PhD Program in Nursing

PhD student working with ABSN studentPhD Program in Nursing Goals

The PhD Program in Nursing prepares nurse scholars who will advance nursing science and promote equitable health outcomes and care systems, with a focus on social determinants of health (SDOH). Students will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to design, implement, and evaluate innovative models of care that improve health outcomes across diverse populations. Graduates of the program will be prepared to lead and transform nursing practice, policy, and research to promote health equity and social justice. PhD student tuition and 12-month stipends are fully funded for up to five years.

At Duke University School of Nursing we admit a small number of highly qualified, diverse applicants that work closely with one or more faculty members in a series of mentored experiences supported by formal coursework.

Your work with our faculty will:

  • Socialize you to the role of nurse scientist;

  • Ensure you gain significant knowledge and acquire the skills for launching a successful independent program of research post-doctorate; and

  • Prepare yourself for an entry-level role as a nurse scientist in a research setting (e.g., academic, clinical, or industry).

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

  • A broad perspective on the philosophy of science and its application to solving challenging health problems facing our nation, particularly those related to health equity, social determinants of health, and justice;

  • Experience with standard and emerging research designs 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 ensuring 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

  • Data Science

  • Digital Health

  • Decision Making

  • Disease Prevention

  • Family Caregiving

  • Health Equity

  • Informatics

  • Mental Health

  • Multi-level Interventions

  • Nurse-led Models of Care

  • Palliative and End-of-Life Care

  • Perioperative Care

  • Social Determinants of Health

  • 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

PhD Program in Nursing Description

The program requires a minimum of 52 credit hours of graduate coursework. Students will work on research projects; it is expected most will graduate with several publications. Coursework is structured with a substantive core of nursing science and research methods to be taken in the School of Nursing. This core is expanded with elective courses that typically support the student’s dissertation and future research career. These can be taken in other Duke University departments or other Universities that have arrangement with Duke (i.e., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Central University). Additional requirements include research practicums and elective credits that may count towards specialty certificates (i.e., teaching, global health, data science, entrepreneurship, etc.).

In addition to course work, the PhD Program in Nursing will require each student to develop a scholarly portfolio, successful completion of a preliminary examination, and a dissertation. Students are expected to disseminate their work through scholarly venues such as publications and conference presentations.

Terminal Objectives

After the PhD Program in Nursing, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of health equity, social determinants of health (SDOH), and nurse-led models of care to improve health outcomes for a population and/or system of care.
  2. Apply conceptual models and theories from nursing and other relevant disciplines to design and conduct research.
  3. Use a health equity, SDOH, and/or nurse-led models of care lens to critically evaluate and synthesize research conducted in nursing and other disciplines.
  4. Demonstrate scientific integrity and ethics in research across phases of the research process.
  5. Apply appropriate methods and analytic strategies to design, conduct, and evaluate research across phases of the research process, from discovery to translation.
  6. Collaborate effectively with interdisciplinary teams to perform research using socioculturally aligned approaches.
  7. Disseminate research findings through publications, presentations, and other scholarly venues to advance the evidence base for nursing and healthcare, with a focus on promoting health equity and social justice.
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