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Online Ph.D. in Nursing: Requirements and Program Options

Get information about online Ph.D. programs in nursing. Continue reading to learn more about program options and requirements, as well as career information.

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Essential Information

Individuals interested in earning a Ph.D. in Nursing have a couple of online program options to consider, but both BSN-Ph.D. and MSN-Ph.D. degree options are available. These programs typically require students to meet an array of educational, technical, and residency requirements. A dissertation presentation on campus, or annual on-campus residencies are common. A bachelor's or master's degree in nursing is often required for entry. Although there are no fully-online Ph.D. nursing programs available, if you would like to pursue a related Ph.D. program, there are fully-online nurse practitioner programs.

Common Requirements

Admission into Ph.D. programs in nursing requires students to have already obtained a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing. Online students then enter a BSN-Ph.D. or MSN-Ph.D. option, depending on which degree they have previously earned.

Most of the coursework and assignments in an online Ph.D. program in nursing are completed through course management systems and video conferencing, which requires a reliable computer and Internet connection. Online students must also complete exams and a dissertation on-campus or through proctor sites.

Additionally, students enrolled in an online Ph.D. in Nursing program are typically required to complete a 1-week residency on campus at least once per year. The initial residency allows students to interact with peers and faculty, as well as preparing for candidacy and their dissertation. Online students may also be required to attend a faculty selected research conference once a year.

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Program Options

The following summaries provide an overview of the most commonly offered online Ph.D. programs in nursing.

BSN-Ph.D. in Nursing

The BSN-Ph.D. in Nursing is a 79-credit fast track option for academically adept nurses interested in nursing research who have earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The curriculum is broken up into four terms. This online Ph.D. nursing program begins by focusing on nursing and science coursework before gradually emphasizing faculty-supervised research.

MSN-Ph.D. in Nursing

The 64-credit MSN-Ph.D. in Nursing option is a more advanced entry point into the program for nurses holding a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). The MSN-Ph.D. nursing option consists of three terms. This distance-learning nursing program places an emphasis on advanced scientific nursing foundations, such as nursing science philosophy, theory development, clinical research methods, and a supervised research experience.


Career Information

Online Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing programs prepare current nurses to become researchers and scientists, as opposed to a Doctor in Nursing Practice, which prepares nurses for advanced practical application. Nurses are prepared for scientist and educator roles through foundational courses in research, theory development, philosophy, and ethics.

BSN-Ph.D. or MSN-Ph.D are both options that are available online for nursing students. In both, students will learn about research, theory development, leadership, and ethics related to nursing and patient care.

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