Best Nursing Schools in the US

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Rankings won’t tell you everything you need to know about a nursing school, but they will point you in the right direction. They are an excellent starting point for finding a reputable, competitive nursing program. At a glance they allow you to compare the relative quality of the most reputable nursing schools based on generally accepted indicators of quality such as graduation rates, student retention, NCLEX pass rates, tuition, employment rates, and faculty credentials and reputation. Rankings may also help to broaden your options. You may be surprised at some of the nursing schools on these national Best Nursing Colleges rankings lists that you hadn’t previously considered attending. You can view these nursing rankings a couple of different ways:

As we mentioned, rankings are just a starting point in your search for a nursing school or college. As you search for a good nursing program there are many things you should consider. If you work, does the program offer a heavily structured or a more flexible environment? How involved are school faculty in the program? How strong is a nursing school’s affiliation with major hospitals and clinics? How much clinical work is required for graduation? Does the nursing school provide adequate resources including computers, science laboratories and off-campus/clinical work? How large are the class sizes? What type of academic and career counseling services does the school provide? How much one-on-one time can you expect to receive with your professor? What is the school’s student placement rate for graduates of their nursing program?

Below you will find the 2015-2016 and 2014-2015 editions of the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Nursing School Rankings. These lists highlight the best nursing schools and programs across the United States according to the U.S. News & World Report. To get started on your nursing school selection process, simply pick a school from the list below and start doing your research. As always, we caution future nursing students to evaluate nursing schools and programs based on a holistic view of national and regional nursing school rankings, regional and national accreditation, state licensing board approval (deals with your ability to sit for licensing tests), NCLEX pass rates, employment rates, and more. CollegeAtlas.org also has a top nursing school rankings list that you can reference as you’re researching schools. View the Top Nursing Schools: The A-List ranking list.

If you are interested in earning your nursing degree or improving your nursing career and worry about being able to with your already demanding schedule, there are increasingly more online nursing degree programs that are available to you. To learn more about your nursing degree options, whether you are interested in online nursing school, a traditional nursing school, or a hybrid program, check out the Online Nursing Degrees, Schools, and Careers Guide.




2015-2016 U.S. News & World Report’s Nursing School Rankings


RankCollege NameLocation
#1
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
#2
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
#2
University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA
#4
University of Washington Seattle, WA
#5
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
#6
Duke University Durham, NC
#6
New York University New York, NY
#6
University of Maryland, Baltimore Baltimore, MD
#6
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
#10
Emory University Atlanta, GA
#11
Columbia University New York, NY
#11
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
#13
University of Alabama, Birmingham Birmingham, AL
#13
University of Illinois, Chicago Chicago, IL
#13
University of Texas, Austin Austin, TX
#16
University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
#17
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
#17
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
#19
Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
#19
Rush University Chicago, IL
#19
University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
#22
Ohio State University Columbus, OH
#22
Yale University New Haven, CT
#24
Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ
#25
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark/New BrunswickNewark, NJ
#26
University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston Houston, TX
#26
University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
#28
Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC
#28
University of Missouri, Kansas CityKansas City, MO
#30
University of Colorado, AuroraAurora, CO
#30
University of Kansas Kansas City, KS
#30
University of RochesterRochester, NY
#30
University of San Diego San Diego, CA
#34
Boston CollegeChestnut Hill, MA
#34
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
#36
George Mason UniversityFairfax, VA
#36
University of Missouri Columbia, MO
#38
Pennsylvania State University, University ParkUniversity Park, PA
#38
University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
#38
University of South FloridaTampa, FL
#41
Uniformed Services University of Health SciencesBethesda, MD
#41
University of Massachusetts, BostonBoston, MA
#43
University of California, DavisSacramento, CA
#43
University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
#43
University of Texas Medical BranchGalveston, TX
#43
Washington State UniversitySpokane, WA
#43
Wayne State University Detroit, MI
#48
Texas Woman's UniversityDenton, TX
#48
University of Florida Gainesville, FL
#48
University of Wisconsin, MilwaukeeMilwaukee, WI
#51
Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
#51
Marquette UniversityMilwaukee, WI
#51
St. Louis University St. Louis, MO
#54
Florida International UniversityMiami, FL
#54
University of Alabama, HuntsvilleHuntsville, AL
#54
University of CincinnatiCincinnati, OH
#54
University of Massachusetts, Amherst Amherst, MA
#58
George Washington UniversityWashington, DC
#58
Purdue University, West LafayetteWest Lafayette, IN
#58
South Dakota State UniversityBrookings, SD
#61
Hunter College City University of New York (CUNY)New York, NY
#61
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
#61
University of Alabama, TuscaloosaTuscaloosa, AL
#61
University of MiamiCoral Gables, FL
#61
Villanova University Villanova, PA
#66
Texas Christian UniversityFort Worth, TX
#66
University of South Carolina Columbia, SC
#68
California State University, Los AngelesLos Angeles, CA
#68
Pace University New York, NY
#68
University of LouisvilleLouisville, KY



