In today’s challenging job market, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) accelerated program allows anyone with a Bachelor’s degree the ability to make a relatively quick transition to a profession that offers a good salary, flexibility, and meaningful work. Programs require anywhere from six to fourteen specific prerequisites (usually science classes with the addition of classes like psychology, nutrition, and statistics). Once admitted, the accelerated course of study can last from one year to two years.
In the following ranking, we try to focus the things you care about the most: cost (we look a the “net cost” meaning the total cost minus the average student aid), completion rate (what percentage of people who start the program actually finish?), and the reputation of the school (roughly indicated by admission selectivity). We do this by looking at statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics which is part of the U.S. Department of Education. Each of these factors is equally weighted. We only consider schools that are fully accredited by the nationally recognized Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
These are the top 50 schools of the 173 schools we surveyed.
Concordia is a private, liberal arts college located in Moorhead, Minnesota. It has around 2,200 students and offers more than 50 majors. Although it is associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, its students come from over 39 religions and denominations. Concordia has agreements with the nearby Minnesota State University and North Dakota State University which allows its students to take classes from both institutions.
Concordia’s accelerated BSN program features 900 hours of clinical time and all experiences are scheduled by faculty (so students don’t have to find their own clinicals). Concordia nursing students find jobs 100% of the time. The school offers some innovative programs such as the two-day “vocation retreat” that focuses on “team building, clinical preparation, caring, and professional role development.” Many nursing students participate in the Concordia Language Villages Connections with features language immersion programs for children and adults.
Concordia offers an accelerated program that may be completed in 16 months. Applications are due May 16th for a July start date. Applicants must have at least a 2.5 overall GPA and 3.0 in the required prerequisites. Six prerequisites are required.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 65
Cost: Tuition Per Year: $36,650
Ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report for innovation, ASU is the largest public university with an undergraduate enrollment of around 82,000 students. Based in Tempe Arizona, ASU has three other campuses and offers more than 300 undergraduate programs. ASU has produced the most Fulbright scholars of any school and is rated a university with “very high research activity” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. ASU is one of the few schools in our survey with more males than females (57% to 43%). Given the huge student population students report that they often hang out with people who share their major and that it is easy to find one’s niche.
One of the largest nursing programs in the country at around 1,800 undergraduate students and 450 graduate students, ASU’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation offers nursing degrees at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and doctoral levels. ASU’s Simulation & Learning Resources facility provides three simulation suites dedicated to adult health, complex care, pediatrics, and labor and delivery. First-time pass rates of the NCLEX are higher than 92% (national average is 82%).
While ASU does not advertise an “accelerated BSN,” it does offer a “Postbaccalaureate BSN” which may be completed in one year. Students are admitted to the program in the spring semester. Ten prerequisite courses are required with a combined GPA of 3.50 or better.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 65
Cost: Entire Program Tuition and Fees: $33,000 in-state; $50,000 out-of-state
Established in 1856, Niagara University is a private, Catholic University in Lewiston, New York. Just four miles from the spectacular Niagara Falls, it sits atop the rugged, Niagara River gorge. The campus is 160 acres of both old, ivy-covered buildings and new buildings in modern architectural styles. It has 4,200 students and offers 50 different academic programs. Volunteer work is valued by the students who work with many organizations including the United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and the Love and Soul food pantry.
The School of Nursing’s mission is “To provide a comprehensive educational experience to form and inspire development of professional nurses who embrace excellence in nursing practice to provide holistic healthcare to all members of society, especially the vulnerable and marginalized, in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul and Sister Louise de Marillac.” The school recently received a $197,000 grant from the state to fund the second phase of its work on its state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Center. It advertises that it discounts its BSN accelerated program 30% from regular BSN rates.
The one year accelerated BSN program at Niagara begins in May of each year. Applications are due by October 1st. Seven prerequisites are required and a 3.0 GPA.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 66
Cost: Per Credit Hour Tuition: $690
47. Elms College
Elms College is a private, Catholic, liberal arts college located in Chicopee, Massachusetts, near Springfield with around 1,200 undergraduates. It was an all women’s school until 1998 when it began admitting men. It continues to be 80% female in student body composition. As a small college, students report excellent access to professors. Its career center gets top reviews. It tends to be low-key on partying.
The philosophy of the Elms College Department of Nursing is, “To always look to see where the needs of the community are, the needs of society, and of the world and then evolve to meet those needs . . . be it through educational programming or service . . . all the while working to better the entire community.” The school has just under 500 students, and its new Center for Natural and Health Sciences houses an advanced simulation skills lab.
The accelerated BSN at Elm’s uses a cohort model and takes 20 months to complete. A GPA of 3.2 is required for admission and successful completion of eleven prerequisites.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 66
Cost: Tuition for an Academic Year: $31,846
Bellarmine is a private, Catholic university in Louisville, Kentucky, with around 3,800 students. The school is in the process of building new student housing modeled on the Piazza del Campo, the main town center of Siena, Italy. The goal is modern, comfortable housing so that half of all students can live on campus. The student body is relatively small, and with a student to faculty ratio of 12:1, students report excellent faculty accessibility.
According to the dean of the Department of Nursing, the Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing & Health Sciences, “prepares nurse leaders with a global perspective, capable of improving practice through sound nursing judgment and clinical scholarship. Consistent with Bellarmine’s Catholic values-centered education, graduates have the intellectual, moral, and ethical competencies to address health care disparities and improve health care outcomes.” The school offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and doctoral degrees in nursing.
Bellarmine offers a second-degree BSN with various durations. It can be done in just a year, two years, or on a part-time basis. The program requires a 2.75 GPA in previous coursework, the completion of seven prerequisites, and the successful completion of a Medicaid approved Certified Nurse Aide course.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 66
Cost: Tuition for the Entire Program: $54,315
A private Catholic school in Wheeling, West Virginia, the motto of the school is “Let your light shine.” With around 1,100 undergraduates, the school is a close-knit community in which students have excellent access to faculty. The faculty to student ration is 1:15. The campus is in the beautiful rolling hills of the northern Ohio valley and it offers a safe, peaceful environment for learning. In addition to its 65-acre campus, it is home to a 55-acre retreat farm and research preserve. In spite of its relatively small student body, Wheeling is noted for the research it conducts. Students are twice as likely as their other college peers to participate in research with their professors. Some students note that the dorms are old and could stand to be remodeled.
The mission of the WJU school of nursing is succinct: “to provide baccalaureate and graduate nursing education and service to the community.” The school relies a lot on online learning modules to prepare students for the NCLEX (and its students score well above the state average for passing it). The WJU accelerated BSN begins each year in May and requires 18 months to complete. Eight prerequisites are required for admission.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 66
Cost: Tuition and Fees for the Entire Program: $45,000
Creighton is a private Jesuit school in Omaha, Nebraska, with around 8,000 students evenly divided between undergrad and graduate students. Given its faith-based mission, the school hosts the Creighton Center for Service and Justice which promotes weekly community service projects. With a faculty to student ratio of just 1:11, Creighton combines the feel of a small, close-knit community with the resources of a larger university. It has more than 200 student organizations on campus giving students a wide range of activities. Ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Report in Regional Universities Midwest Rankings, Creighton offers an excellent value in education.
