Bachelor’s level coursework prepares individuals to take on the challenges of modern healthcare. A fundamental understanding of the field accompanied by real-life experiences puts students on a path towards fruitful careers like none other.
A typical BSN program requires four years of study integrating both liberal arts courses and courses specific to the nursing profession. Subjects covered include the medical sciences, leadership, research, mathematics, humanities, social sciences, and administration.
What kind of Bachelor’s in Nursing degree should you get?
For those already working, an online nursing degree program may be just the thing. For those who able to dedicate the full-time work necessary to complete a residential program, we’ve created this ranking of the best undergraduate BSN programs in the country.
Graduates are ready to dive into a clinical setting or pursue a master’s degree. There are many avenues for those who wish to improve the lives of others. Students who want are interested in other fields should check out College Choice’s list of Best Online Colleges and Universities.
How much money do people make with a Bachelor’s in Nursing degree?
Hospitals and other healthcare organizations are increasingly encouraging students to pursue a BSN to increase their chances of advancement within an exciting, meaningful, and rewarding profession. According to U.S. News & World Report, a nurse practitioner ranks as the second-best job in the healthcare sector. An ever-increasing demand and an average salary of nearly $100,000 shows nurses are a valuable member of any team.
What can you do with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing?
Once completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, graduates are ready to take the National Council Licensure Examination. Professional, licensed nurses are in high demand, so this profession is not one that is going away anytime soon. Nurses can choose from a range of specializations including case management, critical care, occupational health, and pediatrics.
It is possible to become an RN without a BSN, of course, but a BSN provides students with a broader base of training and gives them a leg up in a competitive profession. Education doesn’t need to stop at the Bachelor level. Endless nursing master and doctorate programs offer further educational opportunities to ambitious learners.
What are the requirements for a Bachelor’s in Nursing?
Requirements vary program to program and are a key factor in considering your higher education options. A number of course and GPA requirements or a test of Essential Academic Skills may be necessary for enrollment. Further interest in human services, healthcare, biology, or chemistry are helpful.
What are the best Bachelors in Nursing degrees?
Our top 50 ranking weighs three variables; student feedback, accreditation, and the return of investment. Student feedback covers a wide range of topics gathered from a variety of websites. Accreditation depends on reputation, student/faculty ratio, graduation rate, endowment, and entrance score.
Cost of tuition compared to the average salary of graduates determines our return of investment factor. Data comes from Payscale, National Center for Education Statistics’ IPEDS database, private college websites, and U.S. News and World Report.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $19,950
Duke University offers a few pathways to BSN programs through its nationally recognized nursing school. The most popular option is the accelerated bachelor of science in nursing, which helps students complete the program in four consecutive semesters, or within 16 months.
As one of the nation’s best nursing schools, students who find themselves accepted to this program will have stringent academic and clinical requirements put upon them. The school is a leader in healthcare and nursing curriculum and students are expected to pass the NCLEX the first time, and with the help of Duke University staff and faculty, over 90 percent of them do. Coursework focuses upon:
- Wellness and prevention
- Clinical leadership
- Evidence-based nursing practice
- Culturally relevant care
Student nurses focus on leadership and public health policy issues in the classroom, but they also are required to partake in clinical rotations at the nearby Duke University Health System. For the most ambitious students, study abroad programs help student nurses see what health care looks like around the globe.
University of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 99.64
Average Net Price: $22,944
The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia is home to one of the top three nursing schools in the nation and provides some of the top BSN programs. It is also one of the only universities in the country that allows medical professional students to gain dual degrees, such as a dual degree in Nursing and Healthcare.
Students who gain a bachelor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania are also eligible for entry into any one of the nearly 20 master’s degrees programs available at the nursing school. Because of this, it is considered one of the best nursing schools for students who wish to pursue concurrent degrees. Nurse Practitioner programs include:
- Adult-Gerontology Care
- Pediatric Acute Care
The school offers a bachelor of science in nursing that extends research and international study opportunities for all students. Penn Nursing is the only Ivy League program that boasts a near 100 percent graduation and the employment rate for all students.
Case Western Reserve University
College Choice Score: 99.00
Average Net Price: $33,124
Case Western Reserve University is perhaps one of the best nursing schools for students interested in becoming nurses in the ER or in high-risk medical situations. It is the leader in comprehensive pathways for BSN programs and offers students the ability to be granted a bachelor of nursing with more than 1,500 clinical hours and other unique options.
Students are largely given options for the major requirements of their degree, such as where they decide to do their service learning capstone project. Many students do the capstone project overseas in countries like Australia or Ireland. There is also the option for students to choose the sites in the Cleveland, Ohio, area for them to complete their clinical hours. BSN Program highlights include:
- Direct admission to the nursing program
- Nursing classes begin in your first semester
- Clinical placements start the first month of your first years
Courses focusing on nurse requirements and clinical placements begin the first semester of admittance into the program, and each student is required to take a perioperative course, which is the first of its kind in the nation.
Ohio State University
College Choice Score: 93.22
Average Net Price: $17,971
Ohio State University is a leader in the best nursing schools in the country and home to a variety of BSN programs, providing students assorted options for admittance into its nursing programs. The school’s College of Nursing provides a solid foundation in both academic and clinical areas for high school students and adult professionals who are looking to further their careers are nurses.
Students who choose one of the top BSN programs complete pre-professional coursework as well as placement in different research and internship programs. Because the school receives thousands of applications each year, the selection process is highly competitive and produces some of the best nurses practicing in the country today. The program includes:
- Integrate knowledge from a liberal education
- Apply a systematic process for application and evaluation
- Apply the knowledge and skills of information management
- Communicate effectively and work collaboratively
Each of the top BSN programs track, which leads to a bachelor of science in nursing, helps students achieve the requirements to sit for the NCLEX exam to become registered nurses. Students also graduate with clinical experience and are often offered employment before they even graduate.
