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For our 2018 rankings, the research team at Nursing Schools Almanac collected data on over 3,000 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.

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#1: 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 consistently stellar NCLEX pass rate of 94-98% in its entry-level MSN program, and the school’s MSN and DNP offerings are both highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The university’s 320 nursing students interact with over 100 faculty members and 1,000+ preceptors focused solely on graduate nursing education. Yale is also one of the top recipients of nursing research funding from the National Institutes of Health, averaging $3.5 million annually in grants over the past decade.


#2: 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, 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 MSN program has boasted an exceptional NCLEX pass rate of 96% over the past ten years.


#3: 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. BSN students have maintained a strong 93% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, while direct-entry MSN students scored a perfect pass rate in eight of the past ten years. The school offers a wide range of graduate programs, including certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) and pediatric or psychiatric nurse practitioner (NP) options.


#4: Simmons University | Boston, MA
Simmons’s 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 200-250 students annually from its prelicensure BSN program, with a strong 92% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Simmons’s direct-entry MSN program graduates an additional 30-50 students annually. It has boasted a phenomenal 98% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, with most cohorts scoring a perfect 100% pass rate.


#5: Northeastern University | Boston, MA

Northeastern’s School of Nursing, part of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, provides students broad interaction across Bouvé’s entire faculty. The school maintains a strong focus on research and an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare. Indeed, Northeastern was designated an NLN Center of Excellence in 2013 for enhancing student learning and professional development. Prelicensure students perform well on the NCLEX exam: the school’s BSN program has posted a 91% pass rate since 2008, while its direct-entry MSN program boasts a phenomenal 96% pass rate. Northeastern also offers an online RN-to-BSN program, an MSN curriculum with six NP specialties, two doctoral nursing degrees (PhD, DNP), and nurse anesthesia programs at both the master’s and doctoral levels.


#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 Center of Excellence, 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, which include a traditional four-year offering on the Storrs campus and accelerated pathways in four cities. Collectively, these BSN students have achieved a strong NCLEX pass rate of 93% since 2010.


#7: University of New Hampshire | Durham, NH
The Department of Nursing at UNH’s College of Health and Human Services offers several nursing pathways including a traditional four-year BSN degree, a direct-entry MSN program, an MSN degree with three tracks, and an online DNP program. Students from the traditional BSN program have scored a 94% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past eight years, while their counterparts in the direct-entry MSN program have achieved a 96% pass rate over the same time period. The MSN curriculum offers specializations in clinical nurse leader, evidence-based nursing, and family nurse practitioner. The school also offers post-master’s certificates in family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health.


#8: 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 has 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 well over 100 students annually from its traditional four-year pathway. Another 50 students graduate from the accelerated BSN program each year. Quinnipiac students have passed the NCLEX exam at a solid 90% rate over the past decade, including an impressive 93% pass rate for the accelerated BSN program. Quinnipiac also offers an online BSN for registered nurses and a full slate of graduate degrees and certificates.


#9: Regis College | Weston, MA
The Richard and Sheila Young School of Nursing at Regis College has received three consecutive NLN Center of Excellence designations since 2008. With small class sizes and four high-tech simulation labs, the school provides its students experience-oriented nursing education. Enrollees in the direct-entry MSN program have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a stellar 96% rate over the past ten years. The school also offers a traditional four-year BSN, an RN-to-BSN program with two pathways (non-nursing bachelor’s, no bachelor’s), a postlicensure MSN program with ten specialty tracks (five in leadership, five for nurse practitioners), and a DNP program that is delivered both on campus and online.


#10: 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. Graduates have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at a rate of ~90% over the past decade.


#11: University of Vermont | Burlington, VT
Viewing nursing as a science and an art, University of Vermont’s Department of Nursing lays heavy emphasis on behavioral, natural, and nursing sciences. The school integrates interdisciplinary education with clinical experience and gives students an opportunity to study public health in international locations. Its BSN students have averaged a 92% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure examination since 2015, including a stellar 99% pass rate in 2017. UVM’s graduate nursing programs include an MSN degree with a clinical nurse leader focus, a DNP curriculum with two nurse practitioner tracks (adult-gerontology and family), and a unique direct-entry pathway for DNP students with a bachelor’s degree or higher in a non-nursing discipline.


#12: 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 to pass the NCLEX licensure exam at an impressive 96% rate since 2011. 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).


