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PhD in Nursing

Beginning in Fall 2022, we will not be accepting applications for the PhD program due to a curriculum update. Please check back soon for when applications open and our new revised curriculum.

The PhD degree prepares expert nurses in the roles of nursing education, research, and leadership to serve the community, state, and nation.

The PhD program combines educational delivery methods, allowing students to keep their full-time jobs and live in their own communities. Through hybrid course design, students come to campus for a two- or three-day intensive every semester and conduct the remainder of their courses with technological support. Students can focus their degrees on nursing education, research, or leadership at the Kramer School of Nursing. The PhD program is 90 post-baccalaureate credits hours or 57 post-master’s credit hours.

Masters-to-PhD Pathway

Students with a BSN and a master’s degree in nursing or a related field may be admitted directly to the PhD program and can receive as many as 33 credit hours toward the 90 credit hours total. No more than 33 credit hours of master’s level coursework may be transferred for application toward completion of PhD requirements and are subject to approval. Students with an MSN degree typically complete 57 credit hours for the PhD.

BSN-PhD Pathway

While many students applying to a program already have an MSN degree, a BSN-PhD option is available. The BSN-to-PhD option is designed for individuals with strong academic backgrounds who know they want the PhD degree. Students on this pathway will complete additional master’s level courses in Nursing Education to satisfy the 90 post-baccalaureate credits hours required to complete the PhD Program. This direct entry option is ideal for those with strong interests in research and/or an academic career. Students entering this pathway receive a PhD nursing degree; the BSN student completing the PhD degree in nursing does not earn a master’s degree.

Contact Us

Have questions about the program? Please contact Stacey Warden, Graduate Programs Specialist [email protected] or call (405) 208-5960 for more information.

PhD Curriculum

The required curriculum for the PhD program depends on whether the student has a Master's degree or a BSN as their most advanced incoming degree.

Masters-to-PhD Curriculum

Required Courses

  • Core Doctoral Courses:
    • Philosophy of Science
    • Policy, Organizations, & Leadership TheoryAdvanced Theory Development
    • Transcultural and Global Health Care
    • Advanced Bioethics
  • Core Research Courses:
    • Qualitative Research Methods
    • Statistical Analysis I
    • Statistical Analysis II
    • Quantitative Research Methods


  • Education Courses
    • Higher Education Issues and Trends
    • Evaluation of Educational Effectiveness
    • Testing and Measurement
    • Technology in Instructional Design
    • Nursing Education Administration
  • Research Courses
    • Translational Research and Evidence-Based Practice
    • Mixed Methods Research
    • Advanced Topics in Qualitative Methods
    • Instrument Design
    • Feminist Methodologies
  • Nursing Leadership Courses
    • Higher Education Issues and Trends
    • Health Care Information Management
    • Advanced Resource Management in Complex Systems
    • Nursing Education Administration
  • Additional Electives
    • Knowledge Synthesis in Nursing Science
    • Grant Writing
    • Population Health

Dissertation Hours

  • Dissertation Seminar
  • Dissertation I
  • Dissertation II
  • Dissertation III
  • Dissertation IV

Additional Curriculum for BSN-to-PhD Candidates

  • Theoretical Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Research Integration in Nursing Practice
  • Curriculum Development in Nursing Education
  • Technology Strategies in Digital and Online Courses
  • Teaching Strategies for Simulation in Nursing Education
  • Teaching Strategies for Nursing Education
  • Educational Ethics and Health Care Policy
  • Nursing Education Evaluation Strategies
  • Advanced Health Assessment for Nurse Educators
  • Advanced Pathophysiology and Pharmacology for Nurse Educators
  • Six additional credit hours of MSN or PhD courses towards the student’s interest

PhD Program Learning Outcomes

The PhD graduate of Kramer School of Nursing will function as a professional nurse able to:

  1. Create and sustain environments exemplifying professional, ethical, and legal nursing practice.
  2. Design, implement, and evaluate comprehensive education, clinical practice, administration, and/or research programs based upon advanced theoretical knowledge that promote health, enrich the environment, and advance the nursing profession.
  3. Design, implement, and evaluate nursing research to establish evidence-based practices using critical thinking frameworks for problem solving and making effective clinical, educational, administrative, and/or research judgments.
  4. Advance the scholarship of nursing through the promotion of physical, mental, social, and spiritual health across the life span within diverse cultures.
  5. Integrate research and advanced theoretical knowledge to promote interprofessional collaboration and provide transformational leadership within health care systems.
  6. Guide, mentor, and support individuals and groups to create practice environments that exemplify the caring behaviors of acceptance, respect, and empathy.

Additional PhD Admission Requirements

In addition to the general doctoral requirements, the PhD program has the following admissions requirements:

  • For the Masters-to-PhD Pathway students must have one of the following:
    • For the BSN-PhD Pathway students must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing
    • Bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in a related field
  • For the BSN-PhD Pathway students must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA for graduate level courses, on a 4.0 scale
  • Clinical experience of at least 2 years. (May be waived in some circumstances.)
  • One of the following three options:
    • The Graduate Record of Examination (GRE)
    • An approved scholarly paper
    • An approved article/paper published in a refereed journal