Best Colleges and Universities for Nursing Degrees

The best nursing degree programs are those with rich histories of influence, proven through the work produced by the program’s faculty and alumni. Beyond demonstrating scholarly impact in the field, the best nursing degree programs maximize your opportunities to interact with outstanding nursing faculty.

Best Colleges and Universities for Nursing Degrees

A bachelor’s degree in nursing is an excellent starting point for a career providing care in an emergency room, mental health facility, or home healthcare setting. In fact, an undergraduate degree in nursing could qualify you to work in an extremely wide range of healthcare contexts. As a nursing major, you’ll study the basic principles of care as well as medical ethics, anatomy, pathology, and more. You can also choose from a wide range of specializations in areas like rehabilitation, radiology, and anesthetics. The best schools for nursing are those which are regionally accredited, which offer a full array of nursing concentrations, and which give you the chance to work with the best and most influential professors and classmates.

Degree popularity: Nursing bachelor’s degrees are the 3rd most popular undergraduate degrees across all student demographics, ranking slightly higher for women at 2nd compared to 9th for men. Nursing is one of the few degrees that ranks among the top 10 most desired degrees for all demographics, and consistently in the top 3 for women, according to the number of degree earners reported by the National Center for Educational Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Bachelor’s Degrees

This four-year degree will qualify you to work as a Registered Nurse, once you’ve successfully completed your National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), as well as any state-specific requirements. Though you can become an RN with an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree can elevate your candidacy for nursing leadership roles. Some healthcare settings may also offer support to nurses with associate’s degrees to enroll into RN-to-BSN degree programs.

As a registered nurse, you’ll get the chance to play a critical role in shaping and improving the treatment strategies and philosophies of care in use today. This means that leaders, researchers, and innovators in the field have a direct impact on our everyday experiences in the healthcare system. Today, top influencers in nursing are breaking new ground in Nurse Practitioner Programs, Primary Nursing, Oncology Nursing, and more.

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Nursing is a popular major because there is an extremely high demand for qualified and capable registered nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of new positions in the nursing field is expected to grow at a rate of 7% by 2029, which is significantly faster than the average rate of growth for jobs across all fields. In addition to likely adding more than 220,000 jobs during that time, the nursing sector offers higher than average pay as well. The BLS reports that nurses earned a median salary of $73,300 in 2019.

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Once you’ve declared your major in nursing, you will likely be required to complete a set of core courses in a number of healthcare-related subject areas. While your concentration will give you a chance to choose from a wide range of highly-specialized nursing electives, there are several common courses that most nursing majors will be required to take, including:

  • Physiology
  • Nursing Fundamentals
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Pharmacology
  • Community and Environmental Health
  • Clinical Nursing
  • Nursing Leadership
  • Gerontology
  • Women’s Health Issues

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Majoring in nursing can lead you into a wide variety of healthcare settings, and into any number of areas in clinical treatment, healthcare administration, or research. You have numerous options, and your degree program can help you hone in on the path that feels most suited to your skills and interests. As you consider career prospects, be sure that you know the degree requirements specific to your desired role. With the proper education and credentials, your nursing major can lead to a wide range of career opportunities, including these top jobs:

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Best Colleges and Universities for Nursing Degree Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About Research Universities, Liberal Arts Colleges, Online Colleges

In pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you will need to choose between three kinds of schools: research universities, liberal arts colleges, and online colleges.

Research universities are colleges and universities whose faculty are active in research and publishing. These schools offer a wide array of doctoral programs, especially in the sciences. They tend to be big, with tens of thousands of students.

Do you prefer a larger university setting, such as largest public university in your state? Research universities are typically big, offering degrees in many different disciplines. Is a big high-powered research environment the thing for you. If not, you should think about a liberal arts college. In deciding on an undergraduate institution, ask yourself what sort of environment will best help you to be happy and excel.

