critical Care Lab and the Clinical Maternal Child Lab.