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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 West rankings: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. 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 California, San Francisco | San Francisco, CA
For the past decade, UCSF School of Nursing has placed among the top two nursing schools in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The school’s master of science in nursing (MSN) program offers 15 specialty areas, including several clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and nurse practitioner (NP) roles. UCSF conducts a master’s entry program which prepares non-nurses for initial licensure; graduates have achieved an outstanding National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) pass rate of 94% since 2008. The university also has an online master’s degree in healthcare administration and interprofessional leadership, as well as doctor of philosophy (PhD) tracks in both nursing and sociology.


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


#3: Oregon Health & Science University | Portland, OR
OHSU School of Nursing is one of the state’s largest nursing schools, with an enrollment of 1,100 students across five campuses (Portland, Ashland, Monmouth, La Grande, Klamath Falls) and online. OHSU offers a traditional BSN at all five campuses, an accelerated BSN in Portland and Ashland with seamless MSN/DNP transition, and an RN-to-BSN program in Portland and online. Traditional BSN students have achieved an NCLEX pass rate of 90-95% in each of the past five years. Accelerated BSN students have fared even better, consistently posting 93-99% NCLEX pass rates. OHSU offers graduate specialties in nurse anesthesia, nurse midwifery, and four NP roles: family, adult gerontology acute care, psychiatric mental health, and pediatric.


#4: University of Utah | Salt Lake City, UT
The University of Utah College of Nursing produces 250-300 graduates annually across its many nursing programs. Prelicensure BSN students have achieved an impressive first-time NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of 94% since 2010. The college also offers an RN-to-BSN completion program for existing registered nurses; MSN focuses in care management, education, and informatics; and six DNP subspecialties, including five NP roles and nurse midwifery. The University of Utah’s distance PhD program has both BSN-to-PhD and MSN-to-PhD tracks. Indeed, the College of Nursing ranked #2 nationwide in 2015 NIH funding for nursing research.


#5: Seattle University | Seattle, WA
The Seattle University College of Nursing offers a unique nursing curriculum that combines local and international nursing education. Students may take single academic courses abroad or enroll in a short- or long-term study abroad experience. Locations run the gamut from South America to Africa to Australia. The college offers a four-year BSN program as well as traditional and non-nurse immersion pathways to a DNP degree. Prelicensure students perform well on the NCLEX exam: over the past decade, 88% of BSN students and 94% of graduate immersion students passed the exam on their first attempt. Graduate students can choose from several nurse practitioner specializations, nurse midwifery, or advanced community public health nursing.


#6: University of Portland | Portland, OR
The University of Portland School of Nursing awards BSN, MSN, and DNP degrees. The baccalaureate program incorporates study abroad experiences in countries like Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Tanzania. UP produces approximately 200 BSN graduates annually who have averaged a solid 89% NCLEX pass rate since 2008. The graduate program employs a convenient hybrid delivery model of monthly immersion weekends and online learning modules. UP offers an MSN degree with clinical nurse leader and nurse educator tracks, as well as a DNP program with a family nurse practitioner population focus.


#7: Samuel Merritt University | Oakland, CA
Samuel Merritt University has prepared professional nurses for a century. Undergraduates can enroll in either a traditional or accelerated BSN program. Across the two pathways, SMU graduates 350-400 BSN students each year who have passed the NCLEX exam at an 88% rate since 2008. Just as impressively, the school’s entry-level MSN program, which graduates 80-100 students annually, has a 90% NCLEX exam pass rate over that same time period. MSN students may prepare for careers as a case manager, certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), or family nurse practitioner. The university also offers a DNP degree with an FNP specialization. All SMU nursing students have access to global medical mission opportunities as well as the Health Sciences Simulation Center, one of the region’s most advanced healthcare simulation facilities.


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


#9: Pacific Lutheran University | Tacoma, WA
The School of Nursing at Pacific Lutheran University offers a top-tier MSN program with several entry points and specializations. Entry points include the traditional post-BSN program, an RN-to-MSN pathway for nurses with a bachelor’s degree in another field, and an entry-level program for non-nurses. Students can specialize as either an advanced generalist or a clinical nurse leader. The entry-level MSN program is select, admitting just twenty candidates each year, and its students have maintained an exceptional 97% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past decade. The School of Nursing also offers two BSN pathways – traditional and LPN bridge – as well as a DNP program that prepares aspiring FNPs and PMHNPs. Approximately 80 BSN graduates each year consistently achieve NCLEX exam pass rates of 90-98%.


