Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

Academic Programs | PhD in Nursing

Intent and Purpose

The PhD program in nursing was initiated in 1989 and is the first PhD program in nursing in New Jersey.  In order for nurses to engage in evidence-based practice, evidence must be generated by researchers who understand nursing problems and nursing practice.  Consequently, nurse scientists and researchers are urgently needed to inform best practices, explore perplexing patient problems, test strategies to increase patient safety and care quality, lead interdisciplinary teams to improve the health care system, and to, overall, add to the profession's valuable body of knowledge.  Nurses who hold a PhD are in great demand and a world of opportunity awaits them!

Offered on the Newark Campus

Graduates of the Rutgers School of Nursing PhD Program will be prepared to:

- Develop the Science

  • Master in-depth knowledge in a substantive area.
  • Critique and integrate different science perspectives in the conduct of research.
  • Assume leadership in the conduct of culturally competent scholarship to improve nursing practice.

- Steward the Discipline

  • Provide leadership in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge.
  • Collaborate effectively with interdisciplinary scholars in the scientific and professional communities.
  • Provide professional and research mentorship to others.

- Lead Interdisciplinary Research Teams

  • Design, conduct, and evaluate original research.
  • Conduct team science.
  • Contribute to a global community of scholars.

The Difference Between a PhD and a DNP

A PhD is a research-focused degree that prepares nurse scientists to generate evidence that will guide effective and safe nursing care.  This is important work that MUST occur before evidence-based practice can take place.  The DNP degree prepares practice experts who will translate research evidence to affect changes in their practice setting.

The Rutgers Advantage

At Rutgers we have a large faculty who are actively engaged in their own funded programs of research and who are nationally and internationally renowned for their work.  These faculty members will offer you expert guidance and practical advice as you begin to think about your own research interests.  You will have the opportunity to work side by side with this expert faculty in a "research practicum" during which you gain hands-on experiences that prepare you for your own dissertation work.  Furthermore, as a highly rated research-intensive university, Rutgers offer you bountiful resources such as research centers, links to health care facilities, computer labs, and a world-class library system.  Importantly, all of these advantages are available at the reasonable tuition costs available at state universities, making Rutgers an excellent educational value!

Faculty Researchers

Dissertation Committee Chairs

Contact us

  • Are you thinking about Applying?
    973-972-7014 or
    email us

    Questions about your application?  973-972-3067

    Registration or course schedules? 

Deadline to Apply

  • Apply by April 1 for Fall Term

Application info

Admission criteria


Students entering the PhD program are expected to have successfully completed a master’s level course in nursing theory, nursing research, and a basic statistics course before enrolling in the nursing PhD sequence.

Qualifying Exam for Admission to Candidacy


The examination is designed to determine whether a student has acquired sufficient mastery of the evolution of nursing knowledge, nursing research, and theory development in nursing to warrant admission to candidacy for the PhD degree.


The written qualifying examination must be taken after the student has satisfactorily completed Philosophy of Nursing Science, Measurement of Healthcare Phenomenon, Qualitative Research Methods, and Theory and Application to Nursing Research and the major portion of the research methods and statistics requirements (9 hours required). It should be taken not later than six years after the student first registered in the Graduate School-Newark. All "incomplete" grades must be removed and all grades for completed course work must be officially recorded in the student's permanent file before the test date.

Development of the Written Comprehensive Examination

The Director of the Graduate Program selects Graduate Faculty to develop questions and to be readers. The questions cover the content in the nursing courses in the Ph.D. Program in Nursing. The questions are comprehensive and analytic in nature.


Contact the Office of Admissions

Office of Admissions
School of Nursing
Rutgers, The State University of New  Jersey
65 Bergen Street, Room 601
Newark, NJ 07107

Phone Number: 973-972-3067

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The in-class curriculum requires a minimum of 67 credits. Of that total, 9 credits are allocated to cognate courses; of these cognate credits a minimum of 6 must be taken outside of the discipline of nursing. The remaining credits are taken within the School of Nursing and include 15 credits allocated to statistics, measurement, philosophy of science, and data management, 13 credits allocated to research methods and theory development, 6 credits allocated to scholarship and policy development, 3 credits for a research practicum, 3 credits for an education practicum, 3 credits for a dissertation seminar, and 15 credits for dissertation research. A complete listing of required courses and credit allocations are listed below.

Required Nursing Doctoral Courses:

  • Philosophy of Nursing Science and Knowledge Development (3 cr.)
  • Qualitative Research Methods (3 cr.)
  • Statistics for Nursing Research I (3 cr.)
  • Theory and Application to Nursing Research (3 cr.)
  • Statistics for Nursing Research II (3 cr.)
  • Quantitative Methods in Nursing Research (3 cr.)
  • Measurement of Healthcare Phenomena (3 cr.)
  • Management of Health Data (3 cr.)
  • Evidence-Based Policy Development (3 cr.)
  • Role of the Nurse Scholar (3 cr.)
  • Practicum in the Professoriate Role (3 cr.)
  • Research Practicum (3 cr.)
  • Advanced Quantitative Analytic Methods for Nursing Research OR Advanced Qualitative Nursing Research (4 cr.)
  • Nursing Cognate (3 cr.)
  • Cognates in other disciplines (6 cr.)
  • Dissertation Seminar (3 cr.)
  • Dissertation Research (15 cr.)

Course Descriptions

Sample Plan of Study - Full-Time

Sample Plan of Study - Part-Time





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