Top 25 Residential BSN Programs for 2021

Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing allows you to move forward in your career by providing you with more advanced skills and the option to pursue the specialization of your choice. The advanced skills you receive will allow you to take on more responsibilities and accept new challenges that may be offered to you. If you are already working in the nursing field, you can take what you learn and apply for more advanced positions in the workplace. Enrolling in a Bachelor’s in Nursing degree will give you an advantage when you choose to apply for specialized nursing positions.

Getting a Bachelor’s in Nursing Degree will give you an opportunity to move forward within the nursing profession. You may be able to become a nurse with an Associate’s degree, but with a Bachelor’s degree, you can advance your career. A Bachelor’s degree program gives you the skills you need to study for your RN exam. This type of degree also allows you to focus on a specialization if you decide you want to move forward into a more focused degree program. There are several specializations to choose from that are quite rewarding and very lucrative when it comes to salary.

How We Ranked the Best Residential BSN Programs

For TopRNtoBSN’s ranking of the best conventional, residential Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs, editors focused on trusted, accredited programs across the US. Since students want to know their degrees will pay off, we rank programs according to their tuition rate, student satisfaction, and graduate salary. Data comes from IPEDS and Niche.

1. University of Washington

The School of Nursing within the University of Washington offers two of the best BSN programs in the US with its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)and an accelerated version of the school’s BSN program. U of W’s best bachelor of nursing programs that are offered as fast-track options provides nursing students with an opportunity to complete them in about half the time required to complete the University of Washington’s traditional BSN degree program – in four quarters that run back to back.

The University of Washington is a multi-campus school with three campuses in Bothell, Tacoma, and Seattle. Established as a university when Washington was still a territory in 1861. Currently, U-Dub operates as the flagship institution of higher education with a student body that is approximately 47,550 students. The University of Washington has strategic partnerships with tech giants locally like Nintendo and Microsoft, among others.

Degree BSN and Accelerated BSN

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Nursing School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers several Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) program options that are considered among the best BSN programs in the US. Among the best bachelor of nursing programs offered by UNC at Chapel Hill are a traditional BSN, an accelerated BSN (for those students who already have earned a baccalaureate degree), and a BSN for those who are or have been in the military, reserves, or national guard.

The University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus is the flagship school of the state’s university system. Founded in 1789, UNC is one of the nation’s oldest public higher learning institutions that serves more than 30,050 students online and on-campus. The University of North Carolina holds the distinction of being the only public university.

Degree BSN

3. University of Michigan

The University of Michigan’s Nursing School offers a BSN program that has been developed over more than 100 years. U of M’s best bachelor of nursing programs offers students a minor in population health from a global perspective, which provides students with a variety of global nursing opportunities during their tenure. The University of Michigan’s are CCNE accredited and ranked as one of the best BSN programs in the US, according to US News & World Report.

The University of Michigan (Michigan) was founded in the city of Detroit in 1817. The University of Michigan (UM) is the state’s oldest higher learning institution that is also a space- and sea-grant school. The school operates several campuses and is home to approximately 45,860 students. The University of Michigan’s athletes have won more than 140 Olympic medals.

Degree BSN, Minor in Global Public Health

4. Purdue University

Purdue University’s Nursing School offers two BSN degree programs that offer potential nursing students two of the best BSN programs in the US. Purdue’s best bachelor of nursing programs includes a traditional direct-admit path, plus a track for those students who already hold another bachelor’s degree in another area. Students graduate from Purdue University’s BSN program to find rewarding careers as home health nurses or work in various areas of a local hospital.

Established by John Purdue in the late 1860s, Purdue University, a land, space, and sea-grant school that now serves more than 45,650 students online as well as on the school’s West Lafayette campus. Purdue boasts more than 400,000 living alumni members. Purdue’s student enrollment is the second largest in Indiana. Purdue University’s first class was comprised of 39 students.

Degree BSN

5. Texas A&M University

Texas A&M University’s Nursing College offers several of the best BSN programs in the US with its Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) program, its RN to BSN degree pathway, and a baccalaureate nursing program that is designed for those students who wish to earn a BSN but already hold another degree at the bachelor’s level. Texas A&M University’s best bachelor of nursing programs have received accreditation from the CCNE, with the Nursing College considered a Center of Excellence by the NLN – the National League for Nursing.

