What Are the Top Nursing Colleges and Schools?

Find out about undergraduate and graduate nursing programs at some of the top nursing schools in the country. Learn what to look for in a school, including accreditation and school rankings. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Choose a Top Nursing School

You may want to look for a nursing school that has high overall national rankings or that offers practice specialties that interest you. Since nursing is a credentialed profession, you might inquire about pass rates on examinations like the National Council of States Boards of Nursing's National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for registered nurses (RN). Schools affiliated with highly rated hospitals might offer desirable clinical training experiences. Schools might have research partnerships with federal or other partners like the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These schools provide diverse options.

3 Top Schools in this Field

Rush University in Chicago, IL

Rush University Medical Center's graduate nursing program was ranked 16th in the U.S. News & World Report 2016 ranking. It was in U.S. News & World Report's top ten for its clinical nurse leader program, as well as many of its nurse practitioner programs (www.usnews.com). Its DNP program also tied for 5th in 2016. The College of Nursing hosts the interdisciplinary Rush Nursing Center for Aging and Health. All of its nursing programs are at the graduate level. These degrees are available:

  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Postgraduate Nursing Certificate
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science

University of Iowa in Iowa City

The UI Hospitals and Clinics facility was nationally ranked in 15 specialties by U.S. News and World Report as of 2016. UI's College of Nursing (CON) program in nursing administration was ranked 3rd in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report evaluation. CON hosts the Hartford/Csomay Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence. Besides the UI hospital system, CON has research partnerships with the Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences, the Veterans Health Administration and the Iowa Department of Public Health. Funded NIH opportunities include a research project on pain. These degrees are offered:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN-Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Nursing-Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

University of Maryland in Baltimore

The UM Medical Center was nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four specialties in 2016. UMSON hosts the Center for Pain Studies, partnering with the UM School of Medicine, the Johns Hopkins Center for Cancer Pain Research and UM's Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center. Some programs offer flexible part, full-time or online options. Traditional BSN candidates will qualify to sit for the NCLEX exam. These degrees are offered:

  • BSN
  • RN-BSN
  • RN-MS
  • MSN
  • MSN/Master of Business Administration
  • MSN/Master of Public Health
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

More Top Schools in Nursing

College/University Institution Type Location
University of Pennsylvania 4-year, Private not-for-profit Philadelphia, PA
Johns Hopkins University 4-year, Private not-for-profit Baltimore, MD
University of California - San Francisco 4-year, Public San Francisco, CA
University of Washington 4-year, Public Seattle, WA
University of Pittsburgh4-year, Public Pittsburgh, PA
Duke University 4-year, Private not-for-profit Durham, NC
New York University 4-year, Private not-for-profit New York, NY
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 4-year, Public Ann Arbor, MI
Emory University 4-year, Private not-for-profit Atlanta, GA
Columbia University 4-year, Private not-for-profit New York, NY

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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