PhD in Nursing

The program is designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills, relationships, confidence, critical thinking and analytical capacity essential for discovering and disseminating research-based evidence to support innovative solutions that lead to better health outcomes and advance the science of nursing.

What makes our program distinct?

The PhD in Nursing curriculum provides students two options to attend their course class sessions. One option is to be in the classroom with the faculty and the other option is to attend the class via a video connection with the students and faculty in the classroom. Students choose the one delivery method that works best for them. Courses may use a HyFlex instruction format that combines synchronous in-person scheduled class sessions and asynchronous online learning activities.

At the start of their program (last week in August) and the last week in May, all students gather on campus annually for a four-day Doctor of Nursing Philosophy Immersive Experience (DIvE) focused on engagement, mentorship and professional development and a 1 credit academic course.

Our PhD program provides full funding for the first two years of study through a combination of graduate assistantships and scholarships for students devoted full-time to their studies following the relevant recommended plan of study.

We also advocate for and support our PhD students with funding from a range of national sources. Current PhD students are supported with substantial grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Jonas Philanthropies.

The PhD in Nursing program is enriched by the vibrant research and academic programs at the School of Nursing and the university.

You will be carefully matched with faculty who are uniquely suited to help you develop your research focus and build an ongoing research program. Nationally-renowned faculty mentor PhD students throughout the program and build long-standing professional relationships beyond graduation.

Why a nursing PhD?

Across the country and around the world, demand for PhD-prepared nurses who can mentor future nurses and advance nursing science continues to grow. Our PhD program focuses on areas of science in which the health needs are greatest as described by AACN's strategic plan. We seek to admit students with exceptionally strong backgrounds in a major field of study such as nursing or the physical or behavioral sciences.

While many applicants are registered nurses with Masters degrees, we admit individuals who are not nurses to the PhD program if they desire to learning about and conducting research that contributes to nursing science. We also strongly encourage nurses with a BSN degree to apply. We support both types of students with additional formal coursework to be successful.

See admission criteria and application procedures

Length and commitment

Our past graduates have completed their degree in 4-5 years.

Full-time students follow the relevant recommended program plans typically take the required courses with a consistent cohort of students to foster peer support and learning.

Information for international students

Get to Know Us

Mary Whipple

A student in the PhD program

“I feel like, as a nurse with a PhD, I can have a really unique impact on patient care and on the health of individuals.”

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Engage in research

Whether your interests lie in improving public health in the Congo, reducing teen pregnancy, improving outcomes for children with cancer or slowing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, the University of Minnesota School of Nursing offers extraordinary opportunities to engage in research.

The school’s research is concentrated in four areas:

  • Health Promotion among Vulnerable Populations
  • Prevention and Management of Chronic Health Conditions
  • Symptom Management
  • Health/Nursing Informatics and Systems Improvement

The School of Nursing is also home to six research centers that provide research and scholarship opportunities that foster collaboration, stimulate clinically-relevant research questions and innovative approaches, and facilitate creative partnerships.