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Online PhD in Nursing Ethics

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Nurses are on the front lines of ethical issues in health care. They typically spend the most time with patients and are most familiar with cases. Yet, they are often constrained by things like institutional policy and limited decision-making authority when ethical situations arise.

Our PhD in Nursing Ethics program — the first in the country — is intended to provide nurses with a greater voice and a better framework for handling these situations. You will learn how to think and debate in a rational way, as well as feel more empowered to stand up for what you know is right.

This research-focused program will help you develop the intellectual skills and the practical knowledge to:

  • Identify ethical issues in nursing practice.
  • Evaluate both the various options according to moral and ethical reasoning and standards of evaluation that are decidedly ethical in nature.
  • Come to a well-reasoned resolution and conclusion.

This is an interdisciplinary program offered with the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts Center for Global Health Ethics, so your courses are taught by a mixture of clinical nursing faculty and health care ethicists, all of whom truly understand theoretical ethics.

The PhD in Nursing Ethics is an online program, which has three in-person residency requirements including a study abroad component. The program may be completed in four years.

Residency Requirements

Residency 1: Doctoral Week (Summer of Year 1)

Every student admitted to the PhD program is required to come to the Pittsburgh, PA, campus for the first residency, usually held during the second or third week of May. This week includes an orientation to the PhD program and provides an opportunity for students to meet faculty and participate in live classes for the courses in which they are enrolled that summer.

Residency 2: Study Abroad (Summer of Year 2)

Students enrolled in GPNG 924 Methods of Scientific Inquiry II will take part of the course as a study abroad experience (approximately 10-14 days) in locations such as Dublin, Ireland, where students will have housing at the Duquesne University Ireland campus. Please note that any tuition discounts that graduate students receive are not applicable to study abroad courses.

Residency 3: Dissertation Final Defense (Year 4)

Students are required to come to campus for the final public defense of their dissertation.

Please Note These Important Dates

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Application Cycle: July 1 - February 1

Apply any time between July 1 and February 1.

No GRE or application fee required.

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PhD Scholarship Deadline: February 1

Students accepted, deposited and enrolled in either the PhD in Nursing or the PhD in Nursing Ethics program is eligible to apply for the PhD scholarship award.

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Program Start

The PhD in Nursing Ethics program begins in May with the start of the summer semester. You can find exact start dates on the University's academic calendar.

Get Connected to Learn More

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Request More Information

Receive additional information about Duquesne University and the School of Nursing and our graduate programs.

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Ask a Question

Contact Nursing Recruiter Brian Bost at or 412.396.6539.

View Additional Resources

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Helpful Documents

Graduate Student Handbook
University Graduate Catalog
Technology Requirements

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PhD in Nursing Ethics Roundtable Videos

Dr. Rick Zoucha, chair of the Advanced Role and PhD Program, discusses the PhD in Nursing Ethics program with Dr. Eric Vogelstein, associate professor, and Dr. Michael Deem, assistant professor.

Gain an overview of our School of Nursing and the online PhD in Nursing Ethics Program, our commitment to ethics, and our partnership with the Center for Global Health Ethics.

Learn about the role of a nurse ethicist and what type of jobs are available to them.

Listen to a discussion about the curriculum for the PhD in Nursing Ethics program.

Find out what sort of candidates we are looking for and how to apply.