Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet

The College of Nursing, Villanova University, established in 1953, has been designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing and a Stellar School by the National Student Nurses Association. It's bachelor's and master's programs are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the State Board of Nursing of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as an American Nurses Credentialing Center accredited program in Continuing Education. The nurse anesthesia program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. The ultimate goal of the College is to prepare competent professionals who are ethically oriented, and who are educated in Villanova's proud liberal arts tradition to provide leadership in serving the nursing needs of society at-large.

The College of Nursing at Villanova University, through strong, comprehensive recruitment and outstanding administrative support from the University, has maintained a reputation as a highly competitive nursing program, enrolling a significant number of students of high quality. Of particular note:

  • Nursing education has been a part of Villanova University for over 60 years. Through its promotion of Catholic and Augustinian values, its emphasis on service, social justice and altruism, and its long tradition of academic integrity and excellence, it embodies the philosophy and mission of Villanova University.
  • The College of Nursing programs and its graduates enjoy an excellent reputation for outstanding clinical competence and leadership skills.
  • Graduates of the College are highly sought and superbly prepared for professional careers in the global community.
  • A proportionately high percentage of Villanova nursing graduates assume leadership roles and management positions in local, national and international health care agencies.
  • In all of its programs, the College of Nursing places emphasis on human values and ethical concerns as they relate to health and personal decision making.


  • The College has 49 full-time faculty and 40 part-time faculty. Of the full-time faculty, one is a registered nutritionist and the remaining 46 hold at least a masters degree in nursing; 82% hold doctoral degrees.
  • The Dean is a past president of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Nursing Schools Association (PHENSA), serves on the Board of the Nurses' Educational Funds, Inc. (NYC) and is a Board member of Mercy Health System. She was elected as a Registered Nurse Trustee to the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) International Board of Trustees.
  • The Dean and five faculty members are Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing.
  • A faculty member is a Past-President of the Eastern Nursing Research Society.
  • A faculty member is a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration of the United States Public Health Service.
  • A faculty member is a Claire M. Fagin Fellow/National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence and Eugenie and Joseph Doyle Research Fellow, Visiting Nurse Service of New York.
  • A faculty member has served as the National League for Nursing's advisor to the National Student Nurses' Association.
  • A faculty member serves on the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.
  • A faculty member serves on the board of Sigma Theta Tau International
  • A faculty member serves on the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.


  • The College has established a Center for Nursing Research, a Center for Global and Public Health and the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, as part of a joint research team, received an award from the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to study child Internet victimization.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Blunt received a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Division of Nursing to prepare nurse practitioners to care for patients with disabilities.
  • A team led by Dr. Suzanne Smeltzer has received Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funding to study the impact on faculty of expanded doctoral programs.
  • Faculty members frequently receive a university summer research grant.
  • A faculty member received a grant from the Pennsylvania Higher Education Nursing Association for pedagogical research.
  • Faculty also conduct research in such areas as: intimate partner violence, health care issues faced by people with disabilities, effects of stroke on couples, education of the elderly for heart attack response, and effects of delayed prenatal care among low socioeconomic status Latinas in Texas.
  • The administration and faculty of the college are well published, and provide national and international consultation.



  • There are 716 students are enrolled in the undergraduate program.
  • 26% minority enrollment in undergraduate program.
  • Less than 5% attrition rate among undergraduate students.
  • There are 15 states of origin and the District of Columbia in the Class of 2018 (traditional program).


  • 297 students are enrolled in the graduate program of which 56% are full time (6+ credits/semester); and 44% are part-time and employed full-time in health care and academic organizations.
  • 7% male and 13.5% minority enrollment in graduate program.
  • Five MSN students and one PhD student hold graduate assistantships in the College of Nursing and receive full tuition reimbursement and a stipend and six students receive tuition reimbursement as part of the Tuition Scholars Program.
  • Several students have published in professional journals. Others have given presentations regionally and nationally.


  • <2% of undergraduate nursing students are international students. Countries represented include China, Canada, Korea, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Ghana.
  • 7.4% of graduate nursing students are international students. Countries include Sultanate of Oman, Palestine, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia.


Undergraduate Program

  • The majority of alumni pursue graduate education.
  • The program has been awarded grant funding from the Independence Blue Cross Foundation.
  • Undergraduate program offers opportunities for international study abroad at the University of Manchester for the Sophomore year. There are also short term international opportunities in countries such as Japan, Nicaragua, Ireland, Poland, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Ghana and South Africa in both required and elective courses.
  • The College of Nursing offers a global health minor. Opportunities are also available to pursue minors in related academic disciplines.
  • The NCLEX exam pass rate data can be found here

Graduate Program

  • The MSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.  The Nurse Anesthesia program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.  All nurse practitioner programs are approved by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing.
  • The Program has been awarded several advanced training grants by the Division of Nursing, Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Public Health Service.
  • Approximately 15% of our MSN graduates have completed doctoral study, including several international graduates.
  • Opportunities are available to study abroad through Independent Study.
  • Many graduates have contributed to nursing literature with publications. Others have given professional presentations on a regional and national level.
  • Highly qualified, doctorally prepared faculty, recognized nationally and internationally for their expertise, scholarship and leadership, teach our graduate courses. All clinical faculty are certified nurse practitioners or nurse anesthetists.

