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For our 2018 rankings, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on over 3,000 nursing schools and campuses throughout the United States. We included the following states within our Southwest rankings: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. 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 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 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.


#2: 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.


#3: 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.


#4: 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.


#5: 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.


#6: 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.


#7: 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.


#8: 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.


#9: 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.


#10: Baylor University | Dallas, TX
The Louise Herrington School of Nursing is part of the oldest Baptist university in the world, so it is based on the idea that nursing is a profession and a ministry. The BSN program has two tracks: traditional and 12-month “FastBacc.” Baylor graduates approximately 200 BSN students annually who consistently enjoy excellent NCLEX-RN pass rates, including a rate of 98% in 2017. Graduate options include an MSN in leadership and innovation, plus three DNP specializations: family nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, and nurse midwifery. These graduate programs are delivered in an online or hybrid format.


#11: Texas Christian University | Fort Worth, TX
TCU’s Harris College of Nursing & Health Sciences offers both a traditional BSN and a 16-month accelerated BSN pathway. The school graduates approximately 200 students annually across the two programs, and collectively they have achieved NCLEX exam pass rates as high as 97% in recent years. TCU’s online MSN program offers two clinical nurse specialist areas of focus, in addition to clinical nurse leader and nurse educator options. The university also leads a post-master’s DNP program for advanced practice registered nurses and nurse administrators, as well as a BSN-to-DNP family nurse practitioner track.


#12: Oklahoma City University | Oklahoma City, OK
Kramer School of Nursing has programs for traditional undergraduates, career changers, and existing nurses seeking advancement. Undergraduate options include traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN pathways. KSN also offers a unique program at Duncan Regional Hospital that provides financial aid in exchange for a two-year work commitment following graduation. Prelicensure BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at an 89% rate over the past decade. The university’s MSN program has education, leadership, and CNL tracks, and its DNP program features an FNP specialization. In several recent years, 100% of KSN’s FNP graduates passed the American Association of Nurse Practitioners certification exam on the first attempt.


#13: University of Tulsa | Tulsa, OK
The University of Tulsa’s Oxley College of Health Sciences has forged close relationships with three major metropolitan medical centers and a number of community healthcare agencies. The School of Nursing’s unique BSN program begins clinical experiences during the spring of sophomore year, which provides students five semesters to develop clinical skills instead of the usual four. The University of Tulsa has produced nearly 1,500 BSN graduates since 1973. The typical graduating class is small (perhaps two dozen students) and well-prepared for licensure, with a stellar 92% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Recently, the School of Nursing has added an RN-to-BSN track as well as a DNP program to better meet the healthcare needs of the Tulsa community.


#14: Baylor College of Medicine | Houston, TX
Baylor College of Medicine offers a DNP in Nurse Anesthesia program that has produced hundreds of new nurse anesthetists since its inception. The program requires 36 months of full-time study to complete, preparing students for the national certification exam administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). The entire Baylor class of 2015 passed the certification exam on the first try and obtained employment upon graduation. In fact, the school’s DNP in Nurse Anesthesia program was recently ranked among the best nurse anesthesia programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report.


#15: University of New Mexico | Albuquerque, NM
UNM’s College of Nursing offers many innovative opportunities. The school’s massive open online course (MOOC) in rural health nursing enrolls students from more than 100 countries worldwide. UNM also offers a post-master’s clinical DNP and a dual ADN / BSN program that allows community college students to obtain both degrees without leaving their home community. For traditional students, UNM conducts a four-year prelicensure BSN program at its primary Albuquerque campus. BSN graduates have averaged an 87% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, including a stellar 96% pass rate since 2016.


#16: Texas Woman’s University | Denton, TX
Texas Woman’s University (TWU) College of Nursing has a primary campus in Denton and satellite locations in Dallas and Houston. The school offers online, on-campus, and hybrid programs across a wide breadth of nursing pathways. Undergraduates may pursue traditional, second-degree, weekend / evening, and RN-to-BSN programs. TWU’s prelicensure BSN students have maintained a stellar 94% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Graduate students have two RN-to-MSN pathways (post-ADN and post-baccalaureate) and four choices of MSN degree or certificate (NP, CNL, NED, health systems management). Doctoral offerings include DNP, PhD, and a DNP-to-PhD bridge program. TWU’s Center for Global Nursing Scholarship provides the opportunity to study in places such as Vietnam, Peru, Turkey, and Tanzania.


#17: University of Texas at Arlington | Arlington, TX
UT Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation is the largest producer of baccalaureate-educated nurses in the state. The school has approximately 17,000 online and on-campus students, and it holds the prestigious NLN Center of Excellence designation. Undergraduates can pursue a traditional four-year BSN, a Veterans BSN for former military healthcare specialists, or an RN-to-BSN completion program for existing nurses. UT Arlington graduates over 400 prelicensure BSN students annually who have achieved a 91% NCLEX-RN pass rate since 2008. At the graduate level, nurses can pursue a number of MSN specializations including administration, education, and seven distinct NP roles. The college also offers DNP and nursing PhD programs.


