2020–2021 Walden University Catalog (September 2020) 
    Aug 13, 2022  
2020–2021 Walden University Catalog (September 2020) [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

  • Professional Development Plan and Program of Study
  • Foundation course (1 cr.)
  • Core courses (25 cr.)
  • Research courses (20 cr.)
  • Focus area courses (15 cr.)
  • Completion of the Doctoral Capstone
    • Dissertation (5 cr. per term for a minimum of four terms; taken continuously until completion)
  • Four residencies

Core Curriculum

Research Courses (20 cr.)

Focus Area Courses (12–16 cr.)

See each focus area for course information.

Completion of the Doctoral Capstone

  • Students take this course for a minimum of four quarters and are continuously enrolled until completion of their dissertation with final chief academic officer (CAO) approval.

    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.

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 Student Success Advising to register.

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

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Students who start or readmit to doctoral programs at Walden University in the university catalog for academic year 2017 or later will complete the university’s required doctoral writing assessment. 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.

8-Year Maximum Time Frame

Students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral degree requirements (see Enrollment Requirements). Students may petition to extend the 8-year maximum time frame, but an extension is not guaranteed.

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