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 1,900 of the institutions surveyed were public, including community and technical colleges, four-year 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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#1: University of California, San Francisco | San Francisco, CA
For the past decade, UCSF School of Nursing has placed among the top two nursing schools in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The school’s master of science in nursing (MSN) program offers 15 specialty areas, including several clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and nurse practitioner (NP) roles. UCSF conducts a master’s entry program which prepares non-nurses for initial licensure; graduates have achieved an outstanding National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) pass rate of 94% since 2008. The university also has an online master’s degree in healthcare administration and interprofessional leadership, as well as doctor of philosophy (PhD) tracks in both nursing and sociology.


#2: University of Washington | Seattle, WA
The University of Washington School of Nursing has been a top-rated nursing school by U.S. News & World Report for twenty years. UW offers the full breadth of nursing degrees: traditional and accelerated BSN programs, an MS in Clinical Informatics and Patient-Centered Technologies, a PhD in Nursing Science, and 11 Doctor of Nursing Practice tracks. Students can also pursue graduate certificates in areas ranging from palliative care to nurse-midwifery. UW’s graduating BSN class of 130-150 students annually has passed the NCLEX exam at a strong 92% rate over the past decade.


#3: University of Maryland | Baltimore, MD
The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) currently enrolls almost 1,900 nursing students. The university has received a top-ten ranking from U.S. News & World Report in at least ten different nursing specialty areas. UMSON also places #14 in NIH nursing research funding over the past decade. The school graduates 250-300 prelicensure BSN students annually and another 50-100 direct-entry MSN students. These individuals have passed the NCLEX exam at an impressive 91% rate since 2008. UMSON has 147 faculty members (136 of whom are full-time), engages with more than 600 faculty associates and clinical preceptors, and offers students access to four highly regarded medical centers and institutes.


#4: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center | New Orleans, LA
The LSU Health School of Nursing is an NLN Center of Excellence for promoting the pedagogical expertise of faculty. Undergraduate students can select from a traditional four-year BSN, an RN-to-BSN degree completion program, and the Career Alternative RN Education (CARE) pathway. The CARE BSN is designed for individuals who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field. The university’s prelicensure BSN students have averaged a 96% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, including an astonishing nine consecutive years at a 95% pass rate or higher. At the graduate level, LSU Health offers two MSN specializations (clinical nurse leader, nurse educator), an impressive 11 distinct DNP concentrations, and the unique Doctor of Nursing Science degree program.


#5: 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.


#6: 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.


#7: 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.


#8: 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.


#9: 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.


#10: 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.


#11: 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.


#12: 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.


#13: 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.


#14: 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.


#15: 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.


#16: 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.


#17: University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN
The University of Minnesota School of Nursing is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the region. It was the first nursing school in the nation to offer DNP programs in certified registered nurse anesthetist, nursing informatics, and health innovation and leadership. Indeed, the school’s DNP program was recently ranked among the top 30 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. The University of Minnesota also offers highly regarded BSN and MSN programs. The school produces 120-140 BSN and 60-65 MSN prelicensure graduates annually. These students have achieved NCLEX first-time pass rates of 87% and 92%, respectively, over the past decade.


#18: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center | Lubbock, TX
Texas Tech’s School of Nursing holds the National League for Nursing Center of Excellence designation for enhancing student learning and professional development. The university offers four undergraduate pathways: traditional BSN, second-degree web-based, Veteran-to-BSN, and a degree completion program for existing registered nurses. Graduate offerings include nine MSN specializations, eight post-master’s programs, graduate certificates in global health and rural community health, and a DNP program designed for working professionals. The school produces ~350 BSN graduates annually who have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at rates as high as 97% in recent years.


#19: University of Wisconsin - Madison | Madison, WI
Established in 1924, the UW Madison School of Nursing enrolls more than 1,000 students across its undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. The school graduates approximately 150 prelicensure BSN students annually, who consistently achieve solid NCLEX pass rates of 85-93% each year. Graduate students can pursue either type of doctoral degree (DNP, PhD) as well as four certificate programs (clinical nurse specialist, nurse educator, psychiatric mental health, school nursing). The school’s new Signe Skott Cooper Hall has state-of-the-art simulation labs and research facilities. Adjacent is the Health Sciences Learning Center that brings students together across the disciplines of nursing, medicine, and pharmacy. Nursing students also have access to leading facilities in Madison for their clinical practice and research.


#20: Purdue University | West Lafayette, IN
Purdue University’s School of Nursing is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences. The school enrolls 550 undergraduates in its traditional and second-degree BSN programs, as well as 50 graduate students in its MSN and DNP programs. Purdue’s graduating BSN class has passed the NCLEX exam at a strong rate of 92% since 2011. Nursing students can take advantage of unique facilities including the Center for Nursing History, Ethics, Human Rights, and Innovations; the Center for Nursing Education and Simulation; and the Nursing Center for Family Health. They can also seize the opportunity to study in four international locations.


#21: University of North Carolina at Greensboro | Greensboro, NC
The UNCG School of Nursing has earned multiple COE designations from the National League for Nursing in recent years. The school offers three undergraduate pathways: traditional four-year BSN, RN-to-BSN, and BSN as a second degree. UNCG graduates close to 100 prelicensure BSN students annually, who have achieved a strong NCLEX exam pass rate of 91% since 2010. The school’s online MSN program is ranked near the top 50 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. UNCG also offers a dual MSN / master of business administration (MBA) degree and very selective DNP and PhD programs.


#22: University of Connecticut | Storrs, CT
Founded in 1942, UConn’s School of Nursing is the only research-focused nursing university in New England. Recently designated by the NLN as a Center of Excellence, the school also ranks among the top 20 public universities in the United States. Moreover, its Homer D. Babbidge Library is considered among the nation’s 30 best research resources, housing over 2.5mm volumes in its ever-expanding database. The school provides bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. UConn graduates over 200 students each year from its BSN programs, which include a traditional four-year offering on the Storrs campus and accelerated pathways in four cities. Collectively, these BSN students have achieved a strong NCLEX pass rate of 93% since 2010.


