What are the 10 Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts (Online & Campus) for 2020?


1. University Of Massachusetts - Boston


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

If you’re a health care professional who believes in health equity and social justice, then the University of Massachusetts at Boston offers one of the best nurse practitioner programs in Massachusetts for your advanced practice studies. “U.S. News & World Report” ranks UMass Boston’s master’s and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs highly. The university offers two NP tracks in conjunction with its MSN and BSN to DNP concentrations. The same two NP tracks are also offered as certificate training to nurses who’ve already completed graduate degrees.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

Family Nurse Practitioner and the Adult-Gerontological Nurse Practitioner curricula are designed for working RNs. Both specialties can be completed in two years by full-time students and in three to four years by part-time students. Courses are offered both on-campus and through online venues. Both specialties require 48 credits and 665 clinical hours for completion. Clinical rotations utilize many of Boston’s world-renowned health care centers, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Children’s Hospital, and Boston Medical Center.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult/Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner

Both BSN to DNP advanced practice programs combine online and classroom learning experiences. Students must complete 78 credits and 1,065 clinical hours in the course of their NP studies. The program can be finished in six years. Students are encouraged to sit for their nurse practitioner certifications once they’ve completed the master’s portion of the curricula after three years. Students are also responsible for finishing a capstone project that will demonstrate their ability to effect positive health care delivery changes within their chosen specialty.

Post-Master’s Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care (AGNP)

UMass Boston offers two certificate study tracks for the FNP and AGNP specialties. The 12-credit track is designed for NPs certified in pediatric, adult, gerontology, or adult/gerontology primary care advanced practice, while the 21-credit track is designed for NPs, certified in women’s health, psychiatric, adult/gerontology acute care advance practice. Nurses with graduate nursing degrees who are not certified in advance practice may also enroll in the 21-credit track.

The program does not accept students from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas (on a case-by-case basis), Virginia, Washington, West Virginia or Wyoming because UMass’s curricula does not meet these states’ requirements for licensure.

2) Northeastern University - Boston


Programs Offered: MSN and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)

Northeastern University offers one of the most comprehensive sets of nurse practitioner programs in Massachusetts. The university is famous for its experiential approach to learning: Its cooperative education curriculum integrates classroom study with professional experience, and advance practice nursing students get to learn at some of the best hospitals in the Boston metropolitan area, including Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and Tufts-New England Medical Center. Northeastern offers six advance practice specialties for nurses who want to become NPs while studying for their MSN degrees and five advance practice certificate concentrations for nurses with graduate nursing degrees.

MSN Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

In order to complete Adult-Gerontology Acute Care and Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP training, students need to complete 43-semester credits and a minimum of 600 hours of precepted clinical work. The Family Nurse Practitioner track entails 47-semester credits and 720 clinical hours, and can be completed in two years (fulltime) or three years (part-time.) The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration involves 43-semester credits and emphasizes the provision of services to children, adolescents, and young adults with behavioral health problems.

Applicants to the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner specialty must have at least two years of professional experience in a Level 3 or higher NICU in order to be considered for the program; 24-semester credits are required to obtain the degree, and clinical rotations are scheduled at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, UMASS Memorial Health Care and Women and Infant’s Hospital of Rhode Island.

The Pediatric NP specialty has two tracks: the Primary Care track entails 41-semester credits while the Primary Care/Acute Care dual-track entails 52-semester credits. Applicants to the Primary Care track need to have a minimum of two years of professional experience in a pediatric health care setting while applicants to the Primary Care/Acute Care track need to have two years of experience in an acute care pediatric setting.

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP (CAGS), Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP (CAGS), Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (CAGS), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (CAGS) and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (CAGS)

In order to be accepted into any of Northeastern’s CAGS tracks, a nurse must have an MSN and must have worked professionally for two years after receiving that MSN. The CAGS Adult and Gerontology Acute Care NP, Pediatric NP and Psychiatric Mental Health specializations all entail 24-semester credits while the Neonatal Nurse NP specialty involves 21-semester credits.

3) Boston College - Chestnut Hill


Programs Offered: RN to DNP, Post-BSN to DNP, Post-Master's DNP, and Direct Entry DNP

Though Boston College is a private Jesuit research university, its doors are open to students of all faiths. This Massachusetts NP program is particularly strong in clinical education since the Connell School of Nursing maintains clinical partnerships with more than 85 health care facilities in the greater Boston metropolitan region, including Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the VA Boston Healthcare System.

