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Articles / Majors & Careers / Best Colleges for Nursing

Best Colleges for Nursing

Written by Sam Jaquez | June 28, 2021
Photo of woman in graduation hat with stethoscope throwing confetti by Joshua Mcknight from Pexels

These 10 Colleges Offer Outstanding Nursing Programs With High NCLEX Pass Rates

The best nursing program will be different for each person, just as each nursing program is different. Whether you’re looking for a school that focuses on clinical practice, research opportunities, study abroad options, NCLEX pass-rates, or many other qualities, there is a nursing program out there for every type of student. Listed below are ten different schools that have outstanding programs.

Duke University

Durham, NC

Duke’s mission is to provide a transformative educational experience for all students. The university educates over 15,000 students every year with students from all over the world.

Established in 1931, the School of Nursing offers an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The program is shorter than the average nursing bachelor’s program taking 16 months of studying and 800 hours of clinical experience. In addition, students can earn up to nine credits to count toward a master’s degree.

NCLEX pass rate: 98%

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Penn is known for its diversity with 13% international students, 13% first generation college students, and nearly half of undergraduates self-identifying as students of color. Penn is a national leader in community service with more than 300 volunteer and community service projects each year.

Consistently ranking as the #1 nursing school in the world, Penn offers nursing students an award-winning hands-on program. The undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Nursing program offers students clinical practice, nursing research, study abroad opportunities, dual degrees, and graduate-level courses as an undergrad.

NCLEX pass rate: 92%

Emory University

Atlanta, GA

Emory is known for its award-winning nursing programs, for having the best hospital in Georgia, for their great financial aid, and more. Emory has two campuses, one in Atlanta and another in Oxford, GA. The University’s mission focuses on preparing students to be leaders in their fields.

At the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, students are provided with a well-rounded curriculum that focuses on both liberal arts and nursing. For the first two years, students have the option of taking their prerequisites at Oxford College for a more intimate experience with small class sizes. The nursing program allows students from all starting points: high school graduates, sophomore entry from other majors within Emory or Oxford, and transfer students from other universities.

NCLEX pass rate: 90%

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)

Los Angeles, CA

UCLA is ranked as one of the best universities in the world and offers over 300 degree programs to over 30,000 undergrad and 12,000 graduate students. UCLA is noted for medical excellence with the UCLA hospitals ranking at number 1 in Los Angeles and number 4 in the U.S. Such a distinguished medical system is a big draw for studying nursing at the university.

The UCLA School of Nursing is a top ranked nursing school with five distinct programs at all levels of learning from a bachelor’s degree to a PhD. The innovated undergraduate nursing program is a four-year program that prepares students to enter the master’s program which further prepares students for advanced practice roles. The bachelor’s program accepts new freshman students, transfer students, and applicants with military experience.

NCLEX pass rate: 87%

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI

The University of Michigan is one of the largest public research universities in the U.S. The university ranks as the best public university in the U.S and the best small college town in America, among other bests. The Go Blue guarantee promises free tuition for qualifying in-state students and additional tuition support for others.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at U of M is known for having affordable tuition and a great student-focused program. A big draw for undergrad students is taking classes that are taught by the same professors who teach the top-ranked graduate program. The BSN program also features an honors program, a minor in population health, hands-on clinical experience, and more.

NCLEX pass rate: 97%

New York University

New York City, NY

New York University is a private research university that provides over 270 areas of study with a 9 to 1 student-to-faculty ratio. 58% of NYU students are female, 42% are male, and 19% of first years are the first in their families to attend college. NYU is ranked among the top 100 worldwide universities and their nursing programs rank in the top programs in the U.S.

The NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing offers BS, MS, DNP, and PhD programs that focus on providing students with skills to meet challenges in the increasingly complex field of nursing. The BSN programs include several study options including an accelerated 15-month program, a traditional 4-year program, second-degree program, and an RN-to-BS program.

NCLEX pass rate: 99%

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College is a private research university located just outside of downtown Boston, Massachusetts. 53% of BC students are female, 47% are male, and 34% are students of African, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American descent. Nursing is one of the top ten majors at BC along with Economics, Biology, and Political Science.

The Connell School of Nursing offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as continuing education opportunities. As a school in the Greater Boston area, students benefit from BC’s partnership with more than 85 health care facilities in the area. The Bachelor’s program at BC is a four-year program that allows students the opportunity to take part in all of the school’s amenities including athletic programs, student organizations, study abroad programs (including clinical practices while abroad), and the option to take graduate-level nursing courses while an undergrad student.

NCLEX pass rate: 93%

University of Miami

Miami, FL

The University of Miami is a private research university comprising 11 schools and colleges with more than 180 majors and programs. The university has several nationally ranked programs including clinical psychology, physical therapy, and their Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.

Nursing at The School of Nursing & Health Studies is a nationally ranked program that has a NCLEX passing rate of 95%. SNHS is the home of S.H.A.R.E, a 5-story Simulation Hospital that offers immersive simulations of clinical, research, and educational settings. At the University of Miami, undergrad nursing students can choose from five different bachelor’s tracks including an accelerated degree program. Opportunities for learning are limitless at SNHS with part-time, hybrid online, and full-time learning programs.

NCLEX pass rate: 95%

Louisiana State University Health Science Center

Baton Rouge and New Orleans, LA

At the Louisiana State University 92% of all students receive scholarships or financial aid and 2 in 3 students graduate with zero debt. At the LSU’s flagship campus in Baton Rouge, students can take the Pre-Nursing program to complete their prerequisite courses before finishing their BSN at LSU Health in New Orleans.

The Louisiana State University Health Science Center’s mission focuses on providing students with proper practice, research, and service opportunities. At LSU, undergraduate students can choose from the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the RN-to-BSN program, or the Career Alternative RN Education (CARE) program which is a program designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field and who are interested in becoming a nurse.

NCLEX pass rate: 97%

University of Maryland Baltimore

Baltimore, MD

The University of Maryland is a top ranked public national university system with six campuses. UMD has several programs that are nationally ranked including their nursing master’s and doctoral programs which are among the top 20 best public nursing programs in the U.S.

At the University of Maryland School of Nursing, undergraduate BSN students can choose the Entry-Into-Nursing program designed for those with no previous nursing degree or experience or the RN-to-BSN program designed for licensed RNs. At the Baltimore campus, nursing students have access to 20 simulation and learning labs, nursing student organizations, and clinical opportunities in both Baltimore and Washington D.C.

NCLEX pass rate: 90%

All NCLEX pass rates were taken from university websites and from Nursing Schools Almanac

Considering a nursing major?

Read on for information on nursing careers, job prospects, and what to look for in a nursing program.Join the conversation on the College Confidential nursing major forums.

Written by


Sam Jaquez

Sam is a freelance writer. She studied at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she earned a degree in English.

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