#18: Northern Arizona University | Flagstaff, AZ
The School of Nursing at Northern Arizona University (NAU) promotes learning in a diverse range of environments, from simulation labs to healthcare facilities, traditional classrooms to online delivery. NAU undergrads have several options, including a traditional BSN at the Flagstaff, Tucson, and Yuma campuses; a 12-month accelerated BSN; an RN-to-BSN pathway; and a ten-person American Indian program offered within the Navajo Nation. The school graduates 140-150 prelicensure candidates annually, and they have achieved a solid 88% NCLEX exam pass rate since 2009. NAU also offers several graduate nursing programs: an MSN with two tracks (FNP and nurse generalist), a post-master’s FNP certificate, and a DNP degree.


#19: Abilene Christian University | Abilene, TX
The ACU School of Nursing prepares aspiring nurses by offering training exercises at the school’s simulation lab, clinical experiences at community hospitals, research assistant opportunities, and medical mission trips around the world. Students are mentored by faculty and practicing nurses who help to hone their technical and critical thinking skills. The school graduated its first class of traditional four-year BSN students in 2015, and the class of 2017 scored a 91% pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam. Abilene Christian University also offers an online DNP program that features integrated practice learning experiences and two focal areas (advanced practice nursing, executive nursing leadership).


#20: Texas Wesleyan University | Fort Worth, TX
Texas Wesleyan University’s School of Health Professions conducts the largest nurse anesthesia program in the country, with twenty primary clinical sites across nine states. The school’s MSNA graduates have achieved a 91% first-time pass rate on the NBCRNA certification exam over the past five years, with a stellar 99.6% pass rate within six months of graduation. In addition to the MSNA degree, the university offers two DNAP tracks: a 100% online completion program for CRNAs, and an entry-level pathway for baccalaureate-prepared nurses. Texas Wesleyan also recently launched a DNP program for aspiring family nurse practitioners, with a unique curriculum that emphasizes both holistic patient care and self-care to prevent burnout and stress.


#21: University of Texas at Tyler | Tyler, TX
UT Tyler’s College of Nursing & Health Sciences offers several undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. BSN students can pursue a traditional four-year, accelerated, or RN-to-BSN pathway. UT Tyler also partners with Jarvis Christian College to offer Jarvis BS candidates a dual BSN degree. Across all of its prelicensure programs, UT Tyler graduates over 300 new nurses annually who have posted an excellent NCLEX pass rate of 93% since 2008. At the graduate level, the College of Nursing & Health Sciences offers three MSN tracks (NED, administration, FNP), a dual MSN/MBA program, and both PhD and DNP degrees.


#22: West Coast University | Dallas, TX
In 2008, West Coast University (WCU) became the first privately held university in California approved to offer a BSN degree. The school now offers nursing and allied health programs across five cities including Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Ontario, and Orange County. WCU Dallas is dedicated entirely to higher education for nurses. It offers two campus-based programs: a traditional BSN and an LVN-to-BSN bridge program. Students can join global study trips to a range of international locations such as England, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, and Moldova. WCU also offers a full complement of online degrees, including RN-to-BSN / RN-to-MSN completion programs and MSN tracks in FNP, NED, and nursing informatics.


#23: Southern Nazarene University | Bethany, OK
Southern Nazarene University offers opportunities to specialize in many nursing areas, including community nursing, prenatal health, pediatric care, and gerontology. The School of Nursing offers clinical experiences at a variety of local hospitals and agencies, and it boasts a 90% employment rate over the past five years. Nursing students can pursue a traditional BSN, an accelerated RN-to-BSN pathway, or an MSN degree with a major in either nursing education or nursing leadership. The traditional BSN program graduates a small class of approximately twenty students each year, with a solid NCLEX pass rate of 83% since 2008.


#24: University of Mary Hardin-Baylor | Belton, TX
The Scott White College of Nursing at UMHB offers two nursing programs: a traditional four-year BSN for students seeking initial licensure, and an RN-to-BSN track for ADN-prepared nurses seeking a BSN degree. The college offers clinical experiences at local hospitals, and it provides numerous opportunities to train at the Clinical Simulation Learning Center, which features a simulation hospital, a standardized patient clinic, and skills and physical diagnosis labs. More than 150 students complete the traditional BSN program each year. They have enjoyed a solid NCLEX pass rate of 85% over the past decade, including a rate of 91% in 2017.


#25: Covenant School of Nursing | Lubbock, TX
Covenant School of Nursing (CSON) is the oldest nursing school in the South Plains. A member of Covenant Health, the region’s largest health system, the school has produced more than 4,500 nurse graduates. CSON awards a nursing diploma and prepares 110-140 students annually for the NCLEX-RN national licensure examination. These students have passed the exam at rates as high as 95% in recent years. CSON graduates have the option to enter the BSN completion program at nearby Lubbock Christian University, which requires just two additional semesters to finish.