Boston College offers RNs without BSNs the opportunity to pursue advance practice training through its RN (ADN) to DNP program. Students accepted into the RN to DNP program can pursue one of five advanced nurse practice specialties. The same five specialties are offered to students enrolled in Boston College’s post-BSN to DNP track and its post-master’s DNP track. Boston College also offers these five specialties as certificate concentrations.

RN (ADN) to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
Part-time students can apply to begin this program in either the fall or the spring, but fulltime students can only apply to begin in the fall. Although students can transfer credits they’ve earned in past academic programs, they must earn a minimum of 110 credits at Boston College in order to graduate from this program.

Post-BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners who graduate from these programs are qualified to conduct research, serve as case managers, and educate patients, groups, communities, and health care professionals in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, community clinics, family practices, and wellness centers.

Post-Master's DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Students applying to the Family Nurse Practitioner program must begin their studies in the fall semester; other applicants can begin their studies in either the spring or the fall.

Direct Entry DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Boston College also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice program for nurses who don’t have BSNs but who’ve earned Bachelors’ degrees in other fields of study. The first year and a half of this program is dedicated to helping students become licensed as RNs. After that, students begin coursework and clinical rotations with students in the traditional DNP tracks.

4) University Of Massachusetts - Amherst


Programs Offered: Post-BSN to DNP and Post-Master's Certificate

UMass Amherst is known for emphasizing the importance of diversity and social justice within the provision of health care. It’s an important research institution, and its College of Nursing maintains facilities both on the Amherst campus and in the nearby Massachusetts capital, Springfield. The university offers three NP specialties as part of its post-BSN to DNP track. One of those specialties is also offered as a certificate concentration.

Post-BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP), and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

UMass Amherst’s DNP program was one of the first in the nation to be conducted wholly online. This online nurse practitioner program in Massachusetts is still among the best programs of its kind: “US News & World Report” places it in the top 30 nationwide. All coursework utilizes the distance-learning model, and clinical rotations are arranged in the areas where students live or work.

The Family Nurse Practice track involves 60-semester credits and 1,232 clinical hours. The Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner track entails 30-semester credits while the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner requires 85-semester credits and 840 clinical hours. Both FNP and PMHN students have the option to complete their studies in either four or five years. FNP and PMHN students are also responsible for completing five capstone projects.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certificate training is an accelerated program aimed at nurses who already have master’s degrees and who wish to enhance their scope of practice to include the care of individuals with mental health needs. The program admits nurse practitioners in other fields as well as nurses who have a master’s degree but who have not been certified for advance practice.

Coursework is conducted solely online, and study plans are individualized to take into account each student’s past coursework and professional experience. Students must complete between 25 and 30-semester credits. Students who are not advance practice nurses must complete 728 clinical hours while students who hold advance practice certification in another specialty must complete 560 clinical hours.

5) University Of Massachusetts Medical School - Worcester


Programs Offered: DNP

The University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester is also home to a highly respected graduate nursing school, which is a great choice for any nurse who wants to become a nurse practitioner in Massachusetts. Its four NP specialties are all tracks within its DNP program.

DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health NP

The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, and Family Nurse advance practice tracks are open to non-RNs with Bachelors degrees in non-nursing fields and to RNs with associate’s degrees as well as to RNs with BSNs. The gerontology-related tracks require 75 credits of coursework, the FNP track requires 78 credits of coursework and the PNHNP track requires 76 units of coursework.

6) Regis College School Of Nursing - Weston


Programs Offered: RN (ADN) to MSN, RN to BSN to MSN, MSN, BSN to DNP, Post- MSN to DNP, and Post-Master’s Certificates

Regis College in Weston is a Catholic university, but it’s open to students of all religious faiths. The Young School of Nursing has been recognized by the National League of Nursing as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education. Regis College will let you audit its Nursing Theory and Concepts in Nursing Leadership classes for free while you’re trying to decide whether this is the right nursing program for you.

Of all the nurse practitioner schools in Massachusetts, Regis may offer the most different options for expanding your scope of practice. In each of its four advance practice tracks, it offers five nurse practice specialties. It also offers five nurse practice specialties as certificate concentrations for nurses who already have graduate degrees.

