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Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

Major: NURS
Degree Awarded: Ph.D.
Unit: GN
Program Webpage:

Program Information

The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing is designed to prepare nurse scientists to assume a variety of roles in education, research, leadership and health policy. The  program prepares nurse scientists to: a) generate knowledge, test interventions and evaluate outcomes to reduce risks of illness/disability and promote quality of life; b) collaborate with other disciplines to improve the delivery of health care; c) assume research, leadership, executive, public policy and/or teaching roles; and, d) affect health policy through the application of scientific knowledge.

Two progression tracks are offered: (1) BSN to PhD and (2) MSN to PhD. BSN to PhD students complete the first year of coursework at the master's level and then continue on to the doctoral-level work without earning a master's degree. The MSN to PhD students will enter directly into doctoral coursework.

The PhD in Nursing consists of at least 55 credit hours of coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree or 40 credit hours beyond a master's degree plus dissertation credit hours. Full or part-time programs of study are available; however, full-time study is highly recommended to allow students to devote themselves entirely to the program and immerse themselves in the life of a scholar.

Admissions Criteria

Application deadline for fall semester admission is January 15th.  Completed applications received after the January 15th deadline may be considered on a space available basis.

Submit the following items to:
I.  School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292

  1. U of L Graduate Application and application fee (Online submission is preferred. Complete online at
    The online version of the Graduate Application lists codes for the Nursing PhD program. If you are submitting a hard copy application form, please use the following codes:
    NURSPHDMSN- for students who have completed Master's of Nursing degrees
    NURSPHDBSN- for students who have completed only the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degrees.
  2. Transcripts
    • If BSN applicant: Official transcripts representing all college course work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Must verify completion of an accredited baccalaureate program in nursing. A bachelor's degree must be earned from a regionally accredited institution.
    • If MSN applicant: Official transcripts representing all college course work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.25 on a 4.0 scale. Must verify completion of an accredited master's program in nursing.
    • If a BSN applicant, BSN program must have been accredited by CCNE or NLN.
    • If a MSN applicant, MSN program must have been accredited by CCNE or NLN.
  3. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
    Successful candidates generally have a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of 1100 or higher, and an Analytical score of 4.0 or higher. Recommended scores on the revised GRE test format and scoring that took effect August 2011 are 156 verbal, 146 quantitative and 4 on the analytical writing score. 
  4. TOEFL Examination
    Foreign student applicants must review the Graduate Catalog TOEFL requirement guidelines. TOEFL scores required in the School of Nursing are:
    • Computer-based test minimum score of 220; Written Essay score of 4.0
    • Paper-based test minimum score of 560; Written Essay score of 4.0
    • Internet based test minimum score of 79; Written Essay score of 4.0
  5. Letters of Recommendation

    Submit three recommendations from individuals who can speak of academic and/or professional capabilities and potential. Recommendations should be chosen from among: former faculty members, current or immediate past employers, or other nursing/health professionals. This is done through the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies recommendation form (available online at: Recommendation forms must have been completed within the last year.

Submit the following items to:
II. Office of Student Services, School of Nursing, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292

  1. School of Nursing PhD Applicant Data Sheet (Online submission preferred. Applicant Data Sheet is available at
  2. A current curriculum vitae or resume.
  3. A written statement of career goals, area(s) of expertise, research interests, and reasons for pursuing doctoral studies. Maximum three pages; double spaced; 12 point font.

   4.  Personal interview with School of Nursing faculty will be required.

   5. Registered Nurse License, evidence of licensure as a registered nurse is required. International students need to be licensed as registered nurses in their country of origin, if licensure is available. If direct patient care activities are provided, a Kentucky RN licensure prior to December in their first year of study is required.

   6. Criminal Background Check required. Information is available on web-site and through the School of Nursing, Office of Student Services.

Applicants accepted into the MSN-PhD program are strongly advised to have completed a three credit masters level statistics course (applied descriptive and inferential statistics) with a grade of B (3.0) or higher within five years before the date of enrollment.  Applicants who wish to take a refresher course will be advised of available statistics courses to take in the summer prior to beginning fall PhD coursework in statistics.


A PhD Graduate Student Assistantship is a financial award to a full-time PhD student for the period of one year. To be eligible for the award the student must be admitted to the PhD degree program or be a continuing PhD student. For the full year, the award includes tuition, health insurance, and a monthly stipend. The student is required to maintain full-time study during the award period and participate for 20 hours/week in a Research Assistant or Teaching Assistant role in the School of Nursing. These activities serve to augment and enrich the student's academic program. The student will be assigned by the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs to either research or teaching and will coordinate their experience. Descriptions of activities are available for each type of assistantship. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis.  


Residency Requirement

In order that the student may be assured of an opportunity to utilize the educational facilities properly and to participate in the intellectual life and research atmosphere of the University, at least two years of study must be completed at the University of Louisville and at least one must be spent in full-time residency.

To be considered in full-time residency for one year, a student must be registered for 18, or more, credit hours in a 12 month period.

Transfer of Credit

Earned graduate credit may be transferred from accredited institutions that offer advanced degrees. The maximum number of semester hours transferable, upon request, is six (6). Credits which have been applied toward an earned degree may not be applied toward the doctoral nursing degree. Course work being considered for transfer must have been taken while the student was enrolled in an accredited graduate or professional school and must be evaluated for equivalency by the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs. Credit earned more than six (6) years prior to the student's application to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies will not normally be considered for transfer.