#26: Chamberlain College of Nursing | Phoenix, AZ
Chamberlain College of Nursing’s BSN program enables students to earn their degree in as little as three years of fulltime study. The Phoenix campus offers access to real-life training at local clinical sites, a Chamberlain SIMCARE CENTER that replicates the hospital setting, and a Global Health Education Program that features trips to Kenya and Brazil. Approximately 200 BSN students graduate from the Phoenix campus annually, consistently achieving NCLEX pass rates of 86-93% each year. Chamberlain students also have access to an online MSN program that is ranked among the top 150 nationally by U.S. News & World Report.


#27: University of the Incarnate Word | San Antonio, TX
Each year, UIW’s Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions graduates a prelicensure BSN class of approximately 60-75 students. Students may enter the BSN program through regular admission (typically spring of sophomore year), as a high-performing direct admit from high school, or as a second-degree candidate. Across all pathways, prelicensure BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a solid 91% rate since 2008, including a perfect rate of 100% in 2017. UIW also offers two degree completion pathways (RN-to-BSN/MSN), two MSN or certificate specializations (CNL, CNS), and three DNP pathways (FNP certification, PMHNP certification, post-MSN completion).


#28: Texas State University | Round Rock, TX
St. David’s School of Nursing at Texas State University grants BSN and MSN degrees. Since its inaugural graduating class in 2012, the BSN program has educated hundreds of new nurses with an outstanding first-time NCLEX pass rate of 98%. The school’s MSN graduates are prepared to sit for the FNP certification exam proctored by either the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Texas State students gain valuable training at the school’s five interactive simulation laboratories, and they engage in clinical experiences at area hospitals and healthcare facilities.


#29: University of New Mexico - Taos | Ranchos de Taos, NM
UNM-Taos offers a very selective two-year associate’s degree program that prepares students for initial nursing licensure and practice. The university’s ADN program admits only 16 students every two years, providing unparalleled attention from a distinguished faculty. Clinical rotations are conducted at Holy Cross Hospital and 19 other sites in the local area. The last four graduating classes have enjoyed a perfect pass rate on the NCLEX national licensure examination. UNM-Taos frequently boasts a 100% on-time graduation rate and 100% placement rate for its nursing students as well. Located in a rural setting in northern New Mexico, the university places particular emphasis on nursing care for diverse populations.


#30: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso | El Paso, TX
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso is home to the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing. The school offers two undergraduate pathways (accelerated BSN, RN-to-BSN) and an MSN degree. The accelerated BSN can be completed in four consecutive semesters, or just 16 months of study. Courses are taught in a combination of classroom and online settings. Since 2015, accelerated BSN students have achieved a solid 88% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. TTUHSC El Paso’s RN-to-BSN program is conducted entirely through web-based instruction, while its MSN program is delivered in a hybrid format designed to be completed in seven consecutive semesters.


#31: Oklahoma Baptist University | Shawnee, OK
Oklahoma Baptist University launched the state’s first baccalaureate nursing program in 1952. In addition to the traditional BSN, OBU College of Nursing offers an accelerated second degree pathway and an LPN-to-BSN bridge program. Across the three options, the college graduates approximately 30-40 BSN students annually who have averaged a 91% NCLEX pass rate over the past five years, including a 100% pass rate in 2017. At the graduate level, OBU offers an RN-to-MSN bridge program and two MSN specializations: nursing education and global nursing. Post-master’s students can pursue a brief certificate in either specialization. All graduate coursework is completed online.


#32: LeTourneau University | Longview, TX
The School of Nursing at LeTourneau University (LETU) offers a prelicensure BSN program that takes four years to complete. The curriculum features small class sizes, a diverse faculty, and extensive clinical experiences with 20+ agency partners in the East Texas area. Graduates of the LETU BSN program are prepared to seek positions in acute care hospitals, primary care clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, faith-based organizations, community agencies, and schools. The university’s BSN graduates have achieved a perfect 100% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam since the program’s recent launch. LETU also offers an online RN-to-BSN program that features year-round, seven-week courses deployed in a cohort model and complemented with local practice experience.


#33: Texas Lutheran University | Seguin, TX
Texas Lutheran University’s Department of Nursing offers a BSN program with two pathways: a prelicensure BSN track and an RN-to-BSN degree completion track. TLU recently launched both programs after receiving official approval from the Texas Board of Nursing in April 2014. The prelicensure pathway features an average class size of 30 students (or less) and clinical groups of just six to eight participants, ensuring personalized instruction and hands-on practice. The RN-to-BSN pathway can be completed in 12 months of full-time study, but it also includes a part-time option and hybrid online courses to provide flexibility for working professionals.


#34: University of Texas at El Paso | El Paso, TX
UTEP Nursing has developed a wide variety of degree programs during its forty-year history. Undergraduates must first complete pre-nursing courses before progressing into either the traditional or fast-track BSN program. The school graduates 200-300 BSN students annually who have passed the NCLEX exam at rates as high as 95% in recent years. Existing nurses may enroll in the university’s 100% online RN-to-BSN program or one of several graduate pathways. UTEP offers three MSN majors (nursing education, nurse practitioner, nursing systems management), an MSN-to-DNP program, and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences.