University of California Los Angeles
College Choice Score: 90.34
Average Net Price: $14,236
The University of California in Los Angeles, also known as UCLA, is heralded as one of the top nursing schools in America by U.S. News and World Report. It is the home to some of the top BSN programs in the country and is nationally rated at both the undergraduate and graduate levels for its academic excellence.
This bachelor of nursing degree focuses on students who wish to become nurses in hospitals and clinics. The curriculum reflects this by requiring courses and clinicals that focus on:
- Population and demographic-based statistical models
- Management of patient populations
- Technological advancements in the healthcare field
Students who successfully complete this degree will find themselves eligible to take the NCLEX examination for a license after they complete their bachelor of nursing. They will also be in a prime position to further their education with a master’s degree as either a nurse or a medical administration professional.
New York University
College Choice Score: 90.19
Average Net Price: $35,147
New York University, also known as NYU to students, is one of the best nursing schools in the country. It has also some of the top BSN programs that are currently available, and acceptance into the nursing school is highly competitive.
The curriculum for a bachelor of nursing varies with each track, but with the traditional BSN program, the program is four years of full-time study. Students learn from a nationally ranked faculty, many of whom hold positions in top medical journals and nurse associations. Graduates can:
- Integrate theories and concepts
- Provide safe, high-quality nursing care
- Integrate critically appraised evidence
- Demonstrate a professional demeanor
The school is also home to the Clinical Simulation Learning Center, where each nurse student takes courses to complete their degree. NYU is proud to provide their students with as many educational opportunities as possible and even boasts a 91 percent first-time pass rate for the NCLEX, which is much higher than the national average of over 80 percent.
University of Michigan
College Choice Score: 88.79
Average Net Price: $16,107
The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has one of the top-rated nursing schools backed by an award-winning staffed, an extensive medical library system, various study abroad opportunities, and an honors program for the most ambitious of students. The traditional top BSN programs that the school offers are nationally rated for both their academic standards as well as for their ability to help students find work even before they have left school.
Students who choose to come to the University of Michigan over other nursing schools have access to internship and fellowship opportunities through the University of Michigan Health System, which is known for being one of the largest health science center systems in the country. Internships here give students the benefit of working alongside other healthcare professionals in a real-world setting. Field experience options include:
- Nursing or study abroad program
- Work, internship, or volunteer program for credit
- Research on a UM faculty-led project
- Approved non-UM study abroad, research, work, internship, or volunteer program
UM students are encouraged to take study abroad opportunities to help expand their knowledge of the healthcare system both here at home and abroad. For students who want to further their education after receiving their bachelor of science in nursing, studying abroad may provide them with interesting opportunities that could lead them to public health policy or even healthcare management.
University of Washington
College Choice Score: 87.23
Average Net Price: $10,068
The bachelor of science in nursing at the University of Washington is one of the top nursing schools in the nation that boasts a 98 percent annual graduation rate. It is a comprehensive two-year course of study that requires over 1,000 hours of hands-on patient experience with supervision as well as lectures and lab time for all students.
At this school, students who are looking to obtain a bachelor of nursing begin the program during their junior year of college, when they have already received 90 credits. This sets up the foundation for the required coursework and then leads into other courses that focus on:
- Lab exercises
- Supervised patient care
The bachelor of nursing at the University of Washington builds well-rounded healthcare professionals that are knowledgeable in not just nurse practices, but in interpersonal and leadership skills as well as being able to provide insight on their field from a variety of different perspectives.
University of Minnesota
College Choice Score: 86.78
Average Net Price: $16,242
The University of Minnesota at Minneapolis offers a few top BSN programs, including pre- and post-licensure BSN programs which have been approved by the state accrediting body. Graduates prepare to take the NCLEX examination needed to become a registered nurse.
The most popular of the BSN programs at UM, like with most nursing schools, is the BSN-PL program. This is the traditional bachelor of nursing degree program that is four years of full-time study. Coursework prepares students for:
- Advanced practice nursing
As one of the best nursing schools in the country, the university prides itself on offering students the best faculty and staff available.
College Choice Score: 85.70
Average Net Price: $24,804
Emory University is one of the nation’s leaders in providing excellent BSN programs for students from all walks of life. Any student who is looking to earn a bachelor of nursing degree will find a pathway at Emory that will lead them to their goal, and in less time than they may think. Students who are coming in as freshmen from high school, transfer students, or students from Oxford College can all apply to join this school.
While the school and its programs are highly competitive, an ambitious student will soon find themselves surrounded by like-minded students and teachers who are there to learn how to become the nurses of tomorrow. The program includes:
- Cutting-edge resources
- Top clinical experiences
- Access to leading healthcare partners
Emory provides joint degree options as well, including an RN to BS option and a BS to MS option for students who wish to earn their degrees concurrently. For other students who are looking to pass the NCLEX, the traditional BSN program is the best way to proceed with their dreams of obtaining a bachelor of nursing.
University of Pittsburgh
College Choice Score: 85.03
Average Net Price: $23,572
The University of Pittsburgh has some of the top BSN programs for students who are looking to go into nursing. These include traditional BSN programs, as well as the more uncommon 2nd degree BSN, a program that’s for students on track to receive a bachelor of nursing degree as well as having completed the requirements for a second degree. The second degree is nearly always in a healthcare-related field or in the liberal arts.
