Navigating Nursing Abroad: Top Nursing Universities for International Students in the US

Posted on October 30, 2023 By Mathew Berg

Have you ever dreamt of advancing your nursing career to new heights? Exploring nursing education abroad can be a game-changer. Especially when considering the allure of US-based institutions.

The draw of nursing schools for international students in the US isn't just about quality education—it's about global experiences and endless opportunities. Let's dive into why this might be your next best move!

The Landscape of Nursing Education in the US

The Landscape of Nursing Education in the US is as diverse as it is thorough, providing a solid foundation for those aspiring to become proficient healthcare professionals. At its core, it offers three primary educational paths:

  • a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN),
  • an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN),
  • a diploma from an approved nursing program, each tailored to meet diverse patient needs

Types of Nursing Programs Available

A four-year BSN degree delves into leadership, interpersonal communication, and clinical nursing.

The two-year ADN degree covers nursing fundamentals, providing a quicker route to becoming a registered nurse, with further specialization available through a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)​.

Licensing Requirements for International Students

International students must obtain a Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) nursing Professional Report, which analyzes nursing credentials earned outside the US.

This report is crucial for securing licensure and employment, ensuring compliance with the specific requirements of individual state boards of nursing.

Top Nursing Universities for International Students

A few names consistently top the list when searching for the best nursing schools for international students. Let's explore these outstanding institutions and what they offer:

The University of Pennsylvania

Overview Of The Nursing Program:

The nursing program at the University of Pennsylvania, also known as Penn Nursing, is known for its exemplary academic and research quality. 

It’s a space where students learn from leading figures in nursing research, education, and practice, which helps Penn Nursing stay among the top nursing schools globally​.

Special Provisions For International Students:

International students have access to Penn’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), which helps with immigration benefits and integration initiatives and provides support throughout their journey at Penn​​.

Documents Required for Admission:

International applicants with RN licenses outside the US must provide a complete education course-by-course evaluation report and results from the Qualifying Exam.

Johns Hopkins University

Overview Of The Nursing Program:

Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is globally recognized, ranking high nationally and internationally for its master’s and DNP programs​​.

Special Provisions For International Students:

International students can access the Office of International Services, Career Lab, and merit-based scholarships. Need-based aid is for US citizens and permanent residents only. Post-graduation, students on F-1 visa require employer sponsorship to stay in the US​.

Documents Required For Admission:

  • Admission requires a transcript evaluation (a notable CES nursing evaluator) for degrees earned outside the US, except in English-speaking Canada. 
  • Also required are TOEFL or IELTS scores for non-native English speakers and fulfillment of prerequisite coursework for F-1 visa seekers​​.

With its prestigious nursing program and supportive environment for international students, Johns Hopkins aligns with reputable NACES members for admission, making it one of the best nursing schools for international students.

University of California, San Francisco

Overview Of The Nursing Program:

The UCSF School of Nursing is recognized among the best nursing schools, dedicated to pushing the boundaries of nursing science to improve human health and healthcare. 

They offer various programs, including Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD, DNP, and advanced nursing focus programs​​.

Special Provisions For International Students:

International students are advised to have sufficient funds to cover travel expenses to the university, tuition fees for the entire term, living expenses, and the return fare to their home country​​. 

Additionally, the UCSF International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) assists international scholars and students with visa matters related to their programs of study, research, or work at UCSF​.

Documents Required for Admission:

International students usually must provide educational transcripts, proof of English language proficiency, financial proof, and other relevant documents.

UCSF is one of the best nursing schools in the USA for international students, offering a supportive environment and various programs to cater to different nursing career aspirations.

Columbia University

Overview Of The Nursing Program

Columbia University School of Nursing offers a Masters Direct Entry (MDE) program for those new to nursing, alongside other advanced programs, focusing on improving patient care​​.

Special Provisions For International Students

International students in the MDE program are welcome, with financial aid available for international PhD students. However, MDE students can’t access federal loans or specific scholarships but can look into private lenders or external grants​​.

Documents Required for Admission

Admission requires TOEFL scores for those from non-English instruction institutions and a transcript evaluation. If applicable, a nursing credential evaluation.

Columbia University is among the best nursing schools in the USA for international students, offering a nurturing environment and the necessary support for a smooth educational journey in nursing.

Application Process for International Students

When you're an international student hoping to get into the best nursing schools for international students, here's a concise breakdown of what you'll encounter:

  • Admission Requirements: Typically, you'd need a high school diploma or equivalent, English proficiency scores (like IELTS or TOEFL), and relevant nursing prerequisites.
  • Credential Evaluation Service: Most schools ask for a credential evaluation to ensure your transcripts align with US standards. This helps universities understand your academic standing.
  • Visa Requirements And Process: After gaining admission, you'll need an I-20 form from your school to apply for an F-1 student visa. Attend a US embassy interview, and with approval, you're on your way!
  • Scholarships And Financial Aid: Many top nursing schools offer scholarships specifically for international students. Research each school's financial aid page or contact their international student office for opportunities. Every bit helps!

Final Words:

So, are you ready to leap?
Studying nursing in the US can be a game-changer for your career. With top-tier schools and a world of experiences waiting, there's no better time to consider it. To all the future nurses reading this: trust your instincts, embrace the journey, and remember, big dreams often start with bold moves!

Start Now



Educational Records Evaluation Service helps Non-US educated individuals to receive their US equivalences with our credential evaluation reports.

Contact us

Tue - Fri: 10:00 to 16:00 ( PST )

4773 Mangels Blvd, Fairfield, CA 94534, USA.

© 2024 Educational Records Evaluation Service. All rights reserved.

|Privacy Policy |Cookie Policy | |Terms and Conditions