10 Best Massachusetts FNP Programs (Online & Campus) – 2024


Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

As a family nurse practitioner in the Bay State, your services will be in high demand. Like most states, Massachusetts has been direly affected by a shortage of primary healthcare providers, even while employment opportunities for FNPs are projected to increase by 56 percent in the next 10 years. Graduates of FNP programs in Massachusetts practice in multiple healthcare settings, including hospital outpatient clinics, doctors’ offices, community agencies, nursing homes, and state and local government organizations. They make a top salary, too: $138,360 annually. Could this be your next career move? Get started today by reading these descriptions of the 10 best FNP programs in Massachusetts for 2024.


FOLLOWING ARE THE 10 BEST FNP PROGRAMS IN MASSACHUSETTS (ONLINE & CAMPUS) FOR 2024

(Based on our Ranking Methodology, we have ranked the 10 best campus-based and online FNP programs in Massachusetts.)


1. Boston College - Chestnut Hill


Programs Offered: RN-to-DNP, BSN-to-DNP, MSN-to-DNP, and Direct Entry DNP

About the School: Boston College offers some of the best FNP programs in Massachusetts. With options for nurses with associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degrees, and graduates of non-nursing bachelor’s programs, there is a pathway for almost anyone who wants to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice and become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

All DNP-Family Nurse Practitioner pathways include five components: DNP core course sequence, advanced practice nursing core, support courses (required prerequisites and electives), evidence-based practice & scholarly inquiry sequence (DNP Project), and advanced practice clinical specialty sequence.

RN-to-DNP Program Details: The RN-to-DNP program at Boston College offers a unique opportunity for currently licensed registered nurses without a BSN to utilize past work and academic experience to pursue a DNP and become a Family Nurse Practitioner. Candidates for this program must possess an associate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited program.

The RN-to-DNP program at BC builds upon the minimum 110-credit requirement for entry and features a 79 to 82-credit hour curriculum. It is designed in a campus-based format and takes approximately four years to complete. In this pathway, you will study topics, including Examining Diversity in Nursing & Healthcare, Healthcare Quality Management, Nursing Leadership in Complex Healthcare Settings, and Foundations of Evidence-Based Advanced Nursing Practice in a campus-based setting. All students in the RN-to-DNP program complete at least 1,000 clinical practicum hours to satisfy DNP graduation requirements.

BSN-to-DNP Program Details: The BSN-to-DNP-Family Nurse Practitioner program is a three-year, on-campus program. In this pathway, you will participate in campus-based didactic and laboratory simulation experiences and complete clinical practicum at assigned clinical sites.

This pathway features a 79- to 82-credit hour curriculum with classes, including Population Health Principles, Pharmacotherapeutics in Advanced Practice Nursing, Population Health Principles, Program Planning & Evaluation, and Advanced Health/Physical Assessment Across the Lifespan. You will complete a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours throughout the program.

MSN-to-DNP Program Details: Boston College’s MSN-to-DNP Family Nurse Practitioner program is designed for current nurse practitioners desiring to transition their roles to an advanced family practice focus. The MSN-to-DNP program is a two-year, 33-credit hour track. You will take classes including Healthcare Policy for Nursing Leaders, Nursing Leadership in Complex Healthcare Setting, and Nursing Ethics & Professional Responsibility in Advanced Practice.

Students in the MSN-to-DNP pathway must have a total of 1,000 post-baccalaureate clinical hours. Upon admission to the program, clinical hours earned in your BSN program are examined for transferability to determine the number of hours needed to complete the MSN-to-DNP pathway.

Direct Entry DNP Program Details: If you’re searching for a family nurse practitioner program in Massachusetts and have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, the Direct Entry DNP at Boston College could be a great option for you. Candidates must have a minimum undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and complete all prerequisite courses before enrolling.

The total credits required for the Direct Entry DNP-Family Nurse Practitioner is 106-109. The curriculum includes the following classes: Direct Entry Adult Health Nursing, Epidemiology, Population Health, and Pharmacotherapeutics in Advanced Practice Nursing. Like all DNP options, this program includes clinical experiences where you will earn at least 1,000 hours of hands-on patient care. The program is offered as campus-based learning and can be completed in three to four years.


2. MGH Institute Of Health Professions - Boston


Programs Offered: Direct-Entry MSN and MSN

About the School Program Details: If you’re searching for the best FNP programs in Massachusetts, the MGH Institute of Health Professions is a great place to start. The school is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Graduate Schools for Nursing Master’s Degree 2024. The Institute offers Direct-Entry MSN and MSN Family Nurse Practitioner pathways in an on-campus format.

