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Most Popular Nursing Schools

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2021 Most Popular Nursing Schools

690 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.

There are lots of options to pick from today when trying to decide which program is right for you. 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.

To help you arm yourself with the information you need to make your decision, Grad Degree Search has developed this Most Popular Nursing Schools ranking. This report analyzed 690 schools in the United States to see which ones were the most popular programs for students. To create this ranking we looked at how many students graduated from the Nursing program at each school on the list.

The following schools top our list of the Most Popular Nursing Colleges.

#1

Walden University

Minneapolis, MN

Our analysis found Walden University to be the most popular school for nursing students who want to pursue a degree in the United States. Located in the city of Minneapolis, Walden University is a private for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Chamberlain University - Illinois. The school came in at #2 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Schools list. Chamberlain - Illinois is a fairly large private for-profit school located in the large suburb of Addison.

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#3

Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, UT

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Western Governors University. It ranked #3 on our 2021 Most Popular Nursing Schools list. WGU is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Salt Lake City.

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#4

Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Grand Canyon University. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Most Popular Nursing Schools list. Grand Canyon University is a very large private for-profit school located in the large city of Phoenix.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend South University’s online programs. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Most Popular Nursing Schools list. South University's online programs is a medium-sized private for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Savannah.

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The University of Texas at Arlington did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular schools for nursing students. It came in at #6 on the list. Located in the city of Arlington, UT Arlington is a public college with a very large student population.

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With a ranking of #7, Maryville University of Saint Louis did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for nursing students. Located in the large suburb of Saint Louis, Maryville U is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population.

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University of South Alabama came in at #8 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Nursing Schools ranking. USA is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Mobile.

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Frontier Nursing University came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Nursing Schools ranking. Located in the rural area of Hyden, Frontier Nursing University is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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#10

Kaplan University-Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN

Kaplan University-Indianapolis ranked #10 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Schools list. Kaplan University-Indianapolis is a fairly large public school located in the city of Indianapolis.

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University of Cincinnati - Main Campus ranked #11 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Schools list. UC is a very large public school located in the city of Cincinnati.

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University of Alabama at Birmingham did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular schools for nursing students. It came in at #12 on the list. UAB is a very large public school located in the city of Birmingham.

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#13

Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Capella University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular schools for nursing students. It came in at #13 on the list. Capella University is a very large private for-profit school located in the city of Minneapolis.

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University of Phoenix - Arizona landed the #14 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular nursing programs. UOPX - Arizona is a fairly large private for-profit school located in the large city of Tempe.

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#15

Simmons University

Boston, MA

Simmons University landed the #15 spot in the 2021 rankings for the most popular nursing programs. Simmons is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Boston.

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Indiana Wesleyan University - National & Global came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Nursing Schools ranking. Located in the rural area of Marion, IWU is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population.

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#17

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN

With a ranking of #17, Vanderbilt University did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for nursing students. Located in the large city of Nashville, Vanderbilt is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population.

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#18

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University ranked #18 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Schools list. Drexel is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Philadelphia.

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American Sentinel University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the most popular schools for nursing students. It came in at #19 on the list. Located in the city of Aurora, American Sentinel University is a private for-profit college with a small student population.

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ranked #20 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Schools list. Located in the large city of Houston, UTHealth is a public college with a moderately-sized student population.

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#21

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University ranked #21 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Schools list. Johns Hopkins is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Baltimore.

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#22

Rush University

Chicago, IL

With a ranking of #22, Rush University did quite well on this year’s most popular schools for nursing students. Rush University is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Chicago.

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#23

Duke University

Durham, NC

Duke University came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Most Popular Nursing Schools ranking. Located in the large city of Durham, Duke is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

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#24

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY

Stony Brook University ranked #24 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Schools list. Located in the suburb of Stony Brook, SUNY Stony Brook is a public college with a very large student population.

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University of South Florida - Main Campus ranked #25 on this year’s Most Popular Nursing Schools list. Located in the large city of Tampa, USF Tampa is a public school with a very large student population.