#10: Western University of Health Sciences | Pomona, CA
The College of Graduate Nursing (CGN) at Western University of Health Sciences launched the nation’s first online curriculum for family nurse practitioners. The school also established the first DNP and direct-entry MSN programs in Southern California. CGN’s direct-entry MSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a strong 90% rate over the past decade, including a 100% pass rate during the 2012-13 academic year. In addition to direct entry, the MSN program offers a bridge option for RNs with an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN). MSN students can choose to specialize as administrative nurse leaders, clinical nurse leaders, ambulatory care nurses, or family nurse practitioners. A post-master’s FNP certificate is also available.


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


#12: Loma Linda University | Loma Linda, CA
At Loma Linda University, students have access to the largest medical simulation center in the United States. They are also proximally located to Loma Linda University Medical Center, which hosts some of the nation’s largest clinical programs. Undergraduate pathways include the traditional BSN, accelerated BSN for non-nursing degree-holders, LVN-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN. The prelicensure pathways have grown rapidly in recent years: LLU graduated over 150 new BSN-educated nurses during the 2014-15 academic year, and graduates have earned a solid NCLEX pass rate of 86% since 2008. The university also offers MSN tracks for aspiring CRNAs, nurse administrators, and nurse educators, in addition to DNP and nursing PhD programs.


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


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


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


#16: University of San Francisco | San Francisco, CA
The USF School of Nursing and Health Professions was the first California institution to offer a DNP for working nurses. The school also offers prelicensure BSN and MSN programs, an online MSN program with two entry points (post-ADN, post-BSN), and a traditional campus-based MSN program at several locations in the San Francisco and Sacramento metropolitan areas. USF’s combined “4+1” bachelor’s and master’s program culminates with an MSN-CNL, master of public health (MPH), MS in behavioral health, or MS in health informatics. Prelicensure students consistently perform well on their licensure exams: since 2008, 87% of BSN graduates and 89% of direct-entry MSN graduates have passed the NCLEX-RN exam on their first try.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


#24: Gonzaga University | Spokane, WA
Gonzaga University’s School of Nursing & Human Physiology offers a variety of baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral nursing programs. Undergraduates can pursue a traditional prelicensure BSN; admission occurs during freshman year and is highly competitive. Not surprisingly, BSN students perform exceptionally well on the NCLEX licensure exam, posting a 93% first-time pass rate since 2010. Gonzaga’s MSN program is offered entirely online, featuring three entry points (traditional, post-ADN, second master’s) and three specialty tracks (health systems leadership, family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner). The university offers two doctoral nursing programs: a doctor of nurse anesthesia practice (DNAP) ranked in the top 20 nationally by U.S. News & World Report, and an online DNP.


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


#26: University of Southern California | Los Angeles, CA
The University of Southern California conducts an online MSN. Offered through the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, the MSN is designed for RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree and have at least one year of clinical experience. This evidence-based nursing program prepares family nurse practitioners to provide comprehensive care to individuals and communities. Students will complete clinical experiences at family practices, pediatric offices, urgent care facilities, internal medicine clinics, and community health clinics. Graduates of the program are trained to offer integrative care to infants, children, adolescents, and adults throughout their lives.


#27: Regis University | Denver, CO
The Loretto Heights School of Nursing (LHSON) offers a broad range of nursing degree and certificate programs. Undergraduates can choose one of five BSN pathways: traditional, accelerated (for non-nursing college graduates), CHOICE (for individuals working in healthcare), RN-to-BSN, or RN-to-BSN/MSN. Across the three prelicensure pathways, BSN graduates have maintained a strong 93% NCLEX exam pass rate since 2012. The graduate nursing department provides MSN tracks in education, management, family nurse practitioner, and neonatal nurse practitioner, as well as graduate certificates in most of these fields. LHSON also leads a two- to three-year DNP program that students may complete 100% online.


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


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


#30: Westminster College | Salt Lake City, UT
Westminster College’s School of Nursing & Health Sciences accepts a class of 90 prelicensure BSN students each year. Since 2010, these students have maintained an impressive NCLEX pass rate of 92%. The BSN curriculum covers important topics like community health, critical care, gerontology, leadership, medical / surgical care, obstetrics, pediatrics, and psychiatric care. The school also offers an RN-to-BSN completion program, master’s degrees for aspiring family nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists, and an FNP graduate certificate. Westminster’s master of science in nurse anesthesia (MSNA) program is the only such curriculum in the Intermountain West region.