The college boasts of renowned nursing faculty who are practicing clinicians dedicated to your success. Personalized attention is something MGH Institute of Health Professions is committed to. With a 1:6 faculty-to-student ratio in the classroom and laboratory and 1:1 preceptor-to-student ratio in clinicals, you don't have to worry about whether someone is there to support your efforts in learning and practice.

Direct-Entry MSN Program Details: The Direct-Entry Master of Science in Nursing with Family Nurse Practitioner concentration is designed for individuals with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree who desire to earn an MSN and become a family nurse practitioner. Candidates must have a 3.0 GPA from previous college coursework.

The program is offered in a campus-based learning format, designed to be completed in three years. After completing the required prerequisites, you will complete an additional 91 to 93 credit hours, including five practicum courses. You will take classes including Public Health Nursing: Theory & Practice, Biobehavioral Principles & Theories, Primary Care Across the Lifespan, and Interprofessional Ethics. Students in the Direct-Entry pathway complete a minimum of 675 clinical hours.

MSN Program Details: The MSN pathway at MGH Institute of Health Professions is another one of the best family nurse practitioner programs in Massachusetts. This program is a two-year post-BSN option, using the clinical and theoretical foundation from your undergraduate nursing education to help you transition to graduate-level nursing knowledge and skills.

The MSN program features a 50-credit graduate-level curriculum. As a student in this program, you will take classes such as Therapeutic Communication Within Families, Professional Issues Related to Advanced Practice Nursing, Research for Clinical Practice, and Healthcare Policy & Politics. Students in the MSN pathway complete at least 540 clinical hours.


3. University of Massachusetts Boston - Boston


Programs Offered: MSN, BSN-to-DNP, and Post-Master’s Certificate

About the School Program Details: The Robert and Donna Manning College of Nursing & Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Boston is an excellent option for family nurse practitioner programs in Massachusetts. The university offers students opportunities to work with dedicated faculty renowned for achievements as scholars, practitioners, and educators. UMass-Boston is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Grad Schools for Master’s Nursing Degrees, supporting the fact that it is a great school to earn a graduate nursing degree and pursue Family Nurse Practitioner education.

MSN Program Details: The Master of Science in Nursing program with an FNP focus at the University of Massachusetts at Boston is designed to meet the academic needs of working nurses. With classes offered in a hybrid format, you have more control over your schedule and create a healthy work/school/life balance. It is considered one of the best MSN-FNP programs in Massachusetts.

The MSN program features part-time and full-time options, which you can complete in five or six semesters. The curriculum consists of 48 credit hours. In this pathway, you will take courses including Primary Care of the Older Adult, Mental & Psychosocial Health of the Urban Family, Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nurses, and Knowledge for Practice in the Global Community. The program also includes 665 preceptor-supervised clinical hours.

BSN-to-DNP Program Details: If you have a BSN and want to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice, the BSN-to-DNP program could be a great option. The program is offered in a hybrid format, combining online and on-campus learning as well as in-person clinical practicum experiences.

The BSN-to-DNP program consists of a total of 70 credits. Coursework in this pathway includes classes such as Improving Outcomes: Identification, Interventions, & Evaluation of Quality Improvement Activities, Population Health, Introduction to Health Policy, Finance, & Ethics, and Advanced Health Assessments. Once you accomplish the requirements necessary to fulfill the MSN curriculum, you can apply for and sit for FNP board certification and then matriculate into the DNP component of the program. The BSN-to-DNP curriculum at UMass Boston includes 1,065 practicum hours.

Post-Master’s Certificate Program Details: The UMass Boston Post-Master's Certificate program is an excellent option for registered nurses who want to become Family Nurse Practitioners either whether this is their primary N.P. certification or a second certification. The program offers coursework exclusively online and clinical assignments in areas close to your home, when possible, making it possible to earn your degree with little disruption of your normal work and life schedule.

The Post-Master’s Certificate program has two options: a 12-credit pathway and a 21-credit pathway.

The 12-credit pathway is available to master’s-prepared RNs and current Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Gerontology Nurse Practitioners. This option includes six credits of didactic coursework and six credits of clinical coursework. In this program, you will earn 300 hours of clinical experience.

The 21-credit pathway is available to master’s prepared registered nurses who are not certified as nurse practitioners. The curriculum includes 21 credits and 600 hours of clinical immersion.

