Nursing Schools in Chicago with Degree Overviews

Research nursing schools in the Chicago area, which currently has more than 20 colleges and universities offering programs. Read an overview of degree programs, admission info and program requirements for three schools within 15 miles of downtown and decide which program is right for you.

Chicago Nursing Schools

Chicago has many school and degree options for people interested in studying nursing. This article explores three schools that are within 25 minutes of the city center and the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs they offer. There is also a table of information about each school, including enrollment, campus setting, tuition and the graduation rate. At the end, there is a list of a few other Chicago-area schools that offer nursing programs.

  • The University of Illinois at Chicago offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs in nursing as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. This school is about two miles from downtown.
  • DePaul University is less than a mile from Chicago's downtown. Students with a bachelor's degree in any field can enroll in its entry-level master's degree program in nursing practice. DePaul also offers a Doctorate in Nursing Practice.
  • About seven miles from downtown, North Park University offers bachelor's and master's degree programs in nursing.

Comparison of Schools

Individuals who are looking for a school need to consider many factors. The following table contains information worth noting about each school, arranged in a format that invites comparison.

University of Illinois at Chicago DePaul University North Park University
School Type 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 30,539* 22,769* 2,937*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $13,704 in-state; $26,560 out-of-state* $39,010* $28,620*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017) 84%* 96%* 99%*
Acceptance Rate (2017) 77%* 72%* 54%*
Retention Rate (2016-2017) 80% for full-time students; 42% for part-time students* 84% for full-time students; 33% for part-time students* 71% for full-time students*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (students began Fall 2011) 57%* 71%* 59%*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) was founded when the U. of I. Medical Center and Chicago Circle campuses combined and then joined the University of Illinois system in 1982. U.S. News & World Report ranked UIC's College of Nursing's MSN and DNP programs among the top 20 in the nation in 2019.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The UIC College of Nursing offers two options for bachelor's degree candidates: a traditional program for students just beginning their education and an online program for those who already are licensed registered nurses. The traditional program is full-time and combines classroom learning with hands-on experience.

Master of Science in Nursing

UIC features a traditional master's program in nursing, as well as a graduate-entry program resulting in a Master of Science in Nursing for students with a bachelor's degree in another field and no prior nursing experience. Non-nursing students must complete courses in health assessment, contemporary nursing concepts and nursing care of populations before taking further nursing coursework. Graduate students can also pursue a joint degree in nursing and business, public health or health informatics.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program prepares nurses for advanced nursing practice, as well as leadership and management roles. Students can enter the program through different tracks. There's a post-master's track that focuses heavily on leadership skills and a post-baccalaureate track that covers core master's courses, as well as advanced practice, specialty and DNP requirements. The transition DNP allows non-nursing baccalaureate holders who have an RN license to join the program.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

UIC's Ph.D. in nursing program is geared toward students who want to conduct research in nursing, allowing them to learn from and work alongside faculty members. Students can enter the program with a bachelor's degree or a master's degree.

DePaul University

DePaul University in Chicago is one of the ten largest private, not-for-profit universities in the U.S. and the only one of these schools to focus primarily on teaching rather than research. DePaul offers two graduate degrees in nursing.

Master of Science in Nursing

Students with a bachelor's degree in any discipline can enter this master's entry-to-nursing program, which requires completion of 107 credits of general and advanced nursing courses, as well as a final project. Graduates are eligible to take the RN licensing exam.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The doctoral degree program is for practicing nurses who wish to continue their education and become advanced practice nurses. A previous degree in nursing is required to apply to this program. Those with a master's degree can transfer up to 12 credits of graduate work.

North Park University

North Park University began granting bachelor's degrees in 1960, and the nursing program had its first graduates in 1968. In 1994, graduate nursing programs began to be offered. Today, the school is committed to preparing students for successful careers within the Christian tradition.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

The bachelor's degree program takes four years to complete, and graduates are prepared to sit for the nurse licensing examination, NCLEX-RN. Students take core courses as well as major area courses. Coursework may include applied nutrition, pathophysiology, health assessment, adult nursing, pharmacology and mental health nursing.

Master of Science in Nursing

Master's students choose a specialization in leadership and management, adult-gerontology nurse practitioner or family nurse practitioner. All master's programs require the same four core courses in nursing. Additional specialization courses are also required. The leadership and management program includes courses in strategic nursing management and transformational nursing leadership. The adult-gerontology path includes courses in adult health management and advanced practice gerontologic nursing. The family nurse practitioner track requires classes in women's health management, family-centered care and pediatric health management.

Other School Options

There are many other nursing school options in Chicago. A few other schools located within a five-mile radius of downtown Chicago include City Colleges of Chicago - Malcolm X College, Rush University, and Robert Morris University - Illinois.


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