MSN/PhD Dual Degree in Nursing

Jul 09, 2019

An MSN-PhD dual degree in nursing consists of master-level courses and doctoral-level courses. Before pursuing the dual degree, students must obtain a bachelor's degree and nursing license.

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A master's degree in nursing and a doctoral degree in nursing can be combined allowing students to earn both degrees at the same time. There are several benefits including tuition funding for several years of study at the doctoral level and access to mentors who guide PhD candidates through their research project. The ultimate goal is to prepare graduates to contribute research in the field of nursing. Read on to find out more about this program as well as the admission requirements.

Overview of an MSN-PhD Dual Degree in Nursing

An MSN-PhD dual degree in nursing is awarded to students after approximately 90-96 credits of advanced coursework are completed and several additional requirements are met, including passing of a qualifying exam and successfully defending a dissertation. The entire program can be completed within four to eight years. The following common courses cover topics in research, statistics, and epidemiology.

Qualitative Nursing Research

Several qualitative research methods are taught in this course, including ethnography, grounded theory, and participatory actions. The history of qualitative research is presented, and different strategies are studied and compared. Fieldwork may be a requirement of this type of course.

Evolving Nursing Science

This course presents the current state of nursing science and the future of the profession. Different aspects of nursing are evaluated, including the methodologies used by nurses. Also, the assumptions and theories of nursing practice are reviewed.

Quantitative Research and Design

How to conduct quantitative clinical research is taught in this course. The ethical and legal barriers to clinical research are covered. These may include human test subjects, access to patient populations, and data collection techniques.


Linear models and statistical tests used in the health sciences are usually explored in this type of class. Biostatistical methods for epidemiology research are also covered. Additional topics can include hypothesis testing and bivariate analysis.


Epidemiology is the study of disease occurrence and distribution in populations. This course introduces several methods of research. Students learn about tools that are used to assess the overall health of the public. Also, the application of theories and methods of epidemiology to real-world problems are presented.

Inquiry and Nursing

This course gives nurses experience in scholarly inquiry. The goal is to acquire knowledge development methods and use knowledge to create publications. The methods of inquiry are specific to nursing.

Program Admission Requirements

A bachelor's degree in nursing is required as well as a nursing license, usually an RN license, for admission into most schools that offer an MSN-PhD dual degree. The minimum GPA for admission is about 3.5, and some schools request GRE scores from applicants. Professional references and a personal statement may also be required. Applicants should fill out an application and send college transcripts, along with payment for the application fee, to the graduate admissions office.

An MSN-PhD dual degree in nursing is awarded after students complete a substantial amount of coursework, pass a qualifying exam, and defend a dissertation. Students typically need a bachelor's degree and a nursing license to enter these programs.

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