Best Nursing Schools in Minnesota

Updated on January 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • Minnesota is home to over 50 nursing schools offering undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Top-rated nursing schools in Minnesota prioritize factors like admissions selectivity, affordability, and career outcomes.
  • Some of the top nursing schools in Minnesota include Augsburg University, Bethel University, and College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University.
  • The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities is ranked among the top 10 nursing schools nationwide.

Minnesota is home to over 50 nursing schools that offer a mix of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow down the best programs in the state. This guide profiles 10 of the top-rated nursing schools in Minnesota based on factors like admissions selectivity, affordability, and career outcomes.

Augsburg University

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 73%

Tuition: $42,840 per year

Avg Salary: $75,030


Augsburg University’s nursing school offers several graduate-level nursing programs including a Master of Arts in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. The school has a strong focus on community health and leadership. Students can specialize in areas like transcultural nursing and gain hands-on experience through clinical placements at major hospitals and clinics.

Bethel University

Location: Saint Paul, MN

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 86%

Tuition: $40,300 per year

Avg Salary: $72,500


Bethel University takes an interdisciplinary approach to nursing education at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Nurses can earn their BSN, MSN, or DNP through the nursing school. Bethel emphasizes Christian values and service-focused care. The excellent faculty includes seasoned nurse practitioners and researchers.

College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University

Location: Saint Joseph, MN

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 71%

Avg SAT Score: 1210

Tuition: $49,533 per year

Avg Salary: $70,500


This prestigious Catholic university provides one of the top BSN programs in Minnesota. Nursing students get unparalleled clinical experience across diverse settings like the Mayo Clinic and local clinics serving underserved communities. Small class sizes and caring professors give graduates the foundation to pass the NCLEX exam and thrive in nursing careers.

Concordia College

Location: Moorhead, MN

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 72%

Avg SAT Score: 1160

Tuition: $44,550 per year

Avg Salary: $67,900


Concordia College prides itself on developing nurses devoted to compassionate, patient-centered care. Undergraduates can earn their BSN through an accredited, rigorous program emphasizing evidence-based practice and hands-on learning. Graduates consistently score higher than average on the NCLEX licensing exam.

Metropolitan State University

Location: Saint Paul, MN

Rating: 6/10

Acceptance Rate: 66%

Tuition: $8,130 per year

Avg Salary: $75,500


Metropolitan State University provides flexible and affordable RN-to-BSN and Master’s in Nursing programs for working nurses. The curriculum delivers advanced clinical training and leadership skills to help nurses move up in their careers. Graduates praise the diversity and expert nursing faculty.

Minnesota State University – Mankato

Location: Mankato, MN

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 77%

Tuition: $9,394 per year

Avg Salary: $70,300


At Minnesota State Mankato’s well-respected nursing school, students develop top-notch clinical judgment and patient assessment abilities. The BSN and MSN programs utilize high-tech simulation labs and challenging coursework to ready graduates for real-world practice.

Minnesota State University – Moorhead

Location: Moorhead, MN

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 66%

Tuition: $8,935 per year

Avg Salary: $63,700


Minnesota State Moorhead’s nursing graduates consistently rank among the top for NCLEX pass rates in the state. The accelerated BSN can be completed in just 16 months. MSN students benefit from a convenient combination of online and in-person classes. The nursing curriculum emphasizes rural healthcare and technology-enhanced instruction.

St. Catherine University

Location: Saint Paul, MN

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 71%

Tuition: $44,790 per year

Avg Salary: $82,500


With over a century of history in nursing education, St. Kate’s is one of Minnesota’s most prestigious nursing schools. Students in the BSN, MSN, and DNP programs train across the largest healthcare system in the state. Graduates especially praise St. Kate’s focus on leadership, innovation, and community-based care.

St. Olaf College

Location: Northfield, MN

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 71%

Avg SAT Score: 1300

Tuition: $49,990 per year

Avg Salary: $67,800


St. Olaf College’s selective BSN program emphasizes a global perspective on nursing and healthcare. Students complete clinical placements locally and internationally to understand care across cultures. With a 10:1 student-faculty ratio, graduates receive highly individualized instruction to prepare them for advanced practice.

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Rating: 10/10

Acceptance Rate: 52%

Avg SAT Score: 1360

Tuition: $27,908 per year

Avg Salary: $75,000


The University of Minnesota’s nursing school is ranked among the top 10 nationwide. Undergraduate students can choose an accelerated or traditional BSN while future nurse leaders pursue MSN and DNP degrees full or part-time. With prestigious faculty and cutting-edge resources, graduates excel as advanced practice nurses across the country.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best nursing schools in Minnesota for someone wanting to become an RN?

The top BSN programs in Minnesota include Augsburg University, Bethel University, Saint Catherine’s University, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Concordia College, Minnesota State University Moorhead, St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. These schools provide comprehensive undergraduate training for students new to nursing.

Which nursing program in Minnesota is easiest to get into?

Among the schools profiled, Metropolitan State University and Minnesota State University Mankato have the highest nursing program acceptance rates at around 66-77%. Their more flexible admissions requirements make these affordable public schools easiest to gain entry to in Minnesota.

How long does it take to complete a nursing degree in Minnesota?

A traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) takes four years to complete. Accelerated BSN programs for students who already have a bachelor’s degree take around 16 months. Graduate nursing degrees like the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) typically require two to three years of study.

What Minnesota nursing school has the highest NCLEX pass rates?

Minnesota State University Moorhead’s pre-licensure BSN program reports exceptional NCLEX-RN licensure exam pass rates around 95-100%. Graduates are exceptionally well-prepared for professional nursing practice.

Is the University of Minnesota nursing school the best in the state?

Yes, the University of Minnesota’s Master’s Entry Program in Nursing and other undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees are widely considered the top nursing programs in Minnesota. UMN consistently ranks among the nation’s top 10 nursing schools for its world-class research facilities, prestigious faculty, and breadth of program offerings.

What is the total cost of nursing school in Minnesota?

Nursing school tuition in Minnesota ranges from about $27,000 per year at public universities to over $49,000 annually at private colleges. Factoring in textbook, supplies,housing and other fees, expect total undergraduate BSN costs from $100,000-$200,000 and MSN expenses around $30,000-$50,000.

What is the easiest nursing school to get into in Minnesota?

Among the profiled Minnesota nursing programs, Metropolitan State University likely has the most flexible undergraduate admissions requirements. Factors like prior college GPA and entrance test scores tend to be lower compared to other schools.

Does Minnesota offer good nursing jobs and salaries after graduation?

Yes, Minnesota offers exceptional nursing career prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average registered nursing salary in Minnesota exceeds $80,000 annually. New nurses can expect starting salaries around $60,000 with abundant job openings at major hospitals and clinics.

How competitive are nursing school admissions in Minnesota?

Admissions to top nursing schools like the University of Minnesota and private colleges are highly competitive with acceptance rates around 50-70%. Applicants should target 3.5+ college GPAs and high test scores to be competitive. Public and less selective nursing programs generally have acceptance rates exceeding 75%.

What global nursing opportunities do Minnesota nursing schools provide?

Several top nursing schools like St. Olaf College, St. Catherine University, and Augsburg University offer global study abroad or clinical opportunities. These allow nursing students to gain cross-cultural care perspectives through international medical mission trips, traineeships, or semester exchanges at partner universities worldwide.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.

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