The University of Pittsburgh differs from other nursing schools introduces healthcare courses from freshman year, allowing students to become comfortable with a medical foundation of education. University of Pittsburgh nursing students spend their time working on:
- Lab exercises
- Research and internship opportunities
- Supervised patient care
Students who graduate from this nursing school with a bachelor of science in nursing are often eligible to take the NCLEX nursing licensure examination to obtain registered nurse status. This degree also offers its students pathways, through their BSN programs, into graduate degrees within their field.
University of Maryland - Baltimore
College Choice Score: 84.58
Average Net Price: $26,894
As one of the most respected and top BSN programs in America, the University of Maryland has a high standard of excellence for all its students and faculty. When a bachelor of nursing degree is granted, the student has been fully educated and is experienced enough to become an asset in the healthcare industry.
UMB hires real nurses to teach their courses, so students can always be sure they are being taught by people who understand the field and the subject they are studying. Students are exposed to laboratory and clinical situations to get a feel for what in-field work looks like. Courses include:
- Pharmacology to psychology
- Healthcare delivery system analytics
- Public health policy issues
During the coursework, students are also given the chance to intern at hospitals and other clinical facilities with the same companies that often hire straight from the school, allowing students to build relationships while in training that could serve them well in the workplace.
College Choice Score: 82.26
Average Net Price: $10,771
Rutgers University offers students a world-class nursing school staffed with professionals from the medical field, as well as the opportunity to participate in any one of the BSN programs that are currently on offer, including an accelerated BSN program. 90 percent of each graduating class will find employment within three months of graduation.
Many students begin with a traditional bachelor of science in nursing, which is a four-year program of full-time study. Like many other BSN programs at other schools, Rutgers nurse students complete two years of general education with a focus on how these interdisciplinary fields impact the healthcare field. Coursework includes:
- Health and Illness of Infants, Children, and Adolescents
- Community Health Nursing
- Leadership and Management
For the final two years of the BSN program, students are expected to take on a volunteer or internship experience for 20 hours of clinical experience. They are also reviewed by the faculty to ensure that they meet the Rutgers standards before they receive their degree.
University of Alabama Birmingham
College Choice Score: 78.77
Average Net Price: $16,092
The University of Alabama in Birmingham has one of the best nursing schools in the South. The school, which offers BSN programs with options, is known for their strict standards and internship requirements for their students, as well as for the fact that over 80 percent of their students find employment within three months of graduation.
Students can expect a stringent two years of full-time study from this college. Like most of the top nursing schools, UAB requires a mix of liberal arts and natural sciences courses as prerequisites, along with courses in:
- Healthcare leadership
- Public health administration
There are programs within this nursing school for interested students, including the Dean’s Nursing Scholars Program and the 3.5 Year Dean’s Nursing Program. Both programs guarantee a student admittance into the BSN program of their choice with an option to graduate early and with honors.
University of Texas at Austin
College Choice Score: 77.37
Average Net Price: $16,010
The University of Texas at Austin, also known as UT, has been ranked in the top 20 top nursing schools by U.S. News and World Report and is a major center for the education of nurses within the state of Texas. Along with other nursing schools, the UT School of Nursing provides students with both undergraduate and graduate tracks to becoming nurses, as well as research opportunities to further their own education.
The school follows the lead of other BSN programs and follows a four-year full-time curriculum. It is a comprehensive bachelor of nursing degree that will help prepare each student for the registered nurse licensure exam. Studies include:
- Critical thinking
- Clinical judgment
- Biological sciences
- Application to real-world nursing issues
As one of the top BSN programs in the South, UT’s bachelor of nursing focuses on giving students a balance of both theoretical and pragmatic healthcare courses.
Arizona State University
College Choice Score: 77.36
Average Net Price: $12,876
Arizona State University has four different pathways for their BSN programs, which are perfect for students who wish to become nurses. Through traditional and accelerated tracks, a second-degree program, the RN to BSN online program, and the concurrent enrollment program with Maricopa College, students from diverse backgrounds can all become nurses in less than four years.
The most popular way of obtaining a bachelor of science in nursing is through traditional BSN programs, which leads up to a graduate of the program taking the NCLEX exam to become a registered nurse. This course leads to the most comprehensive and intensive way to earn a bachelor of nursing degree and is perfect for high school students. Programs include:
- Post Baccalaureate BSN
- Traditional BSN
While other options vary, each of the BSN programs does require some sort of clinical rotation and coursework in clinical reasoning, communication and statistical skills, and more. Upon completion of the degree, over 85 percent of ASU students find employment as nurses within three months of graduation.
South Dakota State University
College Choice Score: 76.70
Average Net Price: $21,421
South Dakota State University offers two options for residential students: Standard and Accelerated. Both options combine superior instruction with affordable tuition, which accounts for its high place on our list. The Accelerated program is for students who already have a bachelor’s degree and want to begin a new career in nursing. This option can be completed in as little as 12 months.
The Standard option is SDSU’s traditional four-year bachelor’s degree. Students who transfer core coursework from other institutions can typically complete nursing requirements in two and a half years. This option is available at any of SDSU’s locations in Brookings, Sioux Falls, or Aberdeen. Coursework includes:
- Community health
- Alternative health
- Stress management
- Occupational health
SDSU currently boasts a 99 percent job placement rate for its graduates, making it an excellent choice for students pursuing a profession in this field.
College Choice Score: 73.35
Average Net Price: $26,625
Georgetown University’s school of nursing was founded in 1903, making it one of the oldest and best nursing schools in the country. It boasts above-national-average first-time pass rates for the NCLEX exam for registered nurses and is nationally accredited.
