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.
#41: Castleton University | Castleton, VT
Castleton University’s nursing department offers a CCNE-accredited baccalaureate degree in nursing with two tracks: a four-year prelicensure BSN degree program, and an adaptable part-time RN-to-BSN transition program that is available in an online / hybrid model. Castleton's nursing facilities include a virtual hospital and simulation lab that has eight medium-fidelity simulators, two pediatric simulators, and a medication dispensing unit. The student-to-faculty ratio in the virtual hospital is 8:1, allowing for concentrated and focused training.
#42: University of Hartford | West Hartford, CT
UHart’s College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions (ENHP) chiefly offers graduate programs in nursing. The college endeavors to create flexible programs for adult learners, facilitating advanced study for existing nurses. ENHP offers a part-time MSN with a focus on nursing education, nursing management, or public health, as well as a post-master’s certificate in teaching for nurses. While the nursing program does not accept freshmen, there is an RN-to-BSN degree completion option available for existing registered nurses on a part-time basis.
#43: Framingham State University | Framingham, MA
The nursing department at Framingham State offers a single undergraduate program in nursing, which is only available to registered nurses pursuing their BSN completion. At the graduate level, Framingham State has MSN concentrations in nursing education and nursing leadership. MSN-educated nurses can also complete a post-master’s certificate in either area. Graduate students can pursue several specialty certifications at the end of their studies. These include the ANCC’s Nurse Executive certification, a Clinical Nurse Leader certification offered by the Commission of Nurse Certifications (CNC), and the NLN’s Certified Nurse Educator certification.
#44: College of Our Lady of the Elms | Chicopee, MA
Elms College’s Department of Nursing graduated its first class in 1982. In 2013, it was reformed into the School of Nursing and became the first school at Elms College. The school provides entry-level, degree completion, and advanced preparation nursing programs. The most popular offerings are the regular and accelerated BSN programs, an MSN in nursing education or management, a dual-degree MSN/MBA track, and several degree completion options for registered nurses. In 2014, Elms College introduced a DNP program with specializations as a family nurse practitioner or an adult-gerontology acute care practitioner.
#45: NHTI, Concord’s Community College | Concord, NH
NHTI’s nursing students enjoy an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio in clinical settings. The college offers two associate’s degree pathways: a traditional two-year ADN program and a 12-month LPN-to-RN completion option. NHTI’s ADN graduates have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a rate of ~89% over the past decade. The college also offers a unique Legal Nurse Consultant certificate program, which is approved by the American Bar Association. It is specially designed for experienced RNs that want to combine their clinical expertise with specialized legal knowledge, enabling them to serve as consultants to the legal and healthcare professions.
#46: Keene State College | Keene, NH
Keene State College developed its bachelor’s degree program to meet the future demand for BSN-educated nurses in New Hampshire, per the Institute of Medicine’s recent report. The first class of nursing students was admitted in 2012 and is currently awaiting graduation. The college offers two BSN tracks accredited by the CCNE: a traditional four-year prelicensure program and an RN-to-BSN degree completion option. The latter is designed for working professionals, with most courses offered during evenings and weekends.
#47: Franklin Pierce University | Rindge, NH
Franklin Pierce’s RN-to-BSN degree completion program is specifically designed for registered nurses that need a flexible schedule to manage work and other commitments. Courses are either offered through an in-class / online hybrid model or 100% online. The MSN program at Franklin Pierce was fully accredited by the ACEN in 2014. Like the BSN program, it caters to existing nurses, offering three tracks based on educational background: BSN, ADN plus non-nursing baccalaureate, or ADN only. MSN students can specialize in nursing education or nursing leadership.
#48: Norwich University | Northfield, VT
The Norwich undergraduate nursing program started in 1961 with a two-year associate’s degree. An RN-to-BSN program was added in 1978, and Norwich graduated its first class of four-year bachelor’s degree students in 1999. Today, the Norwich University School of Nursing offers a traditional BSN degree and a completely online MSN program. Nursing students at Norwich gain clinical experience from the school’s affiliations with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, University of Vermont Medical Center, several rural hospitals, and a variety of community settings.
#49: St. Vincent’s College | Bridgeport, CT
Founded in 1905 as the St. Vincent’s Hospital Training School for Nurses, St. Vincent’s College has graduated generations of nurses and other healthcare professionals. Through its close relationship with St. Vincent’s Health Services, the college provides students valuable hands-on experience and learning opportunities. St. Vincent’s offers both day and evening versions of its associate’s degree program, as well as a completely online RN-to-BSN curriculum. ADN students have scored a roughly 92% pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past two calendar years.
#50: Brockton Hospital School of Nursing | Brockton, MA
An integral part of Signature Healthcare, Brockton Hospital School of Nursing (BHSN) is the only hospital-based nursing program in the state of Massachusetts. Originally established in 1897, BHSN has graduated over 2,600 nurses throughout its storied history. The school strives for diversity and offers several nursing diploma pathways, including a two-year day program and a four-year part-time program on weekends and evenings. Approximately 90% of BHSN graduates have passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam on their first try over the past eight years. Additionally, the school’s affiliation with Fisher College allows these graduates to transition seamlessly into Fisher’s RN-to-BSN program.
The accredited schools below also offer highly regarded nursing programs in the New England area.