Graduate Nursing Schools with High Acceptance Rates

Nervous about getting into a top nursing program? Wondering about nursing school acceptance rate? Graduate nursing schools with high acceptance rates might be worth looking into. Several factors may be behind a particular nursing school or program’s high acceptance rate, including a smaller applicant pool. Do your research, and take the time to learn whether any of the top high-acceptance nursing programs on our list might be the best fit for you, be they MSN programs with High Acceptance Rates or DNP programs with high acceptance rates!

9 Graduate Nursing Schools with High Acceptance Rates

These sponsored universities offer nursing graduate programs and featured high acceptance rates for nursing master’s students in 2015, according to data from U.S. News and World Report. Keep in mind that acceptance rates are subject to change.

1. Clemson University

Clemson University is a land-grant, state-supported institution of higher learning serving South Carolina and beyond. With a strong commitment to teaching, research, and public service, Clemson takes pride in making a difference.

The School of Nursing offers programs at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels, each designed to advance scientific knowledge and evidence-based practice. Many paths may be offered to help students pursue their unique goals. For example, the MSN program at Clemson offers concentrations in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (A/GNP), Nursing Administration, and Nursing Education.

Graduate Programs Offered:

  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

2015 Acceptance Rate*: 100%i

2. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Northwestern State University is a public university established in 1884, in Natchitoches, Louisiana. They take pride in offering responsive, student-oriented education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The College of Nursing offers a variety of nursing education programs to serve students at various stages of their careers. Classes are held on Northwestern State campuses in Shreveport, Alexandria, Leesville/Fort Polk and Natchitoches. NSU has a rich history of excellence in nursing education and was the first institution in the state of Louisiana to offer a master’s degree in nursing.

Graduate Programs Offered:

2015 Acceptance Rate*: 100%i

3. Nebraska Wesleyan University

Nebraska Wesleyan University is a liberal arts university based in Lincoln, Nebraska. They offer 106 majors, minors and pre-professional programs, which serve about 2,100 students.

Nebraska Wesleyan University offers undergraduate and graduate nursing programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The MSN program offers two concentrations: the nurse as educator and the nurse as leader and manager. NWU’s unique MSN/MBA program combines expertise in nursing and business to help nurses prepare for leadership challenges.

Graduate Programs Offered:

2015 Acceptance Rate*: 100%i

4. Regis University

Regis University is a private, Roman Catholic, Jesuit university based in Denver, Colorado. They serve over 11,000 online and on-campus students in a variety of programs across five colleges and four campuses.

The Loretto Heights School of Nursing at Regis University offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificate programs. The M.S. in Nursing: Leadership in Health Care Systems program is designed for working students and is available in flexible online or on campus formats. Other nursing master’s programs are also offered. Some programs, like the Family Nurse Practitioner program, may have lower acceptance rates.

Graduate Programs Offered:

  • MS in Nursing
  • M.S. in Nursing: Leadership in Health Care Systems
  • Post BSN to DNP, M.S. in Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner
  • M.S. in Nursing: Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • M.S. in Nursing: Completion for Certified Nurse Practitioners
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Various Certificate Programs

2015 Acceptance Rate*: 100%i

5. Southeastern Louisiana University

Based in Hammond, Louisiana, Southeastern Louisiana University is the state’s third-largest public university. They serve 15,000 students in over 150 academic programs.

The School of Nursing at Southeastern Louisiana University offers three graduate nursing programs. The Master of Science in Nursing program is part of a consortium of four universities working collaboratively to offer an expert curriculum. Many of the courses in the MSN, particularly core courses, may be taken completely online.

Graduate Programs Offered:

2015 Acceptance Rate*: 100%i

6. Monmouth University

Monmouth University is a private university located on New Jersey’s northern coast. They serve a diverse student body of 4,600 undergraduates and 1,700 graduate students. And, Monmouth offers dozens of degree programs designed to help students pursue their career goals.

The Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies offers undergraduate and graduate nursing programs for individuals at various stages of education and career experience. The MSN is designed for working nurses and offers evening courses that may be pursued online or in a hybrid format.

