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2020 Best Colleges for Nursing

Approximately 293,633 nursing degrees were awarded to students last year in the United States. With so many options it can be a daunting task finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for Nursing ranking analyzed 518 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in nursing. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 25 colleges 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 take this into account we consider a school's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a combination of different factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 25% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 16%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 262 to 31 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Graduates Earn More After College

A nursing degree from colleges on this list usually results in higher than average income after 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 $71,312.

Starting Salary  ( 58093 to 77706 )
$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 full 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 518 schools analyzed, only 25 earned the distinction of being on this list.

Top 25 Best Nursing Colleges

#1

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In NY
9.8% Growth in Graduates

Molloy College is one of the finest schools in the United States for nursing. Located in the large suburb Rockville Centre, Molloy is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This school ranks 242nd out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There are approximately 532 nursing undergraduates studying this program at Molloy. Nursing graduates from Molloy College earn a boost of about $16,288 above the average income of nursing graduates.

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#2

New York University

New York, NY
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In NY
0.3% Growth in Graduates

It is difficult to beat New York University if you want 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 129 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means NYU is a great school overall.

There are about 639 nursing undergraduates enrolled in this program at NYU. Nursing majors from New York University earn a boost of about $20,488 over the average earnings of nursing graduates.

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#3

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In PA
$69,900 Median Starting Salary

Drexel University is a wonderful decision for individuals pursuing a Nursing degree. Drexel is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Philadelphia. This college ranks 171st out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Pennsylvania.

For those interested in something more advanced, Drexel also offers 5 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Grads of the nursing program state that they receive average early career income of $69,900.

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#4

Simmons University

Boston, MA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In MA
11.7% Growth in Graduates

Every student pursuing a degree in nursing has to check out Simmons University. Simmons is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Boston. This college ranks 257th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There are about 664 nursing undergraduates enrolled in this program at Simmons. Graduates of the nursing program earn an average of $66,600 in their early career salary.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In MI
$60,200 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large city Detroit, UDM is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. This college ranks 289th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Michigan.

There are about 368 nursing undergraduates studying this degree at UDM. After graduation, nursing students generally earn around $60,200 in their early careers.

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#6

Villanova University

Villanova, PA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
9th Most Popular In PA
$67,800 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large suburb Villanova, Villanova is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 71 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Villanova is a great college overall.

Villanova University is one of the most popular school to study nursing in United States exceeding 324 graduations last year. Graduates of the nursing program report average early career wages of $67,800.

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#7

Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In CT
7.6% Growth in Graduates

Located in the large suburb Fairfield, Fairfield U is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. This school ranks 147th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

Fairfield University is a fairly popular school to study nursing in United States with over 211 graduations last year. Nursing graduates from Fairfield University earn a boost of about $3,988 over the typical income of nursing graduates.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In DC
7.7% Growth in Graduates

GWU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Washington. A Best Colleges rank of 105 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means GWU is a great college overall.

There are approximately 470 nursing undergraduates enrolled in this degree at GWU. Graduates of the nursing program state that they receive average early career earnings of $66,200.

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#9

Quinnipiac University

Hamden, CT
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In CT
$72,600 Median Starting Salary

Quinnipiac is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Hamden. This school ranks 194th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Connecticut.

For those interested in something more advanced, Quinnipiac also offers 3 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Professional Practice). Soon after graduating, nursing students usually earn around $72,600 in their early careers.

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#10

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In PA
$64,700 Median Starting Salary

UPenn is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Philadelphia. A Best Colleges rank of 3 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means UPenn is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UPenn 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 about $64,700 in their early career salary.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
1st Most Popular In CA
12.9% Growth in Graduates

Azusa Pacific is a large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Azusa. This school ranks 428th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

There are roughly 734 nursing undergrads studying this degree at Azusa Pacific. Nursing majors from Azusa Pacific University earn a boost of about $15,388 over the average earnings of nursing graduates.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
20th Most Popular In CA
$82,300 Median Starting Salary

UCLA is a fairly large public school located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 49 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means UCLA is a great college overall.

With 221 undergraduates, University of California - Los Angeles is one of most popular colleges to study nursing in United States. Graduates from the nursing program at University of California - Los Angeles get $10,988 more than the standard graduate in this field when they enter the workforce.

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#13

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In MD
1.5% Growth in Graduates

Johns Hopkins is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Baltimore. A Best Colleges rank of 16 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Johns Hopkins is a great school overall.

There are about 396 nursing undergrads studying this degree at Johns Hopkins. Graduates of the nursing program earn around $69,400 for their early career.

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#14

Adelphi University

Garden City, NY
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In NY
13.4% Growth in Graduates

Adelphi is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Garden City. This school ranks 280th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of New York.

For those interested in something more advanced, Adelphi 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 Adelphi University get $15,388 above the typical college grad with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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#15

Georgetown University

Washington, DC
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
2nd Most Popular In DC
1.7% Growth in Graduates

Located in the city Washington, Georgetown is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 42 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Georgetown is a great college overall.

There are roughly 362 nursing undergraduates enrolled in this program at Georgetown. Soon after graduating, nursing students usually earn around $67,900 in their early careers.

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#16

Seattle University

Seattle, WA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
4th Most Popular In WA
$68,200 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Seattle, Seattle U is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population. This college ranks 174th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Washington.

