Colleges that Offer Nursing Programs in the U.S.

Nursing programs are available at the certificate, associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels at many colleges across the U.S. Most programs are affiliated with university hospitals.

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There are numerous public and private institutions that offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing. Most programs require extensive clinical work, and some programs offer dual majors or submatriculation so that students can begin completing their master's degree while finishing their bachelor's degree.

Top 10 Schools with Nursing Programs

The following colleges offer highly respected nursing programs that award bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in this discipline.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate, $49,536; Graduate, $31,068
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD 4-year, Private Master's, Doctoral Graduate, $48,710
University of California-San Francisco San Francisco, CA 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral In-state Graduate, $11,220; Graduate, $26,322
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate, In-state $11,839; Undergraduate Out-of-state, $34,143; Graduate, In-state $15,207; Graduate, Out-of-state, $27,255
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate, In-state $18,192; Undergraduate Out-of-state, $28,958; Graduate, In-state $21,260; Graduate, Out-of-state, $34,944
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate, $49,241; Graduate, $47,590
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate, $47,750; Graduate, $38,592
University of Maryland--Baltimore Baltimore, MD 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate, In-state $11,006; Undergraduate Out-of-state, $23,770; Graduate, In-state $10,530; Graduate, Out-of-state, $17,424
University of Michigan--Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate, In-state $13,856; Undergraduate Out-of-state, $43,476; Graduate, In-state $20,638; Graduate, Out-of-state, $41,688
Emory University Atlanta, GA 4-year, Private Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral Undergraduate, $46,314; Graduate, $38,800

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

Keep these important considerations in mind when selecting a nursing program:

  • Some schools offer submatriculation programs that enable students to work towards a master's and bachelor's degree at the same time, dual major programs that can allow students to expand their career options and accelerated or part-time programs.
  • There are a plethora of nursing disciplines from which a student can choose, such as pediatrics, oncology, palliative care, occupational therapy, psychiatry, and geriatrics.
  • Students should look for accreditation when choosing a nursing program. Nursing programs are generally accredited by at least one of two accreditation boards: the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC).
  • It's important to consider long-term career goals to ensure that the program selected offers the right specialization training, or an opportunity for advancement to administration or to work as a nurse practitioner if desired.

Associate of Applied Science in Nursing

The coursework combines classroom instruction with clinical studies in a variety of medical settings, from hospitals to doctor's offices. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam. Students study topics such as:

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Earning a bachelor's degree in nursing can help a student stand out with potential employers, or help a practicing nurse become eligible for supervisory positions such as head or charge nurse.

Master of Science in Nursing

A master's degree in nursing allows students to focus on a specific area of nursing and further their knowledge and authority in the chosen area.

DNP in Nursing

This program is designed for nurses who want to enter the academic and research areas. Students choose a specialization in which they do the bulk of their research with the assistance of instructors and a mentor. Some programs require applicants to hold an MSN.

Nursing students may wish to specialize in a specific field of medicine, take a dual major, or begin studies towards their master's degree while completing an undergraduate degree. The student's long-term career goals and academic interests, as well as the costs of public versus private schools, should be considered when choosing a nursing program.

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