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The Top 50 Best Nursing Schools In 2016

best nursing schoolsFrom hospitals to doctor’s offices, the demand for qualified nurses is growing. According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics, nursing demand will grow at 19% faster than other occupations in the country. Quality education is necessary for students who searching how to become a registered nurse.

We’ve reviewed the 50 best nursing schools and ranked them based on their ability to provide an exceptional education to interested students.

Top Nursing Programs

State law determines what licensing requirements are necessary for nursing positions. As a Registered Nurse, individuals need to obtain a degree through an accredited program in one of three ways: Through a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN), a diploma from a nursing program, or through an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN).

Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in 2016

If you want to see the list of the 50 best nursing schools just keep reading.

School NameNCLEX-RN Pass RateAcceptance Rate
California State University at Sacramento97.39%69.7%
University of Pennsylvania93.5%65%
Johns Hopkins University93%52%
University of California - San Francisco97%57%
University of Washington 89%61%
Simmons College93.9%52.2%
Molloy College

75.5%75.4%
New York University91%35%
Villanova University 90.1%39%
Georgia Regents University89.8%44%

Nursing Licensing Requirements

All states require Registered Nurses to hold a license approved through the National Council Licensure Exam or NCLEX-RN. The requirements for licensing varies by state. Individuals should contact their state board for specific educational requirements or through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. To obtain certification, nurses can also pursue professional association alignment. This may allow for specialization in various areas such as pediatrics, ambulatory care or gerontology. This specialized verification is not required but does create a more impressive resume.

Employment Outlook and Salary Expectations

The median annual wage for a registered nurse in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics was as follows, based on specialization.

  • Health diagnosing and treating practitioners: $73,410
  • Hospitals: $67,210
  • Government-related industries: $68,540
  • Home health care providers: $62,090
  • Nursing and residential care providers: $58,830

The top 10% of registered nurses earned $94,720. The overall median wage for 2012 was $65,470.

The 50 Best Nursing Schools in 2016

Rank: 1

California State University at Sacramento

California State University at Sacramento offers a comprehensive nursing program with an impressively versatile number of nursing specializations. With a focus on innovation, but as one of the most diverse schools in the area, CSU provides a driven, modern nursing program. The registered nursing program is one option, but the school also offers an RN to BSN, graduate, LVN to RN, and several other program options.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.39%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: BSN: 120 units
  • Admission Requirements: Students will need to meet specific admission course requirements, be a state resident, completed their previous educational requirements to reach a bachelor level, and have a cumulative GPA of 2.6 or higher. Those working as RNs will have priority in obtaining a spot within the program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 69.7%
  • Tuition: $6748 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 2

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania offers a comprehensive nursing program with numerous student research opportunities. The school works along with leading, local hospitals including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, two of the highest ranked hospitals in the country, to provide nursing education and hands-on training. The school very much focuses on innovative new science technologies and tools.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.5%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 50 units
  • Admission Requirements: ACT or SAT testing, transcripts, and completion of high school level education are required. The official application includes a counselor recommendation as well. Program eligibility does not necessary guarantee enrollment since nursing program slots are limited.
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Tuition: $49536 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 3

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University is well respected as a leader in both undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees. The school is ranked highly by the National Research Council for its Ph.D. program and sixth in the country for the productivity of the faculty. Additionally, 30% of the school’s ranked faculty members are Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing. Numerous programs, advanced educational opportunities, supportive financial aid programs, and the ability to work at the top hospitals in the country make Johns Hopkins University an ideal choice for anyone pursuing nursing.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 56 credits
  • Admission Requirements: Limited positions are available within the Johns Hopkins Nursing Program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 52%
  • Tuition: $54,864 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 4

University of California – San Francisco

The University of California – San Francisco is consistently rated as one of the top performing RN schools in the United States. This stems from its diverse nursing offerings, focus on the development of leaders, not just nurses, and the use of innovative tools to provide advanced nursing programs. Some of its most significant graduate programs include the Master of Science and Masters Entry Program in Nursing. The school also offers an Online MS Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership program that enables currently registered nurses to further advance their studies from home.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 11 semesters
  • Admission Requirements: Aside from standard requirements regarding education, the school specifically aims to enroll students who are diverse, innovators, and those who show inquisitiveness.
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%
  • Tuition: $16,810.00 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 5

