Kent State University and The University of Akron offer the Ph.D. in Nursing program, a single doctoral program with a single, unified doctoral nursing faculty and doctoral student body. Students may choose which university will grant their degree. The diploma will be issued from the student's university of record and will recognize the joint Doctor of Philosophy program. Ph.D. courses are cross-listed and scheduled at each university. A single, blended tuition rate is charged. 

Mission Statement

To prepare nurse scientists to develop and advance nursing science using established and emerging methods to advance health, health care, and the profession of nursing. The Ph.D. program prepares graduates to lead and promote innovative scholarly endeavors within and across disciplines, and to assume leadership roles in the profession.

Outcomes of the Graduate:

At the completion of the program, the graduate will be able to:

  1. Generate new knowledge that contributes to the advancement of health, health care, and nursing science.
  2. Disseminate advances in scientific knowledge.
  3. Use collaborative, interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to knowledge generation.
  4. Assume leadership roles in health care and education as researchers, educators, and advanced clinicians.
  5. Serve as stewards of the body of knowledge for the discipline of nursing.


The curriculum consists of six components:

  1. Philosophy and science/knowledge development
  2. Research methods and designs
  3. Statistics
  4. Cognates,
  5. Health care & nursing policy, and leadership, and
  6. The dissertation.

Instruction in research methods includes both qualitative and quantitative approaches with courses in advanced statistics to support quantitative designs. The advanced research courses take into account the unique goals of students by allowing them to select one course that promotes their research agenda, including advanced qualitative or quantitative methods, and either measurement or grantsmanship as a nursing cognate. One additional cognate course requires work outside the nursing discipline to strengthen and support students' selected research areas. Health care policy and leadership focus on current issues allowing nurses to contribute to national, and even international, health policy evaluation. The dissertation provides the student with a practicum for developing and refining research and scholarly skills. 

The nursing doctoral program builds upon the nursing master's degree preparation. The program of study consists of a minimum of six full-time semesters of credit beyond the master's degree as depicted in the Full-time curriculum plan. These semesters provide time for courses, the preliminary examination, which is taken after seven courses (History and Philosophy of Nursing Science, Construction and Development of Nursing Theory , Statistics I and II, Foundations of Research Design, and Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods), six other courses, the qualifying examination for candidacy to the dissertation, and the dissertation. While the program consists of a minimum of six full-time semesters the faculty recognizes that, in practice, the program may be longer depending on the student's research and time management. Also, because many students apply for part time status, a curriculum for the part time student also is depicted (see Part time curriculum plan). 

Students belong to a single nursing doctoral student body and are given advisors depending on research interest and faculty load. Students are mentored and monitored for progression through the program. In addition, each student is assured sufficient contact with the entire faculty by participation in courses and through dissertation and governance committees, as well as by working with faculty on research and other scholarly activities. 

Research Conducted by Ph.D. Program Faculty and Students

The scholarship of discovery, integration, teaching, and application is pursued through faculty and student research related globally to

  1. Gerontologic health, quality of life, and nursing care outcomes
  2. Prevention and treatment of trauma and violence across the lifespan, and
  3. Promotion of health and prevention of chronic illness in vulnerable populations.

These research areas are not exhaustive and all areas of research interest are welcomed and evaluated for current relevance to the discipline of nursing.

Learn More about Research Interests