Founded as an agricultural & mechanical school in 1871, Texas A&M University now operates as a space, land, and sea-grant school that serves nearly 70,000 students. Texas A&M University’s student enrollment is recognized to be the second largest in the nation. Texas A&M University’s main campus holds the distinction of being one of the largest in the country, covering more than 5,000 acres.

Degree BSN, Second Degree BSN, RN to BSN

6. University of Texas at Austin

The Nursing School within the University of Texas at Austin offers several Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) programs that are considered as some of the best BSN programs in the US. These best bachelor of nursing programs from the University of Texas’s Austin campus include a traditional BSN program, an ADN to BSN degree program, plus an honors and internal-transfer nursing degree program. Value Colleges recognizes UT’s BSN degree among the best valued programs in the country. BSN coursework emphasizes critical thinking and clinical judgment, integration of knowledge from nursing, biological and behavioral sciences, and the humanities in the planning, implementing, and evaluating of nursing care, application of research findings to demonstrate evidence-based nursing practice and nursing leadership.

The Austin campus of the University of Texas was established in the early-1880s. the University of Texas at Austin serves as the state’s flagship campus, with a student enrollment of about 40,040 undergraduate students.

Degree BSN

7. University of Florida

The University of Florida’s Nursing College offers a variety of BSN degree programs that are among the best BSN programs in the US. The University of Florida’s AACN-accredited best bachelor of nursing programs include a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing, an accelerated BSN degree, and a BSN degree program for those students who already hold a valid Registered Nursing license. Interested nursing students will find that the University of Florida offers an honors program for BSN students.

The University of Florida is the Sunshine State’s flagship school that was founded in the mid-1850s. Additionally, UF is a land, space, and sea-grant institution of higher education with an endowment that nears $2 billion. The University of Florida is recognized by US News among the top six public universities in the nation.

Degree BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN

8. University of Wisconsin, Madison

The University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Nursing offers several BSN degree programs that have been recognized to be among the best BSN programs in the US. UW’s best bachelor of nursing programs include an online Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN degree, a traditional BSN degree, and an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. The University of Wisconsin’s baccalaureate degree options in nursing have received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison was established under the Morrill Act and is currently the state’s flagship university. Additionally, the University of Wisconsin maintains an arboretum near campus and serves more than 44,140 undergraduate and graduate students. The University of Wisconsin holds the distinction of being the largest state employer with more than 20,000 employed.

Degree BSN, Accelerated BSN, Online RN to BSN

9. University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota’s Nursing School offers a BSN program that is recognized as one of the best BSN programs in the US. The University of Minnesota’s best bachelor of nursing programs are accredited by the CCNE. U of M’s nursing baccalaureate degrees are offered in Rochester and on the school’s campus in the Twin Cities. It is noted that students graduating from the University of Minnesota’s BSN programs consistently outperform the national average of first-time pass rates for the NCLEX-RN exam.

The University of Minnesota (Minnesota) is a multi-campus university that was established as a college prep school in the early-1850s. The University of Minnesota is also recognized as a public ivy school that serves nearly 50,000 students. John Pillsbury, the flour miller, is recognized to have saved the school from financial ruin and is now consider the university’s father.

Degree BSN

10. Rutgers University

Rutgers University’s School of Nursing offers a variety of BSN degree programs that are among the best BSN programs in the US, according to US News & World Report. These Minnesota’s best bachelor of nursing programs from Rutgers University include an RN to BSN degree, a traditional four-year baccalaureate degree, and a BSN degree designed for students entering the program that have already earned another bachelor’s degree that is not in the field of nursing.

Established in the 1760s, Rutgers University is recognized as one of the nation’s oldest schools. Additionally, Rutgers University is considered the Garden State’s flagship school, with a student body that is approximately 68,850 students. Rutgers operates several campuses throughout the state and is considered a public ivy higher learning institution.

Degree BSN, Second Degree BSN, RN to BSN

11. Northeastern University

Northeastern University’s Bouve’ Health Sciences College offers several BSN – Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees (BSN) that have been considered among the best BSN programs in the US. Northeastern University’s best bachelor of nursing programs are available on both campuses of Northeaster in Charlotte and Boston. The baccalaureate degree program from Northeastern is organized in the following areas – leadership, clinical and critical thinking, quality care, competence, collaboration, informatics, and evidence-based practice.

