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Nursing Schools in New England with Program Descriptions

There are over 100 schools within New England that have nursing programs. Read an overview of the ten largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

In New England, nursing programs are available at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Students who would like to study practical nursing can enroll in an undergraduate diploma program.

Associate and bachelor's degree programs prepare students for work as registered nurses (RNs). Various bachelor's degree tracks are available; accelerated options are offered to existing RNs as well as students who have an unrelated bachelor's degree, while students who have no undergraduate training pursue a more in-depth program of study.

Master's degree programs are typically designed for registered nurses with a bachelor's degree. These programs allow students to purse a specialization, such as nursing administration, mental health nursing, community health, nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist.

Doctoral programs are offered as terminal clinical degrees or as research-focused Ph.D.s. Bachelor's degree courses for existing nurses as well as many graduate courses are available online.

Career Requirements

To become a nurse in the New England area, individuals must complete an approved educational program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Typically, students must choose to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or a Registered Nurse (RN). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the educational requirement for LPNs is 1 year of schooling, while RNs generally must earn an associate's or bachelor's degree. All of the undergraduate programs mentioned in this article train students for the NCLEX examination. The ten largest colleges and universities in New England are presented below.


Boston College

Boston College in Chestnut Hill ranked 31st among American universities by U.S. News & World Reports in 2012. The William F. Connell School of Nursing offers nursing degrees at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students are prepared for careers as RNs while they tackle a curriculum comprised of liberal arts, social sciences and nursing courses. Undergraduate students may take some graduate courses while working toward their BSN and may also choose to study abroad during their junior year.

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program prepares students for clinical careers in specialties such as adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, community health CNS, family nurse practitioner and nurse anesthesia. There are numerous entry options, including those for individuals with a BSN, RN or a bachelor's degree in another discipline. A PhD in Nursing is available for those students who wish to pursue careers in nursing research.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    Master of Science in Nursing
    PhD in Nursing
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $43,878*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; small city

Community College of Rhode Island

The Community College of Rhode Island in Providence is the largest public, 2-year school in New England. Nursing students may work towards a diploma in practical nursing or an Associate in Science in Nursing, which prepares students to work as RNs. All nursing students may have appropriate physical strength and complete specific pre-requisite coursework.

  • Programs Offered: Diploma in Practical Nursing
    Associate in Science in Nursing
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,950 in-state*
    $10,582 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting:2-year, public; small city

Northeastern University

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern University was ranked first in the nation for career placement in 2012 by The Princeton Review. The School of Nursing offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs. The BSN curriculum is comprised of cooperative education opportunities that allow students to alternate between on-campus coursework and employment in local medical centers and hospitals. Current RNs may earn their BSN entirely online.

MSN students may choose to specialize in nurse anesthesia, nurse practitioner or nursing administration/leadership/policy. There is also a duel MSN/MBA available for those interested in pursuing careers as nurse managers. Doctoral degrees are available for advanced studies in nursing. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is intended for those who wish to assume clinical or leadership positions, while the PhD trains educators and researchers.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    Master of Science in Nursing
    PhD in Nursing
    Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $40,086*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city

University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut in Storrs is a public school that annually serves more than 25,000 students. The university's School of Nursing offers many academic options and resources for students seeking careers in nursing. Students seeking RN positions can enroll in the 4-year BSN program. They develop an understanding of nursing and health care concepts through courses such as clinical science, health assessment, nursing research and ethics.

The master's degree program in nursing is designed for professionals seeking clinical leadership positions. Students may pursue a Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) option that focuses on nursing management and medical policy evaluation. Specialty concentrations are also available for students interested adult, neonatal and acute care nursing. The DNP program focuses on clinical experiences for nurses seeking advanced leadership or supervisory positions. The nursing Ph.D. program focuses on research topics within nursing and health care. Students complete courses in advanced statistical, quantitative and qualitative research methods.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    Master of Science in Nursing
    Doctor of Nursing Practice
    PhD in Nursing
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $11,242 in-state*
    $29,074 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; fringe town

University of Massachusetts Amherst

The University of Massachusetts in Amherst is the flagship school of the UMass system. The public school offers more than 108 undergraduate majors. The School of Nursing offers a variety of nursing degree programs. There are three degree tracks for students in the BSN program. Students with no nursing experience can pursue a traditional BSN, while students with RN licensure can pursue an online RN-to-BSN degree. Students with a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field can enroll in the second degree BSN program. Each program includes courses in psychology, life sciences, medical terminology, human growth development and professional nursing practices. Students participate in clinical internships to gain practical experience.

