Top 10 Best HBCU Nursing Programs for 2024

10 Min Read Published July 24, 2023
Your Guide to HBCU Nursing Programs |

Every accredited nursing program in the United States provides the education and training necessary to prepare you for a nursing career. Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with nursing programs do so by providing access and education to Black students where roadblocks previously existed.

Though those barriers have been lifted, HBCUs continue offering unique benefits to Black students. HBCU nursing programs open opportunities and build networks for students and alums to overcome generations-old challenges.

There are roughly 43 HBCU colleges with nursing programs for prospective nurses to choose from. Some strictly offer undergraduate degrees, while others have several graduate programs, including Ph.D. and DNP degrees. No matter what type of nurse you want to be, this article will help you find an HBCU nursing school that’s right for you.

What is an HBCU Nursing Program?

Historically Black colleges and universities were founded to educate African American students. Congress defines HBCUs as accredited universities established before 1964 with a mission for African American education, per the Higher Education Act of 1965.

Today, HBCUs offer students of all races the opportunity to achieve higher education and develop skills in their field of study. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund found that despite representing 3% of colleges in the US, HBCUs account for 22% of bachelor's degrees awarded to Black students.

HBCUs with nursing programs offer undergraduate pathways for students to obtain a Bachelor of Nursing in Science (BSN). Many HBCU nursing schools also have programs  for varying educational levels, including:

After earning a BSN and a few years of experience, students may return to HBCU nursing colleges for advanced degrees. Nursing graduate programs include Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) tracks.

Several HBCU nursing programs are high on the list of top nursing programs in the US.

Top 10 HBCU Nursing Programs 

Every HBCU has its own unique history, attributes, and benefits that make it the right school for its students and alums. In selecting the ten best HBCU nursing programs, we kept those characteristics in mind as well as factors specific to the nursing profession. 

The key factors we considered include:

  • NCLEX pass rates
  • Availability of a range of nursing programs for different levels and career aspirations
  • Program cost
  • Availability of online coursework

1. Fayetteville State University – Fayetteville, North Carolina 

Fayetteville State University’s nursing program opened in 1992. Among its benefits, Fayetteville State boasts a 100% job placement rate after graduation. The school offers several types of nursing programs, including:

  • Prelicensure
  • RN-to-BSN
  • Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) Track
  • Online MSN in patient safety and quality

In addition, the school is home to the Collaborative Institute for Interprofessional Education and Practice. This program is a unique partnership between the nursing department, social work, psychology, and the Fort Bragg Veterans Center. It focuses on holistic approaches to behavioral health.

The school of nursing also offers Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, SANE Nurse, training. This training educates healthcare professionals about forensic examinations of clients who experience violence or sexual assault.

  • Tuition:

    • Undergraduate: Resident - $41.67 per credit hour/nonresident - $208.34

    • Graduate online: Resident - $191.00 per credit hour/outside of NC resident - $477.50/non-NC resident $805.75

  • Program Length: 

    • Accelerated BSN: 4 semesters 

    • RN-to-BSN: 2.5 semesters full-time, 5 semesters part-time 

    • Online MSN: 4 semesters 

  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

  • Application Deadline: 

    • Fall: June 30th 

    • Spring: December 1st 

    • Summer I: May 1st 

    • Summer II: June 1st

  • Contact Info: Dr. Sheila Cannon, Associate Dean 

    • Phone Number: (910) 672-1105 

    • Email: 

  • Online Options Available? Yes:

    • Hybrid Accelerated BSN

    • Online or in-person RN-to-BSN

    • Online MSN  

2. Bethune-Cookman University – Daytona Beach, Florida 

The L. Gale Lemerand School of Nursing at Bethune-Cookman University strives to provide a “faith-based environment of academic excellence and transformative experiences that educates and empowers people to seek their own solutions.” This HBCU nursing program also employs the core values of innovation, excellence, and inclusion.

The BSN program’s curriculum helps its graduates become professional nurse leaders who serve, educate, and empower their patients toward optimal wellness. Bethune-Cookman University's three-year NCLEX first-time pass rate averaged 90.50%. 

>> Related: Top ABSN Programs in Florida

3. Albany State University – Albany, Georgia 

Albany State University’s Department of Nursing is part of the Darton College of Health Professions. The school ranks among the best HBCU nursing programs because it offers a range of nursing degrees and certifications, including:

  • Traditional, evening, and hybrid Associate of Science in Nursing
  • Healthcare professional-to-registered nurse bridge programs
  • Online RN-to-BSN 
  • Traditional 2+2 BSN 
  • Accelerated second-degree BSN 
  • Online Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator MSN programs

Though several programs offer online options, students primarily take the traditional BSN program on campus. The school conducts clinical experiences in the clinical skills lab, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, and other facilities in the surrounding area. 

