Postsecondary institutions in Connecticut offer nursing degree programs ranging from the associate to doctoral level. Nursing programs at all levels typically provide significant hours of clinical experience. The majority of schools offer a baccalaureate program in the field, and many schools have a variety of program tracks as well as options for those who already are registered nurses (RNs) and want to further their education.
At the graduate level, master's degree programs can prepare nurses to seek employment as nurse practitioners, nurse educators or nursing administrators. Advanced practice studies are also offered through Doctor of Nursing Practice programs, while research-driven Ph.D. programs are also available. In addition to degree offerings, there are several schools in Connecticut that have graduate certificate options, allowing students to gain advanced training in a particular area in the nursing field.
Listed below are brief overviews of nursing programs at the ten largest schools in Connecticut that prepare students to meet state licensing requirements, as well as a comparison table with each school's program offerings, tuition information, and type of school.
Central Connecticut State University
Located in New Britain, Central Connecticut State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and an RN to BSN, designed for registered nurses who are interested in earning a baccalaureate-level degree. The 130-credit traditional BSN program combines general education courses with a full year of pre-nursing coursework, followed by classes specific to the major for the remaining three years. Program coursework covers evidence-based nursing interventions, health assessment, holistic care of adults, and maternity nursing. In addition to the didactic portion of the program, students participate in clinical rotations at various hospitals or health care agencies in the area. The RN to BSN program requires students complete 25 credits of nursing-specific classes and consists of 122 total credits. Coursework within the major cover nursing assessment, community-based nursing care, leadership for the professional nurse, and theoretical foundations of nursing.
Gateway Community College
New Haven's Gateway Community College is one of six community colleges in Connecticut that work in conjunction with one another to offer an Associate in Science (AS) in Nursing. This 68-credit program is steeped in the social and biological sciences and covers the core principles of nursing as well as additional topics in the field. Students gain in-depth training in the following areas: critical thinking, safe and competent practice, professionalism, communication, and holistic care. Coursework for this program can include family health nursing, life span development, pharmacology for families, nursing care of individuals, and nursing management. Graduates of this program are eligible to sit for the national licensing exam, enabling them to practice as registered nurses in a variety of health care settings.
Naugatuck Valley Community College
Based in Waterbury, Naugatuck Valley Community College has an AS in Nursing program that's administered through the Allied Health, Nursing, and Physical Health Division. This 68-credit program integrates general education requirements with coursework specific to the nursing field. Students are required to take 30 credits within the nursing program, including life span development, nursing management and trends, and pharmacology across the life span. This is a rigorous program that is designed to prepare students to become registered nurses in numerous health care settings.
Norwalk Community College
This Norwalk-based community college offers a 68-credit AS in Nursing through its Department of Nursing and Allied Health. The curriculum for this program integrates general education coursework with classes specific to the nursing field, such as nursing management and trends, nursing care of individuals, and life span development. Students can enroll in the program on either a part-time or full-time basis. This program gives students extensive hands-on training through clinical laboratory practice specific to each nursing course. Upon completion of the program, students are able to sit for the national licensing exam and become registered nurses.
Located in Hamden, Quinnipiac University offers a variety of nursing programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, all of which are administered through the School of Nursing. At the undergraduate level, students can earn a BSN or enroll in the accelerated BSN program. The 127-credit traditional BSN integrates general education requirements with intensive coursework within the major and several practicum experiences. Program coursework might cover holistic nursing integration, community and public nursing, mental health nursing, core concepts in nursing, and care of women, children, and families. The accelerated BSN is geared toward individuals who hold a baccalaureate-level degree in a different field and requires students to complete 61 credits within the major. Students must complete a series of prerequisites and general education classes in addition to nursing-specific classes. Practicum experiences focus on adult care, and students participate in various lab-based classes, providing them with real world experience.
The school also offers a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), which allows students to gain specialized training in one of two areas of concentration. The adult-gerontology nurse practitioner track requires students to complete 45 credits and integrates didactic training with intensive practical experiences. Coursework for this program includes quality and safety in health care, advanced pharmacology, health policy and organizational systems, and principles of electrocardiography. Students also can opt for the family nurse practitioner track, which consists of 49 credits and includes several primary care and family care-focused practicums. Another graduate-level option for students is the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, which allows students to choose from one of three tracks: an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner track, a family nurse practitioner specialization, or a post-master's option that allows students to concentrate on care of populations. The requirements range from 33-78 credits, and coursework varies by program. Both the adult-gerontology and family nurse practitioner tracks require that students participate in a clinical immersion and clinical fellowship, which will give them extensive hands-on training in the field.
Sacred Heart University
Fairfield's Sacred Heart University offers a range of nursing programs, including certificate options, two BSN programs, an MSN with three tracks of study, and a DNP with two program tracks. The 123-credit BSN requires students to complete 57 credits within the nursing major in addition to general education requirements and prerequisites. Program coursework covers populations and global health, the human journey in nursing, health assessment, transition to professional practice, and evidence-based practice. The school also offers an RN to BSN program designed for practicing nurses who would like to gain advanced training in the field or in a specific area. Students gain didactic and hands-on training in global health, wellness and care, leadership development, and quantitative and qualitative measures of care.
The school offers an MSN with three program tracks: clinical nurse leader, nursing management and executive leadership, and nursing education. All tracks require students to complete a series of core nursing classes, such as health care policy and ethics, theory and professional roles for contemporary nursing practice, and principles of health care research. Additional course requirements vary depending on the concentration, and students complete a varying number of hours of hands-on training through a clinical practicum or immersion experience. The DNP program offers a leadership in health care or clinical practice in health care track, both of which consist of 39 credits. Both options should take three years to complete and require students to complete advanced practice experiences in addition to the didactic portion of the program. Students can earn a certificate in home health care management or a post-master's certificate in family nurse practitioner, both of which provide students with in-depth training.
