Simmons School of Nursing & Health Sciences Review

Simmons College is a private, female only school that was established in 1899. Its total enrollment on the undergraduate level is 1741. It currently is ranked as the #11 best college in the northern region, according to US News and World Report. It also is ranked #5 in best value schools by the same publication. It offers online graduate programs in nursing, and currently is ranked #60 in that area by US News.

Favorite Features

All nursing programs accredited by CCNE

A very important feature of quality nursing programs is the matter of accreditation. It is vital that your nursing degree program is of very high quality. That quality needs to have been judged and affirmed by a respected accreditation body. When the nursing program is so accredited, it tells potential employers that you are a highly skilled nursing professional who has been held to very high learning standards in nursing.

This accreditation also will provide you with confidence that you have learned vital nursing skills that will make you successful wherever you work.

In the nursing profession, the most respected accreditation body is the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or CCNE. This is an autonomous accrediting body and is well known to improve the public health through its work.

Simmons College’s nursing programs are accredited by the CCNE.

Become an MSN without getting a BSN

If you do not have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and want to switch into nursing, you do not have to earn your bachelor’s degree before earning your master’s.

Simmons College offers what is called an RN to MSN program. This program is designed for the experienced nurse who already is an RN and wants to get their master’s in nursing.

If you were required to get your BSN first, you could easily be in school for five or six years. Because Simmons College allows you to earn your MSN without earning the BSN first, you easily can save 1.5 years in college.

You will take your bachelor’s degree classes before you start to take most of your master’s courses. The program for both is in a condensed format. This type of accelerated MSN program can help you to get through college faster and to reduce expenses.

GRE scores are not required for admission

Some nursing schools still require that standardized test scores be submitted for consideration for admission. One of these is the General Record Exam or GRE. More educational experts today question whether high standardized test scores are a good indicator of your success potential in graduate school.

Simmons College does not require submission of GRE test scores. Instead, it bases its admissions process on the following factors:

  • Current, active RN license
  • Updated resume
  • Personal statement
  • College transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Classes in both statistics and health assessment

Most nursing courses online are live

As an online student, you have a choice of attending a program that offers either archived, recorded daily classes, or live classes.

The advantage of live classes is that you will be able to interact more with your fellow students and professors. Some nursing students think that this is a more effective way to learn and more enjoyable. It also allows you to network more effectively.

Recorded classes allow you to take your classes as your schedule allows, but is a more isolating experience for many students.

Strong online support services

If you are earning an online degree, it is important to know that the college offers dedicated support all through the program. Simmons College states that it offers strong support for online students throughout the two or four year program. Dedicated student support professionals are available to give you both academic and technical guidance.

Professors also will work with you one on one as needed, and the strong alumni support network at Simmons College will provide you with many valuable career connections once you have graduated.

Least Favorite Features

Tuition is relatively expensive

This school is ranked a top best value according to US News and World Report. The tuition per credit hour for the MSN is $1,315, and for the DNP it is $1,300. This is more than $5000 per three credit course. For the MSN program, this amounts to more than $63,000 for the entire program, plus fees and books.

There are other online MSN programs that are available at less expense, and some are higher ranked than Simmons College. While earning an MSN or DNP will often result in a very good salary, it is worth considering whether spending more than $60,000 for one of these online degrees is worth the investment.

Campus immersion experience is mandatory

Before starting your clinical placements in the MSN and DNP degree programs, you are required to participate in a campus immersion experience on site in Boston.

This experience will provide you with valuable skills in adult physical assessments, practice in patient interaction, and of course the chance to network with professors and colleagues.

Some students with full time work and family obligations find it very challenging to attend required immersion experiences, as valuable as they may be from a professional perspective.

Low Forbes magazine rank

Forbes magazine ranks Simmons College quite low, only the 298th best college in America. It is noted that Simmons College performed at the bottom of the pack in terms of average out of pocket cost at $30,232. Also, research expenditures was at the bottom 30% at only $58 per student.

The Details

General Information

  • Founded in 1899
  • Application deadline: Feb. 1; rolling for nursing online
  • Application fee: $50
  • School type: Private
  • Term Schedule: Semester
  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts
  • Student-faculty ratio: 10:1

Tuition Rates (Per Credit)

  • MSN: $1,315 in state and out of state
  • DNP: $1,300 in state and out of state

Nursing Programs

  • RN to MSN
  • MSN
  • DNP


Class Profile

  • 1,609 total students in online graduate nursing programs
  • 5,560 students total at the entire university
  • 58% acceptance rate
  • 100% female student body
  • 91% female, 9% male
  • 4 year graduation rate: 66%


  • Graduate nursing program has 28 full time professors

Graduation and Retention Rates

  • 71% graduate within six years, which is quite high
  • 67% of students graduate within a reasonable time
  • 33% of students do not graduate within a reasonable time; they drop out
  • 86% return after their freshman year, which is above the national average of 70.9%

US News Rankings

  • Best online graduate nursing programs – 60
  • Regional universities – north – 11
  • Best value schools – 5
  • Business programs – 248

Other Rankings

  • Washington Monthly – Master’s Universities Rankings: 97
  • Forbes – America’s Top Colleges – 298