University of Washington

The University of Washington’s School of Nursing is a top-rated, well-rounded program. The school provides access to BSN, ABSN, MN-CHN, MS-CIPCT, DNP, and Ph.D. programs. There are dozens of tracks nurses can take to further their education into a specialization. Additionally, the school’s Center for Excellence in Nursing Education simulation lab is an outstanding tool for hands-on learning and experience. This helps to set the school apart from others in the field. The facility is state-of-the-art, and the focus is on providing students with the highest quality degree in modern science.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 18 months
  • Admission Requirements: Students must have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0, completed 90 credits of prerequisites before admittance into the nursing program, and must have a minimum of 100 volunteer or paid health care experience hours to apply to the BSN program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 61%
  • Tuition: $11760 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 6

Simmons College

A few key things help Simmons College stand out in the wide range of nursing programs available in the United States. Among those is the ability for students to work in Boston’s leading hospitals (some of which are the highest ranked in the country) as they learn. Both undergraduate and graduate programs are available with special recognition in the school for its MSN program, Nursing MSN Online program, Exercise Science Nutrition and Health Program and its Nutrition and Food BS program.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.9%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 96 credits
  • Admission Requirements: Admission requirements are fewer here, but all students must apply with SAT and ACT scores, transcripts, and documentation of all prerequisites. Courses have limited slots, so early application is beneficial.
  • Acceptance Rate: 52.2%
  • Tuition: $40800 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 7

Molloy College

Molloy College is a fantastic place for interested students to get a hands-on level of experience in undergraduate nursing programs. The school has a state-of-the-art lab for innovative clinical practice and teaches a humanistic focus on nursing. The curriculum focuses on human compassion and respect, not just the medical science involved. Additionally, this multidimensional nursing program gives students the ability to work in specialized fields such as critical care, psychiatry, and pediatrics. Dozens of career path options are present.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 75.5%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 128 hours
  • Admission Requirements: To enter into the nursing program, students need to have a high school diploma or the equivalent, take the SAT and ACT, and take math and reading assessments. Student applications are considered based on qualifications and diversity.
  • Acceptance Rate: 75.4%
  • Tuition: $26980 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 8

New York University

New York University is a highly competitive, well-rounded nursing school with ample opportunities to afford students. The school is ranked third regarding research funding from the National Institutes of Health. Research is an essential component of the school’s overall nursing program. It has become known as a nursing research location where numerous published research and clinical trials have occurred. The BS, MS, DNP and Ph.D. programs are some of the highest rated in the US. Many programs focus on leadership development.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 128 credits
  • Admission Requirements: The school actively recruits for research-focused nursing students. Students applying for the BS degree path need to have completed a baccalaureate degree from an accredited school, maintained a C average, and completed specific prerequisites.
  • Acceptance Rate: 35%
  • Tuition: $47750
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank:9

Villanova University  

The Villanova University nursing program is a critical component of this Catholic-based school. What helps make this school stand out is its numerous program options and diverse range of online educational programs for advancing nurses. Among these programs includes the BSN, MSN with six concentration options, six Post-Masters Concentrations, DNP and Ph.D. programs. It also offers a diverse continuing education program. The easy qualifications and overall advanced science learning paths help make Villanova University a standout option for many students.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.1%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 136 credits
  • Admission Requirements: Completion of high school or the equivalent, SAT or ACT completion, activities resumes showing a focus on healthcare, and formal application into the nursing program are all essential.
  • Acceptance Rate: 39%
  • Tuition: $46966
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 10

Georgia Regents University

Georgia Regents University is an expanding nursing school with a significant amount of improvement occurring in areas of innovation and advances in nursing science. It is also the area’s best academic health center. One key component that helps this program and school to stand out is its collaboration and teamwork focus. While students do learn in the classroom, much of the education happens beyond the classroom in area health care practices and hospital settings. Numerous quality degrees are available including two and four-year offerings. Masters programs include the Post-master Certificate, DNP and Ph.D. nursing programs.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.8%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 16 months
  • Admission Requirements: Students entering into the BSN path will need to have completed core curriculum courses (60 hours) and 60 hours in specialized education.
  • Acceptance Rate: 44%
  • Tuition: $7464 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 11

Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville State University has a fast-paced, hands-on nursing program designed to help students to get into a career quickly. The program options range from BS in Nursing to the RN-BSN track. The school works alongside hospitals in the North Carolina region to provide intense work experiences for individuals. The course selection is difficult with outstanding opportunities for gaining advanced nursing experience and education. These individuals are taught to work hard on the job to meet the needs of patients while also improving nursing as profession.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 81 credits
  • Admission Requirements: Students need to maintain a 2.75 GPA when completing prerequisites. Students will need to take an entrance exam to ensure they qualify for the program. Additional requirements include passing a background and drug screening and submitting transcripts.
  • Acceptance Rate: 30%
  • Tuition: $5241 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 12

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte offers students a dynamic educational experience. With both undergraduate and graduate program options available, students can choose from numerous career paths. The school invests a great deal in upgrading its program to provide students with the most advanced and current information possible. Students get into the community to work in advanced practice settings such as acute care facilities, hospitals, critical care facilities and clinics. The school prides itself on creating nurses that are in demand nationally and internationally. Specifically, the school offers an innovative DNP program focused on leadership and the highest clinical level of study.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 31 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Undergraduates will need to complete prerequisites in core subjects before applying to the nursing program. The school offers a pre-nursing program to ensure students are prepping their education towards the NCLEX test before entrance into the BSN.
  • Acceptance Rate: 64.1%
  • Tuition: $6532 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank:13

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University has a great deal of offerings for students. The school was ranked highly by the National Institutes of Health for its comprehensive educational programs. Degree offerings include undergraduate AASN, LPN-AASN, RN-BSN, LPN to BSN, master degree programs including in Nurse Anesthesia, Adult Health and Family Nurse Practitioner, Doctoral degrees and several certificate programs. A focus on developing hands-on programs is what helps this school to remain one of the top performers in the area regarding nursing graduates.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.4%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 122 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Requirements include completing an entrance exam, maintaining a “C” level on all prerequisite core courses, and demonstrating a desire to work in nursing. Pre-enrollment screenings are conducted on an interview basis with students.
  • Acceptance Rate: 72.4%
  • Tuition: $8050 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 14

The University of Vermont

A few key things help The University of Vermont to stand out. One of those is that it hires teachers and staff that maintain medical licenses and are involved in local healthcare agencies. The school works alongside the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital, the only Level 1 trauma center in the area. It also has a Cancer Center and the only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the area. Students who enroll in the school for nursing education end up working within these high-paced, well-respected hospitals as an essential component of their studies. The school also has a strong research focus, as do the hospitals it serves.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 127 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: The school has specific educational requirements such as maintaining a high GPA and SAT or ACT score. Additionally, students receive one-on-one interviews to discuss opportunities and interest. The school is somewhat selective with limited enrollment.
  • Acceptance Rate: 52%
  • Tuition: $14664 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 15

University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh is ranked number six in the nation by the National Institutes of Health regarding funding for nursing programs. The school offers one of the highest levels of research and clinical, hands-on opportunities for students. The school is also known for its ability to provide innovative and world-class educational programs for students. While the grad school gets a great deal of recognition, the University of Pittsburgh’s undergraduate programs are just as promising. Faculty expertise also ranks highly because individuals are heavily involved in research and development of medical sciences and nursing improvements.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.8%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 124 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Students entering from high school will need to complete core courses first, submit ACT and SAT figures, and apply to the program directly in their second year of education. Numerous science-based prerequisites are required to gain admittance in this nursing program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 53%
  • Tuition: $21770 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 16

Ohio State University

Ohio State University has consistently been ranked highly in grad nursing programs, but also provides a broad range of undergraduate offerings. The school offers some of the most extensive levels of nursing education in a research-based school. Its nursing programs vary widely from Research Centers of Excellence to Leadership Academy for Peak Performance and the Center for Transdisciplinary Evidence-based Practice. The school is also ranked as silver-level status in the HealthLead Workplace accreditation, which shows the school’s commitment to culture and well-being.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.4%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 61 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Individuals must graduate from an accredited high school or the equivalent, complete 30 semester hours of college coursework, maintain a C+ or better in all prerequisite courses and a minimum GPA of 3.2 or higher. It is then required that students to take the Nursing Assistant course before applying to the nursing program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 52%
  • Tuition: $11520 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 17

