For our inaugural rankings, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on over 3,200 nursing schools and campuses throughout the United States. We included the following states within our New England rankings: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. We evaluated each nursing school in the region on three dimensions:
- The institution’s academic prestige and perceived value
- The breadth and depth of nursing programs offered
- Student success, particularly on the NCLEX national licensure exam
We then combined these assessments into an overall score and ranked the schools accordingly. For a detailed description of our assessment methodology and dimension weights, please see here.
#21: University of New England | Portland, ME
UNE educates more Maine students in health professions than any other institution in the state. The Westbrook College of Health Professions offers two accredited nursing programs at the undergraduate level: a four-year BSN and a 16-month accelerated BSN (ABSN). These students are well-prepared for the NCLEX exam; for example, 90.4% of UNE’s 2015 graduates passed on their first attempt. The college also offers a 27-month master of science in nurse anesthesia for aspiring CRNAs. Located on the Portland campus, the college is just minutes from Maine's leading hospitals and clinics, providing students with valuable on-site experiences.
#22: Saint Anselm College | Manchester, NH
In 1949, Saint Anselm College broke its 60-year tradition and allowed courses for female nursing students in the (then) male-only school. Saint Anselm launched a coed nursing department in 1952, which was a precursor to the entire college becoming coed in 1974. It’s no wonder, then, that its nursing program is one of the most selective and respected in New England. BSN graduates have passed the NCLEX exam at a rate of ~93% over the past decade, well above state and national averages. Along with the four-year baccalaureate, the department also offers an RN-to-BSN completion program and a continuing nursing education (CNE) program that organizes regional multi-day conferences.
#23: Southern Connecticut State University | New Haven, CT
SCSU’s Department of Nursing was established in 1969 with a graduating class of 13 students. Today, nursing is among the most popular majors at SCSU: the department graduates approximately 110 BSN students each year, and these aspiring nurses have passed the NCLEX exam at a ~90% rate. The Accelerated Career Entry (ACE) program, in fact, has achieved a 93-100% NCLEX pass rate in every year since 2010. In addition, the most recent graduating class of the family nurse practitioner MSN program displayed a 100% pass rate on the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) exam.
#24: Endicott College | Beverly, MA
Fully equipped nursing laboratories, intensive clinical experiences, and small classes are several of the benefits students enjoy at Endicott. A typical nursing class has between 10 and 36 students, and clinical groups average seven students per instructor. The BSN curriculum includes a minimum of 920 clinical practice hours, for which the school has an affiliation with 60 local healthcare facilities. In the final semester, an experienced preceptor mentors each student during a 144-hour internship. This hands-on instruction has helped Endicott’s nursing graduates to pass the NCLEX exam at an 85% rate over the past seven years.
#25: Colby-Sawyer College | New London, NH
Colby-Sawyer’s School of Health Professions focuses solely on undergraduate degrees in nursing. The BSN program facilitates clinical rotations as early as sophomore year. The school also maintains a strong affiliation with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, New Hampshire's only academic medical center. This partnership provides students attentive laboratory and clinical mentoring by established nurses that are hired on a contract basis to teach alongside faculty. Colby-Sawyer’s nursing graduates have consistently maintained a stellar 93-100% NCLEX exam pass rate in each of the past seven years.
#26: Saint Joseph’s College | Standish, ME
The nursing curriculum at Saint Joseph’s College is based on the school’s philosophy of Christian humanism. The nursing major builds upon the college’s liberal arts foundation, basic and applied sciences, and behavioral and social sciences. Students learn through clinical hours at established hospitals and engage in community health nursing. St Joseph’s graduating class of 50-70 BSN students has achieved an 85% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past seven years. The college also offers flexible online graduate programs, including an MSN that can be combined for a dual degree with a master’s of health administration or an MBA.
#27: Fitchburg State University | Fitchburg, MA
As the first public state university in Massachusetts to offer a nursing program, FSU has a long and distinguished history in nursing education. The school’s facilities include a well-equipped health assessment lab, a state-of the-art clinical simulation lab, and a home care lab. Over the past three years, approximately 95% of first-time NCLEX test takers from FSU have passed the licensure exam. The school also offers an online MSN with a focus on forensic nursing, designed for RNs who wish to pursue advanced leadership positions in the healthcare system.
#28: University of Massachusetts Boston | Boston, MA
UMass Boston is the ninth-largest nursing school in the country and proudly offers the only publicly supported nursing program in the greater Boston area. The school graduates a significant number of racially and ethnically diverse baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral students. UMass Boston is known for its abundant nursing resources, including affiliations with 200+ healthcare organizations and an on-campus Center for Clinical Education and Research. The school graduates over 200 BSN students annually. It also provides MSN tracks for aspiring family nurse practitioners, adult-gerontological nurse practitioners, and adult-gerontological acute care clinical nurse specialists.
#29: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth | North Dartmouth, MA
UMass Dartmouth educates more than 650 students across its undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. Its College of Nursing is the only one to offer MSN, DNP, and nursing PhD programs in Southeastern Massachusetts. At the undergraduate level, UMass Dartmouth has ~100 students in each traditional four-year BSN class; these students passed the NCLEX licensure exam at an 84% rate over the past seven years. The school also offers an accelerated second-degree BSN and an online RN-to-BSN program. Alongside faculty mentors, UMass Dartmouth students can delve into a broad range of research topics including cardiac illness, spinal cord injury, and global community health.
#30: Emmanuel College | Boston, MA
Located in the heart of the Longwood Medical Area, Emmanuel College has a niche focus on educating registered nurses. Emmanuel’s degree completion program combines core baccalaureate courses in English, social science, history, and religion with an advanced nursing curriculum, culminating in a BSN degree. For graduate students pursing an MSN or post-master’s certificate, the college offers two tracks. Nurse educators can prepare for certification by the NLN, and nurse administrators can prepare for certification by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
The accredited schools below also offer highly regarded nursing programs in the New England area.