#13: MGH Institute of Health Professions | Boston, MA
The MGH Institute of Health Professions is always innovating. In 2007, its School of Nursing was one of the first four institutions in the country to create an accredited DNP program. The school introduced a holistic Mind Body Spirit program in 2011 and a Global Health Nursing certification program in 2013. More than 80% of the school’s faculty members possess a doctoral degree. MGH Institute students perform very well on licensure and certification exams. For example, prelicensure BSN students have achieved an 87% NCLEX pass rate since the program’s inception, while their counterparts in the direct-entry MSN program scored a 90% pass rate over the same time period. Advanced practice students perform similarly well on their APRN certification exams.


#14: University of Saint Joseph | West Hartford, CT
A tight student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1 allows the USJ School of Health & Natural Sciences to provide students with intensive personal attention and guidance. It’s no wonder, then, that USJ routinely graduates BSN students with an NCLEX pass rate of 90% or higher. Interestingly, the traditional BSN is only available to women, while the accelerated second-degree BSN and RN-to-BSN programs are available to men as well. In addition to FNP master’s and online DNP programs, USJ also offers a post-master’s certification for psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners.


#15: Endicott College | Beverly, MA
Fully equipped laboratories, intensive clinical experiences, and small class sizes are several of the benefits that Endicott nursing students enjoy. 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 BSN graduates to pass the NCLEX exam at an 85% rate over the past decade. Graduate nursing students can choose from Endicott’s four MSN specializations, three post-master’s certificates, and a nursing PhD program.


#16: University of Rhode Island | Kingston, RI
Nestled in the university’s 1,200-acre campus, URI’s School of Nursing offers students the best of New England tradition and coastal charm. Small classes and a concentration on interdisciplinary partnerships and research service are what draw 850 undergraduates to enroll here each year. Graduates of the flagship BSN program have averaged an 86% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade, with an impressive 91% pass rate in 2017. The school also provides an online BSN for registered nurses, an MSN program with five specializations, a DNP degree with post-BSN and post-MSN entry points, and the state’s only nursing PhD program.


#17: University of Massachusetts Lowell | Lowell, MA
UMass Lowell’s graduate nursing program is consistently ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school also boasts 100+ healthcare partners, 200+ students at clinical sites, and 100+ faculty publications, as well as a first-time NCLEX pass rate of 86% over the past decade. Recently recognized by the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence, UMass Lowell offers a master’s certification in adult-gerontological nursing, as well as fast-track BSN-to-MSN and MSN-to-DNP programs.


#18: Rivier University | Nashua, NH
Rivier University’s ASN, BSN, and MSN programs are all accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, and its DNP program is currently a candidate for ACEN accreditation. Students across all programs have performed well on licensure and certification tests. Rivier’s undergraduates passed the NCLEX exam at a 94% rate over the past two years, while MSN students recently scored a perfect 100% pass rate on both the FNP and PMHNP certification exams. All of these scores far exceeded the respective national averages. Rivier’s undergraduate programs are noted for their flexibility: students can pursue a part-time evening ASN, a traditional four-year BSN, or a flexible online RN-to-BSN pathway.


#19: University of Massachusetts Amherst | Amherst, MA
Founded in 1863, the College of Nursing at UMass Amherst was the first in the state to offer a DNP program and among the first to offer a publicly supported PhD program. Today, its online graduate nursing program is ranked among the top 40 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. At the undergrad level, UMass Amherst graduates a class of 80-100 prelicensure BSN students each spring. Since 2011, these aspiring nurses have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at an 88% rate on their first attempt. UMass Amherst’s recently renovated facilities include a nursing simulation lab with five state-of-the-art rooms, a 16-hospital-bed area, and two clinical exam rooms.


#20: Salve Regina University | Newport, RI
The Department of Nursing at Salve Regina strives to develop nurses that are liberally educated and ethically grounded. There is a heavy emphasis on service learning: as part of their studies, students serve in soup kitchens, the YMCA, senior centers, legislative committees, free clinics, or the state food bank. Graduating BSN students have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at approximately a 90% rate over the past decade. Salve Regina also offers a joint bachelor’s / master’s program that confers a master’s degree in healthcare administration and management. The university’s Center for Adult Education in Warwick conducts a part-time BSN-to-DNP program, which awards an MSN degree with FNP focus as well as the terminal doctoral degree.


