Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science

The Ph.D. in Nursing Science program prepares graduates to pursue a career of externally funded research, scholarly publication, and professional leadership.   We recruit talented and diverse applicants who possess a research interest that matches our faculty’s research expertise, and the commitment to accomplish the program milestones.

The PhD program provides the opportunity to engage in collaborative learning with our faculty, who lead research on a variety of health issues and with diverse patient populations and communities in one or more of the following broad areas: 

  1. Symptom science/self-management
  2. Health services research
  3. Behavioral health
  4. Technology enhanced interventions
  5. Community/patient engagement
  6. Palliative Care

The Ph.D. in Nursing Science program is designed to fast-track students to graduation in three years of full-time study or four years of part-time study. Typical career goals of our graduates include university faculty, researchers, and clinical and organizational leaders.  Non-nurses with health-related work experience may also benefit from this terminal degree, and should seek advice from the Assistant Dean about eligibility.

The Ph.D. curriculum is designed to promote and develop essential competencies required of a novice researcher.  Courses provide foundational education in:  theory application, research design and methods, data analysis, ethics, team science, conduct of research, leadership, policy, and knowledge translation and dissemination.  After completion of coursework, students embark on their dissertation research, which provides practical experience in the role of a nurse scientist and a foundation for future research after graduation.  

Over the program of study, students are required to participate in four on-campus Learning Intensives that provide opportunities for collaborative learning and evaluation of expected competencies. The Learning Intensives are synchronized with the program of study to provide additional support for building scholarly scientific knowledge and skills over time, peer engagement, and socialization to the nurse scientist role. The Intensives integrate and expand on coursework through activities such as student presentations, scholarly discussions, interactive workshops, and review of work with faculty.

The Ph.D. in Nursing Science program enables students to:

  • Utilize philosophical, theoretical, and conceptual foundations to guide the generation of new knowledge in health care.
  • Develop expertise within an area of inquiry, identifying critical gaps in knowledge and reflecting a nursing and transdisciplinary perspective.
  • Conduct theory-guided research to test, generate, and extend knowledge that informs health care systems, health policy, and the evidence base for practice.
  • Demonstrate proactive leadership related to a selected area of scholarship.
  • Model values consistent with integrity in science and professional nursing.

Why Consider MUSC?

MUSC, an academic health sciences center, ranks within the top 100 in the nation for receipt of federal funding.  Our doctoral students have access to expert clinicians and basic and applied scientists from multiple disciplines. Recently, the MUSC College of Nursing is consistently ranked in the top 3 among online graduate programs in US News and World Report.  We benchmark our program success through the high diversity of our students, excellent retention and graduation rates, and ongoing publications and funded grants of our students and graduates.  We believe faculty and peer mentoring combined with academic support services is essential to academic success. Our students are very satisfied with the academic rigor of our program, the sense of a learning community, the relationships among students and faculty, and the flexibility of learning from a distance. We invite you to browse our website and explore our faculty research interests, student accomplishments and testimonials to see why you might consider MUSC College of Nursing.