8 Best Nursing Schools in Oklahoma – 2024 Rankings

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

Nursing schools in Oklahoma offer both traditional campus experiences and online programs designed for students who are juggling family and work obligations. After you graduate and attain your RN license, you can expect to make $76,920 a year on average. The employment of nurses in the Sooner State is expected to grow by 11.93 percent in the next decade, and your OK license will allow you to work in other states as well since Oklahoma is a member of the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact. Keep reading to learn about the 8 best nursing schools in Oklahoma for 2024.



(After closely assessing all nursing schools approved by the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing, based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the best accredited nursing schools in Oklahoma offering BSN programs.)

1. University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City

About Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing: The Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing is located within the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences complex in Oklahoma City. When this nursing school was founded in 1911, it was a two-year program but later went on to become one of the first nursing schools in OK to offer a four-year baccalaureate degree. The Ziegler College of Nursing, which also happens to be the largest nursing school in the Sooner State, is known for its excellent community outreach programs, its cutting-edge research, and the high quality of its clinical nursing instruction. The college also manages the Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, which studies innovative, community-based solutions for aging in place.

The Health Sciences Center is the largest concentration of health care providers in the state. Nursing students work side by side with medical students and colleagues preparing for other health care professions in a state-of-the-art simulation lab where computerized manikins replicate human disease symptoms with remarkable verisimilitude. Clinical rotations primarily take place at hospitals and other health care networks affiliated with OU Medicine such as the OU Medical Center, which is the only Level 1 trauma center in the state of Oklahoma, Children’s Hospital, the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center and the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Oklahoma Cancer Center.

Financial Aid: The Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing administers more than 25 scholarships, which are awarded both in the spring and the fall. To qualify, students must meet specific eligibility requirements and have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file with the university’s Office of Financial Aid. The FAFSA form will also be used to determine eligibility for federal grants and loans.

2. University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond

About UCO Department of Nursing: "U.S. News & World Report" calls the University of Central Oklahoma the best public university in the Sooner State. Its Department of Nursing was started in 1969 after the university merged with a two-year nursing training program offered by Baptist Memorial Hospital in Edmond. Class sizes are small, which gives students the opportunity to build close relationships with their nursing instructors. If you’re interested in a nursing program where instructors and administrative staff go out of their way to give you any extra support you may need to tackle learning challenges, you should definitely learn more about this school.

Student nurses develop hands-on skills such as IV administration and urinary catheterization in a sophisticated simulation laboratory setting that’s located in the 56,000 square-foot STEM Teaching and Research Center. Once nursing students gain confidence, they participate in clinical rotations at acute care facilities, community health clinics, and other health care settings throughout Edmond, Oklahoma City, and other parts of central OK.

Financial Aid: Ten scholarship opportunities are available to OCU students in undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. Nursing students may also qualify for full or partial tuition waivers. Students whose parents’ income is $50,000 or less may be eligible for the Oklahoma Promise program. Other needs-based federal loans and grants may be forthcoming as well, depending upon the information in students’ FAFSA forms.

3. Oklahoma City University - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City

About Kramer School of Nursing: Though Oklahoma City University is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, it welcomes students of all religious backgrounds and strives for diversity. The university’s Kramer School of Nursing is committed to helping remedy the critical shortage of baccalaureate nurses throughout central Oklahoma and other parts of the southwest. In addition to more traditional graduate and undergraduate programs, the Kramer School has a unique program that enables any student with an RN license to complete a BSN without participating in clinicals even if that student graduated from an unaccredited school. The Kramer School also maintains a unique satellite campus at Duncan Regional Hospital in nearby Stephens County, and up to 25 nursing students are accepted each year to pursue their nursing education goals there.

The Kramer School is proud of its reputation as a center for evidence-based research; published faculty investigations include concept mapping for nurses, technology-mediated learning, and cultural perspectives on nurse/physician communications. A new 52,000 square-foot nursing building with classrooms, computer labs, and a student lounge opened in January 2011. The Meinders Simulation Center has seven fully equipped hospital room replicas stocked with computerized manikins, where aspiring nurses can learn how to administer life-saving clinical treatments. Students go on to complete clinical rotations at hospitals and other health care settings throughout the greater metropolitan Oklahoma City area.

Financial Aid: The Kramer School of Nursing’s Kramer Way Scholarship funds provides nearly $500,000 to students enrolled in its undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The school administers 10 other endowed scholarships specifically for nursing students, too. Duncan Regional Hospital also provides funding for up to 20 competitive scholarships. Nursing students may also qualify for needs-based federal aid depending upon the information they submit in their FAFSA forms.

4. Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee

About OBU College of Nursing: "U.S. News & World Report," "The Princeton Review" and the website Great Value Colleges all give Oklahoma Baptist University high rankings. OBU is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, and while you do not need to be a Baptist to enroll in its College of Nursing, Baptist teachings—particularly dedication to Christian service—will play an enormous role in the education you’ll receive here.

The College of Nursing is headquartered in the 32,000-square-foot Jane E. and Nick K. Stavros Hall, which contains classrooms, a 109-seat lecture hall, and a computer lab, as well as spaces for students to study, meet and interact with instructors. Stavros Hall also houses a high-tech simulation facility with high fidelity and medium-fidelity labs equipped with 24 hospital beds and a birthing suite, a health assessment skills lab, and a home health room. Students use the simulation facility to gain experience with the types of health care scenarios they will be encountering most frequently once they’re working as professional nurses. Clinical rotations are scheduled for a wide range of clinical settings, including medical/surgical wards, pediatrics, obstetrics, and community health care agencies.