2014-2015 U.S. News & World Report’s Nursing School Rankings


RankCollege NameLocation
#1
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
#2
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
#3
University of Washington Seattle, WA
#4
University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA
#5
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
#6
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
#7
Duke University Durham, NC
#8
Oregon Health and Science University Portland, OR
#9
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
#10
Yale University New Haven, CT
#11
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
#12
University of Maryland, Baltimore Baltimore, MD
#13
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
#14
Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
#15
Rush University Chicago, IL
#16
University of Colorado, Denver Denver, CO
#17
University of Illinois, Chicago Chicago, IL
#18
University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA
#19
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
#20
University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
#21
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA
#22
Columbia University New York, NY
#23
University of Wisconsin, Madison Madison, WI
#24
Emory University Atlanta, GA
#25
University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
#26
University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston Houston, TX
#27
University of Texas, Austin Austin, TX
#28
New York University New York, NY
#29
University of Alabama, Birmingham Birmingham, AL
#30
University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
#31
Ohio State University Columbus, OH
#32
Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ
#33
Georgetown University Washington, DC
#34
University of Florida Gainesville, FL
#35
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
#36
University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha, NE
#37
University of Tennessee Health Science Center Memphis, TN
#38
Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
#39
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Milwaukee, WI
#40
Catholic University of America Washington, DC
#41
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR
#42
University of Kansas Kansas City, KS
#43
University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio San Antonio, TX
#44
University of Rochester Rochester, NY
#45
Wayne State University Detroit, MI
#46
Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing Hyden, KY
#47
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
#48
University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
#49
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
#50
University of Missouri Columbia, MO
#51
University of San Diego San Diego, CA
#52
Marquette University Milwaukee, WI
#53
Villanova University Villanova, PA
#54
Medical College of Georgia Augusta, GA
#55
Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC
#56
Pennsylvania State University, University Park University Park, PA
#57
St. Louis University St. Louis, MO
#58
Texas Womans University Denton, TX
#59
University of Louisville Louisville, KY
#60
University of Massachusetts, Amherst Amherst, MA
#61
University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
#62
George Mason University Fairfax, VA
#63
George Washington University Washington, DC
#64
Northeastern University Boston, MA
#65
University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
#66
Brigham Young University, Utah Provo, UT
#67
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Oklahoma City, OK
#68
Pace University New York, NY
#69
University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston Galveston, TX
#70
University of South Carolina Columbia, SC

Below you’ll find a little bit more information that will assist you in your search for the best possible nursing school to meet your needs.

Nursing School Accreditation

One of the first things you should look at when evaluating a nursing school is whether or not it’s accredited, as well as its accreditation status. Accreditation ensures that a nursing program meets the minimum standards that are associated with a quality education. The two types of higher education accreditation are national accreditation and regional accreditation. While national accreditation is acceptable, regional accreditation is preferred, especially if you plan pursuing a graduate nursing degree down the road at an accredited four-year college. Two other organizations that play a role in the accreditation of nursing programs are the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Both of these organizations provide specialized accreditation for schools that offers degree, certificate and diploma programs in nursing.

Online Nursing Schools

Online programs are now available for just about every field of study or academic discipline, nursing is no exception. If you’re a self starter and highly motivated, an online degree in nursing may be a good option to consider. However, nursing is a hands-on discipline that requires the development of skills and knowledge, some of which can only be obtained through hands-on, clinical experience. As such, most online nursing degrees require an element of campus-based study, research, and education. Online nursing programs allow you to complete your classroom courses online, but you’ll still be required to complete lab work and clinical hours at a campus or nearby healthcare facility. Some of the requirements for these programs can be complete through correspondence, if you don’t live near an actual college campus.

Online nursing programs are particularly useful for registered nurses who already have ample experience under their belt and simply want to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree program for registered nurses who already have an associate’s degree is a perfect example. In most cases, a registered nurse can complete this entire degree program online, without ever stepping foot on a campus. If clinical work is required, it usually can be completed at their current job or at a nearby hospital or medical facility.

Graduate degrees in nursing are also growing in popularity. The Internet provides the perfect medium for practicing nurses to augment their knowledge, understanding and skill set in nursing (while earning a degree). There are several master’s degree options in advanced practice nursing for RNs who want to specialize in a particular area of medicine or direct patient care, such as Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Executive, or even Nurse Anesthetist. Other graduate degrees in nursing include the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc), which are also available online. However, some graduate degrees, especially those that focus on clinical skills, may require practicums or clinicals.

When considering online nursing programs, again, the first thing you’ll want to look at is accreditation. Earning a degree on-campus or online from an unaccredited school can make it difficult to obtain a nursing license, pursue higher education opportunities down the road, or get a job in certain states.


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