Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) Program
On-Campus Program » Newly Streamlined Curriculum
Scholar. Educator. Innovator.
How will you change lives with your Ph.D.?
A Ph.D. in Nursing will prepare you to fulfill your purpose. Whether you have always wanted to conduct cutting-edge research, educate and mentor future nurses, lead large health organizations, or any combination of these and more, earning a research doctorate in nursing from Kent State University can open doors of opportunity. With a Ph.D. in Nursing, you can join the highest echelons in the nursing profession throughout the world.
Located in northeast Ohio, Kent State is a leading academic choice for nurses, not only in Ohio and across the region, but throughout the nation and internationally. Because Kent State is a top public research university, you will have access to a wide variety of facilities and support services to fulfill your research ambitions.
Our newly revised doctoral nursing program is rigorous and is specifically designed to produce the next generation of nurse scientists and scholars. Our expert faculty created a state-of-the-science, streamlined curriculum, which will provide you with knowledge and skills to contribute meaningfully to nursing science.
Why Kent State? We offer you:
- Flexibility. The program can be completed either full-time or part-time. In fact, the majority of our nursing Ph.D. students – including full-time students – continue to work while completing coursework and dissertation research.
- Personalized faculty guidance. Students receive mentorship and advising from experienced researchers and teachers. In addition to their research expertise, faculty members in the Ph.D. in Nursing program bring strong mentorship skills to assist you to reach your goals.
- Convenience. Kent State is the only public research university in northern Ohio that offers a Ph.D. in Nursing. Located just 40 miles from Cleveland, Ohio, and 100 miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kent State University is centrally located and is easy to access from major highways.
- Affordability. At $506 per credit hour for pre-candidacy coursework and reduced tuition rates during the dissertation process, Kent State has the most affordable nursing research doctorate program in the region.
- Credibility. Kent State’s nursing programs are recognized throughout the region and the world for their excellence. Graduates of this program hold positions in leading universities and healthcare systems.
- Community. Before classes even start, students attend an orientation where they are immersed in a cross-university community that only a large research institution with a culture of inclusiveness can provide. Professional development workshops, networking events, and weekend dissertation bootcamps are only a few of the opportunities that are offered to help students become socialized to the role of a research scientist.
Kent State: An NLN Center of Excellence
Kent State University is a two-time designated Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing (2013-2017, 2017-2022). We are recognized in the "Advancing the Science of Nursing Education" category for our dedication to innovative and evidence-based nursing education.
Ph.D. Program Mission & Outcomes
To prepare nurse scientists to develop and advance nursing science using established and emerging methods to advance health, healthcare 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.
- Generate new knowledge that contributes to the advancement of health, healthcare and nursing science.
- Disseminate advances in scientific knowledge.
- Use collaborative, interdisciplinary and innovative approaches to knowledge generation.
- Assume leadership roles in healthcare and education as researchers, educators and advanced clinicians.
- Serve as stewards of the body of knowledge for the discipline of nursing.
Find a Faculty Mentor
Grow into Your Future You
When choosing a doctoral program, it is important to find a faculty advisor and mentor who is an expert in the research area that you are interested in. Kent State’s nursing research faculty have a wide variety of research interests, including:
- Self-management of acute and chronic disease across the lifespan
- Wellness in health, caregiver, occupational, and vulnerable populations within and across family systems
- Health-related care systems and outcomes
- Global and cultural health and wellness
- Emerging education, translational and research methodologies
- End-of-life/palliative care
Kent State has many innovative research institutes and initiatives that provide opportunities for cross-discipline research in areas such as brain health, environmental design, global understanding, and healthy communities. These collaborative opportunities are invaluable, as they help doctoral students gain insights from leading experts outside the discipline of nursing.
Explore this list of doctoral faculty to learn about their research and areas of expertise. We encourage prospective applicants to ask the faculty researcher they wish to study under if the researcher will mentor them.
A Straightforward Path to Becoming a Nurse Scientist
Our newly developed, state-of-the science curriculum was specifically created to prepare students to address emerging areas of nursing science, such as geonomics, big data, and symptom science.
Important note: the program curriculum is currently under review, awaiting final approval, and is subject to change.
During the first semester, students gain essential core knowledge by completing courses in scientific writing, research methods, statistics, and nursing history and philosophy. In the following semesters, advanced courses that build on and hone core knowledge and skills are completed.
The first of two elective courses are also completed during year one. Expert faculty guide each student to choose elective courses that supplement a substantive area of research, specific method of research, or assist them with career goals following graduation (e.g., teaching in higher education).
Fall Semester [8 credit hours]
Spring Semester [10 credit hours]
Summer Semester [6 credit hours]
The second year begins with 135 mentored research hours with the student's faculty advisor and culminates with the development of a first draft of the dissertation proposal. Coursework on more advanced statistical models, advanced quantitative methods, and an in-depth seminar course related to emerging scientific trends in nursing is completed.