University of Utah

The University of Utah is a top-rated nursing program for its education, research, and clinical care. The program offers a good deal of unique programs including a Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program, the Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence, and the Intermountain Healthcare Simulation Learning Center, all of which encourage a research-based program. Also important to note is that the school works hard to ensure financial aid is available to ensure most students can be enrolled. The school has seven faculty members that hold an endowed chair funded by donors and ranks in the top ten by the Nursing Informatics and Nursing Midwifery programs.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 16 months
  • Admission Requirements: Admissions are limited and highly competitive. Students must first enroll in the University of Utah and complete the core courses. A physical exam, documentation of CPR training, and additional screenings are necessary to earn enrollment into the College of Nursing.
  • Acceptance Rate: 88%
  • Tuition: $8700 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 18

University of Virginia

Students looking for a school with exceptional clinical site access, the University of Virginia is a good fit. The school focuses on offering “the next generation” of nursing education, which is heavily based on research. The faculty is selected based on experience in the field. The school also offers a focus of interprofessional, innovative, and compassionate care focus. It also teaches nursing creativity and team-focused care. Many students gain on the job experience at the UVA Medical Center, a top-rated medical center in the state.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 120 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Nursing school entrance is available to those who have gained admittance into the University of Virginia and then apply directly to the School of Nursing. Educational requirements include maintaining a “C” average in prerequisites and passing an entrance exam.
  • Acceptance Rate: 16.3%
  • Tuition: $14632 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 19

Case Western Reserve University

As one of the most respected research universities in the country, Case Western Reserve University‘s nursing school, The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, is highly regarded. The school receives grants from the National Institutes of Health, offers a Bridges to the Doctorate training program, and provides a research-focused educational track. Many students who complete their nursing education here move on to work in world-class hospitals or remain in research and clinical trial components. While other schools offer advanced science training, Case tends to be the school producing the studies and creating those programs. These students are also the only ones in the country to start their clinical placement in their third week of the first semester of their first year.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.3%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 125.5 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: This is a highly competitive school requiring some of the highest levels of previous study. Because of its world-renowned reputation as an innovator in the industry, students will need to apply to the school with their best qualifications.
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Tuition: $45384 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 20

University of Alabama at Birmingham

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a well-respected nursing program. The school was ranked in the top five percent of nursing schools for affordability, and it’s master’s specialty tracks are some of the most valuable in the country as well. It’s BSN, Ph.D. and DNP programs are also nationally recognized. Students who enroll in the program will be working in research and clinical-based school. The university is a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center, one of only 10 in the country and 42 in the world. There is a Transformational Research facility and a unique Nurse-Manage Clinical Care facility here. Students also can switch degree programs by enrolling in the Accelerated Masters in Nursing Pathway program.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 120 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: After applying and completing two years at the University of Alabama, students can apply to the nursing program. Those students with completed prerequisites and high GPAs are given priority into the program for upper-division nursing curriculum.
  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Tuition: $11616 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 21

Duke University

Duke University is a world recognized school and its nursing program is top notch. The school earned a high rank from the National League for Nursing Center of Excellence in Nursing Education and was number 10 by the National Institutes of Health Funding and Research in 2014. It was ranked as one of the best nursing schools for men in 2010 by the American Assembly for Men in Nursing. Aside from these qualifications, the diverse program offerings, innovative learning atmosphere, and numerous paths to earning a degree make this a desirable choice for many of today’s most dedicated nursing students.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 16 months
  • Admission Requirements: As a competitive school, students will need to be diligent, proven students. Those applying for the ABSN degree program must have obtained the Graduate Record Exam and achieved a 3.0 or higher GPA during their bachelor degree education.
  • Acceptance Rate: 50%
  • Tuition: $38388 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 22

University of Maryland at Baltimore

Diverse, highly respected, and designed to allow students to face pass into their career, The University of Maryland at Baltimore offers an ideal opportunity. The school offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and online educational paths for students at all levels of experience. The school was ranked at number six in 2015 for its educational programs.However, the school strives to remain affordable and attainable for all students. Known for its hands-on learning and fast paced environment and learning protocol, this school is nationally recognized as a leader builder.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 120 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: To apply, students need to gain acceptance into the University of Maryland and then complete core education maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA. Students who obtain the highest level of success in these core classes and prerequisites are considered for the nursing program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 49%
  • Tuition: $8329 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 23

Rush University

Rush University offers a high-quality nursing program that’s backed by 170 years of experience. It has been at the top of its game in the healthcare industry of Chicago for most of that time. The school offers some key benefits including innovative educational programs for a more hands-on approach. Costs are more moderate than other big name programs, too. The school’s Director of Nursing Practice is one of the area’s best DNP programs available because of its flexibility, versatility, and outstanding course curriculum. The faculty here is also engaged in providing students with more than just education but experience as well.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.9%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 2 years
  • Admission Requirements: Students must complete core curriculum courses and maintain a “C” average through them before applying for the College of Nursing. The program offers more flexible qualifications.
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Tuition: $11361 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 24

Malone University

The School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Malone University are well recognized as being an outstanding program for students. The school is a faith-based location that offers some of the most innovative programs available. Some of its degree programs include the MSN, BSN and RN to BSN. The site features a Center for Clinical Learning for hands-on education and experience as well as a Center for Study and Testing, which is a lab-based opportunity. Undergraduate and graduate options are available. Additional benefits include the requirement for all students to spend 45 hours in a cross-cultural setting and its numerous specializations including pediatrics, chronic care, and geriatrics.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.6%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 124 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Admission requirements are based on the program of study. Students must demonstrate a high ACT or SAT score, a high school diploma or the equivalent, and pass an entrance exam before completing core coursework and prerequisites.
  • Acceptance Rate: 71.7%
  • Tuition: $27104 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 25

Pace University

Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing provides students with numerous benefits and advantages entering into this critical area of study.The school offers a variety of career services within the New York Metro Area, helping individuals to get into jobs in their specialized fields faster. A key reason for this high level of respect within the community is the center’s multi-million dollar facilities that provide outstanding opportunities for students to learn and develop skills in a realistic environment. The program is fast paced and focused on leadership. The school is an excellent innovator of new learning methods and protocols as well.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 128 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: This varies based on the program, but students first must qualify for enrollment in the university itself. Then, students must meet all core prerequisites and maintain a “C” or higher to enter into the nursing program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 70%
  • Tuition: $36722 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 26

University of Louisville

The University of Louisville has a newer and growing nursing program. That’s a good thing because the school’s program features the latest in medical equipment and faculty training. Students will find that the programs are very much hands-on, teaching students the real information they need to get into the field and producing results quickly. In particular, the university’s graduate nursing programs are some of the best for their advanced curriculum and their flexibility in course study and specialization. This school offers BSN, RN to BSN, MEPN, Ph.D., and DNP programs for students.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 72 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: To enroll in the BSN program to become a registered nurse, students must be accepted into the University of Louisville and complete core curriculum during their first and second year. Students will need to maintain a high GPA and apply to the sometimes highly competitive nursing program once prerequisites are met.
  • Acceptance Rate: 60%
  • Tuition: $10542 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 27

Medical University of South Carolina

The Medical University of South Carolina is a diverse, innovative program giving students a wide range of the experiences they need to perform on the job. The school is unique in that it offers a fast-paced, 16-month degree program that allows students to earn a BSN quickly. It also provides numerous specialization opportunities especially at the graduate level of study. Those who hope to work in hospitals will appreciate the intense environment this school offers. Graduates often work in care coordination, health clinics, long-term care facilities and hospitals.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.15%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 120 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: This fast-paced program requires students to demonstrate a high level of skill. GPA averages in previous studies, ACT and SAT scores, and recommendations are all requirements.
  • Acceptance Rate: 62%
  • Tuition: $35654 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 28

Yale University

Yale University is known for many things, including its graduate nursing program. While it offers fewer undergraduate opportunities, the school’s graduate nursing programs are some of the best in the country. Key program offerings include the Master of Science in Nursing, Certificates in Nursing, and Post Masters Certificate. Since the school’s founding in 1923, it has been at the forefront of offering students the latest education, most innovative offerings, and exceptional research opportunities. It also has a strong research element and is a leading clinical trials location.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 40.5 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Students wishing to enter the nursing program at Yale will need to first be accepted into the school itself, which requires significant competition and high placement on ACT and SAT testing. Because these are masters programs, students also need to complete a Bachelor of Science degree before applying.
  • Acceptance Rate: 26%
  • Tuition: $36828 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 29