There are approximately 245 nursing undergraduates studying this program at Seattle U. Graduates of the nursing program make around $68,200 in their early career salary.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In WA
$71,100 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large city Seattle, UW Seattle is a public college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 84 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means UW Seattle is a great college overall.

There are about 277 nursing undergrads studying this degree at UW Seattle. After graduation, nursing students usually earn an average of $71,100 at the beginning of their careers.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
7th Most Popular In MN
$62,300 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Minneapolis, UMN Twin Cities is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 132 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means UMN Twin Cities is a great school overall.

With 329 undergrads, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities is one of most popular schools to study nursing in United States. After getting their bachelor's degree, nursing students typically make an average of $62,300 at the beginning of their careers.

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#19

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
18th Most Popular In MA
$66,500 Median Starting Salary

Boston College is a large private not-for-profit school located in the small city of Chestnut Hill. A Best Colleges rank of 58 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means Boston College is a great school overall.

Boston College is a fairly popular school to study nursing in United States with over 109 graduates last year. Graduates of the nursing program make about $66,500 in their early career salary.

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#20

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
11th Most Popular In TX
$64,600 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Fort Worth, TCU is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 115 out of 1,727 colleges nationwide means TCU is a great school overall.

TCU offers nursing degrees as low as a One to Two Year Certificates and all the way up to a Professional Practice Doctorate's. Students who graduate from the nursing program earn around $64,600 in their early career salary.

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#21

Regis University

Denver, CO
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
3rd Most Popular In CO
$61,000 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large city Denver, Regis U is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population. This college ranks 349th out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Colorado.

Regis U offers nursing degrees as low as a First Year Certificates and all the way up to a Professional Practice Doctorate's. After getting their bachelor's degree, nursing students generally earn around $61,000 in their early careers.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
13th Most Popular In OH
$59,400 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city Cleveland, Case Western is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 51 out of 1,727 schools nationwide means Case Western is a great college overall.

Case Western Reserve University is a fairly popular college to study nursing in United States with more than 258 graduations last year. After getting their bachelor's degree, nursing students usually earn around $59,400 at the beginning of their careers.

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#23

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, FL
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
7th Most Popular In FL
$62,200 Median Starting Salary

Located in the large suburb Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 382nd out of 1,727 schools for overall quality in the state of Florida.

For those interested in something more advanced, Nova Southeastern University also offers 2 different higher degree levels in nursing, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Soon after graduation, nursing students typically make about $62,200 in the first five years of their career.

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#24

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA
Doctorate Highest Degree Type
7th Most Popular In CA
$86,700 Median Starting Salary

Located in the city San Francisco, USFCA is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 191st out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

University of San Francisco is a fairly popular college to study nursing in United States with over 437 graduations last year. Nursing students from University of San Francisco earn a boost of approximately $15,388 over the average earnings of nursing graduates.

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Doctorate Highest Degree Type
6th Most Popular In IL
$65,100 Median Starting Salary

Loyola Chicago is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Chicago. This college ranks 215th out of 1,727 colleges for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

With 365 students enrolled, Loyola University Chicago is one of most popular colleges to study nursing in United States. After graduating, nursing students usually earn about $65,100 in the first five years of their career.

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Rest of the Top 50 Best Colleges for Nursing

Additional Award Winners

This section represents the rest of the colleges awarded a Best Colleges for Nursing badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 518 different United States nursing schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
52 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
53 Union University Jackson, TN
54 Marquette University Milwaukee, WI
55 The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX
56 University of Virginia - Main Campus Charlottesville, VA
57 Walden University Minneapolis, MN
58 George Mason University Fairfax, VA
59 University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
60 University of Delaware Newark, DE
61 D’Youville College Buffalo, NY
62 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
63 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
64 University of Scranton Scranton, PA
65 St. John Fisher College Rochester, NY
66 The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX
67 Pace University - New York New York, NY
68 Widener University Chester, PA
69 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
70 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
71 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
72 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
73 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, CO
74 University of Nevada - Reno Reno, NV
75 Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH
76 Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, WA
77 University of St Francis Joliet, IL

Honorable Mentions

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

Rank College Location
78 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
79 The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ
80 Illinois Wesleyan University Bloomington, IL
81 University of Massachusetts - Boston Boston, MA
82 University of South Florida - Main Campus Tampa, FL
83 University of Massachusetts - Lowell Lowell, MA
84 Washington State University Pullman, WA
85 Illinois State University Normal, IL
86 College of Our Lady of the Elms Chicopee, MA
87 Catholic University of America Washington, DC
88 Salve Regina University Newport, RI
89 Clarke University Dubuque, IA
90 San Diego State University San Diego, CA
91 Valparaiso University Valparaiso, IN
92 University of Hawaii at Manoa Honolulu, HI
93 Bethel University Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
94 La Salle University Philadelphia, PA
95 Pennsylvania State University - University Park University Park, PA
96 LIU Brooklyn Brooklyn, NY
97 Le Moyne College Syracuse, NY
98 Wilkes University Wilkes-Barre, PA
99 St Olaf College Northfield, MN
100 Holy Family University Philadelphia, PA
101 Clemson University Clemson, SC
102 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
103 Baylor University Waco, TX

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 104,465
Practical Nursing & Nursing Assistants 90,916
Health & Medical Administrative Services 87,058
Allied Health Professions 86,125
Public Health 34,089

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.

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