Top 8 Nursing Schools in the World

Being one of the most respected in the healthcare industry, nursing is in very high demand worldwide. As a matter of fact, it is projected that the demand will substantially increase in the coming years.  However, as the demand is increasing, the demand for more educated nurses is also on the rise. So, if you’re looking to pursue a career in nursing, it will do you a lot of good to get a quality education from one of the top nursing schools in the World.

In this article, we’ll be reviewing the 8 best nursing schools in the World according to QS World University Rankings.

We will be looking at why they’re ranked and rated highly above others and what you will benefit from schooling there. Also, we will look at their requirements for admission and how you can get it.

Another important thing we’ll be discussing in this article is the things you can consider before choosing a nursing school.

So, grab your favorite snack, relax and read as we help you make a choice among the top nursing schools in the World.

8 Best Nursing Schools in the World

Here are the 8 top nursing schools in the world, starting from the top to the 8th in the list:

1. University of Pennsylvania 

The University of Pennsylvania Nursing School is ranked as the best in the World. This is not by chance or coincidence.

Penn Nursing has been known for its consistency in the healthcare sector. With some of the best researchers in the world, the research works done in Penn Nursing are recognized, both nationally and globally. And they are consistently featured in the world’s top, interdisciplinary journals

The school offers a wide range of programs. So, whether you’re fresh out of high school, returning for your second bachelors, coming for a more specialized practice or beginning your PhD journey. Penn Nursing has a world-class learning program structured for you.

Apart from the traditional nursing degree, i.e. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Penn also offers its students a double bachelor degrees in nursing and health care management. The latter is a combination of University of Pennsylvania’s best two programs, i.e. nursing and business. The program is structured to prepare its nursing students as managers in the healthcare system. However, you have to meet the strict requirements before you can be accepted into the program.

Furthermore, Penn Nursing offers Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to qualified students. These programs are designed to train students on quality research and innovation in the nursing profession.

Requirements for Admission into Penn Nursing

If you’re applying to Penn Nursing as a high school undergraduate, you will have to go through Penn’s central undergraduate admissions process.

A 1440 SAT score or ACT of 33 are the minimum standardized test requirements for admissions into Penn University.  Although there’s no specified GPA requirements for Penn, it is advisable you have a GPA of 3.9 or above.

For admission into the MSN program, you must have completed a BSN at an accredited college or university and must have made a minimum grade of 3.0 GPA.

Click here to go to the Penn University website.

You might also want to know about The 10 Best Nursing Schools in Pennsylvania

2. King’s College, London 

King’s Nursing has been ranked 2nd in the list of the top nursing schools in the World for four years straight.

With its four teaching departments and three research divisions, King’s Nursing offers the best nursing education in the UK.

Their degree programs are structured into pre-registration, post-qualification, and post-graduate research.

The pre-registration programs are designed to train you as a specialized nurse in a certain age group. There are nursing registration programs as an adult nurse, children’s nurse, mental health nurse and as a midwife.

The post-qualification programs are for qualified professionals who are looking to advance their career in nursing practice.

While the graduate research programs, PhD programs designed for deep research on certain fields. You can decide to work on any of their PhD projects. There are projects in Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care.

Admission Requirements for King’s Nursing

As a high school graduate, standardized tests are not required for admission into King’s College London. However, they will be considered if you send them in. you’re also required to select Test optional on the application if you don’t intend using SAT/ACT scores for admission.

Here are the key requirements for admission:

  • A completed King’s College Application or Common Application for Admission
  • Official high school transcripts
  • SAT/ACT scores (optional).

Click here to visit King’s College website.

3. Johns Hopkins University 

Being a leader in education research and practice, Johns Hopkins University has the third best nursing school in the world.

Though it does not offer undergraduate programs, it has a graduate nursing program structured for those who have B.Sc. in other fields and are looking to become registered nurses.

That is why the MSN programs are divided into three different programs. They have the MSN (Entry into Nursing) program for graduates of other fields who are switching to nursing.

Secondly, there is the MSN (Healthcare Organizational Leadership) program, which is structured for nurses with BSN who are looking to advance their nursing career.

Finally, in collaboration with the Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing offers the MSN Healthcare Organizational Leadership/MBA dual degree program. Students in this course are trained to be managers in the healthcare system.

Additionally, the university offers a DNP (in Advanced Nursing Practice) program for MSN holders who are looking to take their nursing career to a higher level.

Admission Requirements for Johns Hopkins Nursing School

For the MSN (Entry into Nursing) program:

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university in any discipline other than nursing.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0
  • 3 letters of recommendation (2 academic and 1 professional)
  • Official Transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended.
  • One written essay
  • GRE scores are considered, but not required.
  • Current Resume
  • TOEFL or IELTS for non-native English speakers.

