Top Nursing School - Atlanta, GA

Students interested in studying nursing in Atlanta, Georgia, have many schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

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Best Nursing Programs in Atlanta, GA

About seven schools within 25 miles of Atlanta offer nursing programs. Based on rankings and available program information, the top three schools in Atlanta are Emory University, Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University. While all three schools were ranked among graduate nursing programs by U.S. News & World Report, Emory University had the highest-ranked program and was also ranked among schools with nurse-midwifery programs. All three schools have high pass rates (above 90%) for the 2012 NCLEX-RN examination, according to the Georgia Board of Nursing. However, Emory had the highest graduation rate at about 88% in 2011. While Kennesaw State University had the lowest-ranked graduate nursing program and graduation rate among the three, this school boasted the most degrees conferred in 2011-2012.

In order to qualify for registered nursing licensure in the state of Georgia, all students must have officially graduated from an accredited nursing program and passed the NCLEX-RN exam. Registered nurses in Georgia who complete a state-approved nursing master's program and obtain national certification in their specialty may seek authorization to work as advanced practice registered nurses.

School Comparison Chart

Category Emory University Georgia State University Kennesaw State University
Ranking(s) 21st for graduate nursing programs in 2011, nationwide;
13th for nurse-midwifery graduate programs in 2011, nationwide*
79th for graduate nursing programs in 2011, nationwide* 193rd for graduate nursing programs in 2011, nationwide*
Location Atlanta, GA Atlanta, GA Kennesaw, GA (26 miles from Atlanta)
School Type Four-year, private not-for-profit Four-year, public Four-year, public
Tuition and Fees (2012-2013) $42,980 (undergraduate);
$38,914 (graduate)**
$8,157 (in-state, undergraduate),
$22,725 (out-of-state, undergraduate);
$8,176 (in-state, graduate),
$23,728 (out-of-state, graduate)**
$5,522 (in-state, undergraduate),
$15,338 (out-of-state, undergraduate);
$7,834 (in-state, graduate),
$24,024 (out-of-state, graduate)**
Nursing Degree Levels Offered Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; postgraduate certificates Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees; postgraduate certificates Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees
Nursing Degrees Awarded (all levels) in 2011-2012 258** 237**263**
Most Popular Nursing Degree Level in 2011-2012 Bachelor's degree (134 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (138 awarded)** Bachelor's degree (220 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class 88%** 47%** 41%**
Noteworthy Nationally recognized for nursing research The nursing school offers student scholarship opportunities The nursing school is home to a project to educate the Latino community on diabetes and diabetes prevention

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: Emory University

  • Ranked 20th among national universities in 2013, according to U.S. News and World Report
  • Ranked 21st among family nurse practitioner graduate programs in 2011, according to U.S. News and World Report
  • School of Nursing has an 8:1 student-clinical faculty ratio
  • According to the school, the nursing school was ranked sixth among private schools in funding from the National Institutes of Health
  • According to the Georgia Board of Nursing, 94% of Emory University students passed the NCLEX-RN exam in 2012

The Neil Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University offers nursing programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. In addition to the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, Emory University offers an accelerated program and an option for those who have already earned a bachelor's degree in another field. Graduate students may complete a traditional or accelerated master's program, or they can choose the Master of Science in Nursing and Master of Public Health (MSN-MPH) option. The school also offers a PhD in Nursing for those seeking scholarly research in the field. In addition to programs, the school boasts partnerships with internationally recognized institutions and organizations, as well as faculty focused on health research.

Runner-Up #1: Georgia State University

  • School offers 12 nursing scholarships
  • Its degree and certificate programs are approved by the Georgia Board of Nursing and accredited by the Council on Collegiate Education for Nursing
  • The NCES stated that 92% of beginning undergraduates received financial aid in 2011-2012
  • According to Board of Nursing statistics, approximately 96% of students passed the NCLEX-RN in 2012

Georgia State University offers undergraduate and graduate nursing programs through the Byrdine F. Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions. Students can complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with traditional, accelerated, transfer or one-year RN to BSN options. At the graduate level, students can pursue a Master of Science in Nursing with specialty tracks in adult, pediatric, women's health, family psychiatric or family nurse practitioner. There are also nursing leadership, nursing informatics and nursing administration tracks. In addition to a PhD in Nursing, the school offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice as of 2013.

Runner-Up #2: Kennesaw State University

  • Ranked 61st among regional universities (South) in 2013, according to U.S. News & World Report
  • Had a 62% undergraduate acceptance rate in 2011, according to the NCES
  • Offers centers and initiatives like the University Wellness Center and University Health Clinic

The WellStar College School of Nursing enrolls about 500 undergraduate and graduate students and awards bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, according to the school. Undergraduates may choose from an accelerated track or an RN to BSN option, in addition to the traditional Bachelor of Science program. Graduate students can complete a master's program in nursing or a doctorate program in nursing science. The school of nursing has a retention rate of approximately 90%, and according to the Georgia Board of Nursing, 95% of students passed the NCLEX-RN in 2012.

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