Find a Nursing School Near You

Enter your zip code to search our comprehensive database

For our 2019 rankings, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on over 3,000 nursing schools and campuses throughout the United States. We included the following states within our Southeast rankings: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. We evaluated each nursing school in the region 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 licensure examination

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.

Find a school

#1: Duke University | Durham, NC
The National League for Nursing has designated the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) a Center of Excellence on five separate occasions. The school consistently ranks among the highest in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s top MSN and DNP programs. Indeed, DUSON was the first school in North Carolina to offer the doctor of nursing practice degree. Duke also graduates 120-150 students each year from its accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program. These students have passed the NCLEX exam at a stellar 98% first-attempt rate over the past decade.


#2: 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 97% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade; indeed, the pass rate consistently exceeded 95% in every single year. 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.


#3: 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.


#4: Emory University | Atlanta, GA
The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University is home to approximately 600 students enrolled in BSN, ABSN, MSN, PhD, and DNP programs. The university is consistently ranked among the top ten graduate nursing schools by U.S. News & World Report, including a number of highly rated specialty programs. At the undergraduate level, Emory produces approximately 200 BSN graduates annually who have passed the NCLEX-RN examination at a 90% rate since 2008. The nursing school has an impressive 82% employment rate immediately after graduation, and students have landed positions at more than 500 diverse clinical sites nationwide.


#5: Vanderbilt University | Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing focuses solely on graduate nursing study. The university offers traditional and direct-entry MSN programs, eleven distinct post-master’s certificates for aspiring advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), and two doctoral options (DNP and PhD). The direct-entry MSN program graduates approximately 150 new nurses annually who have passed the NCLEX exam at a 93% first-try rate over the past decade. Vanderbilt’s APRN specialties run the gamut from family nurse practitioner to nurse-midwifery to nursing informatics. The MSN program also partners with Vanderbilt Divinity School to offer two innovative dual degrees.


#6: 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.


#7: University of Miami | Coral Gables, FL
The University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies (SONHS) will soon host one of the nation’s first education-based simulation hospitals. The school historically ranks in the top 25 nationwide in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding among nursing schools. A member of the respected UHealth family, SONHS offers BSN, ABSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD degrees in many specializations. Post-master’s certificates are also on the menu. SONHS graduates 160-200 students annually from its flagship prelicensure BSN program. During the 2010-16 time period, more than 94% of these students passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam on their first try.


#8: Samford University | Birmingham, AL
The Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing at Samford University is home to more than 700 nursing students. The undergraduate BSN program offers four education pathways, including a traditional four-year degree, standard and accelerated versions of the second-degree program, and a unique Veterans’ BSN. In total, Samford graduates over 100 newly minted RNs annually. These BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a 94% first-try rate over the past eight years, including an incredible 99% pass rate for the class of 2015. Samford’s graduate nursing curriculum includes specialty programs for family nursing practice, health systems and administration, nursing anesthesia, and nurse education.


#9: 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 a prelicensure BSN class of approximately 90 students each spring. These candidates have averaged an 89% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination over the past decade. UVA’s direct-entry clinical nurse leader students have performed even better on the licensure exam, with a 94% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Several recent CNL cohorts have scored a perfect 100% pass rate.


#10: 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.


#11: 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.


#12: 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 available. Undergraduates have posted a 92% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past decade, including a stellar 97% pass rate in 2018. 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).


#13: George Mason University | Fairfax, VA
George Mason’s College of Health and Human Services houses the forty-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. Over the past decade, prelicensure BSN students have averaged an 86% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination. GMU also offers MSN concentrations for aspiring nurse educators, nurse practitioners, and nursing administrators; an RN-to-MSN bridge program; post-master’s certificates for aspiring nurse educators and family psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners; and both types of doctoral nursing degrees (DNP and PhD).


#14: 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.


#15: 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.


#16: 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 10% of the statewide total. These students have passed the NCLEX exam at a rate of 92% or higher in each of the past eight years, including a stellar 99.5% pass rate in 2018.


#17: 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.


#18: 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.


#19: 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 160-200 annual BSN graduates have enjoyed an astonishing 97% NCLEX pass rate, including four 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.


#20: 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.


#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: Marymount University | Arlington, VA
The Malek School of Health Professions houses the Marymount University Department of Nursing. Each year, approximately 50 students graduate from the school’s traditional BSN program, while another 80-100 students complete the accelerated BSN program. Across these two pathways, graduates have passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam at a strong 91% rate over the past decade. Marymount University also offers a hybrid online RN-to-BSN program, an MSN degree with a family nurse practitioner focus, and an online DNP program that requires just one on-campus component per semester. Clinical experiences and internships take place at some of Virginia’s leading healthcare organizations.


#23: Nova Southeastern University | Fort Lauderdale, FL
Nova Southeastern University’s College of Nursing enrolls more than 1,300 students from coast to coast. Nursing programs are offered at the university’s primary campus in Fort Lauderdale, through satellite campuses in Miami and Fort Myers, and online. The prelicensure BSN program graduates 150-250 new nurses each year, who have passed the NCLEX exam at rates as high as 91% in recent years. NSU also offers RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN bridge programs through its undergraduate nursing department. Graduate nursing students can pursue three nonclinical MSN tracks, two clinical MSN tracks for aspiring nurse practitioners, an online DNP, or a PhD focused on nursing education.


#24: 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.


#25: Lincoln Memorial University | Harrogate, TN
LMU’s Caylor School of Nursing offers programs across seven physical sites and a robust online platform. The school’s main campus in Harrogate offers ASN, BSN, and MSN programs. Three satellite locations offer ASN programs only: Alcoa, TN; Corbin, KY; and Physicians Regional Medical Center in Knoxville, TN. The Cedar Bluff site in Knoxville offers LMU’s BSN and MSN programs, while the Kingsport Center for Higher Education offers just the MSN program. A partnership with Florida Hospital provides accelerated ASN and BSN programs in Tampa, while the online platform delivers the school’s RN-to-BSN and DNP programs. LMU students from all campuses perform well on their licensure exams. For example, Tennessee graduates from the ASN and BSN programs have scored a 94% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade.


