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Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

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Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

The Ph.D. program prepares graduates to function in faculty positions in college and university settings; to conduct independent research and scholarly endeavors in nursing; to generate and expand the theoretical, empirical, and philosophical bases for nursing practice; and to provide leadership to the profession and interpret nursing to society. Students have opportunities to expand their theoretical knowledge and research skills in a minor area; to develop expertise in nursing theory development; to expand research skills; and to gain a historical and philosophical perspective that broadens their professional orientation and provides a basis for understanding changing social expectations, cultural perspectives, and economic and political trends.

Program Options

Students may apply to the doctoral program after completing the master’s degree in nursing or after completing the baccalaureate degree with a major in nursing. The post-baccalaureate entry option is for exceptionally well-qualified B.S.N. graduates whose career goals are research oriented and who wish to progress as rapidly as possible toward the doctorate in nursing.

Course Requirements

Major: Nursing

The nursing portion of the doctoral program has 3 major components:

  • Theory,
  • Empirics, and
  • Leadership.

A total of 50 hours of course work is required.

Theory (6 hours)

NRSG 940 Knowledge and Theory Development in Nursing Science 3
NRSG 942 Theory Application in Nursing Science 3

Empirics (14 hours)

NRSG 943 Methods for Quantitative Research 3
NRSG 944 Quantitative Research Application 2
NRSG 946 Measurement Principles and Practice 3
NRSG 802 Methods for Qualitative Research 3
NRSG 947 Qualitative Research Application 3

Leadership (13 hours)

NRSG 935 Professionalism and Scholarship Workshop 1
NRSG 938 Informatics and Technology Applications 2
NRSG 941 Preparing for Doctoral Leadership 3
NRSG 945 Synthesis Workshop I 1
NRSG 877 Foundations in Education and Learning 3
NRSG 948 Advancing Organizational and Clinical Quality 2
NRSG 949 Synthesis Workshop II 1


This includes 12 hours of courses in the student’s area of choice. These courses also must support the student’s research. Examples are American studies, anatomy, anthropology, biochemistry, business, child development, communication, economics, education, history, pathology, pharmacology, philosophy, physiology, political science, psychology, sociology, or any other graduate area offered by KU.

Support Courses

This area requires these courses:

Statistics (6 hours)

Regression Analysis 3
Multivariate Analysis 3


Each student must complete a study that shows the planning, conduct, and results of original research. See Doctoral Degree Requirements, Dissertation, in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog. The minimum number of post-comprehensive dissertation credit hours is 15.

The program also requires satisfactory completion of the university's research skills and responsible scholarship requirement, satisfactory completion of 2 qualifying examinations, satisfactory completion of a comprehensive oral examination, and dissertation defense.

Post-Baccalaureate Entry Option

Students in the post-baccalaureate entry option complete a minimum of 71 credit hours, including dissertation. Students do not earn a master’s degree. However, students who want a clinical focus for research may develop the program around an advanced-practice focus and seek Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner status. In addition to the courses above, the following are required:


NRSG 754 Health Care Research 3


NRSG 748 Theories for Practice and Research: Individual, Family, and Community 3


21 to 23 hours are required for the advanced-practice focus.


A total of 71 credit hours is required for advanced practice.

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