#21: MCPHS University | Boston, MA
MCPHS students are the #1 salary earners in New England, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Spread across three campus locations – Boston, Worcester, and Manchester – MCPHS is one of the few private universities in the country specializing solely in the education of healthcare professionals. Nursing students receive a broad-based education that prepares them well for licensure exams and future practice. For example, second degree BSN students at the school’s Worcester campus have earned a 93% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, while those in Manchester averaged a 92% pass rate over the same time period. Graduate nursing students can choose from two MSN nurse practitioner tracks and a DNP program, all offered 100% online.


#22: Central Connecticut State University | New Britain, CT
CCSU focuses primarily on undergraduate nursing education, offering a traditional four-year BSN and an RN-to-BSN track. The school’s nursing department is committed to a rigorous curriculum: it has a well-furnished learning center, encourages global diversity, and does not offer any accelerated programs. Four-year BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at an 81% rate since the inaugural graduating class of 2012, and many have taken advantage of the school’s overseas study opportunities. CCSU also offers a Master of Science in Biological Sciences: Anesthesia for aspiring CRNAs.


#23: 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 traditional BSN and a 16-month accelerated BSN. These students are well-prepared for the NCLEX licensure exam, scoring a 90-94% pass rate in each of the past three years. 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.


#24: 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 100 BSN students each year, and these aspiring nurses have passed the NCLEX exam at approximately a 90% rate. The Accelerated Career Entry (ACE) program, in fact, has posted a cumulative 98% NCLEX pass rate since 2010. Recent graduating classes of the family nurse practitioner MSN program have scored a perfect 100% pass rate on the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) exam.


#25: Rhode Island College | Providence, RI
The School of Nursing at Rhode Island College houses the largest baccalaureate nursing program in the state, including traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-to-BSN tracks. Graduates typically pass the NCLEX-RN exam at a rate of 93-96% on the first try, well above state and national averages. At the graduate level, RIC offers a DNP program and four MSN specializations: adult-gerontology with an acute care emphasis, nurse anesthesia, population / public health, and nursing care management. Located in the Providence metropolitan area, the college campus is within five miles of several major state healthcare institutions.


#26: Western Connecticut State University | Danbury, CT
WCSU’s nursing department annually graduates 40-50 students from its prelicensure BSN program. Impressively, these students have achieved an overall NCLEX pass rate of 97% since 2010. The school’s popular RN-to-BSN program is offered on the main campus plus two satellite locations: Naugatuck Valley Community College and Norwalk Community College. The department also has MSN programs for certification as a nurse practitioner or a clinical nurse specialist, both of which are designed for part-time study with evening courses.


#27: 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.


#28: 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 undergraduate nursing major builds upon a foundation of liberal arts, basic and applied sciences, and behavioral and social sciences. Students learn through clinical hours at established local hospitals and engage in community health nursing. St Joseph’s graduating class of 50-70 BSN students has achieved an 84% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past ten years. The college also offers flexible online graduate programs, including an MSN that can be combined for a dual degree with a master of health administration (MHA) or a master of business administration (MBA).


#29: Saint Anselm College | Manchester, NH
In 1949, Saint Anselm College broke its sixty-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 96% rate since 2010, 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.


#30: Fitchburg State University | Fitchburg, MA
As the first public 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 decade, an astonishing 97% of FSU’s prelicensure BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam on their first try. The university offers three BSN pathways: traditional, LPN-to-BSN, and RN-to-BSN. They also conduct an online MSN with a focus on forensic nursing, designed for RNs who wish to pursue advanced leadership positions in the healthcare system.


#31: 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 reorganized into the School of Nursing and became the first school at Elms College. The School of Nursing 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 nurse practitioner.


#32: 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.


#33: 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 prelicensure BSN class. These students passed the NCLEX exam at an 87% rate over the past six years, including a 97% rate in 2017. In addition to a traditional four-year curriculum, the school 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.


