Top 15 HBCU Nursing Schools 2019

Before the 1960s, in much of the US, HBCUs with nursing programs were the only places that black nurses could be trained. Today, nurses from a minority background have all options available to them, but no institutions have a stronger sense of the history of black nursing, or of the particular, specialized needs of underserved minority communities, and HBCU nursing colleges.

In the 21st century, HBCUs have often struggled to attract young black students, who increasingly see historically black colleges as a historical throwback, but HBCUs have increased their relevance by reaching out to adult students and students from other minorities, especially Latinos. HBCU nursing colleges have embraced online nursing education, accelerated nursing programs, and other ways of meeting the needs of busy, working black and minority nurses with BSN and RN to BSN programs, and their efforts have started a new era of HBCU nursing.

Methodology: Ranking the Best HBCU Nursing Colleges

HBCUs are a rarified group – fewer than 100 are still in operation today – and predominantly black institutions (PBI) are not much more common. However, this small number of institutions have an oversized influence on healthcare for minorities, and HBCU nursing colleges deserve recognition. To rank the Top 15 HBCUs for Nursing, TopRNtoBSN searched for HBCUs with nursing programs, then ranked them according to three criteria:

  • Cost (IPEDS data)
  • Reputation (Niche student reviews)
  • Alumni Salary (College Scorecard data)

The 15 highest-scoring colleges and universities provide students not only with a thorough education in nursing care, but with a degree that combines job-market reputability with affordable tuition rates and a solid return on investment.

1. Bowie State University – Department of Nursing/College of Professional Studies

Bowie State University’s Department of Nursing, part of the College of Professional Studies, is one of the finest HBCU nursing programs in the nation. Nursing Students prepare for the in-demand nursing career gaining practical experience in BSU’s cutting-edge simulation lab and through internships in a variety of nursing-related fields. Degree graduates are prepared to address the ever-evolving nursing needs of families, and individuals during the many stages of one’s lifespan. Transfer students who apply with 50+ semester hours are encouraged to enroll.

Bowie State University is a public HBCU founded in 1865. It is the state’s oldest historically black university and is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has accredited the BSU School of Nursing. Traditional nursing programs are generally three years long, while students in one of the best HBCU accelerated nursing programs finish in approximately 18 months.

Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

2. North Carolina A&T State University – School of Nursing

North Carolina A&T State University’s School of Nursing offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing through their College of Health and Human Sciences’ School of Nursing. Students entering the program can opt for three different entry options, including a traditional BSN, an RN to BSN completion, and one of the best HBCU accelerated nursing programs anywhere. The accelerated program is designed for students who hold non-nursing bachelor’s degrees. When students are ready to apply, they can take advantage of North Carolina A&T State University’s rolling admissions schedule.

North Carolina A&T State University, a historically black university, was established in 1891 by the North Carolina General Assembly. A&T was the second school established under the second Morrill Land Grant Act, that required segregated states to set up a land-grant college for black students. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has accredited the North Carolina A&T State University nursing program.

Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

3. Prairie View A&M University – College of Nursing

Prairie View A&M University’s College of Nursing is one of the best HBCU nursing colleges in the nation. The PVAMU BSN can be completed in 4½ years; graduates are prepared to enter many different clinical settings or even continue on for their graduate degree. Nurses currently licensed have the option of earning their Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing through a distance education platform. With comprehensive programs from the BSN to the Doctor of Nursing Practice, Prairie View A&M University is proud to be considered one of the top HBCU Nursing Colleges in the United States.

Article 7 of the Texas Constitution established Prairie View A&M University in 1876. Prairie View A&M is located northwest of Houston and considered a historically black university. The school is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Prairie View A&M is Texas’ second oldest higher learning institute. According to Diverse Issues in Higher Education, PV is recognized as graduating the second most African American engineers and architects. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits Prairie View A&M University’s College of Nursing.

Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

4. Florida State A&M University – School of Nursing

Florida A&M University’s School of Nursing offers undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate nursing degree programs. Graduates from FAMU’s School of Nursing are prepared to enter (or re-enter) the nursing field in a variety of clinical settings. FAMU’s School of Nursing limits admission to 50 students in the spring and 50 students in the fall. Additionally, Florida’s first black nursing school offers HBCU accelerated nursing programs for those who currently hold an unencumbered Registered Nurse license.

