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2022 Best Nursing Master's Degree Schools

581 Colleges in the United States
50,422 Master's Degrees
Ranked #2 in popularity, nursing is one of the most sought-after master's degree programs in the nation. So, there are lots of possibilities to explore when you're trying to determine where you want to get your degree.

For its 2022 ranking, College Factual looked at 581 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for nursing students pursuing a master's degree. When you put them all together, these colleges and universities awarded 50,422 master's degrees in nursing during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Jump to one of the following sections:

Choosing a Great Nursing School for Your Master's Degree

Best Nursing Master's Degree Schools The nursing master's degree program you select can have a big impact on your future. Important measures of a quality nursing program can vary widely even among the top schools. Below we explain some of the most important factors to consider before making your choice:

Overall Quality Is a Must

A school that excels in educating for a particular major and degree level must be a great school overall as well. To make it into this list a school must rank well in our overall Best Colleges for a Master's Degree ranking. This ranking considered factors such as graduation rates, overall graduate earnings and other educational resources to identify great colleges and universities.

Over 80% of the schools in this list are in the top 6% of our overall quality ranking while the lowest ranked school on the list is still in the top 13%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 72 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Graduates Earn More After College

The average early-career salary of those graduating with their master's degree in nursing is one indicator we use in our analysis to find the schools that offer the highest-quality education. While master's degree recipients from schools in the United States earn an average starting salary of $97,473, the top 25 schools on this list made an average of $114,038.

Starting Salary  ( 73135 to 132164 )
$0
$177,500

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on nursing students vs. other majors.
  • Major Demand - The number of nursing students who choose to seek a master's degree at the school.
  • Educational Resources - The amount of money and other resources allocated to students while they are pursuing their degree. These resources include such things as number of students per instructor and education expenditures per student.
  • Student Debt - How easy is it for nursing to pay back their student loans after receiving their master's degree.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or accredited by a recognized nursing related body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for nursing students working on their master's degree.

One Size Does Not Fit All

When choosing the right school for you, it's important to arm yourself with all the facts you can. To that end, we've created a number of major-specific rankings, including this Best Nursing Master's Degree Schools list to help you make the college decision.

Best Schools for Master’s Students to Study Nursing in the United States

Explore the top ranked colleges and universities for nursing students seeking a a master's degree. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

25 Top Schools for a Master's in Nursing

210 Annual Graduates
$150,985 Median Student Debt

It's difficult to beat Samuel Merritt University if you want to pursue a master's degree in nursing. Located in the large city of Oakland, Samuel Merritt University is a private not-for-profit university with a small student population.

There were roughly 210 nursing students who graduated with this degree at Samuel Merritt University in the most recent data year. Those nursing students who get their master's degree from Samuel Merritt University make $33,227 more than the typical nursing grad.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Samuel Merritt University

108 Annual Graduates
$151,002 Median Student Debt

Any student pursuing a degree in a master's degree in nursing has to take a look at University of Southern California. USC is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Los Angeles. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #30 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means USC is a great university overall.

University of Southern California is a fairly popular university to study nursing in the United States with about 108 graduations in the most recent data year. Those nursing students who get their master's degree from University of Southern California earn $62,127 more than the typical nursing grad.

More information about a master’s in nursing from University of Southern California

#3

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
371 Annual Graduates
$63,540 Median Student Debt

It is hard to beat University of Pennsylvania if you wish to pursue a master's degree in nursing. Located in the large city of Philadelphia, UPenn is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #11 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means UPenn is a great university overall.

There were roughly 371 nursing individuals who graduated with this degree at UPenn in the most recent year we have data available. Those nursing students who get their master's degree from University of Pennsylvania earn $6,927 more than the average nursing graduate.

More information about a master’s in nursing from University of Pennsylvania

#4

Duke University

Durham, NC
234 Annual Graduates
$73,779 Median Student Debt

Duke University is a great decision for individuals interested in a master's degree in nursing. Located in the large city of Durham, Duke is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #7 out of 1,305 schools nationwide means Duke is a great university overall.