#35: Valley Baptist Medical Center School of Vocational Nursing | Harlingen, TX
Valley Baptist Medical Center has a proud tradition of preparing well-qualified LVNs for the workforce. The hospital’s School of Vocational Nursing launches a new class of approximately 40 individuals each January. Over the ensuing twelve months, students complete a rigorous curriculum that covers three levels of coursework, including approximately 600 lecture hours and 70 lab hours. They also receive more than 800 hours of clinical experience at VBMC Harlingen and surrounding facilities. The administration has worked hard to keep the program affordable, with tuition and fees currently totaling just $11,000. VBMC graduates have posted an exceptional 92% first-time NCLEX pass rate since 2008, well above the state and national averages.


#36: Concordia University Texas | Austin, TX
Concordia University Texas seeks to develop Christian leaders across a broad range of more than twenty academic fields. The College of Nursing offers several pathways at both the undergraduate level (traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, online RN-to-BSN) and graduate level (traditional MSN, RN-to-MSN, RN+-to-MSN). Concordia’s undergraduates have a phenomenal track record on the NCLEX licensure examination, scoring a 99% first-time pass rate since 2015. The MSN program has leadership, education, and informatics tracks, all of which may be completed entirely online.


#37: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley | Edinburg, TX
The UT System Board of Regents recently formed UT Rio Grande Valley by consolidating the system’s Pan American (Edinburg) and Brownsville campuses. UTRGV’s nursing department maintains deep offerings in both locations, including a prelicensure BSN, an RN-to-BSN completion program, and three MSN tracks (nursing administration, nursing education, FNP). The school also offers a graduate certificate for aspiring psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners. UTRGV graduates 100-200 prelicensure BSN students each year, who have achieved a strong pass rate of 87% on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past ten years.


#38: Oral Roberts University | Tulsa, OK
Oral Roberts University is home to the Anna Vaughn College of Nursing. In addition to traditional BSN and RN-to-BSN programs, the school offers outstanding study abroad opportunities in Mexico, Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. Graduates are routinely hired at leading Tulsa-area hospitals, OSU Health Care Center, and the Tulsa Health Department. Students also enjoy consistent success on their licensure exams: since 2008, the prelicensure BSN program’s 40-60 annual graduates have posted an average NCLEX exam pass rate of 90%.


#39: Texas A&M University - Texarkana | Texarkana, TX
Texas A&M University - Texarkana (TAMUT) is home to the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Nursing. The college offers an RN-to-BSN completion program and an MSN degree in nursing administration for existing registered nurses, and very recently developed a prelicensure BSN program that launched during the summer of 2017. The school delivers its RN-to-BSN program in eight-week blocks rather than across the semester, allowing working students to better focus their efforts and manage their time. Students in all programs meet in the STEM Building which houses the new Innovation Lab, a multidisciplinary research environment.


#40: University of New Mexico - Gallup | Gallup, NM
Located in the breathtaking Colorado Desert Plateau, UNM-Gallup honors the region’s unique cultural diversity by serving both Navajo Nation and the Pueblo of Zuni. It is the largest of the four UNM branch campuses, offering approximately forty associate’s degree and certificate programs in total. The school’s ADN curriculum requires four semesters of full-time study. Admission is competitive, with a maximum of 28 students enrolled annually across two start dates in January and August. This limited class size ensures an intimate learning environment with an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio. UNM-Gallup students perform well on their licensure exams, with a strong 90% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Eligible graduates can enroll in the UNM College of Nursing’s RN-to-BSN degree completion program.


#41: Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi | Corpus Christi, TX
TAMUCC’s College of Nursing & Health Sciences launched the first accredited RN-to-BSN program in an upper-level university during the early 1970s, and the first accredited online BSN program in 2003. Today, the school offers numerous BSN pathways including traditional, accelerated, two online options, and an RN-to-BSN completion program. The prelicensure tracks graduate ~200 students each year who have scored an 86% NCLEX pass rate since 2008, including a 91% pass rate in 2017. TAMUCC is also home to the fourth-largest MSN program in Texas, which has ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s top ten online MSN programs multiple times. Master’s degree candidates can specialize in FNP, NED, or leadership, and the university also began a post-master’s DNP program in the fall of 2016.


#42: Western Governors University | Austin, TX
WGU Texas offers a wide breadth of nursing programs. Traditionally an online university, Western Governors University recently launched a prelicensure BSN program in Texas with local clinical experiences that feature high-fidelity simulations, agency-based hospital rotations, and personalized guidance from an experienced clinical coach. Existing nurses can pursue several bridge programs (e.g., RN-to-BSN/MSN) and two MSN specializations (education, leadership) entirely online. The College of Health Professions also leads several online degree programs in adjacent healthcare fields, including a BS in health informatics, an MS in integrated healthcare management, and an MBA in healthcare management.


