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Ph.D. Program

Ph.D. applicants may be considered for financial support. Monetary amounts range from $5,000 - $50,000, based on admission scores and other eligibility criteria. For more information contact the College of Nursing.  

Program Overview

Our online Ph.D. in Nursing Science program prepares graduates to pursue a career of scientific inquiry, scholarship, and professional leadership. We recruit talented and diverse applicants who possess a research interest that matches our faculty’s research expertise, and a commitment to accomplishing the program milestones. Motivated individuals without a nursing background, who have health-related work experience, may also benefit from this terminal degree and should seek advice from the program director about eligibility. Information sessions hosted by our recruiter are offered throughout the year. 

Our Ph.D. in Nursing Science program enables students to:

  • Engage in collaborative learning with our faculty, who lead research on a variety of health issues and with diverse patient populations and communities in one or more of the following broad areas: 

Symptom science/self-management

Health services research

Behavioral health

Palliative Care

Technology enhanced interventions

Community/patient engagement

  • Utilize philosophical, theoretical, and conceptual foundations to guide the generation of new knowledge in health care.
  • Develop expertise within an area of inquiry, identifying critical gaps in knowledge and reflecting a nursing and transdisciplinary perspective.
  • Conduct theory-guided research to test, generate, and extend knowledge that informs health care systems, health policy, and the evidence base for practice.
  • Demonstrate proactive leadership related to a selected area of scholarship.
  • Model values consistent with integrity in science and professional nursing.

Our online Ph.D. in Nursing Science program offers the options of three year or four year plans of study. The Ph.D. curriculum is designed to promote our students’ achievement of essential competencies required of a novice researcher.  Courses provide foundational education in philosophy of science and theory, research design and methods, data analysis, ethics, team science, conduct of research, leadership, policy, and knowledge translation and dissemination.  After completion of coursework, students embark on their dissertation research, which provides practical experience in the role of a nurse scientist and a foundation for future research after graduation.  

Over the program of study, students are required to participate in four on-campus Learning Intensives that provide opportunities for collaborative learning and evaluation of expected competencies. The Learning Intensives are synchronized with the program of study to provide additional support for building scholarly scientific knowledge and skills over time, peer engagement, and socialization to the nurse scientist role. The Intensives integrate and expand on coursework through activities such as student presentations, scholarly discussions, interactive workshops, and review of work with faculty.

See the programs of study and course descriptions.

Why Consider MUSC?

MUSC, an academic health sciences center, ranks within the top 100 in the nation for receipt of federal funding.  Our doctoral students have access to expert clinicians and basic and applied scientists from multiple disciplines. Recently, the MUSC College of Nursing is consistently ranked in the top 3 among online graduate programs in US News and World Report.  The College of Nursing is currently ranked 13th in NIH funding, with 75% of our educator-researcher faculty funded as principal investigators on federally funded grants. We benchmark our program success through the high diversity of our students, excellent retention and graduation rates, and ongoing publications and funded grants of our students and graduates.  We believe faculty and peer mentoring combined with academic support services is essential to academic success. Our students are very satisfied with the academic rigor of our program, the sense of a learning community, the relationships among students and faculty, and the flexibility of learning from a distance. We invite you to browse our website and explore our faculty research interests, student accomplishments and testimonials to see why you might consider MUSC College of Nursing. 

State Authorization

MUSC is approved by South Carolina to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education.  MUSC is authorized to offer online distance education programs to students who live in all NC-SARA states, which includes all states except California.  MUSC is also authorized to offer distance education programs to students who live in California because MUSC is a public institution of higher education, and California has no restrictions on such institutions providing distance education to its residents.

Before applying, please ensure your state of residence is authorized.  Click here for more information>>