PhD Curriculum

Coursework Requirements for All PhD Students

The PhD Program in Nursing requires a minimum of 52 credit hours of coursework before the dissertation. The Plan of Studies below illustrates the scheduling of the required coursework.

  • PhD coursework is structured with a substantial core (31 credits) of nursing science and research methods to be taken in the School of Nursing.

  • This core will be expanded with elected statistics, research methods, and cognate courses in an outside field of study or minor area (15 credits) to be taken mainly outside of nursing in other Duke University departments. The student will choose elective courses with the guidance and approval of the supervisory committee. In addition, the supervisory committee may require the student to take courses above the minimum if the student needs additional coursework to support the dissertation research plan.

  • Additional requirements include a one-semester research practicum (1 credit) and courses that count towards a teaching certificate (5 credits).


PhD Program in Nursing Plan of Study
Year 1 FallCredit Hours
Nursing 901 (Philosophy of Science & Theory Development)3
Nursing 902 (Quantitative Research Designs)3
Nursing 907 (Overview of Chronic Illness & Care Systems)3
Nursing 911 (Introductory Statistics)3
Term Total12
Year 1 Spring 
Nursing 903 (The General Linear Models)3
Nursing 906 (Qualitative Research Methodology)3
Nursing 908 (Context of Chronic Illness & Care Systems)3
Term Total9
Year 2 Fall 
Nursing 909 (Intervention Research Methods)3
Nursing 905 (Longitudinal Methods)3
Elective (any semester)3
Elective (any semester)3
Year 2 Spring 
Nursing 921 (Integrated Research Practicum –any semester)1
Elective (any semester)3
Elective (any semester)3
Elective (any semester)3
Nursing 741 (Facilitating Student Learning and Teaching Innovation – any semester)3
Term Total13


Preliminary (Admission to PhD Candidacy) Exam (written)

The Graduate School requires submission of the Report of the Doctoral Preliminary Examination for all doctoral candidates by the end of the Spring semester of their third year.


Year 3 FallCredit Hours
Nursing 910 (Doctoral Seminar in Nursing Science Dissertation)3
Nursing 744 (Implementing the Educator Role: Synthesis - any semester)2
Nursing 918 (Leadership in Science: The Role of the Nurse Scientist)1
Term Total6
Year 3 Spring 
Term Total0
Proposal Defense (written and oral) beginning Year 3 (Fall semester) 
Total Credit Hours (minimum requirement)52
Year 4 (Optional) 



Scroll back to top automatically