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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#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.

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