Repeating Nursing Courses

Students who receive a grade of C+ or below in a required course must repeat the course.  Students in the Graduate Nursing Program are allowed to repeat a required nursing curriculum course only one time.  A student who received a grade of C+ or below in a second course required in the nursing curriculum will be dismissed from the program.  A Permit to Repeat Course form should be submitted to the Office of Student Services, School of Nursing, to ensure that only the last grade attempted will be included in the student's grade point average.  Repeating a course is not an automatic privilege.  The student may be allowed to repeat the course on a space available basis.

Student Health Services Requirements

Each student must comply with the current student health policy of the Health Sciences Center. All costs associated with compliance are the responsibility of the student. Because of contractual agreements with agencies and the changing needs of society, this policy is updated periodically. It is the responsibility of the student to maintain his/her health in order to insure safety for other students and research subjects. If faculty or the agency deems that any student creates a health risk, the student may be excluded from the research or clinical area and/or the program.

Individual health care facilities, used as research or clinical sites by the School of Nursing, may have additional requirements. In this event, the student is required to comply with any additional requirements of that facility.

Note: Health policies are constantly under review by faculty based on CDC changing requirements and community expectations. Students will be notified of any policy changes, and compliance will be required.

Immunization Requirements

Immunization requirements have been established by the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Public Health & Information Sciences, in recognition of a responsibility to provide for your safety, both in the classroom and in clinical settings, and for the safety of patients/research subjects you will encounter in your training. These requirements also reflect the standards required by the various institutions in which you will be working during your education. Compliance is administered through the U of L Campus Health Services. More detail is available in the student handbooks or on the Campus Health Services website:

Health Insurance

Students are responsible for submitting proof of health insurance. On April 26, 1999, the University of Louisville Board of Trustees approved a requirement for proof of insurance for all Health Sciences Center (HSC) students. Every HSC student will be assessed the University sponsored health insurance plan, the comprehensive plan. Students who already have health insurance that includes hospitalization coverage can waive the fee.

Health Services Fee

On April 26, 1999, the University of Louisville Board of Trustees approved a Health Services Fee. Every HSC student will be assessed the Campus Services Fee each semester.

For more information about what the fee covers, please see the Campus Health Services website:


PhD in Nursing: Required Courses

BSN Students will complete 15 credit hours of required masters level courses.

NURS 605 Foundations for Advanced Practice 3
NURS 607 Research and Evidence Based Practice 3
NURS 608 Economic & Info. Mgt. in Complex Health Care Systems OR 3
NURS 655 Advanced Pathophysiology  
NURS 652 Statistics OR equivalent 3
NURS 657 Clinical Prevention and Population Health 3
Total Credit Hours: 15

BSN and MSN Students will complete the following required doctoral level courses, qualifying exam and dissertation:

NURS 700 Theoretical Basis of Nursing 3
NURS 702 Philosophy of Science 3
NURS 710 Research Methods I: Qualitative Research Methods 3
NURS 711 Research Methods II: Quantitative Design 3
NURS 712 Research Methods III: Nursing Measurement 3
NURS 714 Research Methods IV:  Analysis of Existing Data 3
NURS 725 Leadership and Health Policy for the Nurse Scientist 3
NURS 735 PhD Seminar I 1
NURS 736 PhD Seminar II 1
NURS 737 PhD Seminar III 1
NURS 738 PhD Seminar IV 1
  Advanced Statistics Courses 6
  Three Cognates 9
DOCT 600 Doctoral Candidacy ** 2

**Prerequisite: Completion of course work and successful completion of qualifying exam.

Departmental Faculty

Marcia Hern, EdD, RN, CNS


Said Abusalem, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor

Fawwaz Alaloul, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor

Catherine Batscha, DNP, RN
Assistant Professor

Diane Chlebowy, PhD, RN
Associate Professor

Mary Beth Coty, PhD, APRN
Associate Professor

Tim Crawford, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor

Lynne Hall, DrPH, RN

Associate Dean for Research

Carla Hermann, PhD, RN

Director of PhD Programs

Vicki Hines-Martin, PhD, RN, CS

Director of Office of Health Disparities and Community Engagement

Marianne Hutti, PhD, ARNP

Carlee Lehna, PhD, FNP
Associate Professor

M. Cynthia Logsdon, PhD, ARNP, FAAN

Valerie McCarthy, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor

Whitney Nash, PhD, ANP
Associate Professor

Director of Practice and International Affairs

Barbara Polivka, PhD, RN

Audra Rankin, DNP, PNP
Assistant Professor

S. Lee Ridner, PhD, FNP
Associate Professor

Associate Dean of Graduate Programs

Sara Robertson, DNP, FNP
Assistant Professor

Karen Robinson, PhD, APRN, FAAN

Judith Schreiber, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor

Celeste Shawler, PhD, RN, CS
Associate Professor

Sandra Smith, PhD, ARNP
Associate Professor

Ruth Staten, PhD, RN
Associate Professor

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs

Deborah V. Thomas, EdD PMHNP
Associate Professor

Paulette Adams, EdD, RN

Ruth B. Craddock, DNS, RN

Linda Freeman, DNS, RN

Rosalie Mainous, PhD, ARNP, NNP-BC

Cynthia McCurren, PhD, RN

Kay Roberts, EdD, FAAN, FNP

Barbara Speck, PhD, RN

Contact Information

Nursing - Ph.D.

For more information, please call the Administrative Assistant for Graduate Academic Affairs at (502)852-8387
PhD Program Director; Professor
Carla Hermann, PhD, RN
(502)852-8397 (502)852-8397

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