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2021 Best Colleges for Nursing

Approximately 296,913 nursing degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many choices it can be difficult finding the right fit. This year's Best Colleges for Nursing ranking analyzed 723 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in nursing. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 schools for Nursing students.

Choosing a Great Nursing School

Best Colleges for Nursing Your choice of nursing school matters. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. Below we explain some of the most important factors to consider before making your choice:

Quality Overall is Important

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a quality education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To account for this we consider a school's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a host of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

The vast majority of the colleges on this list are in at least the top 26% of our overall quality ranking.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 394 to 1 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Graduates Earn More After College

A nursing degree from colleges on this list typically translates into higher than average salaries following graduation. While the average nursing bachelors degree from U.S. schools results in an average starting salary of $62,245, graduates of colleges on this list average $75,428.

Starting Salary  ( 61202 to 80997 )
$0
$91,800

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 Popularity - How many other nursing students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized nursing related accrediting body.

Our complete ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best colleges for Nursing students.

Best Schools to Study Nursing in United States

Explore the top ranked colleges and universities for nursing majors. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list. Of the 723 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Nursing Colleges

#1

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY

Molloy College is one of the finest schools in the United States for nursing. Molloy is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Rockville Centre. This college ranks 238th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

A popular major for nursing undergraduates, there are approximately 540 individuals studying this degree at Molloy. Graduates from the nursing program at Molloy College make $12,172 more than the average college graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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#2

New York University

New York, NY

It is difficult to beat New York University if you wish to pursue nursing as a major. NYU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New York. A Best Colleges rank of 130 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means NYU is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, NYU also offers 3 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students from the nursing program at New York University get $16,372 above the average graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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#3

Wagner College

Staten Island, NY

Wagner College is among your top options if you want to study nursing. Located in the large city Staten Island, Wagner is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This college ranks 495th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

Wagner College is one of the most popular college to study nursing in United States with more than 183 graduates last year. Nursing students from Wagner College receive an earnings boost of about $15,272 above the typical income of nursing graduates.

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#4

Adelphi University

Garden City, NY

Adelphi University is a wonderful choice for students pursuing a Nursing degree. Adelphi is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Garden City. This school ranks 346th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

A favorite choice for nursing undergraduates, there are about 518 learners enrolled in this degree at Adelphi. Nursing majors from Adelphi University receive an earnings boost of around $11,272 above the average earnings of nursing majors.

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Azusa Pacific is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Azusa. This school ranks 449th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, Azusa Pacific also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Azusa Pacific University nursing majors earn $11,272 more than the typical nursing graduate.

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DUofC is a small private not-for-profit school located in the small city of San Rafael. This college ranks 381st out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

Dominican University of California is one of the most popular college to study nursing in United States with over 105 graduates last year. Dominican University of California nursing graduates make $16,172 more than the average nursing graduate.

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#7

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

Drexel is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Philadelphia. This school ranks 186th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

For those interested in something more advanced, Drexel also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Grads of the nursing program report average early career wages of $69,900.

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#8

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA

Located in the large city San Francisco, USFCA is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. This college ranks 235th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

For those interested in something more advanced, USFCA also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Nursing graduates from University of San Francisco get a earnings boost of around $11,272 over the typical income of nursing majors.

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#9

Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia, PA

Located in the large city Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population. This college ranks 344th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

There are about 521 nursing undergraduates studying this degree at Thomas Jefferson University. Soon after graduating, nursing students generally make an average of $68,000 at the beginning of their careers.

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#10

University of Saint Joseph

West Hartford, CT

USJ is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of West Hartford. This college ranks 354th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

University of Saint Joseph is one of the most popular school to study nursing in United States exceeding 135 graduations last year. Students who graduate from this degree state that they receive average early career wages of $68,600.

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UCLA is a very large public school located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 65 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great school overall.