Northeastern University (NU) was founded in the late 1890s as a research university. This space-grant school operates multiple regional campuses that serve about 27,540 undergraduate and graduate students. Northeastern University’s students participate in a cooperative education program that allows them to earn salaries while studying for their degree. NU is recognized as a highly residential institution of higher learning, with most students living on campus.

Degree BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN

12. University of Utah

The University of Utah’s College of Nursing offers a BSN degree program that is ranked as one of the best BSN programs in the US. Students graduating from the University of Utah’s best bachelor of nursing programs consistently perform above the national average for those taking the NCLEX-RN exam for the first time. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits U of U’s baccalaureate degree in nursing program.

The University of Utah (The U) was established in 1850 (years before Utah became a state) and is the state’s flagship campus. More than 32 150 students attend classes online and on the schools’ Salt Lake City campus. The University of Utah holds the distinction of being the oldest university in the state.

Degree BSN

13. University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut’s Nursing School offers a BSN degree program ranked as one of the best BSN programs in the US and in New England. Students enrolled in the University of Connecticut’s best bachelor of nursing programs complete coursework in human genetics, family development, ethics, women’s health, nursing research, children’s health, and diversity and multiculturalism, to name a few. The University of Connecticut’s BSN degrees have been accredited by the CCNE and offer students an honors program option.

The University of Connecticut was founded as an agricultural school in the early-1880s. The University of Connecticut is considered a public ivy school with more than 27,150 students studying online as well as the school’s Storrs campus. UConn’s campus is about 30 minutes from downtown Hartford and about one and one-half hours from downtown Boston.

Degree BSN

14. University of Iowa

The University of Iowa’s College of Nursing offers two of the best BSN programs in the US and the midwestern section of the nation. The BestSchools.org recognized the University of Iowa’s RN to BSN among the best online programs. Additionally, these best bachelor of nursing programs are offered by the number one ranked nursing college in the State of Iowa. The University of Iowa’s traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program offers a transfer or direct admission option. The average age of Iowa resident nursing students is 33, whereas non-resident nursing students had an average age of 47.

The University of Iowa (UIowa) was founded in the late 1840s as a research university. Iowa is the oldest institution of higher education in Iowa and the second largest school. The University of Iowa is recognized as the original school that developed the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree and home the state’s writer’s workshop.

Degree BSN, RN to BSN

15. University at Buffalo

The University at Buffalo’s Nursing School offers a number of the best bachelor of nursing programs in New York and even some of the best BSN programs in the US. The University at Buffalo offers nursing students these CCNE accredited programs – a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and an online Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN degree program. The University at Buffalo has partnered with ten area health care facilities to provide internships for all nursing students.

The University at Buffalo is a member school of New York’s university system with multiple campuses in upstate New York. The University at Buffalo was originally developed as a medical college in 1846. The University at Buffalo is organized into thirteen colleges/schools that serve approximately 32,400 students.

Degree BSN, RN to BSN, Accelerated BSN

16. Indiana University, Bloomington

Indiana University offers three of the best BSN programs in the US from its Bloomington campus. These best bachelor of nursing programs from Indiana University include an online RN to Bachelor of Science (BSN) completion degree, a traditional BSN degree, and an accelerated BSN degree pathway designed for students who have already earned a bachelor’s degree of at least 120 semester credits from an accredited institution of higher education. The RN to BSN degree completion program is designed for working learners and can be completed in twelve to thirty-six months, depending on a student’s time availability.

Indiana University is a multiple campus higher learning institution that was established in 1820. The university’s dual campuses (and multiple extension academic centers) serve approximately 110,425 undergraduate and graduate students. Indiana University’s annual budget exceeds $3 billion.

Degree BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN

17. Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University’s Nursing School offers a number of the best BSN programs in the US eastern region. SBU’s best bachelor of nursing programs include a basic Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, an RN to BSN degree, and a scholar’s program. Classes for Stony Brook University’s BSN degrees include gerontological health, maternal/newborn health, fundamentals of pharmacology, nursing interventions, and population health nursing, plus a capstone project, to name a few.

Stony Brook University (Stony Brook) was founded in 1957 as a college in Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York. SBU is a member school and university system of the state’s university system. Additionally, Stony Brook University manages, in a partnership, the Brookhaven National Lab. Stony Brook University holds the distinction of being Long island’s largest employer.