This is one of the best nursing schools in the country. It is also one of the most competitive, with the student average GPA being 3.85 and higher. It is a school that has two separate departments for student nurses, giving the school the ability to specialize their students into careers such as:
- Nursing education
- Nurse Anesthesia
The nurse faculty that teaches the courses are all experts in their field and have an average of at least five years of experience. Many of the faculty are also published in medical journals, making the Georgetown University nursing school one of the best in the nation when it comes to nationally recognized faculty.
University of Illinois Chicago
College Choice Score: 72.85
Average Net Price: $11,571
One of the leading nursing schools in the nation calls the University of Illinois at Chicago home and is an excellent place for a student who is looking to partake in one of the BSN programs that are available. The bachelor of nursing is two years of full-time study, which is preceded by two years of general foundation coursework which meets all the other requirements needed for graduation.
Most students enter through the traditional track of the BSN programs. The bachelor of science in nursing is for students who do not hold a registered nurse license and is perfect for students who are transfers or who are freshmen. Options include:
- Traditional BSN program
- RN-BSN completion program
The final two years are always taken at one of the nursing schools and offer a comprehensive and intensive look at nursing, including internship and research opportunities which satisfy the requirements for the senior year of schooling.
College Choice Score: 71.74
Average Net Price: $27,167
Boston College is in the top 50 nursing schools in the nation and has been internationally recognized both for its faculty and for its BSN programs. The school turns students into well-rounded healthcare professionals who can care for patients on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting, making them valuable for their ability to adapt to any situation.
Student nurses from Boston College generally study abroad during their junior year as part of a requirement to obtain their bachelor of nursing. The school believes that studying how to become a nurse in a different country will help expand a student’s understanding of the world around them. Courses include:
- Professional Development Seminar
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Life Science Chemistry
Students combine classroom and clinicals for their degree requirements, and some even begin a track to their master’s degree while finishing up their bachelor of nursing degree. For most students, however, the degree results in the NCLEX exam, of which Boston College can boast a first-time pass rate of 92.5 percent.
University of Virginia
College Choice Score: 71.28
Average Net Price: $15,945
Ranked among the top five best nursing schools in the country, the University of Virginia’s School of Nursing is accredited at the national and state level. The school’s pre-licensure degree programs have also been independently accredited. UVA is one of a kind in that students are exposed to healthcare coursework and clinical experiences beginning in their sophomore year.
Students are also eligible, upon completion of the bachelor of nursing degree, to take the National Council Licensure Examination to become registered nurses. This, along with the use of different pathways for BSN programs, is why UVA is continuously rated among alumni and students as being their number one pick to learn how to become a nurse. Courses include:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Chemistry for Health Professionals
- Growth and Development Across the Lifespan
- Pathophysiology and Clinical Management
Classes are small and taught by world-class faculty members, many of whom hold terminal degrees in the field. The most interesting thing about studying for a bachelor of nursing at UVA is the fact that 100 percent of the graduating class of 2015 were employed within four months of graduation. 75 percent of students find employment before they had even graduated.
Pennsylvania State University
College Choice Score: 70.99
Average Net Price: $25,055
Pennsylvania State University, also known to students as Penn State, offers BSN programs through its nursing school. These programs range from an associate and bachelor of nursing to the RN to BS program and the Second-Degree Program. Students have access to clinics and hospitals, such as the Hershey Medical Center, Rockview Prison, and more.
Students can be assured that the traditional BSN program from Penn State is a four-year program of full-time study that will leave them eligible for the NCLEX exam for licensure. Completion of the degree is also a terrific way for students who would like to pursue a graduate degree to continue with Penn State’s nursing school. Courses include:
- Nursing Roles
- Health patterns
- Medications and the Elderly Client
Internships and research opportunities are available at these facilities and more to ensure that students find the setting they are most passionate about so they receive work experience that is right for them and the career path they are pursuing.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
College Choice Score: 70.74
Average Net Price: $10,538
Indiana University in Bloomington is a top school graduating nurses in the state of Indiana and is home to some of the top BSN programs in the country today. Students who prefer to mix a liberal arts education with healthcare courses will find that the traditional track to obtaining a bachelor of science in is a pleasant experience.
The program takes three years of full-time study, with a year of general education requirements needed before applying to this school. This school prides itself on graduating students who hold a firm understanding of health care, communication and leadership skills, and clinical experience that will impress every employer. Program tracks include:
- Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- RN to BSN Online Degree Completion
- BSN Accelerated Second Degree
For students who already have a degree and wish to pursue a bachelor of nursing degree, the school also offers an additional accelerated option, which takes less than two years to complete. There is also a second-degree option available among the BSN programs, giving students from both medical and non-medical backgrounds the chance to become nurses.
University of North Carolina
College Choice Score: 70.27
Average Net Price: $10,077
The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, also known as UNC, offers a variety of top BSN programs to prospective students, including a bachelor of nursing degree as well as accelerated programs. It is one of the top nursing schools for any student who already has a degree but would like to pursue a bachelor of nursing.
The BSN programs at UNC all have different time schedules, but their requirements are the same. Any student who fills these requirements has the choice of how they wish to proceed with their education at the nursing school. The most traditional track, the bachelor of science in nursing is a two-year program of full-time study that focuses on:
- Healthcare theory
- Implementation of healthcare tactics in the real-world
Students who are already registered nurses or who wish to pursue a bachelor of nursing can also take the accelerated track to receiving the degree. The only difference between the two tracks are the time requirements, with a heavier load for the accelerated track.
