Nursing, PhD

Contact Info

Interested in learning more about earning a PhD in nursing? Schedule a one-on-one appointment with Dr. Kyeung Mi Oh at 703-993-4550 or to discuss how a PhD in nursing can advance your career.

For questions about the graduate admissions process, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at or 703-993-1736.

Dr. Kyeung Mi Oh, PhD, MSN, RN
Doctoral Program Director

Kyeung Mi Oh

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program prepares nursing scholars who will pursue intellectual inquiry and conduct research for the purpose of expanding knowledge to contribute to the health of all populations. Students develop a deep knowledge in their focused area of research through course work, mentored research experience, and dissertation research. Graduates of the program conduct independent and collaborative research, advance nursing science, and provide leadership to the nursing profession.

Program Objectives

  • Lead research inquiry to advance and investigate emerging sciences of nursing. 
  • Contribute innovative solutions to address important problems that impact health and well-being at the individual, community, population, and policy levels. 
  • Engage in multi-sector collaborations to promote health for all that is ground-breaking, equitable, evidence-based, and quality-driven. 

Program Outcomes

Upon graduation from the PhD in Nursing program, students will be able to:

  1. Systematically evaluate, critique, and synthesize the literature in a focused area of inquiry that addresses a national or international health priority.
  2. Develop a problem statement and study purpose that addresses a gap in the knowledge base or relevant scientific literature.
  3. Identify and apply a research design that is congruent with the problem statement, research question, and the conceptual model or theory.
  4. Utilize appropriate study measures and data collection, management, and analysis techniques to address the research question.
  5. Conduct research ethically and in a culturally competent manner.
  6. Interpret the findings in consideration of the literature, conceptual/theoretical model, and relevance for translation, future research, and policy.
  7. Translate research findings through multiple modes of dissemination including abstracts, presentations, and publications.

Program of Study

The PhD in Nursing program builds on the master’s degree and requires a minimum of 78 credit hours of work (a minimum of 48 credit hours beyond the master's). The program of study is developed based on the student's interests and career goals and on the expertise of the faculty. A student develops their program of research through coursework:

  • Core Courses (27 credits): Material covered includes theory of inquiry, quantitative and qualitative study design, research ethics, measurement, data analysis, and scholarly dissemination.
  • Cognates Courses (minimum 9 credits): Interdisciplinary electives, chosen in collaboration with the student’s advisor, contribute to the program of research.
  • Dissertation (minimum 12 credits): These credits include the development and independent execution of a research study of consequence that addresses an important healthcare issue.

The PhD in Nursing courses are offered via a variety of modalities including in-seat and online, with at least 50 percent of classes face-to-face. In-seat classes are held approximately seven times per semester, with additional asynchronous content provided between classes. In-seat class days provide an opportunity for students to professionally engage with faculty and other students. Both full-time and part-time enrollment options are available (see Program of Study under Related Links). More information about the courses offered is available in the University catalog entry for the PhD in Nursing program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the admission standards and application requirements specified in Graduate Admissions and must apply using the online Application for Graduate Admission. In addition, Nursing PhD applicants must also meet the following requirements:

  • Have a master's degree in nursing from an accredited program equivalent to at least 30 credits or a master's degree in a related health field with a baccalaureate degree in nursing.
  • Received a 3.00 GPA or higher on a 4.00 scale in their master’s program.
  • Completed a graduate-level course in statistics with a final grade of 3.00 or higher.
  • Hold a valid, current nursing license in a U.S. state or territory; waivers for international applicants will be determined by the PhD program director.

For application deadlines and detailed application requirements, refer to the College of Public Health's Admissions website. The application process is competitive, and admissions are considered for the fall semester only.

Once an admission application is complete, it is reviewed by members of the PhD Program Committee. Based on the qualifications of the applicant and the program’s capacity, an interview with two or more faculty on the Committee may be scheduled. The interview may be conducted face-to-face or remotely. Upon immediate conclusion of the interview, the applicant is asked to provide a timed writing sample to verify their ability to do graduate-level writing. 


Various intramural and extramural scholarships, grants, and funds are available to support PhD student research. In addition, research and teaching assistant positions may also be available to qualified students. For more information on possible funding options, see Funding Sources under Related Links.