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2021 Best Nursing Schools

611 Colleges
$67,065 Avg Salary
$26,282 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Nursing School for You

Nursing is one of the most popular majors in the nation, ranking 2nd of all the majors we analyze. In 2018-2019, 63,380 degrees and certificates were awarded to students with this major.

When it comes to higher education, there are a lot of options for students. Along with traditional schools that require in-person attendence, you can attend one of many reputable online schools. Some programs even offer a hybrid experience. Alternatively, you may choose a trade school that prepares you to enter the workforce with knowledge in a specific field.

Along with in-depth profiles of schools and the programs they offer, Grad Degree Search has created the Best Nursing Schools to help you in your search for the best school for you. Our analysis looked at 611 schools in the United States to see which programs offered the best educational experiences for students. Factors related to overall quality of the school, post-graduation earnings, average student debt, and more accumulated were considered when coming up with this list.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Nursing Schools in the United States

The following schools top our list of the Best Nursing Colleges.

Top 25 Top Schools in Nursing

Our 2021 rankings named Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia Inc the best school in the United States for nursing students. MTSA is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Madison.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Samuel Merritt University. The school came in at #2 on this year’s Best Nursing Schools list. Samuel Merritt University is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Oakland.

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Out of the 611 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Baylor College of Medicine landed the # 3 spot on the list. Baylor College of Medicine is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Houston.

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A rank of #4 on this year’s list means Midwestern University - Glendale is a great place for nursing students. Located in the large suburb of Glendale, Midwestern University - Glendale is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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A rank of #5 on this year’s list means Mayo Clinic School of Medicine is a great place for nursing students. Mayo Clinic School of Medicine is a small private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Rochester.

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#6

Saint Vincent College

Latrobe, PA

Saint Vincent College came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Schools ranking. Saint Vincent is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Latrobe.

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#7

Villanova University

Villanova, PA

With a ranking of #7, Villanova University did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students. Located in the suburb of Villanova, Villanova is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population.

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Albany Medical College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for nursing students. It came in at #8 on the list. Located in the city of Albany, AMC Albany is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly small student population.

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With a ranking of #9, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students. Located in the large suburb of North Chicago, RFUMS is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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#10

Mount Marty University

Yankton, SD

With a ranking of #10, Mount Marty University did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students. Located in the remote town of Yankton, Mount Marty is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

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Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center - New Orleans came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Schools ranking. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center - New Orleans is a small public school located in the large city of New Orleans.

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Medical University of South Carolina ranked #12 on this year’s Best Nursing Schools list. MUSC is a small public school located in the medium-sized city of Charleston.

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#13

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX

Texas Christian University ranked #13 on this year’s Best Nursing Schools list. TCU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Fort Worth.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston landed the #14 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best nursing programs. Located in the large city of Houston, UTHealth is a public school with a medium-sized student population.

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With a ranking of #15, University of Southern California did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students. USC is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles.

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Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for nursing students. It came in at #16 on the list. Located in the midsize city of Provo, RMUoHP is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

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#17

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY

University at Buffalo came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Schools ranking. University at Buffalo is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Buffalo.

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University of Nebraska Medical Center came in at #18 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Schools ranking. Located in the city of Omaha, UNMC is a public school with a small student population.

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#19

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

University of Pennsylvania landed the #19 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best nursing programs. Located in the city of Philadelphia, UPenn is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population.

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#20

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, CA

Loma Linda University landed the #20 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best nursing programs. Located in the large suburb of Loma Linda, Loma Linda University is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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#21

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest University landed the #21 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best nursing programs. Located in the city of Winston-Salem, Wake Forest University is a private not-for-profit college with a moderately-sized student population.

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With a ranking of #22, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center did quite well on this year’s best schools for nursing students. Located in the city of Lubbock, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is a public college with a medium-sized student population.

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#23

Texas Wesleyan University

Fort Worth, TX

Texas Wesleyan University landed the #23 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best nursing programs. Texas Wesleyan is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Fort Worth.

