Top 10 HBCU Nursing Programs

HBCU nursing programs are top producers of nurses. Find out more about HBCU nursing schools and why you should attend one.
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Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) help empower and equip Black students to become highly skilled nurses.

HBCUs stand as beacons of opportunity, championing the importance of representation and paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system. Traditionally, HBCUs offer Black students more resources and a supportive atmosphere. Many HBCU nursing degrees emphasize direct care and advocacy work in underserved communities.

The best HBCU nursing programs hold accreditation and feature experienced faculty, a well-rounded curriculum, and high NCLEX pass rates. In the rankings below, we highlight some of the top HBCU nursing programs that excel in these areas.

Advancing Representation

HBCUs play a vital role in diversifying healthcare teams and improving healthcare outcomes. The U.S. Census Bureau data reveals that the U.S. population comprises 75.5% white, 13.6% Black or African American, 6.3% Asian, and 19.1% Hispanic or Latino individuals. However, the nursing profession remains predominantly white with 80.6% representation and 19.4% people of color.

Healthcare disparities, particularly in infant and maternity care, disproportionately affect people of color. As of 2021, Black people and American Indian and Alaska Native populations have shorter life expectancies compared to white individuals. Additionally, Black infants face twice the mortality rate of white infants, and maternal mortality rates have increased since 2019. In 2021, the maternal mortality rate for Black women reached 70%, a significant rise from 44% in 2019.

Top HBCU nursing schools are uniquely positioned to address these disparities by producing diverse nursing professionals and offering culturally relevant curricula. They are instrumental in transforming nursing teams and promoting equitable healthcare outcomes.

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Why Attend an HBCU for Nursing?

Attending an HBCU for nursing provides a nurturing and inclusive environment that helps prepare graduates for healthcare careers. Not only do HBCUs offer an affordable education, but they also provide culturally competent training to address healthcare inequalities and supportive environments.

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    Affordable Education

    HBCUs have played a significant role in creating a Black middle class, and they continue to offer affordable tuition, scholarships, and generous financial aid options. According to the UNCF, over 70% of HBCU students qualify for Pell grants. Additionally, recruiters actively seek talent from HBCUs.
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    Supportive Environment

    HBCUs prioritize academic support, providing students with greater resources and assistance compared to non-HBCUs. These institutions also boast strong alumni associations, fostering a supportive network for students.
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    Inclusive Community

    Rooted in the Black student experience, HBCUs create an inclusive atmosphere where students can celebrate their culture. The vibrant campus life offers opportunities to develop leadership skills, engage in Greek life, join professional associations, participate in athletics, and participate in social and faith-based student organizations.

Top 10 HBCU Nursing Programs

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University of the District of Columbia

Located in the heart of the nation's capital, UDC offers an associate of applied science in nursing degree (ASN) and a RN-to-BSN degree program. With a focus on preparing nurses to provide exceptional care to diverse patient populations, UDC provides a transformative educational experience.

The ASN program boasts an impressive 80% pass rate and includes courses in nursing pharmacology and comprehensive practicums in mental health, maternal newborn care, and adult health. Graduates of the RN-to-BSN program emerge prepared to excel in today's racially and ethnically diverse society.

UDC's commitment to student success is demonstrated through its Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accreditation, affordable tuition, online classes with hands-on practicums, and opportunities for professional development, scholarships, and internships.

Prairie View A&M University

With a legacy spanning over a century, PVAMU is a renowned Texas institution offering exceptional nursing education. The College of Nursing at PVAMU provides many programs, including a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), a master of science in nursing (MSN) with specializations in nurse education, nurse administration, or family nurse practitioner, and a doctor of nursing practice. Nurses with an RN license can pursue the ACEN-accredited RN-to-BSN degree online, completing it in 12 months.

PVAMU's nursing programs hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the ACEN, and the Texas Board of Nursing. With innovative learning platforms like virtual teaching rooms and patient scenario labs, PVAMU ensures a comprehensive and cutting-edge nursing education.

Bowie State University

Founded in 1865, BSU's Department of Nursing offers a comprehensive nursing program designed to prepare students for in-demand careers in the healthcare field. With a focus on hands-on experience, nursing students at Bowie State have the opportunity to participate in internships and use a state-of-the-art 12-station simulation lab.

The program offers a three-year BSN degree with concentrations in public health informatics and technology or health services administration. BSN students will also complete 960 clinical hours, ensuring they are well-prepared for future roles.

Nursing students can join the Student Nurse Association, which provides access to scholarships, service learning projects, and student leadership opportunities. Bowie State's nursing program is accredited by the ACEN, ensuring high-quality education.

Bluefield State College

The School of Nursing and Allied Health at Bluefield State College offers comprehensive nursing programs, including the RN-BSN bachelor's degree and associate degrees in nursing. Students can also pursue a bachelor's degree in imaging science at the same time as their RN-BSN as a "2+2 program, " both fully online.

The BSN Program is a nationally accredited RN-to-BSN program designed for working registered nurses, as all nursing courses are online. With a strong emphasis on clinical experience across all stages of the lifespan, students develop the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their profession.