#34: Lawrence Memorial / Regis College | Medford, MA
In 1998, Lawrence Memorial Hospital School of Nursing collaborated with Regis College to design and launch a new ADN program. The joint curriculum awards an associate of science (AS) degree with a major in nursing. Clinical experiences are offered at major Boston teaching hospitals, suburban hospitals, long-term care facilities, and a variety of community, home care, and social service agencies. The program shares its campus with Lawrence Memorial Hospital and Courtyard Nursing Care Center, both affiliates of Hallmark Health. The Lawrence Memorial / Regis College ADN program produces 100+ newly minted nurses annually, with a strong NCLEX pass rate of 90% over the past decade. Graduates of the ADN program can pursue two different pathways to earn a BSN degree from Regis College.


#35: University of Maine | Orono, ME
UMaine was one of the state’s first universities to create a baccalaureate program for nurses in 1939. The School of Nursing developed its first graduate program in 1992, and has since dispersed over 140 FNPs to rural primary care and specialty practices throughout the state. UMaine offers individualized MSN programs of study, a certificate of advanced study in several nursing fields, and a graduate certificate in nursing education. In the undergraduate ranks, UMaine graduates 70-90 BSN students each spring who have achieved a solid 87% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past decade. Students receive their clinical experiences in acute care facilities like Eastern Maine Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center, as well as rural community hospitals.


#36: New England Institute of Technology | East Greenwich, RI
NEIT was the first Rhode Island school to launch a 100% online RN-to-BSN program. The school also offers an associate’s degree in nursing that can be completed fulltime in as little as 21 months. Graduates of the ADN program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX exam, and they’ve passed it at a solid 88% rate over the last three years. ADN graduates are then encouraged to enroll in the RN-to-BSN completion program while they work as registered nurses. Both programs are among the newest offerings in the state, and both are fully accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.


#37: Vermont Technical College | Randolph Center, VT
Vermont Tech has a hands-on curriculum that employs a unique career ladder model. Students can progress sequentially through three stages in their nursing education: an LPN certificate, an ADN degree leading to RN licensure, and an online RN-to-BSN baccalaureate completion program. Since 2013, 85% of Vermont Tech’s LPN students and a phenomenal 96% of its ADN students have completed their respective programs on time. These graduates perform extremely well on their licensure exams. The school’s LPN students have posted a stellar 97% NCLEX-PN pass rate over this time period, a full 14 percentage points above the national average. ADN students passed the NCLEX-RN exam at a solid 85% rate, also several points above the national average.


#38: Worcester State University | Worcester, MA
The Dr. Lillian R. Goodman Nursing Department at Worcester State University has educated nurses for forty years. The department provides three undergraduate nursing tracks: traditional BSN, RN-to-BSN, and LPN-to-BSN. Prelicensure BSN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a phenomenal 96% rate over the past decade. Worcester State’s MSN program is offered in two fields: community / public health nursing and nursing education. Designed for flexible scheduling, it offers blended learning between face-to-face classes and online study. The school also provides a post-master’s certificate program in nursing education.


#39: Colby-Sawyer College | New London, NH
Colby-Sawyer’s School of Nursing & Health Professions offers several degree pathways. The traditional BS in Nursing program facilitates clinical rotations as early as sophomore year. Through its affiliation with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, the school provides students attentive laboratory and clinical mentoring by established nurses that are hired on a contract basis to teach alongside faculty. Graduates have maintained an NCLEX exam pass rate of 93% or higher for nine consecutive years, including several recent years with a perfect 100% pass rate. For licensed nurses, the college offers an RN-to-BS completion program and an MSN degree with a clinical nurse leader (CNL) emphasis. The first MSN cohort recently graduated, and every member passed the CNL certification exam on their first attempt.


#40: American International College | Springfield, MA
American International College opened in 1885 as a school for international immigrants. The institution became coed in 1892, making it one of the first colleges in the region to educate women. AIC offers BSN and RN-to-BSN courses for undergraduate students. Graduates of the traditional BSN program have passed the NCLEX exam at an 86% rate over the past ten years. The college introduced its MSN program in 2005, which offers a hybrid of classroom and online modules. In fact, two-thirds of the content is available online, providing much-needed flexibility for working nurses.


#41: Castleton University | Castleton, VT
Castleton University’s Nursing Department offers a CCNE-accredited baccalaureate degree with three tracks: a four-year prelicensure BSN degree program, a three-year accelerated track for advanced standing and transfer students, and a flexible 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 Southern Maine | Portland, ME
University of Southern Maine’s School of Nursing offers a host of flexible options for students seeking to enter or advance within the nursing profession. Its BSN program is conducted on both the Portland and Lewiston-Auburn campuses. An accelerated BSN and hybrid RN-to-BSN program are also available at the undergraduate level. Each year, the school graduates approximately 150 students that are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. These students have passed the licensure test at an 88% rate over the past decade, significantly exceeding the national average. USM’s graduate nursing curriculum includes five MSN specializations and a DNP program that conducts all coursework online.