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


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


#33: Seattle Pacific University | Seattle, WA
Seattle Pacific University’s School of Health Sciences has educated thousands of nursing graduates over the past eighty years. SPU students have access to clinical rotations at premier local institutions like Harborview Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital. They can also engage in study abroad opportunities; past destinations have included Guatemala, Ireland, and Vietnam. The School of Health Sciences offers a traditional upper-division nursing major, an MSN program, and a recently launched DNP program. Undergraduates have enjoyed a solid NCLEX pass rate of 87% over the past decade. MSN students can choose from two specialty pathways (clinical leadership in practice, nurse educator), and DNP students can choose from three specialty pathways (clinical nurse specialist, adult / gerontology nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner).


#34: Sonoma State University | Rohnert Park, CA
The Department of Nursing at Sonoma State University has educated more than 4,000 nurse professionals over the past forty years. Undergraduate pathways include a traditional four-year BSN program and an ADN-to-BSN Collaborative Nursing Education Continuum Model (CNECM) offered in partnership with Napa Valley College, College of Marin, Santa Rosa Junior College, Solano Community College, and Mendocino College. The university graduates 10-40 students annually from the traditional BSN program, with an impressive 95% NCLEX-RN exam pass rate since 2008. Graduate nursing students can pursue an MSN degree or a post-master’s certificate with an FNP emphasis.


#35: University of Colorado, Colorado Springs | Colorado Springs, CO
UCCS’s Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences has one of the top online MSN programs in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report. In fact, the school earned a perfect 100 score for its distance-learning student services and technology. The MSN program prepares students as primary care nurse practitioners, with two population foci: adult / gerontology and family. UCCS also offers an online DNP degree and four BSN pathways: traditional, accelerated, RN-to-BSN, and dual enrollment. The college graduates approximately 100 prelicensure BSN students each year, achieving an impressive NCLEX-RN pass rate of 92% since 2012.


#36: San Jose State University | San Jose, CA
SJSU’s Valley Foundation School of Nursing offers several nursing education pathways. Undergraduates may pursue a traditional BSN, an RN-to-BSN completion program, or a unique post-baccalaureate Wound & Ostomy Education Program. The latter option prepares WOC nurses for certification by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board. More broadly, SJSU graduates 100-150 prelicensure BSN students annually who have enjoyed an impressive NCLEX pass rate of over 92% since 2016. Graduate options include a doctoral program jointly offered with CSU Fresno, dubbed the CSU Northern California Consortium DNP.


#37: Brandman University | Irvine, CA
Brandman University is home to the Marybelle and S. Paul Musco School of Nursing and Health Professions. The school is known for blending advanced technology and immersive learning: most coursework is delivered online, with students gathering periodically for three- to five-day sessions at the school’s high-tech Immersive Learning and Simulation Center. Brandman offers an RN-to-BSN completion program and five NP specialties: adult-gerontology acute care, adult-gerontology primary care, family health, pediatric acute care, and psychiatric / mental health. Each NP specialty may be pursued through either a BSN-to-DNP degree program or a post-doctoral certificate program.


#38: Point Loma Nazarene University | San Diego, CA
The School of Nursing at Point Loma Nazarene University offers several unique opportunities. These include a study abroad program which Open Doors ranked #15 in the nation, the LoveWorks short-term mission program, and a Health Promotion Center which serves residents of City Heights, a low-income multicultural area of San Diego. BSN candidates can pursue a traditional, LVN-to-BSN, or RN-to-BSN pathway to their degree. Graduates of the BSN program have consistently scored well on their licensure exams, with a strong 90% NCLEX pass rate since 2008. PLNU also conducts an MSN degree program with a general track and three CNS specializations: adult / gerontology, family / individual health, and pediatrics.


#39: West Coast University | Los Angeles, CA
West Coast University operates two campuses in Los Angeles – the North Hollywood nursing school and the downtown Center for Graduate Studies – with additional sites in Orange County and Ontario. The school’s modern campuses feature LEED buildings and state-of-the-art simulation centers. Traditional BSN and LVN-to-BSN degree programs are available in all three cities. The BSN program has grown rapidly since its recent launch, with over 1,000 graduates annually over the last three years. Nonetheless, students maintain solid NCLEX pass rates: 94% of the most recent class passed the exam on their first attempt. WCU also offers a wealth of online nursing programs including RN-to-BSN, RN-to-MSN, four MSN tracks, and an FNP certificate.


