2017-2018 Walden University Catalog (September 2017) 
    May 26, 2019  
2017-2018 Walden University Catalog (September 2017) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

PhD in Nursing

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The PhD in Nursing program prepares nursing professionals for advanced careers in nursing research, practice, and education. With a focus on readying students to contribute to nursing science, advance knowledge in nursing practice, and improve healthcare services, practices, and policies, course topics include: advanced quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research design; quality improvement systems and leadership; and theoretical and scientific perspectives in nursing. The doctoral dissertation enables students to conduct and publish original research that contributes to the body of knowledge in their chosen specialty. Based on their educational and career goals, students will choose from among five focus areas: Education, Healthcare Administration, Interdisciplinary Health, Leadership, and Public Health Policy. Students wishing to continue their studies may also pursue a second, optional focus area.

Learning Outcomes

 Graduates of this program will be prepared to:

  1. Utilize current research and theory to develop prevention and intervention strategies that advance the knowledge and practice of nursing.
  2. Demonstrate advanced competency in research design and methodology to address social problems and needs.
  3. Engage in scientific inquiry that advances the knowledge base of research and practice in the profession.
  4. Evaluate the role of research and scholarship in the field of nursing in relation to its role in improving health interventions and advancing the development of related theory.
  5. Synthesize nursing’s philosophical and/or theoretical underpinnings in the practice of research.
  6. Contribute to the science of nursing through social change and social policy initiatives.
  7. Apply ethical decision making and values to the profession.
  8. Advocate for policies and programs that improve health outcomes among culturally diverse populations.
  9. Lead professional communication that supports the discipline and practice of nursing.
  10. Demonstrate the ability to act as a role model and mentor to others who wish to pursue the profession (stewardship).

Degree Requirements

  • 81 quarter credits
  • Foundation course (1 cr.)
  • Core courses (25 cr.)
  • Research courses (20 cr.)
  • Focus area courses (15 cr.)
  • Dissertation (20 cr. [minimum requirement]–120 cr. [8-year maximum timeframe])*
  • Four residencies


Core Curriculum

Research Courses (20 cr.)

Focus Area Courses (12-16 cr.)

See each focus area for course information.

Dissertation (20 cr.[minimum requirement]-120 cr. [8-year maximum timeframe])*

  • NURS 9000 - Dissertation *To complete a doctoral dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook. In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation course until they complete an approved dissertation, which usually requires more than the minimum terms in the dissertation course shell.

Residency Requirements

  • Complete Residency 1 face-to-face as soon as you begin your program; should be completed within 90 days of completing your Foundations course.
  • Complete Residency 2 as face-to-face or virtual within 18 months of your start date or linked to your registration for or completion of your first research course.
  • Complete Residency 3 face-to-face by the end of your third year.
  • Complete Residency 4 during your third year or beyond as:
    • a face-to-face or virtual residency (RESI 8404) OR
    • an approved professional conference (RESI 8900 based on program availability) OR
    • a dissertation intensive (DRWI 8500) during your 9000 course. Contact Academic Advising to register.

Optional: Complete a PhD Dissertation Intensive retreat (DRWI 8500) face-to-face during your dissertation. Contact Academic Advising to register.

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Students who start their doctoral program at Walden University in 2016 will complete the university’s required doctoral writing assessment on a rolling basis. Designed to evaluate incoming doctoral students’ writing skills, this assessment aims to help prepare incoming doctoral students to meet the university’s expectations for writing at the doctoral level. For more information, click here.

Program Data

Walden is committed to providing the information you need to make an informed decision about where you pursue your education. Click here to find detailed information for the PhD in Nursing program relating to the types of occupations this program may lead to, completion rate, program costs, and median loan debt of students who have graduated from this program.

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