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The Best Nursing Schools in the Nation

These schools offer the best education available for nursing students, according to ranking from U.S. News & World Report



By Curtis Ross
Posted 2012

Top 10 Best Nursing Schools
Top 10 Best Nursing Schools

With hundreds of colleges and universities offering nursing programs, both on-campus and online, prospective nursing students should have little problem finding one that suits their academic, financial and location needs. As with most professions, though, a degree from a renowned institution can add luster to the resume of a recent graduate.


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Ten schools, as rated by U.S. News & World Report, represent the best in nursing education.

Johns Hopkins University. The School of Nursing at Johns Hopkins University opened in 1984, but it had nearly a century of nursing history behind it. The Johns Hopkins Hospital Training School for Nurses opened in October 1889, a mere five months after the hospital itself. The school is located on the university’s East Baltimore campus along with its School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health. It shares U.S. News & World Report’s top spot with Penn and the University of Washington. Tuition is $66,193 for the 17-month program.

University of Pennsylvania. Penn not only is one of the nation’s first colleges, it is home to the first medical school, founded before the American Revolution. U.S. News & World Report ranks its School of Nursing in a three-way tie for No. 1 with Johns Hopkins and the University of Washington. Students at the Philadelphia campus gain clinical experience at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, two of the finest in the United States. Tuition for one year is $43,738.

University of Washington. The first nursing school on the West Coast and only the second university-affiliated nursing school in the U.S., the Seattle-based School of Nursing at the University of Washington owes much of its existence to Elizabeth Sterling Soule, its first dean, who Time magazine deemed the “Mother of Nursing” in the Pacific Northwest. It shares the No. 1 spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list with Penn and Johns Hopkins University. Tuition for the accelerated BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) is $8,865 per quarter.

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University of California at San Francisco. The UCSF School of Nursing was officially established in 1959, but it dates back to 1907, when the University of California established a diploma program at the hospital training school for nurses in San Francisco. It is tied for No. 4 with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on U.S. News& World Report’s Top 10 Nursing Schools. Annual tuition is $11,220.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tied for No. 4 with UCSF on U.S. News & World Report’s list, UNC’s School of Nursing was established in 1950. It offered North Carolina’s first bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as continuing education programs in nursing. Tuition for the 24-month program totals $17,900.

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. Ranked No. 7 on the U.S. News & World Report list, the University of Michigan School of Nursing has its origins in the University of Michigan Training School for Nurses, established in 1891. Along with Penn and UNC, it was awarded the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation grant. The grants are “designed to produce the next generation of research leaders who have the knowledge and skills to solve complex health problems and improve patient care,” according to a release on the University of Michigan web site. Tuition is $20,838 annually.

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Duke University. One of two North Carolina schools on the U.S. News & World Report list, this Durham campus shares the No. 7 spot with three other institutions. The school opened its doors in 1931 with a class of 24. The school discontinued its BSN program after the 1984 class graduated, but reinstated it in 2002, adding a Ph.D. program in 2006. Tuition is about $18,000 per semester. (The class that entered in 1931 paid $100 per year).

Oregon Health and Science University. A U.S. News & World Report Top 10 nursing program for more than a decade, this Portland school is part of the state’s only health and research university. It shares the No. 7 spot with three other schools. Tuition rates vary by specialty. A BS with Registered Nurse certification is $13,431 annually.

University of Pittsburgh. Kipplinger’s rates the second Pennsylvania school on U.S. News & World Report’s list as the 15th best value for out-of-state students. The nursing school was established in 1939, when its first dean, Ruth Perkins Kuehn, recommended it be made separate from Pitt’s School of Medicine. Kuehn was the first nursing school dean in the United States to earn a doctorate. Tuition is $16,154 per term.

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Yale University. This New Haven, Conn., institution dates to the colonial period and boasts five U.S. presidents, three current Supreme Court justices and a host of writers, actors and other distinguished graduates among its alumni. Founded in 1923, the Yale School of Nursing was the first school within a university to prepare nurses under an educational rather than an apprenticeship program. This graduate level program’s tuition costs are $16,065 per semester.


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