Top School for a Degree in Nursing - Nashville, TN

School and Ranking Information

There are nearly a dozen schools in Nashville that offer nursing programs. Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, and Tennessee State University are the best options for prospective students based on their degree offerings, rankings, and graduation rates. Students in these programs also have nursing license exam pass rates of 94% or over.

  • Winner: Vanderbilt is the top pick, since its graduate nursing program has the highest ranking. It also has the highest overall graduation rate of these three schools. It offers graduate nursing programs.
  • Runner-Up #1: Belmont University also has a nationally ranked graduate nursing program, though it holds a lower rank. It offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in the field, and it has the second highest graduation rate.
  • Runner-Up #2: Tennessee State University offers a variety of nursing programs, from 2-year degrees to master's degrees; its graduate program holds a national ranking. It has the lowest graduation rate of these three institutions, but it awarded the second most nursing degrees in 2011-2012.

School Comparison Chart

Category Vanderbilt University Belmont University Tennessee State University
Ranking(s) Graduate nursing program ranked #15 among national universities
Ranked #17 among national universities in 2011*
Graduate nursing program ranked #234 among national universities in 2011
Ranked #7 among regional universities in the south in 2013*
Graduate nursing program ranked #234 among national universities in 2011*
Location Nashville Nashville Nashville
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private, not-for-profit 4-year, public
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $42,118 (undergraduate)
$41,896 (average graduate cost)**
$26,130 (undergraduate)
$15,570 (average graduate cost)**
$6,426 (in-state, undergraduate)
$18,954 (out-of-state, undergraduate)
$8,310 (average in-state, graduate cost)
$19,790 (average out-of-state, graduate cost)**
Nursing Degree Levels Offered Master's, doctoral, and post-master's certificates*** Bachelor's, master's, doctoral degrees*** Associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees and post-graduate certificates***
Most Popular Nursing Program (2011-2012) Master in Family Nurse Practitioner (75 awarded)** Bachelor of Science in Nursing (156 awarded)** Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (103 awarded)**
Nursing Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 383** 171** 234**
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class 92%** 68%** 36%**

Sources: *US News and World Report, **NCES College Navigator, ***Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, Tennessee State University.

Winner: Vanderbilt University

  • Nursing-Midwifery graduate program ranked #3 among national universities in 2011, according to US News and World Report and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education
  • School of Nursing is approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing and MSN program is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC)
  • School of Nursing has 9 nursing student organizations
  • Frist Nursing Informatics Center includes three computer labs and student lounges
  • School of Nursing includes Center for Research Development and Scholarship (CRDS), which offers services for students conducting research and promotes scholarly achievement

Vanderbilt University offers Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and PhD in Nursing Science degrees. Post-master's certificates in many nursing specialties and a two-year postdoctoral program are also offered. Students may also earn MSN - Master of Divinity (MSN - MDiv) or MSN - Master of Theological Studies (MSN - MTS) dual degrees. The MSN program offers many nursing specialties, including concentrations in emergency nurse practice, pediatric nurse practice, and midwifery. On average 94% of MSN students passed their national certification exam in 2012.

Runner-Up #1: Belmont University

  • Bachelor's and master's programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Gordon E. Inman Center includes six practice nursing laboratories, which houses simulation mannequins and other equipment
  • Students can check out equipment from Healthcare Simulation Center
  • Has an on-campus clinic
  • Offers an annual community health fair

Belmont University offers Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), MSN, and DNP degrees as well as post-master's Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) certification. BSN students can take the NCLEX nursing license exam, the average first-time pass rate of which has been 95% for the past five years. Nursing students gain clinical experience at the campus' simulation labs, which include human patient simulators, bedside computer charting, and static mannequins that are designed to reproduce realistic critical care, surgical, neonatal, maternity, and diagnostic settings. Students also gain experience in the top Nashville hospitals, clinical agencies, and primary care facilities.

Runner-Up #2: Tennessee State University

  • All nursing programs are accredited by the NLNAC
  • 99% of beginning, full-time students received some sort of financial aid from 2011-2012, according to NCES

Tennessee State University (TSU) offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (AASN) degree and BSN and MSN degrees. The AASN program consists of 24 credits of general education and 36 credit hours of nursing courses. TSU has a Career Mobility Program, which allows RNs to complete a BSN in 12 months. To complete a BSN degree, students must complete 61 general education credit hours and 59 hours of nursing courses. AASN students had a 95% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam, and BSN students had a 94% pass rate for the board exam in 2011. The MSN program offers three concentrations in nursing, which include family nurse practice, nursing education, and holistic nursing, and these concentrations are also offered as post-graduate certificates.

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