The college of nursing offers degrees at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and doctoral levels. It advertises that 97% of its BSN graduates are employed within 9 months. As a Jesuit university, Creighton places an emphasis on service and offers experiences in places like the Dominican Republic and the Heart Ministry Center in Omaha which serves the city’s poorest citizens.
Creighton’s accelerated BSN program requires just one year and starts in January. Applicants are required to have completed 11 prerequisites and have a 3.0 GPA.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 67
Cost: Tuition and Fees for the Entire Program: $51,021
(BW) is a private, liberal arts school located in Berea, Ohio, about 15 miles southwest of Cleveland. It is committed to inclusivity since it was one of the first schools in the state to accept students without regard to race or gender.
Baldwin Wallace offers more than 80 majors and minors, with a strong emphasis on business, music and science programs. The neuroscience undergrad program, for example, boasts a 95% overall acceptance rate to graduate and medical schools.
The library at BW contains manuscripts in the original handwriting of legendary composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Baldwin Wallace University also hosts the annual three-day Bach Festival, which brings renowned musicians and speakers to campus. The festival hosts concerts, panel discussions, and lectures. BW students can get involved by joining the school’s more than 100 clubs, playing intramural sports or exploring the city life of Cleveland.
In 2015, BW nursing students achieved a 100% NCLEX pass rate. The accelerated BSN program at BW takes just 12 months to complete. The program begins in August of each year. A GPA of 3.0 is required as well as the successful completion of five science prerequisites.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 67
Cost: Tuition and Fees for the Entire Program: $34,500
UM is a private research university located in Coral Gables, Florida. It is comprised of 12 separate colleges with around 17,000 students. The university was founded by a group of individuals who set out on a mission to develop “unique opportunities” for inter-American studies. George E. Merrick, who founded Coral Gables, made land and funds available for UM to begin development in 1925. The main campus is located south of Miami on 260 acres of beautiful green land. The campus features many amenities such as a theater and botanical garden. It houses over 4,500 students within its residential halls and apartment-style living arrangements.
UM is made up of 11 different colleges, offering over 180 undergraduate programs, each emphasizing research. Students are given the opportunity to tailor their studies around personal strengths and interests. They are offered helpful resources such as career counseling, workshops, and honors programs. In our survey, UM scored high in both graduation rate (81%) and admission selectivity (6.6% of applicants are accepted).
The School of Nursing & Health Studies has a 95.8% NCLEX pass rate. It hosts the International Academy for Clinical Simulation which allows students to perfect their skills in a risk-free environment. It also has “mini-mesters” where students can participate in health promotion in other countries. The school admits around 70 students each start date.
UM offers a three-semester accelerated program with start dates in May and January. Application deadlines are March 1st, and September 1st. Eight prerequisites are required, as well as a GPA of 3.0.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 68
Cost: Tuition Cost for Entire Program: $40,000
Florida International University is a tier one public institute located in Greater Miami, Florida with 54,000 students. It is the youngest university to be acknowledged by the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the most established academic honor society in the country.
The main campus occupies over 300 acres of the University Park in Miami and houses the Ronald Reagan Presidential House (a 12,500 square foot, u-shaped house which is the home to the university president). The regional campus named the Biscayne Bay campus, is a relatively new campus opened up in 1977 and is responsible for the success of one of the most significant marine bay programs in the state.
The Social Mobility Index ranked the Florida International University as the #7 ranked educational institution in the United States.
The vision of the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences is to, “to be globally recognized for the achievements of its alumni and faculty in health care, education, leadership, and research with a focus on the needs of the under-served populations.” The school has a consistently higher pass rate than the state average on the NCLEX exam. Students are very ethnically diverse.
The accelerated BSN is 3 semesters long (with a short introductory skills class) and begins each year in the spring semester. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA, a 3.25 in all prerequisites (9), and take the TEAS exam. The application deadline is July 15.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 68
Cost: Tuition Cost for the Current Academic Year: $12,800 in-state; $37,200 out-of-state
WCUPA is located on a beautiful 388 acres in West Chester, PA. This public university is a part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. It was first established as a private school that existed throughout most of the 1800’s. It wasn’t until a state bill was passed in 1983 that the college officially became West Chester University of Pennsylvania and one of the 14 universities in Pennsylvania today. Although the campus is officially “dry,” with a rule against alcohol, the campus has a robust Greek Life at which plenty of parties can be found.
One unique aspect of this campus is that it houses an Institute for Woman in partnership with the Women’s Studies Program, representing the interests of women on campus.
The West Chester School of Nursing features a state-of-the-art simulation laboratory. Each student is assigned a personal advisor. Previous accelerated BSN classes have had first time NCLEX pass rates between 90 – 100%. The attrition rate has been less than 1%.
The accelerated BSN is an 18-month program that begins in May. On-campus interviews take place in September and October, and applications are due by October 15. A minimum GPA of 2.75 is required as well as the TEAS exam.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 68
Cost: Tuition Per Semester: $3,530 in-state; $8,825 out-of-state
Also known as U of R or UR, the school is located in Rochester, New York, the third-largest city in the state of New York. The 154-acre River Campus, the main campus, is located about two miles south of downtown Rochester by a bend in the Genesee River. The University student center includes a stunning six-story glass atrium, which is adorned with flags representing that year’s student body country of origin.
UR ranks among the top in federally financed science, engineering, medical, and other research. The University offers an open curriculum so the students can explore their interests and passions to create a personalized course of study. U of R’s way of learning is indeed personalized. Rochester remains the smallest among top research universities, with smaller classes, a low 10:1 student to teacher ratio, and increased interactions with faculty.
For students with an interest in athletics, they have something for everyone: 14 intramural programs on campus that include sports like soccer, volleyball, football, and basketball; 39 club sports on campus including soccer, ultimate Frisbee, and even Quidditch; and 23 varsity sports programs. In our survey UR scored high in student retention (84%) and in admission selectivity (8% of applicants are admitted).
The school of nursing has around 400 students and enjoys the benefits of being small while connected to a leading research university and academic medical center. The nursing school has played a leading role in the innovation of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, the nurse practitioner movement, an international exchange visitor program for nurses from other countries, and many other firsts in nursing. It consistently has over a 90% first-time pass rate for the NCLEX.
The University of Rochester’s accelerated program lasts one year. It requires six prerequisites and has three start dates each year (application deadlines are July 1, Nov 1, and Mar 1; for Jan, May, and Sept start dates). A 3.0 GPA is preferred and a personal interview is required.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 68
Cost: Tuition Per Semester: $21,510
The Health Science Center is one of many Texas A&M Universities located in the state of Texas. This particular university has sites in eight medicine and health related colleges in several different cities including Bryan-College Station, Corpus Christi, and Dallas. The TAMHSC was founded as an independent institution in 1999, later awarded accreditations by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 2002. TAMHSC is a leading health science center in the state, conducting innovative research and applying new technologies in education.
The College of Nursing has a 1:10 faculty to student ratio. It boasts a 99% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX, and 95% of graduates have jobs within three months. Devoted to creating and implementing the most effective educational experience, the college has cutting-edge classroom technologies and simulated experiences that include standardized patients and virtual clinical learning activities. Students and staff volunteer at a number of health promotion events for the community such as flu clinics and local health fairs.