#40: University of Nevada, Reno | Reno, NV
The Orvis School of Nursing is the oldest nursing school in Nevada. As a land-grant institution, the school serves the people of Nevada and the professional community at large. Degree pathways include a traditional BSN, an RN-to-BSN completion program, five MSN tracks, a dual MSN/MPH degree, and a DNP program. Approximately 125 traditional BSN students graduate each year, and they have passed the NCLEX exam at an impressive 92% rate over the past decade. Graduate students can pursue certification as a nurse educator, clinical nurse leader, or nurse practitioner in the fields of adult-gerontology, family, and psychiatric-mental health.


#41: Roseman University of Health Sciences | Henderson, NV
Since its 1999 founding as the Nevada College of Pharmacy, Roseman University of Health Sciences has educated more than 2,500 healthcare professionals. The College of Nursing offers an 18-month traditional BSN and a 16-month accelerated BSN at its campuses in Henderson, NV and South Jordan, UT. An innovative Veteran-to-BSN curriculum and a recently launched nine-month RN-to-BSN program are also available. Prelicensure BSN students from both campuses have averaged a strong 91% NCLEX-RN exam pass rate over the past seven years.


#42: University of Washington Bothell | Bothell, WA
The School of Nursing & Health Studies at the University of Washington Bothell offers bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and master of nursing (MN) programs. The BSN degree has two tracks: a traditional RN-to-BSN program for transfer students who have already completed an ADN and hold an active RN license, and a first-year entry RN-to-BSN program for university freshman students. This dual-enrollment program between UW Bothell and the nursing program at Everett Community College allows students to graduate with an ADN from EvCC and a BSN from UW Bothell. Both BSN tracks have hybrid and in-person options. The university’s MN program is offered in a hybrid format, meeting twice per month on Fridays with self-directed online activities during the remaining weeks.


#43: University of Washington Tacoma | Tacoma, WA
UW Tacoma has two programs for aspiring nurses: an RN-to-BSN offering and an MSN degree. The RN-to-BSN curriculum supports registered nurses in their professional development with a broad range of relevant coursework. Popular courses include Clinical Nursing Phenomena; Diversity, Health, & Inequities; Ethical Issues in Healthcare; and Genetics, Genomics, & Nursing Practice. The MSN program has two curriculum options: leader in healthcare delivery and nurse educator. The 47-credit-hour program may be completed in just seven quarters, which includes two quarters of fieldwork.


#44: University of Northern Colorado | Greeley, CO
The UNC School of Nursing offers online and on-campus programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate options include traditional BSN, second-degree BSN, and RN-to-BSN completion programs. UNC’s prelicensure BSN students have earned remarkably strong and consistent scores on the NCLEX licensure exam, passing at an 88-98% rate for twelve consecutive years. Graduate students can pursue certification as an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner or a family nurse practitioner through the university’s MSN degree, post-MSN certificate, or DNP degree programs. The School of Nursing also offers clinical nurse leader (MSN) and nursing education (certificate or PhD) emphases.


#45: California State University, Fullerton | Fullerton, CA
The School of Nursing at California State University, Fullerton has several graduate programs ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report, including nurse midwifery and nurse anesthesia. Numerous other degree options are available, including LVN-to-BSN, traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, four MSN specializations (leadership, nurse educator, school nursing, women’s healthcare), and a post-master’s DNP program. CSU Fullerton also offers a school nurse services credential (SNSC) and a post-SNSC MSN pathway for those who already hold the credential. Since 2009, graduates of the traditional and accelerated BSN programs have collectively passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam at a solid 89% rate.


#46: Carroll College | Helena, MT
The Department of Nursing at Carroll College offers a unique BSN program that allows students to begin clinical experiences during sophomore year rather than junior year. This enables graduates to leave the program with three years of diverse clinical rotations to their credit. Carroll College also incorporates global outreach into its nursing curriculum. Recent classes have studied abroad in India and attended the International Public Health Nursing Conference in Ireland. Approximately 35-40 students graduate from the Carroll College BSN program each spring. They have achieved a strong 92% NCLEX pass rate since 2008, and several recent classes have reached 100% employment within six months of graduation.


