PhD Handbook

The School of Nursing (SON) PhD Student Handbook provides academic information, policies, and procedures for the PhD in Nursing program. It also serves as a guide to resources within the School of Nursing and across the university. All PhD in Nursing students are responsible for the regulations listed within this handbook. 

Table of Contents

  1. PhD Program Introduction
  2. Degree Requirements
  3. Courses and Registration
  4. Academic Regulations
  5. Qualifying Examination
  6. Residencies
  7. Dissertation
  8. Financial Information
  9. Graduation
  10. Advising

University Policies

In addition to this handbook, all graduate students are responsible for the regulations listed in the University of Pennsylvania Pennbook, a collection of policies that relate to student life at the University of Pennsylvania. The two most important policies in the Pennbook are the Code of Student Conduct and the Code of Academic Integrity. These two policies outline the general responsibilities of being a student at Penn. All students are expected to have read and understood both policies before coming to campus.

PhD Students must also abide by the policies listed in the Academic Rules for PhD Degrees.

Program Contacts

At the University of Pennsylvania, graduate programs leading to the PhD are carried out by associations of faculty members called “Graduate Groups”. The Graduate Group in Nursing is a faculty governance group led by a Chair and Chair Elect in Nursing with input from the collective voice of its members.

The Graduate Group Chair is responsible for the overall direction of the Graduate Group in Nursing, including oversight of policies, curriculum development, admission and progression of students, and strategic planning. Students can consult with the Graduate Group Chair as needed throughout their time in the program.

University of Pennsylvania Nondiscrimination Statement

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam Era Veteran or disabled veteran in the administration of its educational policies, programs or activities; admissions policies; scholarship and loan awards; athletic, or other University administered programs or employment. Questions or concerns regarding the University’s equal opportunity and affirmative action programs and activities or accommodations for people with disabilities should be directed to the Executive Director, Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Suite 228, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021 or 215-898-6993 (Voice) or 215-898-7803 (TDD).

Important School of Nursing Policies

All students at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing are required to adhere to the following school-wide policies:


The policies and procedures described in this manual are continually revised and updated. The School of Nursing and the University of Pennsylvania must reserve the right to make changes affecting policies, fees, curriculum, or any other matters announced in this publication. If you have questions regarding the contents of this handbook, please contact the Office of Student Services.

Academic Calendar

New PhD students are encouraged to review the Accepted Students website for more information on getting started at Penn Nursing.