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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: 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.

#2: 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.

#3: 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.

#4: 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.

#5: 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.

#6: 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.

#7: 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.

#8: 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.

#9: 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.

#10: Widener University | Chester, PA
Formerly the Crozer College of Nursing, Widener’s School of Nursing opened in 1966 and marked the first time women were admitted as students. The school graduates 100-150 BSN students annually, and they have passed the NCLEX exam at rates as high as 90% in recent years. Widener is particularly recognized for its graduate nursing programs: the school offers five specialty master’s tracks, two doctoral programs (DNP and PhD), and three accelerated graduate options. Students at Widener enjoy an 8:1 student-to-faculty clinical ratio and state-of-the-art facilities at the Center for Simulation and Computerized Testing.

#11: Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences | Lancaster, PA
Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences recently announced the launch of a three-year prelicensure BSN program, the first of its kind in the region. Meanwhile, the school’s existing full-time ADN program has graduated 200-300 students annually with NCLEX pass rates as high as 98% in recent years. PA College also offers an online MSN program with specializations in nursing administration and nursing education, as well as a hybrid post-master’s DNP that features a clinical affiliation with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. Students enjoy the college’s recently built 24.7-acre campus with state-of-the-art facilities.

#12: Gannon University | Erie, PA
Gannon University’s Villa Maria School of Nursing boasts a nearly 100% job placement rate for graduates. Since 2009, the school’s traditional BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a stellar 92% first-try rate, well above state and national averages. Gannon also offers an online RN-to-BSN program, four distinct MSN programs, and a DNP. Students benefit from a low 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio and at least 980 hours of hands-on experience before graduation. The university also hosts the region’s largest technically advanced Patient Simulation Center, located in the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences.

#13: DeSales University | Center Valley, PA
DeSales University established the Department of Nursing and Health in 1974, along with its first BSN program. Today the school offers an abundance of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. DeSales has both full-time and part-time study options, and the school partners with more than 300 sites and preceptors to provide clinical experiences. Its BSN graduates have achieved a 91% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam since 2009. Moreover, MSN graduates have typically earned a 100% pass rate on national certification examinations across all tracks since the program’s inception in 1984.

#14: York College of Pennsylvania | York, PA
York College’s Stabler Department of Nursing offers traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN, and DNP programs to a total enrollment of nearly 600 students. The school’s flagship BSN program graduates 90-120 students each year, and these graduates have passed the NCLEX exam at an 88% rate since 2009. Stabler students enjoy personalized attention, with approximately 36 individuals per class and an 8:1 clinical student-to-faculty ratio. York College’s recently renovated nursing building, Diehl Hall, includes state-of-the-art simulation rooms and critical care equipment.

#15: West Chester University | West Chester, PA
The Department of Nursing at West Chester University offers traditional BSN, second-degree BSN, and RN-to-BSN options at the undergraduate level. The school’s prelicensure students have consistently performed well on the NCLEX exam, passing on the first try at an 89% rate since 2009. West Chester’s graduate nursing programs include a school nurse certification, an MSN program with nursing education and adult-gerontology tracks, and a DNP program for MSN degree-holders. Students benefit from a variety of clinical experiences including acute care, community health, daycare centers, retirement centers, and veterans’ hospitals.

#16: Chatham University | Pittsburgh, PA
Chatham University offers RN-to-BSN, MSN, and DNP programs in nursing. The RN-to-BSN option is designed for practicing RNs and offered online through the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Chatham’s graduate nursing program includes specialty tracks in education and leadership / management. The school redesigned its online MSN program in 2013; modeled after the DNP program, it offers three tracks: leadership, education, and informatics. In 2015 the school introduced its first international track in the MSN program and had 21 Chinese nurses learning at Chatham.

#17: Robert Morris University | Moon Township, PA
Robert Morris University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences educates more than 600 students. Its BSN graduates consistently pass the NCLEX exam at an impressive rate; in fact, the school’s 2017 NCLEX pass rate for first-time test takers was 96%, exceeding both the national and state averages. DNP program graduates also perform extremely well on standardized tests, with a 96% pass rate on the nurse practitioner certification exam in 2015. Robert Morris students enjoy a low 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio in clinical settings. Over 50% of undergraduates take advantage of the school’s international program with clinical experiences in Managua, Nicaragua.