#23: University of New Hampshire | Durham, NH
The Department of Nursing at UNH’s College of Health and Human Services offers several nursing pathways including a traditional four-year BSN degree, a direct-entry MSN program, an MSN degree with three tracks, and an online DNP program. Students from the traditional BSN program have scored a 94% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past eight years, while their counterparts in the direct-entry MSN program have achieved a 96% pass rate over the same time period. The MSN curriculum offers specializations in clinical nurse leader, evidence-based nursing, and family nurse practitioner. The school also offers post-master’s certificates in family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health.


#24: University of Illinois at Chicago | Chicago, IL
Educating a diverse student body of more than 1,300 nursing students, UIC College of Nursing is consistently in the top tier of colleges for research funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It also has three specialty programs historically ranked in the top ten nationally by U.S. News & World Report: family nurse practitioner (FNP), adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, and nursing administration. The college offers nursing degrees and certifications across five regional campuses. Nursing students have access to seven health science colleges at UIC, enabling enhanced interprofessional classroom and clinical opportunities.


#25: Ball State University | Muncie, IN
Ball State University’s nursing department focuses intensely on the use of information technology. Designated a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing, Ball State’s MSN program is the eleventh-largest such online offering in the country. In fact, the department archives all graduate courses for easy access. The traditional BSN program graduates approximately 150 candidates each year, with an impressive NCLEX pass rate of 92% over the past seven years. Nursing students can use Ball State’s recently updated Simulation and Information Technology Center on campus.


#26: Texas A&M University Health Science Center | Bryan, TX
The BSN program at Texas A&M University Health Science Center has posted a phenomenal 98% NCLEX exam pass rate since 2010. The school has graduated hundreds of new nurses over the past decade and maintains a 95% job placement rate within three months of graduation. Texas A&M offers three BSN tracks: a traditional program in Bryan, an accelerated second degree in both Bryan and Round Rock, and an online RN-to-BSN pathway. Graduate students can pursue an online MSN in nursing education or a hybrid MSN for aspiring family nurse practitioners. Clinical locations include St. Joseph Health System and College Station Medical Center, the oldest healthcare facility in Bryan.


#27: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston | Galveston, TX
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB Health) has recently been ranked among the top 20 online graduate nursing programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers a prelicensure BSN program, which boasted an impressive 97% NCLEX-RN exam pass rate in 2017. UTMB Health also leads RN-to-BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD programs. Six MSN tracks are available including clinical nurse leader (CNL), family nurse practitioner (FNP), neonatal nurse practitioner (NNP), and nurse educator (NED). Post-BSN and post-MSN students can also quickly earn a certificate in nursing education by completing three focused courses.


#28: University of Iowa | Iowa City, IA
The College of Nursing at the University of Iowa is a Big Ten nursing school, hailed as a national leader in gerontology, nursing service administration, pediatric nursing practice, and nurse anesthesia. Indeed, the university frequently receives top-ten national rankings in all four of these specializations. UI College of Nursing offers a full slate of graduate programs including DNP and PhD degrees, seven different post-graduate certificates, and an MSN with clinical nurse leader focus. At the undergraduate level, the college produces approximately 130 BSN candidates annually. These students have passed the NCLEX licensure examination at a rate of 94-98% an amazing seven years in a row.


#29: University of Nebraska Medical Center | Omaha, NE
The University of Nebraska Medical Center is a prominent and vast institution that enrolls more than 3,700 students. Nearly half of the state’s bachelor-prepared nurses, physicians, dental professionals, pharmacists, and allied health professionals have graduated from UNMC. The school’s College of Nursing offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN programs for undergraduates, as well as MSN, DNP, and PhD degrees for graduate nurses. In addition, a post-master’s certificate is offered in areas ranging from adult gerontology to women’s health. Prelicensure BSN graduates have enjoyed an excellent 91% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN examination over the past eight years.


#30: University of Florida | Gainesville, FL
UF College of Nursing is the oldest baccalaureate and graduate nursing school in Florida. The university launched the state’s first NP program and its first BSN-to-PhD track. Currently, UF offers BSN, ABSN, and RN-to-BSN programs to approximately 700 undergraduate students. Graduates of the BSN program have passed the NCLEX-RN exam at a remarkable rate of 93% from 2010-2016. The College of Nursing also educates 370 graduate nursing students, offering BSN and MSN entry points to both its DNP and PhD programs. Specialization certificates can be earned in nurse education and five nurse practitioner fields.


#31: University of Virginia | Charlottesville, VA
The University of Virginia School of Nursing was recently ranked among the top four percent of nursing schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers an impressive breadth of program options, including prelicensure BSN, RN-to-BSN, seven distinct MSN tracks, two DNP entry points, and a PhD in nursing science. UVA graduates two BSN classes each spring: one of approximately 90 students on the main Charlottesville campus, and one of 15-25 students from the College at Wise. Both cohorts have maintained approximately a 90% NCLEX pass rate over the past five years. UVA’s direct-entry clinical nurse leader students have performed even better on the licensure exam, with a 93% NCLEX pass rate over the past five years and a perfect pass rate in 2017.


#32: Virginia Commonwealth University | Richmond, VA
The VCU School of Nursing boasts a state-of-the-art Clinical Learning Center with a skills lab and two intensive care simulation suites. The center was recognized in 2010 as a Laerdal Center of Educational Excellence. VCU also provides nursing students with 45,000 square feet of classrooms, auditoriums, and research laboratories. The university offers three BSN pathways (traditional, accelerated, RN completion), five MSN concentrations, and both doctoral nursing degrees (DNP and PhD). VCU graduates approximately 150 prelicensure BSN students each year, who have passed the NCLEX exam at an impressive 93% first-try rate over the past decade.


#33: Illinois State University | Normal, IL
Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programs. Approximately 150 BSN graduates from the college appear for the NCLEX exam annually, with an excellent pass rate of 94-100% every single year since 2008. MCN students have access to a 10,000-square-foot Nursing Simulation Laboratory, enjoy an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio in clinical settings, and can travel to five international locations for nursing experiences. The college is focused on diversity and recently received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services towards increasing nursing education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.


