2023 Best Undergraduate Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

2022-2023 Nursing Colleges of Distinction

Published: September 1, 2022

By: Colleges of Distinction Staff

Jump to: Alvernia University | Carlow University | Commonwealth University of PA – Bloomsburg | DeSales University | Gwynedd Mercy University | La Roche University | Marywood University | Mercyhurst University | Messiah University | Mount Aloysius College | Neumann University | Saint Francis University | Slippery Rock University | University of Pittsburgh at Bradford | University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown | Villanova University | Waynesburg University | West Chester University of Pennsylvania | Westminster College | York College of Pennsylvania | Frequently Asked Questions

The path to becoming a nurse is undoubtedly a long and arduous process that requires hard work and dedication. With a shortage in capable and compassionate nurses, it is becoming increasingly important that nursing programs are well rounded, highly accredited, and focused on student success. Colleges of Distinction is proud to recognize schools with these very programs, ones that fully support future nurses along (and beyond!) their undergraduate journey. These institutions, already highly regarded for their commitment to the Four Distinctions, go the extra mile with their cutting-edge nursing degrees.

Our Pennsylvania top colleges for nursing offer students an exciting place to learn and thrive, as proven by the following:

Stability and excellence as core tenets of these nursing programs. Not only have these programs been awarding degrees for more than 10 years, but faculty are continually recognized for their impressive experience and research.

Validation from the ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing) and/or CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) for their commitment to quality and student success.

Practical experiences that provide ample opportunities for students to apply their knowledge to the real world through internships, mentorship programs, and volunteer opportunities.

High mastery rates in such standardized exams as the NCLEX and HESI A2.

Dedicated advising and counseling available specifically for nursing students.

Liberal arts exposure to make students culturally competent, well-rounded individuals with superior critical thinking and leadership skills.

High-impact practices embedded into the curriculum.

Industry connections cultivated by faculty and staff to help students build their network and find meaningful work.

Alvernia University

Reading, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Alvernia offers a unique blend of rigorous liberal arts core education for development of the mind, strong technical training in many high demand majors, experiential learning through study abroad and internship experiences, and engagement with the community through a Franciscan-based community service model. The university calls this model of transformational education the Alvernia Advantage, a style of education that transforms students into ethical leaders with moral courage.

Alvernia has a longstanding commitment to helping students develop their innate talents, discover their passions, and lead successful lives with deep meaning and purpose. Through experiential learning, students graduate well prepared for success in the workplace. The Alvernia Advantage results in a superior track record of career placements and quality graduate school opportunities, with 95% of students either employed or enrolled in a graduate program within six months of graduation.

The Nursing Program at Alvernia University prepares future healthcare professionals to enter the field ready to provide skillful, compassionate healthcare in virtually every setting, from community health clinics and hospitals to schools and nursing homes to emergency and disaster relief sites. 

Combining theory with clinical practice, the curriculum develops the skill set necessary for nurses to not only address the physical and psychological needs of their patients across the lifespan, but also to educate and advocate, counsel, research and problem solve with sensitivity and understanding.

Rooted in the University’s rich Franciscan traditions, the program challenges students both intellectually and spiritually, emphasizing ethics, moral integrity and reverence for the dignity and care of the human family.

Acceptance rate 70% • Net price $27,129 • SAT Range 0-0 • Students submitting SAT scores %
Total Undergrad Population 2,560 • Setting City: Small • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 61% • Retention rate 71% • Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Read more about Alvernia’s nursing program

Carlow University

Pittsburgh, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Carlow emphasizes a well-rounded liberal arts education with a solid foundation in ethics and social justice. Its students carry with them the values that have defined Carlow University for nearly a hundred years. They go on to do good—and do well—in their chosen professions. According to a recent career outcomes report, 97 percent of Carlow alumni were employed or continuing their studies at Carlow or other universities within six months of graduation.

Carlow’s dedication to social justice and service to the community began long before “social justice” became a buzz phrase. Founded in 1929 by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s students and faculty have been at the forefront of such issues as environmental protection, women’s empowerment and education, and racial equality, having participated in different activist events like the Civil Rights marches in Selma.