The traditional BSN is a 2+2 program in which students spend their first two years at the university completing the core curriculum and the second two years completing nursing courses. The school’s graduates have achieved an average first-time NCLEX pass rate over three years of 93%.

  • Tuition: Bachelor’s degree program - $2,540 

  • Program Length: 4 years 

  • Accreditation: ACEN

  • Application Deadline: June 1st 

  • Contact Info: Dr. Cathy Williams 

    • Phone Number: (229) 500-2352

    • Email: 

  • Online Options Available? Yes  

4. Grambling State University – Grambling, Louisiana 

Grambling State University offers various nursing programs to prospective students, which include:

  • Pre-nursing programs
  • Traditional BSN
  • Post-licensure RN-BSN
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse Educator
  • Several post-masters certificate programs

The school’s BSN NCLEX-RN pass rate for 2022 was 100%, and the student body has a 78.9% completion rate. Additionally, Grambling State’s job placement rate for 2022 was also 100%. The graduate program also has achieved a 100% job placement rate and a 100% certificate rate.

  • Tuition: 

    • Undergraduate: On-Campus - $7,501.50/non-resident - $12,013

    • Graduate: Commuting resident - $7471.50/commuting non-resident - $11,983 

  • Program Length: 

    • BSN program: 4 years 

    • Master’s programs: 21 months (5 semesters) 

  • Accreditation: Baccalaureate program - CCNE | Master’s program - ACEN

  • Application Deadline: June 1st 

  • Contact Info: Meg Brown, Ph.D., RN, Associate Dean/Professor School of Nursing 

    • Phone Number: (318) 274-2632

    • Email Address: 

  • Online Options Available? Yes, Hybrid nurse educator MSN

5. Southern University and A&M College – Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

Established in 1986, the Southern University School of Nursing is one of the best HBCU nursing programs and currently offers four degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

In addition to the traditional BSN path, the school will introduce an online RN-to-BSN program in the fall of 2023.

The school administration notes that it has produced over 2,500 BSN graduates and takes pride in being one of the nation's largest producers of African American nurses. Its BSN graduates have achieved an average first-time NCLEX pass rate of 87% over the past three years.

  • Tuition: 

    • Undergraduate: Resident - $4,921 per semester/non-resident - $8,596 

    • Online RN-to-BSN: $395 per credit hour

    • Graduate: Resident - $5,611 per semester/non-resident - $8,834 per semester

  • Program Length: 

    • BSN: 4 years

    • RN-to-BSN: 5 semesters

    • MSN: 2 years 

    • Ph.D.: 2.5 years 

    • DNP: 1 year

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: April 1st 

  • Contact Info: (225) 771-3266 

  • Online Options Available? Yes, RN-to-BSN Program only

6. Alcorn University – Natchez, Mississippi 

The Cora S. Balmat School of Nursing at Alcorn State University, Natchez Campus, was founded in 1977. Over the decades, it has graduated entry-level and advanced practice nurses prepared to work in various healthcare settings. The school offers a state-of-the-art learning environment that gives students the academic and hands-on skills needed to provide excellent patient care. 

The undergraduate program encompasses an Associate of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. In addition, the graduate program offers a Master of Science in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.  

  • Tuition: $7,766 per semester

  • Program Length: 

    • Associate of Science: Five semesters 

    • BSN: Four years 

    • RN-to-BSN: Two years 

    • MSN: Five semesters 

    • DNP: Five semesters

  • Accreditation: ACEN

  • Application Deadline: January 31st 

  • Contact Info: Clayton Buck, Enrollment & Recruitment Coordinator 

  • Online Options Available? RN-to-BSN program only

7. Lincoln University of Missouri – Jefferson City, Missouri 

Founded in 1971, Lincoln University’s School of Nursing has become an esteemed and trusted source of top-notch nursing education. The school offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. They also have an RN-to-BSN program designed for RNs looking to continue their education and gain more skills.  

The BSN program offers on-campus classes and some online general education and nursing courses. Graduates’ average first-time pass rate for the NCLEX is 88%, and the BSN job placement rate has been 100% for the last two years. 

  • Tuition: 

    • Undergraduate: Resident - $3,510 per semester/non-resident - $7,125

    • Graduate: Resident - $324 per credit hour/non-resident - $602 

  • Program Length: 

    • Associate of Applied Science: 6 semesters and 2 summers 

    • BSN: 4 years 

    • RN-to-BSN: 1 year

  • Accreditation: ACEN

  • Application Deadline: Rolling 

  • Contact Info: 

    • Phone Number: (573) 681-5421

    • Email Address: 

  • Online Options Available? Hybrid RN-to-BSN program only

8. Prairie View A&M University – Prairie View, Texas 

Prairie View A&M University's College of Nursing has been graduating professional nurses for 100 years. The school's undergraduate program offers a traditional BSN and an online RN-to-BSN program. Graduates from these courses have achieved an 88% average first-time pass rate on the NCLEX.

Prairie View also has an extensive graduate program offering the following degree options:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner MSN
  • Nurse Administration MSN
  • Nurse Education MSN
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice degree

The BSN program is a four-and-a-half-year program based on prerequisite courses at the lower division. You can complete these nursing school prereqs at the main campus or transfer them from another accredited college or university. You must be admitted to the university to declare pre-nursing as a major.

  • Tuition: 

    • Undergraduate: Resident - $5,649.59 per semester/non-resident - $13,437.21

    • Graduate: Resident - $3,996.15 per semester/non-resident - $8,689.32

  • Program Length: 

    • RN-to-BSN: 1 year 

    • BSN: 4.5 years

    • MSN: 42-53 credit hours 

    • DNP: 39 hours plus 1,000 clinical hours 

  • Accreditation: CCNE 

  • Application Deadline: March 1st  

  • Contact Info: 

  • Online Options Available? Yes, RN-to-BSN program only

9. Hampton University – Hampton, Virginia 

Hampton University has the distinction of being the first HBCU to initiate a nursing Ph.D. program with its Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree. Its innovation places it among the leading HBCU nursing programs in the country.

The university offers a traditional in-person BSN and an online accelerated RN-to-BSN track. It also has several programs leading to the Master of Science degree. These include advanced nursing practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner or advanced nursing practice roles in administration or education. 

  • Tuition: $26,198 per year 

  • Program Length: 

    • BSN: 4 years 

    • Accelerated RN-to-BSN: 1 year part-time or 2 years full time

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: March 1st 

  • Contact Info: Darlene Keeton

  • Online Options Available? RN-to-BSN programs only

10. Howard University – Washington, D.C. 

Howard University’s Division of Nursing was established in 1969 with a program of studies leading to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Since then, the school has expanded to include three undergraduate study programs at the baccalaureate level. 

The basic BSN undergraduate track is broken into lower and upper-division programs. This split allows students to complete a robust liberal education curriculum and a concentration in nursing courses. There is also an LPN-to-BSN track and an RN-to-BSN track that is entirely online. 

Howard University is also home to a graduate nursing program for RNs seeking to become Family Nurse Practitioners or Nurse Educators. It offers full and part-time online classes, with the FNP track consisting of 46 semester hours and 720 clinical hours. Comparatively, the Nurse Educator track has 39 semester hours. 

  • Tuition: 

    • Undergraduate: $32,878 per semester 

    • Graduate:  $37,328 per semester

  • Program Length: 

    • RN-to-BSN: 12 months 

    • LPN-to-BSN: 2 years 

    • BSN: 4 years 

    • MSN: 39-46 semester hours

  • Accreditation: CCNE

  • Application Deadline: March 1st 

  • Contact Info: Devora Winkfield

  • Online Options Available? RN-to-BSN | MSN

>> Show Me Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Types of HBCU Nursing Programs


Some HBCU nursing programs offer online lectures and coursework that students may complete remotely. However, all ADN and traditional BSN nursing programs have clinical requirements that students must meet in person. 


Most HBCU BSN nursing programs are on a university campus where students attend in-person classes. However, many in-person programs are “hybrid,” which means they offer some online coursework.


Bridge programs allow RNs or LPNs to earn a BSN without starting from scratch as a freshman. Many colleges and universities factor prior nursing education and professional experience into bridge programs so students can complete their programs faster. 


An accelerated BSN degree is typically for students with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. An ABSN program helps these students earn a BSN without having to start over as a freshman. This degree option allows students to complete their degrees faster than a traditional BSN.

FAQs About HBCU Nursing Programs

  • What is the #1 HBCU for nursing?

    • There are several great HBCU nursing programs in the country. The best one for you will depend on several important factors, such as location, cost of tuition, and the type of BSN program you need based on prior experience.
  • How many HBCUs have nursing programs?

    • There are 43 HBCUs with nursing programs in the US as of 2022, according to The states with the most HBCU nursing programs are Alabama, North Carolina, and Louisiana.
Sarah Jividen
Sarah Jividen Contributor

Sarah Jividen, RN, BSN, is a trained neuro/trauma and emergency room nurse turned freelance healthcare writer/editor. As a journalism major, she combined her love for writing with her passion for high-level patient care. Sarah is the creator of Health Writing Solutions, LLC, specializing in writing about healthcare topics, including health journalism, education, and evidence-based health and wellness trends. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children. 

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