College Choice Score: 69.93
Average Net Price: $27,839
Molloy College, which is based in Rockville Center, New York, is home to various top BSN programs that have been nationally ranked. It is home to one of the top nursing schools in the country, providing students with various BSN programs. The college houses one of the most respected bachelors of science in nursing degrees in the country buoyed by a state-of-the-art learning environment.
The school partners with nearby medical facilities to give their nurse and pre-med students opportunities to become a part of the workplace while they are being supervised by staff. Coursework prepares students to:
- Demonstrates professional practice
- Synthesize knowledge from the humanities
- Employ effective communication skills
- Utilize evolving technology
For students who choose to pursue a dual degree program, Molloy College offers substantial student support and services to ensure the student graduates on time and with potential job offers. Because Molloy prides itself on getting students employment, the school operates with a pragmatic and rigorous approach to the courses they teach within its nursing school.
University of Cincinnati
College Choice Score: 69.27
Average Net Price: $19,978
The University of Cincinnati, like most top nursing schools, holds accreditation at the national level. The nursing school offers a variety of BSN programs, including an accelerated track, and admittance to any of the BSN programs is highly competitive. Students can also expect to have to fulfill the requirement of at least two nursing clinicals before they will be granted a bachelor of nursing.
The school’s bachelor of science in nursing requires four years of full-time study, with students competing for placement in the program. From the beginning of the degree coursework, students take classes that marry a liberal arts education with their nursing aspirations. The degree offers:
- Student Organizations
- Co-op Programs
- International Clinical Opportunities
Throughout the program, students merge the knowledge they learn in the classroom with the experiences they have during their clinicals and any internship opportunities they take on. This provides them with a pragmatic way of looking at the way a nurse looks at the world.
University of Arizona
College Choice Score: 68.15
Average Net Price: $16,466
As far as BSN programs go, the University of Arizona’s nursing school is one of the most competitive in the country. Students must have a GPA of 3.4 or higher in either their high school or previous college studies and must have all the prerequisite courses in place before admittance into the program.
These BSN programs are two years of full-time study preceded by two years of general education courses. Opportunities are put into place to ease the student into their new career as nurses, letting them get a field for the job before they’re out of school. The act as a fantastic way for students to become familiar with potential employers. From junior year on, students will find themselves engrossed in:
- Administrative and practical theory courses
- A required internship
- Research opportunities
Students will find that there are a variety of courses needed to obtain a bachelor of nursing degree from the University of Arizona. The coursework is designed so that students, should they so choose, have an easier time adapting to graduate work. The courses also allow students to understand the need to adapt to the changing healthcare climate.
George Washington University
College Choice Score: 68.14
Average Net Price: $39,562
George Washington University’s nursing school has the most varied BSN program options available in the country, including pathways to a bachelor of science for veterans as well as accelerated tracks for professionals who are looking to further their healthcare careers. GW SON is one of the top nursing schools in the nation, providing numerous opportunities for all their student nurses.
For accelerated BSN students, the school offers the ability to apply to W2, which is a scholarship opportunity and a potential partnership with MedStar Washington Hospital Center, located right in Washington, D.C. and gives students a head start finding employment. Courses provide experience in:
- Medical and surgical nursing
- Psychiatric nursing
- Community health
Military veterans are given valuable opportunities, especially if they were trained as nurses. Veterans receive extra academic credit for military training and experience and are often given access to higher-risk clinical opportunities due to their previous training.
University of Oklahoma
College Choice Score: 66.07
Average Net Price: $27,308
The University of Oklahoma Health Science Center’s College of Nursing offers many options for undergraduate students seeking a career in the nursing professions. In addition to variations of the BSN, Oklahoma also offers multiple campus locations and the option of online study for added flexibility.
The traditional BSN program requires students to complete 67 credit hours of core courses and prerequisites before proceeding to another 60 credit hours of nursing training. The school offers an Accelerated program for students who have completed a Bachelor’s degree in another field; this program requires 14 months of study to complete. Other programs include:
- Licensed Practical Nurses
- BSN to RN training
The affordability of Oklahoma’s programs combined with the quality of its programs and strong placement record makes for an excellent return on investment that is well worth considering.
College Choice Score: 66.07
Average Net Price: $39,021
Drexel University is an interesting university for any student who is interested in becoming a nurse. Instead of the traditional BSN programs, Drexel provides a co-op undergraduate program that results in a bachelor of science in nursing.
If a student chooses this pathway, they will receive up to 18 months of work-related experience that can be used on their resume by the time of graduation. This helps students in finding work that speaks to their specialization and makes them more valuable to potential employers. Specializations include:
- Acute and Chronic Illness
- Contemporary Healthcare Network
As one of the best nursing schools in the country, Drexel is nationally recognized for its 96-100 percent first-time pass rate of the NCLEX, along with its innovative and interactive curriculum and its staff. Students who are looking for work experience to go along with their new bachelor of nursing need look no further than Drexel University.
University of Utah
College Choice Score: 65.61
Average Net Price: $11,322
The University of Utah offers a bachelor of science in nursing that is nationally accredited. It is one of the top nursing schools in the country and offers students an education that allows them to make decisions in the healthcare field that can relate to the cultural, political, and social concerns that affect both patients and medical professionals.
This is a 16-month program that requires full-time study and runs for four consecutive school terms. At the University of Utah, students have immediate access to internship and clinical experiences from partner medical facilities, such as the Huntsman Cancer Institute, the Primary Children’s Medical Center, and more. Three tracks include:
- Pre-Licensure BS
- Post-Licensure BS
- Nursing Early Assurance Program
Another unique aspect of this school is that nursing students participate in inter-professional experiences. These experiences are simulated group tasks and assignments that bring students from all healthcare-related fields together. The experiences are designed to teach a prospective student what working with a team would feel like in the real world.
