About

Are you interested in improving health, solving complex problems, and in working with other disciplines as a scientist?

A doctor of philosophy (PhD) prepares you for a career in research and the scholarship of discovery. The emphasis of the PhD program at East Carolina's College of Nursing is to prepare nurse scholars to advance the science of nursing practice, education, and administration/health policy.

ECU Advantage

East Carolina University College of Nursing has been named a Center of Excellence for 2011–2015 by the National League for Nursing (NLN). The College of Nursing is part of the health sciences division, which houses the Brody School of Medicine including basic sciences. We are located next to Vidant Medical Center, a magnet designated hospital serving 29 counties in eastern North Carolina.

We offer many opportunities for interprofessional education, practice, and research. Additionally, the location and mission of the college as well as the expertise of the faculty provide a unique opportunity for the discovery of knowledge related to nursing and health issues in rural underserved areas.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Elaine Scott (4165S Health Sciences Building; 252-744-6435; scottel@ecu.edu)

The doctor of philosophy in nursing equips nurse researchers and scholars to explore, develop, and move forward the scientific bases of nursing practice. Students are prepared to conduct research in the domains of nursing science. The curriculum is enriched through electives taken in the social, behavioral, and biological sciences; interdisciplinary-professional research; and the integration of technology in program delivery. Dissertation research prepares graduates to contribute discoveries to the body of nursing and health care knowledge with a focus in either bio-behavioral or system science. The location and mission of the College of Nursing as well as the expertise of the faculty provide a unique opportunity for the discovery of knowledge related to nursing and health issues in rural underserved areas. Upon graduation, students are prepared to assume leadership positions as researchers, administrators in public and private health care organizations, policy makers and analysts, and university faculty.

The doctor of philosophy in nursing has three entry methods: BSN to PhD, MSN to PhD, and DNP to PhD options. The BSN to PhD option blends the doctoral curriculum with two different MSN concentrations – the nursing education concentration or the nursing leadership concentration. It reduces the number of master's level courses required in the traditional MSN program and facilitates completion of the nursing, PhD. The MSN to PhD option is the traditional post masters pathway for achieving a PhD. The DNP to PhD option is an accelerated pathway that allows up to 15 semester hours from a DNP program to partially fulfill requirements of the PhD program.  A minimum of 39 additional semester hours of doctoral coursework taken at ECU is required for a total minimum of 54 semester hours for degree completion.

Admission Requirements

Applicants for admission to the BSN to PhD option must meet general admission requirements for the PhD program. Additional requirements include:

    Application

    The PhD in nursing program admits 6-10 students each year. Applications for study to begin in the fall semester will be accepted until March 15 or until seats are filled. Applications are processed as received. Applicants are expected to ensure that the Graduate School and the College of Nursing receive all supporting credentials by the final filing date. BSN to PhD applicants enrolled in the final semester of undergraduate study must provide a transcript as soon as they graduate and no later than August 1 of the year enrollment in the graduate program would begin. Applicants are evaluated in five areas: GPA, GRE or MAT (if required), references, essay, and interview. Completed applications are considered as they are received. All completed applications received by the final filing date will be given careful consideration. Interviews are conducted as completed applications are received. Each applicant will be notified in writing of the admission decision after the admission process is completed.

    Preference is given to those who demonstrate a capacity for creative inquiry, critical thinking, scholarship, and leadership. In the case of equally qualified applicants, preference will be given to individuals who intend to pursue doctoral study on a fulltime basis. Students will be assigned an academic advisor at the time of admission. All admitted PhD students are required to begin in the second summer school session of the year of acceptance.

      Degree Requirements

      Students are required to complete a minimum of 54 semester hours beyond the master's degree (includes a minimum of 6 s.h. for dissertation) with the exception of BSN to PhD students who are required to complete between 75 and 80 semester hours and DNP to PhD students who are required to complete a minimum of 54 semester hours that may include up to 15 semester hours from a DNP program to partially fulfill requirements of the PhD program. As in other research-focused programs of doctoral study, students in this program may expect to enroll in more than the minimum required credit hours and to be aware that study opportunities that focus on particular areas of study are in addition to the basic program requirements. Additional study is individualized and depends on the student's background and graduate preparation as well as the employment role identified as a career focus. This program of study enrolls both full- and part-time students. Since enrollments in doctoral programs tend to be small, students need to closely adhere to the plan of study, as courses are offered once a year. To deviate from the plan of study will mean a delay of one or more semesters before course enrollment is again possible.