#34: University of California, Los Angeles | Los Angeles, CA
UCLA School of Nursing has earned numerous national accolades. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the school #20 in the country for graduate nursing studies, and UCLA ranked #9 in 2016 NIH research funding for schools of nursing. Approximately 600 nursing students are enrolled across the university’s BSN, MSN, and PhD programs. The MSN program offers a direct-entry track for non-nurses which leads to CNL certification, as well as numerous advanced practice tracks in various NP and CNS specialties. UCLA students are well prepared for licensure: the school’s BSN graduates have maintained an 83% first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate since program launch, while direct-entry MSN candidates have passed the exam at an 89% clip.


#35: University of Kentucky | Lexington, KY
The University of Kentucky College of Nursing created the nation’s first DNP program and Kentucky’s first nursing PhD program. UK was also the first nurse researcher in the U.S. to be awarded a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) grant. Home to more than 1,400 students, the college provides four BSN pathways: traditional, second degree, MedVet-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN. Over the last decade, UK’s 160-180 annual BSN graduates have enjoyed an astonishing 97% NCLEX pass rate, including three consecutive years of 99% or higher. The college also offers graduate certificate programs in four nurse practitioner specialties, clinical nurse specialist, and populations and organizational systems leadership.


#36: The College of New Jersey | Ewing, NJ
The Department of Nursing at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) was recently designated an NLN Center of Excellence for enhancing student learning and professional development. BSN students have achieved an impressive 93% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Moreover, 100% of BSN graduates that seek full-time employment are placed within six months. Class sizes are small: the typical nursing class has 15 to 30 students, and the school limits clinical groups to a maximum of eight students. TCNJ also offers MSN programs for aspiring adult, family, and neonatal nurse practitioners; clinical nurse leaders; and school nurses.


#37: University of Alabama at Birmingham | Birmingham, AL
UAB School of Nursing is nationally ranked among the top three percent of nursing schools by U.S. News & World Report. The school provides several unique opportunities for veterans, Peace Corps volunteers, and nurse practitioner students who plan to provide primary care in one of Alabama’s rural counties upon graduation. UAB offers two BSN entry points (traditional, ADN) and two MSN entry points (BSN, second degree), as well as DNP and PhD programs. The school’s traditional BSN program has more than 250 graduates annually, and they are well prepared for their licensure exams, tallying a 93% NCLEX pass rate over the past eight years.


#38: University of Texas at Austin | Austin, TX
The UT Austin School of Nursing has recently been ranked among the top 20 in the nation for its graduate nursing program by U.S. News & World Report. The school also ranks among the top 30 universities in nursing research funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). UT Austin enrolls nearly 1,100 students across a wealth of nursing programs, including traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, traditional and alternate-entry MSN, traditional and alternate-entry PhD, and DNP options. The school produces approximately 120 prelicensure BSN and 50 prelicensure MSN graduates annually. Both programs produce graduates who have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a rate of 94% since 2008.


#39: University of North Carolina at Charlotte | Charlotte, NC
The UNC Charlotte School of Nursing achieved a 92% NCLEX pass rate among its 2016 BSN graduates. Just as impressively, August 2015 graduates of the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AG-ACNP) MSN track achieved a 100% pass rate on their certification exam. In addition to traditional BSN, MSN, and DNP degrees, UNC Charlotte leads an interdisciplinary, collaborative PhD program in the College of Health and Human Services. The school also offers an online RN-to-BSN completion program, an RIBN option in partnership with local community colleges, and several post-master’s and graduate certificates.


#40: North Dakota State University | Fargo, ND
The School of Nursing at North Dakota State University offers several degree programs, both for students with no prior healthcare experience and for licensed nurses looking to enhance their careers. Options include prelicensure BSN, LPN-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN tracks as well as a BSN-to-DNP program with a family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialty. Each year, 130-160 BSN graduates take the NCLEX exam across both the NDSU Fargo campus and NDSU Nursing at Sanford Health Bismarck. These students have averaged an impressive first-time pass rate of 94% over the past decade. The number of FNP graduates who pass the certification examination for advanced practice also well exceeds the national average.


#41: University of Vermont | Burlington, VT
Viewing nursing as a science and an art, University of Vermont’s Department of Nursing lays heavy emphasis on behavioral, natural, and nursing sciences. The school integrates interdisciplinary education with clinical experience and gives students an opportunity to study public health in international locations. Its BSN students have averaged a 92% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination since 2015, including a stellar 99% pass rate in 2017. UVM’s graduate nursing programs include an MSN degree with a clinical nurse leader focus, a DNP curriculum with two nurse practitioner tracks (adult-gerontology and family), and a unique direct-entry pathway for DNP students with a bachelor’s degree or higher in a non-nursing discipline.


#42: Upstate Medical University | Syracuse, NY
Upstate Medical University’s College of Nursing strives to meet the needs of RNs in the Syracuse and Central New York area. In 1959, to address the region’s nursing shortfall, Upstate Medical University launched an ADN program that educated more than 500 registered nurses over the next two decades. Today, Upstate Medical University is one of the longest-established upper-division nursing schools in the region. It offers an RN-to-BSN degree completion program, three MSN tracks, two post-master’s advanced certificates, and a part-time MSN-to-DNP program.


#43: University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh | Oshkosh, WI
Graduating its first class of 22 in 1970, the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing has since graduated approximately 6,000 nurses. It offers students a range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including an innovative, predominantly online accelerated bachelor of science in nursing. Each year, approximately 200 prelicensure BSN students pass the NCLEX exam at a consistently high rate of 92-97%. UW Oshkosh’s clinical nurse leader graduate program has also maintained a stellar 100% pass rate on the Commission on Nurse Certification CNL certification exam since 2009. The school provides students evidence-based hands-on clinical training, with opportunities for international study in South America and India.


#44: Hunter College | New York, NY
Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing (HBSON) offers three undergraduate programs: a traditional BSN, an accelerated second-degree program, and an RN-to-BSN bridge. It also provides six MSN specialization tracks, a post-master’s certificate in psychiatric-mental health, and a DNP program. The school graduates 90-130 BSN students annually, who have passed the NCLEX exam at a solid 88% rate over the past ten years. With an aim to provide care in culturally diverse communities, HBSON has supported nursing education initiatives in Haiti and introduced a Global Health Nursing elective at the undergraduate level.