Offered on both the Bryan/College Station and Round Rock campuses, the accelerated BSN is 15 months long. Applications are accepted in the summer and classes start in mid-January. Admissions are based up GPA (3.0 strongly recommended), HESI exam, community service, and other leadership/professional experience.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 69
Cost: Program Cost 2015-2016: $17,500 in-state; $40,480 out-of-state
Northern Arizona University (NAU) is a public research university that was founded in 1899. Its main campus is located on 740 acres in Flagstaff, Arizona. In the heart of campus, the University Union is a popular gathering place that hosts a range of student dining options. Their all-you-care-to-eat dining room features classic favorites, global and ethnic cuisines, vegetarian and gluten-free selections, and a Mongolian grill. Northern Arizona University is now a smoke-and-tobacco-free campus.
Its mascot is the Lumberjack and the athletic students are proud to be a part of the Lumberjack family. The University’s primary emphasis is undergraduate education, but it also offers nationally known masters and doctoral programs. University researchers study subjects as varied as forest health and bioterrorism.
Northern Arizona’s School of Nursing offers degrees at the bachelor, master’s, and doctoral levels. Opportunities to study abroad are available. Students learn through traditional classrooms, online classes, simulation labs, and clinicals at healthcare facilities. NAS School of Nursing offers a one-year accelerated program. Thirty students are admitted each year. Applicants are admitted based on GPA, credits taken at NAU, Kaplan test scores, and community service. Some clinical require travel to statewide sites.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 69
Cost: Semester Tuition and Fees: $5,179 in-state; $11,226 out-of-state
Known as Illinois’ first public university, ISU is located in the twin-city of Bloomington-Normal. It was originally founded as a training school for state teachers in 1857 and was named Illinois State Normal University. ISU was renamed in 1965, expanding its curriculum to the liberal arts.
The Quad is the central hub of the campus, hosting numerous public events such as movie screenings and Festival ISU. When activities are not taking place, students often use the quad as a study and lounge area. This university houses over 6,000 students within the campus, all separated into 6 sections. Students may choose to live in small dormitories or full-size apartments.
The school’s Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN ) prepares nursing students so well that 96% pass the NCLEX on the first try. The Nursing Simulation Laboratory provides 10,000 feet of space for clinical learning with patient simulators. Students are provided with opportunities to work with nationally recognized nurse researchers on their projects. MCN values transcultural experiences and offers urban and rural nursing opportunities as well as in countries around the world such as Brazil, England, Russia, and Kenya. Finally, MCN values being celebrative, and has events throughout the year to bring together faculty, students, and the wider community.
The accelerated program begins in May, spans fifteen months, and ends in August. Applications are accepted Sept 1 – June 15 for the summer session.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 69
Cost: Semester Tuition: $5,392.05 in-state; 9,300.00 out-of-state
Villanova University is a private research university located in Radnor Township, a suburb northwest of Philadelphia, PA. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Villanova as #1 in in the Best Master Universities category, Northern Region. It was founded in 1842 by the Catholic Order of Saint Augustine and aims to build a culture in which “students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others.”
There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University’s six colleges. This year thirteen Villanovans have been selected to receive 2016-2017 Fulbright U.S. Student Grants as a part of The Fulbright Program, a prestigious international education exchange program sponsored by the United States government.
Villanova University campus sits on 254 acres just 20 minutes drive from Center City Philadelphia. The campus boasts over 1,500 trees, including the only known instance of a naturally growing sequoia east of the Mississippi River. The Campus Activity Team coordinates live music concerts, comedy nights, and Taste of Philly events.
The College of Nursing understands nursing to be “a healing ministry emanated by love and demonstrated through service and the care of others.” It is one of three schools that have been designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing education by the National League for Nursing. Of the full-time faculty, 82% hold doctoral degrees. It has 716 undergraduate students of which 26% are minorities. The College of Nursing has less than a 5% attrition rate.
Known as BSNExpress at VU, the accelerated BSN is a 14-month program. It begins in May of each year and ends in August of the next. (For second-degree students VU also offers the “Alternate Sequence Curriculum” which is a two year program that allows more time for students to complete the program and to be employed in a clinical setting.)
TopRNtoBSN Score: 69
Cost: Tuition Per Year: $48,610
WSSU began as a small teachers college, founded by Dr. Simon Green Atkins, an advocate for African American teachers, in the late 1800’s. Historically, it was known as the largest public school for African Americans in the country. It hosts the Diggs Gallery which is one of the best African-American galleries in the area. It now serves as a public university putting an emphasis on creativity and diversity.
Currently, the school has around 6,000 students and 40 academic majors and 10 graduate degrees. WSSU is a current member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. After a 37 year absence, their basketball program was revived in August 2010. The university offers a variety of recreational activities including horseback riding, game room competitions, and 3 fitness centers. WSSU provides 4 freshmen residence halls and 4 for upperclassmen. Some of these residence halls are gender exclusive while others remain co-ed. WSSU ranked in the top 10% of our schools in affordability.
The mission of Winston-Salem’s School of Health Sciences is: “to educate diverse health professionals who are culturally competent leaders committed to addressing health disparities through teaching, scholarship, and service.” The school features a virtual hospital that allows students to learn clinical skills with no risk to patients. The school also has a mobile unit which offers preventative health care and wellness services to the local community.
The accelerated BSN option is designed to be completed in 13 months. Applications are accepted August 1-31 for admission in the spring.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 69
Cost: Tuition Per Semester: $1,619 in-state; $6,527 out-of-state
Ball State University, commonly referred to as Ball State or BSU, is a public research university located on 1,300 acres in Muncie, Indiana. It is about one hour northeast of Indianapolis and has around 21,000 students. The campus features advanced facilities and modern technology most evident in the new David Letterman Communication and Media Building and Park Residence Hall.
In their leisure time, Ball State students can get involved in more than 350 campus organizations or play club and recreational sports. More determined athletes can go for the Ball State Cardinals varsity teams, which compete in the NCAA Division I Mid-American Conference.
The Ball State School of Nursing aspires to ” be a national model of excellence as a learner-centered academic community that advances nursing knowledge and practice, impacts health care economics, and enhances quality of life.” It offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in nursing. The Simulation and Information Technology Center (SITC) features an 18-bed suite that simulates a hospital. The SITC also has a critical care/adult health suite that allows students to learn advanced clinical skills. The Ball State accelerated program takes 19 months. The program starts each fall.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 70
Cost: Tuition for the Year: $7,698 in-state, $23,472 out-of-state
UNF is located in Jacksonville, FL, and is surrounded by a beautiful natural preserve. This public university opened its doors as an upper division college in 1972. It began admitting freshmen students over a decade later in 1984. UNF features 5 unique colleges which offer over 80 degree programs. Although it has 6 on-campus dormitories, most students live off campus.
There are currently over 140 student-led clubs and organizations o campus. One unique feature of this university is the museum. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville was deemed a cultural resource in 2009. It is among the largest of contemporary art exhibits in the South. The Princeton Review named UNF the “Best College” in the Southeast. UNF was also listed as one the highest ranked colleges in the country by College Factual in 2016.