RN (ADN) to MSN Concentrations: Nurse Practitioner Family, Nurse Practitioner Pediatric, Nurse Practitioner Women’s Health, Nurse Practitioner Adult-Gerontology, and Nurse Practitioner Psychiatric-Mental Health

“Bridge tracks” is the name Regis gives to its NP programs that are designed to enable registered nurses with Bachelor’s degrees in unrelated fields become advanced clinical practitioners. All specialties require the completion of 59 credits; 15 of those credits are undergraduate nursing courses. Clinical rotations take place at medical facilities within the greater Boston area such as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Franciscan Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

RN to BSN to MSN Concentrations: Nurse Practitioner Family, Nurse Practitioner Pediatric, Nurse Practitioner Women’s Health, Nurse Practitioner Adult-Gerontology, and Nurse Practitioner Psychiatric-Mental Health

Regis’s RN to BSN to MSN program entails taking 104 credits. Thirty of these credits will be in basic nursing classes, and 28 will be in courses related to the NP specialty students have chosen. The remaining classes are basic liberal arts degree requirements. Students will do clinical rotations at hospitals within the Boston metropolitan region.

MSN Concentrations: Nurse Practitioner Family, Nurse Practitioner Pediatric, Nurse Practitioner Adult-Gerontology, Nurse Practitioner Psychiatric-Mental Health, and Nurse Practitioner Women’s Health

Students can pursue an NP specialization in conjunction with an MSN either at Regis’s Weston campus or through online coursework. All five NP specialties require the completion of a 24-credit core curriculum. Following that, nurses pursuing the Psychiatric-Mental Health must complete 25 credits while students in the other four tracks must complete 22 credits. Students are also responsible for finishing 600 clinical hours.

Post-BSN to DNP Concentrations: Nurse Practitioner Family, Nurse Practitioner Pediatric, Nurse Practitioner Women’s Health, Nurse Practitioner Adult-Gerontology, and Nurse Practitioner Psychiatric-Mental Health

Regis’s post-BSN to DNP concentration can either be pursued online or at the Weston campus. Online students can complete the program in as little as 40 months and take advantage of three different start dates throughout the year. The Nurse Practitioner Family, Psychiatric-Mental Health, and Adult-Gerontology concentrations entail 85 credits while the Pediatric NP track requires 105 credits. If you want to go for an advance practice specialty in Women’s Health, you’ll have to finish 91 credits. All NP specialties require 1,000 hours of clinical rotation.

Post-MSN to DNP Concentrations: Pediatrics (PNP), Family (FNP), Psychiatric Mental Health (PMHNP), Women’s Health (WHNP), and Adult-Gerontology (AGNP)

If you already have a master’s degree but you’re not an NP, you can pursue your advance practice goals by combining them with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. The coursework for these five advanced practice specialties is very similar to the post-BSN to DNP concentration coursework.

Post-Master’s Certificates Concentrations: Nurse Practitioner Family, and Nurse Practitioner Psychiatric-Mental Health

Regis also offers NP opportunities for master’s prepared nurses who want to expand their clinical competencies. You’ll need to take 49 credits for the Psychiatric-Mental post-master’s certificate and 46 for the Family certificate.

7) University Of Massachusetts - North Dartmouth


Programs Offered: BS-DNP

UMass Dartmouth offers the only advance practice nursing degrees in the southeastern part of Massachusetts. The university has been singled out not only as a great nurse practitioner school in Massachusetts but also as a top value for the money. The university offers two NP specializations in conjunction with its BSN to DNP track.

BS to DNP Concentrations: Adult Gerontology Primary Care and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The Adult Gerontology Primary Care NP program involves 63 credits and 1,008 practicum hours; it’s designed to be completed in five years. The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track is offered on campus as a part-time option. It requires 66 credits for completion as well as 1,008 practicum hours.

8) University Of Massachusetts Lowell - Lowell


Programs Offered: MSN and BSN to DNP

UMass Lowell is part of the Northeast Region VA Nursing Alliance, so many of the clinical rotations pursued by nursing students at this university take place in veterans’ hospitals. The university’s nursing programs focus on the roles that health care providers play promoting wellness among individuals and communities at the local, national, and global level. UMass Lowell offers two NP tracks in conjunction with its MSN program. These same two tracks can also be pursued as part of the BSN to DNP concentration.

MSN Concentrations: Family Health Nursing – Nurse Practitioner, and Adult-Gerontological Nursing – Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Fulltime students will be able to complete the Adult-Gerontological Nursing – Primary Care Nurse Practitioner specialty in two years; part-time students have up four years to finish it. The A-GNPCNP track entails 42-semester credits. The Family Health Nursing specialty also requires 42 credits and can be completed in either two years (fulltime) or four years (part-time.)