There were roughly 234 nursing students who graduated with this degree at Duke in the most recent year we have data available. Master's students who receive their degree from the nursing program make about $93,000 in the first couple years of their career.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Duke University

#5

Yale University

New Haven, CT
116 Annual Graduates
$82,686 Median Student Debt

Located in the midsize city of New Haven, Yale is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #8 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means Yale is a great university overall.

There were about 116 nursing individuals who graduated with this degree at Yale in the most recent data year. After graduating, nursing master's recipients usually make about $92,000 in their early careers.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Yale University

277 Annual Graduates
$61,000 Median Student Debt

Located in the city of New York, Columbia is a private not-for-profit university with a very large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #21 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means Columbia is a great university overall.

There were approximately 277 nursing students who graduated with this degree at Columbia in the most recent year we have data available. Those nursing students who get their master's degree from Columbia University in the City of New York receive $8,127 more than the average nursing student.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Columbia University in the City of New York

252 Annual Graduates
$34,166 Median Student Debt

UTHealth is a moderately-sized public university located in the large city of Houston.

There were about 252 nursing individuals who graduated with this degree at UTHealth in the most recent year we have data available. Master's recipients from the nursing degree program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston get $6,727 more than the average college grad with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

More information about a master’s in nursing from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

#8

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC
24 Annual Graduates

Wake Forest University is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit university located in the midsize city of Winston-Salem. This university ranks 4th out of 41 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of North Carolina.

Wake Forest University is a fairly popular university to study nursing in the United States with about 24 graduations in the most recent year we have data available.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Wake Forest University

#9

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
333 Annual Graduates
$76,816 Median Student Debt

Vanderbilt is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Nashville. This university ranks 1st out of 29 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of Tennessee.

There were approximately 333 nursing individuals who graduated with this degree at Vanderbilt in the most recent data year. Master's students who receive their degree from the nursing program earn an average of $89,500 in their early career salary.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Vanderbilt University

#10

Georgetown University

Washington, DC
291 Annual Graduates
$107,503 Median Student Debt

Located in the large city of Washington, Georgetown is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #19 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means Georgetown is a great university overall.

There were roughly 291 nursing students who graduated with this degree at Georgetown in the most recent year we have data available. Master's students who receive their degree from the nursing program make an average of $99,000 in the first couple years of working.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Georgetown University

#11

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
264 Annual Graduates
$77,662 Median Student Debt

Johns Hopkins is a fairly large private not-for-profit university located in the large city of Baltimore. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #17 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means Johns Hopkins is a great university overall.

There were roughly 264 nursing individuals who graduated with this degree at Johns Hopkins in the most recent data year. After graduation, nursing master's recipients generally earn about $93,100 in the first five years of their career.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Johns Hopkins University

156 Annual Graduates
$64,119 Median Student Debt

Located in the large city of San Francisco, UCSF is a public university with a small student population.

A popular major for nursing students, there were about 156 students who graduated from this program at UCSF in the most recent data year. Those nursing students who get their master's degree from University of California - San Francisco earn $13,327 more than the standard nursing student.

More information about a master’s in nursing from University of California - San Francisco

#13

Albany Medical College

Albany, NY
23 Annual Graduates
$110,185 Median Student Debt

AMC Albany is a small private not-for-profit college located in the city of Albany.

With 23 students who completed this degree in the most recent year we have data available, Albany Medical College is one of the most popular colleges to study nursing in the United States. Nursing master's degree recipients from Albany Medical College get an earnings boost of approximately $80,027 above the average earnings of nursing majors.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Albany Medical College

191 Annual Graduates
$30,423 Median Student Debt

Located in the fringe town of Galveston, UTMB Galveston is a public university with a small student population.

The University of Texas Medical Branch is a fairly popular university to study nursing in the United States with roughly 191 graduates in the most recent year we have data available. Nursing master's degree recipients from The University of Texas Medical Branch get an earnings boost of around $3,327 above the typical income of nursing graduates.