#47: George Fox University | Newberg, OR
The School of Nursing at George Fox University prepares students to work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including acute care, cardiology, nursing education, and medical missions. The BSN program takes four years to complete and admission is highly competitive, with only 48 students admitted each fall semester. George Fox complements its comprehensive BSN curriculum with strong extracurriculars, including a robust student nursing club that meets biweekly and a nationally recognized study abroad program. Since 2010, School of Nursing graduates have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at an average first-time rate of 89%.


#48: Brigham Young University - Idaho | Rexburg, ID
The Department of Nursing at BYU Idaho (formerly Ricks College) began in 1957, when the school launched its ADN program. Since then, the institution has educated thousands of aspiring nurses. Today, BYU Idaho offers a prelicensure BSN program and an RN-to-BSN completion pathway. Admission is very competitive: the Department of Nursing admits just 48 students per semester, typically accepting 30% of applicants. Not surprisingly, graduates consistently perform well on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam, with an 88% pass rate over the past several academic years. The RN-to-BSN program is conducted entirely online, requiring three to six consecutive semesters of coursework depending upon the student’s academic background.


#49: California State University, Fresno | Fresno, CA
The School of Nursing at California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) offers a traditional prelicensure BSN program, an MSN degree, and a DNP program. Over the past decade, BSN graduates achieved a noteworthy NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of 87%. The MSN has two options: CNS/NE or primary care/NP. Several credential options are also available: a post-baccalaureate school nurse services credential, a post-master’s PMHNP, or a post-master’s NP. Part of the College of Health and Human Services, the School of Nursing at Fresno State offers a variety of clinical placements at major hospitals such as St. Agnes Medical Center and the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center.


#50: Utah Valley University | Orem, UT
Utah Valley University emphasizes holistic nursing and collaborative care throughout its nursing curriculum. The UVU Department of Nursing enrolls approximately 250 students across its ADN, RN-to-BSN, and MSN programs. Prelicensure candidates must begin by completing the ADN program. Approximately eighty students do so annually, with a strong NCLEX pass rate of 90% since 2010. Nurses may then progress to the RN-to-BSN program, which is offered entirely online to accommodate both full-time and part-time schedules. BSN-educated nurses can enroll in the university’s MSN program, which prepares students for a nurse educator role in either an academic setting or a healthcare institution.


#51: National University | San Diego, CA
National University is the first academic institution in the world to pursue and achieve Planetree Recognition. The School of Health and Human Services offers ten programs within the Department of Nursing, spanning the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate options include a traditional BSN, a post-bachelor’s BSN, an LVN-to-BSN pathway, and an online RN-to-BSN. Graduate offerings include traditional MSN and nurse anesthesia MSN degrees. Post-graduate FNP and PMHNP certificates are also available online. National University produces 200-300 prelicensure BSN graduates annually, and these students have achieved a noteworthy 88% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam over the past decade.


#52: Mount Saint Mary’s University | Los Angeles, CA
Mount Saint Mary’s University launched the first BSN program in the state of California. Today, this women’s university offers a variety of pathways for earning an ADN, BSN, or MSN degree. The ADN program is designed for working adults, with classes and clinicals in an evening and weekend format. MSMU graduates 80-100 ADN students each year, with a 79% NCLEX pass rate since 2008. The BSN program offers three pathways (traditional, accelerated, RN-to-BSN) and enables students to earn a California Public Health Nursing Certificate as well as licensure. BSN graduates have also posted an NCLEX pass rate of almost 80% since 2008. The MSN program features specialty tracks for an aspiring adult-gerontology CNS, nurse educator, or nursing administrator.


#53: California State University, Sacramento | Sacramento, CA
The Sacramento State School of Nursing enrolls more than 550 students across its BSN and MSN programs. The BSN curriculum offers two pathways: a traditional four-year degree and an RN-to-BSN completion program. Approximately 100-180 students graduate from the traditional BSN program each year. They have achieved an NCLEX pass rate of 96% since 2008, an amazing streak for a program of this size. The RN-to-BSN pathway includes an innovative collaboration with three local community colleges to facilitate seamless transition from ADN to BSN. Sacramento State’s MSN program prepares BSN-educated nurses for advanced practice roles in administration, clinical practice, education, and school nursing.


#54: California State University, Chico | Chico, CA
CSU Chico’s School of Nursing serves the rural communities of Northern California in several innovative ways. In addition to RN refresher courses, the university operates a Rural California Nursing Preceptorship Program that provides nursing students with rural and semi-rural clinical experiences. CSU Chico also administers the Rural Northern California Clinical Simulation Center Partnership, dubbed the Rural SimCenter. The School of Nursing graduates 60-80 prelicensure BSN students in each class. These students have consistently achieved a stellar NCLEX pass rate of 92-97% since 2011. CSU Chico also offers an online RN-to-BSN completion program and an online MSN program with nurse educator and nurse leader tracks.


#55: San Francisco State University | San Francisco, CA
As part of SFSU’s commitment to social justice, most of the School of Nursing’s community health practicums are located in underserved San Francisco neighborhoods. The university offers three BSN pathways: a traditional BSN on the SFSU campus, a traditional BSN on the Cañada College campus in Redwood City, and an RN-to-BSN program. Since 2008, prelicensure BSN graduates have scored a solid NCLEX pass rate of 83%. The MSN program also has three pathways: entry-level, accelerated entry-level, and traditional. Entry-level students have performed even better on the NCLEX exam, with an 87% pass rate since 2008. The MSN curriculum includes CNS, administration, public health, and FNP emphasis areas.


#56: Boise State University | Boise, ID
Boise State University’s School of Nursing sits within the College of Health Sciences. Students here can complete a traditional prelicensure BSN degree, an RN-to-BSN pathway, an MSN degree with AGNP specialization, or a DNP degree. MSN students and practicing NPs can also earn a certificate in either acute care or primary care adult gerontology. Coursework for the RN-to-BSN, MSN, and certificate programs is available online. Boise State’s traditional BSN students perform well on the NCLEX licensure exam, typically passing at a rate of 92% or higher. The most recent cohort of MSN graduates achieved a 100% pass rate on the AGNP board exam.


#57: Northwest Nazarene University | Nampa, ID
Northwest Nazarene University’s Department of Nursing provides undergraduate, degree completion, and graduate programs in professional nursing. NNU’s traditional BSN program includes clinical experiences throughout the Treasure Valley, state-of-the-art equipment in the Thomas Family Health and Science Center, and an annual medical mission trip to places like Ghana, Nicaragua, Peru, and the Ukraine. The school boasts a 96% first-time NCLEX pass rate. Existing RNs may pursue either a BSN degree or an MSN degree entirely online. The MSN curriculum offers an emphasis in either Leadership & Education or Family Nurse Practitioner, and it accommodates the entry of both BSN- and ADN-educated nurses.


#58: Vanguard University | Costa Mesa, CA
Vanguard University launched its first nursing program in 2006. Since then, the school has added several additional programs including a prelicensure BSN, an RN-to-BSN pathway, an MSN degree, and a post-master’s adult gerontology CNS certificate. The prelicensure BSN is designed for freshman and transfer students who are not licensed RNs. The RN-to-BSN is for students currently enrolled in an ADN dual enrollment program at another institution who seek to complete a bachelor’s degree. The MSN is for licensed RNs who already hold a bachelor’s degree, while the twenty-week CNS certificate is for licensed RNs who already hold a master’s degree.


#59: California Baptist University | Riverside, CA
Students at California Baptist University’s College of Nursing have the opportunity to donate their time, resources, and care through community outreach programs that provide services such as feeding the homeless. Students distribute clothing and food, participate in disaster preparedness, and travel overseas to work alongside nationals in education and health training. The college’s offerings include BSN, entry-level MSN (ELMSN), traditional MSN, and DNP degree programs. Post-master’s certification is also available in five distinct specializations. Since 2008, BSN graduates have achieved an 84% first-time NCLEX exam pass rate. Their colleagues in the ELMSN program have enjoyed an 87% pass rate over the same time period.


#60: Walla Walla University | College Place, WA
Walla Walla University offers a traditional undergraduate prelicensure program leading to a BSN degree. Students spend the first two years of the program at the university’s College Place campus, where they complete general studies, nursing cognates, and nursing courses. The final two years are centered at the Portland nursing campus, where students integrate advanced nursing coursework with clinical experience. Walla Walla University graduates a BSN class of approximately 60 students each year. These students have consistently outperformed state and national averages on their licensure exams, posting a 92% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The class of 2017 passed the exam at an impressive 97% rate.


