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PhD in Nursing

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.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for enrollment in course work, the student must be admitted to the University and to the Graduate College. The Dean of the Graduate College, upon recommendation of the faculty of the College of Nursing, determines final admission to and graduation from the Graduate College University of Oklahoma Health Science center.

  • Application deadline is April 1st.
  • Applicants may enter the PhD program with either a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree in Nursing.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores taken in the past five years of the application date for Verbal, Quantitative and Writing exams. Competitive Graduate Record Exam (GRE): Desired scores are at the 50th percentile or higher for the Verbal and the Quantitative exams, and 4 or above for the Writing exam. Test scores more than 5 years old will not be accepted.Click here for information regarding a GRE Preparation Preview.
  • TOEFL may be required for students born outside the U.S. The desired scores are at least 550 for the paper-based test or 79 on the internet-based version and must be no more than two years old.
  • Submit a current Curriculum Vitae.
  • Evidence of entry level graduate writing ability based on written application essay.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official Transcripts from ALL previously attended institutions. Cumulative grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale for Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees is desired.
  • Prerequisite Statistics Course. The course must be completed with a grade of "C" or better. 
  • Interviews with PhD nursing faculty members, in person or via telephone conference (arranged by the College of Nursing).

Curriculum

Dept.

No.

Required Courses

Credit Hours

Nursing Science Core (5 courses)

NURS

6153

Foundations of Scientific Inquiry

3

NURS

6103

Philosophy of Science

3

NURS

6101

Responsible Conduct of Research

1

NURS

6203

Epistemology in Nursing Science

3

NURS

6303

Vulnerability & Disparity in Diverse Populations

3

 

Total Credit Hours

13

 

Research Methods Core (10 courses)

6113

Quantitative Methods in Research

3

 

6213

Qualitative Methods in Research

3

 

6313

Research Measurement and Instrumentation

3

 

6401

Grant Writing Seminar

1

 

5163

Biostatistical Methods I (formerly NURS 6123: Applied Statistics I)

3

 

5183

Intermediate Biostatistical Methods for Health Professionals (formerly NURS 6223: Applied Statistics II)

3

 

6323 or

6423

Special Focus in Applied Statistics

Special Focus in Qualitative Methods

3*

 

6402

Implementing Research with Diverse Populations

2

 

6300

Research Practicum (must take a minimum of 1 cr)

1-6

 

6502

Prospectus Seminar

2

 

 

Total Minimum Credit Hours

24

 

Electives that can be used as one of the 9 credit hours of supporting substantive coursework.

Translational Science for Practice

3

 

Issues in Aging

3

 

Scientific Writing for Publication

3

 

Special Focus in Applied Statistics (if taken as an elective only)

3

 

Special Focus in Qualitative Methods (if taken as an elective only)

3

 

Directed Readings in Nursing Science

1-6

 

Special Studies in Nursing Science

1-4

 

 

Dissertation

Dissertation Research (enroll in following admission to candidacy, 21 cr hrs. is typical for dissertation)

12-21

 

 

Total Minimum Credit Hours for PhD coursework

58-72

 

Total Graduate College post-baccalaureate hours required for PhD

90

 

* Students conducting a quantitative dissertation must complete Special Focus in Quantitative Methods; those conducting qualitative dissertations must complete 3 Special Focus in Qualitative Methods.

Program FAQ

IF I WANT TO TEACH NURSING, WOULDN'T IT MAKE SENSE TO GET MY DOCTORATE IN EDUCATION?

Your greatest opportunity for advancement and security in a teaching post is to have comparative educational credentials and a record of scholarship in your profession. If you are teaching nursing, the PhD in nursing provides advanced knowledge in the science of nursing as well as in nursing research, publication and grantsmanship. There are opportunities in the program to acquire skills in presentation, organization and information technology that would enhance your work as a teacher.

WHY WOULD I NEED A DOCTORATE IN NURSING IF I DON'T WANT TO TEACH?

While the greatest need for PhD prepared nurses is as faculty for nursing programs of all levels, the program prepares nurse scientists who are employed in a wide variety of settings, including health care systems, commercial corporations, research institutions, government agencies and the military, as well as in their own enterprises.

IF I DON'T HAVE A SPECIAL AREA OF NURSING RESEARCH INTEREST, SHOULDN'T I GET A NON-NURSING DEGREE?