#45: James Madison University | Harrisonburg, VA
The School of Nursing at James Madison University has a number of unique offerings for nursing students, including international study abroad opportunities in Costa Rica, Spain, Tanzania, and Malta. JMU offers a broad range of nursing programs, from traditional BSN and RN-to-BSN pathways to MSN and DNP degrees. A chronic illness minor is also on the menu. Undergraduates have posted a stellar 92% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN national licensure exam over the past decade. JMU’s graduate nursing students can pursue concentrations in clinical nurse leader, nurse administrator, nurse midwifery, and three nurse practitioner roles (adult / gerontology primary care, family, psychiatric mental health).


#46: University of South Carolina | Columbia, SC
The USC College of Nursing has the #5 online graduate nursing program in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. USC’s graduate nursing curriculum includes several MSN, post-master’s certificate, and DNP specializations – all delivered online – as well as an on-campus PhD program with flexible scheduling and tuition support. At the undergraduate level, the College of Nursing offers a traditional four-year nursing degree and an online RN-to-BSN pathway. USC produces the largest number of prelicensure BSN graduates in the state with approximately 200 annually, or roughly 20% of the statewide total. These newly minted nurses have passed the NCLEX exam at a rate of 92% or higher in each of the past seven years, including a stellar 98% pass rate in 2017.


#47: Winona State University | Winona, MN
The College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Winona State University focuses on both undergraduate and graduate nursing education. The undergraduate program produces approximately 150 BSN graduates annually, who have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a solid 89% rate over the past decade. Similarly impressive is the number of graduate nursing offerings available. Graduate students may pursue an MSN, DNP, or graduate certificate, including specializations in family practice nursing and adult health nursing. Winona State also offers RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN degree completion programs for existing registered nurses.


#48: Salisbury University | Salisbury, MD
The Department of Nursing at Salisbury University graduates 80-100 BSN students each year. These students consistently maintain one of the strongest baccalaureate NCLEX performances in Maryland, scoring a 93% pass rate over the past decade. Salisbury has three BSN options: the traditional undergraduate degree, an accelerated pathway for non-nursing college graduates, and an RN-to-BSN completion program. Its MSN program has two tracks: nurse educator and healthcare leadership. Salisbury also offers post-BSN and post-MSN entry points for its DNP program.


#49: University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire | Eau Claire, WI
UW Eau Claire graduated its first nursing class in 1968. Today, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences offers a range of nursing degrees including traditional BSN, BSN completion, MSN, and DNP programs. In total, the college educates 800 undergraduate and graduate students and offers 300+ clinical affiliations. Approximately 100-130 students complete the traditional BSN program annually, with a stellar 92% first-time NCLEX pass rate since 2012. Nearly 100% of students are either employed or enrolled in further nursing education within six months of graduation.


#50: University of Missouri | Columbia, MO
The University of Missouri’s Sinclair School of Nursing (SSON) is a member of one of the most comprehensive healthcare networks in Missouri, including the School of Health Professions, the School of Medicine, and University of Missouri Health Care. SSON educates nurses at all levels through its traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, online RN-to-BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD degree programs. At the undergraduate level, SSON produces 150-180 prelicensure BSN graduates annually. These students have consistently passed the NCLEX-RN exam at an exceptional rate of 92-96% for at least ten years in a row.


#51: South Dakota State University | Brookings, SD
The College of Nursing at South Dakota State University has an 80-year history of providing high-quality nursing education. Home to more than 1,000 nursing students across its BSN, MSN, post-graduate certificate, DNP, and PhD programs, SDSU has posted an enviable job placement rate as high as 100% for some recent graduating classes. The undergraduate nursing program produces approximately 300 prelicensure candidates each year. These students have scored an impressive 92% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade. Recent years have also witnessed a perfect 100% pass rate for APRN graduates seeking certification through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners or the American Nurses Credentialing Center.


#52: University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus | Denver, CO
In 1965, the University of Colorado (CU) College of Nursing instituted the first nurse practitioner and school nurse programs in the United States. In 2005, the college became one of the first seven schools in the nation to launch the new DNP program. Today, the College of Nursing enrolls approximately 1,000 students across a wide breadth of nursing degree and certificate programs. Undergraduates can pursue five BSN pathways: traditional, honors, accelerated, an integrated community college partnership, and RN-to-BSN. For an astonishing twelve years in a row, the college’s 200-plus annual BSN graduates have passed the NCLEX exam at a 91% or higher rate. At the graduate level, CU offers eleven MSN specialty tracks, a distance-accessible PhD program, a DNP degree with a public health nursing (PHN) focus, and a dual DNP/MPH track.


#53: University of Delaware | Newark, DE
Founded 50 years ago, University of Delaware’s School of Nursing is focused on increasing the cultural and ethnic diversity of nurses in the state. In fact, the school received a three-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration in 2014 towards this effort. Roughly 150-180 students graduate from UD’s BSN program each year, achieving a first-time NCLEX pass rate of 88% over the past decade. The school places an emphasis on learning experiences and students have access to well-equipped simulation labs, including the Clinical Critical Care Lab and the Clinical Maternal Child Lab.


#54: George Mason University | Fairfax, VA
George Mason’s College of Health and Human Services houses the 40-year-old School of Nursing. The school has produced so many successful graduates that one in three nurses practicing in the DC metropolitan area is a GMU alumnus. Baccalaureate pathways include traditional BSN, accelerated second-degree BSN, RN-to-BSN, and two co-enrollment programs. The ABSN program has maintained an impressive 95% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam since its recent launch. GMU also offers MSN concentrations for nurse educators, nurse practitioners, and nursing administrators; an RN-to-MSN bridge program; post-master’s certificates in nursing education and family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner; and both types of nursing doctoral programs (DNP and PhD).


#55: University of Arizona | Tucson, AZ
The College of Nursing at the University of Arizona consistently ranks among the top 30-40 graduate nursing schools in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The college currently enrolls well over 1,000 nursing students, and its prelicensure graduates have posted excellent first-time pass rates on the NCLEX exam. For example, BSN graduates have passed the licensure exam at a 94% rate since 2009, while graduates of the MSN for entry into the profession of nursing (MEPN) program have sustained a 91% pass rate since inception. The University of Arizona has online offerings for students in the RN-to-MSN, DNP, and PhD pathways. Graduate certificates are also available for aspiring NPs in the fields of family health, adult-gerontology acute care, pediatric care, and psychiatric-mental health.