#26: Union University | Jackson, TN
The Union University School of Nursing offers well more than 15 different nursing programs. Undergraduates can pursue five pathways to a BSN degree: traditional, accelerated, LPN-to-BSN, RN-to-BSN, and a unique First Step to BSN program which helps adult students with few college credits earn their degree. The school graduates 130-170 prelicensure BSN students annually. These graduates have passed the NCLEX exam at a 93% rate over the past decade, well above the state and national averages. Union’s graduate nursing students can pursue one of six MSN tracks, six DNP tracks, or seven graduate certificates in nursing.


#27: Bellarmine University | Louisville, KY
The Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing and Clinical Sciences offers both a traditional four-year BSN and an accelerated second degree pathway. The school graduates 130-150 BSN students each year, who have scored an impressive 94% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam 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.


#28: 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 prelicensure BSN graduates are well-prepared for the NCLEX exam, with a 94% first-time pass rate over the past decade and an exceptional 98% first-time pass rate in 2018. 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.


#29: Mercer University | Atlanta, GA
Georgia Baptist College of Nursing is part of Mercer University. The school consists of two campuses: an Atlanta campus where the main nursing college is located, and a Macon campus where students take pre-nursing coursework. Georgia Baptist offers two BSN pathways (traditional, RN-to-BSN), two MSN tracks (adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner), and two doctoral degrees with a hybrid online format (DNP, PhD). The college is the second-largest Baptist-affiliated institution in the world, with access to more than 30 clinical sites for valuable hands-on experience. Georgia Baptist graduates 120-140 prelicensure BSN students each year, who have achieved a superior 94% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past decade.


#30: 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.


#31: Eastern Mennonite University | Harrisonburg, VA
Eastern Mennonite University offers both undergraduate and fully online graduate programs in nursing. The undergraduate BSN program offers six different pathways including a traditional four-year curriculum, an entry option for transfer students, two second degree pathways (traditional, accelerated), and two bridge programs (LPN-to-BSN, RN-to-BSN). The university graduates approximately forty prelicensure BSN students each year, with a solid 88% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. At the graduate level, EMU offers an MSN degree with two concentrations (leadership and management, leadership and school nursing), a school nurse certification program, an MSN/MBA dual degree, and a DNP program that prepares nursing professionals to lead within dynamic healthcare systems.


#32: 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.


#33: University of South Florida | Tampa, FL
The USF Health College of Nursing performs more than 200,000 clinical hours in the community each year with more than 900 clinical partners. The school has so many nursing degrees, you’ll lose count. Undergraduate options include the Suncoast nursing ABSN pathway, an accelerated second degree BSN, the veterans-to-BSN (VCARE) pathway, an online RN-to-BSN program, and the concurrent RN-to-BSN program between USF and Hillsborough Community College. Across all of its prelicensure BSN programs, USF produces approximately 200 new nurses each year, who have achieved an outstanding 92% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam since 2010. Graduate nursing pathways include a traditional MSN, RN-to-MSN, accelerated ASN-to-MSN, DNP, and PhD for nurse scientists.


#34: 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 eleven 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.


#35: Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia | Madison, TN
Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia is the only independent and fully accredited anesthesia institution in the nation. The school recently phased out its master of science degree with a focus in anesthesia, enrolling all new students in the doctor of nurse anesthesia practice (DNAP) terminal degree program. MTSA offers two DNAP tracks: a three-year precertification program for baccalaureate-prepared nurses, and a two-year online completion program for existing certified registered nurse anesthetists. Since the school’s founding, greater than 99.75% of graduates have passed the National Certification Examination administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists. The school has achieved a 90% first-time pass rate over the past five years, which far exceeds the Council on Accreditation’s preferred pass rate of 81% during that time period.


#36: 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.


#37: 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.


#38: Jefferson College of Health Sciences | Roanoke, VA
Jefferson College of Health Sciences was the oldest hospital-based college in Virginia and an academic pillar of Carilion Clinic. In 2019, Radford University incorporated the college into its own administration to create the new Radford University Carilion. Undergraduate students can select from two prelicensure programs (traditional and accelerated) and an online RN-to-BSN program. The traditional program follows a four-year curriculum, while the accelerated program is a 16-month track for students who hold a baccalaureate degree in a non-nursing discipline. Traditional BSN students have achieved a solid 87% NCLEX pass rate since the program’s launch, while accelerated BSN students have posted an excellent 93% NCLEX pass rate. Graduate nursing students can pursue an MSN degree with family nurse practitioner and nursing administration tracks.


#39: 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 in two 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 posted a perfect 100% NCLEX pass rate in 2018, while Roanoke students passed the exam at a stellar 96% rate. The university’s DNP program is specifically tailored towards rural care scenarios.


#40: Southern Adventist University | Collegedale, TN
Southern Adventist University’s School of Nursing is housed in Florida Hospital Hall, a state-of-the-art center for nursing education. The school offers several prelicensure pathways including a traditional ASN degree, an LPN-to-RN bridge program, and a recently launched four-year BSN degree. Over the past decade, graduates of the associate’s degree program have maintained an 88% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam. Registered nurses seeking further education can pursue an RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN completion program. The graduate nursing department leads MSN and DNP programs with numerous emphasis areas. Aspiring nurse practitioners can pursue primary care roles in adult-gerontology, family care, or psychiatric-mental health, as well as an acute care role in adult-gerontology.


#41: AdventHealth University | Orlando, FL
AdventHealth University (AHU) works closely with AdventHealth Orlando, one of Central Florida’s largest hospitals, to give students the clinical experience and world-class facilities that only a major medical center can provide. In fact, AdventHealth Orlando is the largest of more than 590 healthcare facilities operated worldwide by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. AHU’s nursing programs include a generic BSN with a blended learning format, an online RN-to-BSN, MSN degrees in nursing education and administration / leadership, and a doctor of nurse anesthesia practice. Since the inception of the generic BSN program, graduates have scored an 86% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX national licensure examination.