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#26

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ
#27

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
#29

Georgetown University

Washington, DC
#36

Wilkes University

Wilkes-Barre, PA
#37

Olivet Nazarene University

Bourbonnais, IL
#39

University of Miami

Coral Gables, FL
#39

DePaul University

Chicago, IL
#41

Aspen University

Denver, CO
#42

Yale University

New Haven, CT
#43

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, CA
#44

Augusta University

Augusta, GA
#44

George Washington University

Washington, DC
#44

Jacksonville University

Jacksonville, FL
#47

Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia, PA
#48

Sacred Heart University

Fairfield, CT
#49

Gonzaga University

Spokane, WA

Remaining Award Winners

This list represents the remainder of the colleges awarded a Most Popular Nursing Schools badge. Showing in this list means the college was ranked in the top 15% of the 690 different United States nursing schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Graceland University - Lamoni Lamoni, IA
52 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
53 University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN
54 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA
55 Regis University Denver, CO
55 New York University New York, NY
57 Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA
58 University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, IL
59 Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL
60 The University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX
61 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
61 Marquette University Milwaukee, WI
63 University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
64 Emory University Atlanta, GA
65 University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus Denver, CO
66 Kent State University at Kent Kent, OH
67 Hunter College New York, NY
68 Barry University Miami, FL
68 Spring Arbor University Spring Arbor, MI
70 Benedictine University Lisle, IL
71 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
72 National University College Bayamon, PR
72 East Carolina University Greenville, NC
74 Universidad del Turabo Gurabo, PR
74 Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science Los Angeles, CA
76 Molloy College Rockville Centre, NY
77 University of Alabama in Huntsville Huntsville, AL
78 Liberty University Lynchburg, VA
79 Keiser University - Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale, FL
80 University of San Diego San Diego, CA
81 Clarkson College Omaha, NE
81 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
81 University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, WA
84 University of Massachusetts - Boston Boston, MA
84 Excelsior College Albany, NY
86 The University of Texas at Tyler Tyler, TX
86 West Coast University - Orange County Anaheim, CA
88 East Tennessee State University Johnson City, TN
89 Miami Regional University Miami Springs, FL
89 University of California - San Francisco San Francisco, CA
91 The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL
92 Regis College Weston, MA
92 Ohio University - Athens Campus Athens, OH
92 University of Virginia - Main Campus Charlottesville, VA
95 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY
96 University of North Carolina at Wilmington Wilmington, NC
96 Herzing University - Madison Madison, WI
96 Mount St. Joseph University Cincinnati, OH
96 University of Southern Indiana Evansville, IN
100 MGH Institute of Health Professions Boston, MA
101 Western University of Health Sciences Pomona, CA
102 Texas Wesleyan University Fort Worth, TX
102 Pace University - New York New York, NY

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional popular schools for Nursing students that almost earned our Most Popular Nursing Schools award.

Rank College Location
104 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY
105 Wayne State University Detroit, MI
105 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT
107 Ball State University Muncie, IN
107 University of Mississippi University, MS
107 Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH
107 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
111 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, TX
111 Northeastern University Boston, MA
111 University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg, MS
114 Carlow University Pittsburgh, PA
114 Creighton University Omaha, NE
114 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, NC
117 Washington State University Pullman, WA
117 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
117 University of St Francis Joliet, IL
120 Oregon Health & Science University Portland, OR
120 St Catherine University Saint Paul, MN
120 University of Michigan - Flint Flint, MI
120 Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN
120 University of Missouri - Kansas City Kansas City, MO
125 University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL
125 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR
127 Loyola University New Orleans New Orleans, LA
128 SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University Brooklyn, NY
128 Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, TX
128 Georgia State University Atlanta, GA
131 California State University - Long Beach Long Beach, CA
131 Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC
131 Rivier University Nashua, NH
131 University of North Carolina at Greensboro Greensboro, NC
135 D’Youville College Buffalo, NY
135 Seattle University Seattle, WA
137 Fairleigh Dickinson University - Metropolitan Campus Teaneck, NJ
137 Troy University Troy, AL
137 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH

Nursing by Region

View the Most Popular 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.

  • 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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