Your specific area of research interest need not be perfectly conceptualized in order to begin doctoral study, particularly if you are a recent graduate of your undergraduate program. However, you should have a general focus of interest in order to find appropriate mentorship. Engaging in PhD study in nursing will provide a major support to your search for a specific area as you progress through the program.

WHAT KINDS OF POSITIONS DO NURSES WITH PHDS IN THE NURSING HOLD?

PhD-prepared leaders are needed in nursing education, administration, and research. Not all are teaching faculty; some are academic administrators and deans of major schools of nursing or chief executive officers of large health facilities. Others hold high-level positions in state, federal, and international government. Some work in research institutes, such as the NIH, while others may work in commercial research development.

WHAT KINDS OF RESEARCH DO NURSE SCIENTISTS DO?

Nurse scientists are involved with research encompassing every kind of methodology and topic. Some acquire skills in basic science (e.g., microbiology, physiology, genetics, molecular biology), others in clinical science to study patient problems (e.g., nausea after chemotherapy, osteoporosis prevention, low birthweight neonatal development), and others study psychosocial or biobehavioral issues (e.g., intimate partner violence, depression in the elderly, palliative care at end of life).

AS A NURSE SCIENTIST, WILL I BE ABLE TO BECOME AN INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER?

Yes. Research and proposal writing skills are among those developed in the PhD program. These are essential skills needed to design and implement research projects, publish, and prepare grants. New graduates may enter academic systems at the entry level as assistant professors. As such, faculty often work in collaboration with senior investigators to get their research programs and partnerships established. Students who wish to advance their programs of research may undertake post-doctoral fellowships.

WON'T GETTING A DEGREE IN NURSING TAKE ME AWAY FROM CLINICAL ISSUES?

On the contrary. The research programs and proposals of many nurse scientists are focused on answering clinical issues, from patient symptoms to testing nursing interventions. Nurse scientists generate nursing care research studies that provide evidence for evidence-based practice.

HOW CAN I WORK AND GO TO SCHOOL AT THE SAME TIME? AND CAN I GO PART-TIME?

Many doctoral students are employed while in doctoral studies. Full-time students typically work on a part-time basis. However, we strongly discourage full-time students from attempting to work full-time. Full-time employees can study on a part-time basis but should realize that part-time study will require a longer timeline for completion.

HOW LONG IS THE PROGRAM?

Full-time students should be able to complete course work in just over two years. Part-time students can complete course work in three years. Completion of the dissertation requirement may take an additional one or two years but could be less depending on the study.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PHD (DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY) AND A DNP (DOCTOR OF NURSING PRACTICE)?

The PhD curriculum and objectives are focused on developing and enhancing the science and theory of nursing through research. Research options are diverse and can include physiological, behavioral, clinical, and community-oriented studies. As an academic degree, PhD graduates must meet all the requirements of the Graduate College. The DNP is a professional degree, granted by the College of Nursing, and is designed to prepare nurses at the highest level of nursing practice who will lead in applying and translating research into practice.

ARE ANY COURSES OFFERED ONLINE?

Most of the nursing courses will be available online within the coming years. Substantive courses in other disciplines are not always available in distance formats but there is flexibility in where these courses are taken. You may find these courses close to you if they are acceptable to our program

HOW DO MENTORSHIPS FIT INTO THE PLAN OR PROGRAM FOR MY AREA OF NURSING INTEREST?

Doctoral students will work closely with a faculty advisor until they select their dissertation chair. They will work closely with the dissertation chair throughout completion of the program. Additional mentors are available for methodological help.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN A PROSPECTUS AND A PROPOSAL?

In our PhD program, the prospectus is the blueprint, background, literature review, and methodology for the actual dissertation proposal.

WHAT ARE THE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR A NURSE (RN) WITH A PHD IN NURSING?

Employment opportunities are high, despite the current economic situation. The highest need is in teaching positions. Gaining experience in this area may be an excellent first employment situation before preparing for others.

WHAT DO I DO IF I AM UNABLE TO FIND FACULTY DOING RESEARCH IN MY AREA OF INTEREST?

Discuss this with the PhD program Director or faculty in areas that seem related. Your area of interest may have a related link to that of one of our faculty. Your interest may not be as restricted as you initially thought.

