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Approved 01/03/13

The purpose of the PhD program is to prepare nurse scientists to be transformational leaders in the discovery of knowledge to improve health and advance the profession of nursing. Nurse scientists improve the health of human beings through the development, testing and dissemination of nursing science. The doctoral program is committed to quality graduate education and to a learning environment that prepares graduates for leadership roles in research, education, practice policy, and academic administration.


Graduates of the doctor of philosophy in nursing program will be prepared to:

  1. Master in-depth theoretical and research knowledge in an area of emphasis.
  2. Generate and test knowledge for patient care, health systems, or nursing education.
  3. Collaborate with interdisciplinary colleagues to conduct team science.
  4. Utilize professional judgment in the conduct of research with regard to legal, ethical, political, cultural, and economic implications.
  5. Analyze the evolution of nursing science and the implications for the roles and responsibilities of nurse scholars.
  6. Demonstrate leadership in education, professional organizations, and various professional and public groups.
  7. Communicate research findings, as well as their implications for policy, nursing practice, and the profession, to lay and professional audiences.

Approved by PhD Affairs Council January 2011


Areas of Research Emphasis

The UNMC College of Nursing has faculty ready to serve on dissertation committees that focus on the following areas:

  1. Promoting and managing health in at-risk populations and in chronic illness
  2. Health Systems and Quality (leadership, policy, administration)
  3. Nursing Education (undergraduate and graduate)

Additional information regarding PhD Research Focus Areas can be found at:

BSN to PhD

Created expressly for academically strong BSN graduates who want to be educators and researchers. Full-time students can complete their PhD degree in 4-1/2 to 5 years without all the clinical requirements of the MSN program.  All features and benefits of the traditional PhD program apply, including faculty advisor support and mentoring.

Students first complete 12-15 hours of courses to obtain a MSN-level specialty (required by many state boards of nursing for faculty roles).  Actual number of credits depends on the clinical specialty and your career goals.

First year study consists of specialty and statistics courses.  Core PhD courses begin in the second year of full-time study.

Students are encouraged to take education courses and the teaching practicum and/or work as a graduate teaching assistant for at least one semester.  Students can plan to take “full clinical” hours and be eligible to take a specialty certification exam near the end of their program.

Additional Information Resources

Additional information regarding the PhD Program is available at the College of Nursing website at: