Nursing Colleges in Massachusetts with Overview of School Programs

Jul 22, 2019

Massachusetts has about 50 colleges and universities that offer nursing programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for the ten largest schools to make an informed education decision.

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Essential Information

Massachusetts' schools offer a variety of certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs for aspiring practical nurses (PN) and registered nurses (RN), in addition to educational programs in advanced practice nursing fields at the graduate level. Schools may have special admissions requirements, and many feature online degrees, accelerated programs or flexible scheduling options. The ten largest schools with nursing degree programs are listed below.


Boston College

Boston College in Chestnut Hill offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in nursing through its William F. Connell School of Nursing. Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program enjoyed a 92.5% pass rate for the NCLEX-RN exam in 2013-2014, which is higher than the national average. The school offers multiple routes for students to earn a master's degree, including one path for nurses with a BSN, another path for RNs without a nursing bachelor's degree and a third for non-nurses. Additionally, a PhD in Nursing is available for individuals who wish to pursue careers in nursing research and knowledge development.

Bunker Hill Community College

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Bunker Hill Community College is a 2-year school. Students who are interested in careers as registered nurses can pursue an Associate in Science in Nursing (ASN) that qualifies them for the NCLEX-RN examination. Program applicants must hold current CPR certification, have malpractice and health insurance and pass a criminal background check. The school also offers a 2-semester certificate program in practical nursing that can prepare students for the NCLEX-PN exam.

Middlesex Community College

Middlesex Community College is a 2-year school with campuses in both Bedford and Lowell. The 69-credit ASN program is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). Students can select a day or evening/weekend schedule. In addition, the school has an 18-credit Nursing Assistant Certificate program that prepares students for nurse assistant certification.

Northeastern University

Northeastern University in Boston offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees through its School of Nursing. The BSN program covers course topics such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pharmacology and pathophysiology. There is also an online RN to BSN program for licensed RNs looking to further their educations and careers. Master's students may pursue specialized degree programs in nurse anesthesia, nursing administration or nurse practitioner. The nurse practitioner programs award a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in a selected specialty area. Those interested in advanced graduate studies in nursing can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy or a Doctor of Nursing Practice in the discipline.

Quinsigamond Community College

Quinsigamond Community College is a 2-year school in Worchester. Students can earn an associate's degree in nurse education. This 5-semester program includes coursework such as anatomy and physiology, medical surgical nursing, medical microbiology, fundamentals of nursing and current concepts in nursing. The school also offers specialized advanced placement nursing education associate's programs. One program is for licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and the other is for certified paramedics. A certificate program in practical nursing is also available.

Salem State University

Salem State University is located in Salem. The School of Nursing has both bachelor's and master's programs available. The BSN program trains students for the NCLEX-RN examination through a combination of hands-on and lecture-based coursework. Current RNs and LPNs have the option to enter an accelerated BSN program. The 39-45 credit MSN program accepts students with a bachelor's degree in any discipline. However, those without a nursing degree must pass the National League for Nursing Baccalaureate Achievement Exam (NLNBAE).

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

This public school in Amherst offers several programs through its School of Nursing. The pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing begins with a pre-clinical plan and trains students for the NCLEX-RN exam. Registered Nurses can earn a BSN by following an accelerated track. UMass Amherst also has graduate degree programs leading to a Master of Science in Clinical Nurse Leader, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing. The DNP program is available entirely online.

University of Massachusetts - Boston

The University of Massachusetts - Boston (UMass - Boston) is located in the city of Boston, and it offers multiple nursing programs through its College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The school is affiliated with over 200 health care agencies, where students may work in internships, preceptorships or clinics at both the undergraduate and graduate level. At the undergraduate level, first-time nursing students can pursue a traditional BSN degree, while those who hold a bachelor's degree in another area can pursue an accelerated BSN. Registered Nurses have the option to earn a BSN entirely online.

Graduate nursing students can pursue an MSN and focus their studies on family nurse practitioner, acute care/critical care nurse specialist or adult-gerontological nurse practitioner. Individuals interested in advanced clinical nursing practice can pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice, while those who seek careers in research, education or policy analysis can earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing.

University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth

Situated in North Dartmouth, the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth has been serving nursing students since 1969. While first-time nursing students take a combination of classroom and clinical courses to prepare them for the NCLEX-RN exam, current RNs can earn a BSN entirely online. Master's students may specialize in adult health/nurse manager, adult health/nurse educator, community health/nurse management or community health/nurse educator. The school also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing.

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

The University of Massachusetts in Lowell has both undergraduate and graduate programs available for aspiring nurses. More than 250 clinical agencies are affiliated with the school, and students can gain experience in multiple clinical settings, including school health facilities, primary care practices and acute care hospitals. The school offers a BSN track for current RNs as well as a track for those without prior nursing experience. A combined BSN/MSN program is also available.

Master's students can specialize in adult psychiatric/mental health nursing, adult/gerontological nursing or family health nursing. The school also awards a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice.

Career Requirements

To practice nursing in Massachusetts, individuals must hold a valid state nursing license. Obtaining a license requires completion of an accredited nursing education program. Additionally, Massachusetts nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) for practical nurses or registered nurses. All programs below have state approval and prepare students to sit for a state licensing exam.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Nursing Programs Offered Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Boston College 4-year, private not-for-profit; small city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
PhD in Nursing
$55,464 (undergraduate)*
Bunker Hill Community College 2-year, public; large city Practical Nursing Certificate,
Associate in Science in Nursing
$4,464 in-state; $9,408 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
Middlesex Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Nursing Assistant Certificate,
Associate in Science in Nursing
$6,110 in-state; $12,062 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
Northeastern University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN program,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia,
Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Nursing,
PhD in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$51,522 (undergraduate)*
$24,309 (graduate)*
Quinsigamond Community College 2-year, public; midsized city Certificate in Practical Nursing,
Associate in Science in Nurse Education,
Associate in Science in Advanced Placement Nurse Education
$5,586 in-state; $10,530 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
Salem State University 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing
$10,642 in-state; $17,082 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$8,188 in-state; $9,808 out-of-state (graduate)*
University of Massachusetts - Amherst 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN Program,
Master of Science in Nursing,
PhD in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$15,887 in-state; $34,570 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$15,782 in-state; $30,845 out-of-state (graduate)*
University of Massachusetts - Boston 4-year, public; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN Program,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science/Doctor of Nursing Practice,
PhD in Nursing
$14,167 in-state; $33,966 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$18,231 in-state; $35,287 (graduate)*
University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth 4-year, public; midsized suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN Program,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
PhD in Nursing
$13,921 in-state; $29,141 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$16,337 in-state; $29,141 out-of-state (graduate)*
University of Massachusetts - Lowell 4-year, public; large suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
RN to BSN program,
Master of Science in Nursing,
PhD in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
$15,180 in-state; $32,827 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$15,060 in-state; $26,840 out-of-state (graduate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator.

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