#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, and the NLN’s Certified Nurse Educator certification.


#44: St. Vincent’s College at Sacred Heart University | 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 Medical Center and other medical facilities in the region, the college provides students valuable clinical rotations. St. Vincent’s College entered a new phase of its existence in July 2018, when the college joined Sacred Heart University. The combined entity offers students dynamic education pathways in the evolving healthcare industry, all rooted in a commitment to service and social justice. St. Vincent’s ADN students have scored a strong 90% pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam over the past decade.


#45: 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.


#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 seminal report. The first class of nursing students was admitted in 2012. 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 four-year program has witnessed a significant rise in licensure test scores, with the class of 2017 passing the NCLEX exam at an 80% first-time rate. The RN-to-BSN pathway is designed for working professionals, with most courses offered during evenings and weekends.


#47: Goodwin College | East Hartford, CT
Goodwin College offers nursing degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. Coursework for the school’s ADN can be completed in as little as 20 months part-time, and the RN-to-BSN bridge program can be completed online in just 16 months part-time. For those seeking an advanced degree, Goodwin offers an MSN designed for working RNs that can be completed fully online in as little as 20 months part-time. Goodwin College’s first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam has averaged approximately 85% since 2010.


#48: Plymouth State University | Plymouth, NH
The Department of Nursing at Plymouth State University prepares nurses to deliver patient-centered care as members of an interdisciplinary team, with an emphasis on teamwork, evidence-based practice, quality improvement, safety, and informatics. The BSN curriculum covers nine semesters of general education courses, required nursing courses, and electives. Sample courses include Global Health & Population-Based Healthcare; Leadership, Collaboration, & Quality Health Care Systems; and Nursing Care of Children. Students complete clinicals at local hospitals, with the option to participate in the PSU Nurses Association or the Sigma Theta Tau International nursing honor society. Graduates have achieved an 88% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past two years.


#49: Southern New Hampshire University | Manchester, NH
Southern New Hampshire University offers nursing programs leading to either a BSN or MSN degree. Both programs are open to students only with an unencumbered registered nursing license. Designed to maximize transfer credit for incoming students, the RN-to-BSN program offers classes over six convenient terms per year. The university’s accelerated RN-to-MSN pathway allows nurses first to earn the BSN degree and then to matriculate into the MSN curriculum, saving up to 20 weeks of time in the process. Specialty MSN options include clinical nurse leader, nursing educator, and patient safety and quality. Created to meet the needs of today’s busy nursing professionals, the SNHU nursing programs are offered 100% online.


#50: Brockton Hospital School of Nursing | Brockton, MA
An integral part of Signature Healthcare, Brockton Hospital School of Nursing is the only hospital-based nursing program in the state of Massachusetts. Originally established in 1897, BHSN has graduated over 2,800 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 ten years. Additionally, the school’s affiliation with Fisher College allows these graduates to transition seamlessly into Fisher’s RN-to-BSN program.


#51: Westfield State University | Westfield, MA
The BSN program at Westfield State University is part of the Nursing & Allied Health Department. The traditional prelicensure BSN curriculum includes coursework across both the sciences and the liberal arts. Sample courses include Community Health Nursing, Pathophysiology & Pharmacology, and Principles of Sociology. WSU’s program has several distinguishing features including small class sizes, a formal one-year student-to-student mentorship program, a patient simulation laboratory with video and voice recording equipment, and a capstone preceptorship program that allows students to work at healthcare organizations during their last semester under RN supervision. The university also offers a hybrid RN-to-BSN program that allows students to take classes at either Westfield or Springfield Technical Community College.


#52: 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.


#53: 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.


#54: Curry College | Milton, MA
Curry College was the first nursing program in the state of Massachusetts to earn accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The School of Nursing offers three BSN pathways (traditional, accelerated second degree, RN-to-BSN) and two MSN specializations (nursing administration, nursing education). Curry College’s location in the Boston metropolitan area enables students to experience dynamic, hands-on learning at some of the best medical facilities in the world. Clinical rotations begin during sophomore year at a wide range of urban and suburban institutions, with rotations that include pediatrics, maternity care, and mental health. Curry College graduates over 100 prelicensure BSN students each year, and these individuals have achieved a noteworthy 87% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade.


