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.
#1: University of Massachusetts Medical School | Worcester, MA
UMass Medical School has been consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the leading medical schools in the nation for primary care education. UMMS’s graduate school of nursing, accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), offers master’s degrees, post-master’s certificates, and doctoral degrees. It stands out as the only publicly funded nursing school in the commonwealth with a sole focus on graduate education. It is no surprise, then, that their direct-entry master of science in nursing (MSN) program has boasted an exceptional NCLEX pass rate of 97.6% over the past seven years.
#2: Quinnipiac University | Hamden, CT
With a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio that beats the national average of 15:1, Quinnipiac University allows students closer interaction with faculty. USA Today recently named Quinnipiac one of the top ten places to earn a nursing degree in the country. The school’s flagship bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program graduates over 100 students annually from its traditional four-year program; another 30-35 students graduate from the accelerated BSN program each year. Quinnipiac also offers an online BSN for registered nurses and a full slate of graduate degrees and certificates.
#3: Northeastern University | Boston, MA
Northeastern’s nursing school, part of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, provides students active interaction across Bouvé’s entire faculty. The school maintains a strong focus on research and an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare. Designated by the National League for Nursing (NLN) as a Center of Excellence™ (COE), the school’s prelicensure BSN and MSN graduates maintain a consistent NCLEX pass rate of over 90%. Along with traditional and accelerated baccalaureate programs, the school offers several graduate nursing programs including MSN, doctor of nursing practice (DNP), and PhD.
#4: Yale University | New Haven, CT
One of the first university schools to prepare nurses under an educational rather than apprenticeship program, Yale School of Nursing (YSN) has educated health professionals since 1923. YSN maintains a stellar NCLEX pass rate of 94-97% in its entry-level MSN program, and the school is ranked #19 in graduate nursing by U.S. News & World Report. Yale’s 320 nursing students interact with over 100 faculty members and 1,000+ preceptors focused solely on graduate nursing education. It is also ranked among the top nursing schools based on research funding received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
#5: Simmons College | Boston, MA
Simmons’ low student-to-faculty ratio allows it to concentrate on strong, clinically-based baccalaureate, master's, post-master's, and doctoral programs in nursing. Simmons students can also take advantage of Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, which features 21 renowned medical and academic institutions in their immediate backyard. The school graduates 140-200 students annually from its BSN program, with an NCLEX pass rate of 91.7% over the past seven years. Simmons’ direct-entry MSN program graduates an additional 30-50 students annually, and it has boasted an NCLEX pass rate of 100% since 2009.
#6: University of Connecticut | Storrs, CT
Founded in 1942, UConn’s School of Nursing is the only research-focused nursing university in New England. Recently designated by the NLN as a COE, the school also ranks among the top 20 public universities in the United States. Moreover, its Homer D. Babbidge Library is considered among the nation’s 30 best research resources, housing over 2.5mm volumes in its ever-expanding database. The school provides bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. UConn graduates over 200 students each year from its BSN programs with a sturdy NCLEX pass rate of 92-96%.
#7: Sacred Heart University | Fairfield, CT
Drawing from its Catholic traditions, Sacred Heart University’s College of Nursing places a strong focus on community and service. Its state-of-the-art laboratory, furnished with a high-tech patient simulation system, lets students practice in a realistic and risk-free environment. Smaller classes and hands-on experience have helped the college’s BSN students consistently pass the NCLEX licensure exam at a rate of 90-100%. Sacred Heart also offers several graduate nursing programs, including MSN specializations for aspiring clinical nurse leaders (CNLs), nurse managers, nurse educators, and family nurse practitioners (FNPs).
#8: Boston College | Chestnut Hill, MA
The William F. Connell School of Nursing is geared towards global diversity and social justice. The college’s nursing students enjoy a liberal arts education and receive a range of cultural healthcare perspectives, with access to six international locations. Approximately 100 BSN and 40 MSN students graduate from the school’s prelicensure programs each year, with a collective NCLEX pass rate of ~95% over the past seven years. The school offers a wide range of graduate programs, including certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) and pediatric or psychiatric nurse practitioner (NP).
#9: Fairfield University | Fairfield, CT
Ranked #9 in the country by RNtoBSN.org for their hybrid RN-to-BSN program, Fairfield University’s graduate nursing program is also listed among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In fact, their Master’s in Nursing Leadership (LEAD) program was recently recognized for its excellence by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies also offers both traditional and accelerated BSN tracks, and graduates have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a rate of ~90% over the past six years.
#10: Regis | Weston, MA
The Regis School of Nursing and Health Sciences has received three consecutive COE designations by the NLN since 2008. With small class sizes and four high-tech simulation labs, the school provides its students hands-on, experience-oriented nursing education. Enrollees in the direct-entry MSN program have passed the NCLEX exam at a stellar rate of 96.7% over the past seven years. The school also offers a traditional four-year BSN program, a complete slate of full-time and part-time graduate nursing courses, and a DNP program.
The accredited schools below also offer highly regarded nursing programs in the New England area.