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult Gerontological Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner

UMass Lowell’s BSN to DNP concentrations can be pursued either as full-time or part-time studies. Most of the coursework is offered through a distance-learning model but students are expected to come to campus for orientation and for occasional intensives. Both NP tracks entail 75 credits. DNP students are also required to design and complete a research project that relates in some way to their clinical field of study.

9) MGH Institute Of Health Professions - Boston


Programs Offered: Post-BSN to MSN, Post-Master's/Post-NP Certificate, and Direct-EntryMSN

The MGH Institute Of Health Professions is a graduate school of health sciences founded and operated by Massachusetts General Hospital. Because of this clinical affiliation, the MGH Institute offers an opportunity for aspiring NPs to learn from expert practitioners that’s practically unparalleled. Nurses who want to enhance their scope of practice can elect to pursue one of seven NP tracks either as a post-BSN to MSN concentration or as a direct-entry MSN concentration. The Institute also offers these same seven NP tracks as certificate concentrations to nurse practitioners who already have an MSN or who’ve been certified in an advance practice role and who want to expand their clinical competencies.

Post-BSN to MSN Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family, Pediatrics, Women's Health, Psychiatric/Mental Health Lifespan, andDual Adult-Gerontology/Women's Health

The Institute’s post-BSN to MSN program offers full-time and part-time enrollment options to make it more attractive to working nurses. All classes take place at the Institute’s Boston campus. Total credits necessary for the Acute Care Adult-Gerontology, Women’s Health, Psychiatric/Mental Health Lifespan, and Pediatric specialties are 91 hours; for the Primary Care Adult-Gerontology specialty, it’s 94 credits. The Family specialty entails 93 credits. The innovative dual Adult-Gerontology/Women’s Health requires 104 credit hours.

Post-Master's/Post-NP Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family, Pediatrics (Post MSN only), Women's Health (Post MSN only), Psychiatric/Mental Health Lifespan, and Dual Adult-Gerontology/Women's Health

To qualify for admission into one of the Institute’s post-master’s/post-NP certificate concentrations, an applicant must be an RN with an MSN in nursing. RNs with master’s degrees in fields unrelated to nursing are sometimes admitted into this track, but they’ll be required to take additional coursework. Each of the seven advanced practice specialty options requires a minimum of 500 hours of supervised clinical practicum. Once a student is accepted into the certificate program, he or she will be assigned a faculty mentor who will customize an individualized plan of study.

Direct-Entry MSN Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care, Family, Pediatrics, Psychiatric/Mental Health Lifespan, Women's Health, and Dual Adult-Gerontology/Women's Health

The MGH Institute’s direct-entry MSN program is an intensive three-year program that awards both a BSN and an MSN. Specific coursework credit requirements are similar to requirements for the post-BSN to MSN concentrations.

10) Simmons University - Boston


Programs Offered: RN (ADN) to MSN, BSN to MSN, MSN+MPH, and Direct Entry (MSN)

Although Simmons University is a women’s school at the undergraduate level, its graduate programs are coeducational. The university is located in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, and its nursing school maintains close relationships with more than 200 clinical partners, including Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital. A Family Nurse Practitioner track is associated with its RN (ADN) to MSN, BSN to MSN, MSN/MPH, and Direct Entry MSN programs.

RN (ADN) to MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

This FNP program is divided into two phases. Phase I, which entails 27 class credits, must be pursued full-time and includes basic nursing classes that are similar to those in a BSN curriculum. Phase II can be pursued either full-time or part-time, and consists of 41 credits; these credits covers coursework related to the MSN degree as well as coursework pertaining to the clinical FNP specialty.

BSN to MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

The university’s BSN to MSN program takes two years to complete. Nurses can apply without a BSN so long as the degree they hold is in another field related to health care. Forty-eight credit hours of coursework must be taken to finish the MSN degree and clinical specialty training.

MSN+MPH Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP)

Simmons University’s nursing school offers a concurrent master’s degree program with an FNP specialization in conjunction with Harvard University’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health. The MSN part of the program involves 43 credit hours. At this time, the joint degree program is not accepting new applicants.

Direct Entry (MSN) Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

The Direct Entry MSN program is designed to enable students from many different academic backgrounds to pursue specialty training as a Family Nurse Practitioner. The program can be completed in three years. Students will focus on pre-licensure nursing curriculum throughout the first four semesters. The MSN/NP part of the curriculum consists of 48 credits.