Degree BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN

18. University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers two of the best BSN programs in the US midwestern region. UI Health’s best bachelor of nursing programs include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (BSN) on a traditional track and a Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN completion degree program. UI’s baccalaureate degree in nursing program is offered on three campuses in the State – Urbana, Chicago, and Springfield. Students applying to UI’s traditional program must already have completed a minimum of 57 semester credits to gain entrance.

The University of Illinois at Chicago was founded as a public school and is now the city’s largest institution of higher education. Established in 1982, UIC is also a space-grant and Asian and Hispanic-serving research school. The student enrollment at the University of Illinois at Chicago is approximately 33,230. undergraduate and graduate students.

Degree BSN, RN to BSN

19. Arizona State University

Arizona State University’s Edson Nursing & Health Innovation College offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) program that is ranked as one of the best BSN programs in the US western region. ASU’s best bachelor of nursing programs provides nursing students with several academic pathways that include an RN to BSN degree, a traditional BSN pre-licensing program (120 credit units), and an accelerated BSN degree. The accelerated BSN degree can be completed in one year and is only available for full-time students.

Arizona State University (ASU) was founded in the mid-1880s and is recognized as having one of the country’s largest student enrollments that is approximately 149,000 students. Arizona State University provides students with more than 340 academic degree programs across its campuses and online. Arizona State University was established prior to Arizona becoming a state as a state-funded normal school for teachers.

Degree BSN with 6 specializations

20. University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma’s Ziegler Nursing College offers a number of the best BSN programs in the US. These best bachelor of nursing programs from the University of Oklahoma includes a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, an accelerated BSN pathway, and two completion pathways – as an LPN to BSN or an RN to BSN degree. All of these bachelor’s degrees in nursing programs have received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

The University of Oklahoma (Oklahoma) was established prior to Oklahoma reaching statehood in 1890. The school’s suburban campus covers more than 2,900 acres and serves approximately 28,450 students. The University of Oklahoma’s campus is also home to two museums, the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and the Jones Museum of Art. The University of Oklahoma offers students more than 300 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Degree BSN, Accelerated BSN, LPN to BSN, RN to BSN

21. Florida State University

Florida State University offers one of the best BSN programs in the US southern region. Florida State University’s best bachelor of nursing programs admits up to 72 students each semester, and students must hold an Associates level degree (of at least 60 semester credits) from a public institution of higher education in Florida. Students enrolled in Florida State’s baccalaureate degree in nursing program complete classes in microbiology, the science of nutrition, biology, and chemistry for science majors, to name a few.

Florida State University (FSU) was established in the early-1850s but now operates as a space and sea-grant school with more than 41,440 undergraduate and graduate degree students. As a nationally ranked school, FSU ranks among the top twenty for public higher learning institutions. Florida State University is home to the only national magnetic field lab.

Degree BSN, Accelerated BSN

22. University of Kansas

The University of Kansas’s Nursing School offers a BSN degree program that is among the best BSN programs in the US Midwest region. The University of Kansas’s best bachelor of nursing programs requires students to complete a minimum of 120 semester hours to graduate and be prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. Classes for KU’s BSN program include nursing across the lifespan, pharmacology, physiological functioning, evidence-based practice, global health nursing with a diverse population, and nursing in an evolving health care model, plus a practicum and capstone project, among others.

The University of Kansas (Kansas) is a multiple campus school that is also the state’s flagship higher learning institution. Established in the mid-1860s, the University of Kansas is also a space-grant school that serves more than 27,450 students online as well as on the school’s rural campus. The University of Kansas operates five campuses throughout the state.

Degree BSN

23. University of Pittsburgh

The University of Pittsburgh offers two of the best BSN programs in the US. Among the best bachelor of nursing programs offered by the University of Pittsburgh is its traditional pathway to a BSN – a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or its accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) designed for students who have already completed an accredited baccalaureate degree in a non-nursing field. Additionally, Pitt nursing students have the option of joining the school’s honors program.

The University of Pittsburgh was founded as a state school in 1787 as an academy when the city was considered the edge of the frontier. Pitt is home to more than 28,150 students who are studying for degrees offered by Pitt’s seventeen colleges/schools. The University of Pittsburgh is ranked among the top twenty public schools in the nation by US News.