Are you ready to make a difference in health care? As a graduate of Carlow’s highly regarded nursing program, you’ll be able to hit the ground running as a nurse, or take your nursing career to the next level. NCLEX pass rates for graduates of our pre-licensure BSN nursing program are among the highest in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Carlow’s urban location offers opportunities for student involvement in many dimensions of health care.

As you progress through the program, you will learn to think clearly and creatively, pursue intellectual endeavors, and respond ethically in a spirit of cultural competence and social justice. The program serves as a basis for graduate study and a foundation for lifelong learning.

Acceptance rate 94% • Net price $21,212 • SAT Range 980-1140 • Students submitting SAT scores 92%
Total Undergrad Population 1,976 • Setting City: Large • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 58% • Retention rate 85% • Student-to-faculty ratio 10:1

Read more about Carlow’s nursing program

Commonwealth University of PA – Bloomsburg

Bloomsburg, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Founded in 1839, Commonwealth University of PA – Bloomsburg is a public institution in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Students can immerse themselves in studies in nearly 60 undergraduate degree programs and more than 66 minors.

Recognized as a leading accredited undergraduate and graduate level nursing program, Bloomsburg University prepares future nurses for a wide range of careers in critical care, obstetrics, pediatrics, rehabilitation, trauma, home care, and other clinical specialties and case management.

The faculty of the Department of Nursing accepts as its own the mission of Bloomsburg University and recognizes education for professional nursing as an integral part of higher education. The educational process integrates concepts drawn from the liberal arts and sciences into the baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral programs in nursing to assist students in acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and professional behaviors essential to beginning or advanced practitioners of professional nursing.

Acceptance rate 89% • Net price $18,302
Total Undergrad Population 8,427 • Setting City: Small • Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 58% • Retention rate 77% • Student-to-faculty ratio 20:1

Read more about Bloomsburg’s nursing program

DeSales University, a Catholic school in Center Valley, PA

DeSales University

Center Valley, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

DeSales University believes that big results come from small actions. Rooted in the Catholic Salesian mission and liberal arts tradition, its inspiring learning community just north of Philadelphia expands the minds, the talents, and the hearts of curious students to construct new ideas and lead lives of impact.

DeSales energizes transformative learning through the liberal arts and professional studies as it introduces students to various ways of thinking and communicating, discipline-specific knowledge, and critical inquiry in fields complementing and reinforcing study in their selected majors.

Want to start earning your BSN after high school graduation? Plan to gain a master’s degree in a specialized field of nursing? Pursue your doctorate? Become a Nurse Practitioner? Wherever you are in your nursing journey, DeSales has a program for you.

The DeSales University Division of Nursing offers quality, innovative nursing programs. If career preparation is important to you, you’ve found the right school. As a DeSales nursing student, you’ll study under credentialed faculty, conduct innovative research in state-of-the-art labs, and learn through hands-on clinical assignments.

Acceptance rate 82% • Net price $29,836 • SAT Range 1010-1240 • Students submitting SAT scores 81%
Total Undergrad Population 3,302 • Setting Rural • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 65% • Retention rate 81% • Student-to-faculty ratio 12:1

Read more about DeSales nursing program

Gwynedd Mercy University

Gwynedd Valley, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

As one of 16 Sisters of Mercy colleges and universities in the United States, GMercyU is shaped by its Catholic identity and Mercy heritage. It’s a place where values are valued, open dialogue is encouraged, and service is expected. Focusing on educating the whole person—intellectually, spiritually, socially, and morally—GMercyU offers professional education grounded in the liberal arts, so students are prepared to do more than just do. Distinctive Mercy Graduates are prepared to think critically, communicate clearly, and live productive and meaningful lives.

With a campus community that is small but big hearted, GMercyU students find a warm and inclusive community in which to learn, grow, and succeed.

GMercyU’s BSN degree program is fully approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing and accredited by the Commissions on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); this program has remained accredited and in good standing with the board since its inception. 

One of the most established undergraduate nursing programs in the Philadelphia area, GMercyU’s Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions has built a reputation for innovation and leadership in nursing that spans more than 60 years. We have a long history of preparing excellent nurses who not only have outstanding clinical skills, but are known for providing compassionate care that focuses on the whole patient. 

