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Should I get a PhD or a DNP?
The PhD is a research doctorate. The DNP degree is a practice doctorate. Graduates of PhD programs conduct research and disseminate their findings, while DNP graduates use research to influence their practice.
Our PhD in Nursing Science Program prepares independent researchers in nursing science who can work in academic or research-intensive institutions.  The PhD is the highest degree awarded in academia.

Our DNP Program prepares expert advanced nurse practitioners. The purpose of the program is to prepare graduates who will practice nursing at the highest clinical level.

How long will it take me to complete the Ph.D. in Nursing Science program?
The full-time student can complete the program in three years.  The part-time student can complete the program in four years. We encourage students to select the appropriate program of study after careful self-assessment of individual supports and barriers to attending school. We also recommend talking to current students with similar family and employment responsibilities.  New students are able to make these peer and faculty connections at Orientation/Learning Intensive 1 in the summer before the academic year begins in fall.

Does the PhD program provide any opportunities outside of course work to develop my research and scholarship?
All students are assigned a research mentor prior to beginning coursework. The research mentor can facilitate networking opportunities with other scientists and scholars and socialize you to the professional role of a nurse scientist. Additionally, your mentor will help you identify opportunities to disseminate your research through conference presentations and publication in scholarly peer-reviewed scientific journals.


Will I be ableto continue working while I am enrolled in the PhD program?
The full-time program of study is rigorous and requires significant time commitments in and out of the online classroom. Some full-time students do work part-time while enrolled in courses. However, students who work full-time generally cannot successfully carry a full course load. Part-time employment may lend itself better to your success as a full-time student. The part-time program of study allows for more flexibility when balancing employment, school, and other responsibilities.

When is the application deadline?
Completed applications must be received by February 10th of each year to be considered for the following fall semester cohort. Acceptance decisions are made in April of each year. A link to the online application can be found here.

MUSC College of Nursing participates in an online Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS) to receive applications. You must create an account, search for this program for your intended semester of entry, and complete the required steps to apply online. All application materials must be submitted through NursingCAS.

A supplemental university application, through MUSC’s Office of Enrollment Management, is also required. We encourage applicants to finish the application within NursingCAS before submitting the supplemental MUSC application.

Is the GRE required?
No, we do not require GRE scores in our application. Please review our Admission Requirements.

Must the statistics requirement be completed before applying?
No. However, competitive applicants, who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate statistics course within the past 5 years, will be admitted provisionally until the requirement is met.

How are students selected for admission?
Our PhD Curriculum Committee reviews applications for the PhD program each spring. The committee uses a rubric to support consistent evaluation of each student’s application materials, including GPA in previous programs (transcripts), letters of recommendation, resume or curriculum vitae, personal statement, and interview with two faculty members. Additionally, we look for a good match between the research interest area of the applicant and our PhD faculty members’ expertise.

How can I get more information on the research faculty are doing for my application?
A key component of the application process is evaluating our faculty’s research interests and describing how they align with yours. In your application, you should highlight these connections. Please find our faculty’s research interests here. You may also contact the PhD Program Director for advisement on matching research interests.

How many students are accepted each year?
We usually accept 10-12 students per year.

If I have started a graduate program at another institution, will I be able to transfer my credits if admitted to your program?
Select graduate credits taken at other universities or colleges will be considered for acceptance toward partial fulfillment of the requirements of the PhD in Nursing Science degree. Students must be accepted into the program and at that time, they may petition the PhD Curriculum committee to accept coursework from other programs that may be equivalent to the courses offered at the College of Nursing.

What are tuition costs for the PhD program?
Tuition costs are subject to change. For the most current information, please visit our tuition and fees.

Can I receive financial aid?
Several avenues are open to students seeking support for their doctoral education, including applying for financial aid and scholarships.

Is MUSC’s PhD program an approved online program in my state?
MUSC’s PhD program is approved to offer online distance education for students in all SARA states and California. Additional information can be found here.