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History of the School

Connected to the Past, Guided Toward the Future

Columbia University School of Nursing was founded in 1892 with Anna C. Maxwell serving as its first director. Maxwell set the standard for nursing education and service for decades. It was Maxwell’s unwavering belief in the power of nursing that opened new horizons for the profession and paved the way for today’s nurse clinicians.

In 1956, Columbia Nursing became the first nursing school in the country to award a Master's degree in a clinical nursing specialty and is home to the nation’s oldest graduate program in nurse midwifery. The school was among the first to develop the clinical doctorate in nursing, the DNP. It is also the first nursing school to be designated a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Advanced Practice Nursing.

Columbia Nursing has clinical partnerships with more than 200 practice sites throughout New York City, and affiliations with major New York medical centers including NewYork-Presbyterian. This solid clinical training ground gives our students invaluable experiential learning, and opportunities to actively contribute to the health of individuals and communities, a critical complement to our rigorous classroom curriculum. Columbia Nursing is one of the largest recipients of NIH funding on a per capita basis among nursing schools. The school conducts research that is recognized as a leader in improving health outcomes, health systems, and health policy.

Today, Columbia Nursing continues to redefine nursing education through a unique combination of academic rigor, extraordinary nursing scholarship, and unparalleled opportunities for nursing graduates.