#42: Tennessee Tech University | Cookeville, TN
Tennessee Tech University is home to the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing. Undergraduate offerings include a traditional four-year BSN, an accelerated second bachelor’s degree, and an RN-to-BSN degree completion pathway. TTU graduates approximately 100 prelicensure BSN students annually, and they have passed the NCLEX exam at a stellar rate of 95% or better for eight consecutive years. In fact, the 2018 graduating BSN class achieved a 99% NCLEX pass rate. TTU offers several MSN specializations online including family nurse practitioner, nursing administration, and nursing education. The school’s DNP program is conducted in consortium with East Tennessee State University. The two institutions jointly deliver concentrations in executive leadership and five nurse practitioner fields.


#43: Frontier Nursing University | Hyden, KY
Frontier Nursing University is home to the nation’s first family nurse practitioner (FNP) program, as well as the largest and oldest continually operating nurse-midwifery program. In fact, FNU’s nurse-midwifery curriculum is consistently ranked among the top 25 in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The university also offers specialization as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner or a women’s healthcare nurse practitioner. FNU’s MSN program offers an ADN bridge entry option, and its innovative DNP program enables seamless transition from an MSN or post-graduate certificate program. The DNP curriculum features online coursework conducted in small cohorts, typically just 20-25 students apiece.


#44: Florida Gulf Coast University | Fort Myers, FL
Florida Gulf Coast University’s School of Nursing sits within the Elaine Nicpon Marieb College of Health & Human Services. FGCU’s nursing students can earn degrees ranging from a BSN to a DNP. The School of Nursing graduates 50-80 BSN students annually, and they have posted an exceptional NCLEX-RN pass rate of 94% since 2010. The MSN degree program offers specializations in nurse anesthesia, nurse educator, and primary healthcare nurse practitioner. FGCU also offers post-BSN and post-MSN pathways to a DNP degree. The MSN-to-DNP program can be completed in just five semesters of full-time study or eight semesters of part-time study.


#45: Augusta University | Augusta, GA
Augusta University’s College of Nursing takes full advantage of the university’s Medical College of Georgia and the 350-plus clinical training sites of its teaching hospitals. This provides nursing students the opportunity to gain experience in the full spectrum of medicine, from tertiary/quaternary care hospitals to small-town solo practices. The College of Nursing offers three BSN pathways (traditional, accelerated, RN-to-BSN), two MSN-CNL pathways (direct-entry, BSN-prepared), a breadth of DNP specializations (adult gerontology, anesthesia, executive, family, pediatric, psychiatric mental health), and a nursing PhD program. Graduates of all programs enjoy some of the nation’s highest exam pass rates. For example, BSN graduates have achieved an 88% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, while direct-entry MSN graduates have achieved a 90% NCLEX pass rate during that timeframe.


#46: 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.


#47: University of North Florida | Jacksonville, FL
In July 2005, UNF selected the College of Health’s School of Nursing as its first flagship program. The school’s RN-to-BSN offering has earned recognition on U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best online bachelor’s programs. UNF also offers on-campus RN-to-BSN, traditional BSN, and ABSN pathways for its undergraduate students. The school graduates over 100 prelicensure BSN students each year, who have posted a strong NCLEX exam pass rate of over 94% several times in the past few years. Graduate nursing students can pursue three APRN roles through the DNP program: nurse anesthetist, family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.


#48: Old Dominion University | Virginia Beach, 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 of 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 prelicensure BSN graduates have consistently earned high marks on the NCLEX-RN exam, with 90% passing on the first attempt over the last decade.


#49: Mississippi University for Women | Columbus, MS
The College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Mississippi University for Women (“The W”) offers ASN, BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. Students and graduates of The W’s nursing programs have received numerous local, state, and national awards. Recent honors include the National Spirit of Nursing Award, the National Pfizer Advanced Nurse Practitioner Award for exceptional contributions to healthcare, and the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing Educator Award. Over the past decade, the university’s prelicensure students have sustained near-perfect pass rates on the NCLEX exam. ASN graduates passed the test at a 98% rate, while BSN graduates did so at a 99% rate.


#50: Shenandoah University | Winchester, VA
Shenandoah University’s Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing recently launched a unique volunteer opportunity called Project FIRST (Free Individual Risk Factor Screening & Treatment). The project serves uninsured and underserved members of several local counties, targeting individuals at risk of developing or living with chronic diseases. The university offers a breadth of nursing pathways including a traditional BSN, an accelerated BSN, an RN-to-BSN completion program, a Veteran-to-BSN bridge program, four MSN specializations, the corresponding post-graduate certificates, and a DNP curriculum with both BSN and MSN entry points. Across its two campuses in Winchester and Ashburn, Shenandoah University produces 100-150 prelicensure BSN graduates annually. For seven consecutive years, these students have achieved an NCLEX-RN first-time pass rate between 84% and 90%.


#51: University of Tennessee Health Science Center | Memphis, TN
The UTHSC College of Nursing offers students a breadth of options at both the baccalaureate and doctoral levels. Undergraduates can pursue either a 12-month accelerated second degree or an RN-to-BSN completion pathway. Over the past four years, the accelerated BSN program has scored a 99% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination. Doctoral candidates have several options. UTHSC’s DNP program has nurse practitioner concentrations in adult-gerontology acute care, family nursing, neonatal nursing, pediatric acute care, pediatric primary care, and psychiatric-mental health nursing. PhD and dual DNP/PhD programs are also available.


#52: Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University | Baton Rouge, LA
The School of Nursing at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (FranU) offers two BSN tracks: a traditional prelicensure program and a postlicensure RN-to-BSN pathway conducted 100% online. Prelicensure BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at an 86% first-time pass rate since the program’s inception, including an exceptional 98.6% pass rate over the past two years. Clinical sites include acute care hospitals, clinics, community care centers, and schools. FranU also has skills laboratories that employ high-fidelity manikins in a realistic setting designed to mirror the actual clinical arena. The university’s graduate nursing curriculum includes an MSN for aspiring family nurse practitioners and a DNP in nurse anesthesia. The MSN program’s inaugural graduating class earned a perfect 100% pass rate on the FNP certification examination.