Southern Connecticut State University
New Haven's Southern Connecticut State University offers a number of undergraduate and graduate-level nursing programs, including three BSN options, an MSN with three program tracks, and three certificate options. The traditional BSN requires that students complete a series of general education courses that give them a strong foundation in the liberal arts and sciences before taking any nursing classes. In addition to the didactic portion of the program, students participate in a clinical experience at either a hospital or community-based agency. The RN to BSN program is administered online and is designed to provide advanced training for practicing registered nurses who hold a lesser degree or diploma in the field. This program is comprised of general education classes, prerequisites, and classes within the major, such as nursing research, advanced concepts in nursing, leadership and management in contemporary nursing practice, and concepts of community health nursing. The school also offers an Accelerated Career Entry BSN, designed for individuals who already hold a bachelor's degree in another field. Students can complete all required coursework in 12 months.
The MSN program allows students to choose from one of the following program tracks: nursing education, family nurse practitioner, or clinical nurse leader. Program requirements range from 42-48 credits, depending on the program. All students take 24 credits of core classes in addition to classes specific to their chosen area of study. The school also offers certificate options in family nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and clinical nurse leader.
University of Connecticut
Storrs-based University of Connecticut offers a BSN, an MSN with seven tracks of study, a DNP, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing, all of which are administered through the School of Nursing. The 127-credit BSN is designed for registered nurses who would like to gain advanced training in the field. This program integrates general education coursework with classes within the major and several practicum experiences that focus on different areas in the field. Coursework includes public health, clinical science, nursing research, and childbearing nurse science.
The MSN program allows students to choose from several tracks: adult-gerontology acute care, neonatal acute care, adult-gerontology primary care, clinical nurse leader, family nurse practitioner, RN to MS, or a post-master's certificate. All students are required to complete a series of foundational courses, such as nursing science, advanced pathophysiology, health policy and populations, and advanced health assessment. Because UConn is transitioning away from a traditional master's degree program in nursing, students are encouraged to enroll in the DNP program. This program provides a clinical track to a doctoral degree for nurse practitioners, specialists, midwives, administrators, or nurse anesthetists. This 36-credit program includes classes in evidence-based nursing and patient care informational systems. The PhD program is designed for individuals interested in leadership positions in nursing and equips students with the theoretical, philosophical, and research skills to develop their practice. Coursework for this research-based program covers experimental design, qualitative methods, and instrument development in nursing.
University of Hartford
Based in West Hartford, the University of Hartford offers an RN to BSN as well as an MSN with three program tracks through its College of Education, Nursing, and Health Professions. The 120-credit BSN option integrates general education requirements with classes within the major, such as nursing and diversity, health assessment, community health nursing, and community service learning. The MSN program allows students to concentrate their studies in nursing management, public health nursing, or nursing education. All options consist of 34 credits and require students take a series of core classes in addition to coursework specific to their concentration. Core classes include theoretical perspectives in nursing, nursing research, and advanced nursing.
Yale University is located in New Haven and offers a range of graduate-level nursing programs, including an MSN with six program tracks, several master-level joint degrees, a PhD in Nursing, a DNP, and a post-master's certificate with four areas of concentration. Credit requirements vary for the MSN program, depending on the student's educational background. The university offers the following areas of specialization: adult/gerontology acute care, adult/gerontology primary care, family primary care, nurse-midwifery/women's health nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, and psychiatric-mental health nursing. All program tracks integrate intensive didactic coursework with clinical experiences in various health care settings. The joint degrees available are an MSN and Master of Arts in Religion or an MSN and Master of Public Health. The 40-credit DNP program requires students complete 730 hours of clinical training and a 10-credit capstone that focuses on an area of interest. The PhD program is designed to give students an in-depth understanding of the core principles in nursing, including clinical research, health systems, and policy research. This program requires students take a handful of core classes in addition to courses in a related field of their choice. Coursework covers methods for nursing research, contemporary issues in health policy and politics, and conceptual basis for nursing science.
Both RNs and practical nurses (PNs) must be licensed to practice in this state. Licensing requirements include completing an approved nursing education program and passing the appropriate National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), either for RNs or PNs.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Nursing Programs Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Central Connecticut State University||Four-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
|$9,300 in-state and $21,570 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Gateway Community College||Two-year, public; midsize city||Associate in Science in Nursing||$4,032 in-state and $12,096 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Naugatuck Valley Community College||Two-year, public; midsize suburb||Associate in Science in Nursing||$4,072 in-state and $12,136 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Norwalk Community College||Two-year, public; small city||Associate in Science in Nursing||$4,052 in-state and $12,116 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|Quinnipiac University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing with two program tracks,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
|Sacred Heart University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing with three program tracks,
Doctor of Nursing Practice with two program tracks,
Certificate in Home Health Care Management,
Post-Master's Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner
|Southern Connecticut State University||Four-year, public; midsize city|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Accelerated Career Entry Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing with three program tracks,
Certificate with three options
|$9,600 in-state and $21,870 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|University of Connecticut||Four-year, public; large suburb|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing with seven program tracks,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
|$13,366 in-state and $34,908 out-of-state (undergraduate)*|
|University of Hartford||Four-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city|| Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing with three program tracks
|Yale University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; midsize city|| Master of Science in Nursing with six program tracks,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing,
Two joint Master of Science in Nursing degree programs,
Post-Master's Certificate with four options
Source: *NCES, College Navigator.