PhD in Nursing Science

May 2023 entry
  • Applications available online: September 3, 2022
  • Deadline to apply: November 15, 2022
Length of Program

Offering both BSN-PhD and MSN-PhD Tracks, the program can be completed full time in 3-4 years, or part time in 4-6 years

Degree Awarded

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science

Distance Learning


Our PhD program will prepare you for a career in nursing education, research, 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.

The PhD Program is a distance-accessible program using videoconferencing technology to synchronously place you in the classroom with your classmates.  You can also choose in-person classes (if available) if you prefer to learn in a face-to-face setting.  We attempt to schedule the required PhD courses across one day each week so that students know in advance which day to plan to be available for class.  PhD students will attend two required, on-campus, multi-day Intensives during the first two years of the PhD program. These Intensives are typically held in early June of the first two years of the PhD Program and give you the opportunity to interact with other students and with faculty, attend professional development sessions, meet with faculty mentors, and network.   

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, which includes Nursing Education.

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:

  • Nursing Education
  • 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
  • Patient care simulations
  • Community-based care coordination

Learn more about faculty research interests.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a PhD graduate you are well positioned for a successful career as a leader within academic and practice settings.  Graduates of the program are expected to:

  • Synthesize knowledge from nursing as well as biological and behavioral sciences to investigate health phenomena.
  • Utilize analytical and empirical methods to extend nursing knowledge and scholarship.
  • Conduct and communicate Independent research that advances the body of scientific knowledge.
  • Defend the social significance of the expanded knowledge base of nursing.
  • Interpret nursing science within an inter-disciplinary context.
Vision Statement

The vision for the IUSON PhD in Nursing Science 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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