The UNF Brooks College of Health offers nursing degrees at all levels. It partners with the Brooks Health System which donates toward scholarships and professorships. If offers clinical experiences both locally and abroad.
The UNF accelerated program begins in the summer (May) and fall (August) as a 36 person cohort. The program takes 3 and 1/2 semesters. Eight specific prerequisites are required. Applicants must take the TEAS exam, have a GPA of 3.2 and a GPA of 2.9 in all prerequisite courses.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 70
Cost: Per Credit Hour: $175 in-state; $655 out-of-state
31. Lewis University
Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition located in Romeoville, Illinois with regional campuses in Chicago, Oak Brook, Tinley Park, and Hickory Hills. This suburban University offers online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis claims to prepare “intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates.”
It is the seventh largest private university in Illinois and it has a supportive educational community which serves students looking for a more personal experience. As David Heckman, May 2016 undergraduate in accounting and finance said: “Lewis has provided a family atmosphere that has allowed me to grow and develop in an individualized and unique experience.” Lewis has small class sizes and numerous opportunities to get involved which helps create an optimal learning environment. Their campus welcomes students of all cultures and faiths.
The College of Nursing and Health Professions advertises that “An unwavering commitment to compassionate care, with deep respect for the dignity of each patient, will distinguish your Lewis education.” Their Oak Brook campus has seven new patient exam rooms for nurses to learn clinical skills.
Lewis University has small class sizes and clinical groups. The accelerated BSN at LU can be completed in two year’s time. Applicants are required to take the KAPLAN test, have a 2.75 GPA, and have a Bachelor’s from an accredited school.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 70
Cost: Tuition Per Year: $29,950
Valparaiso University, commonly known as Valpo, is a selective, independent Lutheran institution in Valparaiso, Indiana, an hour’s drive from Chicago. U.S. News and World Report ranks Valparaiso University as number 5 Overall Best Regional University in the Midwest. As a faith-based school, tobacco and alcohol are prohibited on campus, and students perform more than 220,000 hours of community outreach and service-learning annually. More than 90% of all undergraduate students receive financial aid each year and the average is around $30,000.
Its 350-acre campus features the Harre Student Union with over 202,000 square feet, the Chapter of the Resurrection which is a Northwest Indiana landmark, and the James S. Markiewicz Solar Energy Research Facility which contains the only solar furnace at an undergraduate institution.
Almost 50 years old, the College of Nursing and Health Professions offers nursing degrees at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and doctoral levels. Over 60% of its faculty have a doctorate. The Virtual Nursing Learning center has been recently expanded and features all the equipment to simulate a hospital environment.
The accelerated BSN option at Valpro may be completed in just 15 months. If all prerequisites have been completed (9 specific classes) students may begin the program in May. It does not necessarily require that students already have a bachelor’s degree. A GPA in previous work of 3.0 is required.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 70
Cost: Tuition Per Year: 36,280
Northeastern University is a private research university in Boston, Massachusetts, established in 1898. Northeastern is a large (25,000 students), highly residential university. Most students decide to live on campus but juniors and seniors may choose to live off campus in “the ultimate college town.” It is categorized as R1 (Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity) by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
The Northeastern University just signed an agreement adding Cuba to the 131 countries where Northeastern students go to for experiential learning programs. Their collaboration with a Cuban foundation and college will establish co-op programs in the country by 2017. As we ran the numbers for Northeastern, it ranked high in both graduation rate (82%) and admission selectivity (just 6% of students are accepted).
One of the few programs in our ranking that includes a substantial online component, Northeastern’s accelerated BSN requires 16 full-time months of study and utilizes a hybrid format in which online coursework is combined with clinical placements and experience in a skills laboratory. Classes take place in Boston, and it has start dates in January, May, and September.
Applicants are required to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, take the TEAS class, to have completed eight prerequisites, and to make a brief video answering the question, “What qualities or experience do you have that make you a good candidate for the Northeastern University ABSN program?”
TopRNtoBSN Score: 73
Cost: Per Credit Hour: $1,051 (67 credits required for a total cost of $70,417)
California State University San Marcos (CSUSM or Cal State San Marcos) is a medium-sized, public university that was founded in 1989. It is one of the 23 campuses of the California State University system. It is located in the town of San Marcos, in a suburban area. The student population is diverse with white students making up just 30% of the student body. It is about 15 miles from the beach and is situated between San Diego and Los Angeles.
The three most popular undergraduate majors are Business administration, Psychology, and Nursing. The commencement ceremony taking place in May of this year will mark their 25th year and the accomplishments of 3,200 graduates, their largest class ever.
The CSU San Marcos School of Nursing is relatively new having begun the first cohort of a BSN program in 2006. The school now has six nursing degree programs. The school offers clinical experiences in Belize, Viet Nam, and other places around the world. Students have a 96-97% NCLEX pass rate each year.
The CSU San Marcos accelerated program is offered in collaboration with the extended learning department and requires 12 prerequisites and 2 years to complete (the longest in our survey). Students are admitted in cohorts of about 150. Please see the course details for location (either the Temecula or San Marcos campus). A GPA of 2.5 in the last 60 units is required, a 2.75 GPA in the prerequisites. Students must pass the TEAS exam with a minimum 71% composite score.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 74
Cost: Per Lecture Unit: $495; Per Lab Unit: $630
Founded in 1963, the University of Central Florida is located in Orlando, FL, home to Disney World and Universal Studios. It is the second largest university in the entire country behind Arizona State University. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges listed the UCF as the “most innovative” college in the United States. Here students enjoy a well-resourced campus with plenty of study lounges and computer labs to aid them in their studies. UCF’s puts an emphasis on health and wellness: they’ve invested in a state-of-the-art recreation and wellness center.
This is a social university, offering hundreds of different clubs and organizations where students can find activities they are passionate about and create relationships that last a lifetime. The university offers a variety of on-campus housing options including residence halls, apartment-style options, and Greek housing.
The UCF nursing program is a leader in cutting-edge modeling and simulation applications to assist with learning. UCF’s NCLEX pass rate is very high at 97%.
The UCF accelerated BSN is a four consecutive semester program that starts in the summer at the Orlando campus. Clinical rotations take place in underserved, culturally diverse communities. Students must apply to UCF at least three months before the BSN application deadline (Jan 1 – Jan 15). A 3.0 GPA, eight prerequisites, and the TEAS exam are all required for admission.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 74
Cost: Per unit: $212 in-state; $748 out-of-state (57-65 total credits required for program)
Pennsylvania State University (or Penn State) has the motto “Making life better.” Founded in 1855, the university has the mission of teaching, research, and public service. The university has 24 campuses across the state with over 97,000 students. The flagship campus, University Park campus, has around 46,000 students.
Although the student body is huge, Penn still maintains a student-faculty ratio of 16:1. The average class size is 20-29. Perhaps this helps explain why—in spite of the challenging academic environment at Penn—it has one of the higher graduation rates in our survey at 86%. Since the university itself is the size of a small town, students report that there is always plenty to do. Sports events draw huge crowds, and the Greek life on campus is key to the social scene. Students are also within easy driving range of Philadelphia, Washington, and New York.