#18: Misericordia University | Dallas, PA
The College of Health Sciences at Misericordia University provides flexibility in its program offerings. The undergraduate division offers a traditional four-year BSN, a part-time evening BSN, a full-time second-degree BSN, and an accelerated RN-to-BSN program. At the graduate level, Misericordia offers an MSN with FNP specialization option, an FNP post-master’s certificate, and an online DNP. The school’s BSN program is the oldest such offering in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the largest discipline within the college. Students from the program have passed the NCLEX exam at rates as high as 96% in recent years.

#19: Pennsylvania State University | University Park, PA
Penn State’s College of Nursing offer an experience grounded in a student-centered environment with low student-to-faculty ratios. The college’s graduating BSN class of 150-200 students consistently performs very well on the NCLEX exam, with a pass rate as high as 99% in 2017. Undergraduates can study abroad in four international locations to observe different healthcare and nursing education systems. Penn State also offers a breadth of master’s and doctoral nursing degrees, and the school’s Center for Nursing Research provides consulting services for quantitative and analytical work.

#20: Temple University | Philadelphia, PA
The College of Public Health at Temple University offers both BSN and DNP degree programs. The BSN curriculum has three entry points: a freshman option for high-performing high school graduates, a transfer option for current Temple students, and an external transfer option for applicants who are enrolled in another college or university. Qualified nursing students can join Temple’s Honors Program to take advantage of smaller course sizes, priority course registration, and enhanced networking opportunities. Since 2015, the university has graduated 60-80 BSN students annually with a stellar 94% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam. Temple’s DNP program is one of the few offered in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The curriculum offers two clinical tracks, with entry options for both BSN and MSN degree-holders.

#21: Saint Vincent College | Latrobe, PA
Saint Vincent College offers two innovative and collaborative programs in the nursing arena. At the undergraduate level, the college has partnered with Carlow University to deliver the Carlow BSN program on the Saint Vincent campus. Students complete all coursework in Latrobe, beginning clinical nursing courses during their sophomore year. Clinical rotations take place at a variety of regional sites, including nearby Excela Health locations and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. At the graduate level, Saint Vincent College teams up with Excela Health to deliver a nurse anesthesia program. The Excela Health School of Anesthesia is currently in the process of transitioning this offering from a 27.5-month Master of Health Science in Nurse Anesthesia to a 36-month Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice.

#22: Gwynedd Mercy University | Gwynedd Valley, PA
GMercyU’s Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions has educated nurses for more than 50 years. The school offers BSN, ABSN, and RN-to-BSN programs for its undergraduates. At the graduate level, GMercyU has an online DNP program, a post-master’s nurse practitioner certificate, and three MSN tracks: adult-gerontology CNS, nurse educator, and nurse practitioner. Nursing students benefit from the university’s 200+ affiliations with regional healthcare facilities, such as Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Doylestown Hospital, and Abington Memorial Hospital.

#23: Bloomsburg University | Bloomsburg, PA
Bloomsburg University’s Department of Nursing offers several nursing degree options. Undergraduates can enroll in the school’s traditional BSN program, whose students have achieved an astounding 97% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam since 2009. The BSN program has a small graduating class of 60-100 students each year, enabling close interaction with faculty. Existing nurses may opt instead for the school’s RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN program, both geared towards ADN- or diploma-educated nurses. Graduate students can pursue specialization as a family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, or nursing administrator.

#24: Carlow University | Pittsburgh, PA
Founded in 1948, the Department of Nursing at Carlow University prides itself on innovation, integrating art and science with a high-touch and high-tech approach. The school offers a range of undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral nursing programs including a dual-degree MSN-MBA option. Carlow’s BSN students have maintained an NCLEX pass rate above 92% every year since 2014. In fact, during the past two academic years, 100% of the nursing department’s BSN graduates passed the NCLEX exam on their first attempt.

#25: Indiana University of Pennsylvania | Indiana, PA
With an admirable 94% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam since 2009, IUP’s Department of Nursing and Allied Health Professions is recognized for its excellence. In addition to four- and five-year BSN programs, the department offers MSN tracks in administration and education, two PhD pathways, and several healthcare certificates. IUP strives for state-of the-art facilities: the nursing department introduced its first simulation laboratory in 2007 and recently received a $300,000 federal grant to fund a second one.

