Doctorate of Nursing

Nursing doctoral programs can be divided into two main programs: doctor of nursing practice (DNP) and doctor of philosophy (PhD) in nursing science. The DNP program prepares students for innovations in healthcare, and is centered on evidence-based practice, theory and science of nursing, and analytic principles. The program trains students to apply nursing theory to real-world practice. The PhD in nursing science program prepares students to conduct and develop scientific, empirical, and theoretical research in various perspectives of nursing science and healthcare. These programs may be offered through online, on-campus or hybrid programs; depending upon your choice of university.

Doctor of Nursing Practice
This program trains student to display leadership skills in a healthcare organization, evaluate and develop healthcare policy, use various techniques to prevent and reduce illnesses, and promote and maintain healthcare. Specific admission requirements may include:

  • Being a registered nurse and having an advanced practitioner registered nurse license or certification
  • Providing a goal statement

The curriculum is highly detailed and rigorous. Although curriculum may vary from university to university, similar core coursework may include:

  • Evidence-based Nursing Inquiry
  • Translating Evidence into Practice
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Advanced Nursing Health Policy

Graduates of this program could go on to become nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives; or advance on to leadership and administrative positions in healthcare organizations.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science
A PhD in nursing science provides students with a solid foundation in nursing theory. The program is research-based, and areas of research may include cardiovascular risk reduction, chronic disease management, health promotion, and domestic violence. You may be asked to provide the following before being given an admission offer:

  • A statement of research goals
  • Two or more recommendation letters
  • Writing sample (graded paper or publication)

A PhD in nursing science program requires you to successfully complete a core curriculum and complete an individualized course in reference to your research goals that expands the foundation of your research. Coursework may vary from university to university, but similar core curriculum could include:

  • Philosophy of Health
  • Measurement in Healthcare Research
  • Advanced Research Design
  • Roles of Nurse Educator
  • Technology Applications to Implement and Manage Research
  • Science of Nursing
  • Research and International Health Systems
  • Writing for Publications

Students who successfully complete this program are prepared for various careers such as nurse educators in post-secondary academic institutions, and are able to conduct academic research and advance nursing science.


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