#53: Florida International University | Miami, FL
The Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Florida International University offers a variety of degree pathways. The undergraduate curriculum has five tracks: a generic BSN, an accelerated BSN, an online RN-to-BSN, a medic-to-nurse BSN for veterans, and an accelerated combined BSN/MSN for foreign-educated physicians. Over the past decade, FIU has graduated 150-225 prelicensure BSN graduates annually, and these students have achieved an impressive 90% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam. At the graduate level, FIU offers a BSN-to-DNP program with tracks in AGNP, PMHNP, CRNA, child NP, FNP, and nurse administration. Students seeking an MSN degree may focus on nurse anesthesia or add a certificate in any NP track.


#54: University of Louisville | Louisville, KY
The UofL School of Nursing has two campus locations: Louisville and Owensboro. Each year, 140-180 prelicensure BSN students graduate from the Louisville campus, sustaining an excellent 93% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Owensboro graduates a smaller class of 30 BSN students with a 90% NCLEX pass rate since the program’s start, including two straight years at 100%. UofL also offers a master’s entry into professional nursing (MEPN) pathway for candidates with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. Postlicensure candidates can pursue an RN-to-BSN completion program, post-MSN certificates in four different specialties, and either type of doctoral nursing program (DNP and PhD).


#55: Florida Atlantic University | Boca Raton, FL
FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing educates 1,600 students across its three campuses in Boca Raton, Davie, and Harbor Branch. The college offers four undergraduate pathways: traditional BSN, freshmen direct admission, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN. Its graduating prelicensure class of 75-85 BSN students has earned an average 90% pass rate on the NCLEX exam from 2010-2016. At the graduate level, FAU offers both DNP and PhD programs, plus a rich breadth of MSN specializations including administration, holistic nursing, education, clinical nurse leader, and two nurse practitioner roles. Indeed, FAU has the largest graduate nursing enrollment of any university in Florida.


#56: University of Arkansas | Fayetteville, AR
The Eleanor Mann School of Nursing at the University of Arkansas offers both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. Part of the nationally ranked College of Education and Health Professions (COEHP), the school has a traditional prelicensure BSN, an RN-to-BSN pathway for existing nurses, an MSN with a nurse educator specialization, and a DNP program. The DNP program has two levels of entry: post-BSN and post-MSN. The school conducts all of its postlicensure programs online to make them more accessible for working RNs, requiring only minimal campus visits. During the past decade, the school’s BSN graduates exceeded a 90% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN national licensure examination.


#57: Gardner-Webb University | Boiling Springs, NC
The Hunt School of Nursing at Gardner-Webb University is part of the College of Health Sciences. The school offers all levels of nursing education including an associate’s degree, three pathways to a bachelor’s degree (traditional, accelerated second degree, RN-to-BSN), a master’s degree with several specialty tracks (education, administration, family nurse practitioner), and a doctor of nursing practice. In addition, Hunt SON offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in nursing education and post-master’s certificates in all three MSN specialty areas. Undergraduates consistently perform well on their licensure exams. Since 2010, ADN graduates have averaged a 91% pass rate on the NCLEX exam, while their counterparts in the BSN program have scored an exceptional 96% pass rate since the program’s launch.


#58: Kennesaw State University | Kennesaw, GA
Kennesaw State University is home to the WellStar School of Nursing, the largest nursing school in northern Georgia. WellStar School of Nursing has produced thousands of graduates who are currently employed in a breadth of healthcare settings including Atlanta’s world-class medical facilities, the United States military, and medically underserved regions of the Southeast. Nursing programs are offered at the baccalaureate and master’s degree levels. The BSN has both traditional and accelerated second degree options. BSN graduates have achieved a stellar 95% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade, including a perfect (170 out of 170) pass rate in 2018. The MSN program offers tracks in family nurse practitioner, nursing administration, and nursing education.


#59: University of Louisiana at Lafayette | Lafayette, LA
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) serves more than 19,000 students, making it one of Louisiana’s largest universities. The Department of Nursing is the anchor of the university’s College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions. UL Lafayette provides nursing education at all three levels of professional preparation: baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral. Undergraduates may pursue a traditional prelicensure BSN or an online RN-to-BSN pathway. The traditional BSN program has a stellar track record on the NCLEX licensure examination, with a 97% first-time pass rate over the past decade. Master’s degree students may pursue a concentration in either family nurse practitioner or nursing education. UL Lafayette is also the only university in Louisiana to offer NPs a graduate certificate in cardiovascular nursing. Finally, doctoral candidates can enroll in either a post-baccalaureate curriculum with an FNP focus or a post-master’s pathway.


#60: University of Alabama in Huntsville | Huntsville, AL
The College of Nursing at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) offers a traditional prelicensure BSN, an RN-to-BSN pathway for existing nurses, and an MSN degree. Master’s specializations include family nurse practitioner (FNP), nursing administration, and adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner. UAH also has a graduate certificate in nursing education, a post-master’s FNP certificate, and a DNP program available in on-campus, online, and hybrid delivery formats. Since 2009, prelicensure BSN graduates have achieved an 85% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.


#61: University of Mississippi Medical Center | Jackson, MS
The UMMC School of Nursing is the state’s flagship nursing school. Located on the state’s only academic health science campus, UMMC offers four BSN pathways: traditional, early entry, accelerated, and RN-to-BSN. The school graduates approximately 300 students annually across these BSN programs. Roughly half take the NCLEX licensure exam, with a phenomenal ten-year pass rate of 97%. The graduate nursing department offers eight master’s tracks and two doctoral options (DNP and PhD), all with multiple entry options. In addition to the primary Jackson campus, UMMC has an Oxford campus that offers the ABSN and nearly all graduate programs.