#26: La Salle University | Philadelphia, PA
La Salle University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares its students to provide care to underserved, diverse populations. Indeed, this is a core way the university delivers on its mission of service rooted in solidarity and justice. Nursing degree programs run the gamut from traditional and bridge BSN pathways to graduate-level MSN and DNP offerings. The school also offers a full complement of certificates including adult-gerontology (both CNS and NP), family NP, nurse anesthetist, nursing administration, nursing education, public health nursing, and school nursing. Students hone their skills in state-of-the-art simulation labs and clinic spaces with the assistance of experienced faculty. BSN students have scored an exceptional 96% NCLEX pass rate over the past two years.

#27: Wilkes University | Wilkes-Barre, PA
Passan School of Nursing at Wilkes University offers a full complement of programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students seeking a BSN degree can pursue a traditional, accelerated, or LPN-to-BSN pathway. Wilkes University graduates 70-100 students annually from its BSN program, and they have scored an impressive 92% pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam since 2016. Graduate options include an MSN degree with six concentrations and both types of nursing doctoral programs (DNP and PhD). Graduate nurses can concentrate in executive leadership, education, informatics, or three nurse practitioner fields (adult-gerontology primary care, family, psychiatric / mental health). Coursework for all graduate programs may be completed entirely online.

#28: Moravian College | Bethlehem, PA
Moravian College’s Nursing and Public Health Department offers three undergraduate nursing pathways: a traditional four-year BSN, a 16-month accelerated BSN for college graduates, and an RN-to-BSN completion program. Over the past five years, the school’s prelicensure BSN graduates have achieved a strong 91% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. At the graduate level, Moravian has an MSN program that prepares clinical nurse leaders, nurse administrators, nurse educators, and adult-gerontology nurse practitioners. The AGNP focus has both acute care and primary care options. For additional flexibility, the college provides an RN-to-MSN pathway for nurses who earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline.

#29: Millersville University | Millersville, PA
Millersville University’s Department of Nursing offers both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs for licensed nurses. At the undergraduate level, Millersville offers an RN-to-BSN program in two formats: traditional (a mix of online and face-to-face) and 100% online. At the graduate level, the school has an MSN program for nurses who wish to pursue an advanced practice role like family nurse practitioner or nurse educator. In addition, Millersville offers a DNP program for RNs who already have a master’s degree in a related area, such as an MSN or an MPH. This 36-credit-hour program is structured for flexibility and part-time study, with a mix of blended, online, and face-to-face courses.

#30: Alvernia University | Reading, PA
Alvernia University offers two pathways to a BSN degree (traditional, online RN-to-BSN) as well as a full slate of MSN and DNP programs. The undergraduate program has a track record of success on the NCLEX licensure exam: students have averaged a stellar 95% pass rate over the past five years. BSN coursework covers a breadth of critical topics including leadership and ethics, geriatric nursing, family and community nursing, cultural competency, and informatics. The MSN degree offers specializations in nursing leadership and healthcare administration, nursing education, and healthcare informatics. The DNP program has two post-BSN nurse practitioner tracks (adult-gerontology, family) and two post-MSN leadership tracks (clinical, health systems).

#31: Holy Family University | Philadelphia, PA
The School of Nursing & Allied Health Professions at Holy Family University has a variety of degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate pathways include the traditional four-year BSN, second degree ABSN, and accelerated RN-to-BSN. Prelicensure BSN students have consistently performed well on the NCLEX exam, posting an 86% pass rate over the past decade and a 93% pass rate the last two years. Graduate options include an MSN with nursing administration and nursing education certificates, as well as a new blended DNP program. Holy Family University is noted for its low student-to-faculty ratio in clinical settings, simulation in every course through the school’s simulation lab, and exposure to a variety of hospital systems and clinical placements in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

#32: Cedar Crest College | Allentown, PA
The undergraduate nursing program at Cedar Crest College has posted an NCLEX pass rate of 94% or higher for five consecutive years, including a stellar 98% pass rate in the most recent academic year. The program graduates 70-100 students annually. Many of Cedar Crest’s BSN students pursue a minor or a double major, including popular options like nursing / psychology and nursing / art therapy. Students can also expand their knowledge and employment opportunities by completing a certificate in gerontology, healthcare management, or school nursing. The graduate nursing program offers a breadth of specialty tracks, including two nurse practitioner concentrations (adult-gerontology acute care, family) at both the MSN and DNP levels.