Graduate Programs Offered:

2015 Acceptance Rate*: 98.8%i

7. University of Central Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas is a public comprehensive university committed to offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate education. With a focus on learning, scholarship, and creative endeavors, the university helps prepare students to engage with their communities on a local scale and beyond. Their graduate program offerings include seven doctoral, 33 masters/specialist, and 16 professional certificate programs.

The University of Central Arkansas’ School of Nursing was established in 1967 and has a strong history of helping nursing students prepare for new professional goals. They offer undergraduate and graduate programs, which are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Graduate Programs Offered:

2015 Acceptance Rate*: 100%i

8. University of North Carolina - Pembroke

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is a public, master’s-level university founded in 1887. UNCP is part of the University of North Carolina system and is one of the most diverse universities in the nation. They offer 41 undergraduate programs and 17 graduate programs.

The Department of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke takes pride in helping to prepare professional nurses in North Carolina and beyond through teaching, research, and community service. The MSN program offers three potential specialty areas: Nurse Educator, Clinical Nurse Leader, and Rural Case Manager.

Graduate Programs Offered: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

2015 Acceptance Rate*: 100%i

9. Prairie View A&M University

Prairie View A&M University is a member of the Texas A&M University System. They are committed to academic scholarship, professional development, and supporting student success. PVAMU serves over 9,000 students in a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including nursing.

Prairie View A&M University College of Nursing has been helping nursing students prepare for the future for 95 years. They offer both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, including Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs in Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Administration, and Nurse Education.

Graduate Programs Offered:

2015 Acceptance Rate*: 100%i

*For nursing master’s students in Fall 2015; acceptance rates for Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and other nursing programs are not included.

graduate nursing schools with high acceptance rates

What Are My Chances of Getting into Nursing School Graduate Programs? 

While that depends on the nursing school you are considering, as well as the strength of your application, there may be a few ways to best evaluate your chances of being accepted into a certain top nursing school or program. Try these tips:

  • Check the school’s website  to learn more about published acceptance rates. However, keep in mind that these may change from year to year, depending on factors like how many students applied to the program.
  • Call admissions and ask. A representative of the nursing school you’re interested in may be able to give you more information on acceptance rates.
  • Understand that not all programs have the same acceptance rate, even if they are at the same nursing school. For instance, an MSN program and a DNP program at the same university may have different acceptance rates. Be sure to inquire about the particular program you are interested in.

How Might I Potentially Improve My Chance of Acceptance to Graduate Nursing School?

General good sense applies, when seeking admission to a graduate nursing program. Be sure to carefully read and understand all admissions requirements, which may include:

  • A Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited nursing school
  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA, often at least 3.0
  • A current, valid nursing license
  • Nursing practice experience
  • Prerequisite courses, as specified
  • And other potential requirements

Doesn’t Quite Fit the Bill?

You may need to take additional steps before applying to nursing school. Of course, even if you meet all the requirements, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re in.

Some nursing programs may receive hundreds of applications and are only able to accept a percentage of them. So, it may be wise to diversify your applications, and make sure you are applying to more than one potential program. A general rule of thumb is to apply to somewhere between three and eight graduate schools, though some students may apply to more or less.  

In the table below are a few ideas from partner universities to get you started.

Graduate Nursing Schools With High Acceptance Rates

Graduate SchoolDegrees Awarded2015 Acceptance Rate
1. Clemson UniversityMSN, DNP100%
2. Northwestern State University of LouisianaMSN, DNP, Post-Master's Certificate Programs100%
3. Nebraska Wesleyan UniversityMSN, MSN/MBA Dual Degree, Post MSN Certificate100%
4. Regis UniversityMSN, Post BSN to DNP, Family Nurse Practitioner, DNP, More100%
5. Southeastern Louisiana UniversityMSN, DNP, Post-Master's Certificate Programs100%
6. Monmouth UniversityDNP, MSN, RN to MSN, MSN in Forensic Nursing98.8%
7. University of Central ArkansasMSN, DNP100%
8. University of North Carolina - PembrokeD.Min, PhD100%
9. Prairie View A&M UniversityMSN, DNP100%

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[i] usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/the-short-list-grad-school/articles/2016-08-16/10-graduate-nursing-programs-with-the-highest-acceptance-rates

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