University of Iowa
College Choice Score: 64.89
Average Net Price: $14,161
The University of Maryland in Baltimore has a history of excellence and boasts two of the top BSN programs available nationally. The school works in conjunction with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, a system of research and teaching hospitals, to give students a firm understanding of in-field work that can be applied to their job after they have received their bachelor of nursing degree.
The University of Iowa also partners with the Nursing Clinical Education Center, which houses state-of-the-art clinical labs and research facilities that give students the space they need to practice complicated nursing care in a supervised environment. It is here where students meet the requirements for a bachelor of nursing. Two paths include:
- Early admission model
- Competitive admission model
It is one of the best nursing schools for students who are looking for various and unique on-hands learning opportunities. Research opportunities are also available, and students can share in new discoveries and the implementation of innovative ideas and practices, experiences that will help them launch their new careers with a sense of accomplishment.
San Diego State University
College Choice Score: 64.41
Average Net Price: $14,344
San Diego State University allows incoming freshmen to declare nursing as a major at the beginning of their education. This enables students to craft a specific program from the start that will prepare them for a quick entry into a successful career in the nursing professions.
Transfer students who have completed prerequisites can enter the nursing portion of the degree, and accelerated students can complete the BSN as a second bachelor’s degree in a significantly compressed time frame. Students who hold an RN in the state of California can apply for a BSN completion program. Courses include:
- Developmental Psychology
- Clinical Pharmacology
SDSU boasts many facilities for nursing students, including four lab centers and a state-of-the-art human simulation lab for adult, child, and infant care. Because it is a state school, it can keep tuition costs below the $20,000 mark, which makes it an excellent return on your investment.
University of Wisconsin
College Choice Score: 62.95
Average Net Price: $15,874
For students of the University of Wisconsin’s nursing school, the chance to complete a bachelor of nursing is a terrific way to fulfill the requirements to sit for NCLEX, which helps license new nurses. The program, which focuses on nurse practices in clinics and other health care fields, is one of the top BSN programs in the country.
The program comes in two parts — the first two years focuses on a general education while the final two years is a mix of lectures, hands-on patient experience, simulated lab exercises, and more. The University of Wisconsin has designed the program to give students a firm foundation of education that they can use to inform their clinical experience as nurses. Courses prepare learners to:
- Critically think
- Take advantage of the latest nursing research
For any student looking to graduate with a bachelor of nursing, this is one of the most affordable nursing schools to obtain a degree and comes highly recommended by alumni. The BSN programs pathways are available for people from all walks of life, giving students a head start on a good career. All students are supported by the staff and faculty and are often offered employment before they even graduate.
University of Colorado Denver
College Choice Score: 61.63
Average Net Price: $13,751
The University of Colorado in Denver offers a variety of BSN programs for all types of students, including those who already hold a registered nurse license, those who already have a bachelor’s degree and those who do not have a degree yet. Like other nursing schools, UCD offers BSN programs with a variety of requirements.
A core curriculum underscores the belief that nurses must have a professional education that spans not just medicine, but the liberal arts as well. Each program is headed by professionals who have spent years in the healthcare field and therefore are qualified to help educate other future healthcare professionals. Tracks include:
- Nursing Bachelor of Science Degree
- RN to Nursing BS Program
- Dual Enrollment in ADN and RN to BS Program
Students are often encouraged to take courses in healthcare management and public health policy to help round out their degree so if they choose to pursue an advanced degree, they are more suited to understanding the management role that comes with that degree.
College Choice Score: 61.46
Average Net Price: $9,928
Ohio University’s School of Nursing is part of the College of Health Sciences and Professions. It offers a traditional BSN program on the Athens, Ohio campus. Traditional BSN students enroll initially as pre-BSN majors. After successfully completing one year of core courses, students can apply for acceptance into the nursing program.
The BSN curriculum includes classroom instruction, clinical rotations, and simulation training. Ohio also offers many scholarships and grants to nursing students, which makes its already competitive tuition even more appealing. Financial aid programs include:
- Ohio First scholarship
- Nurse Education and Re-Training for Success program
Ohio is consistently ranked among the top nursing schools in America and has been offering an excellent education for nurses since 1974. It is fully accredited by the CCNE and is among the most valuable schools in the country. For the nursing student looking for an affordable point of entry into the nursing profession that also offers excellent instruction and facilities, Ohio is well worth considering.
Stony Brook University
College Choice Score: 61.44
Average Net Price: $13,615
The State University of New York at Stony Brook, commonly referred to as Stony Brook University, offers several BSN programs through the Stony Brook Medicine School of Nursing. Stony Brook is a nationally recognized public university, and the reputation of its nursing programs is no exception. Like many other programs, Stony Brook requires many prerequisites and core courses before proceeding to the nursing curriculum.
Students can opt to complete these courses at Stony Brook or through another institution. Stony Brook also offers a 12-month accelerated program for students who are entering the profession from another career, and RNs can complete their BSN and receive credit for their hard-earned experience in the field. Programs include:
- Basic Baccalaureate Program
- Accelerated Baccalaureate Program
- Registered Nurse Baccalaureate Program
- Registered Nurse Baccalaureate to Master’s Program
Stony Brook’s location in New York also provides graduates with no shortage of immediate career opportunities. As a state school, it can keep its tuition costs lower than comparable institutions, making it a sound return on investment.
