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Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in Maryland

12 Min Read Published September 26, 2022
Nighttime over Baltimore Maryland on the water

Maryland is home to some of the nation’s top hospitals, and they often have connections with local schools. For nurses looking to start their careers, Maryland is an excellent location. The state offers high employment and high pay for nurses.  

Before nurses can begin their careers, they need to become certified. Not only does a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) satisfy the requirements to start certification, but many hospitals are starting to require a BSN for entry-level positions. 

Also, earning a BSN in Maryland is also a great way to begin your journey to becoming a nurse in Maryland as programs tend to satisfy the state’s specific nursing requirements


This is a nurse panel-reviewed selection based on a number of factors including,

  • Reputation
  • NCLEX pass rate
  • Tuition
  • Acceptance rate, when available
  • Only ACEN or CCNE accredited schools are eligible 

Nurse Panel

Our selection panel includes 5 Registered Nurses with over 55 years of combined nursing experience and 7 nursing degrees.

  • Tracy Everhart, MSN, RN, CNS
  • Tyler Faust, MSN, RN
  • Chaunie Brusie, BSN, RN
  • Kathleen Gaines MSN, RN, BA, CBC
  • Leah Helmbrecht, BSN, RN

Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 10 Maryland nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.

Show Me Maryland Nursing Programs

Top 10 Nursing Schools in Maryland 

Each nursing school has its own set of benefits, and the best college for you could depend on your long-term nursing goals. The best way to find the right school is to look at the options and see if what they’re offering matches your interests.

In particular order, here are our top nursing schools in Maryland.

1. University of Maryland Global Campus

Annual In-State Tuition: $7,704 | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Created specifically for working adults and service members, the University of Maryland University College specializes in online education. That’s why their RN to BSN program is among the top you’ll find not just in Maryland, but in the nation. For in-state students who already are registered nurses (RNs), this is an affordable way to earn your BSN at your own pace. 

2. Coppin State University

Annual In-State Tuition: $12,544 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 84.62%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

Despite being over 100 years old, Coppin State University feels like a newer, more innovative school than others on this list. Part of this is because they offer an excellent online BSN completion program, as well as a bridge and an accelerated degree program. Of course, most nursing students will be most interested in their traditional BSN. In-state students are able to take advantage of incredibly low tuition rates, and while the NCLEX pass isn’t the highest for grads, Coppin’s nursing program is still a high-quality option. 

3. Johns Hopkins University

Annual Tuition: $60,480 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 93.18%

Traditional: No

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

Not only is Johns Hopkins University the first ever research university in America, but it’s often considered the gold standard for research and science. Here’s the bad news: there are no traditional BSN programs offered by the university. However, they do have a robust graduate program for nurses interested in a master’s of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctoral nurse practitioner (DNP). While the cost is steep, there truly is no academic institution that measures up to the history and quality of Johns Hopkins.  

4. Morgan State University

Annual In-State Tuition: $4,004 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 44.44%

Traditional: Yes

Online: No

Accelerated: No

Bridge: No

Much like Johns Hopkins, Morgan State University is probably best known for the quality of its graduate nursing programs. However, they do offer a BSN that can be completed on campus. While the NCLEX pass rate isn’t impressive, the cost is sure to attract the attention of future nurses. Also, if you’re already sure you’ll want to continue your education, Morgan State could be an excellent option for each level.

5. Notre Dame of Maryland University

Annual Tuition: $39,250 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 75%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

Among the most historic women’s colleges in the nation, Notre Dame of Maryland University has always been a driver for social change. While Notre Dame of Maryland has traditionally been a women’s college, men are now also welcome to apply – that is, unless you’re interested in a four-year BSN. The traditional BSN is only offered through the women’s college, so only women may apply but men may transfer into the program in their junior year. However, the RN-BSN and accelerated BSN options are open for both women and men. 

6. University of Maryland

Annual In-State Tuition: $11,233 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 86.62%

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

You might not know what a terrapene is, but you’ve probably heard of the University of Maryland at some point. This is arguably the state’s best all-around university, and it’s certainly the most prominent part of Maryland’s university system. Similarly, their BSN program is among the top in the state and nation – all at a low in-state cost. Because of the quality of the program, getting accepted can be more difficult than other schools on this list (although not all schools disclose their acceptance rate into programs).

7. Frostburg State University

Annual In-State Tuition: $6,974 | NCLEX Pass Rate: N/A

Traditional: Yes

Online: Yes

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

Consistently ranked as a top school in terms of quality and affordability, Frostburg State University doesn’t have the national recognition it deserves. Of course, with a low in-state cost, it’s likely that locals are going to be most interested in earning a degree from Frostburg. While Frostburg doesn’t disclose the NCLEX pass rate for recent grads, their traditional BSN is still an excellent deal for in-state students. A highlight of their program is the nurse mentorship where each student will be paired with a mentor to shadow and learn from. 

