Doctor of Nursing Science Programs: Degree Information

Oct 13, 2019

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing Science programs prime graduates to inform, create and advance research in medicine and improve existing health care policies. Programs are only open to registered nurses who hold bachelor's degrees.

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Essential Information

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing Science programs focus heavily on individualized health care system research and are designed to prepare its participants to develop new studies and test existing theories in public health care. These programs are only open to registered nurses who have passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam in their given state of residence. Incoming students must also have a baccalaureate degree in nursing and submit letters of recommendation and proof of published writing.

The curriculum involves scholarly research and investigation, as well as primary courses that cover nursing theory, philosophy, science and research methods. Working with a doctoral advisor, pupils may formulate their own plans of study tailored to their specific academic goals and purposes. They can specialize in areas such as women's health, nursing and aging, health policy or nursing education.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing Science

Core courses within a nursing science Ph.D. program go over theories, philosophies, research methods and scholarly inquiry in the field. These programs can take up to 93 credit hours to complete and often require a graduation dissertation. Examples of course topics include:

  • Theoretical perspectives on nursing
  • Nursing inquiry, ethics and therapeutics
  • Ecology and human health
  • Clinical outcome research and design
  • Instrument testing and development
  • Medical biometry

Popular Careers

The career options open to graduates of a doctoral program in nursing science typically fall into the areas of education, research and administration. Some popular career roles are:

  • Nursing scientist
  • Clinical research nurse
  • Health science administrator
  • Nurse educator

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary nursing instructors earned a mean annual salary of $81,350 as of May 2018. The BLS projects that postsecondary nursing teachers could expect much faster-than-average job growth of 11% from 2018 to 2028.

For nurses who already have experience in the field and want to continue their education, a Ph.D. in Nursing Science may be the right choice, as it will focus heavily on more advanced nursing concepts and research.

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