#55: 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 90% rate over the past decade. The college also offers a unique Legal Nurse Consultant certificate program, which is approved by the American Bar Association. The program is 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.


#56: Salem State University | Salem, MA
The School of Nursing at Salem State University offers four BSN pathways (traditional, accelerated, LPN entry, RN entry) and a breadth of MSN options. The BSN curriculum blends academic and experiential learning with clinical practicums in adult health, maternal-child health, and community settings. The accelerated BSN is a 15-month pathway for students who hold a baccalaureate degree in a non-nursing field. The LPN-to-BSN program is similarly streamlined, requiring just four semesters and a summer session to complete. Across these prelicensure programs, graduates have achieved an 80% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past decade. Salem State’s MSN program has three tracks: adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, nursing education, and nursing leadership in health systems. Designed for working professionals, the MSN is delivered in an evening and hybrid format.


#57: St. Joseph School of Nursing | North Providence, RI
St. Joseph School of Nursing offers the state’s only hospital-based nursing diploma program. The school’s offices, skills labs, computer lab, and meeting rooms are located at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence. Classes are held at the Salve Regina University campus in Warwick; students also receive credit for any prior CCRI coursework in the physical, social, and health sciences. Clinical experiences are offered through an extended network of affiliated partners, including Roger Williams Medical Center, Southern New England Rehabilitation Center, and Elmhurst Extended Care. St. Joseph students routinely score a 94-96% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam. Through a progression partnership with Salve Regina, St. Joseph students can take courses concurrently at the university and then pursue an accelerated BSN degree upon graduation.


#58: Manchester Community College | Manchester, NH
Founded in 1945 as a technical school for returning veterans, Manchester Community College is a dynamic, student-centered, and accessible community college. The school’s ADN program provides students the flexibility to study on either a full-time (two years) or part-time (up to four years) basis. An advanced placement pathway is also available for LPNs currently licensed in New Hampshire. MCC’s nursing program boasts fantastic student outcomes, including a 76% completion rate, 96% NCLEX exam pass rate, and 100% job placement rate over the past five academic years. Graduates can pursue a BSN or MSN degree in a cost-effective manner, thanks to the college’s dual-enrollment partnerships with Franklin Pierce University, Granite State College, Saint Anselm College, and Southern New Hampshire University.


#59: St. Joseph School of Nursing | Nashua, NH
St. Joseph School of Nursing traces its roots back to the opening of Nashua’s St. Joseph Hospital in May 1908. The school launched its current ASN degree program in 2005. St. Joseph offers two ASN pathways: a traditional two-year curriculum and a one-year LPN-to-ASN bridge for practical nurses. Graduates of the program have enjoyed strong outcomes. For example, St. Joseph students have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at an 85% rate over the past decade. They have also enjoyed program completion rates of 85-90% and job placement rates of 90-100%. Graduates who wish to pursue a BSN degree can take advantage of the school’s articulation agreements with Rivier University, Saint Anselm College, Southern New Hampshire University, and Walden University.


#60: Three Rivers Community College | Norwich, CT
Named for the region’s primary waterways – the Shetucket, Yantic, and Thames – Three Rivers Community College is a proud member of the Connecticut Community Colleges Nursing Program (CT-CCNP). Through this partnership, six of the state’s community colleges offer a standardized and innovative two-year ADN program. Existing LPNs can use an advanced placement option to enter the program as late as the third semester. Graduates can seamlessly continue their nursing education through CT-CCNP’s articulation agreements with a dozen RN-to-BSN programs and two RN-to-MSN programs. For example, Sacred Heart University accepts applicants into both programs. Three Rivers Community College has consistently been one of the state’s strongest performers on the nursing licensure exam, including a 94% first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate since 2010.


#61: Husson University | Bangor, ME
Husson University’s School of Nursing is part of the College of Health and Education. Nursing students can choose from several pathways including a traditional BSN, an RN-to-BSN track, and either an MSN degree or a post-master’s certificate for aspiring family and community nurse practitioners. The traditional BSN program features a state-of-the art learning resource laboratory on the University campus, along with high-fidelity and hybrid simulation opportunities. Over the past ten years, BSN graduates have scored an 84% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. The RN-to-BSN track, MSN degree, and post-master’s certificate all make significant use of online course delivery, so that students can continue working as they complete their education.