Acceptance rate 88% • Net price $25,219 • SAT Range 950-1140 • Students submitting SAT scores 90%
Total Undergrad Population 2,737 • Setting Suburb • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 61% • Retention rate 78% • Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Read more about GMercyU’s nursing program

La Roche University

Pittsburgh, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

A small, private institution in Western Pennsylvania, La Roche University provides a skills-driven education to prepare students for success in today’s global economy.

With more than 50 undergraduate majors, La Roche offers competitive programs in both high-demand fields and creative industries, with particular strengths in business, criminal justice, design, education, psychology, and health and medical sciences.

Located just 15 minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh, this residential university provides a vibrant campus community for more than 1,400 men and women who enjoy over 30 student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. La Roche welcomes students of all religions, nationalities, and backgrounds, including students from 16 states, two territories and 37 countries.

Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.

At La Roche University we prepare you to work as a professional nurse in a variety of settings, including hospitals, home health, education and public health. Accredited by the Accreditation Commission of Education in Nursing Inc., La Roche offers award-winning faculty, hands-on learning experiences and programs at undergraduate and graduate levels.

Acceptance rate X• Net price X • SAT Range X • Students submitting SAT scores X
Total Undergrad Population X • Setting X • Catholic 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) X • Retention rate X • Student-to-faculty ratio X

Read more about La Roche’s nursing program

Marywood University

Scranton, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Marywood University is a Catholic institution in Scranton, Pennsylvania founded in 1915. With an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, you’re sure to get personalized engagement with your professors.

Discover where you belong in this growing health care career! Depending on where you are in your career aspirations (pre-service, LPN, RN), Marywood offers different tracks of study, specially designed to meet your specific needs as you earn your BSN degree and advance your professional goals.

Students are required to pass the NCLEX-RN examination to be granted licensure in the state in which they are applying. Graduates of the nursing program who successfully pass the NCLEX licensure exam are prepared to practice in a variety of health care settings, including: critical care, community health, public health, primary care, acute care, long-term care, home health, and mental health care, as well as pharmaceutical and administrative settings.

Acceptance rate 82% • Net price $21,657 • SAT Range 1000-1180 • Students submitting SAT scores 96%
Total Undergrad Population 2,613 • Setting City: Small • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 71% • Retention rate 83% • Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Read more about Marywood’s nursing program

Mercyhurst University

Erie, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Mercyhurst University, founded in 1926 by the Sisters of Mercy, is a fully accredited, four-year, Catholic comprehensive institution for men and women in Erie, Pennsylvania. The university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors, nine graduate programs, and a variety of post-baccalaureate and advanced certificates. Additionally, Mercyhurst provides certificate and associate degree offerings at branch campuses in North East, Corry, and the Booker T. Washington Center. It also maintains an academic center in Dungarvan, Ireland.

As a student in Mercyhurst’s newest nursing program, you’ll be able to earn a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), while enjoying the traditional four-year college experience. Our Department of Nursing has prepared qualified, compassionate, and dedicated nurses for decades. This fully accredited program integrates the latest evidence-based practices to equip graduates to be uniquely suited to fulfilling ever-changing roles in local, national, and global health care communities. Graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination-RN (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed registered nurses.

Students enjoy a hands-on classroom environment in our brand-new facilities, where coursework is taught by experienced faculty. Two clinical skills labs provide a safe transition from classroom learning to a real-world setting. Students practice critical nursing skills using computer-controlled mannequins, medical equipment, task trainers, and low-fidelity mannequins in the clinical skills lab. Our simulation suite contains high-fidelity mannequins, debriefing rooms, video-recording equipment, and medical equipment that closely mimic the clinical environment.

Acceptance rate 88% • Net price $26,942 • SAT Range 0-0 • Students submitting SAT scores %
Total Undergrad Population 2,790 • Setting City: Small • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 70% • Retention rate 80% • Student-to-faculty ratio 15:1

Read more about Mercyhurst’s nursing program

Messiah College is now Messiah University logo

Messiah University

Mechanicsburg, PA ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Messiah University is nationally recognized for bringing together top-tier academics and Christian faith. The University’s motto, “Christ Preeminent,” shapes every experience its students have at school. Lifelong friendships. Support from faculty mentors. Outstanding preparation for life and career. Championship athletics. Celebrated arts programs. Transformational service and ministry. Eye-opening study abroad. At Messiah, one’s life, faith, world, and possibilities open up. Students come to see anew.

