MSN, DNP programs rise in U.S. News & World Report rankings

UABSON building

By Pareasa Rahimi

The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing continues to strengthen its national reputation as a leader in nursing education as reflected in the 2024 U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Graduate Schools” rankings. The School’s Master’s Program is among the top 10, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program is among the nation’s top 15, and eight graduate specialties across administration, leadership and nurse practitioner education are ranked in the top 10.

For 2024, both graduate program rankings jumped several spots, with the Master of Science in Nursing ranking No. 10, up from 15 in 2023 and the Doctor of Nursing Practice ranking No. 13, up from 18 in 2023. The School’s graduate programs are not only among the highest ranked nationally, but they are the highest ranked in Alabama.

“We are proud to be recognized for excellence in educating the next generation of nurse leaders, providing them with the knowledge and skills that can help on their path to career advancement and excellence in further developing the nursing discipline as both an art and a science,” said UAB School of Nursing Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Maria Rodriguez Shirey, PhD, RN, FAAN.

Program rankings are based on a number of data points as well as a reputational assessment by nursing school deans and deans of graduate studies across the nation. Specialty rankings are based solely upon reputational assessments by these nursing education peers. The number of graduate specialties that are ranked jumped from seven in 2023 to eight in 2024.

The School’s eight specialties in the MSN and DNP programs that are ranked are:

  • Master of Science in Nursing Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – No. 7
  • Master of Science in Nursing Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner – No.7
  • Master of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner – No. 7
  • Master of Science in Nursing and Health Systems Administration – No. 8
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Administration/Management – No. 4
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Leadership – No. 5
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – No. 6
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Family Nurse Practitioner – No. 7

“So many things set the UAB School of Nursing and our programs, pathways and specialties apart from other schools. Many of our pathways and specialties are led by faculty who are national leaders and hold national offices or are Fellows in their professional organizations,” Shirey said. “Our talented faculty design unique, innovative, hands-on learning opportunities that provide a world-class education; and the assistance we offer in finding clinical placements for our students among our more than 5,000 clinical affiliates helps ensure students have a place to apply what they are learning in the classroom.”

The 2023-2024 academic year has seen an increase in other rankings as well.

In the U.S. News & World Report 2023 “Best Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs” list, the School’s BSN is ranked No. 9 in the country, up from No. 10 in 2022, making it not only one of the highest ranked BSN programs nationally, but also the highest ranked in Alabama.

“These rankings provide an excellent opportunity to reflect on the great work accomplished by our faculty, staff and students this past year,” said Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN. “I witness every day how hard everyone works to make the UAB School of Nursing the best of the best in nursing education and I could not be more proud that their work continues to be nationally recognized in this way.”

The School also jumped from No. 6 in 2021 into the top five in the nation for National Institutes of Health research funding, ranking No. 2 among public schools of nursing and No. 5 overall for fiscal year 2022, as ranked by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. The School also increased its overall annual research funding across all missions—research, education and practice—to $18 million for fiscal year 2023, an increase of nearly $1 million. The UAB School of Nursing is the highest ranked school in Alabama for NIH research funding.

“All of these rankings are a direct reflection of the dedication of UAB School of Nursing faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters, and I can’t thank everyone enough for what they do to help us remain highly ranked year after year,” Shirey said.

“We also should remember that while our rankings are important, they should not overshadow our School’s commitment to educating nurse leaders who transform health and health care through innovations in education, practice and research at our world class university and academic health center,” Shirey continued. “We should, instead focus on the work of our ground-breaking education, practice and research leaders who continue to diligently pursue the creation of a culture of health for everyone focusing on access to care, health equity and quality health care, especially for our most vulnerable populations.”

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