#61: Hawaii Pacific University | Honolulu, HI
The College of Health and Society at Hawaii Pacific University has three degree programs for aspiring nurses: BSN, MSN, and DNP. Post-graduate APRN certificates are also available in the fields of adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP) and family nurse practitioner (FNP). All programs provide hands-on education through clinical placement at healthcare facilities throughout Oahu. Nursing students supplement this clinical training at HPU’s Experiential Learning Center, where they are exposed to planned simulations modeled on real-world medical scenarios. HPU graduates approximately 150 students annually from its undergraduate program. Since 2010, these students have maintained approximately a 75% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN initial licensure examination.


#62: Concordia University Irvine | Irvine, CA
The nursing program at Concordia University has a new campus, known as Park Place Campus, which features a large skills lab, three simulation labs with sophisticated mannequins, additional classrooms, and a nursing station where students can practice hands-on nursing skills. The school offers an MSN degree and several BSN pathways, including LVN-to-BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN. Students in all programs will complete a curriculum designed around Dr. Jean Watson’s philosophy of caring in nursing, while working closely with faculty role models. Since 2009, prelicensure BSN graduates have achieved an excellent 93% NCLEX-RN exam pass rate.


#63: University of Hawaii at Hilo | Hilo, HI
The School of Nursing at the University of Hawaii at Hilo offers a BSN program with two pathways (traditional, RN-to-BSN) and a DNP program with two pathways (post-BSN, post-MSN). The undergraduate program features a learning lab with low- and high-fidelity manikins in a simulated hospital environment, several rural clinical learning experiences, and the opportunity to engage in health-related projects in the community. Since 2010, BSN graduates have achieved an 84% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam. Graduate students develop the skills to assume leadership roles in a variety of healthcare settings, with a stated focus on improving healthcare delivery for diverse individuals, families, and communities.


#64: Northwest University | Kirkland, WA
The Mark and Huldah Buntain School of Nursing offers a unique program that sends every nursing major to another country for a month of experiential learning. Recent classes have traveled to India, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, and several countries in Africa. Each undergraduate cohort of 48 students is instructed with top-notch equipment in a robust network of local hospitals such as Providence, Swedish, Seattle Children’s, Evergreen, and Overlake. Over the past decade, these BSN students have achieved an excellent 93% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam. In addition to the traditional undergraduate degree, Northwest University also offers online RN-to-BSN and MSN programs.


#65: California State University, San Bernardino | San Bernardino, CA
The Department of Nursing at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) offers a traditional prelicensure BSN, an RN-to-BSN pathway for California-licensed RNs, and a hybrid online MSN program with several specializations. For the past decade, the traditional BSN program has produced 100-150 graduates annually. These students have enjoyed a solid NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of 85%. CSUSB’s graduate tracks include a population-based MSN, a nurse educator MSN, and an advanced community/public health nursing MSN. These specializations require an additional 57, 65, and 71 units of study, respectively, above the core MSN course load of 51 units.


#66: Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing | Portland, OR
Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing is a partnership between Linfield College and Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center. The school offers a transfer-only BSN program on its Portland campus. Students apply to the nursing program after completing prerequisites at Linfield College’s McMinnville campus, another four-year college or university, or their local community college. Students receive a community-focused curriculum that integrates clinical nursing experience with courses in the humanities, laboratory sciences, and social sciences. The BSN program graduates approximately 200 students annually, with a solid 86% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade and a stellar 94% NCLEX pass rate in 2017.


#67: California State University, Stanislaus | Turlock, CA
The School of Nursing at California State University, Stanislaus (Stanislaus State) offers seven degree pathways. Options include a traditional BSN, an LVN-to-BSN pathway, an RN-to-BSN track for local nurses with an associate’s degree, an online RN-to-BSN with 24/7 accessibility, an accelerated second BSN (ASBSN), an MSN program, and an MSN degree with FNP concentration. All nursing students will participate in the School of Nursing Simulation Program. Simulation is integrated into the School of Nursing curriculum to provide experiential learning opportunities throughout the program. Over the past decade, prelicensure BSN graduates achieved an outstanding NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of 96%.