Arizona State University

The College of Nursing & Health Innovation at The Arizona State University is a top-notch program for its diverse opportunities and challenging, advanced curriculum. The faculty is recognized nationally for its expertise, and the school continues to produce high-level, new and advanced degree offerings. From the start of their education, students will be involved in the innovation component. Nurses graduating from this school tend to be in demand domestically and internationally.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.2%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 16 to 24 months
  • Admission Requirements: General university requirements exist, and after two years of core courses with a “C” average, students can apply to the nursing program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 84.3%
  • Tuition: $10478 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 30

George Mason University

A key reason George Mason University ranks so well in the US is because of its focus on evolving health care. The school is focused on providing students with the highest level of education based on the ever changing environment in healthcare and does so to help shape the future of nursing. The school has a diverse population, a versatile career path, and numerous leadership-infused programs to not only create nurses but also managers and nursing sector experts.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.5%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 2 years
  • Admission Requirements: Students need to complete pre-nursing majors, general education courses, and elective credits and then can take prerequisites all before being admitted into the nursing program. Students must gain acceptance into the school first.
  • Acceptance Rate: 51%
  • Tuition: $10752 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 31

Virginia Commonwealth University

Many factors help Virginia Commonwealth University stand out as an ideal choice for nursing education. Among those benefits is the line up of numerous program offerings that could provide exactly what students need to excel. The location also offers nursing education programs geared specifically to adults looking to change careers. And, it is highly active in research, hosting various research conferences. The school also has two new Doctor of Nursing Practice offerings that make it a top contender.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 2 years
  • Admission Requirements: The school has few on-site requirements for admissions. Students need to qualify to enter the college and complete an entrance exam before enrolling in the nursing program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 68.9%
  • Tuition: $10951 per year
  • Accreditation: National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission

Rank: 32

University of Rochester

A diverse, very advanced nursing program is that which is available at the University of Rochester. The school offers academic programs as well as research opportunities at the Biobehavioral Lab and Centers of Excellence. The school encourages education and research through a supportive manner. The Center for Academic and Professional Success and Center for Lifelong Learning help to support students as they complete their degree and move into the workforce. Graduate and undergraduate programs are available here.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 128 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: The school works with most individuals who complete their high school education or the equivalent and meet basic GPA requirements before entering the School of Nursing.
  • Acceptance Rate: 35.7%
  • Tuition: $40160 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 33

University of Florida

The College of Nursing at The University of Florida is well respected for offering a broad range of program offerings and maintaining high-quality research and clinical component. The school is now offering an advanced, accelerated program to help individuals get into the field faster. The school also has an active pilot program with various area hospitals to give student nurses the opportunity to work with patients.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 2 years
  • Admission Requirements: Acceptance into the school is a first step. Students must obtain 60 semester hours of core and pre-professional courses and then apply to the College of Nursing. Enrollment is limited.
  • Acceptance Rate: 47.1%
  • Tuition: $6310 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 34

University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin offers numerous nursing degrees including a top-rated BSN program, Alternate Entry Master of Science in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. The school offers a diverse student body, numerous collaborative partnerships with local hospitals and medical centers, and a cutting-edge research facility at the school itself. The school is very community-based and offers service opportunities for students.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 82.0%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 4-year program
  • Admission Requirements: Students need to enroll in the University of Texas and complete core curriculum and several science- and health-based prerequisites before applying to the School of Nursing.
  • Acceptance Rate: 17%
  • Tuition: $10362 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 35

Texas Christian University

The Texas Christian University Harris College of Nursing & Health Science offers a nationally recognized nursing program. The school is fast paced to allow students to enter into the nursing program as soon as their freshmen year of college if they meet specific prerequisites and academic achievements. Students will be able to specialize their degree, work in a variety of local positions such as in community health, pediatrics or maternity to gain experience, and take courses on their schedule.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.11%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 4-year program
  • Admission Requirements: Depending on the course of study, students will need to meet specific educational prerequisites including academic GPA averages of a “C” or higher.
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Tuition: $39398 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 36

Hunter College City University of New York

The Hunter College City University of New York provides both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs through the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing. The school has a global focus, meaning it provides a high-quality of education aimed at prepping students to work anywhere. It is also a research-based school with a very diverse urban atmosphere.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83.7%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 4-year program
  • Admission Requirements: Admission requirements are minimal and based on program selection. High school diploma or equivalent and prerequisites are possible.
  • Acceptance Rate: 34.8%
  • Tuition: $13440 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Rank: 37

