School and Ranking Information
Students in the Salt Lake City area have nearly a dozen options for nursing training. The following three institutions, all located within the city limits of Salt Lake City, were chosen as the area's top schools for nursing based on their rankings, program offerings, and overall undergraduate graduation rates. All three offer bachelor's and master's degree programs in nursing.
All nurses must be licensed to practice. In Utah, one must graduate from an approved program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination. All the schools profiled below have programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education that prepare students to become registered nurses.
- Winner: The University of Utah awards bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in nursing. This university houses a research center within the nursing school, has nursing programs ranked in the top 50 by U.S. News and World Report, and has the highest graduation rate among the top three schools profiled.
- Runner-Up #1: Westminster College was ranked among the top 25 schools in the West by U.S. News and World Report. This school has the second highest graduation rate among the top three schools.
- Runner-Up #2: Western Governors University (WGU) awarded over 1,000 certificates and degrees in nursing in 2012, but this school has the lowest graduation rate of the three top schools.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||University of Utah||Westminster College||Western Governors University|
|Rankings|| #36 in top graduate nursing schools, nationwide (2011)*
#8 in nursing-midwifery programs, nationwide (2011)*
#125 in top national universities (2013)*
#60 in top public schools (out of top national universities category) (2013)*
| #22 in top Western regional universities (2013)*
#9 in best value schools category (out of top Western regional universities category) (2013)*
|#151 in top online bachelor's degree programs, nationwide (2013)*|
|Location||Salt Lake City, UT||Salt Lake City, UT||Salt Lake City, UT|
|School Type||4-year, public||4-year, private not-for-profit||4-year, private not-for-profit|
|Tuition and Fees in 2012-2013|| $7,139 (undergraduate, in-state)
$22,642 (undergraduate, out-of-state)
$6,281 (graduate, in-state)
$19,989 (graduate, out-of-state)**
| $28,210 (undergraduate)
| $8,500 (pre-licensure BS in Nursing)
$6,500 (RN to BS in Nursing and MS in Nursing)***
|Nursing Program Levels Offered||Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; postgraduate certificates||Bachelor's and master's degrees; graduate certificates||Bachelor's and master's degrees|
|Nursing Certificates and Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||269**||115**||1,285**|
|Most Popular Nursing Program in 2011-2012||Bachelor's degree in registered nursing (182 awarded)**||Bachelor's degree in registered nursing (84 awarded)**||Bachelor's degree in registered nursing (1,077 awarded)**|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2006 Entering Class||59%**||57%**||27% (25% transfer-out rate)**|
|Noteworthy||Nursing school partners with the state health department's juvenile justice division to offer mental and physical health care to detained youth||Houses the only nurse anesthesia graduate program in the state||Competency-based assessment measures allow students with established professional experience and expertise to move through programs faster|
Sources: *U.S. News and World Report, **NCES College Navigator, ***Western Governors University website.
Winner: University of Utah
- Offers a part-time, fully online nursing bachelor's degree program for registered nurses
- Emma Eccles Jones Nursing Research Center (EEJNRC) centralizes and supports faculty research in various areas of nursing and health care
- Nursing school employs more than 100 faculty members
At the University of Utah, undergraduate students interested in nursing may declare a pre-nursing major and apply to pursue the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Nursing during their sophomore year. The nursing curriculum, which begins in the junior year, incorporates study in areas such as clinical care, health promotion, global health nursing, and health care across the lifespan.
At the graduate level, the school offers both a Master of Science (MS) in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The master's degree program in nursing includes concentrations in nursing education, nursing informatics, and care management, while DNP candidates may choose from practitioner specialties in women's health, primary care, acute care, neonatal nursing, or mental health.
Students with a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing may also partake in the research-oriented PhD program in nursing, which is available only online, though it has a few on-campus immersion components. The University of Utah additionally houses postgraduate certificate programs in nursing education, gerontology, and nursing informatics that may be taken both during or after the acquisition of a graduate nursing degree.
Runner-Up #1: Westminster College
- Undergraduate student nursing club available on campus
- Nursing school facilities include simulated hospital health assessment labs and pediatric and adult simulation laboratories
Westminster College awards a BS in Nursing and MS degrees in nursing education, family nurse practitioner, and nurse anesthesia. In the undergraduate program, students may concentrate in obstetrics, gerontology, critical care, leadership, psychiatric, pediatrics, medical/surgical, or community health. Students who are already registered nurses may pursue the 16-month RN to BS in Nursing program.
The nursing education graduate program is composed of training on such topics as adult learning theories, program planning for adult education, and diversity in nursing education. The family nurse practitioner master's curriculum encompasses classes in pathophysiology, pharmacology, and ambulatory care, and the nurse anesthesia program mandates coursework in gross anatomy and several levels of anesthesia principles, as well as clinical practicums. In addition to the nursing degree programs, Westminster also offers graduate certificate programs in nurse educator and family nurse practitioner.
Runner-Up #2: Western Governors University
- All programs are offered online (with on-site clinical rotations)
- Programs are assessment-based rather than tracked according to credit hours
- Students progress through curricula at an individual pace according to their performance on such competency measures as projects, papers, and tests
- All students are assigned an individual student mentor to guide them throughout the duration of their WGU education
Western Governors University is an online institution that offers several undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing. Though the coursework component of each program takes place online, students also undergo in-person clinical training at local sites. The bachelor's degree in nursing program for students who are not already registered nurses includes coursework in physiology, nursing science, and nursing practice. WGU also offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program for registered nurses that incorporates study in subjects like clinical microbiology, professional values, older adult care, and community health.
At the graduate level, WGU awards master's degrees in nursing education and in nursing leadership and management. Designed for registered nurses, these programs have different curricula depending on whether a student holds an associate degree or a bachelor's degree in nursing. The nursing education graduate degree is intended for students who plan to teach nursing, while the leadership and management program prepares students for positions in nursing administration.