#56: University at Buffalo | Buffalo, NY
University at Buffalo’s School of Nursing has educated nurses for over 75 years. The school provides a traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, RN-to-BSN bridge, master’s in nursing leadership, DNP program, and PhD program. The latter two are available in a distance learning format. The university graduates about 120 new nurses from its BSN program each year, and these students have passed the NCLEX exam at an 87% rate over the past ten years. UB School of Nursing students can access a varied list of clinical partners including a major cancer center, several comprehensive healthcare providers, a hospice center, and a veterans’ medical center.


#57: Grand Valley State University | Allendale, MI
Since its inception in 1973, Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof College of Nursing (KCON) has a history of successful innovations in nursing education. KCON has 26 tenured or tenure-track faculty members and hosts a dedicated academic nurse-managed center that provides care to students, faculty, and staff – part of a national network of nursing centers that share expertise. The college offers three BSN tracks (traditional, second-degree, RN-to-BSN), two graduate degrees (MSN, DNP), and a post-baccalaureate Interprofessional Palliative and Hospice Care Certificate.


#58: University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio | San Antonio, TX
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the only Tier 1 research university in South Texas. The School of Nursing is home to 750 students enrolled in traditional BSN, accelerated BSN (also known as “ABSN”), MSN, DNP, and PhD degree programs. In addition, the school offers post-graduate certificates in specialty areas from FNP to NED, plus a unique alternate-entry MSN option for ADN- or diploma-educated RNs. The School of Nursing produces 250-350 prelicensure BSN graduates annually who have posted an 86% NCLEX first-attempt pass rate over the past decade.


#59: University of North Carolina at Wilmington | Wilmington, NC
The UNC Wilmington School of Nursing has 1,000 current students and more than 2,100 alumni in North Carolina alone. Undergraduates can pursue a traditional prelicensure BSN, an online RN-to-BSN program, or a unique Bachelor of Science in Clinical Research degree – one of just four such programs in the United States. UNC Wilmington’s prelicensure BSN students have enjoyed a 94% NCLEX pass rate since 2010, with a stellar 98% pass rate in 2015. The school’s graduate offerings include an MSN with FNP focus, a Master of Science in Clinical Research degree, post-master’s FNP and NED certificates, and a newly launched DNP program.


#60: Clemson University | Clemson, SC
The College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences is home to Clemson University’s School of Nursing, which has twice earned the prestigious designation as an NLN Center of Excellence. Clemson offers three pathways at the undergraduate level: a traditional BSN, an accelerated BSN, and an RN-to-BSN completion program. Approximately 100 prelicensure students graduate annually, and they have consistently scored an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 90-96% for at least ten consecutive years. The graduate nursing department offers four MSN tracks: family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, nursing administration, and nursing education. Clemson recently launched an online post-master’s DNP program, and it also teaches an innovative PhD in healthcare genetics.


#61: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences | Little Rock, AR
The UAMS College of Nursing provides education to more than 600 nursing students. It is the only Arkansas university with four distinct programs – BSN, MSN, APRN certificates, and DNP – all maximally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The college also offers two degree completion tracks (RN-to-BSN, RN-to-BSN-to-MSN) and the state’s only nursing PhD program. Each spring, UAMS graduates 100-175 BSN students who perform very strongly on the licensure exam, including an NCLEX pass rate of 91% over the past ten years.


#62: California State University, Los Angeles | Los Angeles, CA
Cal State LA’s MSN program consistently ranks among the best in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The program has specialty tracks in nursing education and four NP fields. Existing MSN-holders can also pursue a graduate certificate in any specialty area. The school recently launched an innovative collaboration with the University of Michigan to attract underrepresented populations to their nursing and social work PhD programs. Cal State LA’s undergraduates have three options: traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, and accelerated 15-month BSN (formerly the entry-level MSN program). Since 2008, prelicensure BSN students have enjoyed a strong NCLEX pass rate of 92%. Entry-level MSN students had passed the exam at an impressive 96% rate, including several years with a perfect 100% pass rate.


#63: University of Hawaii at Manoa | Honolulu, HI
UH Manoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene (SONDH) is the only Hawaiian nursing school ranked by U.S News & World Report for its online MSN program. UH Manoa is also Hawaii’s only doctoral and research-intensive university. SONDH offers five BSN pathways including a traditional program for current university students, a high school direct entry option, and three RN-to-BSN programs. Graduate students can pursue an MSN, DNP, or PhD degree, again with multiple pathways including non-nursing bachelor’s, post-BSN, and post-MSN. Prelicensure students consistently pass the NCLEX exam at solid rates: over the past eight years, BSN graduates achieved an 86% pass rate and direct-entry MSN graduates achieved an 84% pass rate.


#64: University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center | Oklahoma City, OK
The University of Oklahoma is home to the state’s largest nursing program. Managed by the Health Sciences Center, the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing spans three campuses in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Lawton. The college offers four BSN options: traditional, accelerated, LPN-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN. Prelicensure students across all three campuses enjoy strong NCLEX pass rates: since 2008, Oklahoma City has posted a 91% pass rate, Tulsa 94%, and Lawton 89%. At the graduate level, OU offers MSN tracks in administration management, clinical nurse specialist, education, and family nurse practitioner, as well as DNP and PhD degrees.


#65: Michigan State University | East Lansing, MI
The College of Nursing at Michigan State University has educated more than 6,000 nurses in its storied history. Over the past decade, MSU is among the top 30 universities nationwide in NIH funding for nursing research. The College of Nursing has received over $7.4 million in grants to enhance its nursing infrastructure. Students benefit from the new three-story, 50,000-square-foot Bott Building for Nursing Education and Research, which includes several seminar classrooms, faculty workstations, a PhD student collaboratory, and a student lounge. The school also supports initiatives for international learning in Africa, China, and England.


#66: Montana State University | Bozeman, MT
The Montana State University College of Nursing is the state’s largest supplier of baccalaureate-educated nurses. It is also the state’s sole provider of graduate nursing education. The college offers BSN, MSN, and DNP degree programs. BSN students can pursue a traditional, accelerated, or LPN-to-BSN pathway depending upon their educational background. More than 200 students graduate the prelicensure BSN curriculum each year. These students have scored a 90% NCLEX pass rate since 2010, well above state and national averages. The MSN program prepares students for the clinical nurse leader role with a focus on rural practice. The DNP curriculum offers two nurse practitioner specialty tracks.


