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Online Ph.D. Nursing Programs: Overview of Universities

Learn about online Ph.D. in Nursing programs. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions, and look at some of the universities offering these degrees.

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Essential Information

Doctoral nursing candidates study advanced healthcare theories and methods for developing models of healthcare advocacy within communities. Nursing Ph.D. programs are intended for licensed nurses and are available in fully online formats. They focus on developing and applying nursing experience, particularly in the areas of health systems and policy. Additionally, doctoral programs for nurses focus on addressing healthcare needs for individuals and communities. Online programs are fully available, but may occasionally have a blended format to account for on-campus residency work.

Ph.D. in Nursing

By integrating a strong foundation in nursing research and theory, Ph.D. in Nursing students gain the skills needed to develop and defend a dissertation project. Programs often require 44-49 credit hours of courses and dissertation work, which could take 3-4 years to complete. However, colleges may allow up to eight years for students to finish their studies.

Common Courses

Students learn about the following topics of study:

  • Public policy
  • Nursing science
  • Epidemiology
  • Statistics
  • Quantitative research methods
  • Qualitative research methods

About Online Learning

Students have access to all course materials through online instructional platforms, such as Blackboard. Distance learning doctoral nursing programs may utilize video conferencing as a class format, in which case students are required to obtain a Web camera and a microphone. In addition, students can communicate among themselves and with teachers using e-mail and virtual discussion boards.


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Schools Offering Nursing Ph.D. Programs

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

This university's College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and has received numerous research grants, including those from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The school's Ph.D. in Nursing program is a cohort program and is designed for students with a master's degree in nursing. In the 2015-2016 school year, in-state tuition for University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee was $9,429, and the school had 26,726 students.

Medical University of South Carolina

The Medical University opened its doors in 1824 and was one of ten medical schools in the United States; over 50 years later, the College of Nursing was established. It offers two online Ph.D. tracks: the BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) to Ph.D. program is an accelerated program that allows students to acquire a master's and doctorate degree; there is also a post-master's degree to Ph.D. program. Prior to the start of the school year, students are required to attend a short, on-campus residency. In-state tuition for the 2015-2016 school year was $15,174, and the school had 2,992 students.

Online PhD programs in nursing are available from two different schools, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and Medical University of South Carolina. These programs may be available fully online or as blended programs with on-campus residencies.

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