University of California - Los Angeles is one of the most popular college to study nursing in United States with more than 235 graduations last year. University of California - Los Angeles nursing students earn $6,872 more than the standard nursing graduate.

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#12

Duke University

Durham, NC

Duke is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Durham. A Best Colleges rank of 2 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Duke is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Duke also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the nursing program make around $62,700 in their early career salary.

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#13

Simmons University

Boston, MA

Simmons is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Boston. This college ranks 280th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There are about 763 nursing undergrads enrolled in this degree at Simmons. Students who graduate from the nursing program earn about $66,600 in the first couple years of their career.

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#14

Emory University

Atlanta, GA

Located in the city Atlanta, Emory is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 34 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Emory is a great school overall.

There are approximately 439 nursing undergraduates enrolled in this degree at Emory. Graduates of the nursing program earn an average of $62,700 for their early career.

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#15

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY

SUNY Stony Brook is a fairly large public school located in the large suburb of Stony Brook. This college ranks 222nd out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, SUNY Stony Brook also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Stony Brook University nursing majors earn $7,172 more than the average nursing student.

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#16

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA

Gonzaga is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Spokane. A Best Colleges rank of 139 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Gonzaga is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Gonzaga also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the nursing program report average early career earnings of $69,100.

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#17

Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT

Located in the suburb Fairfield, Fairfield U is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 185 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Fairfield U is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Fairfield U also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Professional Practice). Graduates of the nursing program make about $75,300 in the first couple years of their career.

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#18

Villanova University

Villanova, PA

Located in the suburb Villanova, Villanova is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 78 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Villanova is a great school overall.

A preferred major for nursing undergrads, there are approximately 329 individuals enrolled in this program at Villanova. Students who graduate from this degree state that they receive average early career wages of $67,800.

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Located in the suburb Addison, Chamberlain - Illinois is a private for-profit college with a very large student population. This college ranks 1035th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

There are roughly 11609 nursing undergrads studying this program at Chamberlain - Illinois. Students who graduate from the nursing program make around $69,300 in the first couple years of their career.

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#20

Quinnipiac University

Hamden, CT

Located in the large suburb Hamden, Quinnipiac is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population. This school ranks 255th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

For those interested in something more advanced, Quinnipiac also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Professional Practice). Soon after graduation, nursing students typically earn around $72,600 at the beginning of their careers.

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Located in the large city Seattle, UW Seattle is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 97 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means UW Seattle is a great school overall.

There are roughly 292 nursing undergrads studying this program at UW Seattle. After getting their bachelor's degree, nursing students typically make about $71,100 in their early careers.

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Located in the small city New Brunswick, Rutgers New Brunswick is a public college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 183 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Rutgers New Brunswick is a great college overall.

There are roughly 533 nursing undergrads enrolled in this program at Rutgers New Brunswick. Soon after graduation, nursing students generally earn an average of $70,300 at the beginning of their careers.

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#23

University of Portland

Portland, OR

University of Portland is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Portland. A Best Colleges rank of 173 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means University of Portland is a great school overall.

There are roughly 216 nursing undergrads studying this degree at University of Portland. Graduates of the nursing program state that they receive average early career earnings of $74,300.

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Located in the suburb Storrs, UCONN is a public college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 104 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UCONN is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCONN also offers 3 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Students who graduate from the nursing program earn an average of $69,400 for their early career.