Messiah University is a liberal arts and applied sciences University founded in 1909 by the Brethren in Christ Church. Though it is no longer legally owned by the Brethren in Christ Church, the University continues to emphasize its Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan theological heritage. Now the University’s faith base is broadly evangelical and includes students and employees from a variety of denominations and Christian faith traditions.

 As a Messiah nursing student, you will learn many facets of nursing that include the importance of personhood, the significance of community, and meaningfulness of service to others. The nursing curriculum is grounded in the arts and applied sciences which facilitates your ability to practice nursing with compassionate Christian caring, academic and clinical excellence, and service to others with cultural humility. You will become a vessel of God’s love for others through education and skills learned as a Messiah University nurse.

Acceptance rate 78% • Net price $27,641 • SAT Range 1080-1310 • Students submitting SAT scores 92%
Total Undergrad Population 3,370 • Setting Suburb • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 79% • Retention rate 86% • Student-to-faculty ratio 13:1

Read more about Messiah’s nursing program

Mount Aloysius College

Cresson, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Established in 1853, Mount Aloysius is a liberal arts and science-based institution with a commitment to career-directed study. Rooted in Catholic tradition, Mount Aloysius is one of the nation’s 17 Mercy-sponsored colleges. MAC began as an Academy and has since evolved into a comprehensive college that provides undergraduate and graduate education.

The Mount Aloysius College Nursing Program has been one of the region’s top providers of quality nurses since 1964. A mix of advanced learning environments, experienced faculty, well-established curriculum, and a personal educational community have earned Mount Aloysius College such honors as being named a UPMC Tier 1 Recruitment School.

No matter where you are in your professional or educational journey, MAC has a nursing path designed for your success.

Acceptance rate 95% • Net price $22,082
Total Undergrad Population 2,806 • Setting Town • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 40% • Retention rate 76% • Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Read more about Mount Aloysius’ nursing program

Neumann University, a Franciscan Catholic university in Aston, Pennsylvania

Neumann University

Aston, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Discover the NU You at Neumann! 
Founded in 1965, Neumann University is a private, Catholic institution in the Franciscan tradition. With an emphasis on respect for individuals, concern for the environment, and social responsibility, Neumann excels throughout its bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs as well as its numerous student activities and 24 Division III sports teams.

Neumann is a small school full of big opportunities. In addition to the traditional liberal arts degrees, students can tap into such in-demand fields as Cybersecurity, Data Science and Analytics, Nursing, and the Health Sciences. Regardless of major, every student gets professional experience through real-world, hands-on internships, clinical placements, or student-teaching practice. The location, suburban Philadelphia, provides ample opportunities for jobs and internships and is in close proximity to New York City and Washington, D.C.

Nursing blends expertise in science and technology with the practice of caring and compassion. Nurses promote health, prevent disease, and help individuals, families, and communities cope with illnesses in a myriad of professional settings from hospitals, long-term care centers, and doctor’s offices to schools, research facilities, rehabilitation centers and homes. Nurses work closely with doctors and other health care professionals, and serve as the advocates for patients and families.

The kind of work that you do will depend on the educational path you choose. There are more than 100 different specializations in Nursing.

Acceptance rate 80% • Net price $29,471 • SAT Range 900-1080 • Students submitting SAT scores 87%
Total Undergrad Population 2,506 • Setting Suburb • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 51% • Retention rate 77% • Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Read more about Neumann’s nursing program

Saint Francis University logo

Saint Francis University

Loretto, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Saint Francis University offers academic study within the Franciscan tradition of using one’s talents to serve others. The more than 60 offerings include highly targeted, career-focused majors grounded in the liberal arts tradition of inquiry and self-discovery. Highly regarded programs in health science, education, business, and science attract a diverse student body to the beautiful campus setting. The values of respect, faith, generosity, and joy run deep in the University culture and help to prepare ethical, knowledgeable professionals with a passion to shape the world. This holistic approach to career preparation is supported by respected faculty who work closely with students in small settings to meet individual goals.

