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 master's nursing program was ranked 8th in the U.S. News & World Report 2020 ranking. Rush 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 2nd in 2020. 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 11 specialties by U.S. News and World Report as of 2020. UI's College of Nursing (CON) program in nursing administration was ranked 7th in the 2020 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 five specialties in 2020. 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 Estimated Grad In-State Tuition*
University of Pennsylvania 4-year, Private not-for-profit Philadelphia, PA $35,000
Johns Hopkins University 4-year, Private not-for-profit Baltimore, MD $54,000
University of California - San Francisco 4-year, Public San Francisco, CA $11,000
University of Washington 4-year, Public Seattle, WA $16,000
University of Pittsburgh4-year, Public Pittsburgh, PA $23,000
Duke University 4-year, Private not-for-profit Durham, NC $54,000
New York University 4-year, Private not-for-profit New York, NY $43,000
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor 4-year, Public Ann Arbor, MI $23,000
Emory University 4-year, Private not-for-profit Atlanta, GA $42,000
Columbia University 4-year, Private not-for-profit New York, NY $46,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education

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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