Other MSN programs:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree or an entry-level nursing master’s degree from an ACEN or CCNE accredited college or university, or an equivalent degree from a comparable foreign institution.
  • Official Transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended
  • Three letters of recommendation (both academic and professional references)
  • Scholastic GPA of 3.0 and above on a scale of 4.0
  • Goal Statement
  • Current Resume/CV
  • Evidence of current nursing license
  • TOEFL or IELTS from Non-native English speakers
  • 2 years of working experience (for the HOL/MBA program only)

Requirements for DNP programs:

  • All the listed requirements for the MSN programs above
  • 1 year full-time experience as a RN

Click here to visit Johns Hopkins University Website.

4. University of Washington 

The University of Washington is one of the World’s best universities of public research. It is very popular because of its impact in medical, engineering, and scientific research.

The University’s School of Nursing is 4th on the world ranking. It offers both undergraduate, and postgraduate programs.

The undergraduate program is further divided into two. There is a traditional two-year BSN program and a fast-track Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. The ABSN program is for applicants who have acquired a bachelor’s degree elsewhere before deciding to take a second degree in nursing.

Also, it offers an online master of science program in Clinical Informatics & Patient-Centered Technologies. In addition to that, there’s a PhD program in Nursing Science and a couple of DNP programs.

The faculty also has other non-degree programs for both nurses and non-nursing majors. There is no doubt as to why the University of Washington school of nursing is among the top 4 nursing schools in the world.

Admission Requirements for the University of Washington School of Nursing.

For High school graduates, a SAT score of 1460 or ACT of 32 and above will guarantee you admission. A GPA of 3.75 and above with the above-mentioned SAT/ACT scores will certainly increase your chances.

For Graduate programs:

  • Letters of recommendation
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college
  • Application fee of $85

Click here to visit the school  website.

5. The University of Manchester 

Being one of the best Universities in the UK, the University of Manchester is known for its excellent research and educational history.

Their faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health has made great impact and discoveries in the research on cancer.

They offer both undergraduate, masters and Doctorate nursing programs.  Their undergraduate nursing programs are further divided into three categories. All of which are 3 years Bachelor of Nursing programs.

The courses are Adult Nursing, Children’s Nursing and Mental Health Nursing. Also, they have M.Sc. program in Adult Nursing with other hybrid programs.

In addition to the Bachelor of Nursing and masters programs, University of Manchester has a really flexible post graduate program for nurses. There’s the Doctorate in Professional Practice, which can be done full-time for 3 years or part-time for 6 years.

They also have PhD nursing programs which can be completed in 3 or 4 years.

Admission Requirements for the University of Manchester

Requirements for the undergraduate Nursing Programs:

  • Two GCSEs at Grade B or 6
  • Three GCSEs at Grade C or 4
  • English Language, Mathematics and Science are required at GCSE/iGSCE level with a minimum Grade of C or 4
  • IELTS 7.0, with a minimum of 7.0 in reading, listening and speaking and 6.5 in writing. (for international applicants)

For the Masters Program:

  • An undergraduate degree with at least an Upper Second in any subject
  • GCSE Math grade C/4 or above
  • GCSE English Language grade B/6 or above
  • GCSE Science (grade B/6 in subjects like Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Double Award Science or Single Award Science).
  • Minimum of 575 hours of healthcare related experience in a care setting, e.g. a care home or hospital.
  • Minimum of 500 hours of prior learning (this will be assessed via your portfolio)
  • IELTS 7.0, with a minimum of 7.0 in reading, listening and speaking and 6.5 in writing. (for international applicants)

Postgraduate Programs:

  • Master’s Degree in a relevant discipline with a Merit or above classification
  • Minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or TOEFL score of 90 or a C grade in GCSE English
  • Appropriate Professional Registration/accreditation

Click here to visit the school website.

6. University of California, San Francisco 

The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has been consistently listed among the top nursing schools in the World. This could be because of the passionate drive that exists among its nurse scientists, clinicians, students and staff.

The desire to make the world a better place is a common factor among the entire staff and students of UCSF. There is no wonder as to why they go above and beyond to improve human health and health care.

UCSF is so deep-rooted in research, that they do not offer undergraduate studies. However, their postgraduate programs are one of a kind.

Their M.Sc. programs are structured in ways that, even as a non-registered nurse, you have an entry program to get started with.

There is also a general M.Sc. program for RN who wish to advance their career in Nursing. In addition to that, there is a specialized MS program on Healthcare Administration and Interprofessional Leadership.

Furthermore, there are doctorate programs with PhD certifications and one doctorate program with a DNP certification.

In all, it would be a great privilege to study in a top nursing school like UCSF.

Admission Requirements for UCSF

For the MS programs:

Completion of intro or higher-level courses with passing grades and worth least two semester units or three-quarter units in each of these subjects:

  • Microbiology, with a lab component
  • Physiology, with a lab component
  • Anatomy, with a lab component
  • Psychology
  • Nutrition
  • Statistics

Also, these requirements are very important:

  • Minimum of 3.0 GPA in a general discipline other than nursing (for non-RNs)
  • Minimum of 3.0 GPA in nursing
  • Official transcripts
  • Goal Statement
  • Personal History Statement
  • 4-5 letters of recommendations from individuals  (not relatives) who are acquainted with your work or community experience.
  • TOEFL – minimum score of 92 or IELTS – minimum score of 7.0 (for international students)

Click here to visit the school website.

