The University of Oklahomna College of Nursing

phd in nursing

A program that prepares nurse scientists to develop and carry out research as a primary or secondary role.

Female student outside smiling

Degree Information

  • Application Deadline:
  • April 1
  • Program Start:
    August - Fall
  • Locations Available:
    OKC, Lawton, Tulsa
  • Length of Program:
    Varies by student
  • Degree Awarded:
    Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Part-Time Study Available?
    Yes
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A Unique PhD Program

Established in 2008, the OU College of Nursing’s PhD program is to prepare nurse scientists to develop and carry out research as a primary or secondary role. The PhD Program in Nursing is designed to provide nurse scientists with the skills and knowledge for interdisciplinary, translational, community-based inquire in advancing science and improving health in vulnerable populations. Students in the PhD in Nursing Program are enrolled in and obtain their degree from the Graduate College of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.

Residency requirements: Due to federal regulations from the Department of Education, the College of Nursing currently accepts applications for its online master’s and doctoral degree programs from residents of the following states: Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Developing Scientists to Answer Health Related and Clinical Questions

Contemporary healthcare is quickly evolving and nurse scientists are at the forefront of this change. The PhD program equips our scholars to ask and investigate questions that are relevant to improving health care outcomes and advancing the theoretical foundations of nursing science. The PhD program prepares nurse scientists for successful careers and leadership roles as change agents in:

  • Research-intensive Academic Settings
  • Interdisciplinary and Inter-professional Venues
  • Clinical Research Sites
  • State and Federal Research Positions

PhD students can choose from a wide range of research opportunities and mentors. All prospective PhD applicants are encouraged to read about the program's faculty research focus to identify a potential match with a mentor. All applicants are encouraged to contact potential mentors to discuss congruence of their interests with the faculty member's research. A close match is extremely helpful in assuring success in the program.

Paths to the PhD

  • If you already have a Masters in Nursing: Master's to PhD Option
  • If you are a BSN graduate: BSN to PhD Fast Track Option

Plan of Study

The PhD in nursing research coursework assists the student in describing the state of the science surrounding a problem, identifying testable research questions and hypotheses; and selecting quantitative or qualitative methods, measurement and analyses to formulate and carry out research proposals. Courses in philosophy of science, nursing epistemology, research ethics and responsible scientific responsibility are required. Substantive cognate coursesrovide concentration in the student's focus area. Two courses emphasize study of vulnerable and diverse populations. One of the final courses is the prospectus seminar, where ideas for the dissertation are developed.

The Graduate College sets specific time limits for achieving milestones toward graduation in doctoral programs. A doctoral student who enters with a bachelor's degree is expected to pass the general examination within five calendar years of the student's first graduate enrollment in the department and a student who enters with a master's degree is expected to pass the departmental general examination within four calendar years of the student's first graduate enrollment in the department. A doctoral candidate is normally expected to complete all the degree requirements within five years after admission to candidacy. 

BSN-to-PhD Fast Track Option

The BSN-to-PhD track enables students to engage in research at an earlier age and stage in their career in academic or clinical environments and does not require completion of a master's degree. The shortened trajectory from BSN to PhD enables these graduates to become research-active earlier in their education and view advanced clinical and research considerations as they take the necessary "bridge" courses before starting PhD-level coursework. Full-time study is recommended to stay within the Graduate College time limits mentioned above. 
The minimum required number of semester hours for the PhD degree [combining formal coursework and hours of dissertation research] is 90 post-baccalaureate hours. No more than six hours of NURS 5980 Research can be included in the 90 hours [Graduate Bulletin, 4.6.1.9.]. A minimum of 12 credits is required for NURS 6980 dissertation research.

Scholarship Opportunities

  • PhD in nursing students who are committed to careers in academic geriatric nursing are eligible to apply for the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Predoctoral Scholarship award. The Scholarship is designed to support two years of full-time doctoral work. The program awards a total of $100,000 (up to $50,000 each year) to each selected Reynolds Scholar enrolled full-time in the PhD in nursing program at the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing.
  • View Additional Outside Funding Opportunities.