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Nursing Schools in Nashville, TN with Degree Overviews

More than ten schools within 50 miles of Nashville, Tennessee, have nursing degree programs. Read an overview of three schools' programs, requirements and admission info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Nashville, Tennessee, Nursing Schools

Nursing students in Nashville, TN, can find programs from associate's through doctorate degree levels, as well as in many specialties. This article profiles the programs at three schools that are located less than five miles from the city center. There is also a table that compares important statistics among the schools.

  • Vanderbilt University, a private university with a medical center in Nashville, offers master's and doctoral degrees as well as post-master's certificates. As of 2019, many of the master's-level nursing specialties are ranked among the top five in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report; the overall master's degree program in nursing is ranked #14 and the DNP program #11. Vanderbilt is about 11 minutes from downtown Nashville.
  • Tennessee State University, a public university just a 10-minute drive from downtown Nashville, offers master's degree programs in nursing.
  • Belmont University, also 10 minutes from downtown, has nursing programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels.

Comparison of Schools

Choosing the right school is just as important as finding the right program. Learn some important statistics about each school by reading the table below.

Vanderbilt University Tennessee State University Belmont University
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017)* 12,592 8,177 8,012
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018)* $47,664 $7,776 in-state; $21,132 out-of-state $32,820
% of Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2016-2017)* 70% 95% 93%
Acceptance Rate (2017)* 11% N/A - Open admissions 81%
Retention Rate for First-Time Full-Time Undergraduates (2016-2017)* 97% 58% 85%
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (Students who began in Fall 2011)* 92% 29% 70%

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Vanderbilt University

The School of Nursing at Vanderbilt University offers programs that prepare students for nursing careers in patient care specialties and nursing career tracks with degrees such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing. A 1-year 'pre-specialty' program that serves as the equivalent of a bachelor's in nursing is offered to bridge the gap for those who hold a non-nursing undergraduate degree but wish to enter an MSN program. Post-master's specialty certifications in a wide variety of areas are also available at Vanderbilt.

Master of Science in Nursing

Students in this program can choose from 14 advanced practice nursing specialties, including acute care, emergency, family and neonatal nursing, as well as midwifery, pediatric nursing and mental health nursing. Many degree options are offered online, via distributed digital conferencing or in block schedules for those who travel to Nashville for the programs.

Post-Master's Certificates

Vanderbilt offers post-master's certificates for nurses interested in an additional treatment specialty following a Master of Science in Nursing. Certificates are available in nurse practitioner specialties including acute care, adult-gerontology primary care, family, neonatal, pediatric, psychiatric-mental health and women's health. Nurses can also earn a certificate in nurse-midwifery.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The curriculum in this post-master's degree program integrates an advanced nursing classroom curriculum with clinical-based practice. The 5-semester, 74-credit hour program of study combines on-campus study with online learning. Students take courses such as informatics, statistics in health sciences, epidemiology, health care economics and health policy. A 6-semester option has recently been added.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science

This online nursing doctoral degree, a 72-semester hour program which generally takes at least three years to complete, prepares graduates for research and academic careers in many health care settings. Ph.D. students select either a clinical research or health services research track. Limited on-campus visits, about 20 days per academic year, are required.

Tennessee State University

The School of Nursing at Tennessee State University educates nurses at the master's degree level. The MSN program offers options such as concentrations in family nursing or holistic nursing, or a specialization in nursing education; all MSN specialties are also available in post-master's certificates.

Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner

Students in this program take graduate courses in family nursing practices and skills, nursing research, pharmacotherapy and nursing theory as well as write a thesis or undertake a project to prepare for certification as family nurse practitioners. Applicants to the program must have a current RN license and may take the program either on a full-time or part-time basis.

Master of Science in Nursing - Holistic Nursing

This entirely online program, which requires 37 credit hours for completion, is designed for working RNs with an interest in holistic nursing. Students learn about complementary medicine and holistic modalities such as aromatherapy, herbology, hypnosis, Chinese medicine, Reiki and acupressure during their clinical practice hours.

Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education Program

This program, which leads to the Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) credential, prepares students to teach nursing in both classrooms and clinical settings. Students may choose to take the core curriculum of this program online.

Belmont University

The Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing at Belmont University offers many different laboratory environments for nursing students. These include the Activities of Daily Living lab (ADL), which allows students to evaluate home safety for seniors or handicapped individuals, and the Health and Wellness lab, which is fully equipped for occupational and psychical therapy. Additionally, there is a Healthcare Simulation Center that trains students in proper medical treatment.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The bachelor's degree program provides students with the education they need to become successful nurses. This degree typically takes four years to complete and ends with a senior practicum and capstone project. Coursework may include nursing research, nursing leadership, pharmacology, health assessment and nutrition for healthcare. An RN-to-BSN and accelerated program are also available.

Master of Science in Nursing

The master's degree program is designed for those students who wish to become family nurse practitioners (FNPs). Upon completion of the programs, graduates can sit for national certification. The curriculum is focused on core courses and specialty courses focused on FNP topics.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Students who have earned an MSN can pursue this degree. The curriculum in this program is modeled on the American Association of Colleges and Nursing Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice. It takes about two years plus a summer semester to complete. Topics of study may include biostatistics, health care finance, health care outcomes and health care policy. A BSN-DNP option is available.

Other School Options

Nursing degree courses are also available at Lipscomb University, just three miles from downtown Nashville, and at Cumberland University, located 27 miles away.


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