Students at the Penn School of Nursing have good access to accomplished mentors and instructors. Offering a full range of nursing degrees, Penn offers nursing classes at 13 different sites. The school does extensive nursing research in a wide range of areas such as sleep apnea, dementia and delirium in the elderly, end of life care, and more.
The Penn State accelerated BSN program lasts 16 months for a total of 60 credits. Two sites are available: Penn State Altoona and Penn State Harrisburg. The admission criteria are currently being revised and prospective students are advised to contact the campus you are interested in for more information.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 74
Cost: Per semester: $21,394 in-state; $35,998 out-of-state
One of the most endowed public research universities (at 2.275 billion) in the U.S., Michigan State University (MSU), was founded in 1855. It was originally the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan. MSU is now the 8th largest college in the U.S with over 50 thousand students and 5,200 acres around East Lansing, Michigan (with 2,100 in existing or planned development). Though historically the focus of the school has been on agriculture, it now has over 200 academic programs offered by 17-degree-granting colleges.
A NCAA Division I school, the Spartans have 25 varsity teams and is part of the Big Ten Conference. Students report that a lot of social life at MSU revolves around football and basketball games. But given the size of the student body, you can find a group into almost anything.
In the last five years the College of Nursing at MSU has completed construction of the Bott Building for Nursing Education and Research, created the Office of Academic Instructional Support Services, ranked #31 in U.S. News and World Reports online graduate programs, created a DNP program, and received a 7.45 million dollar award from the NIH to increase research infrastructure space (among other things!).
The MSU accelerated BSN program takes 14 months to complete and offers classes at either the MSU campus in East Lansing or the Detroit Medical Center. MSU graduates have a 93% first-time pass rate of the NCLEX (the average pass rate nationwide is 80%). A 2.75 GPA is required with a 2.0 GPA in the required sciences (average admitted student has a 3.55 GPA). There are 10 required prerequisite courses. The application deadline is December 1st of each year for a May start date. Applications must be made to both MSU and to the College of Nursing.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 75
Cost: Tuition per Year: $15,105 in-state; $37,508 out-of-state
Located in Fairfax, Virginia, just 15 miles from Washington D.C., it has almost 34,000 students and is the largest public research university in Virginia. The university is widely recognized for its programs in economics, law, creative writing, business and computer science. With a very diverse student body of students from over 130 countries, students find that they both find their niche, and find ways of connecting with students who are different through the many student organizations and extracurricular activities.
The school has a 320,000 square foot student union building and three gyms and an aquatic center for student use. The George Mason Patriots compete as a Division I team in the NCAA. The school has a unique initiative based in the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being that seeks to become “a model well-being university where students, faculty, and staff are building a life of vitality, purpose, and resilience, enriched by diversity and characterized by thriving across a range of domains, including physical, career, social, community, psychological and financial.”
The George Mason school of nursing is a nationally recognized program that was ranked #36 by U.S. News and World Report for top graduate nursing schools. Students have the opportunity to treat underserved, high-risk populations through the Mason and Partners (MAP) clinics. The school understands part of its mission to be “produce the next generation of nursing leaders empowered and focused on innovative responses to address the challenges of a rapidly changing and culturally diverse health care environment.”
The George Mason accelerated BSN program begins in the fall of each year and lasts for one year. Applicants must have completed the six required nursing prerequisites by May 20th, have a 3.0 GPA, and must have taken the HESI-A2 exam.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 75
Cost: Tuition per Semester: $5,376 in-state; $15,699 out-of-state
CSU Stanislaus, also known as Stanislaus State or “Stan State” is part of the 23 school California State University system and is one of the smaller schools in that system at 9,000 students. A 2015 study conducted by National Public Radio found that CSU Stanislaus is 5th in the nation in promoting upward mobility which seems to fit well with its motto of “Engaging, Empowering, Transforming.” Located in the small central valley town of Turlock, Stanislaus is mostly a commuter school with only 8% of undergraduates living on campus. The student body is very ethnically diverse, 64% female, and there are a fair number of older students.
The School of Nursing is housed in the state-of-the-art Nora and Hashem Naraghi Hall of Science. Student Melissa Pereira remarked about the program, “You always have somebody there that you could ask questions. There was always somebody that cared about you. That was one thing that you don’t usually find in other programs.”
The accelerated program lasts 18 months and consists of 59 units. Applicants must apply to the CSU undergrad program and to the ASBSN program. The TEAS exam is required. Applications are accepted from February 1st to June 17th.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 75
Cost: Total Program Tuition is $35,000
Salisbury University is a member of the University System of Maryland. It is located on the Eastern Shore and when the weather is warm, many students make the 30 mile trip to Ocean City, The school is about 120 miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Consisting of four different schools for Liberal Arts, Science & Technology, Business, Education & Professional studies, it provides a high-quality education through four comprehensive academic years, offering 58 distinct graduate and undergraduate programs.
The university’s higher aim is to empower students with the knowledge, skills, and core values that contribute to active citizenship, gainful employment, and life-long learning in a democratic society and interdependent world. Known for its beautiful campus not far from the beach, students report that it is a close-knit community with small classes sizes and easy access to professors.
The vision of Salisbury’s nursing department is “To be academically and professionally recognized as an outstanding nursing program that has a substantial impact on health care in the region.” It has more than 500 students and offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. The school utilizes the Richard A. Henson Medical Simulation Center to train students. Medical mannequins which can be remotely controlled help students deal with clinical events and learn hands-on care.
Applications for the fall semester of the accelerated BSN program are due by December 1st. The program is designed to be completed in one year. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required for admission.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 75
Cost: Tuition and Fees per Semester: $3,423 in-state, $7,629 out-of-state
Commonly referred to as “Pitt,” the University of Pittsburgh is a state-owned research university, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It has 28,000 students and an endowment of $3.58 billion. It spends around $900 million on research and development each year and is a major recipient of research funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Students enjoy a university issued free bus pass and find that many local entertainment and cultural experiences are free or low-cost. In this NCAA Division I school, sports are a big pastime. Pitt was the first university to adopt the panther as its mascot in 1909 and it has many painted and sculpted panthers on its campus.
Founded in 1939, the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing (or “Pitt Nursing”) has developed a reputation for excellence and was ranked 5th by U.S. News and World Report in nursing graduate schools. With an extensive research emphasis, the National Institute of Nursing Research has designed Pitt Nursing as “A Nursing Research Intensive Environment.” Research includes areas such as oncology nursing, patient adherence, and critical care management.
The accelerated program is designed to be completed in just three semesters. Of second degree students, 20-25% of students are male. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0, the GRE exam, and 36 prerequisite credits are required.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 76
Cost: Tuition Per Year: $21,770 in-state, $35,662 out-of-state
Florida State University is a public space-grant and sea-grant research university (meaning that Congress has authorized grants to this university to promote the study of these realms) with its primary campus in Tallahassee, Florida. It is a member of the State University System of Florida. It preserves, enlarges, and disseminates knowledge in the sciences, technology, arts, humanities, and professions while embracing a philosophy of learning strongly rooted in the traditions of the liberal arts.