College Choice Score: 59.01
Average Net Price: $29,781
Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the top nursing schools in the Northeast. It has been nationally recognized for its BSN programs as well as for its graduate programs. The nursing school is run by top nurses and healthcare professionals, providing students with teachers who could someday become work colleagues.
The school operates on an acute care curriculum and a clinical education program, meaning that students will be exposed, both in class and in clinical settings, to real scenarios that happen in medical facilities worldwide. This helps nurse students adapt to the changing climate of the healthcare field and gives them a better understanding of what it will be like to work with a team. Coursework includes:
- Nursing Theory and Evidence-Based Practice
- Nursing Health Promotion
- Health Assessment and Fundamental Skills
Simmons College also has a special program that gives adult learners — those with a degree already, or who have been working and have just come back to school — the ability to finish their bachelor of nursing in as little as 16 months. This program, known as the Dorothea Lynde Dix Scholars Program, also gives students the chance to go for the five-year BS to MS nursing program.
Azusa Pacific University
College Choice Score: 58.21
Average Net Price: $28,506
Azusa Pacific University’s school for nurses is nationally accredited as well as holding accreditation by the state of California. It is considered one of the top leading nursing schools and has a variety of BSN programs to choose from. A range of clinical options including research opportunities and doing clinical rotations in hospitals and community health centers.
Students have access to virtual patients and simulation labs, which help get them accustomed to the way a hospital or a medical facility works before actually beginning clinical rotations. The program includes:
- Preparation for licensure exams
- Effective approaches to healthcare
- Study aboard opportunities
LVNs or RNs can also find a pathway for BSN programs that fit their needs, including an RN-BS option and an RN-BS-MS track for a graduate degree. All courses fall within the Christian tradition and students take courses on spiritual growth and care, making them excellent nurses to take on missionary trips or to provide relief for Christian medical foundations.
College Choice Score: 57.76
Average Net Price: $38,527
Fairfield University is renowned for the Egan School, one of the nation’s top nursing schools and home to some of the top BSN programs available. The school’s BSN programs are independently accredited and approved by the state. As part of the nation’s top BSN programs, the Egan School prides itself on providing its students with a strong liberal arts foundation.
Students build clinical skills under the supervision of a faculty who has vast experience in a variety of healthcare fields. Advisors and students work closely to ensure that not only is the student comprehending the material that they can then apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to a real-world setting. Courses include:
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Healthcare Delivery System
- Developmental Psychology
Clinical work is important for all students who take on one of the BSN programs and the clinical workload increases with each passing year. The idea is that with clinical experience, students can then pass the NCLEX exam on their first try to become registered nurses.
College Choice Score: 57.04
Average Net Price: $33,270
Villanova University is a Roman Catholic private school that teaches the Augustinian tradition, which can be felt by student nurses within the school’s programs. It has one of the top BSN programs in the country, a four-year undergraduate degree that is highly competitive and notoriously sought-after by healthcare employers.
The school’s College of Nursing has been named one of the best schools in the country by various institutions, and that all comes down to the world-renown faculty and all the opportunities that come with pursuing a bachelor of nursing degree at this college. Villanova’s BSN degree consists of a broad liberal arts curriculum that is married with the accredited professional curriculum required for nursing. Courses:
- Value uniqueness and diversity among individuals
- Synthesize current, relevant sources of evidence
- Deliver safe, competent, and compassionate lessons
- Use the nursing process to provide patient-centered care
Students can take on honors courses, take a year to study at the University of Manchester in England, and even take part in research opportunities, all while gaining a degree and valuable experience that will help every student who wants to become a nurse.
University of Missouri Kansas City
College Choice Score: 56.76
Average Net Price: $15,368
Most BSN programs give students the ability to take the NCLEX-RN examination to become registered nurses, but the University of Missouri – Kansas City is a little different. Along with providing students with the ability to get their degree, the school provides support and advising for students before their examination to help set them up for success.
Because employers are increasingly hiring students who go through a four-year BSN programs like the ones found at UMKC, the university has taken a vested interest in ensuring that the school’s programs are rigorously held up to high academic and practical standards. BSN options include:
- Accelerated BSN
- Pre-Licensure BSN
Students who graduate from this program often graduate within three years instead of the four years generally thought needed to complete the coursework, and over 85 percent of students pass the NCELX exam the first time they take it. It is proof-positive that this school is one of the top BSN programs in the country.
Loyola University Chicago
College Choice Score: 54.11
Average Net Price: $34,934
Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, is a school that offers BSN programs as well as an RN-BSN program that can be completed online. It is one of the best nursing schools in the Midwest and is nationally ranked for both its undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the home of the top BSN programs, focuses on providing students access to top BSN programs.
The school boasts an 85 percent first-time pass rate for all its students that complete their bachelor of nursing. Students will be required to take courses in the school’s Clinical Simulation Learning Laboratory, which offers students the opportunity to learn the most basic of clinical skills that are devoid of patients. Students must:
- Participate in lab work
- Attend clinical rotations
- Complete a senior capstone
Each student ends their degree requirements with the senior capstone course, the clinical role transition. This is a final year project in which a student nurse spends all their time on the floor of a medical facility while under supervision, providing them with valuable experience before graduating.
University of Rochester
College Choice Score: 54.04
Average Net Price: $34,170
The University of Rochester offers a BS completion degree as part of their BSN programs, which gives students the opportunity to complete three years of their BS at a partner college and then complete four school terms of work at the university’s nursing school.
