Nursing Schools in Boston, MA with Degree Program Descriptions

Feb 11, 2019

Boston Nursing Schools

The Boston area has several schools for people interested in becoming nurses, including three within 20 minutes of downtown. Following the discussion of nursing programs at these three area schools is a table comparing school tuition and other factors. At the end of the article there is a paragraph describing other area nursing school options.

  • Northeastern University is a 4-year, private not-for-profit school with the largest student body at nearly 22,000. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing with several specialty nursing programs available.
  • Students interested in a public school may be interested in the University of Massachusetts - Boston. This 4-year college also awards undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing, as well as post-master's certificates.
  • Boston College, another private not-for-profit school, is the most expensive school on the list. This school is home to a top-ranked graduate school of nursing that offers both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.

School Comparison

Tuition can vary greatly between public and private schools. The following table compares school tuition and characteristics for the schools discussed in this article.

Northeastern University University of Massachusetts - Boston Boston College
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 21,489* 16,415* 14,628*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Small city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $49,497* $13,828 in-state;
$32,985 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Northeastern University

Northeastern University is a 4-year, private school offering undergraduate, graduate, and PhD programs in nursing. Northeastern places students in such clinical institutions as Children's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital and offers many hand-on learning experiences for aspiring nurses.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The undergraduate nursing program includes general education courses, as well as classes in pathophysiology, nutrition, and nursing care. Nursing courses begin in the sophomore year, while clinical practicums take place once students build confidence through coursework and co-op nursing practices. Current RNs may complete their BSNs entirely online in two years.

Master of Science in Nursing

Northeastern offers a number of Master of Science programs for nursing students. They can pursue a BSN/MS combined degree, which includes specialties such as adult acute care nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and pediatric nurse practitioner. Additional MS options include direct entry nursing, nurse anesthesia, and nursing administration. The school also offers a joint MSN-MBA degree program which includes business and organizational training, in addition to nursing studies, for those interested in nurse management.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The DNP is a practice-based program for those who intend to continue working at the highest level of nursing. RNs are required to complete a master's degree program in nursing or a related field before entry into this program. The DNP program takes a minimum of four semesters of full-time study. Part-time options are also available. A scholarly capstone project is required and will be completed over two semesters.

PhD in Nursing

The PhD program is designed for RNs who have completed a bachelor's or master's degree program in nursing. Full-time students complete their studies in 48 semester hours, or 60 semester hours if entering with only a bachelor's degree. Part-time options are also available. The PhD program is research-based, and students study under the supervision of nursing faculty who are trained in research methods and have a broad range of interests. A dissertation is required.

University of Massachusetts - Boston

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences is the fastest-growing college of the University of Massachusetts - Boston. The school offers state-of-the-art facilities and an outreach center to promote community health.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

This degree program requires 123 credits for graduation. A typical full-time student completes the program in four years; however, an accelerated BSN program is also available. In addition to general education and clinical practice, students complete core courses in areas such as adult health nursing, mental health nursing, and women's health. An online BSN program is available for students who are already licensed as RNs. This program offers flexible hours so that students may continue working.

Master of Science in Nursing

This program is intended for current RNs who have BSNs. The 48-credit program prepares students for national certification exams and advanced practice nursing licensure. Clinical internships may lead to potential future employment. Students may choose a specialization in family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontological nurse practitioner, or adult-gerontological acute care clinical nurse specialist. The MSN can be completed in 4-7 semesters. All students are required to complete a capstone project, such as a paper or service-learning project. Graduate courses include primary care of adults, advanced health assessment, human diversity in healthcare, and evidence-based teaching practices.


Individuals who have already earned an MSN may work towards their DNP online. The DNP program prepares nurses to work in advanced roles in various healthcare settings. It takes three years to graduate if attending part-time, and some campus visits may be required. DNP students may choose from graduate coursework such as health economics, health informatics, and health care systems.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

The PhD program trains students for leadership in the nursing community, providing specializations in population health or health policy. The program requires 60 credits beyond a master's degree and offers BS-PhD and MS-PhD program tracks. It is a research-based degree program, and students are expected to focus on an area of interest in nursing. A dissertation is required in the third year of study.

Boston College

Boston College is home to the William F. Connell School of Nursing, which awards accredited BSN and MSN degrees, as well as a DNP. The school is home to a state-of-the-art clinical learning center and nursing simulation lab.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The BSN program at this school is available in a traditional, full-time format and takes four years to complete. Students learn through a combination of classroom lectures and clinical experiences, and they may complete a study abroad experience during their junior year. Undergraduate courses cover pharmacology, nursing practices, adult health nursing theory, health assessment, and population health.

Master of Science in Nursing

The MSN program at Boston College is available with six specialty areas: women's health nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nurse anesthesia, psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner, and pediatric primary care nurse practitioner. The programs have multiple pathways and requirements, depending on the student's previous education. The traditional program is for current RNs who hold a BSN and requires 45 credits; students without a BSN have to complete additional core nursing courses.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

This research-intensive program requires students to choose a core area of research and complete a dissertation. The 3-year program includes multiple research practicums as well as courses in research methods, statistics, and nursing epistemology. Clinical research is conducted in top health centers in the Boston area, and students are mentored by leading scientists in the field.

Other School Options

Nursing degree programs are also available at several other schools in the area, including Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Bay State College, Bunker Hills Community College, and Simmons University.

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