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List of Graduate Nursing Schools in the U.S.

Graduate programs in nursing can prepare students for several careers, including leadership, research and education. These programs include coursework in advanced medical topics and typically require a thesis.

The Master of Science in Nursing is usually taken by those who aspire to the independence and higher pay of a career as a nurse practitioner. An MSN can also lead to a job that requires additional supervisory responsibilities or a career in nursing informatics. Those who wish to contribute to the body of knowledge in the nursing industry, or teach at the university level, can also pursue a Ph.D.

List of Largest Schools by Student Population

These are the 10 largest nursing schools with graduate programs, ranked by their student population.

College or University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Graduate Tuition 2015-2016*
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus University Park, PA 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $20,070 in-state, $34,084 out-of-state
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Advanced Certificate, Doctoral $40,984
University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Advanced Certificate, Doctoral $11,870 in-state, out-of-state $25,196
Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Master's, Advanced Certificate, Doctoral $10,002 in-state, $28,804 out-of-state
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $20,966 in-state, $42,016 out-of-state
University of Washington Seattle,WA 4-year, Public Master's, Advanced Certificate, Doctoral $16,278 in-state, $28,326 out-of-state
Florida International University Miami, FL 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $11,097 in-state, $23, 578 out-of-state
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $11,543 in-state, $25, 975 out-of-state
University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $12,629 in-state, $27,731 $12,629 out-of-state
University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 4-year, Public Master's, Advanced Certificate, Doctoral $12,048 in-state, $29,370 out-of-state

Sources: *National Center for Educational Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Students should keep these points in mind when choosing a program:

  • Choose a program that is accredited by The Accreditation Commission For Education in Nursing (ACEN) or The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
  • Look at the hands-on experiences offered and opportunities for research study.
  • Students who are currently employed should consider programs with more flexible schedules.
  • Research the master's program tracks offered by each school.

Program Information

Master's programs may be offered in different tracks, depending on the career objectives of the student. Some schools may offer a master's degree designed for nursing leadership and one for nursing educator. These 2-year programs offer coursework in nursing research methods, health assessment, pharmacology and biostatistics. Doctoral programs typically take longer and are catered toward individuals who seek a career in research.

Graduate programs in nursing are typically designed for those who are already working nurses and who wish to advance their careers. Students in a master's degree program may choose a track depending upon their future career goals, such as education or leadership.


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