#33: Clarion University | Oil City, PA
Clarion University’s College of Health Sciences and Human Services offers the full gamut of nursing programs at all degree levels. The university’s two-year ADN program efficiently prepares technical nurses to provide client-centered care. ADN graduates have achieved a solid 82% pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade, including an impressive 100% pass rate for the class of 2016. At the baccalaureate level, Clarion offers both a traditional undergraduate program and a three-semester RN-to-BSN pathway. Graduate students may pursue an MSN degree with a family nurse practitioner focus or an online MSN-to-DNP program that covers leadership, policy, population health, and clinical practice.

#34: La Roche College | Pittsburgh, PA
La Roche College has degree offerings at each stage of the nursing career ladder. For those new to the field, the ADN provides a streamlined pathway to becoming a registered nurse. La Roche has a very select graduating class of just 10-20 ADN students each spring, who have maintained an 83% NCLEX pass rate over the past four years. For existing nurses looking to advance their education and careers, La Roche offers both RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN bridge programs online. A school nurse certificate is available for BSN-prepared RNs or those who are currently enrolled in La Roche’s RN-to-BSN program. Finally, the non-bridge MSN program has specialty tracks in nursing administration, nursing education, and clinical nurse leader.

#35: Marywood University | Scranton, PA
Marywood University’s tight-knit community of 3,000 students enjoys a low 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio on the school’s scenic 115-acre campus. The Department of Nursing offers three undergraduate pathways, including the core prelicensure BSN program as well as bridge programs for LPNs and RNs. The BSN curriculum combines the liberal arts and sciences, applying them to nursing care and practice. Students are prepared for intermediate to upper-level positions at a variety of healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. Marywood graduates a small prelicensure class of 20-35 students annually. These individuals have averaged an 84% first-try pass rate on the NCLEX exam over the past decade.

#36: UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing | Pittsburgh, PA
Since graduating its first class in 1887, UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing has educated more than 4,000 men and women. The school has been recognized as an NLN Center of Excellence multiple times for its diploma program in registered nursing. Typically 100-200 students graduate from the program each spring, posting solid NCLEX pass rates as high as 97% in recent years. UPMC Shadyside maintains an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio in most clinical courses, and the school offers both part-time and full-time study options. Over the past several years, graduates from UPMC Shadyside have achieved close to a 90% job placement rate.

#37: Saint Francis University | Loretto, PA
Graduates of the Saint Francis University BSN program have achieved a perfect 100% pass rate on the NCLEX exam for five years in a row, and they’ve maintained an impressive 97% pass rate over the past decade. In addition to the BSN degree, Saint Francis University’s School of Health Sciences and Education offers an MSN with a leadership / education track. The program is offered online with two required residencies, and it can be completed in just 26 months. Saint Francis students benefit from small class sizes, a strategically planned sequence of courses, start-of-the art simulation centers, and clinicals that take place at major local hospitals and healthcare facilities.

#38: University of Pittsburgh at Bradford | Bradford, PA
Pitt-Bradford offers a traditional ADN program and two BSN pathways (1+2+1, RN-to-BSN). The ADN program follows a two-year curriculum with training in a broad range of nursing fields, including maternal-child, medical-surgical, and psychiatric. Graduates of the ADN program have achieved a noteworthy 88% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, including a perfect 100% pass rate for the class of 2018. The BSN 1+2+1 program allows students to earn both the ADN and BSN degree in just four years, while the RN-to-BSN program can be completed in as little as two years. Pitt-Bradford nursing students can complete their clinical experiences at numerous local hospitals and agencies, including Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, Penn Highlands Elk, the Pennsylvania State Health Department, and Warren General Hospital.

#39: Neumann University | Aston, PA
The Division of Nursing and Health Sciences at Neumann University offers a BSN program with impressive outcomes. Students have scored a 91% first-try pass rate on the NCLEX exam over the past decade, and they enjoy an 88% job placement rate within one year of graduation. Neumann nurses are currently employed at Cooper University Hospital System, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, just to name a few. For RNs seeking an advanced degree, Neumann offers an MSN program (and a post-master’s certificate) with an adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner focus. Graduates of either program are eligible to take the AGNP national certification examination and to apply for state licensure as a nurse practitioner.

