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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#61: Nebraska Methodist College | Omaha, NE
Nebraska Methodist College has just one focus: healthcare education. The school provides programs both for students who wish to study on campus and for those who prefer to study online. Because of its singular focus and multiple delivery options, Nebraska Methodist offers one of the largest collections of nursing programs in the region. Degree options include several BSN pathways (traditional, accelerated, LPN-to-BSN, RN-to-BSN), three MSN specializations (educator, executive, informatics), and a DNP program with two focuses (family nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist) and two entry points (post-BSN, APRN). The college graduates 100-150 prelicensure BSN students each year, with a strong 94% NCLEX-RN exam pass rate since 2010.

#62: Marquette University | Milwaukee, WI
Founded in 1936, the College of Nursing at Marquette University has more than 7,000 alumni and educates approximately 350 nursing students annually. The college offers BSN, MSN, post-master’s certificate, DNP, and PhD nursing programs, with a low 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio across all clinical settings. Graduates of the school’s flagship BSN program have passed the NCLEX exam at an 85% rate since 2011, including an excellent 92% pass rate in 2017. The College of Nursing is housed in 46,000-square-foot Emory T. Clark Hall, where students benefit from new facilities like the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Center for Clinical Simulation.

#63: Xavier University | Cincinnati, OH
The nursing program at Xavier University is one of just a handful of programs in the nation endorsed by the American Holistic Nursing Association. Students learn from faculty with a diverse range of specialties including epidemiology, natural health, gerontology, and occupational health. With an emphasis on improving medical care for the Hispanic community, Xavier’s nursing department has also created an exclusive program that specializes in educating nurses fluent in Spanish. Graduates of all programs perform well on their licensure exams: BSN students passed the NCLEX exam at an 88% rate as recently as 2015, and the direct-entry MSN program posted a 100% NCLEX pass rate in 2017.

#64: 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.

#65: Azusa Pacific University | Azusa, CA
Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing has a nursing program for every career objective. Undergraduates can pursue a four-year BSN, an LVN-to-BSN bridge, an RN-to-BSN completion program, or the Two-Plus-Two BSN. The final option is a unique track designed for APU transfer students. Prelicensure BSN candidates have passed the NCLEX exam at a solid 84% first-time rate since 2007. The university’s MSN program includes a direct-entry pathway, and these students have demonstrated a similarly strong NCLEX pass rate of 86%. The MSN curriculum features specialties in nursing education, school nursing, two CNS areas, and four NP roles. APU also offers a DNP program, a nursing PhD program, and eight post-master’s nursing certificates.

#66: George Washington University | Washington, DC
Founded in 2010, George Washington University’s School of Nursing is already educating nearly 800 students, including 225 on campus and over 550 online. The school employs 58 faculty and 300 clinical preceptors across its two campus locations in Foggy Bottom and Ashburn. These sites are also home to three premier Skills and Simulation Laboratories. The School of Nursing provides baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs. The school has earned particular recognition for its online offerings, including its 100% online MSN program, from national publications like U.S. News & World Report.

#67: Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences | Rochester, MN
Mayo School of Health Sciences is part of the prestigious Mayo Clinic, which ranks number one in more specialties that any other hospital in the nation. The school enrolls nursing students across its three campuses in Jacksonville, Florida; Phoenix / Scottsdale, Arizona; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Rochester campus houses a wide breadth of clinical graduate nursing programs including nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist offerings. Clinical experiences allow students to rotate through the entire hospital care setting, from pediatrics to critical care.

#68: University of Saint Joseph | West Hartford, CT
A tight student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1 allows the USJ School of Health & Natural Sciences to provide students with intensive personal attention and guidance. It’s no wonder, then, that USJ routinely graduates BSN students with an NCLEX pass rate of 90% or higher. Interestingly, the traditional BSN is only available to women, while the accelerated second-degree BSN and RN-to-BSN programs are available to men as well. In addition to FNP master’s and online DNP programs, USJ also offers a post-master’s certification for psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners.

#69: Endicott College | Beverly, MA
Fully equipped laboratories, intensive clinical experiences, and small class sizes are several of the benefits that Endicott nursing students enjoy. A typical nursing class has between 10 and 36 students, and clinical groups average seven students per instructor. The BSN curriculum includes a minimum of 920 clinical practice hours, for which the school has an affiliation with 60 local healthcare facilities. In the final semester, an experienced preceptor mentors each student during a 144-hour internship. This hands-on instruction has helped Endicott’s BSN graduates to pass the NCLEX exam at an 85% rate over the past decade. Graduate nursing students can choose from Endicott’s four MSN specializations, three post-master’s certificates, and a nursing PhD program.

#70: Bellarmine University | Louisville, KY
The Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Bellarmine University offers three BSN pathways: traditional, accelerated second degree, and RN-to-BSN. The school graduates 130-150 students from the two prelicensure BSN tracks each year. These students perform impressively well on the NCLEX licensure exam, scoring a 94% first-time pass rate over the past decade. The graduate nursing department offers an MSN with tracks in education, administration, and family nursing practice; an MSN/MBA dual degree; and a DNP with focuses in advanced nursing practice and executive leadership. Bellarmine offers study abroad programs in Australia and Sweden, service learning experiences in Appalachia and Guatemala, and overseas volunteer missions.

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