According to U.S. News and World Report, FSU is ranked 43rd among top public universities and ranks second nationally in efficiently providing academic quality. Some of its recent and most important research includes the analysis of the long-term effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and discovery of clues to early civilization of the southeastern U.S. FSU is all about discovery: having an idea and finding the right environment to explore that idea. With more than 50 prominent research centers and institutions, they take great pride in providing supportive environments for the exploration of all types of ideas.
In line with that culture, FSU’s School of Nursing mission is to “Develop nursing leaders for professional practice and research in diverse settings.” The school admits about a third of the students who apply. It currently offers bachelor’s and master’s programs and is in the process of implementing a PhD in nursing program.
The popular accelerated BSN program at FSU is designed to be completed in just one year. Applications are accepted from May 15 to July 15 each year for admission to the spring semester. Students must apply to both the university and the College of Nursing. Applicants must have a 3.2 GPA for all undergraduate courses taken, and at least a 3.0 for required prerequisites.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 77
Cost: Tuition and Fees Per Credit: $216 in-state, $721 out-of-state
The Western Carolina University WCU is a public college located in Cullowhee, North Carolina. WCU is situated on 589 acres in a remote area. The WCU was founded to educate the people of the western North Carolina mountains. The current enrollment at the WCU is over 10 thousand students, with 8,787 undergraduate students and 1,595 graduate students. The university’s mascot is the Catamount, which is a wild cat such as a bobcat, cougar, or lynx, which is found in the southern Appalachian Mountains.
At the WCU nursing school class sizes are small and students have easy access to instructors. The NN-CAT Nurse Mentoring Program at WCU provides one-on-one mentoring and a stipend for minority and rural students. The school’s mission is to “Educate nurse leaders who are dedicated to caring and participating with individuals, families and communities to meet health needs.” The accelerated program is also offered in the beautiful city of Ashville, NC.
The WCU Nursing School offers a four-semester program beginning in the fall of the year. Applications are due February 1st, and students graduate the following December. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and must have taken the TEAS Admission Assessment exam.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 78
Cost: Tuition and Fees Per Semester: $4,315 in-state, $9,512 out-of-state
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a public research university with over 29,000 students in Amherst, Massachusetts. As one of the leading public universities in the States, it is constantly ranked among the top public research universities in the nation, offering a rich cultural surrounding in a rural setting close to major urban centers. Although it is “roughly in the middle of nowhere,” the area is beautiful and students report that there is plenty to do.
The university ranked third in research grants from the National Science Foundation, right behind MIT and Harvard. In 2016 it won 2nd place on a national level for “Best Campus Food.” The university has a reputation for community service and valuing diversity.
Founded in 1953, the College of Nursing’s mission is to “provide an affordable and accessible education to enhance health and healing through nursing leadership in teaching, scholarship, practice and service.” The school has a newly renovated state-of-the-art Clinical Simulation Lab with five rooms, a 16-hosptial bed/exam area, and two clinical exam rooms.
This 17-month program begins each August. The application deadline is January 15th. A GPA of 3.0 is required. Part of the program includes an internship program that simulates an entry-level RN position.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 79
Cost: The estimated tuition for the entire program is $29,070
17. Emory University
A private research university in Atlanta, Georgia, Emory was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church and named in honor of bishop John Emory. It is currently affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It has around 14,000 students and an endowment of $6.68 billion. Emory has a history of advocacy for women and racial minorities.
Emory Healthcare has seven major hospitals and operates the Winship Cancer Institute, the Yerkes National Primate Research center, and many disease and vaccine research centers. It has done renowned research in tuberculosis and is the leading coordinator of the U.S. Health department’s National Ebola Training and Education Center.
Some notable alumni of Emory include: Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States; Tenzin Gyatso, Nobel Prize Winner; and Desmond Tutu, South African social activist among.
Emory ranked in the top 10% of our schools surveyed for both admission selectivity (8% of applicants accepted) and completion rate (89%).
The Neil Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing has more than 500 students enrolled in bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and continuing education programs. It ranked 10th in the U.S. News and World Report’s best graduate schools in 2016. Its goal is to become “one of the world’s most innovative learning and research environments.” In the 2014-2015 BSN student cohort, 67% of students were employed immediately upon graduation, and 100% within three months of graduation.
The Emory accelerated BSN program lasts for 15 months and is a full-time, campus-based program. The average GPA for admitted students is 3.5, and an unofficial test score report from TEAS, SAT, ACT, or GRE is required. Classes begin in the fall of each year.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 79
Cost: Tuition for one semester: $21,800
The University of South Florida, or USF, is a metropolitan public research university located in Tampa, Florida and a member institution of the State University System of Florida. It consists of three institutions (USF Tampa, USF St. Petersburg, and USF Sarasota-Manatee). The Tampa campus (where the nursing school is located) has 48,000 students. Students come from every state and more than 140 countries around the world. The university is the only public university in Florida classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the top tier of research universities, a quality earned by only 2.3 percent of all public and private universities.
The College of Nursing has the mission statement, “Transforming Healthcare, Transforming Lives: Creating the Nursing Leaders of Tomorrow and the Research that Improves Health.” It is known nationally as a program of excellence and boasts the following statistics: BSN employment rates at graduation are 97-100%, with an average salary of $63,000.
The accelerated BSN at USF is a four-semester, full-time program. A 3.0 GPA is required for admission and an in-person interview. Applicants must first apply through the USF Tampa admissions office and after acceptance, apply to the College of Nursing.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 80
Cost: Tuition for one semester: $3,168 in-state; $8,625 out-of-state
Commonly referred to as UB, or simply “Buffalo” the University at Buffalo is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system Buffalo. Established in 1846 as a private college, it merged with the State University of New York in 1962. It is the largest in the SUNY system with almost 30,000 students and has the largest endowment at $624 million.
Students rave about the art, music, and sports events as a student at UB. The South Campus, where the School of Nursing is located, is known for its lively nightlife.
With a 75 year history, the UB School of Nursing offers a full range of graduate degrees and is known for excellence in nursing education. School of Nursing is housed in newly renovated facilities that feature state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and simulation centers.
The accelerated nursing program at Buffalo is competitive and is completed in just a year. A 3.0 GPA is required for admission. It features 700 hours of clinical practice and culminates in a three-week preceptorship in either Buffalo or New York where students do an intensive one-on-one experience with a nurse in a clinical setting.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 81
Cost: Tuition for the Semester: $4,690 in-state; $12,230 out-of-state
The University of Delaware, with 22,000 students, is the largest university in Delaware. Despite the fact that it is a privately governed university, it still receives public funding as a urban-grant, sea-grant, land-grant and space-grant research institution (each of these was a funding initiative by the federal government to encourage the study of practical learning in each of those areas). It has a tremendous tradition of quality, from a small private academy founded in 1743 to a research-intensive, technologically advanced institution. According to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the university is classified as a research university with “very high research activity.”
The University of Delaware was the first U.S. university to begin a study abroad program. It has an impressive roster of alumni, from the very first students: three of which were later the signers of the Declaration of Independence and one signer of the U.S. constitution, to the present day Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill.