Students in the MSN program can study clinical nursing practices through online courses. Through courses in research methodology, nursing informatics and clinical reasoning, students can train for advanced leadership positions in the health care field. The DNP, which can also be completed primarily online, allows professional nurses to develop advanced leadership and management skills. Alternatively, students in the nursing Ph.D. program focus on nursing research and theory, as opposed to the DNP, which focuses on clinical experience. This program is also open to nurses with a bachelor's or master's degree.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    Master of Science in Nursing
    PhD in Nursing
    Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $13,415 in-state*
    $26,830 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; fringe town

University of Massachusetts-Boston

The Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts is the second-largest UMass campus in the system with around 16,000 students. The College of Nursing and Health Sciences offers all levels of nursing degrees. Traditional BSN students prepare for careers as RNs in 4 years, combining nursing classes with clinical instruction. Second-degree students and current RNs may enter an accelerated track.

Graduate programs include the MSN, which allows students to concentrate in family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontological nurse practitioner and acute/critical care clinical nurse specialist. There is an online MSN/DNP program available for advanced practice nurses to work towards their clinical doctorate. The PhD in Nursing requires 60 credits for MSN graduates or 81 credits for BSN graduates. Students will complete major-area courses, an internship and a qualifying examination.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    Master of Science in Nursing
    MSN/DNP
    PhD in Nursing
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $11,966 in-state*
    $26,150 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large city

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

The University of Massachusetts in Lowell began as a teaching college and textile school in 1895 and expanded and ultimately joined the UMass system in 1991. The School of Nursing also offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The BSN program prepares graduates to work as RNs in a variety of different settings and includes coursework such as acute care nursing, pharmacology, nursing assessment and health promotion.

Master's students may specialize in adult psychiatric/mental health nursing, family health nursing or adult/gerontological nursing. Applicants must have a BSN. PhD students are prepared for careers as nurse scholars and are required to complete 48 credits beyond the MSN. The DNP program is intended for advanced practice RNs who wish to take on leadership roles in the community.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    Master of Science in Nursing
    PhD in Nursing
    Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $11,847 in-state*
    $24,896 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large suburb

University of New Hampshire-Main Campus

The main campus of the University of New Hampshire is located in Durham with additional campuses in Concord and Manchester in New Hampshire. A bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree is offered through the Department of Nursing. BSN coursework includes care of the adult with acute illness, diseases and drugs, health assessment, living with mental illness and clinical judgment in nursing. MSN students may choose between three clinical practice specialties: family nurse practitioner, clinical nurse leader and evidenced-based nursing, which focuses on nursing education. A DNP program is also available for advanced practice nurses who which to pursue clinical careers. This degree program takes 2.5 years to complete and includes coursework such as science of advanced nursing practice, evidence synthesis, data analysis and organizational behavior.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    Master of Science in Nursing
    Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $16,422 in-state*
    $28,882 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small suburb

University of Rhode Island

Located in Kingston, the University of Rhode Island's College of Nursing boasts individualized attention and exceptional clinical experiences. The BSN program is approved by the Rhode Island State Board of Nurse Registration and trains students to work as RNs in a variety of clinical settings. Coursework includes nursing research, medical-surgical nursing, nursing of children and community health nursing. Current RNs may enter the accelerated program to earn their degree.

Master of Science in Nursing students must specialize in nurse practitioner, nurse educator or nurse administrator. The curriculum is comprised of nursing practice and theory, nursing strategies and major-area courses. The PhD prepares students to work as nursing scholars and researchers, while the DNP trains students for the highest level of clinical practice.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    Master of Science in Nursing
    PhD in Nursing
    Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $12,450 in-state*
    $28,016 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; large suburb

University of Vermont

The University of Vermont in Burlington is a small liberal arts school with over 100 majors. The Department of Nursing offers both a bachelor's and master's degrees. The BSN curriculum provides a broad training for RNs to work in a variety of settings and with many different patients. RNs may enter the accelerated BSN program. The MSN program prepares students to work as leaders within the nursing community. They may focus on adult nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, advanced practice psychiatric-mental health nursing or clinical nurse leader.

  • Programs Offered: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
    Master of Science in Nursing
  • Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $15,284 in-state*
    $35,612 out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: 4-year, public; small city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Nursing Degree Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees 2012-2013
Boston College 4-year, private not-for-profit; small city Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
PhD in Nursing
$43,878*
Community College of Rhode Island2-year, public; small city Diploma in Practical Nursing
Associate in Science in Nursing
$3,950 in-state*
$10,582 out-of-state*
Northeastern University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
PhD in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$40,086*
University of Connecticut 4-year, public; fringe town Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice
PhD in Nursing
$11,242 in-state*
$29,074 out-of-state*
University of Massachusetts Amherst 4-year, public; fringe town Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
PhD in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$13,415 in-state*
$26,830 out-of-state*
University of Massachusetts-Boston 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
MSN/DNP
PhD in Nursing
$11,966 in-state*
$26,150 out-of-state*
University of Massachusetts-Lowell4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
PhD in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$11,847 in-state*
$24,896 out-of-state*
University of New Hampshire-Main Campus4-year, public; small suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$16,422 in-state*
$28,882 out-of-state*
University of Rhode Island 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
PhD in Nursing
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$12,450 in-state*
$28,016 out-of-state*
University of Vermont 4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Master of Science in Nursing
$15,284 in-state*
$35,612 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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