8. Stevenson University

Annual Tuition: $53,218 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 84.4%

Traditional: Yes

Online: No

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

Villa Julie College re-branded as Stevenson University back in 2008, but they’ve maintained the quality they’ve developed over the years. One of the biggest changes to Stevenson is the growth of its online program; interestingly, there is no online option for nursing students. But there is a traditional BSN program, which is the most common program for most nursing students anyway. The cost might seem steep, but Stevenson is a private school and most students get some form of financial aid.

9. Salisbury University

Annual In-State Tuition: $27,458 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 94.79%

Traditional: Yes

Online: No

Accelerated: Yes

Bridge: Yes

Salisbury University boasts an incredibly high graduation rate and a strong on-campus community, so they tend to attract students who are interested in the full college experience. Nursing students, of course, will get their own experience while working toward their BSN. The traditional BSN follows a cohort system and only accepts around 72 students each year, so any applicants to Salisbury should apply to other schools as well, just in case. However, if accepted, students will get to enjoy a relatively low in-state tuition and a high NCLEX pass rate for grads. Salisbury University offers several nursing programs including, 

  • Traditional BSN

  • RN to BSN 

  • RN to MSN

  • Second Degree BSN

  • MSN

  • DNP

10. Towson University

Annual In-State Tuition: $24,460 | NCLEX Pass Rate: 85%

Traditional: Yes

Online: No

Accelerated: No

Bridge: Yes

Towson University is located on a large plot just outside of Baltimore, giving students a mix of urban and suburban living. On-campus, students interested in nursing will be able to complete all their prerequisites prior to applying to the program. The traditional BSN, the most common program for nursing students, has consistently seen graduates pass the NCLEX at a higher rate than the Maryland average, with 2021’s pass rate at over 85%. Another bargain for in-state students, Towson’s prime location can set students up for a nice local job after graduating. Moreover, Towson University is recognized as one of the best values in higher education by Money magazine. TU is also proudly recognized as one of America’s Top 100 public institutions by U.S. News & World Report.

4 Key Factors That Affect Nursing School Tuition

Keep in mind that colleges and universities reserve the right to change tuition rates at any time. The yearly tuition rates listed here will vary for each individual student depending on various factors including,

  1. Transfer credits

  2. Completed competency exams

  3. Amount of credits taken per year

  4. Financial aid awards

Check with the specific school for current tuition rates.

Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

  • The annual mean wage for a nurse in Maryland was $82,660, slightly above the national mean wage of $77,600. 

  • In terms of employment, Maryland falls right on the national average of nurses per capita, higher than states like California, Texas, and New York. This means that Maryland is a high employment, high-paying state for nurses.  

Next Steps:

Whether you’re interested in the low in-state tuition or the quality of the program, you’ve likely narrowed your list down to a few schools. You’re well on your way to starting your BSN!

Here are the next steps to take:

  • Contact each school. College admissions can seem like a nightmare. Fortunately, each school has an entire department to help! Get in touch with each school’s admissions office to learn more about getting into the school and the nursing program. One important note: admission into the school does not guarantee admission into the nursing program. Be sure to find out the specifics of getting into the nursing program. 

  • Get your application materials together. No matter where you apply, there are materials you’ll need, including SAT/ACT scores, your GPA, college entrance essays, and letters of recommendation. 

  • Send your applications. Once you have your materials together and you’ve talked with different schools, it’s time to apply! Even if you know which school you want to go to you should always be applying to multiple schools. You never know if one school could offer you a huge scholarship to draw you there.

Important considerations when comparing schools: 

No two schools are alike, and just because one has a high regional or national ranking doesn’t mean the school (or nursing program) is right for you.

Before you choose a school, you should consider these factors:

  • Annual tuition and total program cost

  • Financial aid, scholarships, and grants offered

  • Cost of living on-campus or in the area

  • Distance from hospitals

  • School and nursing program acceptance rate

  • Length of the program (accelerated or traditional)

  • Type of program (traditional or online)

  • Program outcomes

  • School’s accreditation (regional and national)

Why you should care about the nursing program’s accreditation

While it’s important, accreditation often goes overlooked by students new to the college application process. Accreditation essentially proves the quality of a program, and a school’s accreditation could impact your chances of getting federal financial aid and even a job as a nurse.

Prior to applying to a college, ensure that it’s accredited by one or both of these accrediting bodies:

Every school on our list meets the standards of one of these bodies, and there are other Maryland schools that meet these standards not included on our list.

Show Me Maryland Nursing Programs

Getting a License in Maryland

Maryland is part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC) which means that nursing licenses in Maryland work in most other states (and vice versa). To be part of the eNLC, Maryland is required to meet certain standards for licensing nurses. 

To get a license in Maryland, you’ll need to:

  • Complete courses required to be NCLEX eligible (BSN programs satisfy this need)

  • Take and pass the NCLEX-RN

  • Complete a criminal background check


Not only does Maryland employ more nurses per capita than larger states, but it has a higher median wage for nurses than the national average. Also, thanks to Maryland’s proximity to large cities and eNLC membership, graduates from Maryland schools have a high chance of finding employment locally, or in another eNLC participating state. For locals and students from across the nation, Maryland has plenty of excellent nursing school options that will lead to a long, successful nursing career.



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