PhD in Nursing Science

May 2017 entry
  • Applications available online: Anytime
  • Deadline to apply: November 15, 2016
Length of Program

Full time, three years; part time, five years

Degree Awarded

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science

Distance Learning


Our online PhD program will prepare you for a career as a nurse scientist, conducting cutting-edge research in nursing education, health systems, or clinical science to enhance the care of individuals and families across the lifespan. Explore the PhD in Nursing Science to see if it's the right fit for you.

While the entire program is conducted online or via videoconferencing technology, there is an on-campus intensive session, usually held for a week or two at the start of each summer. You will have the opportunity to interact with other PhD students and with faculty, attend professional development sessions, meet with faculty mentors, and network during a variety of informal receptions.

As a PhD student, you are linked with faculty researchers who provide supportive mentoring throughout your entire PhD program. You can choose to work with faculty experts in clinical nursing science or health systems.

Clinical nursing science concentrates on the interrelationships of health promotion, health behavior, and quality of life in acute and chronic illness throughout the lifespan. This focus area includes the prevention and early detection of disease and disability across the continuum of care and the enhancement of the health and well-being for individuals, families, and communities. Examples of scholarship and faculty research in clinical nursing science include:

  • Improving quality of life in persons with chronic illness, including epilepsy, stroke, and renal disease
  • Behavioral oncology across the cancer continuum (including cancer prevention, detection, and symptom management)
  • Childhood and family adaptation to chronic illness
  • Family caregiving across the lifespan
  • Tailored intervention studies to improve quality of life
  • Patient care safety

Health systems operate to create structures and resources that enable individuals and communities to achieve optimal health. This focus area includes the science of nursing education, informatics, health policy, and administration. Examples of scholarship and faculty research within the focus of health systems include:

  • Teaching and learning in web-based courses
  • Clinical reasoning
  • Assessment of learning and program evaluation
  • Health policy and public policy analysis
  • Computer systems to enhance care delivery
  • Nursing informatics
  • Narrative pedagogies
  • Patient care simulations
  • Community-based care coordination

Learn more about faculty research interests.

Program Outcomes

As a PhD graduate you are well positioned for a successful career as a leader within academic and practice settings to:

  • Master and synthesize knowledge from nursing and other disciplines to conduct original research, generate, and disseminate new ideas;
  • Critique and integrate perspectives from diverse disciplines in the development of new knowledge for the discipline;
  • Assume leadership in the conduct of culturally competent, ethical research and scholarship to improve nursing practice and health outcomes;
  • Incorporate the components of scholarship, namely: research, teaching, mentoring, and service within your professional role;
  • Prepare the future generation of nurses.
Vision Statement

The vision for the IUSON PhD in Nursing derives from the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) representing the ultimate formal education for a career in research and the scholarship of discovery. You will be prepared to develop, communicate, and expand science that informs nursing. According to the AACN, "The PhD graduate develops the science, stewards the profession, educates the next generation of nurses, defines its uniqueness, and maintains its professional integrity" ("Research-Focused Doctoral Programs in Nursing: Pathways to Excellence," AACN, 2010).  The PhD provides beginning preparation as an independent scientist. Graduates possess both a strong scientific foundation within the discipline and an understanding of interdisciplinary collaboration.

Review the Curriculum 

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