For the First Time, Top College Rankings Include Undergrad Nursing Programs

The demand for nurses is reaching new heights as a result of the pandemic. For those looking to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, the University of Pennsylvania is the top place to do so, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Duke University and the University of Washington tied for second in the “2022 Undergraduate Nursing Programs” list. This year marks the first time BSN programs have been included in the U.S. News rankings.

“Nursing is a very popular and important health field and it’s one of the largest undergraduate majors,” Robert Morse, chief data strategist at U.S. News told MedPage Today in an email. “Nurses play many key roles in the health care system and have been indispensable during the coronavirus pandemic.”


U.S. News reported in its overview of the rankings that the new BSN list comes amid “enrollment in nursing programs ticking up in 2020.” The list joins other discipline-specific rankings at the undergraduate level, such as computer science, engineering, and business, U.S. News reported. This year, there are 694 programs in the BSN rankings.

The BSN rankings are based solely on the judgments of deans and senior faculty members of nursing schools and departments at institutions around the country, according to U.S. News. To have received the survey and be ranked, an institution’s nursing school or department that offers the BSN degree must have met the following criteria: (1) Be accredited at the bachelor’s level by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing; and (2) Be a regionally accredited institution that awarded at least 35 BSN degrees, according to 2018-2019 data.

As described by U.S. News, deans and senior faculty members were asked to rate the academic quality of peer institutions’ BSN programs on a 5-point scale: outstanding (5), strong (4), good (3), adequate (2), and marginal (1). Individuals who were unfamiliar with a school’s programs were asked to select “don’t know.”


“The world is changing fast and challenges to health and well-being, new discoveries, technologies, and opportunities demand nurses who are able to address these multiple issues,” said Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel, PhD, MSN, BSN, in a statement provided to MedPage Today.

“I am proud that University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has been ranked as the #1 undergraduate nursing program in the country,” Villarruel said, adding that “our students are prepared to be the future of health care — revolutionary nurses, bold leaders, and science-driven researchers and practitioners.”

Earlier this year, U.S. News released its “2022 Best Nursing Schools: Master’s” and “2022 Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice” lists. The University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, and the University of Washington also took some of the top spots on the graduate degree rankings, MedPage Today previously reported.


Below are the schools at the top of the U.S. News BSN list.

2022 Best Undergraduate Nursing Programs

1. University of Pennsylvania


2. Duke University

  • Overall score: 4.5/5.0
  • Tuition: $23,241 (per semester)
  • Requirements: For Duke’s accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN), a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college in any major, as well as a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required, according to the university. Prerequisites also include a certain number of credits in human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, basic statistics, and human growth and development or developmental psychology.

2. University of Washington

  • Requirements: Prerequisites include a minimum college-level cumulative GPA of 2.0, as well as three natural world prerequisite courses (general chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, nutrition) with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, or four natural world prerequisite courses with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8, according to the university.

4. Emory University

  • Enrollment: 638 (total pre-licensure students)

4. University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill

  • Acceptance: The School of Nursing receives approximately 300-400 applications for the traditional BSN program each year, and admits 104 students each fall, according to UNC-Chapel Hill. It receives 200-300 applications for the ABSN program each year, and admits 104 students each summer.

4. University of Michigan — Ann Arbor

  • Requirements: Traditional BSN program requirements include three units of math and four units of science, as well as social science and foreign language units, according to the university.
  • Jennifer Henderson joined MedPage Today as an enterprise and investigative writer in Jan. 2021. She has covered the healthcare industry in NYC, life sciences and the business of law, among other areas.


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