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Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)

Our goal: to develop scholars of the discipline of nursing capable of building a program of research that advances nursing knowledge and contributes to the health of individuals, families, and communities.

The Penn AdvantageUniversity of Penn School of Nursing fall 2011

Home to some of the most forward-thinking scholars and researchers in the world, Penn offers the opportunity to work alongside faculty who are actively shaping the future of nursing science and healthcare. Our networks and longstanding clinical and community partnerships throughout greater Philadelphia and beyond provide uncommon access to research and practice resources.

Our full-time doctoral students are fully funded for the first three years, which includes a living stipend and covers tuition, fees, and health insurance.

Partnerships with Penn Medicine and Wharton allow us to offer joint PhD/MBA and PhD/MBE degree options for those interested in expanding their expertise to executive management or bioethics. 

Our doctoral graduates go on to take coveted leadership roles in academia, healthcare, government, and related fields, and are integral to the growth of our profession.

Program outline

The program consists of 22 course units, or CUs; each course is worth one CU. Full-time students will take three to four courses each fall and spring semester. Most students complete their coursework within three to four years and then will be on dissertation status until the final dissertation defense. View our Curriculum page for more information.

Part-time students typically take two courses per semester and do not receive a stipend from the university.

PhD Options

In addition to a traditional PhD track, we also offer a combined MSN-PhD and MS-PhD, as well as an accelerated pathway - the Hillman Scholars program - that tracks high achieving undergraduates from BSN to PhD. 

How to apply

For details on our application process, see the Admissions section. Please note that the GRE is required for all applicants and that non-native English speakers must also provide their results from TOEFL or IELTS.

Our Students

Nursing Research