#67: University of Alabama | Tuscaloosa, AL
The University of Alabama is home to the Capstone College of Nursing (CCN), which educates nearly 1,800 students in total. More than 1,240 students are enrolled in CCN’s traditional BSN program. Graduates of this program have performed extremely well on the NCLEX-RN exam, posting a 95% pass rate over the past eight years. Another 170 CCN students take advantage of the school’s unique RN mobility program, which includes RN-to-BSN and RN-to-BSN-to-MSN options. The rest are enrolled in MSN, DNP, and doctorate in nursing education (EdD) programs. CCN’s MSN programs prepare nurses for APRN, CNL, and case management roles.


#68: Western Carolina University | Cullowhee, NC
The School of Nursing at Western Carolina University offers a breadth of nursing pathways. Options include four BSN programs (traditional, accelerated, online RN-to-BSN, and RIBN), an MSN degree, post-MSN certificates, and a DNP program in nurse anesthesia. Graduates of the traditional and accelerated BSN programs have achieved a phenomenal 98% first-time NCLEX pass rate since 2010. The RIBN program provides students with a seamless four-year, associate-to-baccalaureate nursing education. Unlike in a traditional BSN program, RIBN students have the opportunity to begin working as an RN at the start of their fourth year. The MSN program has specialty tracks in family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and nursing leadership, with the final two options offered online.


#69: Georgia State University | Atlanta, GA
Georgia State University is home to the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions. The school offers its nursing students more than 200 clinical practice sites, including trauma / intensive care wards, long-term care facilities, and home care services. Georgia State has traditional, accelerated, and degree completion pathways to the BSN degree. The BSN program’s 120-140 annual prelicensure graduates have posted a strong NCLEX-RN pass rate of 91% over the past decade. Graduate nursing students can pursue four NP specialties (adult health, pediatrics, family, psychiatric-mental health), an adult-gerontology CNS degree, or a focus on nursing leadership in healthcare innovations.


#70: California State University, Long Beach | Long Beach, CA
The CSULB School of Nursing graduates 100-200 new nurses annually through its prelicensure BSN program, which features both traditional and second-degree pathways. These students have enjoyed a stellar 95% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past ten years. CSULB also offers an RN-to-BSN completion program and a broad range of MSN degrees and graduate nursing certificates. MSN students can specialize in one of six nurse practitioner fields, advanced public health nursing, or nursing and health systems executive management. Certificates are also available for six NP roles: adult-gerontology acute care, adult-geriatric, family, pediatric, psychiatric-mental health, and women’s health.


#71: Old Dominion University | Norfolk, VA
The School of Nursing is the largest of five professional schools in ODU’s College of Health Sciences. In addition to BSN, MSN, DNP, and graduate certificate programs, the school offers a unique concurrent enrollment option. This pathway enables qualified students to complete associate in applied science (AAS) requirements, take the NCLEX-RN exam, and then earn the BSN degree with just one or two additional semesters of study. ODU’s annual graduating class of 60-90 BSN students has consistently earned high marks on the NCLEX licensure examination, with 90% passing on the first attempt over the last decade.


#72: University of California, Irvine | Irvine, CA
The Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing offers BSN, MSN, PhD, and DNP degrees. The BSN program accepts freshman applicants and transfers from other schools. Each class is small with ~50 students, and BSN graduates have maintained a healthy 85% NCLEX pass rate since 2010. The Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN) is designed for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. The program’s innovative curriculum features a desirable concentration in Community and Population Health. UC Irvine’s PhD in Nursing Science offers four broad focal areas: health promotion and disease prevention, health disparities and diversity, disease and symptom management, and health services and policy. In 2018, the university launched a DNP curriculum which provides both a post-master’s track and a family nurse practitioner (FNP) track. The FNP concentration is the first and only program of its kind currently offered by a University of California campus.


#73: University of California, Davis | Sacramento, CA
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis offers several different nursing education pathways. Options include a master’s entry program in nursing with PHN certification, a traditional MSN program with leadership and FNP tracks, and a nursing science and healthcare leadership PhD. Graduates of the master’s entry program are qualified to take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. Students in the FNP specialization have the option to enroll in a dual-track pathway which prepares them simultaneously for the professions of family nurse practitioner and physician assistant. These are the only FNP and physician assistant programs where students learn together to practice collaboratively with clinicians in a variety of settings.


#74: Washington State University | Spokane, WA
WSU College of Nursing has educated more than 8,000 nursing professionals since 1968. The school offers programs at five campuses in Spokane, the Tri-Cities, Vancouver, Walla Walla, and Yakima. Undergraduates may pursue a traditional BSN at three sites (Spokane, the Tri-Cities, Yakima) or a flexible RN-to-BSN program at all five. The college graduates approximately 250 prelicensure BSN students each year, with a solid 88% NCLEX pass rate since 2010. In graduate study, WSU offers two MSN tracks (nurse leader, nurse educator), three DNP tracks (family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, population health nurse), and a nursing PhD program. All graduate programs support multiple entry points.


#75: Arizona State University | Tempe, AZ
The ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation is consistently ranked among the top 30 in the nation for its graduate nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report. Graduate study is offered at the master’s and doctoral levels, with specializations that include informatics, nursing education, several NP roles, and healthcare innovation. The college also provides traditional BSN, post-baccalaureate BSN, and online RN-to-BSN pathways. More than 200 prelicensure students graduate each year, and they have maintained a 90% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. In addition, ASU partners with MaricopaNursing to offer the Concurrent Enrollment Program, which allows students to enroll simultaneously in an associate of applied science (AAS) program and ASU’s BSN program.


#76: Georgia College | Milledgeville, GA
Georgia College graduates approximately 100 students from its prelicensure BSN program each year. These students have posted consistently excellent scores on the NCLEX licensure exam, with a cumulative 96% pass rate since 2008. The School of Nursing also offers an RN-to-BSN degree completion program, two MSN majors (FNP and NED), a post-master’s FNP certificate, and a post-master’s DNP that can be completed in just five semesters of fulltime study. The DNP program is offered in an online, executive-style format with minimal campus requirements.


