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PhD in Nursing

School of Nursing Fact Sheet

In 1994, a doctor of philosophy (PhD) in nursing program of part-time, evening course work was initiated for students with work or family commitments that prohibited full-time study. In 1997, coinciding with an expanding international role, the School of Nursing decided to make the program available to nurses throughout the United States and abroad. With the encouragement of the Duquesne University provost and president, the School of Nursing began a distance learning experiment, admitting a class of doctoral students with the guarantee that all their required courses could be completed online. The project was so successful that the School of Nursing continued to offer the program online.

On-campus Residency

Students are required to be on campus for one week each spring (usually the second or third week of May) while completing their required coursework, a period that varies from 2-4 years. During that week, students meet with faculty advisors, attend lectures by visiting professors, participate in seminars for required courses, complete examinations, and participate in program evaluation. First-time PhD students will begin a 1-credit introductory course.

Post-Master's Certificate Option

PhD students can obtain a post-master's certificate prior to, or while, pursuing a doctor of philosophy degree in nursing, and up to 9 credits from the post-master's certificate program can be used as cognates in the PhD program if appropriate. For example, while obtaining a Post-Master's Certificate in Forensic Nursing, a student can pursue a PhD in nursing (the student's PhD dissertation would focus on an area related to forensic nursing). However, the application process for Post-Master's Certificates and the PhD program are separate, and admission to one program is not a guarantee of admission to the other.

Nursing PhD Scholarship 2014-2016

Congratulations to this year's Scholarship Winners:

  • Karen Alexander
  • Ashlee Shields

PhD Curriculum

Since 1997, Duquesne University’s PhD Program in Nursing has had the unique distinction of being the first completely online PhD nursing program in the country. ThePhD curriculum reflects not only the national trends in nursing research, but also the faculty research agenda including vulnerable and underserved populations. Applied research courses in both qualitative, quantitative and mixed methodologies will prepare students to function as independent researchers upon graduation. Pre-doctoral funding will be emphasized early on in the program. Courses (cognates) to supplement the student’s dissertation study have been developed and will also be offered online. The curriculum is research-focused and designed to prepare students for a lifetime of intellectual inquiry, creative scholarship, and research. Students have up to eight years to complete the program.

Three Year PhD Curriculum (new for summer 2015)

Four Year PhD Curriculum (new for summer 2015)

Program Outcomes

PhD Program Outcomes

The overall purpose of the PhD in Program in Nursing is to prepare graduates for a lifetime of intellectual inquiry, creative scholarship, and research.  Graduates of the program will be competent in research, scholarship, and leadership within the profession of nursing.  The graduate must possess and demonstrate specific competencies. These include the ability to:

  1. Function as an independent researcher and conduct original research that builds upon prior research and expands the science of nursing.
  2. Integrate theoretical frameworks and research finding from other disciplines to enhance the practice of professional nursing.
  3. Produce scholarly work that contributes to the science and profession of nursing by communicating creative solutions to problems in nursing and health care.
  4. Demonstrate leadership and collaborative strategies to reduce health care disparities on a local, national, and international level.
  5. Help improve the health of the community by generating new evidence for nursing practice that solves problems related to health care delivery.
  6. Evaluate issues that affect health care and advocate for change in health care policies based on evidence and the principles of social justice.

Students may not be enrolled in more than one doctoral program at any given time.