Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) Online Program

Program Overview

Consider a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) if you want a focus on research in a clinical, academic or scientific environment. You can enter the PhD level of graduate study as a post-Bachelor of Science in Nursing student (BSN-PhD Option - 79 credits) or as a student who has attained a master's degree in nursing (MS-PhD Option - 64 credits) or a student who has attained a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP-PhD option).

Part-time and full-time options are available. Full-time study requires a minimum of 9 credits per semester. MS-PhD students who have not completed a graduate statistics course within the past five years will be required to enroll in a graduate statistics course the first fall semester of the program. As a PhD graduate you will:

  • generate and disseminate knowledge to advance nursing science and facilitate its translation into practice
  • design and evaluate innovations to improve health outcomes
  • engage in and lead collaborative research teams
  • influence health science agenda-setting and policy initiatives 

Coursework in nursing and other sciences are emphasized during the early portion of an individualized program of study. As you continue through the program, time is increasingly devoted to research conducted under the supervision of a faculty researcher and mentor. For the College, our three areas of research excellence are listed below.

To download a list of courses available in each substantive area of research excellence, please click here.

The PhD program coursework is completed fully-online. Students are required to attend a mandatory, on-campus, one-week orientation known as the Resident Intensive Summer Experience (RISE) each year. RISE attendance for part-time students may vary. RISE typically occurs the week prior to the fall semester, in August of each year.

Because of the requirements of the PhD program, international applicants must verify all appropriate documentation and review all regulations and procedures with both the University of Arizona Office of International Student Services and the Graduate College regarding program admission, enrollment in an online program and requirements for on-ground attendance at RISE each year.

Faculty Advisor/Mentor:

Your educational goals and mentorship experience will be best met when they are aligned with faculty research interests and areas of expertise. Please review the article "Finding a Match and A Mentor in Doctoral Study" by Terry Badger, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN. You are encouraged to contact potential faculty mentors to discuss your research goals in relation to faculty expertise. Please see our PhD Substantive Areas.

Program Application System

For more information and instructions on the PhD Application, please click here.

DNP/PhD Dual Degrees

If you are interested in attaining broader advanced clinical practice skills with strong research competencies, consider taking advantage of our dual Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. You will be prepared at the highest level of professional nursing practice and with advanced skills for engaging in research to create, apply and translate new knowledge to improve health care – in practice domains and/or academia. You will work closely with clinical mentors to develop specialty competencies, as well as faculty research mentors to create a program of research. The DNP/PhD Dual Degrees option is available upon admission to one of the doctoral programs. Dual degree students must satisfy both DNP and PhD posted admission and enrollment requirements.

Post DNP-PhD Option

If you are interested in attaining strong research competencies, consider taking advantage of our Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. Your plan of study will be individualized upon admission to the PhD program. You will be prepared to engage in research to create, apply and translate new knowledge to improve health care – in practice domains or academia. You will work closely with faculty research mentors to create a program of research. 

For more information contact:

Office of Student Support & Community Engagement
College of Nursing, Room 112
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Phone: 520-626-3808 or 1-800-288-6158

State Authorization

Changes to the Higher Education Act (HEA) require The University of Arizona and the College of Nursing to comply with individual state/jurisdiction authorizations of distance education programs. As the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program is 100 percent online, most states are authorized or exempt from authorization. The College of Nursing can only admit students from authorized, exempt and in progress jurisdictions at this time. The following authorizations are in place: PhD Authorization Map.

If you have any questions or concerns about the State Authorizations and the impact on PhD program admission, please contact the College of Nursing at or (520) 626-3808.

For additional information concerning The University of Arizona’s compliance with these regulations please contact the Outreach College or visit the State Authorization webpage.

Accreditation and Affiliations 
The University of Arizona College of Nursing is nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, approved by the Arizona State Board of Nursing, and affiliated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing  and the Western Institute of Nursing