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#25

Creighton University

Omaha, NE

Located in the city Omaha, Creighton is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. A Best Colleges rank of 127 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Creighton is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, Creighton also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Professional Practice). Graduates of the nursing program earn around $61,300 in their early career salary.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Colleges for Nursing

#26

University of Miami

Coral Gables, FL
#27

Jacksonville University

Jacksonville, FL
#28

University of Scranton

Scranton, PA
#29

George Washington University

Washington, DC
#30

Union University

Jackson, TN
#31

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
#34

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY
#35

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX
#37

Pacific Union College

Angwin, CA
#38

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, VA
#39

Northeastern University

Boston, MA
#42

Georgetown University

Washington, DC
#43

Seattle University

Seattle, WA
#45

D'Youville College

Buffalo, NY
#48

University of Delaware

Newark, DE

Additional Award Winners

This section shows the remainder of the colleges awarded a Best Colleges for Nursing badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 723 different United States nursing schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
52 Marquette University Milwaukee, WI
53 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
54 Catholic University of America Washington, DC
55 Loyola University Chicago Chicago, IL
56 California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA
57 Binghamton University Vestal, NY
58 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
59 Gwynedd Mercy University Gwynedd Valley, PA
60 Arizona State University - Downtown Phoenix Phoenix, AZ
61 Sonoma State University Rohnert Park, CA
62 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
63 Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA
64 St. John Fisher College Rochester, NY
65 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA
66 Ohio University - Main Campus Athens, OH
67 Chatham University Pittsburgh, PA
68 St Catherine University Saint Paul, MN
69 University of Providence Great Falls, MT
70 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
71 Sacred Heart University Fairfield, CT
72 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
73 Pace University - New York New York, NY
74 Daemen College Amherst, NY
75 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
76 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
77 Samford University Birmingham, AL
78 Baylor University Waco, TX
79 Roberts Wesleyan College Rochester, NY
80 University of California - Irvine Irvine, CA
81 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
82 Bradley University Peoria, IL
83 The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ
84 University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC
85 Holy Family University Philadelphia, PA
86 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
87 Saint Anselm College Manchester, NH
88 Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ
89 California State University - Sacramento Sacramento, CA
90 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
91 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
92 The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX
93 Mount Saint Mary College Newburgh, NY
94 West Coast University - Orange County Anaheim, CA
95 Widener University Chester, PA
96 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, NC
97 Regis University Denver, CO
98 Viterbo University La Crosse, WI
99 University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL
100 Lewis University Romeoville, IL
101 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
102 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
103 Mount Saint Mary’s University Los Angeles, CA
104 Edgewood College Madison, WI
105 Chamberlain University - Virginia Arlington, VA
106 Immaculata University Immaculata, PA
107 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
108 Misericordia University Dallas, PA

Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for Nursing students that almost earned our Best Colleges for Nursing award.

Rank College Location
109 Washington State University Pullman, WA
110 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
111 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
112 Ramapo College of New Jersey Mahwah, NJ
113 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
114 Rutgers University - Camden Camden, NJ
115 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
116 Wilkes University Wilkes-Barre, PA
117 Mount Carmel College of Nursing Columbus, OH
118 Valparaiso University Valparaiso, IN
119 Purdue University - Main Campus West Lafayette, IN
120 University of New Hampshire - Main Campus Durham, NH
121 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
122 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
123 Bellin College Green Bay, WI
124 CUNY Hunter College New York, NY
125 University of Cincinnati - Main Campus Cincinnati, OH
126 Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, WA
127 University of St Francis Joliet, IL
128 LIU Post Brookville, NY
129 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
130 Bryan College of Health Sciences Lincoln, NE
131 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
132 Bethel University Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
133 College of Saint Benedict Saint Joseph, MN
134 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
135 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
136 Eastern Mennonite University Harrisonburg, VA
137 Salve Regina University Newport, RI
138 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
139 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
140 Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate, TN
141 College of Saint Elizabeth Morristown, NJ
142 Bellarmine University Louisville, KY
143 Saint Mary’s College Notre Dame, IN
144 University of Vermont Burlington, VT

Nursing by Region

View the Best Colleges for Nursing for a specific region near you.

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

One of 34 majors within the Health Professions area of study, Nursing has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Allied Health & Medical Assisting Services 99,641
Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants 93,192
Allied Health Professions 86,697
Health & Medical Administrative Services 82,868
Public Health 36,569

View All Nursing Related Majors >

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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