Once mandatory prerequisite classes are taken at UMass Boston, or confirmed as previously taken, and passed with a letter grade of "B" or higher, you may enter the Post-Master's Certificate curriculum.

Coursework includes classes such as Primary Care of the Adult, Primary Care of the Childbearing Family, Psychosocial Mental Health.


4. Simmons University - Boston


Programs Offered: Direct Entry MSN and MSN

About the School: Simmons University, which is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Best Online Programs for Family Nurse Practitioners, offers two of the best FNP programs in Massachusetts. Depending on your academic and professional background, you can choose from the Direct-Entry MSN or MSN program and specialize in a Family Nurse Practitioner concentration.

Direct Entry MSN Program Details: The Direct-Entry MSN program at Simmons University is a top FNP program in Massachusetts. It is an excellent choice for prospective students with a non-nursing Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree who desire to become Family Nurse Practitioners. The program is offered in an on-campus format and designed for completion in three years of full-time study or four years if you enroll part-time.

The first four semesters of the Direct-Entry MSN program curriculum are the "Pre-Licensure Sequence" In the Pre-Licensure Sequence, you will earn 57 credits from classes, including Advanced Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Nursing Fundamentals & Health Assessment, and Nursing Care of Individuals, Families, & Communities. Once these credits are complete, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN. You must pass the NCLEX-RN to matriculate into the post-licensure portion of the Direct-Entry MSN program.

The Post-Licensure sequence of the program consists of 39 additional credits earned from classes such as Health Promotion: A Global Perspective, Informatics, Advanced Pharmacology Across the Lifespan, and Family Theory: Health & Illness.

MSN Program Details: If you are a baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse with an active, unencumbered R.N. license, the MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner pathway may be a good fit for you. The MSN-FNP program is offered in on-campus and online formats and can be completed in as few as 24 months full-time or in 28 months part-time. This program also offers an extended pathway, allowing you 32 months to complete.

The MSN curriculum features 48-course credits. Students in this program take classes including Clinical Decision Making, Scholarly Inquiry, Research Methods for the Advanced Practice Nurse, and Healthcare Systems: Interdisciplinary Perspectives.

The rigorous curriculum includes high-quality clinical experiences, designed to help you hone previous clinical skills and develop graduate-level skills and experiences. In the MSN-FNP program, you will earn at least 672 hours of hands-on clinical practice.


5. University of Massachusetts Lowell - Lowell


Programs Offered: MSN and BSN-to-DNP

About the School: The Susan and Alan Solomont School of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell is dedicated to offering high-quality education to students and is a great place to find an FNP program in Massachusetts. The program boasts of distinguished faculty with more than 400 years of collective experience. Faculty are recognized as presenters at professional conferences in countries worldwide, authors/contributors to more than 500 articles nationally and internationally and have been honored by the American Academy of Nursing, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and the Gerontological Society of America.

MSN Program Details: UMass-Lowell offers baccalaureate-prepared R.N.s the option to earn an MSN and specialize as a Family Nurse Practitioner. The MSN-FNP program is designed to be completed in two years with full-time study. It is one of the best online FNP programs in Massachusetts.

As a student in the MSN pathway, you will earn 42-credit hours. The curriculum includes classes such as Clinical Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Social, Cultural, & Policy Issues in Healthcare, and Theoretical Foundations of Nursing.

Students in the MSN program begin clinicals in the first semester. You will complete at least 810 laboratory and clinical practice hours throughout the program.

BSN-to-DNP Program Details: If you are a bachelor's-prepared registered nurse and want to earn a DNP and become a Family Nurse Practitioner, the BSN-to-DNP program is a great option. The program offers flexibility with part-time and full-time options. Students typically complete the program in five years part-time or four years full-time. Courses are delivered in a hybrid format blending online didactic coursework, laboratory simulations on campus, and in-person clinical immersions.

The program offers a rigorous 75-credit curriculum where you will study classes, including Advanced Health Assessment & Diagnostic Reasoning, Research for Evidence-Based Practice, Operations Analysis for Quality Improvement, and Biostatistics for Health Data.

Clinicals begin in the second semester of the program and continue until graduation. You will have opportunities for hands-on patient care in a variety of clinical settings, earning more than 1,100 hours of clinical practicum by the time you graduate.