#62: North Shore Community College | Danvers, MA
North Shore Community College has provided accessible and affordable education to the communities of Northeast Massachusetts for over fifty years. The school conducts a traditional two-year AS degree in registered nursing, a one-year advanced placement LPN-to-RN option, and a ten-month certificate in practical nursing. All three pathways produce excellent student outcomes. Over the past decade, NSCC can boast an 89% NCLEX-RN first-time pass rate and a 95% NCLEX-PN first-time pass rate. Job placement rates are also excellent, typically 85-90% for RN graduates and 90%+ for LPN graduates. Nursing students can take advantage of the college’s relationships with more than 25 clinical affiliates in the surrounding metro area, including the Danvers Council on Aging, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, and Rosewood Rehabilitation System.


#63: Anna Maria College | Paxton, MA
The nursing program at Anna Maria College offers a four-year prelicensure BSN for entry-level students and an RN-to-BSN completion program for registered nurses. The prelicensure BSN program is 120 credit hours in length. Graduates have enjoyed approximately an 82% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam since the program’s inception. The RN-to-BSN pathway is designed for working nurses who already hold either an ADN or nursing diploma. The program’s flexible online curriculum is built on a foundation of holistic care with a powerful emphasis on multicultural and community nursing.


#64: Naugatuck Valley Community College | Waterbury, CT
With more than 100 students enrolling annually, the AS degree in registered nursing is one of the five most popular programs at Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC). The nursing department is one of six participants in the Connecticut Community College Nursing Program, which provides common curriculum and admissions requirements across institutions. NVCC students have enjoyed success on the NCLEX licensure exam, achieving a 94% average first-time pass rate since 2010. The nursing program has also consistently delivered three-year graduation rates between 73% and 80%, as well as employment rates in the field between 91% and 100%. All three outcomes are very strong relative to peers. NVCC graduates can pursue further nursing education through CT-CCNP’s articulation agreements with a dozen RN-to-BSN programs and two RN-to-MSN programs.


#65: Labouré College | Boston, MA
The Labouré College nursing program allows graduates to begin their nursing employment two years earlier than a traditional four-year program. Students first complete an ADN program and pass the NCLEX-RN licensure examination to earn their RN credentials. The college’s ADN graduates have averaged a 76% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam over the past decade. Newly licensed RNs can then enroll in Labouré’s RN-to-BSN degree and complete their BSN coursework while they earn valuable work experience. Some students take a break from their studies and work for several years before returning to complete their BSN.


#66: University of Maine at Fort Kent | Fort Kent, ME
The University of Maine at Fort Kent offers traditional BSN, accelerated BSN, and online RN-to-BSN programs. Students in all programs have the opportunity to join the Student Nurses Organization or the Nursing Honor Society. They may also participate in a preceptorship; this service learning opportunity places the student in a one-on-one partnership with a registered nurse to guide practical application of their nursing skills. Students may choose the clinical site, professional role model, and specialty area of interest. Since 2008, UMFK’s BSN graduates have achieved a solid 86% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.


#67: Nashua Community College | Nashua, NH
Nashua Community College offers an ADN program that prepares students for entry-level nursing roles. It also lays the groundwork for graduates to later pursue their baccalaureate degree. The program offers comprehensive classroom instruction, in-depth scenarios in a state-of-the-art simulation lab, and clinical placements that integrate theory and practice for optimal learning. Class size is limited to 24 students, enabling personalized attention for each individual. Over the past decade, ADN students have averaged an excellent 93% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Several consecutive classes of graduates have also enjoyed a 100% employment rate.


#68: Massachusetts Bay Community College | Wellesley Hills, MA
The nursing program at Massachusetts Bay Community College has two pathways for aspiring nurses: an LPN certificate and an ADN degree. The LPN program prepares students to join the workforce as practical nurses, assuming entry-level patient care positions in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. The curriculum includes both classroom lectures and clinical practice, and it takes just ten months to complete. The ADN is a rigorous two-year program that prepares students for initial RN licensure. Clinical practicums are conducted at a variety of hospitals and healthcare facilities in the MetroWest area. Over the past decade, students from both programs have performed well on the NCLEX licensure examination, with ADN students passing at an 87% rate and LPN students passing at an 88% rate. Both programs saw a perfect 100% pass rate in 2017.


