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Research-Focused Nursing Doctorate

PhD students using an iPad

If you have an interest in a career in nursing research, developing the science that shapes nursing practice, the PhD in nursing may be for you.  Students are prepared to develop their own program of research, collaborate with interprofessional teams, and disseminate findings to the scientific community through publications and in national and international venues. Click here for application deadlines and instructions.

Information Session

Learn more about our PhD program at an upcoming online information session.

  • Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.

Program Structure

Our PhD program is a face-to-face onsite program, in which the student is immersed in a community of scholars. The PhD curriculum focuses on core courses in nursing inquiry, scientific methods and synthesis of knowledge. Students participate in research practice under the guidance of senior scientists to develop their skills as researchers. Students gain knowledge and expertise in a specific area of interest, and in specific research methodologies needed to conduct their own research. 

The program requires a minimum of 90 semester hours beyond the BSN degree, and 60 semester hours beyond the MSN degree. Students seeking admission to this program must have an earned master's or bachelor’s degree in nursing. We offer both BSN to PhD and MSN to PhD schema options.

Research Focus Areas

Students applying to the PhD program should have research interests that fit within one of the following research focus areas in the program:

  • Vulnerable populations and health disparities
  • Violence
  • Chronic and co-morbid conditions
  • Aging
  • Education
  • Occupational Health

Career Opportunities

Our PhD graduates have gone on to practice in various educational and health care settings. Academic institutions are the most common settings for the PhD nurse scientist to practice. However, private corporations, hospitals and other health-related agencies are employers of nurses who hold the PhD degree.

Nursing Education Certificate Option

Prepare for roles in nursing education by adding the Graduate Certificate in Nursing Education to your degree program. Complete four additional online courses in conjunction with your PhD curriculum to earn an additional certificate in Nursing Education. This certificate provides essential knowledge and skills that will prepare you as a future educational leader in academic and practice settings.

Some quick details about the certificate include:

  • It's online, so you will be able to take this flexible course load while pursuing your PhD.
  • A total of 12 semester hours (4 courses) on topics such as learning-centered teaching, curriculum design, student and program assessment, instructional technology, and role of the academic nurse educator.
  • A professional practicum that provides hands-on experience before you graduate.

Here are example schemas for the PhD and BSN-PhD programs.


Click here to receive more information or to register for an interest session.

Contact the Office of Student Affairs at or (513) 558-3600.