6. University of Massachusetts Medical School - North Worcester


Programs Offered: GEP-to-DNP and BSN-to-DNP

About the School: Are you considering earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice and pursuing a career as a Family Nurse Practitioner? If you’re searching for the best FNP programs in Massachusetts, the University of Massachusetts Medical School is an excellent option to consider.

The university offers low student-to-faculty ratios, a hybrid program delivery blending online and campus learning, and experienced, clinically-active faculty. At UMass Medical School, you will learn in one of the top-rated graduate nursing schools in the country with access to the university's state-of-the art education and simulation center.

GEP-to-DNP Program Details: The Graduate-Entry DNP Family Nurse Practitioner program is a top FNP program in Massachusetts. The program is designed as an alternate pathway for students who are not nurses but have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree yet want to earn a doctoral degree in nursing.

The GEP-to-DNP Family Nurse Practitioner program features a rigorous curriculum of at least 128 credit hours. The program is designed in a four-year plan, including three summer semesters. Coursework includes classes like Biomedical Sciences, Societal Forces, Analytical Foundations of Practice Inquiry, and Genetics, Genomics & Pharmacogenomics.

BSN-to-DNP Program Details: The BSN-to-DNP track is available to registered nurses who have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited school of nursing and hold an active, unrestricted license to practice as an R.N.

The program, an excellent FNP program in Massachusetts, consists of a 78-credit hour curriculum. The program takes eight semesters of full-time study to complete. You will study subjects, including Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics, Translating & Integrating Scholarship into Practice, Advanced Nursing Science, and Quality & Safety in Healthcare Organizations.

Both the Graduate-Entry Program-to-Doctor of Nursing Practice and BSN-to-DNP options require students to complete a minimum of 1,000 clinical hours to meet graduation requirements. Clinicals are arranged by Clinical Faculty to ensure you have a broad range of experiences.


7. Northeastern University - Boston


Programs Offered: Direct Entry MSN and MSN

About the School: Northeastern University offers two of the best master’s level FNP programs in Massachusetts. The mission of the NU-Bouve’ College of Health Sciences School of Nursing is to contribute to health and the nursing profession through leadership, innovative practice, and demonstrating the values of equity, inclusion, and diversity. The university offers an atmosphere conducive to learning and developing strong nursing knowledge and skills, preparing nurses for successful futures in advanced practice roles as Family Nurse Practitioners.

Direct Entry MSN Program Details: Northeastern University offers an excellent Direct-Entry MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner program in Massachusetts. The program, featured in a hybrid format, allows you to leverage your previous academic and work experience to earn both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing. You will first complete your BSN and take the NCLEX-RN, then transition into the Master‘s component of the program specializing in advanced family practice.

The program is divided into two 16-month segments, making it possible to graduate in as few as 32 months. By the time you graduate from the Direct-Entry MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner program, you will have earned 100-108 credit hours and at least 1,000 hours of hands-on clinical practice experience.

The program's first four semesters (16 months) include sequential classes and clinical experiences. After completing 64 units of credits, you will be awarded a BSN and be prepared to take the NCLEX-RN. After earning your R.N. license, you may enroll in core non-clinical classes while gaining mandatory one to two years of work experience.

Once you have at least one year of work experience and complete all required non-clinical core courses, you may enroll in the Master's Specialty Track and complete MSN-level coursework and clinicals. The master's component of the program takes an additional 16 months to complete and includes 36 to 42 credit hours.

MSN Program Details: The MSN program track with FNP specialty is available to registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree conferred from an accredited school of nursing in the United States. Applicants for this program must have one year of full-time nursing experience.

The MSN program is delivered in a hybrid format, with most classes delivered online. You may be required to travel to campus up to two times each semester. Full-time students can anticipate graduating in two years, while part-time students typically take three years to complete the program.

The MSN-FNP program features a 47-credit hour curriculum with classes focused on cultural competence, evidence-based practices, collaboration, and leadership. You will take courses, including Evidence-Based Research Application, Healthcare System & Professional Role Development, Pharmacology of Adults & Older Adults, and Epidemiology & Population Health. All students earn a minimum of 720 clinical hours.


8. American International College - Springfield


Programs Offered: MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate

About the School: American International College is home to two of the best FNP programs in Massachusetts. The college offers an MSN option and a Post-Master's Certificate program with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialty concentration.

American International College is committed to your success. As a student in either of the available FNP programs, you will apply knowledge and skills gained to initiate and inform change in advanced nursing practice. You will learn to use scholarly inquiry, ethical decision-making, and collaborative efforts to improve patient and organizational outcomes.