        BSN to PhD Nursing Education Course Requirements - 75 - 78 s.h.
          Nursing Education Concentration Courses - 24-27 s.h.
          • NURS 6080 - Theory for the Practice of Advanced Nursing
          • NURS 6081 - Research for the Practice of Advanced Nursing
          • NURS 6082 - Influencing Healthcare Quality, Safety, and Policy
          • NURS 6083 - Healthcare, Finance, and Economics
          • NURS 6903 - Curriculum Development in Nursing
          • NURS 6904 - Educational Concepts, Theories, and Strategies in Nursing
          • NURS 6905 - Nursing Education Role Practicum I
          • NURS 6908 - Nursing Education Role Practicum II (needed if student has not...)
          • NURS 6909 - Evaluation in Nursing Education
          PhD in Nursing Core - 48 s.h.
          • NURS 7004 - Research Ethics for a Complex World
          • NURS 8200 - Grant Writing
          • NURS 8205 - Nursing Scholarship and Discovery I
          • NURS 8206 - Nursing Scholarship and Discovery II
          • NURS 8220 - Nursing Philosophy and Knowledge Development
          • NURS 8225 - Theory Analysis and Application in Nursing Science
          • NURS 8226 - Statistical Methods for Nursing Research I
          • NURS 8227 - Statistical Methods for Nursing Research II
          • NURS 8235 - Qualitative Methods I
          • NURS 8240 - Quantitative Methods
          • NURS 8241 - Principles of Measurement
          • NURS 8250 - Research Practicum
          • NURS 8255 - Directed Research (3 s.h. minimum)
          • NURS 8260 - State of Nursing Science
          • NURS 8262 - Translational Nursing Science
          • NURS 9000 - Dissertation Research (6 s.h. minimum)
          Elective Course - 3 s.h.
            Note:

            Students choosing to do a dissertation using qualitative methods will be highly encouraged to take NURS 8236 as one of the elective courses.  It will be counted as a 3 s.h. elective course.

          BSN to PhD Nursing Leadership Course Requirements - 80 s.h.
            Nursing Leadership Concentration Courses - 29 s.h.
            • NURS 6080 - Theory for the Practice of Advanced Nursing
            • NURS 6081 - Research for the Practice of Advanced Nursing
            • NURS 6082 - Influencing Healthcare Quality, Safety, and Policy
            • NURS 6083 - Healthcare, Finance, and Economics
            • space
            • COHE 6971 - Health Policy or
            • NURS 6971 - Health Policy, Law, and Regulation or
            • PADM 6400 - Health Policy
            • space
            • NURS 6973 - Management of Human Resources and Professional Relationships in Health Systems or
            • NURS 6985 - Management of Clinical Services Delivery and Outcomes

            • NURS 6974 - Financial Management and Decision-making in Nursing Leadership
            • NURS 6978 - Nursing Leadership Practicum II
            • NURS 6983 - Administrative and Organizational Theory and Ethics: Applications in Nursing and Health Systems
            • NURS 6986 - Analytical Foundations of Nursing Leadership
            PhD in Nursing Core - 48 s.h.
            • NURS 7004 - Research Ethics for a Complex World
            • NURS 8200 - Grant Writing
            • NURS 8205 - Nursing Scholarship and Discovery I
            • NURS 8206 - Nursing Scholarship and Discovery II
            • NURS 8220 - Nursing Philosophy and Knowledge Development
            • NURS 8225 - Theory Analysis and Application in Nursing Science
            • NURS 8226 - Statistical Methods for Nursing Research I
            • NURS 8227 - Statistical Methods for Nursing Research II
            • NURS 8235 - Qualitative Methods I
            • NURS 8240 - Quantitative Methods
            • NURS 8241 - Principles of Measurement
            • NURS 8250 - Research Practicum
            • NURS 8255 - Directed Research (6 s.h. minimum)
            • NURS 8260 - State of Nursing Science
            • NURS 8262 - Translational Nursing Science
            • NURS 9000 - Dissertation Research (6 s.h. minimum)
            Elective Course - 3 s.h.
              Note:

              Students choosing to do a dissertation using qualitative methods will be highly encouraged to take NURS 8236 as one of the elective courses.