#40: California University of Pennsylvania | California, PA
California University of Pennsylvania has tailored a number of educational programs to help nurses achieve their goals. For RNs with an ADN or a diploma, Cal U offers a 100% online RN-to-BSN program that transfer students can complete in three terms full-time or four terms part-time. RNs seeking an MSN degree may choose from a nursing administration and leadership track, a nursing education track, and a 54-credit MSN/MBA dual degree. A 24-credit MBA in nursing is also available for nurses who already hold an MSN in nursing administration. For students with no prior nursing education or experience, Cal U offers educational partnerships with Ohio Valley Hospital School of Nursing, Washington Health System School of Nursing, and Community College of Allegheny County.

#41: Edinboro University | Edinboro, PA
For those new to the nursing field, Edinboro University has a four-year prelicensure BSN program that combines professional nursing courses and clinical experiences. A 15-month BSN is also available for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in another field. Across these two prelicensure pathways, students have scored an impressive 92% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past four years. At the graduate level, Clarion and Edinboro Universities have partnered to provide an MSN degree with a family nurse practitioner specialization. Edinboro also offers an online DNP program for MSN-prepared nurses that requires two internships and a clinical dissertation.

#42: Mansfield University | Immaculata, PA
Mansfield University’s undergraduate nursing program utilizes the latest technology to prepare students for patient care. The program features human patient simulators – life-sized mannequins that cough, breath, have a pulse, and can even talk. The BSN curriculum includes two years of general education and two years of clinical experiences at the Robert Packer Hospital and other acute care medical facilities. Students also have the opportunity to learn in community settings such as nursing homes, elementary and secondary schools, nursery schools, and outpatient clinics. Over the past four years, Mansfield’s BSN graduates have scored an excellent 95% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

#43: Wilson College | Chambersburg, PA
Wilson College nursing students routinely shadow nurses during a 12-hour shift at Summit Health’s Chambersburg Hospital. They also assess residents’ vital signs at the Menno Haven Retirement Community and observe patients at Keystone Health’s public clinics. The goal is to provide hands-on clinical experience as early as possible through the school’s three largest active partners. Undergraduate degree pathways include a traditional BSN curriculum, an LPN-to-BSN bridge, and an online RN-to-BSN completion program. Graduate nursing students can pursue an online MSN with nursing education and nursing leadership tracks. The MSN program allows students to seamlessly continue their nursing education to earn nurse practitioner certification through a partnership with Widener University School of Nursing.

#44: Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences | West Reading, PA
Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences has prepared students for the nursing profession since 1889. The school’s hospital-based, three-year diploma program provides both a solid theoretical foundation and strong practice-based experience. Reading Health System offers a nationally recognized healthcare environment for clinical experiences, and the program maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio, typically between 8:1 and 10:1. Graduates have achieved a solid 88% first-time NCLEX pass rate since 2009. The nursing program also holds an affiliation with nearby Alvernia University that facilitates the seamless transfer of academic credit to the university’s RN-to-BSN completion program.

#45: Eastern University | Saint Davids, PA
Eastern University’s Nursing Department has several programs that provide hands-on experience in the school’s on-campus Nursing Resource & Simulation facility. Degree offerings include the prelicensure BSN, the second degree BSN, an RN-to-BSN pathway, and an MSN degree. In addition to Eastern’s state-of-the-art facilities, students benefit from off-campus clinicals at major healthcare facilities like Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Friends Hospital, and Chester County Hospital (owned by Penn Medicine). The prelicensure BSN program is selective, with just 20-30 students in each graduating class. These students have achieved a stellar 95% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam since 2014.

#46: Slippery Rock University | Slippery Rock, PA
Slippery Rock University is home to one of the earliest online nursing programs in a traditional, regionally accredited university. The school’s Department of Nursing offers an RN-to-BSN program that consists of 39 credits across nine mandatory nursing courses, two nursing electives, and two support courses (Statistics for the Social Sciences and Medical Health Care Ethics). Two flexible eight-week sessions per semester enable full-time RNs to focus on one course at a time. Part-time RNs may accelerate the program by taking three or more courses per semester. Graduates of the Slippery Rock RN-to-BSN program enjoy a 100% job placement rate, with 86% of graduates employed full-time in nursing and 14% employed part-time.