Degree BSN, Accelerated Second Degree BSN

24. Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University’s Nursing School offers a number of the best BSN programs in the US southern region. Texas Tech University’s best bachelor of nursing programs include a traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, an RN to BSN, a BSN degree for students currently holding another non-nursing bachelor’s degree, and a BSN program designed for veterans. It is noted that the BSN degree for veterans is available to veterans from all branches of the service.

Texas Tech University (Tech) was established in 1923 as a technological college. Texas Tech University is also recognized as a Hispanic-servicing higher learning institution with the 7th largest student enrollment in the Lone Star State, serving more than 40,250 students annually. Texas Tech University’s campus is themed as Spanish Renaissance and often considered among the most beautiful west of the Mississippi.

Degree BSN, RN to BSN, Second Degree BSN, Veteran BSN

25. San Diego State University

San Diego State University’s Nursing School offers a number of the best bachelor of nursing programs in California and beyond, with its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or its RN to BSN degree program options. San Diego State University’s baccalaureate degree programs in nursing are recognized to be the best BSN programs in the US and accredited by the Comm. On Collegiate Nursing Education. The Nursing School offers admission as direct entry, a transfer student, or those wishing to earn a BSN having already completed another non-nursing baccalaureate degree.

San Diego State University (SDSU) was founded as a public normal school in the late 1890s. San Diego State University (San Diego) is one of the twenty-three members of the CSU system. The school is recognized as having one of the ten most student enrollments in the country that is most ethnically and racially diverse. San Diego State University is home to the second most Fulbright Scholars sponsored in the Golden State.

Degree BSN, RN to BSN

What Are the Advantages of a Traditional On-Campus BSN Program?

Enrolling in a traditional on-campus BSN Program gives you an opportunity to be hands-on with your lessons. You can interact with instructors and other students in person. It gives you a chance to ask questions as they arise and get immediate answers. Learning in a classroom setting gives you a chance to spend committed study time that allows you to focus all of your attention on your studies. In a classroom setting, you are able to be part of a group instead of feeling as if you have to work on your own.

Another advantage of a traditional on-campus BSN program is that you have access to vital school resources, such as the extensive library, professional advisors, and computer resources that will allow you to use tools you may not have at your disposal if you study from home. By having access to the school’s library, you can explore new opportunities when it comes to specializations within the nursing field. On-campus programs give you a chance to make long-lasting, personal friendships with others who have the same career path as you do. Being on-campus puts you in the middle of everything you will need to be a successful student.

What Will I Learn in a BSN Program?

With a BSN degree program, you will learn everything you need to take your skills to the next level. This includes providing more in-depth patient care, as well as becoming more familiar with the record-keeping and documentation processes that are a part of your regular duties. You will learn how to make more complex decisions and how to act quickly when it comes to making judgment calls. With a BSN, you will have the skills your employer is looking for when it comes to moving up and taking on a role as a supervisor or team leader.

Another benefit of a BSN degree program is the leadership and managerial skills you will learn. With an Associate’s degree, you will receive the basics that will lay the foundation for your future learning. A BSN goes far above and beyond that, allowing you to take an active part in molding your career. You can begin to look at specializations such as trauma, surgical, and pediatric nursing. Each one offers its own set of skills and abilities making it a unique program that will offer unique benefits depending on the area you choose.

Should I Get a Specialized BSN Degree?

Remaining in a traditional nursing role is what many nurses choose, primarily because they love what they do and they love the patients they care for. Others, however, want more. This is why specializations are offered. Nurses who thrive on the intensity of working in the Emergency room may follow through with a trauma specialization. They can work on trauma teams and provide highly specialized care to patients who are being moved from one hospital to another. The same is true for nurses who choose surgery as a specialization. Being involved as part of a surgical team can be a very rewarding experience, especially when you know you are working to save a life.

Pediatric and oncology nursing are also unique specializations. Being able to work with newborns and children is very rewarding and allows you to watch your patients grow and develop. Oncology is another specialization where you watch your patients go through many changes. No matter what specialization you choose, you can reap the rewards throughout the length of your career. Before choosing one specialization, explore your options. There are a wide variety to choose from.

Related Rankings:

Best Residential Accelerated BSN Programs

Best Online RN to BSN Programs

Sandra Janowicz
Author

Keeley Jones
Registered Nurse

Carrie Sealey-Morris
Editor-in-Chief