#77: University of North Dakota | Grand Forks, ND
The College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines at the University of North Dakota has a 100-year history of educating nurses. The college offers four different pathways for students seeking an undergraduate degree: traditional on-campus BSN, accelerated BSN, LPN-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN. The school graduates 130-150 students annually across its prelicensure BSN programs, and these individuals routinely pass the NCLEX exam at an 87% or higher rate. Indeed, last year’s graduates scored a 95% NCLEX pass rate. MSN students can pursue specialties ranging from advanced public health nursing to nurse anesthesia. The college also offers both terminal degrees in the field: a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) and a PhD in nursing.


#78: 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.


#79: Oakland University | Rochester Hills, MI
Oakland University’s School of Nursing is the largest state-supported nursing program in Michigan, with more than 1,600 undergraduates and 200 graduate students. Greater than 95% of alumni find employment in the tri-county area, contributing substantially to the region’s economy. The school has approximately 270 clinical partners including some of Detroit’s top hospitals and facilities, and it boasts 360 one-on-one preceptor experiences. Nursing students can apply to a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including a unique MSN in forensic nursing.


#80: University of Rhode Island | Kingston, RI
Nestled in the university’s 1,200-acre campus, URI’s School of Nursing offers students the best of New England tradition and coastal charm. Small classes and a concentration on interdisciplinary partnerships and research service are what draw 850 undergraduates to enroll here each year. Graduates of the flagship BSN program have averaged an 86% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade, with an impressive 91% pass rate in 2017. The school also provides an online BSN for registered nurses, an MSN program with five specializations, a DNP degree with post-BSN and post-MSN entry points, and the state’s only nursing PhD program.


#81: University of Central Florida | Orlando, FL
The UCF College of Nursing is a recognized leader in online education. The school’s online MSN program recently ranked among the top three in Florida and the top 50 in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. UCF offers six distinct MSN tracks: three NP specialties, nursing leadership, healthcare simulation, and nurse education. Several of these tracks are also offered to DNP students. For undergraduates, UCF provides five BSN pathways including a Medical Enlisted Commissioning Program (MECP) for active-duty military students. BSN graduates routinely perform well on the licensure exam, with a phenomenal 96% NCLEX pass rate from 2010-2016.


#82: University of Nevada, Las Vegas | Las Vegas, NV
The UNLV School of Nursing has a unique trimester system which allows students to complete the BSN program in just 16 months. UNLV typically admits 48 students into the program each trimester. Graduates of the BSN program consistently achieve exceptional NCLEX-RN exam pass rates of 93-99%, well above state and national averages for the past ten consecutive years. UNLV also offers MSN and graduate certificate specializations for aspiring family nurse practitioners and nurse educators; a DNP curriculum with post-BSN and post-MSN entry points; and PhD programs in nursing education and interdisciplinary health sciences.


#83: University of Massachusetts Lowell | Lowell, MA
UMass Lowell’s graduate nursing program is consistently ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school also boasts 100+ healthcare partners, 200+ students at clinical sites, and 100+ faculty publications, as well as a first-time NCLEX pass rate of 86% over the past decade. Recently recognized by the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence, UMass Lowell offers a master’s certification in adult-gerontological nursing, as well as fast-track BSN-to-MSN and MSN-to-DNP programs.


#84: Governors State University | University Park, IL
Governors State University’s nursing curriculum incorporates the latest recommendations from the Carnegie Foundation Report and the Institute of Medicine. The Department of Nursing aims to educate nurse leaders who will address the challenges of local, regional, and national healthcare reform. The school has 15 full-time nursing faculty and primarily offers graduate programs, including a DNP and three MSN concentrations (nursing administration, CNS in adult healthcare, FNP). Governors State also conducts a completely online RN-to-BSN completion program for registered nurses.


#85: Binghamton University | Binghamton, NY
Since its establishment in 1969, the Decker School of Nursing (DSON) has earned a reputation for its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing programs in the state of New York. DSON graduates 150-200 BSN students each year that have passed the NCLEX exam at a rate of 82% over the last decade. The school provides its nursing students with intensive clinical experiences and state-of-the-art facilities. Students complete hundreds of clinical rotation hours in acute care and community settings, and they also enjoy access to DSON’s Simulation and Practice Center.


#86: 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.


#87: California State University, San Marcos | San Marcos, CA
CSU San Marcos launched its School of Nursing in the fall of 2006. The university now offers four BSN pathways including traditional, accelerated, LVN-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN. Approximately 150-200 students complete the prelicensure BSN pathways each year. These graduates have enjoyed a stellar 94% NCLEX pass rate since 2009. CSU San Marcos also has five MSN concentrations: clinical nurse leader, clinical nurse specialist, family nurse practitioner, family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and nursing education. In 2008, the school opened a satellite campus in Temecula which offers accelerated BSN, RN-to-BSN, and MSN programs to the expanding communities of southwest Riverside County.


#88: 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.


#89: Stony Brook University | Stony Brook, NY
At Stony Brook University’s School of Nursing, all graduate-level and online classes are recorded and archived, allowing students to access lecture materials at their convenience. Not surprisingly, Stony Brook’s online MSN program consistently ranks highly according to U.S. News & World Report. The school annually sits 100-160 BSN students for the NCLEX exam, and they have passed at a strong 90% rate since 2008. Stony Brook also offers a wide breadth of graduate nursing programs, including nine MSN / advanced certificate tracks and a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


#90: University of Massachusetts Amherst | Amherst, MA
Founded in 1863, the College of Nursing at UMass Amherst was the first in the state to offer a DNP program and among the first to offer a publicly supported PhD program. Today, its online graduate nursing program is ranked among the top 40 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. At the undergrad level, UMass Amherst graduates a class of 80-100 prelicensure BSN students each spring. Since 2011, these aspiring nurses have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at an 88% rate on their first attempt. UMass Amherst’s recently renovated facilities include a nursing simulation lab with five state-of-the-art rooms, a 16-hospital-bed area, and two clinical exam rooms.


