BACKGROUND: With the growing aging population, continual increase of the number of the old, and increase of cancer survival rate, palliative care is being considered a global public health issue. As a core force for the sustainable development of the nursing field, undergraduate nursing students’ knowledge about and attitudes toward palliative care will directly affect the quality of care for dying patients in the future. OBJECTIVE: To investigate undergraduate nursing students’ knowledge about and attitudes toward palliative care and analyze their influencing factors. METHODS: This descriptive and cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2016. A total of 1200 Chinese undergraduate nursing students were randomly selected as the survey subjects using stratified sampling method. The revised palliative care quiz for nursing (PCQN) and a self-designed questionnaire were used to measure students’ knowledge and attitudes. RESULTS: The mean score of the revised PCQN was 16.10+/-5.04. Only a few respondents (19.8%) expressed desire to work in palliative care in the future. The findings show that knowledge and school, grade, gender, birthplace, and religious beliefs have statistically significant impacts (P<0.01). In addition, logistic regression analysis showed that talking about death and caring for dying family members can have a significant influence on students' attitudes (P<0.05). CONCLUSION: At present, Chinese undergraduate nursing students' knowledge about palliative care is minimal with the majority holding negative attitudes. Thus, the development of an effective end-of-life care program for nursing students is critical.