More information about a master’s in nursing from The University of Texas Medical Branch

149 Annual Graduates
$54,140 Median Student Debt

Located in the city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public university with a fairly large student population. A Best Master's Degree Schools rank of #27 out of 1,305 colleges nationwide means UCLA is a great university overall.

There were about 149 nursing individuals who graduated with this degree at UCLA in the most recent year we have data available. Soon after graduation, nursing master's recipients generally make an average of $91,500 in the first five years of their career.

More information about a master’s in nursing from University of California - Los Angeles

#16

New York University

New York, NY
166 Annual Graduates
$81,270 Median Student Debt

Located in the city of New York, NYU is a private not-for-profit university with a fairly large student population. This university ranks 5th out of 96 colleges for overall master's degree quality in the state of New York.

There were roughly 166 nursing individuals who graduated with this degree at NYU in the most recent data year. Nursing master's degree recipients from New York University receive an earnings boost of approximately $10,727 above the average earnings of nursing graduates.

More information about a master’s in nursing from New York University

330 Annual Graduates
$42,834 Median Student Debt

TTUHSC is a moderately-sized public university located in the city of Lubbock.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is one of the most popular universities to study nursing in the United States with approximately 330 graduates in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their master's from the nursing program report average early career earnings of $98,100.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

#18

Saint Vincent College

Latrobe, PA
30 Annual Graduates
$114,902 Median Student Debt

Located in the large suburb of Latrobe, Saint Vincent is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This college ranks 12th out of 75 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

With 30 students who graduated from this program in the most recent year we have data available, Saint Vincent College is one of the most popular colleges to study nursing in the United States. Those nursing students who get their master's degree from Saint Vincent College make $68,127 more than the average nursing graduate.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Saint Vincent College

84 Annual Graduates
$40,697 Median Student Debt

SUNY Downstate is a small public university located in the city of Brooklyn.

With 84 students who completed this degree in the most recent year we have data available, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is one of the most popular universities to study nursing in the United States. Master's recipients from the nursing program at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University earn $12,127 more than the typical graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

More information about a master’s in nursing from SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

#20

Villanova University

Villanova, PA
64 Annual Graduates
$81,634 Median Student Debt

Located in the suburb of Villanova, Villanova is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. This university ranks 3rd out of 75 colleges for overall master's degree quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

A preferred major for nursing students, there were about 64 individuals who graduated from this program at Villanova in the most recent year we have data available. Master's recipients from the nursing program at Villanova University make $69,527 above the standard graduate in this field shortly after graduation.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Villanova University

#21

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
133 Annual Graduates
$45,885 Median Student Debt

University of Virginia is a very large public university located in the suburb of Charlottesville. This university ranks 1st out of 35 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of Virginia.

There were roughly 133 nursing students who graduated with this degree at University of Virginia in the most recent year we have data available. After graduation, nursing master's recipients typically make around $86,700 at the beginning of their careers.

More information about a master’s in nursing from University of Virginia - Main Campus

87 Annual Graduates
$51,250 Median Student Debt

U-M is a very large public university located in the city of Ann Arbor. This university ranks 1st out of 29 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of Michigan.

A favorite major for nursing students, there were roughly 87 students who completed this degree at U-M in the most recent data year. After graduation, nursing master's recipients typically earn around $87,800 at the beginning of their careers.

More information about a master’s in nursing from University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

#23

Emory University

Atlanta, GA
149 Annual Graduates
$68,400 Median Student Debt

Located in the city of Atlanta, Emory is a private not-for-profit university with a large student population. This university ranks 2nd out of 35 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of Georgia.

There were approximately 149 nursing students who graduated with this degree at Emory in the most recent data year. Students who graduate with their master's from the nursing program state that they receive average early career income of $94,600.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Emory University

#23

Mount Marty University

Yankton, SD
18 Annual Graduates
$114,925 Median Student Debt

Mount Marty is a small private not-for-profit university located in the remote town of Yankton. This university ranks 2nd out of 11 schools for overall master's degree quality in the state of South Dakota.

There were approximately 18 nursing students who graduated with this degree at Mount Marty in the most recent year we have data available. Those nursing students who get their master's degree from Mount Marty University earn $69,027 more than the typical nursing grad.