#62: Barry University | Miami Shores, FL
The College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Barry University features nationally recognized undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in a variety of healthcare specialties. Undergraduate options for aspiring nurses include a two-year pre-nursing program, a traditional BSN, an ABSN, and an online RN-to-BSN. Since 2010, Barry University has graduated 100-150 prelicensure BSN students annually, with a solid NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of 81%. Graduate options include MSN degrees with specializations in nurse executive leadership, nurse educator, and nurse practitioner; a post-baccalaureate DNP, where students earn both the MSN and DNP within four years; and a new DNP in anesthesiology. Post-master’s certificates in several of the MSN specializations are also available.


#63: Sentara College of Health Sciences | Chesapeake, VA
Sentara College of Health Sciences offers a master’s entry to nursing practice (MENP) pathway, one of only two such programs in the state of Virginia that allow students with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree to enter nursing practice at the master’s degree level. The college also offers two pathways to the BSN degree: a traditional prelicensure program and an RN-to-BSN degree completion program. Since its launch in 2009, the traditional BSN has an excellent track record of student success. Graduates have scored a stellar 94% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam, including a perfect 100% pass rate in 2018. The 30-credit-hour RN-to-BSN program opened in 2010 and has a current enrollment of around 300 students.


#64: Palm Beach Atlantic University | West Palm Beach, FL
The School of Nursing at Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) offers a traditional four-year BSN, an online RN-to-BSN, an MSN in health systems leadership, and a multifaceted DNP. PBA’s traditional BSN program graduates 40-60 students annually, with an outstanding 92% NCLEX exam pass rate since 2010. The DNP program has entry points for both BSN and MSN degree-holders. Candidates in the BSN-to-DNP pathway can select a concentration in either executive leadership (71 graduate credits) or family nurse practitioner (74 graduate credits). The post-master’s option requires 38 to 44 graduate credits. Programs are offered in a hybrid combination of online delivery and monthly in-person classes at PBA’s West Palm Beach campus.


#65: 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.


#66: Bob Jones University | Greenville, SC
Over the past decade, Bob Jones University’s School of Nursing has enjoyed a cumulative NCLEX-RN pass rate above 91%. The school, which produces approximately 40 BSN graduates annually, ensures success on the exam by offering a full-year NCLEX review program, including a live review course at the end of senior year. The nursing curriculum at Bob Jones University includes six semesters of clinical experience rather than the standard four. Throughout the BSN program, students have the opportunity to work at local healthcare employers like Greenville Health System, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System.


#67: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga | Chattanooga, TN
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offers several pathways through its School of Nursing. Undergraduates can pursue a traditional on-campus BSN or the RN-to-BSN gateway program. Traditional BSN students have a phenomenal track record of success on the NCLEX licensure examination, including a 95% first-time pass rate over the past decade and a 99% first-time pass rate in 2018. The gateway program offers a 16-month BSN completion curriculum in online cohorts so that registered nurses can balance their studies with their work and family responsibilities. Graduate students can pursue several MSN concentrations including adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and nurse anesthesia. The School of Nursing also offers a DNP program with both a post-MSN focus on advanced nursing practice and a post-BSN focus on nursing administration systems.


#68: University of West Georgia | Carrollton, GA
Tanner Health System School of Nursing (THSSON) at the University of West Georgia offers a prelicensure BSN program, an RN-to-BSN pathway, an MSN degree, and a doctorate (EdD) in nursing education. The MSN has role options in education and health systems leadership; post-master’s certification is also available in both areas. The THSSON doctorate degree, master’s program, and RN-to-BSN pathway can each be completed 100% online. By contrast, the four-year BSN program is campus-based and graduates approximately 100 newly minted nurses each spring. Over the past decade, these students have achieved a solid 90% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.


#69: Francis Marion University | Florence, SC
Francis Marion University’s nursing program was recognized as an NLN Center of Excellence in 2016 for promoting the pedagogical expertise of faculty. The school offers a traditional prelicensure BSN program as well as two RN-to-BSN pathways (one generic, one for veterans). The traditional BSN program graduates 50-75 students annually who have scored a solid 88% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The RN-to-BSN for Veterans is an innovative degree program that recognizes military training and experience with course credits – a first in nursing education. Many veterans will earn their BSN degree in just 11 months of full-time study. For BSN-educated nurses, Francis Marion offers an MSN degree with tracks in family nurse practitioner (hybrid format) and nurse educator (fully online). The university also recently launched a DNP program, a practice-oriented terminal degree that includes both MSN and BSN entry points.


#70: William Carey University | Hattiesburg, MS
William Carey University’s School of Nursing offers three pathways to the BSN degree: a prelicensure program, an LPN advanced placement option, and an RN-to-BSN completion program. The prelicensure and LPN advanced placement pathways are on-campus programs that may be completed in eighteen months at an accelerated pace. Graduates have sustained an excellent 95% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Courses for the RN-to-BSN program are offered online, and the degree may be completed in just 12 months. At the graduate level, Carey offers an MSN degree with a clinical nurse educator focus, an MSN/MBA dual degree program, and a PhD program in nursing education and administration with a unique DNP-to-PhD pathway.


#71: Loyola University New Orleans | New Orleans, LA
The School of Nursing at Loyola University New Orleans is home to more than 650 students. Loyola offers its BSN, MSN, and DNP degree programs entirely online. The BSN offering, launched in 2010, is an RN completion program that requires just 121 credit hours to earn a baccalaureate degree. Loyola’s MSN program focuses on healthcare systems management; it includes a Bridge to Leadership Education for Nurses at a Distance (BLEND) option for RNs with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees. The DNP curriculum has nurse practitioner and executive nurse leader tracks, with entry points for both BSN-educated and MSN-educated nurses.


#72: Auburn University | Auburn, AL
Auburn University School of Nursing (AUSON) is one of the nation’s top providers of care to communities around the world that lack adequate healthcare. Nursing students in all programs have the opportunity to travel to places such as Ecuador, Ghana, Malawi, and Spain to gain hands-on experience and deliver life-saving medical services to hundreds of residents. The school offers a breadth of nursing programs including a traditional BSN, an RN-to-BSN pathway, an MSN degree with three tracks, post-master’s certificates in family nurse practitioner and nurse educator, and a DNP program that launched in the summer of 2018. Over the past eight years, BSN graduates have achieved an excellent NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of 93%, including a perfect 100% pass rate in the spring of 2018.


