The Philippine-Spain war in the 1890s sparked the nursing practice in the country, with women tending to wounded soldiers; it was also a catalyst for the establishment of the Philippine Red Cross. Nursing education and training were introduced by Americans in 1907 as a result of American missionary doctors recognizing a lack of manpower in their activities. Nursing education began at the Iloilo Mission Hospital.

The official nursing profession began in 1920, as did the first nursing board exam. Nursing education in the Philippines has undergone various reforms and regulations over the years, leading to the country’s current nursing standards. Because its nurses are known as the most compassionate in the world, the country has become a major source of nursing professionals who are in high demand all over the world.

Nursing education in the Philippines transitioned from competency-based to outcomes-based in 2017, as mandated by the Commission on Higher Education, further honing nursing students’ practical skills. Clinical experiences are incorporated early in their education, as are administrative, management, and research training. Nursing education lasts four years, with postgraduate studies available throughout the country.

Listed below are some of the best nursing schools in the Philippines.

Top Nursing Schools in the Philippines

1. University of Santo Tomas

The University of Santo Tomas is a Catholic university that is known for being Asia’s oldest university and for being one of the first to establish a nursing college. The Commission on Higher Education granted it autonomous status in 2002, and it is home to several national treasures. The ASEAN University Network-Quality Assurance has accredited it, and the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) has granted it level IV accreditation, the highest level of recognition a private agency can bestow.

As one of the best nursing schools in the Philippines, the University of Santo Tomas – College of Nursing has summer terms and offers first years practical training. Under the supervision of hospital staff and college instructors, practical training is conducted at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital. In collaboration with local health units, visits to the community and other health centers are also arranged. The first year’s tuition fee is US$1,137, the second and third years’ tuition fees are US$1,900, and the fourth year’s tuition fee is US$1,740.

2. Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan

When it was granted university status in 1958, Ateneo de Cagayan has been renamed as the Xavier University – Ateneo of Cagayan. The university, which is located in Northern Mindanao, has a reputation for providing excellent professional and leadership training. The university had to open more courses and accommodate more students as a result of the growing demand for education in the rapidly developing region.

The college of nursing was established in 1988 and re-opened in 2002. In collaboration with the Sisters of St Paul de Chartres and the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro, students from the college of medicine are accommodated for practical exposure at the university’s hospital, the Maria Reyna – Xavier University Hospital. Through its office of international cooperation and networking, the university also has partnerships with international organizations.

Its College of Nursing continues to be one of the best-performing nursing schools in the country, with graduates consistently ranking in the top ten on licensure exams. Its mission is to provide high-quality nurses to the country’s most underserved areas, so it organizes community immersion and health-related programs in these areas. Tuition ranges from US$930 to US$1170 per year on average.

3. Benguet State University

The university, which started as La Trinidad Farm School in 1916 providing elementary education, underwent major changes and reformation before becoming a state university in 1986. It is currently classified as a SUC Level IV institution, the highest level of categorization given by the Commission of Higher Education to State Universities and Colleges (SUC).

The university is heavily invested in research and has previously collaborated on research projects with international organizations. The research collaboration has expanded to include international partners’ research grants and training opportunities.

The nursing program has a promotion and retention process in which students must meet certain criteria to progress to the next level of their education. Tuition for all undergraduate programs is free because it is a state university.

4. The University of the Philippines – Manila

In response to the growing demand for professional studies such as medicine, law, engineering, and applied sciences, the University of the Philippines was founded in 1908 on a recommendation to the Philippine Commission. The university has expanded to include eight constituent universities across the country. Its eighth established university is the University of the Philippines – Manila.

Its College of Nursing was founded in 1948 as a result of Julita Sotejo’s thesis at the University of Chicago, which was approved by the university. The master’s program in nursing began in 1955, and the doctoral program began in 1979. The University of the Philippines – Manila is among the top nursing institutions in the Philippines, with the College of Nursing having a 100% passing rate on nursing licensure exams since its inception.

The university has clinical affiliations with the Philippine General Hospital, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Medical Center, and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, as well as community immersion with the Manila Health Department and the Province of Cavite. Undergraduate programs are free of charge, while graduate programs cost an average of US$325 per semester.

5. Cebu Normal University

The Philippine Normal Schools is yet another one of the best nursing schools in the Philippines. It is a state university run by civil American teachers when it was founded in 1901. In 1902, the Cebu Normal University was founded, along with other normal schools in Ilocos, Bicol, Iloilo, and Mindanao. The university began as a provincial high school, which opened in 1925 and was converted to a tertiary institution in 1954. Its nursing program, along with other health-related programs, first opened in 1978.

Since its inception, the College of Nursing has collaborated with Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center to provide education and clinical experience to its students. It is among the top-performing schools in nursing education having a high national passing rate for its nursing graduates in the licensure exams. Tuition for undergraduate programs is free; for master’s programs, tuition ranges from US$80 to US$200 per year; and for the entire doctoral program, tuition is US$835.


I hope this article on the best nursing schools in the Philippines was informative and insightful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.