Florida A&M University was founded in 1887 and is the only public historically black university in the state of Florida. For 2019, the US News & World Report ranked Florida A&M University 9th among all HBCU’s and 2nd among all public HBCU’s. FAMU is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund. A portion of the FAMU campus is a part of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits the master’s nursing program, including the post-master’s certificate.

Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

5. Kentucky State University – School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Kentucky State University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences offers several nursing degree options. These include associate degrees, an RN to BSN program, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice, available strictly to applicants who hold an unencumbered Registered Nurse license issued by the commonwealth of Kentucky. KSU’s HBU nursing program are the most popular undergraduate major at the school, and KSU has earned a reputation as one of the best HBCU nursing colleges in the nation.

Kentucky State University was founded in 1886 and was the 2nd university in Kentucky to be state supported. In 1890 KSU became a land grant school. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has accredited Kentucky State University. In addition to being one of the best HBCUs with nursing programs, KSU is also home to the Biosecurity Research Institute.

Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

6. Coppin State University – Fuld School of Nursing

Coppin State University’s Fuld School of Nursing is recognized as one of the nation’s top HBCU nursing colleges, offering both undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees. Standing tall among HBCUs with nursing programs, Coppin State’s nursing programs have been developed to prepare graduates to promote and implement strategies for healthy communities on a local, national and global level. Undergraduates have access to traditional, RN to BSN completion, and HBCU accelerated nursing programs; nurses with a BSN can earn an MSN or DNP.

Coppin State University was established in 1900 and is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Coppin State University. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education(CCNE) has accredited CSU’s nursing program. The 52-acre campus is home to approximately 2,800 students. CSU is a culturally rich higher learning institute, situated in Charm City, MD. Coppin State University‘s HBCU nursing programs foster the skills than empowers their graduates.

Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

7. Winston-Salem State University – School of Health Sciences

Winston-Salem State University’s School of Health Sciences offers several degree levels nursing programs through the Division of Nursing. Coursework follows a curriculum based on education, public service and research. Winston-Salem State University offers a comprehensive nursing educational experience rooted HBCU nursing traditions. The Winston Salem State RN to BSN program is a flexible coursework option for working Registered Nurses ready to earn their baccalaureate degree.

Winston-Salem State University is a historically black college established in 1892. Currently, it is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. WSSU’s 117-acre urban campus is home to a student population that exceeds 6,600. In 2016, US News & World Report ranked Winston-Salem State University among the top regional colleges in the South. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) has accredited WSSU’s nursing program

Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

8. North Carolina Central University – Department of Nursing

North Carolina Central University’s Department of Nursing offers a transformative education journey on your way to an undergraduate, graduate and doctoral nursing program. North Carolina Central University provides a diverse student population with access to a BSN in traditional, RN to BSN completion, and HBCU accelerated nursing programs. Graduates are prepared to contribute to healthcare with compassion, competence and justice for communities and populations of all kinds.

North Carolina Central University was established in 1910 as the first public liberal arts college for African-Americans, and is currently a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education(CCNE) has accredited NCCU’s nursing program. NCCU has been ranked in the top 10 of the most affordable HBCUs, standing alongside other HBCU nursing colleges in the Carolinas as a best choice for black and other minority students.

Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

9. Delaware State University – College of Health and Behavioral Sciences

Delaware State University’s College of Health and Behavioral Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science degree for working nurses and new high school graduates. DSU’s baccalaureate nursing degree is completed in 4 years of academic studies, which includes clinical practice in settings that include community clinics, long-term care facilities, or hospitals. Ultimately, DSU nursing graduates study using an interdisciplinary approach including information systems, technologies and information systems. HBCUs with nursing programs, like DSU, offer nursing programs that reflect ethical practices, integrity and advocacy for diverse populations.

The the only HBCU in Delaware, the Delaware General Assembly founded Delaware State University in 1891. DSU is one of the few HBCU Nursing colleges that follow a strict no-smoking campus policy. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has accredited Delaware State University’s nursing program. Additionally the Delaware Board of Nursing has approved the DSW’s nursing program. DSU’s 400-acre campus is located in Dover, the Delaware’s state capital.

Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

10. Howard University – College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences

Howard University’s College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences offers various levels of nursing degrees that follow HBCU nursing traditions. Howard encourages students from under-represented population groups to earn their nursing degree so they can engage in nursing practices of service, research and education. Nursing students study on Howard’s 400-acre campus in the heart of the nation’s capital. Howard University is one of the HBCUs with nursing programs designed to educate diverse populations in the art and science of the nursing profession. Similar to other HBCUs with nursing programs, Howard’s College of Nursing and allied Health Sciences successfully provides nursing excellence with patience-centered nursing care.

Howard University was established in 1867 by a charter the US Congress. Howard University ranks #2 by the US News & World Report among historically black college and universities. Howard University is considered the most comprehensive HBCU in the nation and generates the most African American post-graduate recipients of any university in the country. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) has accredited Howard University’s nursing program.

Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

11. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff – Department of Nursing

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Department of Nursing offers two tracks for student to earn their baccalaureate degrees through their Department of Nursing; a traditional track and a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing track. As other HBCUs with nursing programs, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff nursing programs are designed to prepare graduates with nursing schools that include skills, integrity, respectful and accountable nursing The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is the first black nursing school (and the oldest) in the state of Arkansas.

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was established in 1873 and has been nicknamed the Flagship of the Delta due to its influence on education in the region. UAPB is the 2nd oldest Arkansas public institution. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) has accredited UAPB’s nursing program. UAPB is also home to the University Museum and Cultural Center, a collection of items documenting how African Americans fashioned the Arkansas Delta.

Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

12. Chicago State University – Department of Nursing

Chicago State University’s College of Health Sciences offers nursing programs through the Department of Nursing, one of the best minority-centered nursing programs in the Midwest. Program graduates of the Department of Nursing are qualified to apply to take the National Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) examination. Although technically not considered an official HBCU nursing school, as a predominantly black institution Chicago State University strives to provide educational opportunities to a diverse student body following the traditions of other HBCUs with nursing programs.

Chicago State University was founded in 1867 as a normal school and teacher’s college. Shaped by Francis W. Parker, a noted educational reformer, CSU was one of the most innovative colleges of its time. Today, CSU is a comprehensive, predominantly black institution that plays a crucial role in educating the African-American leadership and professional workforce of Chicago and Illinois. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has accredited Chicago State University’s nursing program.

Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

13. Bluefield State College – School of Nursing and Allied Health

Bluefield State College’s School of Nursing and Allied Health offers associate and baccalaureate degrees in nursing through the School of Nursing and Allied Health. Bluefield State College strives to furnish a program of excellence and affordability. BSU strictly adheres to the professional codes of conduct as well as ethical principles. Various nursing programs are available including a RN-to-BSN program. Bluefield State College also offers HBCU accelerated nursing program tracks for students preferring a quick path to their degree.

Bluefield State College was established in 1895 as a normal school; by the early 1900s, Bluefield State College adopted a formal teacher training program for educators to teach families of coalfield workers.and is currently a Thurgood Marshall College Fund school. A historically black college, BSU is the only four-year, non-residential school in West Virginia’s state university system. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has accredited Bluefield State College’s nursing program. Despite it status as a HBCU nursing school, the Bluefield State College student population is only 13% black.

Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

14. Albany State University – Darton College of Health Professions

Albany State University’s Darton College of Health Professions is poised to become a preeminent medical educational institute in the southeast portion of the United States. Albany State University offers a variety of traditional nursing programs as well as evening and hybrid paths to graduation. Students at ASU can also earn online RN to BSN degrees, or a Family Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Educator degree. ASU’s HBCU nursing degree graduates are prepared to provide quality care in a variety of healthcare settings.

Albany State University is a state-supported school established in 1903. ASU is a proud member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. It is also the largest of the three HBCU schools in Georgia. Albany State University was a relevant location during the civil rights movement, including visits from prominent civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. ASU continues to lead the way in providing opportunity for African-American students, and the community of Albany and beyond. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has accredited ASU’s nursing program.

Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

15. Southern University A&M College – School of Nursing

Southern University A&M College’s School of Nursing is a historically black university and the largest HBCU School in Louisiana. This HBCU nursing program offers four nursing degrees: a BSN, an MSN, a DNP, and a PhD. Coursework for all degrees develops healthcare professionals with a solid understanding of how cultural, social and economic issues impact the delivery of healthcare. HBCU nursing colleges like Southern offer exception opportunities to a diverse student body.

Southern University A&M College is a land grant university that was established in 1880. The College of Nursing and Allied Health was recognized in 2017 as being Louisiana’s finest nursing school by the Louisiana Nursing Foundation for the fourth time. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) has accredited Southern’s nursing program. Southern holds the distinction of being the first HBCU School to have a live -school-mascot living on campus.

Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

Where Do HBCUs Come From?

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) provide a lot of benefits for African-American and other minority students. These colleges began as a way to provide quality education to Black people after the Civil War, when most college programs only accepted white students. Even after the Civil Rights bills of the 1960s required all colleges and universities to accept students of all races, HBCUs have grown and flourished. At one time, HBCUs were the only colleges in the South where black students could become doctors or nurses; today, HBCUs with nursing programs carry on providing extraordinary care for underserved populations.

In fact, nursing programs at HBCUs have grown quite a bit recently, and as a result, many black people with an interest in nursing have sought out HBCUs to help them advance their careers.

Of course, a historically Black college or university is exactly what it says it is. Most of the students at these schools will be African American, or black people from other diaspora cultures (such as Caribbean or South American international students). These schools give students the chance to build a community dedicated to black culture while pursuing their studies. While other spaces push black voices to the fringes, HBCUs provide one of the few spaces where black voices become centered and elevated.

What Makes an HBCU Nursing Program Different?

Studies in HBCU nursing colleges will frequently focus on how health disparities have impacted the black community. Furthermore, those studies will also center around the works and contributions of black people. For example, an HBCU nursing program might emphasize National Black Nurses Day, which honors minority nurses every year; it’s a perfect opportunity to highlight HBCUs with nursing programs.

Most importantly, an HBCU nursing education will emphasize the needs of black patients. In many non-HBCU programs, studies focus primarily on white patients and their needs – by default, if not intention. Black and minority health can become little more than a footnote. HBCU programs, on the other hand, will shift black healthcare issues to the center of their studies.

Finally, an HBCU nursing program will likely provide financial opportunities for black students. For example, HBCUs with nursing programs will work to make students aware of minority-specific scholarships, loans, and grants that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Are There Any HBCU Accelerated Nursing Programs Available?

Accelerated nursing programs have become more common as working nurses look for a quick way to make the jump from an RN to a BSN, and professionals from other fields decide to make a career change to nursing. Accelerated RN to BSN programs, including the HBCU accelerated programs, usually last between a year and 18 months long. These options often provide the best opportunities for people with kids, people who want to leave their current jobs, or people who otherwise want to start their nursing careers as soon as possible.

The length of a program depends on the program itself and how much you get to control your pace. For example, if your program includes online classes, you may have the opportunity to move through those classes quickly or slowly. HBCUs have embraced accelerated programs, as the demand increases for minority nurses, who can provide care for minority patients with more understanding. HBCU accelerated nursing programs include Bowie State University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Florida A&M University, among others.

Take some time to research your options and find the best fit for your own needs. Ask yourself how much flexibility, time, and financial aid you’ll need, and then keep those answers in mind when you research potential programs.

Do HBCU Nursing Programs Only Accept Black Students?

HBCUs with nursing programs will accept any qualifying student. However, as stated above, HBCUs are designed to meet the needs of black and other minority students. In the 21st century, as HBCUs have lost enrollment, many HBCUs with nursing programs are reaching out to other minority students, especially Hispanic and Latinx students. As the population of Hispanic-Americans grows, Latinx nurses are increasingly needed in the healthcare system, and HBCUs are one of the leaders in developing this crucial resource.

Related Articles:
Top 10 Minority Nursing Scholarships
The Ultimate Guide for Black Nurses and Nursing Students