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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#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.

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