Our nursing programs position science, healthcare practice, and ethics at the core of the nursing curriculum. Our teaching philosophy is to assist you to develop clinical expertise and critical thinking skills within a Judeo-Christian ethical perspective that will strengthen you for the emotional and moral challenges of this caring profession.
  • We offer both undergraduate and graduate paths to help you meet your evolving career goals.
  • Hands-on learning experiences and top-notch technology through the Experimental Learning Commons
  • Students are assigned a faculty for the duration of their studies at SFU

Acceptance rate 59% • Net price $29,393 • SAT Range 1010-1220 • Students submitting SAT scores 89%
Total Undergrad Population 2,769 • Setting Town • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 63% • Retention rate 96% • Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Read more about Saint Francis University’s nursing program

Slippery Rock University logo

Slippery Rock University

Slippery Rock, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Founded in 1889, Slippery Rock University is a Carnegie Master-L, four-year, public, coeducational, comprehensive University offering a broad array of undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 8,800 students.

The University, a member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education, provides students with a superior learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with applied learning opportunities that will help them succeed in an increasingly complex world.

SRU is committed to serving a diverse student body and empowering anyone regionally, nationally and internationally who can benefit from its programs and lifelong learning opportunities.

The asynchronous online RN to BSN program at Slippery Rock University offers quality education at an affordable price. The program is one of the earliest online nursing programs and is offered at a regionally accredited university. The program fosters student engagement and active learning. Faculty and staff are available online for individualized advising and support to ensure student success.

Courses are primarily offered in 8-week sessions to provide maximum flexibility in progressing through the program. Students may choose to complete the program in as little as one year* or progress at a slower pace that accommodates their lifestyle. The asynchronous online course format allows students to customize their program to accommodate individual schedules.

Acceptance rate 74% • Net price $18,117 • SAT Range 980-1150 • Students submitting SAT scores 89%
Total Undergrad Population 8,860 • Setting Town • Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 69% • Retention rate 83% • Student-to-faculty ratio 21:1

Read more about Slippery Rock University’s nursing program

University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

Bradford, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford is a supportive, friendly institution for students who want to earn a world-renowned degree in a personalized environment. Pitt-Bradford’s 1,500 students enjoy the close-knit campus community, which means they receive personalized attention from their professors as well as administrators and staff on campus. Since Pitt-Bradford is a regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh, students receive the University of Pittsburgh degree, which is recognized and respected all over the world.

Pitt-Bradford offers more than 40 majors and more than 50 minors and pre-professional programs, from biology, criminal justice, and psychology to nursing, accounting, and energy science and technology. Most classes are small—the average class size is 19—which enables professors to get to know their students. Students also have ample opportunities to take part in the robust campus life: Division III athletics, intramurals, and recreational activities; more than 60 student clubs and organizations; and arts and cultural events.  

Our goal is to prepare you to be successful and confident as you enter the nursing field.
We offer two unique programs to meet your educational needs, a prelicensure Associate degree program and an RN-BSN completion program:

1. You can earn an associate degree, which will give you the education, training and preparation to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination – known as NCLEX – to become a licensed, registered nurse. 

Once you earn your associate degree and pass the NCLEX, you can work as a nurse in a hospital or another health care setting.

2. You can continue your education to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing, which will give you the advanced skills you need to assume a leadership or management role, or to then continue your education as an advanced practice RN. Since you will already be a licensed, registered nurse, you may choose to work while you pursue your bachelor’s degree.

At Pitt-Bradford, you can choose one path or both. 

Acceptance rate 79% • Net price $15,519 • SAT Range 950-1145 • Students submitting SAT scores 88%
Total Undergrad Population 1,305 • Setting Town • Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 44% • Retention rate 73% • Student-to-faculty ratio 17:1

Read more about Pitt-Bradford’s nursing program

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Johnstown, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

The first regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh system—and one of the first regional campuses of a leading university in the United States—University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown supports inquisitive minds across 70 programs of study. Its founding in 1927 sparked an impressive development in higher education, providing the world-class University of Pittsburgh education to a comfortable residential campus within the lush Laurel Highlands.