To further enhance their education, students have opportunities to connect with their local hospitals and healthcare organizations to gain valuable hands-on experience and network with professionals in the field.

Hampton University

Hampton University's School of Nursing, established in 1891, offers various nursing degrees, including on-campus and online options. Undergraduate programs include a four-year BSN, an accelerated two-year RN-to-BSN program, and a one-year RN-to-BSN program.

At the graduate level, the school offers MSN degrees with specializations in nursing education, nursing administration, and family nurse practitioner. The nursing school also offers an online Ph.D. in nursing and a minor in gerontology with a four-credit internship.

With a commendable track record, the school boasts an impressive average NCLEX-RN passing rate of 95.37%. All nursing programs are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and the CCEN.

Claflin University

Since 2016, Claflin University has been providing nursing education. It has been a leading HBCU for over 150 years. The Department of Nursing at Claflin University offers a fully online RN-to-BSN degree program and an MSN program.

Students have the flexibility to choose a part-time option, allowing them more time to complete their studies. The BSN program includes clinical experiences that enable students to develop evidence-based practices and work with demographic data.

As an MSN student, you can specialize in either nurse leadership or family nurse practitioner. Claflin University's nursing programs aim to prepare students for nursing leadership roles and shape the future of nursing.

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

FAMU, an HBCU located in Florida's capital city of Tallahassee, offers the oldest continuing baccalaureate nursing program in the United States at an HBCU.

Among these programs are online nursing degrees, including an RN-to-BSN program that can be completed in three semesters, a traditional four-year BSN program, and a two-year MSN program. Graduate students have the opportunity to specialize in adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner and women's health nurse practitioner.

FAMU's STRIKE Simulation Healthcare Center provides valuable hands-on experience for graduate students. The School of Nursing at FAMU has a rich history and is committed to preparing exceptional nurses who deliver evidence-based and culturally sensitive care to diverse populations.

Oakwood University

Established in 1896 by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Oakwood University offers a Christian-focused education for aspiring nurses. Students can pursue either a traditional four-year BSN degree or an RN-to-BSN program.

The BSN program requires completion of 127-133 credits, including general education courses emphasizing spiritual education. Students engage with topics such as the life and teachings of Jesus, fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and the gift of prophecy.

Students participate in a nursing seminar and capstone project in their senior year. Oakwood University's nursing program aims to prepare graduates to provide holistic care across the lifespan in various healthcare settings.

Delaware State University

Delaware State University's Wesley College of Health and Behavioral Sciences offers a comprehensive nursing program. Students can pursue a four-year BSN degree and two MSN degrees with concentrations in global leadership or nursing education. The program also provides options for RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN programs for those with an RN license.

Clinical practice opportunities are available in simulation laboratories and healthcare settings across the tri-state area. Delaware State University's nursing program is fully approved by the Delaware Board of Nursing and ACEN accredited.

With a 76% NCLEX pass rate, the program prioritizes academic excellence and prepares students to become competent and compassionate nurses.

North Carolina Central University

NCCU offers flexible BSN programs to cater to a diverse range of aspiring nurses. First-year students can pursue a traditional four-year BSN degree or accelerate their studies with prior college credits.

NCCU also provides an accelerated BSN program for individuals holding a non-nursing bachelor's degree, as well as an RN-to-BSN program for registered nurses seeking to further their education. Additionally, veterans can enroll in the BSN veteran program.

NCCU's nursing programs prioritize collaboration, integrity, and cultural sensitivity while preparing students for the evolving healthcare system. With a strong emphasis on practical experience, NCCU partners with healthcare facilities throughout the state to offer clinical opportunities aligned with students' goals.

Additional Resources for Students in HBCU Nursing Programs

American Academy of Nursing

The American Academy of Nursing promotes health policies that champion nursing leadership. The Academy holds an annual policy conference, connects nurse leaders through networking events, and publishes a bi-monthly journal that provides peer-reviewed articles for nursing leaders.

Black Nurses Rock

More than 174,000 nurses and students belong to Black Nurses Rock, a nursing organization founded in 2014. By becoming a Black Nurses Rock member, you can find a mentor through the Goalmate Matchup Program and access continuing education opportunities needed to maintain licensure.

The National Students Nurses' Association

The NSNA supports the professional development of nursing students with a nationwide membership of 60,000. Through biannual meetings, students stay informed on nursing trends, legislative issues, and healthcare developments. The NSNA Foundation provides annual scholarships to undergraduate nursing students to support their education.

The National League for Nursing

The NLN is dedicated to advancing excellence in nursing education and building a strong, diverse nursing workforce. They drive initiatives to enhance the nurse educator workforce, promote a diverse nurse workforce, and shape public policy on nursing education.

National Black Nurses Association

The NBNA serves as a collective voice for over 200,000 Black registered nurses, practical nurses, and nursing students. Licensed nurses can benefit from access to continuing education hours, which help them renew their credentials and stay updated in their profession. Nursing students can also find scholarships and award opportunities.


Page last reviewed on September 8, 2023

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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