Financial Aid: OBU’s Office of Student Financial Services administers three scholarships, specifically for nursing students. Nursing students are also encouraged to apply for scholarships from external sources. By filling out and submitting a FAFSA form, students may also qualify for federal Title IV grants and loans.

5. University of Tulsa, Tulsa

About University of Tulsa School of Nursing: The University of Tulsa was founded in 1882 as the Presbyterian School for Girls. It retains a loose affiliation with the Presbyterian Church, but Christian principles don’t underlie its educational philosophies to any great degree. The School of Nursing at the University of Tulsa focuses on graduating professionals who can hit the ground running when they start working in hospitals and community agencies throughout Tulsa and other parts of northern OK. If you’re looking for a nursing program that emphasizes critical thinking and practical solutions to health challenges, this could be the right school for you.

The nursing school is part of the Oxley College of Health Sciences, and students pursuing nursing education here have many opportunities to work with their colleagues who are studying Rehabilitative Science or Communication Sciences and Disorders, which are the other two majors in this college. A high-fidelity simulation lab that’s equipped with hospital beds, bedside tables, infant warmers, exam tables, infusion IV pumps, wall-mounted otoscopes, ophthalmoscopes, and computerized manikins gives students plenty of chances to practice assessment and intervention skills. Clinical rotations are scheduled at Hillcrest Medical Center, St. John Health Center, St. Francis Health System and other hospitals and outpatient clinical settings throughout the greater Tulsa metropolitan area.

Financial Aid: Though the nursing school doesn’t administer any scholarships specifically for nursing students, the university itself offers a number of institutional scholarships for which nursing students can apply. University of Tulsa scholarships and grants can only be applied toward tuition expenses. The University of Tulsa is a Title IV participant, so students may also qualify for needs-based federal financial aid by submitting a FAFSA form.

6. Southern Nazarene University, Bethany

About SNU School of Nursing: The School of Nursing at Southern Nazarene University is another one of the nursing colleges in Oklahoma that has a religious affiliation: The university is closely associated with the evangelical Church of the Nazarene, and its atmosphere is decidedly Christian. The nursing curriculum integrates evidence-based science with Biblical truth, which emphasizes that nursing is a service vocation founded on a belief in the dignity and sanctity of every human being.

The nursing school offers many opportunities for hands-on learning, where students can hone their clinical skills and critical thinking abilities. Nursing students are invited to participate in the university’s SIMS (SNU in Missions) program, which involves visits to health care clinics in Kenya and other international locations. Clinical rotations take place at hospitals and other health care agencies throughout Oklahoma City, whose medical practices are in accordance with Nazarene principles.

Financial Aid: SNU’s School of Nursing administers 11 scholarships specifically intended for aspiring nurses. Nursing students are also encouraged to apply for grants, loans, and other types of financial aid determined on the basis of need through the submission of a FAFSA form.

7. Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Bartlesville

About School of Nursing @ OKWU: The School of Nursing at Oklahoma Wesleyan University offers nursing programs in Oklahoma that provide professional health care training within the context of Christian principles. If you’re interested in becoming a generalist who can rise to any challenge that’s thrown your way throughout your subsequent career as a nurse in a hospital or clinic setting, this school has a lot to offer. In addition to core science classes, coursework at both the graduate and undergraduate level includes learning about ethical decision-making processes and exploring the spiritual dimensions of nursing.

Nursing students have the opportunity to pursue educational experiences in international locations like Ireland, Germany, Greece, and Israel. Students learn foundational bedside skills in simulation labs. Clinical rotations take place in hospitals and other health care settings in Bartlesville, Tulsa, and other communities in northern OK that deliver the types of health interventions that meet OKWU’s ethical standards.

Financial Aid: Though the nursing school doesn’t sponsor any nursing-specific scholarship funds, Oklahoma Wesleyan University itself offers an assortment of scholarships for which nursing students may be eligible. Nursing students may also qualify for federal grants and loans upon submission of a FAFSA form to the Office of Student Financial Services.

8. Northwestern Oklahoma State University - Alva, Alva

About Division of Nursing @ NWOSU: Northwestern Oklahoma State University’s Division of Nursing is focused upon remedying the chronic shortage of skilled nursing staff throughout northwestern Oklahoma. Its Family Nurse Practitioner degree has been ranked as one of the top nursing degrees in OK by the higher education ranking website CollegeAtlas.org. Nursing education here utilizes Jean Watson’s theory of Caring Science as the conceptual framework for all didactic and clinical teaching.

A low student/faculty ratio encourages personalized learning experiences. Nursing students can choose to attend classes on either the main NWOSU campus in Alva or on one of the university’s satellite campuses in Enid and Woodward. A high-tech clinical simulation lab lets nursing students grasp what it feels like to work in a clinical setting before they begin their clinical rotations. Clinical rotations utilize Vance Air Force Base as well as hospitals, clinics, schools, and other health care providers throughout the Northwest Oklahoma region.

Financial Aid: Northwestern Oklahoma State University offers 15 nursing-specific, endowed scholarships under the auspices of its Northwestern Foundation and Alumni Association. Nursing students may also be eligible for the university’s institutional scholarships. Scholarships at Northwestern are not automatically renewed each year, so students seeking continuing support will have to reapply. Submitting a FAFSA form to the Financial Aid Office may also help nursing students qualify for federal loans and grants.


Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

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