What Are the Top Schools for Nurse Practitioners?

Read about three schools with nationally ranked nurse practitioner programs, and explore the degrees each school offers in this field. Find out what you should look for when choosing a school with a strong nurse practitioner program. Schools offering Family Nurse Practitioner degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Characteristics of Top Schools for Nurse Practitioners?

The American Nurse Credentialing Center offers nine nurse practitioner (NP) certifications, including adult, family, gerontology and pediatric specialties. Nurses in these specialties generally have master's or doctoral degrees and are licensed to provide advanced clinical services.

Top schools for nurse practitioners are usually highly ranked in one or more of these specialties. They might have a medical school and teaching hospital facilities that could support clinical practice during your program. The following schools each have at least three top ten rankings in U.S. News & World Report's evaluations of adult, family, geriatric and pediatric nurse practitioner specialty programs.

What Are Three Top Schools for Nurse Practitioners?

University of California in San Francisco

UCSF, a public health sciences university, ranked fifth for family, 12th for adult/gerontology primary care and fourth for psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. The school was also ranked the 18th best graduate school for nursing: master's in 2019. UCSF offers 17 nurse practitioner options, some with sub-specialties. For example, if you're interested in gerontology, you could become a generalist or specialize in HIV or occupational and environmental health. The School of Nursing provides fellowships through its Research Center for Symptom Management and the HIV/AIDS Center. Resources also include the Institute for Health and Aging. The following are some of the nurse practitioner specialties available through the school's Master of Science in Nursing program:

  • Acute Care Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (NP)
  • Acute Care Pediatric NP
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP
  • Family NP
  • Neonatal NP
  • Nurse Midwifery and Women's Health NP
  • Psychiatric and Mental Health NP

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

UPenn is an Ivy League school. It was ranked third for graduate nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report in 2019. In the same year, the publication also awarded UPenn top five rankings for all of the following specialties under nurse practitioner: adult and gerontology acute care, adult and gerontology primary care, pediatric primary care, as well as psychiatric health across the lifespan. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center provide clinical and research partnership opportunities to students.

The School of Nursing offers nursing education to high school graduates through post-master's students, including accelerated BSN, dual degree and RN return programs. The following specializations are among the 11 offered through the school's master's and post-master's nursing programs:

  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP
  • Family NP
  • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP
  • Neonatal NP
  • Pediatric Acute Care NP
  • Pediatric Primary Care NP
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health NP
  • Women's Health/Gender Related Care NP

University of Washington in Seattle

The U.S. News & World Report listed UW's graduate nursing: master's program 12th best overall in 2019. In the same year, the school hosted the seventh-best family nurse practitioner program and eighth-best program in adult/gerontology primary care. The school offers Master of Nursing (MN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. Graduate certificates are also available with advanced nursing specialties in adult, mental health, environmental health, alternative medicine, infant mental health, nurse education and nurse midwifery.

Resources include the deTornay Center on Healthy Aging. International exploration seminars in nursing and global health are offered by resident and visiting faculty. Your clinical rotation options could take place at the University of Washington Medical Center, the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center or the Seattle Children's Hospital. The advanced nurse practitioner programs and specializations include:

  • Occupational/Environmental Health MN
  • Rural Health MN
  • Dual MN/Master of Public Health
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner DNP
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner DNP
  • Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner DNP

More Top Schools for Nurse Practitioners

College/UniversityInstitution TypeLocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition and Fees*
Johns Hopkins University4-year, Private Baltimore, MD$56,000
University of Pittsburgh4-year, Public Pittsburgh, PA$24,000
Duke University4-year, Private Durham, NC$55,000
New York University4-year, Private New York, NY$45,000
University of Maryland--Baltimore4-year, Public Baltimore, MD$14,000
University of Michigan--Ann Arbor4-year, Public Ann Arbor, MI$23,000
Emory University4-year, Private Atlanta, GA$43,000
Columbia University4-year, Private New York, NY$48,000
Vanderbilt University4-year, Private Nashville, TN$48,000
University of Alabama--Birmingham4-year, Public Birmingham, AL$8,000

*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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