  • Consider whether you are self motivated enough to be a face in the crowd for some classes and largely unknown on campus at a large university. Of course you can find clubs and friends at a large university, but often liberal arts colleges have a more personal quality to them. If you want the community feel, a research university may not fit you well.
  • Are you interested in STEM fields? Research universities have that name for a reason – real research is happening there. This can create an exciting atmosphere for students interested in STEM. Attending a research university can give you a better chance of getting into better programs for graduate degrees, although a lot of that depends on your performance.
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Often referred to as “teaching colleges” liberal arts colleges put a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree.

  • Do you want your professors to know you? Liberal arts colleges strive to cultivate campus cultures that encourage tight bonds between professors and students. Professors at these schools will typically conduct original research. Yet the best of these schools offer their faculty reduced teaching loads so that they can both be productive researchers and still have plenty of time for students (both in and outside the classroom).
  • Do you want to feel like you know everybody? One of the most enticing features of a liberal arts college is that in very little time, you can feel like you know who’s who, which can create strong friendships, but also more pleasurable walks across campus. While your sports teams may never be on ESPN, it’s more likely that you’ll know the athletes as your peers. Beyond student and faculty relationships, it’s not unusual for the school president and other administrators to learn who you are. When faced with problems with your student account or the need to switch classes, this can be comforting during a stressful moment.
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Online colleges are typically the same colleges and universities you could attend in-person, but for certain degree programs the college or unviersity has made the degree programs available to be completed online. For over 5 million students, online degree programs allow students to earn their degrees in the most flexible format available. Online degrees are as respected as the on-campus degress you could earn from the same schools. There’s usually no disctinction between the two degrees, and your degree and transcript will not say that the degree was earned online. Online degree programs are offered by a vast majority of colleges and universities, and the number of offering continues to grow. Whehter you are searching for an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate, there’s a good chance you can earn your degree online from a respectable online college.

  • Are you a self-driven student? Perhaps the hardest aspect of obtaining an online degree is whether you will be disciplined enough to manage your time and course demands. Many online students report that online college made them more disciplined in all areas of their lives, but the flexible, self-paced learning that makes online colleges attractive can often be the same qualities that make it difficult. If you tend to be a procrastinator, you need to be honest with yourself. You can change your habits and propensities, or you can throw money down the drain.
  • Do you need the flexibility of an online degree program? Most online students study online because of time demands balancing work and life, or becuase the online colleges afford them the chance to attend a better school without moving. If you are serious about earning your degree for career advancement, online colleges make it possible. The most flexible options among online degrees are those that are aynchronous, meaning you don’t have scheduled times to meet with your class online. However, many students seek synchronous online degree programs so that they have some structure – set meeting times, scheduled exams, etc.
  • The good news is that attending an online college doesn’t mean you will miss out on getting to know your professors and classmates. In fact, many online students who have experienced both online and on-campus courses report having easier access to their professors. Since most communication with your professor is expected to be in text – via email or your class learning management system – it makes asking your questions easier. The same students also report that they got to better know the thoughts of their classmates. While in-person course conversations can be dominated by a few extroverts, online courses that require online discussions make it so that you see all of your classmates’ thoughts and questions.

If you interested in an online bachelor’s degree, check out what the best online colleges offer, or search our online degrees for the exact program that interests you. In either case, you will find well respected colleges and universities that offer online degrees.

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The Best Colleges and Universities for Nursing Degrees

Best Nursing Major Research Universities

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. Columbia University
  3. Johns Hopkins University
  4. Duke University
  5. University of Michigan

Go to The Best Nursing Major Research Universities

Best Nursing Major Liberal Arts Colleges

  1. College of the Ozarks
  2. Monroe College
  3. University of Portland
  4. Berea College
  5. Minot State University

Go to The Best Nursing Major Liberal Arts Colleges

Best RN-to-BSN Online Colleges

  1. Virginia Commonwealth University
  2. University of Rochester
  3. University of Cincinnati
  4. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  5. University of South Carolina

Go to The Best RN-to-BSN Online Colleges

The Best Nursing Schools in Your State

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Learn More About Nursing

If you want to know more about nursing, then check out our related content:

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