More information about a master’s in nursing from Mount Marty University

68 Annual Graduates
$37,850 Median Student Debt

UT Health San Antonio is a small public university located in the city of San Antonio.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is a fairly popular university to study nursing in the United States with roughly 68 graduates in the most recent year we have data available. Those nursing students who get their master's degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio receive $3,627 more than the standard nursing student.

More information about a master’s in nursing from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Rest of the Top 50 Best Nursing Master's Degree Schools

#31

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA

#32

Texas Wesleyan University

Fort Worth, TX

#33

Simmons University

Boston, MA
#34

Northeastern University

Boston, MA
#37

George Washington University

Washington, DC
#39

Marquette University

Milwaukee, WI

#41

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY

#42

United States University

San Diego, CA
#43

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, CA
#46

Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia, PA
#48

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

Remaining Award Winners

This list shows the rest of the schools awarded a Best Nursing Master's Degree Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 581 different United States nursing schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
50 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
51 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
52 Fairfield University Fairfield, CT
53 Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT
54 Touro University California Vallejo, CA
55 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
56 West Coast University - Orange County Anaheim, CA
57 University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC
58 Molloy College Rockville Centre, NY
59 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
60 Touro University Nevada Henderson, NV
61 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
62 Clarkson College Omaha, NE
63 University of California - Davis Davis, CA
64 Ramapo College of New Jersey Mahwah, NJ
65 Wagner College Staten Island, NY
66 The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX
67 University of San Diego San Diego, CA
68 Florida International University Miami, FL
69 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
70 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
71 Walden University Minneapolis, MN
72 Gannon University Erie, PA
73 Point Loma Nazarene University San Diego, CA
74 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
75 Binghamton University Vestal, NY
76 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
77 Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA
78 Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University Baton Rouge, LA
79 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
80 Endicott College Beverly, MA
81 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
82 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
83 Western Governors University Salt Lake City, UT
84 University of Delaware Newark, DE
85 Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Boston, MA
86 Sacred Heart University Fairfield, CT
87 Bellin College Green Bay, WI

Additional Noteworthy Schools

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Nursing Master's Degree Schools award.

Rank College Location
88 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
89 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
90 Hampton University Hampton, VA
91 Upstate Medical University Syracuse, NY
92 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
93 Otterbein University Westerville, OH
94 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL
95 University of New England Biddeford, ME
96 Newman University Wichita, KS
97 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
98 University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha, NE
99 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
100 Bradley University Peoria, IL
101 University of Mary Bismarck, ND
102 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
103 St. John Fisher College Rochester, NY
104 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
105 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
106 MGH Institute of Health Professions Boston, MA
107 Mount Saint Mary’s University Los Angeles, CA
108 University of Cincinnati - Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
109 California State University - Stanislaus Turlock, CA
110 Rockhurst University Kansas City, MO
111 Oregon Health & Science University Portland, OR
112 Clemson University Clemson, SC
113 Central Connecticut State University New Britain, CT
114 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR
115 Hunter College New York, NY
116 Creighton University Omaha, NE

Nursing by Region

View the Best Nursing Master's Degree Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

View All Rankings >

Nursing is one of 30 different types of Health Professions programs to choose from.

Nursing Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
Registered Nursing 18,126
Family Practice Nurse/Nursing 14,915
Nursing Administration 6,780
Nursing Science 1,583
Other Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing 1,543
Adult Health Nurse/Nursing 1,374
Nurse Anesthetist 1,015
Nursing Practice 748
Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse/Nursing 745
Geriatric Nurse/Nursing 599

Related Major Annual Graduates
Public Health 15,529
Health & Medical Administrative Services 13,637
Mental & Social Health Services 13,482
Allied Health Professions 11,535
Communication Sciences 9,315
Rehabilitation & Therapeutic Professions 8,844
Bioethics/Medical Ethics 3,393
Dietetics & Clinical Nutrition Services 1,469
Medical Illustration & Informatics 1,428
Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Sciences 1,287

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to Aleksahgabrielle. More about our data sources and methodologies.

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