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For our 2019 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 licensure examination

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: 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 100% 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.


#3: 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.


#4: University of Massachusetts Medical School | Worcester, MA
UMass Medical School is 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 decade.


#5: 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.


#6: 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 very well on the NCLEX exam. The school’s BSN program posted a 92% pass rate over the past decade, while its direct entry MSN program scored a phenomenal 95% pass rate over that time period. Northeastern also offers an online RN-to-BSN program, an MSN curriculum with six nurse practitioner specialties, two doctoral nursing degrees (PhD and DNP), and nurse anesthesia programs at both the master’s and doctoral levels.


#7: 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 approximately 200 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 98.5% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, with most cohorts scoring a perfect 100% pass rate.


#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: 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. Prelicensure BSN students have achieved an 86% first-time NCLEX pass rate since the program’s inception, while their counterparts in the direct entry MSN program scored a 90% first-time pass rate over that time period. Advanced practice students perform similarly well on their APRN certification exams.


#10: 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.


#11: 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 95% first-try rate over the past decade. Sacred Heart also offers several graduate nursing programs, including MSN specializations for aspiring clinical nurse leaders, nurse managers, nurse educators, and family nurse practitioners.


#12: 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 pass the NCLEX exam at an 86% 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.


#13: 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 forty in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. At the undergraduate level, UMass Amherst graduates a class of 80-100 prelicensure BSN students each spring. Over the past decade, these aspiring nurses have passed the NCLEX licensure exam at an 87% rate on their first attempt, including a 95% pass rate in 2018. 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.


#14: 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.


#15: 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 decade. 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.


#16: 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.


#17: Rivier University | Nashua, NH
Rivier University’s ASN, BSN, MSN, post-master’s certificate, and DNP programs are all accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Rivier students consistently perform well on licensure and certification tests. For example, ASN students have passed the NCLEX exam at a 93% rate over the past three years, while the inaugural BSN graduating class scored a perfect 100% NCLEX pass rate. MSN students also 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.


#18: 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, including a 90% pass rate over the past two years. 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.


#19: 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.


#20: 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 boasts 100+ healthcare partners, 200+ students at clinical sites, and 100+ faculty publications. Graduates of the prelicensure BSN program have averaged an 86% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Recently recognized by the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence, UMass Lowell also offers fast-track BSN-to-MSN and MSN-to-DNP programs, as well as a master’s certification in adult-gerontology nursing.


#21: 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.


#22: 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.


#23: 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 approximately 200 BSN students annually. It also provides MSN tracks for aspiring family nurse practitioners, adult-gerontology nurse practitioners, and adult-gerontology acute care clinical nurse specialists.


#24: University of New England | Portland, ME
UNE educates more students in the healthcare field than any other institution in Maine. 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-RN licensure examination. BSN graduates have averaged a 94% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past four years, including a stellar 98% pass rate in 2018. The college also offers a 27-month master of science degree 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.


#25: 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.


#26: 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, BSN students at the school’s Worcester and Manchester campuses have both averaged a 92% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. Graduate nursing students can choose from two MSN nurse practitioner tracks and a DNP program, all offered 100% online.


#27: 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 approximately 100 students in each prelicensure BSN class. These students passed the NCLEX exam at an 89% rate over the past seven years, including a 98% rate in 2018. 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.


#28: 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.


#29: 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).


#30: 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.


#31: 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.


#32: 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.


#33: 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. Specific degree pathways include traditional 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.


#34: 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, including a perfect 100% pass rate in 2018. 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.


#35: 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 ten 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 emphasis. The first MSN cohort graduated last year, and every member passed the CNL certification exam on their first attempt.


#36: 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.


#37: 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 96% 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.


#38: 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 an impressive 94% first-try 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.


#39: 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.


#40: 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 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 89% over the past decade. Graduates of the ADN program can pursue two different pathways to earn a BSN degree from Regis College.


#41: 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.


#42: Assumption College | Worcester, MA
The Department of Nursing at Assumption College offers a direct-admission BSN program that prepares students to provide high-quality, patient-centered healthcare. The college’s direct-admission structure allows applicants to begin the program the same year they are admitted. Students complete rigorous coursework on foundational and nursing topics. They also conduct clinical experiences in acute care and community-based environments. Assumption College is currently constructing a new nursing facility with a state-of-the-art clinical skills and simulation laboratory, intended to augment students’ acute care and community-based experiences. BSN graduates are prepared to sit for the NCLEX licensure examination in registered nursing.


#43: Merrimack College | North Andover, MA
Merrimack College was founded in March 1947 as the Augustinian College of the Merrimack Valley. Nearly 22,000 students have graduated from Merrimack over its seventy-year history. The School of Health Sciences offers a prelicensure BSN program that combines rigorous coursework with local healthcare partnerships. The curriculum incorporates hands-on learning opportunities so that students become safe, compassionate caregivers as well as leaders in the nursing profession. Graduates are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. Upon successful completion, they can pursue careers in a variety of healthcare settings including acute care centers, ambulatory and outpatient clinics, community centers, hospitals, public health services, and skilled nursing facilities.


#44: 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.


#45: 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.


#46: 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 decade. Additionally, the school’s affiliation with Fisher College allows these graduates to transition seamlessly into Fisher’s RN-to-BSN program.


#47: 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 87% rate over the past decade. 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.


#48: 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.


#49: Keene State College | Keene, NH
Keene State College developed its nursing program to meet the increasing demand for baccalaureate-educated nurses in the state of New Hampshire. Conducted through the college’s School of Sciences, Sustainability, and Health, the BSN program admitted its first class of prelicensure students in 2012. Keene State College has witnessed a significant rise in licensure test scores over the past several years, culminating with a perfect 100% NCLEX pass rate for the class of 2019. Nursing students work one-on-one with a preceptor during the final semester of senior year to prepare for the transition to clinical practice.


#50: 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.


#51: 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.


#52: 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 a 92% NCLEX exam pass rate over the past three years.


#53: 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.


#54: 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.


#55: Northwestern Connecticut Community College | Winchester, CT
Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC) has been ranked Connecticut’s number one community college for three years in a row by WalletHub. The school’s ADN program is part of the Connecticut Community College Nursing Program, which includes six ADN programs across the state’s community college system. This four-semester, 68-credit program of study prepares students to take the NCLEX-RN licensure examination. Over the past eight years, NCCC graduates have achieved a strong 91% first-time pass rate on the exam. Most graduates assume the position of registered nurse at local healthcare providers, including hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.


#56: 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 2012, 85% of Vermont Tech’s LPN students and a phenomenal 96% of its ADN students have completed their respective programs. 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 13 percentage points above the national average. ADN students passed the NCLEX-RN exam at a solid 87% rate since 2012, also several points above the national average.


#57: 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 approximately 100 prelicensure BSN students each year. These individuals have averaged an 86% NCLEX pass rate over the past decade, including a stellar 97% pass rate in 2018.


#58: Greater Lowell Technical High School | Tyngsborough, MA
Greater Lowell Technical High School offers a practical nursing program that is fully approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing and fully accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The 40-week fulltime program requires 1,097 hours of classroom instruction and 540 hours of clinical experience. The clinical experience allows students to apply classroom theory within various community healthcare facilities. Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-PN licensure examination. Greater Lowell Technical High School graduates approximately 70 LPN students annually, and these students have achieved an excellent 94% first-time NCLEX pass rate over the past decade. The graduating class of 2018 also enjoyed a 97% job placement rate.


#59: 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 82% first-time NCLEX 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.


#60: 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.