Pitt-Johnstown is proud to support its community of Mountain Cats with a curriculum that is up to date with the world’s demands. No matter the discipline, the University has continually evolved its programs to ensure that every student gets the most out of their education. This kind of responsive educational framework creates leaders who are prepared for careers in nursing, engineering, the humanities, and more.

The Pitt-Johnstown Bachelor of Science in Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) through the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

The Pitt-Johnstown program combines clinical practice with traditional nursing theory and values that emphasize holistic patient care. Students in the program develop a strong theoretical base of biological and behavioral sciences with a foundation in the liberal arts, providing them with the skills and experience necessary for careers in today’s nursing profession.

Through community partnerships with healthcare providers such as Memorial Medical Center, Somerset Hospital, Altoona Regional Hospital, and Select Specialty Hospital, students receive real-world preparation through high-quality clinical experiences.

Acceptance rate 87% • Net price $17,574 • SAT Range 1010-1190 • Students submitting SAT scores 93%
Total Undergrad Population 2,356 • Setting Suburb • Public 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 54% • Retention rate 78% • Student-to-faculty ratio 17:1

Read more about Pitt-Johnstown’s nursing program

Villanova University Logo

Villanova University

Villanova, PA ‧ Catholic ‧ 4-year

Villanova University was founded in 1842 by the Order of St. Augustine. To this day, Villanova’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition is the cornerstone of an academic community 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.

Villanova Nursing innovates and educates. We build nursing science that informs practice. We live and breathe Villanova University’s Augustinian values in our approach to nursing as a profession, mission and healing ministry in a diverse society.

You will graduate ready to care, research, teach, advocate and discover. As you graduate you will enhance a powerful, compassionate alumni network whose members serve the vulnerable, think globally and lead.

We make personalized investments in you—whether you’re new to nursing or more seasoned in your career. You will be challenged in an integrated way to be an independent thinker and problem solver, a nurse who contributes to the profession and promotes health for patients and populations. You will collaborate with faculty experts and have access to superior clinical and teaching resources in Driscoll Hall and around the globe. Because we are committed to creating unique and compelling opportunities for you to learn and advance, we are consistently honored by the National League for Nursing as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education.

Acceptance rate 31% • Net price $38,303 • SAT Range 1320-1460 • Students submitting SAT scores 60%
Total Undergrad Population 11,032 • Setting Suburb • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 92% • Retention rate 96% • Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Read more about Villanova University’s nursing program

Waynesburg University

Waynesburg, PA ‧ Christian ‧ 4-year

Waynesburg offers more than 70 major concentrations and five integrated bachelors-to-masters programs in athletic training, business, counseling, criminal investigation, and education. The University also offers graduate programs, with some available 100 percent online. The University’s top academic programs include business, communication, criminal justice, education, forensic science, and nursing.

What makes Waynesburg truly special, though, is that its academics are not just about class. They’re the foundation for a culture of growth, championed through academic excellence and personalized guidance that nurtures mind, spirit, and future. Waynesburg programs accelerate student growth through hands-on learning, research, internships, leadership work, service trips, and career planning.

Through real-world scenarios and scholarship, you’ll develop the leadership and technical skills needed for a range of healthcare industry positions, and your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Waynesburg University will give you a competitive advantage as you start your career.

Acceptance rate X• Net price X • SAT Range X • Students submitting SAT scores X
Total Undergrad Population X • Setting X • Christian 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) X • Retention rate X • Student-to-faculty ratio X

Read more about Waynesburg’s nursing program

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

West Chester, PA ‧ Public ‧ 4-year

Located just 25 miles from Philadelphia, West Chester University of Pennsylvania (WCUPA) is a public, regional, comprehensive institution committed to providing high-quality undergraduate education as well as a vibrant on-campus community.

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at West Chester University provides the highest quality undergraduate nursing education to students from diverse populations. The BSN provides the foundations of entry into nursing practice, and is based on contemporary nursing science, organizational, political, cultural and economic principles. All graduates are prepared to provide evidence-based quality nursing care, to be professionals capable of assuming leadership in present and emerging health care roles, and to be contributing members of society who are committed to life-long learning and personal development.

