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 options 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 Ph.D. 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 the fall semester for early admission (to be considered for university fellowships) is January 15th, with a regular admission deadline of March 1.  Completed applications received after the deadline may be considered on a space available basis.

The holistic review process is used when considering applications for admission to the Ph.D. Program in Nursing.  The holistic review considers multiple criteria for admission, including: the applicant's professional career goals, academic capabilities, GPA, GRE scores, research interests, RN license, area of expertise, community engagement, and potential for a scholarly career in nursing.

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

  1. University of Louisville Graduate Application and application fee (Online submission is preferred.Complete online at
    The online version of the Graduate Application lists codes for the Nursing Ph.D. program. If you are submitting a hard copy application form, please use the following codes:
    NURSPHDMSN- for students who have completed a Master's of Nursing degree
    NURSPHDBSN- for students who have completed only the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree
  2. Transcripts
    • If B.S.N. applicant: Official transcripts representing all college course work with an undergraduate 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 M.S.N. applicant: Official transcripts representing all college course work with a graduate 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 B.S.N. applicant, B.S.N. program must have been accredited by CCNE, ACEN or NLN.
    • If an M.S.N. applicant, M.S.N .program must have been accredited by CCNE, ACEN 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. Proof of English Proficiency
 International students for whom English is not their primary language must show English language proficiency by 1) TOEFL examination scores of: 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 or 2) by successfully completing the exit examination for the advanced level of the intensive English as a Second Language Program at the University of Louisville or 3) by demonstration of a degree award from an acceptable English language institution or 4) International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores of at least a 6.5 overall band score from the academic module exam.

5. Letters of Recommendation

Submit three recommendations from individuals who can speak of academic and/or professional capabilities and potential for a scholarly career. Recommendations should be chosen from among former faculty members, current or immediate past employers, or other nursing/health professionals. Recommendation forms must have been completed within the last year.

6. A current curriculum vitae or resume. Include nursing license number on resume. 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 must be obtained

7. A written statement of career goals, area(s) of expertise, research interest, and reasons for pursuing doctoral studies.  Maximum three pages; double spaced; 12 point font.

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

  1. School of Nursing Legal Questionnaire  available at
  2. Personal interview with School of Nursing faculty will be required.

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

Applicants accepted into the M.S.N.-Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. coursework in statistics.


A Ph.D. Graduate Student Assistantship is a financial award to a full-time Ph.D. student for the period of one year. To be eligible for the award the student must be admitted to the Ph.D. degree program or be a continuing Ph.D. 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. Assistantship support is limited to a maximum of five years for B.S.N.-Ph.D. students and four years for M.S.N.-Ph.D. students.


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.

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 ensure 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.

Clinical Compliance Requirements

Students will receive a copy of the Clinical Health Requirements at new student Orientation.  Details are also provided in the School of Nursing Ph.D. Student Handbook. Students must turn in all requirements prior to enrolling in any research methods course at the doctoral level. Noncompliance with any health or clinical requirement may preclude the student from participating in courses/research and/or be grounds for dismissal.


Ph.D. in Nursing: Required Courses

B.S.N. Students will complete 15 credit hours of required masters level courses.

Course #DescriptionCredit Hours
NURS 605Theoretical Applications for Practice3
NURS 607Foundational Concepts of Evidence-Based Practice3
NURS 608Healthcare Systems and Economics OR3
NURS 741Advanced Pathophysiology4
NURS 652Statistics OR equivalent3
NURS 657Health Promotion and Disease Prevention3
Total Credit Hours:15-16


B.S.N. and M.S.N. Students will complete the following required doctoral level courses, qualifying exam and dissertation:

Course #DescriptionCredit Hours
NURS 700Theoretical Basis of Nursing3
NURS 702Philosophy of Science3
NURS 710Research Methods I: Qualitative Research Methods3
NURS 711Research Methods II: Quantitative Design3
NURS 712Research Methods III: Nursing Measurement3
NURS 714Research Methods IV: Analysis of Existing Data3
NURS 725Leadership and Health Policy for the Nurse Scientist3
NURS 735PhD Seminar I1
NURS 736PhD Seminar II1
NURS 737PhD Seminar III1
NURS 738PhD Seminar IV1
Advanced Statistics Courses6
Three Cognates9
DOCT 600Doctoral Candidacy **2

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


Said Abusalem

Associate Professor

Fawwaz Alaloul

Assistant Professor

Maryam Alaradi

Assistant Professor

Catherine Batscha

Associate Professor

Angela Calloway


Diane Chlebowy
Associate Professor

Director of M.S.N. Program

Becky Christian

Director of Ph.D. Program

Paul Clark, PhD

Assistant Professor

Mary Beth Coty

Associate Professor

Tim Crawford

Assistant Professor

Lynne Hall

Associate Dean for Research

Muna Hammash

Assistant Professor

Carla Hermann


Marcia Hern


Vicki Hines-Martin

Director of Office of Health Disparities and Community Engagement

Luz Huntington-Moskos

Assistant Professor

Marianne Hutti


Beth Johnson

Assistant Professor

M. Cynthia Logsdon


Kimberly Meyer


Heather Mitchell
Assistant Professor

Director of Traditional B.S.N. Program, Louisville

Whitney Nash
Associate Professor

Associate Dean for Practice and International Affairs

Heather Owens

Assistant Professor

Barbara Polivka


S. Lee Ridner


Sara Robertson
Assistant Professor

Director of D.N.P. Program

Melanie Schrader

Assistant Professor

Celeste Shawler

Associate Professor

Sandra Smith

Associate Professor

Ruth Staten
Associate Professor

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs

Karen Turner

Assistant Professor