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

A key driving factor in the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee‘s nursing program is the school’s push to be innovative. Students can select a variety of course studies including RN to BS, RN to MN and BS undergraduate programs as well as certificates in Health Professional Education, Spanish for Health Professionals, Trauma Informed Care, and Applied Gerontology.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.9%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 2-year program
  • Admission Requirements: Students must have an ACT composite score of 19 or higher and one year of high school level chemistry while also meeting university admission requirements.
  • Acceptance Rate: 60%
  • Tuition: $9430 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 38

Loyola University Chicago

A research-focused college, the Loyola University Chicago nursing program is a high-quality, fast-paced program designed to get nursing in working environments quickly. Numerous options are available with various specializations. The faculty is known for its level of experience. The school, having provided nursing education for 80 years, remains highly up to date and modern.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 120 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: To enroll, students must meet the university’s admission requirements and maintain a strong, science-based core curriculum before applying for the nursing program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 49%
  • Tuition: $25000 per year
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 39

Marquette University

Rated highly by the 2015 College of Nursing Magazine, the Marquette University College of Nursing curriculum is exceptional. Students will find dozens of programs to select from as well as a very hands-on, expertise level faculty well versed in modern techniques and strategies. The school also offers a BSN ROTC option that is rather unique for schools of its size.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.7%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 128 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Undergraduate admission requirements are minimal, but students will need to gain entrance into the school, maintain a moderate to high GPA, and gain acceptance into the school of nursing after core curriculum prerequisites are met.
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Tuition: $36,720
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education of the American College of Nurse-Midwives

Rank: 40

Oakwood University

A smaller school, Oakwood University provides a great deal of high-level education in a more intimate, hands-on environment. Students can complete their RN to BSN program within two years. Unique programs include the Gerontological Nursing, Transcultural Nursing, and Religious Elective programs. This is an excellent choice for those who want to get into the workforce quickly.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.7%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 136 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Students with a high school diploma or the equivalent are encouraged to apply. Requirements for admission are minimal though limited enrollment is common.
  • Acceptance Rate: 34%
  • Tuition: $26,808
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

Rank: 41

Allen College

Known for its excellent RN – BSN educational program, Allen College is a diverse school with ample opportunities for dedicated students. Required coursework can be completed online in many programs. The school is small, with a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, which can help to ensure the highest level of retention in knowledge is created.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 122 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Students will need to complete an application, submit transcriptions, have 25 semester hours of academic credit from accredited colleges or universities, and have two letters of recommendation from faculty for the accelerated program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%
  • Tuition: $24,065
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association, and the program is approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing (IBN)

Rank: 42

Oral Roberts University

This inter-denominal, Christian liberal arts school offers an excellent nursing program. Students will find Oral Roberts University is a small school, but it was voted as the “Best of the West” in 2012 by the Princeton Review. Students will find the program offers ample research opportunities and inner community programs to help students to gain work experience to find highly competitive jobs in the area.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.73%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 131 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Admission into the school requires high school diploma or equivalent. The nursing program will require additional prerequisites met before applying.
  • Acceptance Rate: 44%
  • Tuition: $21,523
  • Accreditation:  Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and is approved by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing

Rank: 43

Hardin-Simmons University

The Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, a component of the Hardin-Simmons University program and the McMurry University program, is an excellent choice for nursing education. Students in the undergraduate or graduate program are well respected for their intense educational achievements. The school is innovative in its studies and its research facilities.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 124
  • Admission Requirements: Minimal requirements exist, though students need to have high enough grades to make it into the limited enrollment positions.
  • Acceptance Rate: 38%
  • Tuition: $21,284
  • Accreditation: Texas Board of Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Rank: 44

Andrews University

Andrews University is a Christian-based, small campus school with a high-quality, hands-on RN to BSN program. Students work within acute care setting to gain experience and can complete as many as 57 semester credit hours within four semesters. It also gives students a high level of lab and research skills.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 125 credit hours
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 65 credit hours for the Baccalaureate program
  • Admission Requirements: A minimum GPA of 3.0, physical examination, RN license for BSN program) and a criminal background check, with fingerprinting, is necessary.
  • Acceptance Rate: 38%
  • Tuition: $21,267
  • Accreditation: Michigan Board of Nursing