#43: Houston Baptist University | Houston, TX
HBU’s School of Nursing and Allied Health prepares the highest-quality RN clinicians and leaders through its BSN program. The program offers three pathways: a traditional plan of study, an Honors College curriculum that students may complete in just three years, and a fully online RN-to-BSN program. HBU students gain hundreds of hours of hands-on experience in renowned clinical settings, an on-campus simulation lab, and Bradshaw Fitness Center. The school’s prelicensure graduates, typically 50-80 each spring, have scored a cumulative 89% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade.


#44: Tarleton State University | Stephenville, TX
Tarleton State University is a member of the Texas A&M University System. The school’s Department of Nursing has been serving students since 1976. TSU undergraduates have several options for pursuing a BSN degree, including traditional (four-year) and alternate entry (LVN-to-BSN and RN-to-BSN) options. The BSN program has more than doubled in size since 2012 without sacrificing quality: students have achieved a solid 84% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The university’s MSN program also supports multiple entry points, including a traditional pathway for BSN-educated nurses and an RN-to-MSN pathway for ADN- or diploma-educated nurses. All nursing programs are available at Tarleton’s main campus, and the LVN-to-BSN pathway is also available at the school’s Waco campus.


#45: South Texas College | McAllen, TX
STC’s Division of Nursing and Allied Health offers an ADN program with three entry points: a traditional two-year pathway for non-nurses, a three-semester pathway for EMT paramedics, and a 12-month pathway for existing LVNs. STC also offers a three-semester LVN certificate program that provides classroom instruction and clinical practice in the nursing care of four populations: adults, mothers / newborns, children, and the elderly. The college graduates 70-120 new LVNs and 150-250 new RNs annually. Students in both programs have exhibited strong licensure exam pass rates. Since 2008, LVN students have achieved an 86% NCLEX-PN pass rate, while their ADN counterparts have achieved an 86% NCLEX-RN pass rate.


#46: Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing | Abilene, TX
Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing (PHSSN) is a consortium of Hardin-Simmons University and McMurry University, making it the only intercollegiate nursing program in the nation that serves two private universities. PHSSN offers several nursing degree pathways including a traditional BSN, an RN-to-BSN completion program, and an MSN with functional tracks for education and family nurse practitioner. The school also offers a highly regarded CNA program, available for enrollment to the broader Abilene community. PHSSN’s prelicensure BSN students have passed the NCLEX-RN exam at rates as high as 92% in recent years. It is also common for all CNA graduates to pass the state certification exam.


#47: University of St. Thomas | Houston, TX
UST’s Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing offers a traditional four-year BSN program grounded in patient-centered nursing. The school’s newly developed curriculum integrates healing and holistic care within the religious, ethical, and intellectual traditions of Catholic higher education. Incoming freshmen begin prerequisites immediately, but most students don’t formally apply to the nursing school until the end of freshman year. Admission is competitive, with just 20-40 students in each nursing cohort. The university also reserves space in the BSN program for high-performing high school seniors upon their acceptance into UST as freshmen.


#48: West Texas A&M University | Canyon, TX
The Department of Nursing at West Texas A&M University is a student-centered learning community that provides valuable hands-on experience through an on-campus Nursing Health & Wellness Clinic. The school offers multiple pathways at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Undergraduates can pursue a traditional prelicensure BSN degree or an online RN-to-BSN degree completion program. BSN graduates have a stellar record of seven consecutive years with an NCLEX pass rate above 94%. Graduate students can choose from two MSN specializations: comprehensive nursing (offered online) and family nurse practitioner (hybrid delivery). A post-master’s FNP certificate is also available.


#49: Vista College | El Paso, TX
Vista College offers healthcare education across nine campus locations in Texas, New Mexico, and Arkansas, as well as online. Aspiring LVNs can pursue a vocational nursing diploma at four Texas campuses: Beaumont, El Paso, Killeen, and Lubbock. The college also offers a practical nursing diploma at its Las Cruces, NM campus. The nursing curriculum provides real-world instruction in a broad range of pertinent topics, including health science, professional development, maternal-newborn nursing, child health, and pharmacology. Vista College graduates approximately 250 LVN candidates annually, and these students have achieved a solid 84% NCLEX-PN pass rate over the past decade.


#50: Northern New Mexico College | Española, NM
NNMC’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences has educated nurses since 1973. The college offers a career ladder program that prepares candidates sequentially for the roles of CNA, LPN, and ADN. Practical nursing students have passed the NCLEX-PN licensure exam at an impressive 91% rate over the past decade, including three classes with perfect pass rates. Aspiring RNs have also done well: for example, the past three years have witnessed approximately an 80% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. In addition, NNMC leads an innovative RN-to-BSN program on holistic nursing practice that was awarded the Excellence in Holistic Education Award by the American Holistic Nurses Association.


#51: Brazosport College | Lake Jackson, TX
Brazosport College has twice been recognized as one of the top ten community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute, a DC-based educational and policy studies organization. The school offers an 11-month LVN curriculum and two ADN pathways: a two-year option for non-nurses and a three-semester bridge program for existing LVNs. Graduates of all programs enjoy healthy employment prospects, with job placement rates frequently in excess of 80%. They are also well-prepared for their licensure exams. Brazosport College’s ADN students have achieved an 84% NCLEX-RN pass rate since the program’s inception, and the LVN program has posted an unbelievable 98% NCLEX-PN pass rate over the past decade.