#73: University of South Alabama | Mobile, AL
The College of Nursing at University of South Alabama offers numerous BSN and MSN pathways. Options include traditional BSN and MSN programs, early acceptance for high school seniors and college freshmen, an accelerated BSN/MSN program for baccalaureate-educated non-nurses, and RN completion programs (e.g., RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN, or RN-to-BSN/MSN). South Alabama’s graduating BSN class is large (250-300 students annually) and well-prepared for the NCLEX exam, with an 88% pass rate over the past eight years. The MSN program offers specialties that run the gamut from adult-gerontology acute care to family practice to neonatal nursing, with in-demand subspecialties like cardiovascular care, oncology, and palliative care.


#74: University of Tampa | Tampa, FL
The College of Natural and Health Sciences (CNHS) at the University of Tampa offers two nursing programs: a traditional four-year BSN for students without prior nursing education, and an MSN with two nurse practitioner concentrations (family and adult-gerontology). The BSN program has achieved a near-perfect 99% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam since 2010, graduating 40-50 students each year. The MSN program emphasizes the importance of holistic assessment, cultural congruency, and consumer inclusion in healthcare. The CNHS department of nursing maintains formal affiliations with more than 120 Tampa Bay-area healthcare facilities, providing students with a breadth of options for clinical exposure.


#75: Brenau University | Gainesville, GA
Established in 1878, the Gainesville campus of Brenau University serves 1,800 students and comprises four academic colleges. The College of Health Sciences is home to the Mary Inez Grindle School of Nursing, which has several CCNE-accredited programs. Aspiring nurses can pursue a pre-nursing BS in health science, a traditional BSN, or an accelerated BSN. Brenau graduates approximately 75 BSN students each year, and they have maintained an 81% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. At the graduate level, both the MSN program (family nurse practitioner, nursing leadership and management) and the DNP program (advanced practice nursing, leadership and management) provide two specializations. Brenau also offers a graduate certificate for aspiring adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners.


#76: Jacksonville University | Jacksonville, FL
Keigwin School of Nursing at Jacksonville University has so many nursing pathways, you’ll lose count. BSN options include traditional, second degree, veteran’s, and RN-to-BSN programs. The school graduates 70-100 prelicensure BSN students annually, and these individuals have achieved an outstanding 92% pass rate on the NCLEX exam since 2010. The MSN program offers specializations in clinical nurse educator, healthcare systems leadership, informatics, and several nurse practitioner fields. Jacksonville University’s DNP program offers both BSN and MSN entry points. The school also provides post-graduate certificate programs in many of the MSN specializations that can be completed as standalone certificates or embedded within the DNP program.


#77: Harding University | Searcy, AR
Harding’s Carr College of Nursing (HCCN) was established to develop nurses as Christian servants. The program features close teacher-student relationships, a variety of clinical experiences in wellness and health promotion, several admission tracks to meet different learner needs, and a Health Missions Program with local and international experiences. The undergraduate program has two distinct pathways: a traditional BSN and an accelerated second degree BSN. Over the past decade, HCCN’s BSN graduates have posted a 91% cumulative pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam, including several recent years with a perfect 100% pass rate. The school’s online MSN program has a Family Nurse Practitioner track that educates students to become advanced practice registered nurses.


#78: West Virginia University | Morgantown, WV
West Virginia University’s School of Nursing offers a breadth of programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduates can pursue several BSN pathways including traditional prelicensure, accelerated second degree, and online RN-to-BSN. Approximately 100 traditional prelicensure students and 30 accelerated second degree students graduate from the BSN program each year. These BSN students have posted an impressive 97% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past five years. Graduate students can pursue an MSN degree with several specialization options, a post-master’s DNP, or a blended-online nursing PhD. The university also offers post-master’s certificates in several nurse practitioner fields.


#79: Baptist College of Health Sciences | Memphis, TN
Baptist College of Health Sciences prepares students for careers of service and leadership by providing a comprehensive health sciences education in an environment of Christian principles. The college partners with Baptist Memorial Health Care to extend the learning environment far beyond the classroom, with clinical experiences in a broad range of common healthcare settings. Nursing students can pursue a traditional prelicensure BSN, an RN-to-BSN completion pathway, or a post-baccalaureate DNP designed for aspiring adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioners. The DNP program enrolled its first cohort in January 2018. The traditional BSN program graduates approximately 150 students annually, with an impressive 90% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade.


#80: Georgia Southern University | Statesboro, GA
Georgia Southern University’s School of Nursing offers two prelicensure BSN programs (traditional, LPN-to-BSN) plus an RN-to-BSN degree completion program. The school’s prelicensure students have achieved an 88% pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam since 2010. Graduate students can pursue the BSN-to-DNP program with MSN opt-out or the post-master’s DNP program. Georgia Southern also offers post-MSN certificates for family nurse practitioners and psychiatric / mental health nurse practitioners. All nursing students can participate in a two-week study-abroad summer program titled Nursing & Cultural Immersion: Costa Rica.


#81: Wake Forest School of Medicine | Winston Salem, NC
Wake Forest School of Medicine has two graduate programs for aspiring APRNs: Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The nurse anesthesia program was established in 1942 as one of the professional schools of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and the Bowman Gray School of Medicine. Since then, Wake Forest Baptist Health has served as the program’s sponsor and the major facility for clinical education of WFSM students. The DNP program is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice, offering an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. Coursework for the program is offered 100% online.


#82: Liberty University | Lynchburg, VA
The Liberty University School of Nursing offers degree programs at all levels. Undergraduate options include a residential BSN for individuals with no nursing experience and two online pathways for working nurses (RN-to-BSN, RN-to-BSN-to-MSN). Approximately 150 students graduate annually from the residential BSN program, and they have achieved an excellent 91% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Graduate students can pursue three MSN specializations (nursing administration, nurse educator, nursing informatics), two dual degree options (MBA, MSHA), and two nurse practitioner roles in the DNP program (family, psychiatric-mental health). Liberty University also leads a summer nurse camp for high school students where attendees learn basic nursing skills, obtain CPR certification, and participate in team-building activities.


