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Nursing Colleges in Illinois with Overviews of School Programs

There are over 100 colleges within Illinois that have nursing programs. Read an overview of the 10 largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Essential Information

Nursing programs can be found at community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities and are available at all degree levels. Successful completion of pre-nursing courses may be required for admittance into a nursing program. Other program requirements may include earning CPR certification, having current immunizations and obtaining health and liability insurance. The 10 largest schools in Illinois offering nursing programs are presented below.


College of DuPage

The College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn is a 2-year school offering an Associate Degree Nursing (ADN). This degree program takes 4 semesters to complete, not including pre-nursing admission requirement classes, such as anatomy and physiology, general psychology, general chemistry and mathematics for health sciences. Nursing courses include medical-surgical nursing, role of the nurse, physical assessment and neuropsychiatric nursing.

College of Lake County

Located in Grayslake, the College of Lake County is a 2-year community college. The ADN program prepares students to assist physicians in their future roles as nurses. Alternatively, they may decide to transfer to a 4-year school to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

DePaul University

DePaul University in Chicago is the largest Catholic university in the nation. The School of Nursing has been offering degrees for 65 years and is allied with Rosalind Franklin University Medicine and Science, which offers students clinical experience. The Master's Entry to Nursing Practice program is designed for those students with a bachelor's degree in a field other than nursing. Graduates regularly pass the licensing exam at higher than average rates. There is also a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program for those students who wish to pursue advanced clinical practice.

Harper College

Located in Palatine, Harper College is a 2-year school offering an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing. Applicants must complete a National League for Nursing (NLN) Pre-Admission RN Exam. Prerequisite coursework should include psychology, chemistry, human anatomy and human physiology.

Illinois State University

Illinois State University, located in Normal, was the first public university in the state. Through the Mennonite College of Nursing, students may pursue a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. BSN students may enter the program with no prior nursing experience or may enter an RN to BSN track as a licensed nurse. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students may choose a specialty: clinical nurse leader, family nurse practitioner or nursing systems administration. Doctoral programs are available in both PhD and DNP formats.

Joliet Junior College

This junior college in Joliet is a 2-year school offering an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing for individuals who wish to become RNs. This curriculum allows for both classroom learning and clinical experience in local health care facilities. This full-time program requires about 18 hours of coursework per week.

Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago has 3 campuses in the Chicago area, as well as the John Felice Rome Center in Italy. The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. While the BSN program prepares students for entry-level careers as RNs, there are also RN to BSN and RN to MSN programs available for nurses who are already licensed. Doctoral degrees are also offered.

Moraine Valley Community College

Moraine Valley Community College is a 2-year school in Palos Hills. The Associate in Applied Science in Nursing program combines biological, physical and behavioral sciences. Students are required to have liability and health insurance, CPR certification, uniforms and current immunizations. Graduates may also consider transferring to a 4-year college.

Northern Illinois University

Northern Illinois University in DeKalb offers a bachelor's and master's degree through its College of Health and Human Services. The BSN program requires over 500 clinical hours; students are also able to complete 160-460 additional hours through summer internships. MSN students may specialize as a family nurse practitioner, adult nurse practitioner or adult clinical nurse specialist.

University of Illinois at Chicago

The College of Nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) offers programs of study leading to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Nursing Practice. In 2016, the UIC College of Nursing graduate programs were ranked 23rd in the nation by U.S. News & World Reports. The master's program offers 17 different concentrations, available at 5 campuses.

Career Requirements

The Illinois Center for Nursing reports that all nurses must complete an approved educational program and pass a licensing exam prior to practicing in the state. Typically, individuals choose to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN). They may also work as an advanced practice nurse (APN), depending on their education level. All available undergraduate programs effectively prepare students to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Nursing Degree Programs Offered Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)
College of DuPage 2-year, public; large suburb Associate Degree Nursing $4,080 in-district,
$9,690 in-state; $11,790 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
College of Lake County 2-year, public; large suburb Associate Degree Nursing $3,948 in-district,
$9,212 in-state,
$12,236 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
DePaul University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master's Entry to Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$39,975 (undergraduate)*
$19,422‬ (graduate)*
Harper College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Applied Science in Nursing $3,684 in-district,
$9,852 in-state,
$11,664 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
Illinois State University 4-year, public; midsize suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing,
PhD in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$14,516 in-state,
$26,040 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$9,509‬ in-state;
$14,290 out-of-state (graduate)*
Joliet Junior College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Applied Science in Nursing $4,380 in-district,
$12,360 in-state,
$13,140 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
Loyola University Chicago 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing,
RN to MSN,
PhD in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$44,048 (undergraduate)*
$19,498‬ (graduate)*
Moraine Valley Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Applied Science in Nursing $4,356 in-district,
$9,636 in-state,
$11,196 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
Northern Illinois University 4-year, public; small suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing
$14,617 (undergraduate),
$14,407‬ out-of-state (graduate)*
University of Illinois at Chicago 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN,
Master of Science in Nursing,
PhD in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$13,764 in-state,
$26,980 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$16,792‬ in-state,
$26,479 out-of-state (graduate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.


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