#52: New Mexico Highlands University | Las Vegas, NM
The Department of Nursing at New Mexico Highlands University has an RN-to-BSN program specifically designed for the registered nurse to earn a baccalaureate degree. The program is only available to students with a valid RN license and who hold an ADN or diploma in nursing. The RN-to-BSN program allows nurses to build on their core nursing experience by expanding their knowledge base as leaders in the profession. Upon completion of the program, graduates are ready for positions in community health, leadership, and patient care. They are also prepared to enroll subsequently in an MSN program. The university’s flexible online curriculum allows students to complete practicums in their home state.


#53: University of Central Oklahoma | Edmond, OK
Since 1972, more than 3,000 men and women have graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma’s nursing program. The Department of Nursing offers a robust BSN program and recently launched one of just three public MSN programs in Oklahoma. The MSN is designed for working professionals with early evening classes, part- and full-time options, and a centrally located campus. The BSN offers three pathways: traditional four-year (the core of the program), LPN-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN. UCO graduates approximately 100 prelicensure BSN students annually, and they have passed the NCLEX exam at a very strong and consistent rate of 91% over the past decade.


#54: University of New Mexico - Valencia | Los Lunas, NM
UNM-Valencia offers an ADN program designed to educate entry-level nurses who can promote, restore, and maintain health for individuals, families, and groups within the area’s rural community. The program recently joined the statewide New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium curriculum. UNM-Valencia admits eight associate’s degree students and eight dual degree students each year. Dual degree students will graduate after five semesters in the nursing program with both an ADN degree and a BSN degree. Since the inception of the ADN program, UNM-Valencia’s graduates have scored a noteworthy 80% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.


#55: Oklahoma Christian University | Edmond, OK
Oklahoma Christian University’s School of Nursing offers several unique learning opportunities. The school’s mission of Christian service is embodied in its coursework, with classes like Contemporary Christian Nursing Leadership and Health Care Missions & Christian Service Strategies. OC also provides medical mission opportunities like HonduraServ, a service trip to Honduras, as well as domestic rotations in local hospitals and clinics. The university offers two BSN pathways: a traditional four-year program and an online RN-to-BSN with flexible class scheduling. Graduates of the traditional program have averaged an 84% pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam since 2012.


#56: Midwestern State University | Wichita Falls, TX
Wilson School of Nursing is part of the Robert D. & Carol Gunn College of Health Sciences & Human Services. The school offers several undergraduate degree pathways including a traditional prelicensure BSN, a 15-month second degree BSN known as ACCEL-RN, and an online RN-to-BSN program with three annual start dates. Each year, MSU graduates 125-150 students combined from the traditional and accelerated tracks. These students have averaged a solid 85% NCLEX pass rate since 2015. The university also offers an MSN degree with majors available in family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Each specialization option is also available as a post-graduate certificate.


#57: Lubbock Christian University | Lubbock, TX
The Department of Nursing at Lubbock Christian University offers a pre-nursing program, an RN-to-BSN bridge program, an MSN degree with two specialization options (education / leadership and family nurse practitioner), and a post-master’s FNP certificate. The pre-nursing program allows students to complete the curricular requirements for entry to Covenant School of Nursing, an LCU partner school. The RN-to-BSN pathway is for working nurses who wish to complete their baccalaureate education while continuing their employment. The FNP specialization uses both traditional and hybrid delivery models, with a substantial amount of time in lectures, labs, and clinical experiences. The education / leadership specialization uses a short-course format, supplementing in-person meetings of three to four days per semester with online instruction.


#58: Oklahoma Wesleyan University | Bartlesville, OK
The OKWU School of Nursing prepares nurse generalists with knowledge of biological, physical, social, and behavioral sciences, enhanced by a background in the humanities and the Christian faith. Nursing pathways include three BSN programs (traditional, LPN-to-BSN, RN-to-BSN) and an MSN program with concentrations in nursing administration and nursing education. Prelicensure BSN graduates have averaged an 86% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam since 2010. The postlicensure RN-to-BSN and MSN programs are offered both on campus and online. Students in all programs obtain hands-on training through the school’s state-of-the-art simulation lab, a wide variety of clinical experiences, and mission trips to domestic and international destinations.


#59: Pima Medical Institute | Tucson, AZ
The associate’s degree in nursing program at Pima Medical Institute (PMI) prepares graduates for entry-level RN positions. Students take accelerated courses in everything from anatomy to pharmacology, and they receive hands-on training in skills labs with simulation mannequins and hospital-grade equipment. Clinical externships at hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies provide students with additional real-world experience. PMI’s ADN program is offered at several campuses in Arizona and New Mexico, and it may be completed in as little as 20 months. Over the past decade, graduates of both the Tucson and Mesa campuses have maintained a solid NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of 87%. Over the same time period, graduates of the Albuquerque campus achieved an 85% pass rate.


