Top 10 Nursing Schools in the Nation

Learn which top schools offer undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing. Review the degree options at four high-ranking universities, and see highlights of other schools in the U.S. that provide training for nurses.

School Information

The three schools featured below include the Oregon Health and Science University, the University of California in Los Angeles and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Each of the three schools offers undergraduate and graduate programs ranging from bachelor's to doctoral degrees. Students at the Oregon Health and Science University can also pursue an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) transfer program.

1. Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR

School Highlight: OHSU has five regional campuses, a virtual campus, and various community partnerships, allowing the School of Nursing to meet the needs of students all over Oregon and the United States.

The Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) has graduate programs for both family nurse practitioners and gerontological or geriatric nurse practitioners. OHSU also serves as a training clinic and research center in many medical-related fields, with nursing as one of its specialties. The university offers a pre- and post-A.A.S. transfer program for aspiring nurses seeking a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The school also offers an accelerated and traditional 4-year BSN program and a Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN program.

At the graduate level, students can pursue a Master of Nursing (MN). Areas of specialization include family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist. Graduate programs leading to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) are also available. Some of the school's graduate programs are also available online.

2. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA

School Highlight: The University of Pennsylvania is the only Ivy League school that offers a BSN degree, making it one of the most competitive programs in the nation.

As of 2016, this Ivy League school placed first on U.S. News & World Report's survey of best nursing schools. Particularly high ranking programs within the school include Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse Midwifery, and Nurse Practitioner.

At the university, students can pursue an accelerated BSN and a combined BSN/Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Programs leading to a BSN/Ph.D. in Nursing and Ph.D. in Nursing are also available. Courses found in the master's and post-master's certificate programs include adult and pediatric acute care, family health, pediatric oncology and psychiatric-mental health nursing; studies in nurse midwifery, nurse anesthesia and women's health care are also part of the program. Nursing professionals can continue their education through the school's Center for Professional Development.

3. University of California - Los Angeles

School Highlight: The nursing program is considered to be the most competitive undergraduate degree on campus, with over 1900 applicants for only 40 spots.

According to U.S. News & World Report in 2015, the university ranked 23rd among national universities as well as 19th for its nursing programs. Undergraduate and graduate students can earn a pre-licensure BSN or MSN. Licensed nurses can apply to the MSN or postmaster's certificate program and pursue a concentration in nursing administration, gerontology, family population, pediatrics or under-served populations. Ph.D. in Nursing specialties include biobehavioral or biologic science, health disparities in at-risk populations and health services.

Top Nursing Programs

College/University Name Distinction Location
Boston College Choice among six advanced practice specialities when enrolled in a master's program Chestnut Hill, MA
Duke University 16-month Accelerated BSN program Durham, NC
Johns Hopkins University Ph.D. program ranked number five by the National Research Council Baltimore, MD
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Clinical Learning Center Ann Arbor, MI
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Specialist programs in psychiatric/mental health clinical nursing, nursing service administration and pediatric nurse practitioner Chapel Hill, NC
University of Texas at Austin Two community clinics that provide healthcare for 3000 underserved community members Austin, TX
University of Washington Nursing program ranked number four by U.S. News & World Report in 2016 Seattle, WA

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