            MSN to PhD in Nursing Requirements - 54 s.h.
              Core Courses - 48 s.h.
              • NURS 7004 - Research Ethics for a Complex World
              • NURS 8200 - Grant Writing
              • NURS 8205 - Nursing Scholarship and Discovery I
              • NURS 8206 - Nursing Scholarship and Discovery II
              • NURS 8220 - Nursing Philosophy and Knowledge Development
              • NURS 8225 - Theory Analysis and Application in Nursing Science
              • NURS 8226 - Statistical Methods for Nursing Research I
              • NURS 8227 - Statistical Methods for Nursing Research II
              • NURS 8235 - Qualitative Methods I
              • NURS 8240 - Quantitative Methods
              • NURS 8241 - Principles of Measurement
              • NURS 8250 - Research Practicum
              • NURS 8255 - Directed Research (3 s.h. minimum)
              • NURS 8260 - State of Nursing Science
              • NURS 8262 - Translational Nursing Science
              • NURS 9000 - Dissertation Research (6 s.h. minimum)
              Elective Courses - 6 s.h.
                Note:

                Students choosing to do a dissertation using qualitative methods will be highly encouraged to take NURS 8236 as one of the elective courses.

              DNP to PhD in Nursing Requirements - 54 s.h.
                Core Courses - 39 s.h.
                • NURS 7004 - Research Ethics for a Complex World
                • NURS 8200 - Grant Writing
                • NURS 8205 - Nursing Scholarship and Discovery I
                • NURS 8206 - Nursing Scholarship and Discovery II
                • NURS 8220 - Nursing Philosophy and Knowledge Development
                • NURS 8226 - Statistical Methods for Nursing Research I
                • NURS 8227 - Statistical Methods for Nursing Research II
                • NURS 8235 - Qualitative Methods I
                • NURS 8240 - Quantitative Methods
                • NURS 8241 - Principles of Measurement
                • NURS 8250 - Research Practicum
                • NURS 8260 - State of Nursing Science
                • NURS 9000 - Dissertation Research (6 s.h. minimum)
                Transfer Courses - 15 s.h.
                Transfer Credit:

                Graduate credits earned at other institutions may be accepted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the doctoral program. Courses offered for transfer credit will be evaluated individually relative to Graduate School requirements, program requirements, and the student's plan of study. Please refer to the Graduate School Transfer Credits Policy located in the Academic Regulations section of this catalog.

                The DNP to PhD option is an accelerated pathway that awards credit for prior work completed in a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program. Up to 15 semester hours from a DNP program can be used to fulfill requirements of the PhD program.  The student's credit for coursework in a DNP program is determined based on a transcript review by the PhD program director. A minimum of 39 semester hours of PhD coursework must be taken at ECU for a minimum total of 54 semester hours for degree completion.

                The BSN and MSN to PhD students must complete at least five semesters in residence. DNP to PhD students must complete at least three semesters in residence.

                Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) throughout the program. Academic progress will be evaluated at the end of each semester by the academic advisor, who is responsible for notifying the associate dean for graduate programs if a student's academic status is in jeopardy.

                PhD students apply to take a candidacy examination upon completion of all required nursing courses and prior to beginning the dissertation. This examination must be successfully completed within five years of matriculation.

                Students are required to conduct an original research project, which adds to the body of knowledge in nursing, and to communicate the research in a written dissertation and an oral defense of the dissertation within six years of admission. With endorsement of the dissertation committee and the associate dean for graduate programs, students may request one extension of not more than two semesters, summers included.

                  For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

                  Careers With This Degree

                  Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

                  • Registered Nurses
                  • Nursing Instructors and Teachers, Postsecondary
                  • Education and Training
                  • Health and Human Services
                  • Nursing Science (PHD)

                  Career Opportunities

                  ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

                  NC Tower

                  This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

                  • Self-employed;
                  • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
                  • Work outside of North Carolina.

                  US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

                  This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

                  Degree-specific internships

                  For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.

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