#60: New Mexico State University | Las Cruces, NM
New Mexico State University’s School of Nursing offers degree programs at the BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD levels. The BSN program has three pathways: a traditional four-year prelicensure BSN, an online RN-to-BSN program for returning nurses, and an accelerated second degree option. NMSU graduates approximately 100 prelicensure BSN students annually, and these individuals have achieved a strong 88% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The MSN features a nursing administration track and is offered online, as are both doctoral degree programs. The DNP is structured as a practice-based program for nurses in advanced and senior positions, while the PhD has a research-based emphasis for nurses looking to enter leadership positions in education, practice, or health policy.


#61: Midland College | Midland, TX
Midland College offers three programs for aspiring nurses: an LVN certificate, a traditional ADN program, and an LVN-to-RN bridge. The LVN certificate is a 12-month program that prepares graduates to take the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. Since 2014, Midland’s LVN students have posted a stellar 96% NCLEX-PN pass rate. The traditional ADN program is a full-time, four-semester curriculum that prepares graduates to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. The LVN-to-RN track does likewise over an accelerated three-semester curriculum that provides LVNs advanced standing for their previous coursework. Since 2014, Midland’s ADN students have achieved a solid 87% NCLEX-RN pass rate.


#62: Sam Houston State University | Huntsville, TX
The School of Nursing at Sam Houston State University has several undergraduate options. A pre-nursing program provides foundational coursework in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, algebra, statistics, nutrition, and psychology. SHSU offers two prelicensure BSN pathways: a traditional program for students with no nursing education or experience, and an LVN-to-BSN bridge for practicing LVNs who want to advance into the RN role. The university graduates 60-90 students annually across these two programs, with a solid 88% pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam since launch. Finally, SHSU offers a fully online RN-to-BSN program designed for working nurses who want to complete their baccalaureate education.


#63: Texas A&M University - Commerce | Commerce, TX
A&M-Commerce is the second-largest institution in the prestigious Texas A&M University System, with satellite campuses in six Texas cities and a robust online presence. The university offers both a traditional prelicensure BSN and an RN-to-BSN completion pathway. The traditional BSN program is select, with just 15-30 students in each graduating cohort. These students have maintained a strong 90% NCLEX pass rate since the program’s recent launch. The Nursing Department also offers an MSN curriculum with family nurse practitioner emphasis that students can complete in two years full-time or three years part-time. The program’s hybrid delivery model combines online courses with web-enhanced on-campus modules.


#64: Texas A&M University - Central Texas | Killeen, TX
Texas A&M University - Central Texas has streamlined its RN-to-BSN program to avoid duplication of courses and content previously completed by students with an associate’s degree in nursing. The flexible, 100% online program covers key subject areas like health assessment, pathophysiology, community health nursing, gerontology, informatics, and nursing research in evidence-based practice. Graduates of the program are prepared to seek positions as case manager, hospice care provider, nurse educator, nursing home director, head nurse, and other advanced-level positions.


#65: Texas A&M International University | Laredo, TX
Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) is home to the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing. The school offers both traditional and degree completion pathways to a BSN degree. Graduate students can pursue an MSN with either a family nurse practitioner (FNP) or nursing administration focus. The FNP curriculum emphasizes topics like health assessment, pharmacology, healthcare policy, and social justice, while the nursing administration curriculum covers issues like healthcare informatics, organizational behavior, and nursing leadership. All of TAMIU’s nursing programs are conducted on campus only. BSN graduates have scored an outstanding 94% NCLEX pass rate for four consecutive years, while FNP graduates have achieved a perfect 100% pass rate on the national certification exam for three consecutive years.


#66: Wayland Baptist University | San Antonio, TX
The Wayland Baptist University School of Nursing offers a traditional BSN program, an LVN-to-BSN bridge, and an online MSN degree. The traditional BSN requires seven terms (or two years) of study after completion of the WBU general education core, with both November and May start dates. The LVN-to-BSN pathway is the only such program in San Antonio. Students can earn up to 11 hours of advanced placement credit for prior nursing education, enabling them to complete the degree in just six terms. The Wayland Baptist MSN combines a primary focus on curriculum development, teaching strategies, and adult learning with a secondary focus on business management.


#67: Schreiner University | Kerrville, TX
Schreiner University’s main campus is situated in the Texas Hill Country, with additional first-year campuses in Mission, Brownsville, and El Paso. The school offers three nursing pathways: an LVN certificate, a traditional BSN degree, and an RN-to-BSN bridge. The LVN program takes just one year to complete full-time. Last year’s graduating class scored an impressive 93% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. The traditional BSN is a four-year program requiring 120 credit hours of study. These students also perform well on their licensure exams, including an 86% NCLEX-RN pass rate last year. The RN-to-BSN degree completion program is offered fully online and requires just 12 months to complete.


