Online DNP to PhD Program

The Duquesne University School of Nursing values the education you received in your DNP program that prepared you to use the evidence to improve patient care and practice. Our PhD in Nursing program will allow you to augment your DNP education and conduct research related to your DNP Project.

Program Details

This program takes approximately two-and-a-half years to complete and is a total of 38 credits (29 credits coursework plus nine credits of dissertation).


Residency 1: Doctoral Week (May of Year 1)

Every student admitted to the PhD program is required to come to campus for the first residency, usually held during the 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: Topic Approval and Writing Intensive (May of Year 2)

This residency is scheduled during doctoral week of the second year of the program. Students attend the three-day intensive writing workshop.

Residency 3: Study Abroad (Summer of Year 2)

Students enrolled in both GPNG 923 Methods of Scientific Inquiry II and GPNG 903 Measurement Issues take part of the course as a study abroad experience (10-14 days) in locations such as Dublin, Ireland, where students have housing at the Duquesne University Ireland campus.

Residency 4: Dissertation Final Defense

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

DNP to PhD Curriculum

Year 1

Summer - Foundations
Course # Course Name or Program Requirement Credits
GPNG 901 State of the Science and Discovery 3 credits
Doctoral Week - Required Residency 1 of 4 (Orientation)
Fall - Science, Truth and Knowledge
GPNG 922 Philosophy of Science and Theory 3 credits
Spring - Scientific Tools
GPNG 923 Methods of Scientific Inquiry I 4 credits
GPNG 940 Statistics II 3 credits

Year 2

Summer - Global View
GPNG 924 Methods of Scientific Inquiry II 4 credits
GPNG 903 Measurement Issues 3 credits
Doctoral Week - Required Residency 2 of 4 (Writing Intensive)
Study Abroad - Required Residency 3 of 4
Fall - Immersion and Articulation
GPNG 931 Applied Qualitative Practicum 3 credits
GPNG 915 Dissertation Research Seminar: first manuscript (literature or other) 3 credits
Spring - Developing Independence
GPNG 915 Dissertation (Cross list with GPNG 925 Grant Writing) 3 credits
GPNG 930 Applied Quantitative Practicum 3 credits

Year 3

Summer - Dissertation and Dissemination
GPNG 915 Dissertation 3 credits
Fall - Dissertation and Dissemination
GPNG 915 Dissertation 3 credits
Dissertation Defense - Required Residency 4 of 4

Revisions to courses and curricula are ongoing.

DNP to PhD Admissions

Admissions Criteria

1. Current unencumbered Registered Nurse (RN) license.

2. A bachelor's degree (BSN preferred) and/or Master of Science in Nursing degree. (Graduates of BSN-DNP and/or a MSN-DNP programs are eligible.)

3. Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

4. Prerequisite courses:

  • Graduate course in Statistics (3 credits).
  • Graduate course in Nursing Research Methods (3 credits) or Research- or Evidence-Based Practice (3 credits).
  • Computer literacy or completed courses in word processing, spreadsheet, database management and presentation graphics.

5. Computer skills, including the ability to send and download attachments, word processing, spreadsheet, database management and presentation graphics

6. Successful phone interview with PhD Admissions Committee member may be required.

7. Students must meet the Technical Standards for Admission.

Application Process

The admissions process for nursing graduate studies is handled exclusively by the School of Nursing.

1. Complete the online application. If transcripts will be sent under a different name (i.e., maiden or former name), please indicate that name.

2. Provide three references: two professional and one academic or three professional. You will be asked for these in your application.

3. Please submit the following through your application portal:

  • Current curriculum vitae (CV): a complete resume with dated work and practice, honors, awards, publications and presentations.
  • Copy of current unencumbered RN license.
  • For DNP to PhD applicants, please send the course syllabus for your Structure of Knowledge course.
  • Using a separate page for each statement, ensuring your name is on each page, submit a single-page statement (single spaced, 12-point font) addressing each of the following two topics:

- Discuss how you made the decision to pursue the PhD vs the DNP, or if you are a DNP to PhD applicant, discuss your decision to pursue a PhD.
- In 500 words, briefly describe your research area of interest and why it is relevant to nursing science.

  • Submit a copy of any published articles, book chapters or books that you have authored.
  • The Request for Advanced Standing form and supporting documents, if requesting advanced standing (transfer credits).

4. Arrange for these sealed documents to be sent to:
Duquesne University
School of Nursing - PhD Applications
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282


Submit via E-script to

If you have ever attended Duquesne University, the University Registrar's Office will automatically forward an official transcript for any Duquesne University coursework directly to the School of Nursing on your behalf. This transcript will be provided as a courtesy and free of charge. No transcripts from schools other than Duquesne University will be forwarded from the University Registrar's Office. You will need to request other transcripts from the originating school(s):

  • Official BSN transcript
  • Official MSN transcript
  • For DNP to PhD applicants, official DNP transcript
  • Official transcripts for prerequisite courses, if not included on master's degree or DNP program transcripts
  • Official transcripts of graduate courses, if requesting advanced standing

5. An interview (via internet) with the PhD Committee may be required.

6. If you are interested in graduate loans, you must complete the Graduate Financial Aid application and mail directly to the Financial Aid Office.

7. If you are accepted, a non-refundable $250.00 deposit will be required to reserve your place in class.