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. Approximately 1,300 of the institutions surveyed were private, including vocational and career schools, liberal arts colleges, and universities. 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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#41: 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.


#42: 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.


#43: 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).


#44: 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.


#45: Pace University | 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.


#46: 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.


#47: 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.


#48: University of San Diego | San Diego, CA
U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks USD’s Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science in the top tier of graduate nursing schools. USD offers a direct-entry MSN option for non-nurses; this pathway graduates 30-50 new nurses each year and has maintained a 91% NCLEX pass rate since 2008. Existing nurses can pursue an MSN in eight different areas of emphasis, a DNP with two entry points (post-BSN, post-MSN), or a PhD with three entry points (post-BSN, post-MSN, post-DNP). In addition to a diverse collection of graduate offerings, Hahn provides the opportunity to participate in international mission trips to Haiti and the Dominican Republic.


#49: Brigham Young University | Provo, UT
BYU College of Nursing is home to nearly 400 nursing students from 38 states and four international countries. The college offers two degree pathways: a prelicensure BSN program for aspiring registered nurses and an MSN degree for aspiring family nurse practitioners. BYU awards approximately 100-125 baccalaureate degrees and a dozen master’s degrees in each academic year, and these nursing students achieve stellar test scores. The college’s BSN graduates have passed the NCLEX exam at a 94% rate or higher for an amazing ten consecutive years. Several recent MSN cohorts have achieved a perfect 100% pass rate on the American Nurses Credentialing Center FNP certification exam.


#50: University of Indianapolis | Indianapolis, IN
UIndy’s School of Nursing is the only institution in the state that offers both nurse-midwifery and neonatal nurse practitioner programs. The school also provides five other MSN specializations; traditional, accelerated, and degree-completion BSN programs; and a doctorate of nursing practice. Prelicensure students from UIndy’s BSN programs have achieved an NCLEX exam pass rate of 91% over the past decade. The school’s “Education for Service” motto is deeply embedded in its nursing curriculum, including a number of student volunteer and mission opportunities each year.

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