#91: University of Wyoming | Laramie, WY
The University of Wyoming’s College of Health Sciences is home to the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing. For the past 15 years, the school has conducted health brigades to Agua Salada, Honduras, in order to build a sustainable healthcare system for its community. UW offers three BSN options: a traditional four-year program, an online RN-to-BSN bridge, and a fast-track Bachelor’s Reach for Accelerated Nursing Degree (BRAND) for non-nursing baccalaureate degree-holders. Since 2012, traditional BSN and BRAND students have posted 86% and 88% NCLEX pass rates, respectively. The graduate division has two MSN tracks (nurse educator and nurse leader), two DNP tracks (FNP and PMHNP), and an interdisciplinary PhD program.


#92: University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee | Milwaukee, WI
Operational since 1965, the UW Milwaukee College of Nursing conducts the largest nursing program in the state. The college boasts over 7,000 alumni and currently enrolls 1,200 undergraduates and 300 graduate students. UW Milwaukee offers excellent nursing facilities, 95 dedicated faculty, and 200+ clinical affiliations. Each year, approximately 200-225 students complete the traditional BSN program. These students pass the NCLEX licensure exam at a solid rate; for example, 90% of students (including repeat test-takers) passed in 2017. UW Milwaukee was the first university to offer an asynchronous online nursing PhD in 2003. Today, most campus-based undergraduate and graduate courses are available online as well.


#93: Radford University | Radford, VA
Radford University School of Nursing has an average enrollment of over 600 students. Approximately 300 are in the lower division, 280 are in the upper division, and more than 50 are in the doctoral program. The school offers a traditional BSN degree at two campus locations (Radford and Roanoke), a 100% online RN-to-BSN program, and DNP concentrations in family nurse practitioner, nurse executive leadership, and psychiatric mental health. BSN graduates perform exceedingly well on the licensure exam: the main Radford campus has posted a 95% NCLEX pass rate since 2013, while Roanoke students have passed the exam at a 94% rate. The university’s DNP program is specifically tailored towards rural care scenarios.


#94: Florida State University | Tallahassee, FL
The FSU College of Nursing launched Florida’s first nationally accredited baccalaureate nursing degree program. Today, the college offers the latest BSN options, including an accelerated second-degree program and a Veterans BSN that started in January 2016. The College of Nursing produces over 80 BSN graduates each year, and these students passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam at a strong 92% rate from 2010 to 2016. FSU graduate students can pursue an MSN, DNP, or graduate certificate in popular specializations like nurse educator, nurse leader, and psychiatric mental health. The vast majority of graduate instruction is delivered online.


#95: Weber State University | Ogden, UT
Weber State’s Annie Taylor Dee School of Nursing offers several nursing pathways including a traditional ADN program, an LPN-to-ADN bridge, an RN-to-BSN completion program, and an MSN degree. Students in both ADN programs take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam at the completion of their studies. The school produces 300-400 ADN graduates annually who have achieved a strong 90% NCLEX-RN pass rate since 2015. Weber State’s MSN program offers executive and educator concentrations, and the school also awards post-master’s certificates in nursing administration and nursing education. The university anticipates launching a DNP program with family nurse practitioner and leadership tracks during 2019.


#96: SUNY Downstate Medical Center | Brooklyn, NY
SUNY Downstate College of Nursing offers two baccalaureate options: a second-degree accelerated BSN and an RN-to-BSN completion program. The BSN class is on the smaller side, graduating 50-75 students annually, and they are exceptionally well-prepared for licensure, with an NCLEX pass rate of 90% since 2008. SUNY Downstate is one of only four colleges in the state to offer an MSN in all four advanced practice roles: clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, and nurse midwife. The college also offers advanced certificates in family nurse practitioner and women’s health primary care nurse practitioner.


#97: Minnesota State University, Mankato | Mankato, MN
The School of Nursing at Minnesota State Mankato is a thriving learning community with a versatile assortment of nursing programs. The school’s prelicensure BSN program prepares students rigorously for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination, for public health certification, and/or for school nurse licensure. The program’s 70-100 annual graduates have passed the NCLEX exam at an 85% rate since 2009. The school also offers a BSN completion program for existing RNs. Minnesota State Mankato’s graduate nursing programs include two MSN tracks (family nurse practitioner and nurse educator) and a DNP program with two entry options (post-BSN and post-MSN).


#98: University of Tennessee, Knoxville | Knoxville, TN
The UT College of Nursing enrolls approximately 750 students across its academic programs. Seventy percent of these students pursue a BSN degree through one of three pathways: a traditional four-year program, an accelerated 12-month option, or an RN-to-BSN completion program. UT’s 100-plus BSN graduates are well-prepared for the NCLEX exam, achieving a 93% pass rate over the past decade. The remaining thirty percent of nursing students pursue an MSN, DNP, or PhD degree. UT’s graduate nursing department offers concentrations for aspiring nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nursing administrators. Students have the opportunity to participate in the school’s International Outreach Program, which includes an immersive service mission to Costa Rica.


#99: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey | Newark, NJ
The Rutgers School of Nursing is New Jersey’s largest institution of nursing education, with more than 1,600 students across campus sites in Newark, New Brunswick, and Blackwood. Undergraduates may select from three BSN pathways (traditional, accelerated second degree, RN-to-BSN) as well as a post-baccalaureate school nurse certificate. The school graduates 200-300 new nurses annually from its prelicensure BSN programs, maintaining a solid 84% NCLEX pass rate over the past three years. At the graduate level, Rutgers offers an MSN with concentrations in informatics and nursing leadership, six distinct post-master’s certificates, a unique HIV care specialization, a DNP with two entry points, and PhD programs in either nursing or urban systems.


#100: San Diego State University | San Diego, CA
The SDSU School of Nursing combines classroom instruction with hands-on experience at several venues. Facilities include a media lab, a health assessment lab, a nursing fundamentals skills labs, and the Sharp Healthcare Human Patient Simulation Center. Undergraduates can pursue a traditional BSN degree or an RN-to-BSN completion program. SDSU graduates 120-200 traditional BSN students each year, with a remarkable NCLEX pass rate of over 95% since 2016. Graduate students can select one of three MSN concentrations: Advanced Practice Nursing of Adults & the Elderly, Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems, or Women’s Health & Midwifery.