The University of Delaware is celebrating its 50th year this year. The dean of the school writes, “It’s a new day in Delaware and it’s a good one for nurses. The University of Delaware’s ‘Delaware will Shine’ strategic initiative commits the University to Delawareans, diversity, partnership, engagement, and impact, all critical to meeting the challenges of health care in Delaware.”
The Accelerated BSN at UD can be completed in just 17 months. Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA. Accelerated students have a 93% NCLEX pass rate the first time, and 98% overall. Applications should be completed by April 1st of each year.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 81
Cost: Tuition for the year: $11,230 in-state; 30,130 out-of-state
The main campus of this six-campus system is in West Lafayette, Indiana. With around 39,000 students, Purdue is a Big Ten university and sports are an important component of campus life. Other activities include participation in Greek life and trips to Chicago or Indy. While some pre-rec classes have hundreds of students in them, many classes are small and students report that Purdue manages to combine the strengths of a big ten university with the feel of a small college. Purdue is home to the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and has produced 23 astronauts including Neil Armstrong.
As part of the College of Health and Human Sciences, the Purdue School of Nursing has an excellent reputation and around 600 students. The school offers options for clinical placements locally, nationally, and internationally.
Students admitted to the accelerated program begin in May and complete coursework in August of the following year. The program is designed to allow a smooth transition to advance practice program if the student wishes to do so. A GPA of 3.0 and a personal interview is required.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 82
Cost: Tuition for the year: $10,002 in-state; 28,804 out-of-state
Located among lakes and mountains in the college town of Clemson, South Carolina, CU is a public research university with around 22,000 students. Founded in 1889 with the goal of being a “high seminary of learning,” the school is dedicated to teaching, service, and research. It attracts students who value a sense of community, excellence in academics, and camaraderie. Clemson is a NCAA Division I school, and admission to regular-season home events is included in the university fees for full-time students.
Clemson boasts one of the highest graduation rates in our survey (82%). This may be due, at least in part, to its Academic Success Center (ASC), housed in a new 35,000 square-foot-facility which offers tutoring, supplemental instruction, academic skills workshops, academic counseling, and other resources for collegiate learning.
The stated goal of the Clemson School of Nursing is to “prepare nurses for professional practice, leadership in health care, and to advance nursing knowledge.” Cohorts of 32 students begin every fall semester. The program lasts for 16 months of consecutive semesters. A GPA of 3.0 or better is required for admission.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 82
Cost: Tuition Per Semester: $6,511 for in-state, $15,970 out-of-state
Originally Storres Agricultural School, UConn sits on thousands of acres in Storrs, Connecticut (and has six campuses total). Named a “Public Ivy” by Howard and Matthew Greene in The Hidden Ivies, the school consistently receives recognition for its excellent academics and research endeavors. With over 31,000 students, the Huskies compete in the NCAA Division I. The school sponsors a Volleyball Mud Bowl every year that attracts over a 1,000 participants and spectators.
The UConn school of nursing does research in a wide variety of areas such as mood disorders in new mothers and effective pain relief in older adults. Nursing seniors study entrepreneurship and technology innovation. It houses the Josephine A. Dolan Museum which contains a collection of nursing artifacts. It offers clinical rotations and short-term nursing experiences places such as South Africa, Puerto Rico, Belgium, China, and Ireland.
A GPA of 3.0 or better is required for admission. The program is designed to be completed in just one year. A completed portfolio is required for admission. The accelerated BSN program is offered at four UConn campuses: Avery Point, Stamford, Storrs, and Waterbury.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 83
Cost: The entire program costs $31,410
Lehman College was founded in 1931 and is located on a tree-lined campus in Bronx, New York. With over 10,000 students, Lehman is part of the CUNY (City University of New York) system. Its mascot is the lightning bug, and its official colors are royal blue, yellow, and white. Notable features of the campus are its Professional Arts Theater which seats 2,310, its postmodern style athletic and fitness facility, its state of the art multimedia center in Carmen Hall, and the Lehman College Art Gallery.
Notable features of the campus are its Professional Arts Theater which seats 2,310, its postmodern style athletic and fitness facility, its state of the art multimedia center in Carmen Hall, and the Lehman College Art Gallery. The school has very little housing to offer, and no meal plan. The college scored in our top 10% both in terms of financial value and in admission difficulty (only 5% of applicants are admitted).
The accelerated BSN at Lehman is just one-year long. Applicants first apply for admission to the college, and then to the nursing program. Second-degree students file a “Second Degree Area of Concentration form.”
TopRNtoBSN Score: 87
Cost: Tuition per semester for in-state residents $4,800; $10,080 for out-of-state
As the cousin of Lehman College, located on Park Avenue, in the heart of Manhattan, Hunter CUNY consists of a student body as diverse as New York city itself. The university grants degrees for undergraduates and graduates in over 100 branches of study and is divided into 5 different schools: The school of Arts and Sciences, Education, Social work, The Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, and the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College. Its motto is, “The care of the future is mine.”
As the most respected nursing school in the CUNY system, the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing offers a “humanistic and comprehensive approach” to health care. Next to the VA Hospital, Bellevue Hospital, and the NYU Medical center, the Nursing school offers practice opportunities in some of New York’s most respected hospitals.
The 51 credit program offered by Hunter College takes 18 months to complete. It has a fall semester start date, and does require that applicants take the National League of Nursing Pre-Admission exam. Students must apply to CUNY and then the nursing program. A 3.2 GPA is required for admission (most admitted students enter with a 3.5).
TopRNtoBSN Score: 87
Cost: Tuition per semester for in-state residents $3,165; $8,400 for out-of-state
Stony Brook is a public research university located on 1,039 acres on the north shore of Long Island, New York and is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system. Known as one of America’s most progressive public universities, it is a center of academic excellence. In 2016 US News and World Report ranked SBU as 37th among public universities. Given its reputation, it is difficult to get into (just 8% of students are accepted) but also a great value as a public university.
The university is a multicultural home to students from more than 150 countries. As a research university, its areas of investigation include everything from how to keep blood vessels growing in cancer cells, to a spray paint designed to help bridges last longer. The Stony Brook University Hospital, located on the East Campus, is known for its high-quality care.
The Stony Brook school of nursing proudly advertises its values as: integrity, respect, excellence, accountability, creativity, honesty, unity, and perseverance. Applications for the summer start date are due October 1st. The accelerated program is just 12 months long. The required GPA is 2.8.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 87
Cost: Per Semester Cost: $3,235,00 for in-state residents, $10,775 for out-of-state
Celebrating its 250th anniversary this year, Rutgers is the largest and one of the oldest institutions for higher education in New Jersey. President Obama visited the campus to give the commencement address on the occasion of its anniversary. Originally Queen’s College, it was renamed Rutgers after New York landowner Henry Rutgers donated $5,000 to the school in a period of financial difficulty. The school has 67,000 students, is located on 2,688 acres just 20 minutes from New York City, and has a 1 billion dollar endowment. As a public university, the education it offers is one of the best financial values in our rankings.