Rank: 45

Oklahoma Wesleyan University

A challenging school and one that offers an exceptional level of in-depth education, Oklahoma Wesleyan University is the ideal place for a small scale education. The school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15 to 1. It was ranked by CBS Money Watch as having one of the best faculties in the country. It was also ranked as the Best Value Regional College in 2015 by US News and World Report.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.67%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 126 hours
  • Admission Requirements: The school requires incoming undergraduates to have a 2.0 GPA, an SAT score of 860 or an ACT score of 18 and to rank in the upper half of their graduating class.
  • Acceptance Rate: 49%
  • Tuition: $21,220
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Rank: 46

Daemen College

Daemen College offers much more than a traditional classroom for nursing education. This liberal arts school also offers distance and online programs for many of its nursing course sets. It is also a chapter of the International Nursing Honor Society, which affords nursing graduates with networking opportunities around the world.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 82.6%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 120 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: The school creates personalized programs of study for students based on their goals as well as on their education level. Students must have a Regent’s Diploma or equivalent, and an SAT score over 1000 to get into this competitive, highly in-demand program.
  • Acceptance Rate: 49%
  • Tuition: $17,300
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

Rank: 47

Newman University

A very positive environment, the Newman University is an excellent choice for students who want versatility and flexibility in their learning path. The school provides students with excellent on-campus education but also offers clinical instruction in major teaching hospitals and community agencies across the area. The school offers scholarships and a large number of diverse work settings. Of graduates, 92% are in graduate school or employed within 9 months.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.12%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 124 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Program selection is important, but after gaining admittance into the university, students will need to meet prerequisites and apply for the nursing program, which has limited availability.
  • Acceptance Rate: 45%
  • Tuition: $16,943
  • Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Higher Learning Commission

Rank: 48

Adventist University of Health Sciences

The Adventist University of Health Services has plenty going for it. The school allows students to complete an RN to BSN program online within five terms. It has a very small student to faculty ratio of 10 to 1, and it is very affordable. However, it’s hard to get into because of its small class size and advanced, highly skilled program. Students can shadow and work in various top-notch hospitals throughout the Orlando area as well.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.3%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 72 trimester hours
  • Admission Requirements: The school has a very high bar of admission requirements, but meeting these does not guarantee acceptance. Students must meet admissions requirements into the school and complete at least 12 college-level hours at the school to qualify for the nursing program application.
  • Acceptance Rate: 13%
  • Tuition: $26,808
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

Rank: 49

Coppin State University

Coppin State University provides a quality level of nursing education in a humanities and behavioral-science-based school. Coursework is intense and very up to date. This school is a public university but it is more challenging to get into. The school’s nursing program focuses on preparing nurses to work in underserved communities and has embraced the most advanced technologies. Nearly 100% of students receive job offers before graduation.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 69.39%
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 55 plus core classes
  • Admission Requirements: Students must gain admittance to the university. To obtain acceptance into the nursing program, students need to maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, take the Test of Essential Academic Skills V, and take prerequisite courses.
  • Acceptance Rate: 36%
  • Tuition: $9,667
  • Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools

Rank: 50

Mississippi University For Women

The Mississippi University for Women has a diverse nursing program with distance learning opportunities. The program focuses heavily on community and leadership, but the school also has a stellar research program. What makes it a standout school is, in part, the ability of students to maintain full-time jobs while attending the flexible schedule of educational programs. This is also a very affordable nursing program with a fast-paced design to get students working quickly.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98% in 2012
  • Program Length or Credit Hours: 124 credit hours
  • Admission Requirements: Admissions are dependent on program selection, but most will need to meet prerequisite courses, maintain a GPA of over 2.5, and take the ACT with a score of at least 18.
  • Acceptance Rate: 43%
  • Tuition: $9,766
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Our Ranking Methods

We’ve taken a great deal of information about each of these top nusing schools and ranked them based on numerous factors. Among those factors were the NCLEX-PN exam pass rate, innovative program offerings, school size, affordability, and overall program options. Faculty education, flexible learning programs, and teaching hospitals or in-field education also were taken into consideration.

Are you a nursing school director or program administer? We welcome you to submit your information to us for consideration in our future rankings.