#83: Anderson University | Anderson, SC
The School of Nursing at Anderson University offers a flexible breadth of options across its BSN, MSN, and DNP degree programs. At the undergraduate level, the traditional BSN is available for first-time college students, while the accelerated BSN is designed for students with college credit or a degree in a non-nursing field. These prelicensure tracks have collectively scored a 91% NCLEX pass rate since their recent launch, including a phenomenal 98% pass rate in each of the past two years. At the graduate level, AU offers MSN concentrations in executive leadership, family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. The DNP program also offers specializations in three of these areas (leadership, FNP, and PMHNP) plus advanced practice.


#84: Southeastern Louisiana University | Hammond, LA
Southeastern Louisiana University began as a grassroots movement by the people of Hammond in the 1920s. Over the past century, the school has grown from forty students and five faculty members into the state’s third-largest public university, with 15,000 students and more than 150 programs of study. Among these programs are multiple education pathways for aspiring nurses. At the baccalaureate level, Southeastern offers traditional, accelerated second degree, LPN bridge, and RN degree completion pathways. The School of Nursing graduates 130-160 prelicensure students each year; these graduates have achieved an excellent 92% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. At the graduate level, MSN students can access a curriculum developed in consortium with McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Doctoral candidates can pursue either a post-baccalaureate family nurse practitioner specialization or a post-master’s degree designed for APRNs and nurse executives.


#85: Spalding University | Louisville, KY
Founded in 1814 as Nazareth Academy, Spalding University is one of the oldest educational institutions west of the Alleghenies. The School of Nursing has prepared nearly 2,000 students to serve in hospitals, special care facilities, schools, community agencies, and the military. Graduates have also excelled in healthcare systems leadership positions throughout the state of Kentucky. Spalding offers several baccalaureate nursing pathways (traditional, second degree accelerated, RN-to-BSN) and two graduate nursing degrees (MSN and DNP). Many programs are flexible and offered in the daytime, evening, and/or online. Approximately 50-80 annual graduates of the BSN program have earned an 84% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade.


#86: King University | Bristol, TN
King University resides on 135 scenic acres nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. The School of Nursing offers a breadth of degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduates can pursue either a prelicensure BSN or an RN-to-BSN degree completion pathway. Prelicensure BSN students have scored an 84% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination over the past decade. Graduate nursing students can choose from four MSN specializations: family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nursing administration, and pediatric nurse practitioner. The university also offers a post-master’s certificate in the first two areas, as well as a terminal DNP degree that prepares students for advanced nursing practice and leadership in the profession.


#87: Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing | Richmond, VA
Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing is a private nursing school affiliated with the Catholic, not-for-profit Bon Secours Health System. The college offers two pathways to a BSN degree: a traditional prelicensure program and an RN-to-BSN degree completion program. Traditional BSN students are required to fulfill general education requirements prior to entry, enabling them to complete the core nursing curriculum in just five semesters. Graduates of the traditional pathway have posted a phenomenal 98% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam since the program’s inception. They also enjoyed a 94% job placement rate and a 97% retention rate during the 2017-2018 academic year. The RN-to-BSN pathway is designed for working professionals and delivered 100% online for maximum flexibility. Most students take two courses per semester and complete the program in two years; others take just one class at a time and complete the program in four years.


#88: University of Southern Mississippi | Hattiesburg, MS
The University of Southern Mississippi is one of just 130 doctoral universities in the nation with very high research activity according to the widely used Carnegie Classification system. Southern Miss has educated nurses for more than fifty years. The undergraduate BSN program is offered through the School of Professional Nursing Practice, with both a campus-based prelicensure track and an online RN-to-BSN option. The prelicensure track graduates 150-175 students annually; over the past decade, these graduates have posted a 97% NCLEX pass rate. Graduate nursing students attend the School of Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice. Degree options here include an MSN or DNP in two clinical specialties (family nurse practitioner, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner), a nurse anesthesia DNP, a post-master’s DNP, and a nursing PhD with post-baccalaureate and post-master’s entry points.


#89: Cabarrus College of Health Sciences | Concord, NC
Cabarrus College of Health Sciences is home to the Louise Harkey School of Nursing. The school offers a pre-nursing track, an ADN program, and an RN-to-BSN program. The pre-nursing track includes two semesters of general coursework, and admitted students are guaranteed a space in the ADN program. The ADN prepares students to take the NCLEX licensure examination and assume entry-level employment as registered nurses. Since 2010, Cabarrus has graduated 60-100 ADN students annually, scoring an excellent 94% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam. The RN-to-BSN is an online program designed for RNs who are seeking to expand their skills or prepare for graduate-level nursing education.


#90: Eastern Kentucky University | Richmond, KY
Eastern Kentucky University’s College of Health Sciences offers nursing education at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. The BSN program has three options: a traditional four-year curriculum, an accelerated second degree pathway, and an RN-to-BSN option. Student outcomes are phenomenal; as just one example, BSN graduates have posted a 98.5% pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade. Graduate students can pursue an MSN specialization as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner or a rural health family nurse practitioner. EKU also offers three post-master’s certificates, as well as a DNP program conducted 100% online.


#91: Wheeling University | Wheeling, WV
Wheeling University is founded on the Catholic tradition of academic excellence and service to others. The Department of Nursing offers several undergraduate pathways and graduate specialization options. Traditional students can pursue a BSN that integrates nursing and the liberal arts, while students with a bachelor’s degree in another field can earn an accelerated second degree in just 18 months. Graduates of both programs have earned an 83% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade. WU also offers an RN-to-BSN/MSN pathway for ADN- or diploma-prepared nurses who wish to obtain an advanced degree. Coursework is delivered online, with clinical requirements completed in students’ hometowns. At the graduate level, Wheeling University offers specialized MSN tracks in family nurse practitioner, nursing administration, and nursing education.


