How Long Does IT Take To Get A PhD IN Nursing?

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing prepares nursing professionals for careers in research, health administration or advanced clinical practice. Nursing programs follow specific guidelines for each level of education.

Amount of Time Needed for a Ph.D. in Nursing

Earning a Ph.D. in Nursing can take from four to six years. The degree program requires a significant 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. Many doctorate programs require a dissertation and nurses must provide clinical defense on their research. Nurses interested in research and nursing science can earn a Ph.D. in three to four years by participating in an online program. Some schools offer Ph.D. programs in nursing online.

Types of Programs

Nurses have several programs to choose from when considering a Ph.D. in Nursing. Programs are offered for nurses wishing to research and teach. 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

A Doctor of Nursing (ND) program takes three to five years to complete. These programs train established nursing professionals in research skills, including data and statistics analysis. Students also study leadership roles and the history and science of the nursing field. The curriculum focuses on advanced clinical skills and builds on the skills of an advanced practice nurse. Coursework in this program may include business concepts, leadership skills, strategic planning, communication skills and data management.

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 three years of full-time study to complete the program.

Doctor of Nursing Science

It takes between four to six 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 economics, data analysis, informatics and health outcome measurements.

Doctor of Nursing Philosophy

Doctor of Nursing Philosophy programs require four to six years to complete. This research-based doctorate program requires that students prepare a dissertation consisting of original research that will advance healthcare delivery systems and nursing practice. Graduates are prepared to function as nurse administrators, researchers and scholars.

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