Continuing Education Program

  • Villanova University College of Nursing is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, Commission on Accreditation.
  • CE holds approval from the Academy of Sports Medicine and accreditation from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. 
  • Over 3000 nurses and allied health professional participated in continuing education activities during the last academic year.
  • A co-provider agreement continues with Slack, Inc. to provide continuing education credit for three of their nursing journals – Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, Journal of Gerontological Nursing and the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing. 
  • A co-providership agreement continues with GENEIA to offer population health management continuing education.  
  • The MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (COPE), established in 2011, hosts monthly webinars. 
  • COPE is participating in an Independence Blue Cross Foundation program, Healthy Futures Initiative designed as a comprehensive, collaborative approach to making a measurable difference in child wellness addresses three critical components of child wellness: nutrition, fitness and preventive health care.
  • COPE is participating with a Philadelphia YMCA on an Aetna grant to host Wild for Wellness, a program to support exercise and healthy nutrition among 10 – 14 year olds. 
  • Collaboration continues with businesses, organizations and corporations to support the professional development needs of their members.  Continuing education activities were provided for or with seven organizations last year.

Degrees Offered 

BSN for:

  • High School graduates
  • Online RN-BSN completion
  • Adult/Transfer opportunities
  • Second Degree options

MSN with the following concentrations:

  • Nursing Education
  • Primary Care Nurse Practitioner:
    • Adult-Gerontology
    • Pediatric
    • Family
  • Nurse Anesthesia
  • Post-Master's concentrations available:
    • Primary Care Adult-Gerontology, Pediatric or Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Nurse Anesthesia
    • Nursing Education

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

  • The DNP meets the growing demand for advanced practice nurses prepared to lead innovation in nursing practice and health care.


  • The PhD program prepares teacher-scholars for academic careers using a mostly distance learning format


The College of Nursing has over 7000 alumni, 55% of which live in Tri-state area. Our distinguished alumni include:

  • Brigadier General (Ret.) Hazel Johnson, PhD, RN, Chief, U.S. Army Nurse Corps.
  • Rear Admiral (Ret.) Christine Bruzek-Kohler, EdD, RN, FACHE, Former Commander, Navy Medicine West and Naval Medical Center, San Diego, Director, Navy Nurse Corps
  • Dorrie Fontaine, DNSc, RN, FAAN, Past-President, American Association of Critical Care Nurses and S.H. Cabaniss Professor of Nursing and Dean, School of Nursing, University of Virginia
  • Joanne Hambleton, MSN, RN, Vice President, Nursing, Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Mohammed Al-Riyami, Dean, Muscat Nursing Institute, Sultanate of Oman
  • Helen B. Connors, PhD, RN, Jean M. Hill Professor and Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Kansas (University of) Center for Health Informatics University of Kansas School of Nursing
  • Mary Naylor, PhD, RN, FAAN, Marian S. Ware Professor in Gerontology; Director of the Center for Health Transitions, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
  • Madeline McCarthy Bell, BSN, RN, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Gloria Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University
  • Mary E. Duffy, PhD, RN, FAAN, Senior Nurse Scientist, Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Mary Ellen Smith Glasgow, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, Dean, Duquesne University School of Nursing


Villanova graduates are actively sought by employers of nurses in all parts of the country.


  • 90% choose acute care settings for first employment.
  • Significant number of graduates choose employment in the tri-state area.
  • Employers include The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Mayo Clinic, Georgetown University Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania Health System-Penn Medicine, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Duke University Hospital, Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center and University of Maryland Medical Center.


  • Graduates of the Nursing Education concentration are teaching in schools such as Villanova University, Thomas Jefferson University, Drexel University, Temple University, West Chester University, LaSalle University, Widener University, University of Scranton and abroad in the Sultanate of Oman.
  • Graduates of the Health Care Administration concentration are employed as administrators in mid- and upper-level positions in such local institutions as The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Lehigh Valley Medical Center, Presbyterian Medical Center, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Center, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Paoli Hospital and Lankenau Medical Center.
  • Graduates of our nurse anesthesia concentration are employed as nurse anesthetists around the country. Their passing rate on the certification examination far exceeds the national norm. The average first time pass rate for 2009-2013 is 99%.
  • Graduates of our practitioner concentrations are nationally certified as nurse practitioners, and are employed in ambulatory clinics, physicians offices, school health centers and other primary health care settings. For 2013-2014 the FNP, PNP, ANP certification exam first time pass rate was 97%.
  • Several graduates have pursued entrepreneurial avenues and direct successful health care related businesses.
  • There are 38 graduates of our PhD program employed in academic institutions.

Noteworthy Initiatives

  • For 20 years, the Health and Human Values Lecture Series, supported by a grant from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, offers a highly successful program to both the University and community at large.
  • The College assisted the Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor (ADROP) to open Unity Clinic in South Philadelphia, a free clinic for the uninsured, in June 2006, and faculty serve as volunteer clinicians. The Unity Clinic is a practice site for graduate and undergraduate students.
  • The College offers a global health minor.
  • The College offers an accelerated program for the BSN degree for students who already possess undergraduate or graduate degrees in other disciplines.
  • In December 2010, the College of Nursing, after a rigorous process, was selected as a Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program (formerly known as the Fellows/USA Program) site by the United States Peace Corps.