Doctoral Programs

Nursing Science


Purpose and Objectives

The PhD Program prepares scientists to advance nursing practice through research and scholarly activity, and teaching. Rigorous research training is offered for persons contemplating careers in academia or in health agencies, especially individuals anticipating careers in designing and conducting research.

Doctoral students will find a rigorous nursing science curriculum, a dynamic range of faculty expertise and multiple opportunities for creative interdisciplinary collaboration at the college across core areas of the doctoral program, knowledge building (nursing theory and research) and nursing practice and patient care.

The required courses prepare students to address significant problems through research that will add to the knowledge base of nursing and serve to inform practice, health policy, and nursing education. The coursework also enables students to develop significant research questions early in the program that may lead to dissertation research and/or external funding.

  • I have a

    Bachelor's Degree

    A minimum of 30 hours beyond the M.S. - Ph.D. curriculum is required. The additional coursework must be approved by the student’s supervising committee. These 30 hours should provide students with the foundational knowledge to conduct their proposed research.

    Students may select to complete the following master’s degree tracks in nursing to meet this requirement. Students who select one of these options are required to complete all of the required courses of these tracks.

    • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care
    • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care
    • Adult-Gerontology Primary Care/Oncology
    • Family Health
    • Nursing Education
    • Pediatric Health

    Alternatively, students may opt for a tailored plan of study developed in collaboration with their supervising committee. A minimum of 18 hours must be in an identifiable area of emphasis. Examples include entrepreneurship, informatics, medical sciences, and public health.

    NOTE: Students are to meet with faculty advisor for individual program plan.


    See the USF Course Inventory
  • I have a

    Master's Degree

    A minimum of 57 hours post-master’s is required. The program can be completed in three to four years by full-time students and five or more years for part-time students. Specific program requirements are determined on an individual basis by the student’s supervisory committee.


    Knowledge Building Core (Required)

    • NGR 7111 Disciplinary Perspectives of Nursing Science (3)
    • NGR 7125 Model Development for Nursing (3)
    • NGR 7810 Design, Measurement and Analysis in Nursing Research I (3)
    • NGR 7812 Design, Measurement and Analysis in Nursing Research II (3)
    • NGR 7813 Design, Measurement and Analysis in Nursing Research III (3)
    • NGR 7814 Design, Measurement and Analysis in Nursing Research IV (3)
    • NGR 7932 Responsible Conduct of Research (2)
    • NGR 7915 Advanced Directed Research in Nursing (3)
    • NGR 7930 Scientific Inquiry Forum (1) – required each semester prior to candidacy (4 minimum)
    • NGR 7837 Innovative Programs in Biobehavioral Research (3)
    • NGR 7838 Innovative Programs in Symptom Management Research (3)
    • NGR 7954 Communicating Nursing Science (3)
    Satisfactory completion of the required courses prepares students to successfully complete the dissertation research.

    Cognate (9 Credits)

    Students select a cognate area to further support the student’s area of expertise in nursing and the research problem that will be addressed by the dissertation research. Examples of appropriate areas of study for the cognate might be organizational administration, health policy, physiology, cognitive psychology, organizational psychology, gerontology, epidemiology, biostatistics, administration, applied anthropology, educational measurement or a nursing specialty.

    Qualifying Examinations:
    The qualifying examination is to be completed as soon as the majority of core and minor coursework is completed. The purpose of the qualifying examination is to assess the student’s level of scholarship and research skills and to determine if the student possesses the critical and analytical skills necessary to undertake the dissertation research. The qualifying examination consists of a one-day written exam covering core and specialty content.

    Dissertation (12 Credits)

    Students must complete and successfully defend a dissertation.

As approved by Graduate Council Spring 2015, effective Fall 2015. Will be published in 2015-2016 USF Graduate Catalog.

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