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#24

Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT

Fairfield University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for nursing students. It came in at #24 on the list. Located in the suburb of Fairfield, Fairfield U is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population.

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The University of Tennessee-Health Science Center came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Nursing Schools ranking. UTHSC is a small public school located in the large city of Memphis.

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Rest of the Top 50 Schools for Best Nursing Schools

#26

Yale University

New Haven, CT
#28

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD
#29

Duke University

Durham, NC
#30

Quinnipiac University

Hamden, CT
#32

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
#35

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA
#36

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS
#37

Touro University Nevada

Henderson, NV
#38

University of Scranton

Scranton, PA
#39

Winona State University

Winona, MN
#41

University of New England

Biddeford, ME
#42

Creighton University

Omaha, NE
#46

Gannon University

Erie, PA
#48

Wagner College

Staten Island, NY

Remaining Award Winners

This list represents the remainder of the colleges awarded a Best Nursing Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 611 different United States nursing schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 University of Portland Portland, OR
52 Le Moyne College Syracuse, NY
53 Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI
54 Clarkson College Omaha, NE
55 Mount Saint Mary’s University Los Angeles, CA
56 Chamberlain University - Illinois Addison, IL
57 The College of New Jersey Ewing, NJ
58 Emory University Atlanta, GA
59 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA
60 University of Wisconsin - Madison Madison, WI
61 CUNY Graduate School and University Center New York, NY
62 Newman University Wichita, KS
63 Wilkes University Wilkes-Barre, PA
64 Northeastern University Professional Advancement Network Boston, MA
65 Adventist University of Health Sciences Orlando, FL
66 Columbia University in the City of New York New York, NY
67 Oregon Health & Science University Portland, OR
68 University of Virginia - Main Campus Charlottesville, VA
69 Nebraska Wesleyan University Lincoln, NE
70 University of Mary Bismarck, ND
71 University of California - Davis Davis, CA
72 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA
73 George Washington University Washington, DC
74 Misericordia University Dallas, PA
75 University of Delaware Newark, DE
76 Chatham University Pittsburgh, PA
77 Molloy College Rockville Centre, NY
78 University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND
79 Holy Names University Oakland, CA
80 Georgetown University Washington, DC
81 California State University - Stanislaus Turlock, CA
82 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
83 West Coast University - Dallas Dallas, TX
84 Texas A&M University - College Station College Station, TX
85 Endicott College Beverly, MA
86 Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Boston, MA
87 Radford University Radford, VA
88 University of South Carolina - Columbia Columbia, SC
89 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR
90 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
91 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT

Additional Noteworthy Schools

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

Rank College Location
92 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
93 Maryville University of Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO
94 Towson University Towson, MD
95 Otterbein University Westerville, OH
96 University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
97 California State University - Chico Chico, CA
98 New York University New York, NY
99 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
100 Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA
101 Bradley University Peoria, IL
102 Marquette University Milwaukee, WI
103 Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania Bloomsburg, PA
104 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
105 Augsburg University Minneapolis, MN
106 Missouri State University - Springfield Springfield, MO
107 University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL
108 St. John Fisher College Rochester, NY
109 North Dakota State University - Main Campus Fargo, ND
110 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
111 The College of Saint Scholastica Duluth, MN
112 Florida International University Miami, FL
113 Northeastern University Boston, MA
114 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
115 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
116 Saint Mary’s College Notre Dame, IN
117 Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University Baton Rouge, LA
118 Sacred Heart University Fairfield, CT
118 California State University - Fresno Fresno, CA
120 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
121 Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
122 Bellin College Green Bay, WI

Nursing by Region

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

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

One of 33 majors within the area of study, nursing has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Rehabilitation & Therapeutic Professions 23,124
Medicine 19,720
Public Health 18,212
Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical Sciences 16,970
Health & Medical Administrative Services 14,633

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • 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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