Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science

Admission Requirements

All applicants must meet the general requirements for admission to the Graduate School. In addition to these general requirements, the College of Nursing requires the following for admission to the Ph.D. program:

  1. A course in statistics.
  2. A course in research at the graduate level.
  3. A course in nursing theory at the graduate level.
  4. A master’s degree with a major in nursing from a program accredited by a nationally recognized nursing accrediting body.*
  5. Two letters of recommendation.
  6. A letter discussing research interest area and professional goals.
  7. A current license to practice professional nursing in the U.S.A.*
  8. A curriculum vita or resume.

    *Nursing credentials of International students will be assessed individually.

In order to be considered for admission, please use the following application deadlines. These are the deadlines for all materials to be submitted including the application, all transcripts, reference letters, CV, and letter discussing research interest area and professional goals.

Semester for Admission Submit application no later than
Fall February 1 (Denton)
May 1 (Houston)
Spring September 15 (Houston)

After meeting the entry requirements of the Graduate School, the applicant will be admitted on an unconditional or provisional basis. Consideration of admission status is based on the preferred minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 on all prior graduate level course work and assessment of all documentation submitted.

Applicants who do not meet the unconditional criteria, but who have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on prior graduate level course work may be considered for provisional admission on an individual basis. Factors that will be considered in the admission decision are GPA on graduate level course work, scholarly activities, professional leadership, and work history. An interview may be used to verify application information.

Readmission - Doctoral Programs

Doctoral students who interrupt their progression in the doctoral programs for more than two years must make a formal request to the College of Nursing for readmission to the program. The respective Doctoral Coordinator will evaluate the request. If the request is granted, the Academic Advisory Committee will, in consultation with the respective Doctoral Coordinator, stipulate any course work to be repeated. However, the eight-year time limitation for completion of the program shall remain in effect from the time the first doctoral credit is awarded. If during the student’s absence, the curriculum or admission standards have changed, the student will be expected to meet any new admission standards and fulfill the requirements of the current curriculum.

Students not in good standing at the time they cease coursework shall not be readmitted to the program. Students who have been dismissed from the program shall not be eligible for readmission. Students who have failed the preliminary examination (Ph.D. program) for the second time shall not be eligible for readmission.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science Program of Study (60 semester credit hours)

Total Semester Credit Hours Required

 The total number of semester credit hours for degree completion is 60, which includes 12 semester credit hours of Research Tools.

Research Tools

Required by the Graduate School, Research Tools are courses designed to enhance the student's knowledge, skills, abilities, and access to instruments that facilitate the research process.  One Research Tool required of all PhD Nursing Science students is the completion of six semester credit hours of graduate level statistics. The second Research Tool requires completion of 6 semester credit hours: Literature Review course and Measurement course.

Required Courses

30 semester credit hours plus a minimum of 6 semester credit hours of dissertation.

Elective Courses

12 semester credit hours to supplement student learning in areas of research topic, methods, or professional issues. Elective courses may be taken in departments other than the College of Nursing.

Dissertation Courses

A minimum of 6 semester credit hours of dissertation are required to complete the program. The first 3 credit course focuses on development and oral defense of the research proposal.  The student enrolls in a second 3 credit course to conduct the dissertation study, analyze results, and present findings.  Both courses may be repeated, but only three hours of credit count toward the degree for each of the courses.  In addition, a 1 credit individual studies course facilitates candidacy preparation.

Special Requirements

  1. Grade of B or better is required in all Ph.D. coursework. A student who has earned a grade of less than B (C, D, F, or WF) in two Ph.D. courses at the graduate level or who has earned a grade of less than B (C, D, F, or WF) twice in the same graduate level course will be removed from the nursing program. For the purpose of removal from the nursing program, a grade of less than B is counted as a grade of less than ‘B’ even if the course has been successfully repeated.
  2. Students admitted to the doctoral program provisionally, based on low GPA, must complete the first 12 semester credit hours of coursework with a grade of B or better in each course; at least 6 semester credit hours must be in nursing courses. A provisionally admitted student will be dismissed from the program if a grade of C or lower is made in any course during the probationary period.


30 semester credit hours plus dissertation

Preliminary Examination

A written preliminary examination requires the student to synthesize and articulate scholarly discourse related to content presented in NURS 6004, NURS 6023, and NURS 6053. Successful completion of the exam qualifies the student to move forward in the research sequence courses and complete the doctoral program. The exam may be repeated one time only. 

Final Examination

Oral, over the completed dissertation.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science 

Summary of Courses

Research Tools-12 Credit Hours
Research Tool #1 Statistics6
Research Tool #2 Literature Review (3 credit hours, Meassurment and Instrumentation in Nsg Research (3 credit hours)6
Required Courses (30 credit hours)
NURS 6023Philosophy of Nursing Science3
NURS 6002Multicultural Nursing2
NURS 6053Exploring Scholarship3
NURS 6033Ethical Dimensions of Nursing3
NURS 6043Policy, Power, and Politics3
NURS 6004Theory and Foundations of Nursing Research4
NURS 6014Theory and Methods of Quantitative Nursing Research4
NURS 6024Theory and Methods of Qualitative Nursing Research4
NURS 6034Research/Theory Synthesis4
12 semester credit hours related to student's area of research.12
Dissertation (a minimum of 6 credit hours of dissertation is required; student will register for dissertation until completed)
NURS 6983 Dissertation (proposal development and defense)3
NURS 6993 Dissertation (Research and Final Defense)3
Total SCHs60