7. Yale University

Studying at Yale is a privilege most high school graduates never take for granted. Being part of the Ivy League schools, Yale School of Nursing (YSN) has been ranked among the top nursing schools in the world.

YSN received funding in 1923, when it was founded, to be the first school within a University to graduate RNs from an educational system, rather than an apprenticeship program.

The school is known for its awesome ideas that have helped shape the modern-day nursing system. In fact, till this day, the World Health Organization uses YSN’s concept of nursing as the definition of the profession.

YSN does not offer undergraduate nursing programs. However, its graduate programs are designed to accommodate applicants who have no nursing background.

It offers the Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing (GEPN) for applicants who have no nursing degree.

On the other hand, its MS Nursing program is designed for RNs who are looking to advance their career in the nursing profession.

In addition, it offers two post-master’s DNP programs. The Leadership DNP program is designed for nurses who are focused on management, policy and systems leadership. While the Clinical DNP program is for more advanced practice nurses who are looking to develop themselves as clinical leaders and innovators.

There’s also the PhD in Nursing program, which is designed for those who are looking to make impacts in the area of clinical research.

Admission Requirements for YSN

YSN GEPN applicants must:

  • Complete an online and pay a non-refundable application fee of $100
  • A grade B (80) in at least 2 of these prerequisites:
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II, with lab components
  • General Chemistry, with lab component
  • Microbiology, with lab

Also required are:

  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Minimum of 3.0 GPA in any field from an accredited college or university
  • GRE above 50th percentile on all sections. (this is applicable to only those with GPA lower than 3.0 in their bachelor’s)
  • Unofficial transcripts for application. After admission, the official transcripts will be submitted.
  • TOEFL or IELTS for international students

Click here to visit YSN website.

8. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina (UNC) school of Nursing isn’t just among the best in the United States. It has consistently emerged in the top chart of the world’s best nursing schools.

It is known for its quality output in the nursing profession as it has consistently produced graduates who are skilled in clinical practice, research, education and administration.

UNC has a series of nursing programs available to its applicants. They have undergraduates, graduate and doctorate programs.

The beauty of the programs at UNC School of Nursing is that they are made suitable for everyone. Their MSN, DNP and PhD programs are structured into online and hybrid programs.

Graduates of their MSN and DNP Nurse Practitioner programs are licensed to operate in all 50 of the U.S. states. However, the BSN graduates have to pass NCLEX to be licensed for nationwide operation.

Admission Requirements for UNC School of Nursing

For the undergraduate programs:

Minimum of 2.8 cumulative GPA with the following prerequisites:

  • Grade B BIOL 252/252L, BIOL 253/253L and MCRO 251, with lab component.
  • Grade C or better in PSYC 101 and STOR 151 or 155 or 120 or approved equivalents
  • Completed a full Anatomy and Physiology 1 and 2 sequence at the same institution.

For the MSN programs:

  • A BSN in Nursing from a CCNE or NLNAC
  • An Active license as an RN in North Carolina or any compact state
  • A GPA minimum of 2.75. However, priority is given to GPAs above 3.0.
  • Must be eligible to return to any institutions of higher learning previously attended.
  • At least one year paid clinical work experience as an RN.

Click here to visit the school website.

Check out Top 10 Nursing Schools in South Carolina

What to consider when choosing a nursing school

To choose a nursing school that matches your interest and is poised to give you the best learning experience, here are the things to consider:

  • The cost of the program and the availability of financial aids
  • The school’s ranking in the World
  • Statistics of nurses employment after graduation
  • The available technology for practical clinical experience
  • The number of students in a class.
  • You can also consider the pass rate of the school’s students on NCLEX assessment.


People strive to attend one of the top nursing schools in the world, not for the bragging rights, but for the privileges they offer.

To start with, graduating from any of the schools mentioned in this article does not just give you world-class, real-world experience of the clinical world. It gives you an envious advantage over others in the job market.

Not just that, it also affords you the opportunity to be involved in real world research. And to contribute your best to the general improvement of human health.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Top Nursing Schools in the World

What is NCLEX?

NCLEX is the National Council of Licensure Examination nurses take to be qualified to receive their operating license in the United States, Canada and Australia.

What is the #1 Nursing School in the World?

The number 1 nursing school in the World is the University of Pennsylvania School Of Nursing.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Registered Nurse (RN)?

A BSN program takes about 4 years, while an ADN takes just about 2 years to be completed. Both programs prepare you to take the NCLEX licensure exam, which officially makes you an RN.

How Much Do Nurses Earn?

According to the US News, the median salary of nurses is $75,330. The top earners earn $93,590 while the low learners earn $61,630.

Can a Registered Nurse Open a Hospital?

A registered Nurse cannot open a hospital. However, with the collaboration of a Licensed Medical doctor with years of experience, he or she can own a personal clinic. 


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