Colby-Sawyer College Announces CCNE Accreditation for Master of Science in Nursing Program

Press release

Colby-Sawyer College’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program has been granted accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of academic nursing programs through its robust accreditation process, serving the public interest by assessing and identifying programs that engage in effective educational practices.

The initial five-year accreditation granted by CCNE, the maximum accreditation a new program can receive, follows a rigorous process that included submission of a comprehensive self-study, a site visit by the CCNE accrediting team and a thorough review of the MSN curriculum and processes at Colby-Sawyer. Colby-Sawyer’s MSN program and the college are also accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

“We are delighted to see our MSN program receive CCNE’s accreditation, which signals to our students’ future employers that they have completed a rigorous curriculum that’s prepared them for success in their organizations,” said Colby-Sawyer President Susan D. Stuebner. “I am grateful to former Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions Dr. Susan Reeves ‘88, Dean Joan Loftus and the faculty for designing such an effective program and navigating the accreditation process. The MSN program is a wonderful addition to the top-ranked undergraduate nursing programs we offer at Colby-Sawyer.”

“The CCNE on-site reviewers found our program to be of very high quality, and its accreditation of Colby-Sawyer’s MSN program is a testament to its strength as well as the dedication of our outstanding faculty,” said Dean Loftus.

Colby-Sawyer’s MSN program prepares Clinical Nurse Leaders to bring a high level of clinical competence and knowledge to the point of care and to serve as a resource for the clinical nursing team. Colby-Sawyer’s first cohort of MSN students graduated in 2018 and had a 100 percent pass rate on the CNL certification exam on their first attempt. For comparison, the national pass rate for the exam over the last seven years averages 70 percent.

Created in collaboration with Dartmouth-Hitchcock, the college’s longtime partner in health professions, Colby-Sawyer launched the 37-credit graduate program in fall 2016. The first cohort enrolled 12 registered nurses employed at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), four of whom also completed their B.S. in nursing at Colby-Sawyer, including Katie Dark ’12, ’18. Darak has already experienced professional growth due to her advanced degree and is now an assistant professor at Colby-Sawyer.

“My expectations of a high-quality program were exceeded; the structured and supportive curriculum in a hybrid format allowed for in-class collaboration with my MSN student colleagues as well as the flexibility to complete the course work while working full-time,” Darak said. “The continued affiliation with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center further ensured the quality of education, specifically during the final semester practicum and implementation of identified quality improvement initiatives. I felt well-prepared to transition to my new advanced practice role in education.”

About the MSN at Colby-Sawyer

The graduate nursing program is designed for the baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse and will prepare those who will practice as advanced nurse generalists in the health care setting. Degree candidates in this highly selective program meet weekly for courses and clinical practice at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and for lab and classroom instruction on the Colby-Sawyer campus. Additional hybrid/online didactic coursework is completed on students’ schedule. Learn more at

About Colby-Sawyer College
Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. The college’s faculty, staff and students strive for excellence in an engaged teaching and learning community that fosters students’ academic, intellectual and personal growth. With a strong emphasis on learning outcomes, including breadth and depth of knowledge, self-growth, creative and critical thinking, and effective communication, Colby-Sawyer prepares students to thrive post-graduation and make a positive impact upon a dynamic, diverse and interdependent world.

Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the college’s vibrant teaching and learning community at