Nursing Ph.D. Program Length & Requirements
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing programs require that students prepare a dissertation consisting of original research that will advance healthcare delivery systems and nursing practice. They generally take three years or longer to complete. Some schools offer online nursing Ph.D. programs, which take about the same amount of time to finish as those on campus.
These research-based programs require a significant amount of time commitment on the part of the student. Students can expect to engage in full-time study, including classes in the summer. Nurses in a doctorate program select a specific area of research to focus on along with the required coursework. Graduates are prepared to function as nurse administrators, researchers and scholars.
Other Nursing Doctoral Programs
Nurses have several programs from which to choose. Programs are offered for nurses wishing to research and teach, while other doctorate programs are designed for nurses who wish to practice in a clinical setting. The time required to complete the degree varies by type of program.
Doctor of Nursing Practice
A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) builds on traditional master's degree programs to prepare nurses in leadership, quality control and evidence-based practice. The DNP program is designed to be a terminal degree and focuses on clinical practice rather than research. It usually takes about two years of full-time study to complete the program.
Doctor of Nursing Science
It takes approximately five years to complete a Doctor of Nursing Science program. This program is designed to teach nurses the skills needed to conduct investigative research. Nurses also develop leadership and clinical skills. Many programs focus on healthcare policy, data analysis, ethics and health outcome measurements.