#69: Great Bay Community College | Portsmouth, NH
The ADN program at Great Bay Community College prepares students to provide direct care to clients in acute care, long-term care, and other structured settings. The two-year program includes instruction in communication, teamwork, professionalism, leadership, informatics, evidence-based practice, systems-based practice, patient-centered care, quality improvement, and safety. Clinical experiences are offered at a wide variety of times and locations, and students may complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis. Great Bay’s ADN graduates have enjoyed an excellent 93% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam over the past decade.


#70: Springfield Technical Community College | Springfield, MA
Springfield Technical Community College offers an ADN program with a rigorous curriculum of classroom lecture, nursing skills laboratory, and patient simulation in the school’s nationally recognized SIMS Medical Center. Clinical rotations take place each semester in a variety of hospitals and healthcare agencies throughout Springfield and the Pioneer Valley region of Western Massachusetts. The ADN program admits 90-100 students each fall. It is designed as a two-year day program, with clinical experiences that may take place during evening and weekend hours. Since 2008, STCC graduates have maintained a solid 88% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.


#71: Quinsigamond Community College | Worcester, MA
Quinsigamond Community College offers LPN and ADN programs. Both programs feature clinical experiences at a number of sites within the Worcester County area. QCC’s nursing graduates are prepared for direct patient care in a variety of healthcare settings, including clinics, extended care facilities, home and community health agencies, and hospitals. The ADN program also prepares students for further study at four-year colleges and universities. QCC’s nursing students have consistently enjoyed a 100% job placement rate. They have also performed well on their licensure examinations. Over the past decade, LPN students have achieved an 89% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-PN exam, while ADN students have achieved an 88% first-time pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.


#72: Mildred Elley | Pittsfield, MA
The LPN program at Mildred Elley is a credit-bearing certificate program that prepares students for licensure as a practical nurse. Sample courses include Medical Terminology, Pharmacology, Anatomy & Physiology, and Nursing Leadership & Exam Preparation. The program hones students’ clinical skills at on-campus laboratories, which provide them a real-world and technical learning environment. Students also complete rigorous training at the school’s clinical partner sites. Mildred Elley provides each enrollee a free career assessment and lifetime job placement assistance. The school’s Pittsfield campus has achieved an 88% pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam since the LPN program’s launch.


#73: Mount Wachusett Community College | Gardner, MA
Mount Wachusett Community College offers two options for aspiring nurses: a certificate in practical nursing and an associate’s degree in professional nursing. The LPN certificate is a competitive 45-credit program that accepts a limited number of students to each cohort. The ADN program is similarly competitive and offers two pathways: a traditional two-year program and a bridge program that allows LPNs with one year of work experience to immediately enter second-semester nursing courses. Over the past decade, MWCC’s ADN students have scored an 85% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Their LPN counterparts have achieved an impressive 90% pass rate on the NCLEX-PN licensure exam.


#74: Maine College of Health Professions | Lewiston, ME
Maine College of Health Professions is the only college in Maine to offer both ADN and RN-to-BSN programs. The ADN curriculum prepares students to work in a breadth of healthcare settings including maternal care, pediatrics, long-term care, critical care, surgery, rehabilitation, and mental health. Students gain experience through MCHP’s state-of-the-art simulation laboratory and clinical rotations with a low student-to-faculty ratio. Over the past decade, ADN graduates have achieved a strong 91% pass rate on the NCLEX licensure exam. The RN-to-BSN program offers courses in a flexible hybrid format of online and onsite delivery, allowing nurses to continue working while pursuing their degree.


#75: River Valley Community College | Claremont, NH
River Valley Community College has an ADN program that offers four sequential clinical nursing courses, which students can complete over two years. Each course integrates classroom learning with laboratory simulation activities and faculty-supervised clinical experiences, preparing students to provide holistic nursing care. In addition to a traditional ADN pathway, RVCC also has an advanced placement option for licensed LPNs, designed to expand upon these students’ previous education. Over the past decade, ADN students have averaged an 87% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. These graduates are qualified for immediate employment in clinics, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.