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PhD Program in Nursing

The goal of the PhD Program in Nursing is to prepare nurse scholars who will build nursing science by leading interdisciplinary research initiatives targeting the interface between chronic illness and care systems. The purpose of these initiatives is to better understand, develop, and test innovative interventions, and to translate research into practice. PhD student tuition and 12 month stipends are fully funded for the first two years of the program. Tuition and 9 month stipends are fully funded in years 3-5. PhD students have the option to apply for competitive summer stipends in years 3-5, but summer funding is not guaranteed.

The Duke University School of Nursing PhD Program builds on the foundational knowledge and expertise acquired in a BSN education and on the advanced substantive and expert knowledge gained in a MSN education to develop nurse scientists who will contribute significant new knowledge related to chronic illness and care systems.

"Our approach at Duke University School of Nursing is to admit a small number of highly qualified applicants so that every student will work closely with one or more faculty members in a series of mentored experiences, supported by formal course work."

Your work with our faculty will:

  • Socialize you to the role of research scientist;
  • Ensure you gain the significant knowledge and acquire the skills for launching a successful program of independent research post doctorate; and
  • Prepare your for an entry level role in an academic setting.

To help our students succeed, the Duke School of Nursing PhD Program provides:

  • A broad perspective on philosophy of science and its application to solving challenging health problems facing our nation, particularly those related to chronic illness and care systems;
  • Experience with common and emerging research design and methods;
  • Rigorous training in statistics; and
  • Mentored research and teaching experiences to reinforce knowledge acquisition and skill development.

In addition to addressing the standards of Duke University, and to ensure the highest-quality PhD education, the Duke PhD Program in Nursing is designed to meet the indicators of quality in research-focused doctoral programs set forth by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Study with Duke expert faculty focused on:

  • Acute & Long-Term Care Systems
  • Adaptive Leadership
  • Decision Making
  • Disease Prevention
  • Family Caregiving
  • Informatics
  • Palliative and End-of-Life Care
  • Perioperative Care
  • Symptom Management
    • Specialty Populations
    • Premature and High Risk Infants
    • Children with Acute and Chronic Illnesses
    • Adults with HIV, Hepatitis C, Diabetes, Sickle Cell Disease, Cancer, or Cardiovascular Disease
    • Older Adults

Your coursework will emphasize:

At Duke University School of Nursing, the emphasis of your coursework will explore the interface between chronically ill individuals and their care environments, a continuum that extends from illness prevention to care at the end of life.

Key to your success as a nurse scientist is developing expertise in state-of-the art longitudinal methodologies and quantitative and qualitative techniques of analysis.

To be considered for admission to the Duke University PhD Program in Nursing, you must have a BSN and/or MSN and submit:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (taken within the past 5 years).
  • Transcripts for all college-level course work.
  • Three letters of recommendation.

Applicants will be expected to identify a research focus match with a PhD faculty mentor in the school. Students are admitted once a year in the Fall Semester. The program requires a minimum of 47 credit hours of course work prior to the dissertation. Full-time study is required. The program can be completed in 3 to 5 years. PhD students receive full tuition support and an annual stipend.

Applications for the PhD Program in Nursing should be submitted online to the Duke University Graduate School.

PhD Student Graduate Assistantships (RA/TA):

Beginning with the second semester of Year 1, PhD students who are receiving financial support from the School of Nursing are required to engage in a Graduate Assistantship in research or teaching (approximately 8 hours per week). Graduate Assistantships support the mission of the school, but also enhance the student’s scholarly portfolio.

Catherine Gilliss Endowed Scholarship Award:

The Duke University School of Nursing created the Catherine Gilliss Endowed Scholarship Award as a tribute to Catherine Gilliss and her legacy of excellence as Dean of the School of Nursing from 2004 to 2014. The award will be provided annually to an incoming PhD student based upon excellent qualifications and academic promise.