NEXus

NEXUS (NURSING EDUCATION XCHANGE) COLLABORATIVE

The University of Oklahoma College of Nursing is a member of NEXus (The Nursing Education Xchange). NEXus is collaboration between participating doctoral programs in nursing that allows doctoral students enrolled at member colleges and universities to take courses that may not be offered at his/her home institution for a common price. Our NEXus liaison, Maurissa Trujillo, Campus Staff Coordinator, facilitates the registration and transcription of these courses from partner institutions. You can view currently available courses in the Course Catalog at NEXus.

REGISTRATION DEADLINES, ENROLLMENT PROCEDURES, AND TRANSCRIPT REQUESTS

The student is responsible for meeting the registration and payment deadlines of the institution that is offering the course. In most cases, this will not coincide with your home institution's calendar, so advanced planning regarding finances and academics is critical. For a complete list of registration deadlines of participating institutions, please visit Registration Information. To view a complete list of deadlines for The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, please visit our Admissions and Records page. 

Students interested in participating in courses should review the NEXus Student Enrollment Procedures and proceed with completing the NEXus Tracking/Enrollment Form. (ADD THE TRACKING FORM) The procedures and form are also available at the NEXus Registration Information page. 

Students outside of the OUHSC CON will apply through Apply OUHSC Application as a Special Student. Please select the NEXus Special Student code:1299NEXus. If at any time you need assistance with your online application, please contact Debbie Shell at (405) 271-2359 ext. 48907. 

Once the semester has been completed, a student may request their transcript through Admissions and Records.

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Current NEXus common prices may be found on their website under Cost for a Course. The common price is adjusted once/year for the following academic calendar. This fee is intended to cover all associated university fees such as technology, library, or application fees. As with all courses, you are responsible for the cost of your books and educational materials.

Please note, there is no fee with the application or to request the final transcript.

NEXUS POLICY AND PROCEDURES- OUHSC CON STUDENTS

Students enrolled in the PhD program at OUCN are required to complete 9 credits of cognate coursework. Students may select course offerings available through NEXus to meet this requirement with approval from their advisor and the PhD Program Director.


Students who are taking a NEXus course to meet the 9 credits of cognate coursework that are required AND who have advisor approval along with Program Director approval, will pay the OUHSC tuition rate. The College of Nursing will provide additional funds to cover the gap between the OUHSC tuition and the NEXus common price if there is in fact a gap. PhD students are limited to a maximum of 9 credits of tuition assistance for NEXus courses. 

Students may choose to take additional courses beyond the coursework required by either of the doctoral programs. In this situation, the student is responsible for the full OUHSC NEXus tuition at the actual NEXus common price. 

NEXus courses may not be used as substitute courses for required core courses in the PhD Program without specific approval of the Program Director and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. In general, students are expected to take the required core courses at OUCN. Students with extenuating circumstances may submit a petition to the Program Director requesting permission to take a NEXUS course as a substitute for a required core course taught at OUCN. Courses are subject to the maximum allowable number of courses for tuition assistance by program .

OUHSC CON students need to also complete the NEXus Approval to Enroll form. This form is to be completed and submitted to your Advisor and Program Director for approval. 

ACADEMIC CONSIDERATIONS

  • Decisions about selecting a NEXus course must be made in consultation with your academic advisor/committee chair.
  • Students enrolled in a NEXus course must meet all course requirements.
  • Students are encouraged to contact the course faculty in advance to ensure that they understand the course requirements: for example, prerequisite courses, vacation periods, on-campus requirements, technology requirements, synchronous versus asynchronous discussions.

The University of Oklahoma College of Nursing provides financial assistance to those Ph.D. students enrolling in NEXUS courses to meet the required 9 hours of cognate courses. The financial support is to cover the difference between OUCN tuition and the NEXus common price. In other words, OUCN students will pay the same tuition and fees for a NEXus course as they would for an OUCN course. For D.N.P. students, OUCN provides financial support for 3 hours of electives. If a student wishes to take a NEXUS course and it is beyond the 9 hours of cognates required in the Ph.D. program or the 3 hours of electives in the D.N.P. program, the student may do so; however, the student will be responsible for the tuition costs.

For assistance in registering for and enrolling in a NEXus course contact:

Maurissa Trujillo
Campus Staff Coordinator               
Maurissa-Trujillo@ouhsc.edu

Dr. Emily Jones
Campus Faculty Coordinator
Emily-J-Jones@ouhsc.edu

Reynolds Scholarship