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U.S. News rankings: USC keeps top spot in online graduate nursing programs

Two USC student nurses stand at the bedside of a patient

For the third straight year, the University of South Carolina’s College of Nursing is ranked No. 1 nationally for its online master's in nursing program, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual online programs rankings released Tuesday (Jan. 24). 

From the dean: “Being recognized for the third year in a row with the No. 1 ranking is a testament to our world-class faculty and staff and the quality of our students and their successes. We continue to have an urgent need for additional nurse practitioners, nurse educators, and other advanced roles in nursing to meet the health care workforce needs, and our flexible and high quality online graduate programs are meeting the needs of our nursing graduate students and their current and future employers.” — College of Nursing Dean Jeannette Andrews

Why it matters: Online graduate programs are particularly important in nursing because they offer flexibility to the many students who already are practicing in the field. USC’s success in this area demonstrates both its academic excellence and its commitment to providing flexible degree pathways.

More nursing kudos: The College of Nursing has placed in the top 10 of the online master's rankings for the past nine years. The college also is in the top 1 percent in the country for pass rates on the NCLEX, the national exam for licensing nurses.  

What they’re saying: “As the state’s flagship university, we are committed to meeting South Carolina’s health care needs by providing high-quality education programs to prepare nurses and other health care professionals to serve our state.  Being named the nation’s top online nursing master's program for the third straight year shows the university’s dedication to flexibility and accessibility, including the myriad pathways we offer for students to reach their goals.” — USC President Michael Amiridis.

Other USC highlights:

  • The nursing school also ranked No. 14 in the administration/leadership category in online graduate nursing programs in the U.S. News rankings.
  • The College of Education improved to No. 16 in the rankings of the best online master's in  education programs, moving up four spots from the previous year.
  • USC Aiken moved up 22 spots to No. 65 in the best online bachelor’s programs.