#92: University of Lynchburg | Lynchburg, VA
University of Lynchburg was founded in 1903 as Virginia Christian College, with an initial enrollment of 55 students. Today the school serves approximately 3,000 students representing 38 states and 15 foreign countries. The School of Nursing offers two prelicensure pathways: a traditional undergraduate major and an accelerated second degree for individuals with a non-nursing baccalaureate. The BSN curriculum builds upon the university’s liberal arts foundation with nursing coursework and clinical experiences in a range of healthcare settings. Across both pathways, University of Lynchburg graduates approximately 40-50 BSN students annually. These graduates have averaged an 88% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination over the past decade, including a stellar 98% first-time pass rate in 2018.


#93: Northwestern State University of Louisiana | Shreveport, LA
Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSU) was the first public institution in the state to establish a baccalaureate program in nursing, welcoming its first students in 1949. NSU was also the first in the state to offer a master’s degree in nursing. Today, the College of Nursing offers the full breadth of professional nursing degrees. The ADN program graduates 80-100 students annually across its traditional and LPN bridge tracks. These students have posted a strong 92% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The college’s BSN program has four tracks: traditional, accelerated second degree, LPN bridge, and RN degree completion. Prelicensure BSN students have an even more impressive track record on the NCLEX exam, with a 94% pass rate over the past decade. NSU’s MSN program offers ten distinct areas of specialization, and its DNP curriculum has concentrations in both advanced practice nursing and organizational systems leadership.


#94: Western Kentucky University | Bowling Green, KY
Western Kentucky University’s School of Nursing and Allied Health offers the full gamut of nursing degrees. For students entering the profession, WKU offers an LPN-to-ASN bridge program, a prelicensure BSN program, and a master’s entry to professional nursing (MEPN) program. Over the past decade, ASN students have scored a strong 88% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam. The traditional BSN program has witnessed even more impressive results, with a 96% NCLEX pass rate over the same timeframe. For existing nurses, WKU offers an RN-to-BSN degree completion program, an MSN degree for aspiring psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners, a post-master’s DNP pathway, and a post-baccalaureate DNP with two concentrations (family nurse practitioner and nurse executive).


#95: Delta State University | Cleveland, MS
Delta State University’s Robert E. Smith School of Nursing offers a breadth of baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing pathways. Undergraduates who are new to nursing may enroll in a traditional prelicensure BSN program, while ADN- or diploma-prepared nurses can enter the school’s online RN-to-BSN program. Over the past decade, traditional BSN students have enjoyed a 98% overall pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. Graduate students can pursue one of three concentrations – family nurse practitioner, nurse administrator, or nurse educator – through either an MSN degree program or a post-master’s certificate. Delta State’s DNP program also allows candidates to pursue FNP certification, with discrete entry points for ADN- or diploma-educated, BSN-educated, and MSN-educated nurses.


#96: Murray State University | Murray, KY
Murray State University serves 11,000 students across five campuses. The School of Nursing and Health Professions offers several nursing pathways at the baccalaureate and doctoral levels. The traditional BSN program includes a pediatric rotation at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Approximately 65 students graduate from the program annually, with a solid 88% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The RN-to-BSN program is offered 100% online and can be completed in just one calendar year. For graduate students, Murray State offers a post-master’s DNP for existing APRNs and a post-baccalaureate DNP with two specializations: family nurse practitioner and nurse anesthetist.


#97: University of Central Arkansas | Conway, AR
The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) has unique partnerships with local entities designed to promote outreach activities and community education. Coupled with service opportunities through local non-profits and cultural centers, these partnerships serve as one of the most important supplements to the school’s extensive nursing program. The School of Nursing offers degree pathways at every level. Undergraduate options include a traditional BSN pathway, an LPN-to-BSN bridge, and an RN-to-BSN degree completion program. Over the past decade, prelicensure BSN graduates have averaged a 90% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam. UCA’s graduate tracks include an MSN program and two DNP pathways (BSN-to-DNP and MSN-to-DNP).


#98: East Tennessee State University | Johnson City, TN
East Tennessee State University’s College of Nursing is one of the largest nursing schools in the state. The college operates nine nurse-led clinics in Northeast Tennessee to address the rural region’s underserved population. At the undergraduate level, ETSU offers four pathways to a BSN degree: traditional prelicensure, accelerated second degree, LPN-to-BSN bridge, and RN-to-BSN completion. Approximately 200 students graduate annually from the prelicensure BSN pathways, with an 89% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam over the past decade. Graduate nursing students can pursue an MSN, DNP, or PhD degree. ETSU offers six different nurse practitioner specialties across its master’s, graduate certificate, and doctoral programs. Last year’s family nurse practitioner students achieved a stellar 98% pass rate on the FNP certification exam, while psychiatric-mental health graduates achieved a perfect 100% pass rate on the PMHNP certification exam.


#99: Carolinas College of Health Sciences | Charlotte, NC
In just over a quarter of a century, Carolinas College of Health Sciences (CCHS) has become one of the most highly regarded vocational nursing schools in the country. The college offers both a traditional ADN program and an LPN-to-ADN matriculation option. Students enjoy a small-school academic environment, with access to world-class clinical experiences at the Carolinas Medical Center and its multidisciplinary Carolinas Simulation Center. Every nursing faculty member has at least a master’s degree in the field, and many hold specialty certifications. Not surprisingly, the college’s ADN graduates have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a 95% clip since 2010, one of the strongest pass rates in the state. Approximately 80% of CCHS nursing students take a position with Carolinas HealthCare System upon graduation.


#100: Southern University and A&M College | Baton Rouge, LA
Chartered in 1880 and serving just a dozen students when it opened, Southern University and A&M College is now the largest historically black university in Louisiana. The School of Nursing admitted its first baccalaureate students to upper division courses in the fall of 1986. The school now offers four CCNE-accredited programs: a traditional BSN, an MSN with two specializations (family nurse practitioner and nursing education), a post-master’s DNP, and a PhD that emphasizes scientific research for vulnerable populations. The BSN program graduates approximately 100 new nurses annually, and these students have averaged an 86% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade.