Best SUNY Schools for Nursing

Updated on January 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • SUNY schools offer excellent nursing programs with high NCLEX pass rates
  • Key factors to consider when evaluating SUNY nursing schools include tuition costs, clinical opportunities, and job placement rates
  • Top-ranked SUNY nursing programs include SUNY Downstate, Binghamton University, and Stony Brook University
  • SUNY schools provide various options such as accelerated bachelor’s in nursing (ABSN) programs and online RN to BSN programs

The State University of New York (SUNY) system has over 60 campuses across New York, many of which offer excellent nursing programs. When evaluating the best SUNY schools for nursing, key factors to consider include the school’s NCLEX pass rate, tuition costs, clinical opportunities, and job placement rates after graduation.

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 2%

Tuition: $9,208 (in-state), $22,548 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $80,000


SUNY Downstate offers an accelerated 15-month BS in nursing for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field. With a 100% NCLEX pass rate and robust clinical opportunities at its academic medical center, SUNY Downstate prepares students for nursing practice across a variety of healthcare settings.

Binghamton University

Location: Binghamton, NY

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 44%

Avg SAT Score: 1315

Tuition: $9,208 (in-state), $24,038 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $70,000


Binghamton University’s Decker School of Nursing is highly selective, with a consistent 100% NCLEX pass rate for first-time test takers. Small class sizes, 6-to-1 student-faculty ratio in clinicals, and early patient care experiences provide a strong foundation for nursing students.

SUNY Polytechnic Institute

Location: Utica, NY

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 66%

Avg SAT Score: 1160

Tuition: $9,208 (in-state), $18,868 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $65,000


SUNY Poly offers direct admission into its nursing program and boasts a 95-98% NCLEX pass rate over the past 5 years. Clinical rotations occur at the nearby St. Elizabeth College of Nursing.

SUNY Buffalo State

Location: Buffalo, NY

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 53%

Tuition: $8,816 (in-state), $18,576 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $68,000


The nursing program at Buffalo State provides early and progressive clinical opportunities. Small class sizes of 24 students support individualized learning. Graduates have a solid job placement rate.

SUNY Plattsburgh

Location: Plattsburgh, NY

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 43%

Avg SAT Score: 1100

Tuition: $8,794 (in-state), $19,594 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $65,000


SUNY Plattsburgh’s 4-year BSN program emphasizes rural nursing and geriatrics, along with concepts like leadership, research, and evidence-based practice. With consistent 90%+ NCLEX pass rates, graduates are prepared for licensure and practice.

Stony Brook University

Location: Stony Brook, NY

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 41%

Avg SAT Score: 1325

Tuition: $9,208 (in-state), $25,524 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $80,000


Stony Brook’s challenging nursing curriculum, rigorous admissions standards (3.5+ GPA average), and high NCLEX pass rate produce clinically skilled nurses ready to deliver exceptional patient care.

Upstate Medical University

Location: Syracuse, NY

Rating: 9/10

Acceptance Rate: 3%

Tuition: $9,310 (in-state and out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $75,000


With a selective admissions process and consistent 100% NCLEX pass rate, Upstate Medical University is one of the top SUNY schools for nursing. Its proximal location to excellent clinical sites enhances student learning.

SUNY Delhi

Location: Delhi, NY

Rating: 7/10

Acceptance Rate: 53%

Tuition: $8,735 (in-state), $17,085 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $60,000


SUNY Delhi’s BSN program emphasizes rural nursing practice and population health. Hands-on clinical experiences prepare graduates to address community healthcare needs in medically underserved areas.

SUNY Brockport

Location: Brockport, NY

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 56%

Avg SAT Score: 1080

Tuition: $8,808 (in-state), $18,758 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $68,000


SUNY Brockport offers direct admission to high school seniors, and students get assigned a faculty mentor for academic support. With a student-faculty ratio of 8:1 in clinicals, students receive individualized guidance at the bedside.

University at Albany

Location: Albany, NY

Rating: 8/10

Acceptance Rate: 58%

Avg SAT Score: 1215

Tuition: $9,208 (in-state), $23,970 (out-of-state)

Avg Salary: $75,000


The University at Albany provides early clinical opportunities and small lab classes (8-10 students). Graduates consistently earn nursing licensure on their first attempt.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the admissions requirements for SUNY nursing programs?

Admissions criteria varies by campus but often includes a certain minimum GPA (ex. 3.0), SAT/ACT scores, completion of prerequisite courses, letters of recommendation, admissions essay and interview. The nursing major is competitive so meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

Which SUNY has the best nursing program?

Based on metrics like admissions selectivity, NCLEX pass rates, graduate salaries and more, some of the top-ranked SUNY programs for nursing include Stony Brook University, Binghamton University, Upstate Medical University and SUNY Downstate Health Sciences. However, many SUNY campuses offer excellent nursing education.

What is the easiest SUNY nursing program to get into?

Comparatively, SUNY Delhi, SUNY Polytechnic Institute and SUNY Brockport have higher acceptance rates into their nursing programs than other SUNY campuses. However, they still maintain excellent NCLEX pass rates and job placement outcomes.

Can I do an ABSN at SUNY schools?

Accelerated bachelor’s in nursing (ABSN) programs allow students who already have a bachelor’s degree to complete a BSN in 12-18 months. SUNY schools offering ABSN options include SUNY Downstate, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, SUNY Delhi and a few others.

How much does nursing school cost at SUNY?

For in-state students, annual SUNY tuition is around $9,200. Additional expenses like textbooks, lab fees, uniforms and health clearance can add a few thousand per year. Out-of-state tuition is roughly 2-3x more expensive.

What cities have the best job outlook for new SUNY nursing graduates?

Many SUNY nursing graduates find jobs in the larger metropolitan areas of New York including New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Binghamton. These regions have multiple large healthcare systems and hospitals that frequently hire newly licensed nurses.

Do I have to be a New York resident to attend a SUNY nursing program?

No, SUNY schools welcome out-of-state applicants to their nursing programs. However, out-of-state students pay significantly higher tuition rates at SUNY schools compared to in-state residents.

Can I work while completing a BSN at SUNY?

Many nursing students work part-time jobs, especially in healthcare roles like nurse tech or aide, to gain valuable experience and supplement their income. However, SUNY nursing curriculums are rigorous so working more than 10-15 hours a week is generally not advisable.

Are there online nursing programs at SUNY schools?

A few SUNY campuses like SUNY Empire State offer an RN to BSN program fully online. This allows registered nurses without a bachelor’s degree to continue working while completing their BSN. However, initial nursing licensure programs require in-person clinical hours.

What NCLEX pass rates do SUNY nursing graduates achieve?

NCLEX pass rates indicate how many nursing graduates pass the RN licensing exam on their first attempt. Most SUNY nursing programs boast exceptional 90-100% NCLEX pass rates, demonstrating their graduates are well-prepared for entry-level nursing jobs.

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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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