#47: University of Pittsburgh at Titusville | Titusville, PA
Pitt-Titusville combines a small college academic environment with the resources of a world-class institution. The university’s ADN program is small and selective, with typically fewer than 20 students in each graduating cohort. It is also rigorous, requiring the completion of 72 credits and 800+ clinical hours over a 21-month, five-semester class schedule. Not surprisingly, Pitt-Titusville’s ADN students are well prepared for the NCLEX licensure exam. The school has posted an 86% first-time pass rate since 2009, with one recent class posting a 100% pass rate. Graduates are strongly grounded in diverse healthcare practices, providing a smooth transition to either nursing practice or higher learning.

#48: Mount Aloysius College | Cresson, PA
Mount Aloysius College has both a traditional ADN program and an innovative 2+2 program that combines the ADN and BSN degrees. Students earn the ADN degree within the first two years (or five semesters) of study, providing them with the knowledge and skills to enter the field of nursing, pass the NCLEX-RN licensure examination, and obtain employment as a registered nurse. Indeed, Mount Aloysius students have earned a strong 91% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam since 2012. Progress to the BSN-conferring 2+2 program is sequenced according to individual career needs and scheduling preferences. Students in both programs benefit from small class sizes and a multimillion-dollar Nursing Simulation Center.

#49: East Stroudsburg University | East Stroudsburg, PA
The Department of Nursing at East Stroudsburg University offers a four-year BSN program that combines a liberal arts foundation with basic preparation in professional nursing. A leadership and management internship at the end of senior year prepares students either for employment in the nursing field or for a smooth transition to graduate study. East Stroudsburg students are prepared to practice in a variety of settings including hospitals, community agencies, physicians’ offices, and long-term care facilities. They are also well prepared for the NCLEX licensure examination, scoring an impressive 91% pass rate over the past three years.

#50: Lock Haven University | Clearfield, PA
Lock Haven University offers three pathways to a nursing degree: the traditional two-year ADN, an advanced placement ADN program for LPNs, and an online RN-to-BSN completion program. The ADN curriculum covers topics like behavioral health, cardiovascular intensive care, geriatrics, maternal-child health, and medical-surgical nursing. Each course is made up of a theoretical component and a clinical component. Students in the LPN-to-ADN pathway enter the program in the second or third semester of the four-semester curriculum. Over the past five years, ADN graduates across both pathways have maintained a strong 90% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. The Lock Haven RN-to-BSN program covers advanced topics like global nursing issues, leadership, and policy.

#51: Immaculata University | Immaculata, PA
For nearly 100 years, Immaculata University has delivered liberal education with an emphasis on service. The university’s nursing program offers several undergraduate and graduate pathways. Students new to nursing can pursue a traditional prelicensure BSN degree. This select program of approximately 30 students per cohort has passed the NCLEX exam at a stellar 95% rate over the past two years. Immaculata also offers an RN-to-BSN bridge program on the university’s main campus, at various sites throughout the tri-state area, and fully online. At the graduate level, nurses can pursue a three-year MSN with optional concentrations in nursing administration and nursing education, or a doctor of education (EdD) with a concentration in nursing education.

#52: Pennsylvania College of Technology | Williamsport, PA
Pennsylvania College of Technology’s School of Nursing & Health Sciences has programs for those seeking a career in either licensed practical nursing or registered nursing. The school’s 17-month associate of applied science (AAS) degree in health arts carries a practical nursing emphasis. Graduates have scored a solid 90% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam over the past decade. Penn College also offers two pathways for its AAS degree in nursing (RN preparation, LPN-to-RN) and two pathways for its BSN degree (traditional, online RN-to-BSN). Over the past decade, the school’s prelicensure students have scored a 91% NCLEX-RN pass rate in the AAS program and an 88% NCLEX-RN pass rate in the BSN program.

#53: Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Technology | Mount Braddock, PA
Pennsylvania Institute of Health and Technology has served students and employers in southwestern Pennsylvania for more than 25 years. The school offers a direct-admittance LPN program that may be completed in just 12 months. The LPN curriculum prepares graduates to take the NCLEX-PN licensure exam and to work in a wide range of healthcare environments, including doctors’ offices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, clinics, nursing homes, and community or home health agencies. Since the program’s inception, approximately 150 LPN graduates have taken the NCLEX exam with a stellar 95% pass rate. In fact, the past four cohorts scored a perfect 100% NCLEX pass rate. Recent graduating classes have also achieved an 88% job placement rate. PIHT offers a dozen partial scholarships, covering up to 25% of tuition for qualified applicants. Alumni are also eligible to receive brush-up training to upgrade their skills at no cost.

