Ph.D. FAQs

Should I get a Ph.D. or a DNP?

The Ph.D. is a research doctorate. The DNP is a practice doctorate. Graduates of Ph.D. programs conduct research and disseminate their findings, while DNP graduates use research to influence their practice.

Our Ph.D. in Nursing Science Program prepares researchers in nursing science who can work in academic or research-intensive institutions.  The Ph.D. 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.

Am I able to visit campus to learn more about this program?

We do offer a campus virtual tour and multiple information sessions to educate prospective students about the programs we offer in the College of Nursing. For more information on current sessions and when tours will resume, please visit our campus tours page.

How long will it take me to complete the Ph.D. in Nursing Science program?

We offer 9 semesters Full-Time and 12 semesters for Part-Time plans of study. The majority of students complete the dissertation phase of the program over 3 semesters. We encourage students to select the appropriate plan of study after careful self-assessment of individual supports and barriers to attending school.

We also recommend talking to the Program Director, as well as 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 Ph.D. program provide any opportunities outside of coursework 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 into the professional role of a nurse scientist.

Additionally, your mentor will help you identify opportunities to disseminate your research through conference presentations and publications in scholarly peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Will I be able to continue working while I am enrolled in the Ph.D. program?

The full-time study plan requires significant time commitments in and out of the online classroom, making concomitant full-time employment challenging. Part-time employment may lend itself better to your success with the part-time study plan.

When is the application deadline?

Completed applications must be received by the deadline to be considered for the fall semester cohort. Acceptance decisions are made by the end of April of each year.

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 Ph.D. Curriculum Committee reviews applications for the Ph.D. program on a rolling basis. The committee uses a rubric to support consistent, holistic 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 Ph.D. 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.

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 Ph.D. in Nursing Science degree. Students must be accepted into the program and at that time, they may petition the Ph.D. Curriculum committee to accept coursework from other programs that may be equivalent to the courses offered at the College of Nursing.

What are the tuition costs for the Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program an approved online program in my state?

MUSC’s Ph.D. program is approved to offer online distance education for students in all SARA states and California. Additional information can be found here.