Top 10 Nursing Schools in the Nation

Learn which top schools offer undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing. Read about the degree options at three high-ranking universities, and use the table at the end of the resource to find other schools in the U.S. that provide training for nurses.

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School Information

The three schools featured below include the Oregon Health and Science University, the University of California in Los Angeles and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, an Ivy League institution founded by Benjamin Franklin. Each of the three schools offers undergraduate and graduate programs ranging from a bachelor's to a doctoral degree; students at the Oregon Health and Science University can also pursue an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) transfer program.

Top U.S. Schools with Nursing Programs

1. Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, OR

In 2011, the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) ranked seventh in nursing on U.S. News & World Report's list of best graduate schools, with its programs for family nurse practitioners and gerontological or geriatric nurse practitioners placing in the top ten for those specialties. OHSU also serves as a training clinic and research center in many medical-related fields, with nursing as one of its specialties. The university offers a pre- and post-A.A.S. transfer program for aspiring nurses seeking a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The school also offers an accelerated and traditional 4-year BSN program and a Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN program.

At the graduate level, students can pursue a Master of Nursing (MN). Areas of specialization include family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. Graduate programs leading to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) are also available. Some of the school's graduate programs are also available online.

2. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA

As of 2011, this Ivy League school placed fifth on U.S. News & World Report's survey of national universities. The school also ranked first on the USN&WR list of graduate nursing, pediatric nursing and adult/medical-surgical clinical nurse specialist programs for the same year.

At the university, students can pursue an accelerated BSN and a combined BSN/Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Programs leading to a BSN/Ph.D. in Nursing and Ph.D. in Nursing are also available. Courses found in the master's and postmaster's certificate programs include adult and pediatric acute care, family health, pediatric oncology and psychiatric-mental health nursing; studies in nurse midwifery, nurse anesthesia and women's health care are also part of the program. Nursing professionals can continue their education through the school's Center for Professional Development.

3. University of California - Los Angeles

In 2011, The Princeton Review designated the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) as a 'Best Western College' and 'Best Public Value College.' According to U.S. News & World Report in the same year, the university also ranked 25th and second among national universities and public schools respectively, as well as 21st for its graduate nursing programs.

Undergraduate and graduate students can earn a pre-licensure BSN or MSN. Licensed nurses can apply to the MSN or postmaster's certificate program and pursue a concentration in nursing administration, gerontology, family population, pediatrics or under-served populations. Ph.D. in Nursing specialties include biobehavioral or biologic science, health disparities in at-risk populations and health services.

Top Ten Nursing Schools in the U.S.

College/University Name Distinction Location
Boston College Joint MSN/M.A. in Pastoral Ministry program Chestnut Hill, MA
Duke University 16-month Accelerated BSN program Durham, NC
Johns Hopkins University Ph.D. program ranked number one by the National Research Council Baltimore, MD
Oregon Health and Science University Only health and research university in Oregon Portland, OR
University of California - Los Angeles Postdoctoral nursing fellowships Los Angeles, CA
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Clinical Learning Center Ann Arbor, MI
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Specialist programs in psychiatric/mental health clinical nursing, nursing service administration and pediatric nurse practitioner Chapel Hill, NC
University of Pennsylvania Graduate-level adult home care specialization Philadelphia, PA
University of Texas at Austin Named 2005 Best School or College of Nursing for Men by the American Assembly for Men in Nursing Austin, TX
University of Washington Nursing program first ranked number one by U.S. News & World Report in 1984 Seattle, WA
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Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Pennsylvania (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Pennsylvania include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Dental
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Ethics and Bioethics
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Mental Health Services
      • Nursing Professions
        • Clinical Nursing
        • Critical Care Nursing
        • Mental Health Nursing
        • Neonatal Nursing
        • Nurse Anesthetist
        • Nurse Midwife
        • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
        • Nursing Administration
        • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
        • Occupational Health Nursing
        • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
        • Pediatric Nursing
        • Registered Nurse
      • Public Health and Safety
      • Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Sciences
  • School locations:
    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
        • Nurse Anesthetist
        • Registered Nurse
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Georgetown University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
        • Registered Nurse
      • Optometric and Ophthalmic Services
      • Public Health and Safety
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Vanderbilt University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Communication Disorders Sciences
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Residency Programs
      • Nursing Professions
        • Clinical Nursing
        • Critical Care Nursing
        • Mental Health Nursing
        • Neonatal Nursing
        • Nurse Midwife
        • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
        • Nursing Administration
        • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
        • Nursing Science
        • Pediatric Nursing
      • Public Health and Safety

Popular Schools

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    • MS in Nursing - Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
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    • Master of Science - Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner Concentration
    • Bachelor of Science - Healthcare Management With a Dental Hygiene Emphasis
    • AS in Medical Assisting
    • Diploma in Medical Assisting

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    • Certificate - Health Administration

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    • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare
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