#54: Mercy Hospital School of Nursing | Pittsburgh, PA
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1893, Mercy Hospital School of Nursing (MHSN) has graduated more than 6,200 nurses since its inception. Today, the school is sponsored by UPMC Mercy, Pittsburgh’s only faith-based healthcare provider. MHSN offers a hospital-based registered nursing diploma, with patient interactions as early as the first week of the program. Students gain an extensive range of clinical experiences at UPMC Mercy, which holds designations as a Level I Regional Resource Trauma Center and a Primary Stroke Center. MHSN graduates have performed very strongly on their licensure exams, with NCLEX pass rates as high as 93% in recent years. They have also secured employment in the field, with a typical job placement rate of almost 90%.

#55: Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center | Johnstown, PA
The LPN program at Greater Johnstown Career & Technology Center is a full-time diploma that requires 812 hours of theory and 791 hours of clinical experience. Divided into three sixteen-week levels, the program teaches students the core nursing skills of patient care, disease prevention, health maintenance, and patient rehabilitation. To accomplish this, students receive general training on a broad range of topics including body structure and functions, family-centered maternity nursing, medical-surgical nursing, nutrition, and pharmacology. GJCTC graduates approximately 50-60 LPN candidates each year. Over the past decade, these students have achieved a solid 86% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure examination.

#56: Bucks County Community College | Newtown, PA
Bucks County Community College provides comprehensive career education across three campuses, a network of satellite facilities, and an online platform that features over 300 e-learning and hybrid courses. The college has two pathways for aspiring RNs: a traditional ADN and an LPN-to-RN program. The traditional ADN program covers the liberal arts, selected sciences, and nursing, while the LPN-to-RN pathway offers a streamlined curriculum for existing LPNs. Over the past decade, graduates of these two programs have achieved a strong 83% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Bucks County Community College also offers a 12-month practical nursing certificate program. LPN graduates have achieved an 87% pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam over the past decade.

#57: Fortis Institute | Erie & Scranton, PA
Fortis Institute offers a hybrid LPN program that prepares students for entry-level practical nursing positions through class instruction, laboratory exercises, and clinical experiences. The clinical component of the program gives students hands-on experience providing nursing care to patients of all ages, ethnicities, and cultural groups, and at all stages of wellness / illness. These clinicals take place at hospitals and other healthcare agencies affiliated with Fortis. Students at both Pennsylvania campuses have achieved a strong 89% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam over the past decade. In fact, Erie students can boast two consecutive years with a 100% pass rate.

#58: Mercyhurst University | Erie, PA
Mercyhurst University has programs for aspiring nurses at all career stages, including an LPN certificate, several ADN pathways, and an RN-to-BSN completion program. The LPN certificate requires just one year of full-time study to complete. The traditional ADN has two convenient class schedules: a five-semester, full-time, weekday program and an eight-semester, part-time, evening and weekend program. LPNs may gain advanced standing through Mercyhurst North East’s ADN articulation program. The RN-to-BSN completion program offers a flexible hybrid-learning format that can be completed in one to two years. The program prepares graduates for positions as clinicians, managers, educators, and scholars.

#59: Lancaster County Career & Technology Center | Willow Street, PA
Lancaster County Career & Technology Center has a 1,605-hour LPN program with two convenient course schedules. Classes and clinical experiences for the 12-month program take place during the day (Monday-Friday) at the Health Sciences Campus and area facility partners. Classes and clinical experiences for the 18-month program take place in the evenings (Monday-Thursday) on campus and at local facilities. Sample courses for the program include Body Structure and Function, Growth and Development, Maternal / Newborn Nursing, and Vocational Relationships. The program graduates 150-200 LPN candidates each year, with an excellent 92% NCLEX-PN pass rate over the last decade.

#60: Luzerne County Community College | Nanticoke, PA
The ADN program at Luzerne County Community College prepares its students to deliver individualized healthcare in a broad range of settings including acute care, long-term care, clinics, physicians’ offices, and health agencies. The ADN curriculum rigorously covers entry-level healthcare topics like contemporary nursing concepts, psychology, and pharmacology / pathophysiology. To graduate, students must complete 73 credit hours of study. LCCC educates 100-150 new nurses each year. Over the past decade, these students have achieved a solid 87% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.