With over 1,600 undergraduate and graduate nursing students, the Rutgers school of nursing is one of the largest and most respected in the nation. It offers unique programs such as a school nurse certificate and an HIV Care Specialty Certificate. Offered on both the Newark and New Brunswick campuses, the accelerated BSN program at Rutgers is just 14 months long. A 3.30 GPA is recommended, and a 3.0 is required in science courses. To apply for the fall term, applications must be submitted by June 1, and for the spring, applications must be in by September 1.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 89
Cost: Per credit cost: $425 for in-state residents, $741 for out-of-state
Founded in 1861, University of Washington is situated on the shores of Union and Portage bays. While located in urban Seattle, it has views of the Cascade Range to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west. With over forty-five thousand students, “U-Dub” has one of the largest research budgets in the United States and its medical school is famous worldwide.
Formerly known as the “Sun Dodgers,” the Washington Huskies compete in the NCAA Division I-A and in the Pac-12 Conference. “The Wave” originated at UW and the late popular movie martial artist Bruce Lee was an alumni of UW. The school has one of the best graduation rates in our survey (84%).
The school of nursing was the first university-affiliated program on the West Coast, and the second in the country to have a baccalaureate program. The school is dedicated to promoting health in its local community and around the world. Faculty-led experiences take place all over the world, including places like New Zealand, Thailand, and Kenya.
The accelerated program at UW allows students to complete a BSN in just five quarters (summer to summer). A minimum GPA of 2.8 is required as well as 100 hours of paid or volunteer experience in a healthcare setting. Applications are due by October 15 for admission by the following summer.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 89
Cost: Program Fees Per Quarter: $9,404
Although bearing the name of Binghamton, the main campus is in the nearby town of Vestal. It is 930 acres on a wooded hillside above the Susquehanna river. In 2017 the school is scheduled to open another campus dedicated to the health sciences in Johnson City. Called a “Public Ivy” by authors Howard and Matthew Greene, BU offers a superior education at a public school price. A renowned research school, SUNY Binghamton is one of the most selective of the New York public universities.
Students live in six residential communities based on the Oxford University model. With approximately 17,000 students, the Bearcats have 21 NCAA Division I varsity teams. One little endearing little piece of history is that in 1978 students at Binghamton build ramps for salamanders so that they could climb up curbs and not get run over by cars.
The Decker School of Nursing offers the “BAT” (Baccalaureate Accelerated Track) program (not to be confused with the “RAT”–Registered Nurse Accelerated Track–program.) Applicants are required to have a 3.0 GPA. Applications are due by November 15th for notification in January or February. The program begins with a summer term in May and is just one- year long.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 91
Cost: Tuition for 2016-2017: $6,470 in-state, $21,550 out-of-state
Also known as U-M, UM, UMich, U of M or simply “Michigan,” this university boasts some impressive numbers: total students of 43,625, 584 major buildings, an endowment of 10.26 billion, a budget of 7.05 billion, and more than 500,000 living alumni. A prestigious research university, it also has 31 NCAA Division teams and has taken home 50 National championships in 12 sports.
UM’s graduation rate within six years (91%) ranked near the top of the schools we surveyed. The nursing school features a new 80,000 square foot building and a state of the art clinical simulation laboratory. It has been designated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center. It enrolls approximately 1,000 students. The dean attests that “The graduates of our programs and our faculty are truly the ‘leaders and best’ and populate leadership positions locally, regionally, and around the world.”
The Accelerated BSN program lasts for 16 months and includes earning credit in two master’s level courses. A 3.0 GPA from previous coursework is recommended. Some prerequisites may be satisfied through a proficiency exam. Applications are due in early March for admission in the Fall.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 93
Cost: Tuition Per Semester – $8,565 in-state, $25,831 out-of-state
Commonly known as Penn or UPenn, this private Ivy League school claims to be the first university in the nation and was also the first school of medicine. Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the school is known for its public service programs. In an urban setting with almost 1,100 acres, the campus buildings emanate a sense of history and tradition. UPenn has many notable alumni including John Legend, Noam Chomsky, the current president of Harvard, and Donald Trump. Penn has the most students studying abroad of all Ivy League schools and 12% of the entering class are international students.
In our ranking, the school scores highest of all in graduation rate (96%) and in the top ten percent for competitive admission (around 5% of applicants are admitted). The school of nursing was ranked number one in the nation by U.S. News and World Report in 2016. Penn’s celebrated nursing school is the only Ivy League school to offer a baccalaureate in nursing. Established in 1937 as part of the School of Education, the nursing school was designated as a “World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership.” Nursing students enjoy many opportunities for study abroad or participation in international research.
The nursing school describes a Penn nurse this way, “A Penn nurse translates curiosity into academic inquiry. A Penn nurse has a strong voice in leadership and policy arenas as well as at the bedside. A Penn nurse has deep engagement in practice, research, and health around the world.”
Successful applicants to the accelerated BSN program generally have GPA’s higher than a 3.0 and a history of volunteering or work in a health related setting. The application deadline is October 15, students are notified of admission in February, and the program begins in June. The program duration is 18 months.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 93
Cost: Tuition Per Semester – $21,500
The neighbor of our number one pick, Duke is the private counterpart to UNC. Located on 8,600 acres in Durham NC, Duke has around 15,000 students and is a renowned research university. Known for its winning basketball team, Duke’s campus features large reserves of wilderness, and the “crown jewel” of the university—the public Duke Gardens which has 5 miles of trails and walks through flowers, trees, ponds, and plants. Originally established by Methodists and Quakers, the school changed its name in 1924 after tobacco and electric power industrialist James Buchanan Duke set up the Duke endowment.
In our ranking, Duke scored in the top ten percent in both graduation rate (95%) and admission difficulty (5% of applicants are admitted). While it costs considerably more than UNC, around 50% of students receive financial aid. The nursing school boasts a student to faculty ratio of 6:1.
The accelerated BSN takes 16 months and consists of four semesters. It includes nearly 800 hours of clinical experience. Some of the electives, if taken on a graduate level, may transfer to master’s or doctorate nursing degrees. Duke advertises that the program “emphasizes wellness and prevention, clinical leadership, evidence based nursing practice, and culturally relevant care using dynamic teaching-learning strategies, simulation, and virtual and standardized patients.”
TopRNtoBSN Score: 95
Cost: Per semester – $19,194
UNC (or “Carolina”) is a “Public Ivy” school providing an excellent education at a public school price. Chapel Hill, the mid-sized city in which it is located, is a vibrant college town and is surrounded by a lush green countryside. As one of the three oldest public universities in the U.S., there are many beautiful and historic buildings on campus, and the school has a rich, turbulent history. The “Tar Heels” are a sports powerhouse and the school is well known for its scientific research and academic rigor.
The school boasts a 90% graduation rate, one of the highest in our survey. The School of Nursing has a 4:1 student to teacher ratio and hosts doctoral programs and post-doctoral fellowships. It offers a variety of service opportunities both internationally and locally. For the money, the quality of this program is impossible to beat. Not surprisingly, the nursing school has an NCLEX first-try pass rate of 97%.
The accelerated BSN is offered as a four-term program and requires a 3.0 GPA for admission. The application deadline is August 10th for a January start date. Six specific courses are required in advance and the science courses must be completed prior to applying.
TopRNtoBSN Score: 100
Cost: Tuition and Fees per semester are $2,133 in-state; $6,894 out-of-state
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