Skip to main content

PhD in Nursing Curriculum

PhD

The PhD program in Nursing consists of 14 course units (CUs).* Core courses, a statistics sequence, concentration courses, and non-credit requirements are required by the Graduate Group in Nursing for the PhD in Nursing degree. Descriptions of requirements are listed below.

 

Core Courses (7 Course Units)
  • NURS 7500: Inquiry and Nursing
  • NURS 7530 Evolving Nursing Science
  • NURS 7540: Quantitative Research Designs and Methods
  • NURS 8000: Dissertation Seminar
  • NURS 8130: Qualitative Paradigm Empirical Nursing Research
  • NURS 8900: Teaching Residency
  • NURS 8970: Research Residency
Statistics Sequence (2 Course Units)

Students entering Fall 2023 or later 

Student must complete the two- course Nursing statistics sequence.

  • NURS 8100: Statistics I
  • NURS 8110: Statistics II

Students entering Fall 2022 or earlier

Students must complete a two-course statistics sequence. In most cases, students should follow the recommended sequence as determined by the academic department (i.e. SOCI 5350 and SOCI 5351, or STAT 5000 and STAT 5010). Recommendations for statistics series are also based on prior statistical and coding experiences

  • Part I (choose one of the following)
    • SOCI 5350: Quantitative Methods I
    • STAT 5000: Applied Regression and Analysis of Variance
    • PUBH 5010: Introduction to Biostatistics
    • EPID 5260: Biostatistics for Epidemiologic Methods I
  • Part II (choose one of the following)
    • SOCI 5351: Quantitative Methods II
    • STAT 5010: Introduction to Nonparametric Methods and Log-linear Models
    • HPR 6080: Applied Regression Analysis for Health Policy Research
    • EPID 5270: Biostatistics for Epidemiologic Methods II

Students should consult with their faculty advisor(s) to choose the appropriate statistics sequence based on prior experience and the type of dissertation.

Concentration Courses (5 Course Units)

Concentration courses are intended to support the dissertation. These courses may be in particular content areas (e.g. genetics, health disparities) that are related to the planned dissertation or methods courses teaching specific approaches (e.g. clinical trial design). One of the five concentration courses must be focused on healthy equity/and or social justice (list of approved courses). Courses may be taken in nursing or a different discipline at the University of Pennsylvania. The student should discuss possible content and methods courses with their advisors and search for courses that support the dissertation topic. Students should consult with their faculty advisor(s) to choose the appropriate statistics sequence based on prior experience and the type of dissertation.

Students are required to complete a minimum of five (5 CU) concentration courses.

Requirements

  • Concentration courses must be graduate level (typically 5000-level and above) courses taught by doctorally-prepared faculty.   
  • One of the five concentration courses must have focus on health equity and/or social justice. A list of the approved courses can be found here. If a course of interest is not on the list, please submit a petition that will be reviewed by PhD Curriculum Committee. 
Non-credit Requirements

Doctoral programs at the University of Pennsylvania also have non-credit requirements for graduation. The Graduate Group in Nursing requires:

  • Qualifying Examination 
  • Candidacy Examination (a defense of the dissertation proposal)
  • Dissertation work and registration of NURS 9950 Dissertation Status
  • Defense of the final dissertation

The length of time that most students take to complete coursework is from three to four years of full-time study.

Sample Plans of Study

Sample Plan of Study 1
FALL YEAR 1

NURS 7500: Inquiry and Nursing
NURS 8130: Qualitative Paradigm Empirical Nursing Research
NURS 8100: Statistics I

SPRING YEAR 1

NURS 7530: Evolving Nursing Science
NURS 7540: Quantitative Research Designs and Methods
NURS 8110: Statistics II

FALL YEAR 2

Concentration Course 1
Concentration Course 2
Concentration Course 3
Defend Qualifying Exam

SPRING YEAR 2

Concentration Course 4
Concentration Course 5
Additional Course (NURS 9000 or audit)

FALL YEAR 3

NURS 8000: Dissertation Seminar
NURS 8900: Teaching Residency*
NURS 8970: Research Residency*
Candidacy Exam (Defense of Dissertation Proposal)

SPRING YEAR 3

NURS 9950: Dissertation Status (Full-time) until Defense of Dissertation and deposit. Note that this sample is based off of a 3 year plan of study. A student may remain on Dissertation Status for more than one semester. 

*NURS 8900 and 8970 may be completed at any time prior to graduation, but registration may occur in a different semester to ensure the student has full-time registration status. The residencies can also be rostered while on Dissertation Status. 

Sample Plan of Study 2
FALL YEAR 1

NURS 7500: Inquiry and Nursing
NURS 8130: Qualitative Paradigm Empirical Nursing Research
NURS 8100: Statistics I
Concentration Course 1

SPRING YEAR 1

NURS 7530: Evolving Nursing Science
NURS 7540: Quantitative Research Designs and Methods
NURS 8110: Statistics II
Concentration Course 2

FALL YEAR 2

Concentration Course 3
Concentration Course 4
Concentration Course 5
Defend Qualifying Exam

SPRING YEAR 2

NURS 8000: Dissertation Seminar
NURS 8900: Teaching Residency*
NURS 8970: Research Residency*
Candidacy Exam (Defense of Dissertation Proposal)

FALL YEAR 3

Dissertation Status (Full-time)

SPRING YEAR 3

NURS 9950: Dissertation Status (Full-time) until Defense of Dissertation and deposit. Note that students may remain on Dissertation Status for more than one semester. This sample is based off of a 3 year plan of study. 

*NURS 8900 and 8970 may be completed at any time prior to graduation, but registration may occur in a different semester to ensure the student has full-time registration status. The residencies can also be rostered while on Dissertation Status. 

* For program requirements and plans of study for PhD and MS-PhD students who entered the program in Fall 2010 or earlier, please request a copy of an archived handbook from the Office of Student Services.


Plan of Study Procedure

In the spring semester of the first year, students must meet with their academic advisor(s) to select coursework for the plan of study. 

The student, with assistance from the academic advisor(s), should develop a plan of study that provides sufficient breadth and depth of the methods, theoretical perspective, and content needed to complete the dissertation study. 

The plan of study should include the 14 course units. It should include the semester that each course will be taken.  Students must complete the PhD Plan of Study Form in conjunction with the academic advisor(s) and submit to the Director of Advising and Student Affairs. The Graduate Group in Nursing Chair will review for final approval.

 


Program Time Limits

The total amount of time permitted for completion of coursework, examinations, residencies, and dissertation is seven (7) years from the date of matriculation for students in the PhD in Nursing and the MS/PhD in Nursing programs. 

A request for an extension to the time limit must be put in writing and addressed to the Graduate Group in Nursing Chair for consideration.


Annual Reporting of Student Progress

All students must complete and submit to the Director of Advising and Student Affairs an Annual Progress Report  by May 1st of each year. The report will include progress in completing program requirements during the past 12 months and a timeline for the completion of the remaining program requirements.  This report must be reviewed and signed by the student’s advisor or dissertation chair. The report is reviewed by Graduate Group in Nursing Chair.

In addition, it is a University requirement that students who have constituted their dissertation committee must meet with their entire committee as a group at least once each year. Nursing PhD students will report the details of this meeting on the Annual Progress Report form that is due on May 1st of each year.


Dual Degree Programs

 

Students in the MSN/PhD, MBE/PhD, or other programs must fulfill the requirements of their selected master’s program in addition to the PhD requirements.