MSN Program Details: The MSN program is offered in an online format and designed so you can earn your master's degree in nursing in three years. The MSN pathway prepares currently licensed registered nurses for roles as advanced practice nurses specializing in Family Practice.

The MSN-FNP program includes a curriculum consisting of 46 credit hours. As a student in this program, you will complete classes such as Advanced Concepts of Pathophysiology, The Art & Science of Advanced Practice Nursing, Advanced Health Assessment & Differential Diagnosis, and Advanced Practice Professional Issues & Responsibilities.

Post-Master’s Certificate Program Details: The Post-Master's Certificate program is a two-year, 28-credit hour program. Before admission, you must complete Advanced Concepts of Pathophysiology, Advanced Concepts in Pharmacology, and Advanced Concepts of Health Assessment. The curriculum features classes focused on primary care in clinical settings, the professional roles of the advanced practice nurse, and advanced practice pharmacotherapeutics.


9. University of Massachusetts Amherst - Amherst


Programs Offered: BSN-to-DNP

About the School: The University of Massachusetts at Amherst offers a pathway for bachelor’s prepared nurses to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice with a clinical focus as a Family Nurse Practitioner. The college operates under the vision and mission of preparing culturally competent and proficient nurses to take on advanced practice roles in nursing.

As a student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, you will experience a broad academic and clinical foundation preparing you for the role of a Family Nurse Practitioner. The university employs nursing faculty with a wide range of clinical experiences, which means you will gain insight from different points of view as you develop and hone your clinical skills. The BSN-to-DNP program offered at the university is considered an excellent family nurse practitioner program in Massachusetts.

BSN-to-DNP Program Details: The Post-Baccalaureate Family Nurse Practitioner pathway is designed to prepare you as an expert in delivering primary care to patients across the lifespan and in various healthcare settings. The program is offered in an online format and has four- and five-year study plans available.

The BSN-to-DNP program is a top-ranked family nurse practitioner program in Massachusetts. In this program, you will engage in a rich curriculum consisting of 80 credit hours and 1,064 clinical practicum hours. You will complete coursework from classes, including Pharmacotherapy Management, Assessment & Diagnosis of Mental Health Disorders, Complex Health Problems in Primary care, and Defining Evidence for Problems & Solutions.


10. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences - Boston


Programs Offered: RN-to-MSN, MSN, and CAGS

About the School: Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences offers three options for pursuing FNP programs in Massachusetts. Whether you are a registered nurse with an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree, there is a program option to help you become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

The programs are offered in an online format with minimal on-campus requirements. Clinical experiences are completed in your community, which makes this an excellent option for nurses who need to continue working while in school. You will complete between 33 and 62 credit hours, depending on which program you choose. All pathways include 672 hours of hands-on clinical practicum relevant to family practice nursing.

RN-to-MSN Program Details: The RN-to-MSN program at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences allows associate-prepared registered nurses to transition to graduate-level coursework to earn an MSN as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Prospective students must have an active, unencumbered license to practice as registered nurses, possess an associate degree in nursing from a state-approved program, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 on all college coursework.

The RN-to-MSN program is designed to be completed in three years. The first year of the program is the "bridge" year, during which you will earn 20 credit hours from undergraduate-level coursework. For the following two years, you will focus on upper-division, graduate-level nursing classes and earn 42 additional credits.

MSN-level coursework includes classes such as Human Diversity, Social, & Policy Issues, Scholarship for Advanced Nursing Building an Evidence-Based Practice, and Advanced Health Assessment Across the Lifespan. You will begin clinicals during the first year and continue through the remainder of the program.

MSN Program Details: Candidates for admission must possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree conferred by an accredited college or university, have an active, unrestricted R.N. license, and have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher for all previous nursing coursework.

The MSN is a 24-month program. This pathway features a 42-credit-hour curriculum. You will take classes, including Professional Role Development for Advanced Practice Nursing and Advanced Pharmacology.

CAGS Program Details: The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies-Family Nurse Practitioner program is another top-rated family nurse practitioner program in Massachusetts. This program is available to registered nurses who possess a master's degree in nursing from a CCNE or NLNAC-accredited nursing program and who have a grade of "B" or higher on all master's level coursework.

The program is a top post-graduate FNP program in Massachusetts. It features a 33-credit hour curriculum built upon previous graduate studies. A few classes in this program include Family Primary Care I & II, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Survey of Telemedicine.


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Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).



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