Commonly known as the RN to BS program, students with a degree go on to pass the NCLEX nursing licensure examination as part of the requirement for this nursing pathway. The school is unique in that not only does it offer the RN to BS Program. Tracks include:
- Dual Degree in Nursing
- RN to BS and RN to BS to MS Programs
- Nurse Practitioner Programs
- Post-Master’s Certificate Programs
An RN to BS to MS Program sees a student move through graduate school to obtain a higher level of skill that is important to many hospitals and other healthcare companies. This is one of the only nursing schools in the country to offer this interesting opportunity, making it the home of some of the top BSN programs in the country.
University of Wyoming
College Choice Score: 52.84
Average Net Price: $13,155
The University of Wyoming, like many other schools on this list, offers an array of BSN programs to accommodate the variety of backgrounds today’s students bring to education. Traditional BSN students enroll in the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing for their degree and complete 50 credit hours of prerequisites before applying to the nursing program. Upon completion, students are eligible to take the RN licensing exam.
Students intending to enter the BSN completion program are required to hold either a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), have a nursing GPA of at least 2.75, and have earned at least a C in all prerequisites. The school offers:
- A traditional introductory BSN
- An accelerated BSN (BRAND)
- An RN-to-BSN completion program
Wyoming is also known for being a pioneer in online nursing education. Its online RN-to-BSN offers spaces for applicants that hold a registered nurse license from any state as well as military serving overseas.
Oregon Health and Science University
College Choice Score: 50.94
Average Net Price: $49,540
Oregon Health and Science University, located in Portland, Oregon, is one of the most highly-sought top nursing schools in the country, with the average student who applies to the nursing program holding a GPA of 3.85 or higher. Its BSN programs are also nationally recognized both for academic excellence and the student success rate after graduation.
At the Portland campus, hundreds of nurse students apply annually for only 40 positions available at the nursing school. Once a student is accepted into the program, they will find that this bachelor of nursing focuses on critical thinking and judgment in the healthcare settings, as well as how economics, interdisciplinary care, and communication all play a part in the role of a nurse in the healthcare field. Coursework includes:
- Outpatient and transitional care clinics
- Research labs
OHSU prides itself on being the home of some of the top BSN programs, so requirements are strict for graduation. Students who complete the program and receive their bachelor of science in nursing will find work within 3 months of graduation when they seek internship opportunities while still finishing their degree.
University of New Mexico
College Choice Score: 49.86
Average Net Price: $11,230
The traditional, “basic entry” BSN offered by the University of New Mexico begins with three terms of foundational coursework and ends with five terms of clinical instruction through UNM’s College of Nursing. The final five terms in the College of Nursing are taken in succession, including the summer, and include practical instruction in clinics and hospitals with nursing faculty.
UNM also offers the RN-to-BSN completion option for students who already hold an RN and want to advance their careers by obtaining the standard BSN. The RN-to-BSN is also available fully online for students who are not able to relocate. UNM also offers a dual-degree program that awards students an Associate’s Degree in Nursing in addition to the BSN. Objectives include:
- Engagement in lifelong learning
- Evidence-based practices in nursing care
- Culturally appropriate, patient-centered nursing care
- Collaboration with interdisciplinary teams
Like many of the other state schools on our list, UNM can keep its annual tuition near the $20,000 mark. Its several degree options in addition to online offerings make it an affordable choice that is also flexible for today’s students.
University of San Francisco
College Choice Score: 49.33
Average Net Price: $35,054
The University San Francisco, like many other nursing schools, holds accreditation by both state and federal accrediting bodies. It is one of the best nursing schools in the country with nationally ranked BSN programs that culminate in a bachelor of nursing.
USFCA College of Nursing provides scholars programs for students who are partaking in the BSN programs, such as the Martín-Baró Scholars Program or the St. Ignatius Institute, both of which are well known and respected programs that can help enhance the time a student spends at the college. The degree includes:
- Participation in clinical rotations
- Emphasis on continual professional and clinical growth
- Skills and evaluation techniques by using real-world tools
The BSN programs are firmly rooted in the school’s Jesuit teachings, informing students through high ethical and moral standards. The four years of full-time study that it takes to complete the bachelor of nursing is filled with courses on not just medicine and clinicals, but also with lectures on the ethics of the nursing profession.
Texas Tech University
College Choice Score: 48.64
Average Net Price: $25,776
The BSN offered through the Texas Tech School of Nursing welcomes both traditional and transfer students into its program. The traditional BSN program is designed for students who do not yet have an RN license and wish to pursue a career in nursing beginning with the BSN.
Once 40 credit hours of prerequisite coursework is complete, students can progress to the nursing training portion of the degree in the School of Nursing. This part of the degree can be completed in four consecutive semesters and includes:
- A combination of classroom instruction
- Simulations in the field
- Hands-on experiences
Texas Tech offers the SON Success Program, which pairs students with Retention Counselors, as well as a Career Services Center, which helps students prepare for life after graduation and offers placement services. Texas Tech’s low tuition cost and robust program offerings make it an excellent school to consider.
Medical University of South Carolina
College Choice Score: 48.12
Average Net Price: $22,116
The Medical University of South Carolina, or MUSC, is home to some of the top BSN programs available in the country. These accelerated programs provide students with the best education in the shortest amount of time possible and can help students either pursue a graduate degree or will prepare them for the NCLEX licensure exam.
Accelerated BSN programs at MUSC are 16 months long, with four consecutive semesters, including one summer semester to ensure completion on time. Students can look forward to having their bachelor of nursing focus on leadership and care coordination skills. The program includes:
- Clinicals and an internship
- Access to labs
- Online resources
MUSC has only one requirement – 60 credit hours of the correct courses from an accredited school be applicable when the student applies for this program. As MUSC does not offer these courses, it is imperative that a student checks to ensure their credit hours are transferable.