#68: University of Houston | Houston, TX
An institutional member of the Texas Medical Center, UH School of Nursing offers two BSN tracks (second degree, RN-to-BSN) and three MSN specializations (nursing education, nursing administration, family nurse practitioner). The second degree BSN program is offered at the university’s Sugar Land campus. Graduates of this accelerated 12-month program have posted phenomenal NCLEX pass rates over the past several years, including a perfect 100% each year from 2015-2017. The MSN curriculum is offered at both the Sugar Land and Victoria campuses. This program’s inaugural May 2015 FNP class achieved a 100% first-time pass rate on the FNP national certification exam.


#69: Dallas Nursing Institute | Dallas, TX
Dallas Nursing Institute provides rigorous technical training at several levels of nursing. Program options include an LVN certificate, an ADN program, and an RN-to-BSN degree completion pathway. The LVN certificate may be completed in 51 weeks full-time or 68 weeks part-time. Since 2016, Dallas Nursing Institute’s LVN graduates have scored an excellent 96% pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam. The ADN program offers two pathways: a traditional 80-week curriculum and an LVN-to-RN transition program. The latter option can reduce the traditional ADN timeline by up to six months. Since 2016, Dallas Nursing Institute’s ADN graduates have scored a solid 87% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Finally, the two-year RN-to-BSN program is an online offering with four distinct concentrations: transcultural nursing, mental health focus, eHealth and telemedicine, and ethics and professional practice.


#70: GateWay Community College | Phoenix, AZ
GateWay Community College offers an ADN program and two unique LPN programs: the Fast Track LPN and the Veterans/LPN Bridge. The Fast Track LPN may be completed in just 18 months, and the Veterans/LPN Bridge is a streamlined 12-credit program for veterans who have previous healthcare training with the military. Both programs prepare graduates to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam. Over the past decade, Fast Track graduates have achieved an impressive 95% NCLEX-PN pass rate, while Veterans/LPN Bridge graduates have scored a near-perfect 98.6% pass rate. The ADN is GateWay’s largest nursing program, preparing more than 200 aspiring RNs annually. These graduates have maintained a first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate of 94% since the program’s inception.


#71: Brookline College | Phoenix, AZ & Albuquerque, NM
Brookline College offers a nursing program with many unique aspects. At the undergraduate level, the school has traditional BSN, accelerated second degree, and RN-to-BSN pathways. The traditional curriculum can be completed in as little as two and a half years of year-round study, while the accelerated curriculum can be completed in just 16 months. Since 2012, prelicensure BSN graduates have achieved a solid NCLEX exam pass rate of 88% on the Phoenix campus and 85% on the Albuquerque campus. At the graduate level, Brookline offers an online MSN that prepares students for an entry-level nurse educator position within an academic or healthcare setting. The college also provides an MSN specialization in health systems administration that can be completed online in as little as 12 months. All Brookline students use Lippincott DocuCare software for electronic medical records charting throughout the duration of their studies.


#72: Chandler-Gilbert Community College | Chandler, AZ
The Division of Nursing at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) offers an ADN program that provides clinical experience in a variety of healthcare settings. Approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), the CGCC nursing program prepares approximately 70 students annually to write the NCLEX exam for initial RN licensure. Since the program’s inception in 2010, graduates have achieved a 93% NCLEX exam pass rate, far above the state and national averages.


#73: Galen College of Nursing | San Antonio, TX
With five campuses and an online division, Galen College of Nursing is one of the largest private nursing schools in the United States. The San Antonio campus offers an LVN diploma, an LVN-to-ADN bridge program, a three-year BSN degree, and an online RN-to-BSN completion option. Students have access to laboratories with high-tech patient-simulation mannequins, clinical experiences in a variety of real-world healthcare settings, and classroom technology that enhances learning. The San Antonio LVN and ADN programs each graduate approximately 300 students annually. Since 2015, LVN students have scored an impressive 93% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam, while their ADN counterparts have achieved a solid 87% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.


#74: Baptist Health System School of Health Professions | San Antonio, TX
Baptist Health System School of Health Professions has been training students in healthcare for more than 100 years. The school has two LVN pathways: a traditional one-year diploma and a 12-week option for active duty U.S. Air Force members. Baptist Health System boasts the #1 NCLEX-PN performance in Bexar County, with an impressive first-time pass rate of 91% over the past decade. The school also offers several degree programs including an associate of applied science (AAS) in nursing, an online RN-to-BSN completion program, and an online MSN with a nursing administration concentration. The school’s NCLEX-RN performance is similarly impressive: 175-200 annual graduates have scored a 90% average pass rate since the AAS program’s inception.


#75: Southwestern Adventist University | Keene, TX
Southwestern Adventist University has a Nursing Department renowned for its small class sizes and personalized mentoring. The school’s BSN program offers two prelicensure pathways: a traditional four-year curriculum and an accelerated five-semester LVN-to-BSN bridge. Since the program’s launch, students in these two pathways have scored an 85% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam, including an impressive 93% pass rate since 2016. Southwestern also offers a postlicensure RN-to-BSN pathway that qualified nurses may complete in just one year of full-time study. The Nursing Department recently received a grant from the Ardmore Institute of Health to expand its health and lifestyle education efforts within the local community.