#68: Western Washington University | Bellingham, WA
Western Washington University has an RN-to-BSN program that blends online and face-to-face coursework. Exclusively offered as a transfer degree, the RN-to-BSN delivers 45 upper-division credits through class meetings held one full day per week. The program may be completed in four quarters on a full-time basis or eight quarters on a part-time basis. Students learn concepts in the classroom during the first half of the curriculum, and then they apply these concepts through practice experiences in the second half of the curriculum. WWU graduates have been hired at many local medical centers including Skagit Valley Hospital, Providence Medical Group & Hospital, and PeaceHealth General Hospital.


#69: University of Alaska Anchorage | Anchorage, AK
The School of Nursing at the University of Alaska Anchorage launched its first undergraduate nursing program in 1971. Today, the school offers traditional ADN, LPN-to-ADN, traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN, and DNP programs. Students in the MSN program may choose between the family NP and psychiatric-mental health NP specializations. The DNP is in the process of transitioning to a BSN-to-DNP, with plans to admit its first cohort of students in fall 2019. Prelicensure students consistently perform well on the NCLEX exam, including an 87% ADN pass rate and an 89% BSN pass rate over the past three years. Some recent NP classes have achieved a perfect 100% pass rate on their certification exams.


#70: Southern Utah University | Cedar City, UT
Southern Utah University’s Department of Nursing is part of the Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science and Engineering. Aspiring nurses can earn a prelicensure BSN degree, while ADN- or diploma-prepared RNs can complete an RN-to-BSN program. The prelicensure BSN is a four-year program that features immersive clinicals at local hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Approximately fifty annual graduates have scored a 90% NCLEX pass rate or higher for an impressive seven consecutive years. The RN-to-BSN program employs a blended approach to teaching and learning, with classes delivered both online and on campus.


#71: Idaho State University | Pocatello, ID
The College of Nursing at Idaho State University offers six distinct nursing programs. Undergraduate pathways include a traditional BSN, an accelerated BSN, and an RN-to-BSN program. The traditional BSN targets students with no nursing experience, and it offers a special entry point for LPNs. The accelerated BSN is for career switchers who hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline. ISU’s graduate options include MSN, DNP, and nursing PhD programs. The MSN is focused on nursing education and delivered entirely online. The DNP offers specializations in family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Both the DNP and PhD programs offer full-time and part-time schedules.


#72: California State University, Dominguez Hills | Carson, CA
The School of Nursing at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) resides in the College of Health, Human Services, and Nursing. The nursing program accepts registered nurses or students who are currently enrolled in a community college nursing program. Options include a pre-BSN dual enrollment program, an RN-to-BSN pathway, and an MSN degree with administrator, educator, CNS parent-child, and FNP specializations. A post-master’s certificate in nursing education is available, as well as a specialized public health nurse certificate for RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing.


#73: Missoula College | Missoula, MT
The ADN program at Missoula College is a competitive two-year pathway that admits just 18 students each autumn and spring semester. The program consists of 73 credits including 14 prerequisite credits, 15 corequisite credits, and 44 credits in nursing core courses. The prerequisite credits can be completed in one semester as a pre-nursing major, followed by four semesters of the core registered nursing courses. For the past three years, ADN graduates have enjoyed a perfect 100% job placement rate and a solid 90% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.


#74: Biola University | La Mirada, CA
Biola University’s Department of Nursing is part of the School of Science, Technology, and Health. The Department offers a traditional prelicensure BSN that was recently ranked sixth on Niche’s list of the Best Colleges for Nursing in California. Program highlights include opportunities for global health experiences in variety of countries and a state-of the-art simulation lab with multiple advanced patient simulators. The simulation lab provides the opportunity for students to experience a variety of clinical realities, from the intensive care unit to the delivery suite. Over the past decade, BSN graduates of Biola University’s Department of Nursing achieved a noteworthy NCLEX-RN exam pass rate of 85%.


#75: Ameritech College of Healthcare | Draper, UT
In its 35 years of service, Ameritech has built a reputation as one of Utah’s leaders in registered nursing education. The college’s ADN program provides an accelerated pathway to a nursing career, with graduation possible in just 18 months. Ameritech uses a complex human patient simulator to enhance critical thinking, and students must complete 435 clinical hours during their studies. The ADN program graduates 150-200 students annually; they perform extremely well on both their licensure exams (90% NCLEX pass rate since 2012) and their employment search (93% job placement rate). Ameritech also offers an online RN-to-BSN bridge program, which enables existing RNs to complete their baccalaureate education in as little as 12 months. This degree completion program boasts an 86% student retention rate and a 92% job placement rate.