In addition to meeting West Chester University entrance requirements, applicants for nursing must have completed work equal to a standard high school curriculum, consisting of a minimum of 16 units.

Acceptance rate 90% • Net price $20,029 • SAT Range 980-1170 • Students submitting SAT scores 76%
Total Undergrad Population 1,576 • Setting Town • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 65% • Retention rate 79% • Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Read more about West Chester University’s nursing program

Westminster College

New Wilmington, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Nestled within the charming town of New Wilmington, just one hour north of Pittsburgh, the Westminster College community studies hard, priding itself in strong academics, outstanding faculty, and individualized attention with an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. It expands horizons with opportunities to study abroad and make connections with a strong alumni base. It encourages participation, sponsoring 22 varsity sports, 18 honor societies, and more than 80 clubs. It’s a platform for spiritual freedom, providing the independence for students to think and participate in what’s most important to them. It’s a place to call home to nearly 1,200 students each year. Be a part of something real.

To become a nurse who puts patients’ needs at the forefront, you need a nursing program that prioritizes your skills, understanding, and experience. We layer a rich foundation of liberal arts with faculty mentoring and a student-focused learning environment.

In addition to being to admitted to Westminster College, students interested in pursuing the Nursing program must be admitted to the program. The application process for the program varies based on if you are a high school senior (direct entry), are transferring to Westminster, or are a current Westminster student. Westminster also offers a RN-to-BS in Nursing program for those who already have their RN.

Acceptance rate 77% • Net price $21,101
Total Undergrad Population 1,228 • Setting Town • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 71% • Retention rate 80% • Student-to-faculty ratio 11:1

Read more about Westminster College’s nursing program

York College in York, PA

York College of Pennsylvania

York, PA ‧ Private ‧ 4-year

Students come to York College of Pennsylvania because they want to take action. They want internships and paid cooperative learning. They want to conduct research with faculty and meet with their professors one-on-one. They want to get engaged right away, joining the school’s award-winning radio station or entering in the Elevator Pitch Competition. And, most of all, they want to pay half of what other top private colleges are asking without sacrificing a solid education. From day one, York College does all that and more.

When you’re passionate about helping people, you need a career that allows you to make a difference. The bachelor of science in Nursing (BSN) at York College prepares future nurses to do just that.

Our Nursing degree program gives students access to a state-of-the-art simulation lab and professional equipment, as well as faculty who take a vested interest in their success. BSN majors gain hands-on experience during clinicals, working with our healthcare partner organizations across the region, including local hospitals and medical centers. 

Whether you’re interested in providing surgical care or mental health support, working in a family practice or a fast-paced hospital environment — or anything in between — a BSN degree offers the experience and credentials you’ll need to thrive.

Acceptance rate 71% • Net price $22,876 • SAT Range 990-1190 • Students submitting SAT scores 92%
Total Undergrad Population 4,039 • Setting Suburb • Private 4-year
Graduation rate (6 year) 65% • Retention rate 77% • Student-to-faculty ratio 14:1

Read more about York College’s nursing program

What it’s like to attend nursing schools in Pennsylvania and other FAQ:

What are average tuition costs in Pennsylvania?

The average tuition & fees of Pennsylvania colleges is $11,694 for Pennsylvania residents and $18,884 for students from other States.

Cheapest nursing degree program in Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has an average net price of $15,519 making it the least expensive business degree program in Pennsylvania that made our list.

Easiest nursing degree program to get into in Pennsylvania

Mount Aloysius College has an acceptance rate of 95%, making it the least exclusive college with a nursing program on our list.

Nursing degree program with lowest student debt in Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown has a median total debt after graduation of $24,550. This is the typical debt for a student who completed their undergraduate degree.

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Best Undergraduate Nursing Schools by State

Texas | Florida | New York | California | Illinois | Georgia | Ohio 

Best Pennsylvania Colleges by Award

Best Pennsylvania Business Schools in 2023
Best Engineering Schools in Pennsylvania
Best Schools for Education Majors in Pennsylvania