Fall Semester [10 credit hours]
Spring Semester [9 credit hours]
Candidacy Examination: Following successful completion of 43 credit hours of coursework, the student will sit for a candidacy examination.
In year three, work on the dissertation, with guidance from the faculty advisor, is started. The length of the dissertation is variable depending on individual student needs. When the dissertation is completed, it is defended to a committee of faculty researchers within and outside of the College of Nursing. The Ph.D. in Nursing is conferred after successful defense of the dissertation.
Fall Semester [15 credit hours]
Spring Semester [15 credit hours]
Any Additional Semesters
If the student does not successfully defend their dissertation by the time they have completed 30 credit hours of NURS 80199: Dissertation I, they must enroll in NURS 80299: Dissertation II every subsequent semester (including summer) until their defense is successful.
We invite you to apply to the Ph.D. in Nursing program if you meet the following requirements:
- Active, unrestricted Ohio registered nurse license (international students need to show proof of legal ability to practice as a registered nurse in country of origin)
- Bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing, or a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, from an accredited program1 for unconditional admission
- Minimum overall 3.000 graduate GPA on a 4.000 point scale for unconditional admission
- Official transcript(s)
- GRE scores (must be less than five years old at the time of application)
- Résumé or curriculum vitae
- Essay (two pages, single-spaced) addressing the following questions:
- Why do you want to pursue a Ph.D. in nursing?
- What are your professional goals?
- How have you been involved in research, publications and professional presentations?
- How have you been involved in professional organizations?
- What are your research interests?
- Why are you interested in these research areas?
- How could research—and specifically your research—in these areas advance science?
- Sample of written work
- Three letters of reference from health care professionals or academic faculty members who can speak to the applicant's professional and academic abilities (two of the three references from doctoral-prepared individuals are preferred)
- English language proficiency - all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning one of the following:2
- Minimum 560 TOEFL PBT score (paper-based version)
- Minimum 83 TOEFL IBT score (Internet-based version)
- Minimum78 MELAB score
- Minimum 6.5 IELTS score
- Minimum 55 PTE score
Priority Application Deadlines
Fall 2021: March 1, 2021
Spring 2022: No Spring Admissions
1. A bachelor's degree in a closely related health field may be considered if the applicant has a master's degree in nursing or a D.N.P. degree from an accredited program. A master's degree in a closely related field may be considered if the applicant has a bachelor's degree in nursing from an accredited program.
2. International applicants who do not meet the above test scores may be considered for conditional admission.
Tuition & Aid
A top-tier education at an affordable cost.
Kent State University’s Ph.D. in Nursing program is the most affordable of its kind in the region. As a public institution, we see it as our duty to offer the highest-quality education at a cost that is within the reach of students from all backgrounds.
Tuition & Costs at a Glance
|Ohio Residents||Non-Ohio Residents|
|Fee per Credit Hour||$506 per hour|
|Out-of-State Surcharge||N/A||$384 per hour|
|Total Hours||43 hours|
|Est. Cost Pre-Candidacy||$21,758||$38,270|
|Dissertation I (2 semesters)||$6,060|
|Dissertation II||$15 per semester|
|Total Est. Cost||$27,818||$44,330|
Costs are as of the 2019-2020 academic year. Totals are estimates and do not include books, practicum fees, or other incidental fees. Online courses include an additional $12/hr fee, plus a $10/hr out-of-state surcharge for non-Ohio residents. Rates are subject to change at any time by the Board of Trustees. For more information about Kent State's tuition and fees, see the university fee register.
Funding & Financial Aid
At Kent State University, we strive to make the financial aid process as simple as possible. Our financial aid services and scholarship programs help a wide range of students make their goals affordable. Financial aid options for Ph.D. in Nursing students include:
- Tuition Reimbursement: Many employers will pay some or all of the cost of a graduate degree program. Talk with your human resources department to find out if you qualify.
- Graduate Studies’ Awards and Fellowships: The Division of Graduate Studies at Kent State University administers a number of fellowships and awards for new and continuing students. Explore these opportunities on their website.
- External Awards:
- Federal Loans and Grants: You may be eligible for federal and/or private loans and federal/state grants. Contact the One Stop for Student Services at 330-672-6000 for more information.
- Loan Forgiveness Programs:
- Disadvantaged Faculty Loan Repayment Program (FLRP) - Nurses from disadvantaged backgrounds who have an employment commitment as a faculty member at an approved institution for a minimum of two years.
- Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program - Nurse faculty member with qualifying nursing debt who work full-time at an accredited school of nursing.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program - Forgives the remaining balance on Direct Loans after 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer (such as public universities and non-profit organizations).
Tuition can be paid online using a credit card or check, by mail with a check, or in-person with a check.
Monthly payment plan options are available.* Tuition can be spread out over 3, 4, or 5 monthly payments.
Students who are receiving tuition reimbursement through their employer can apply to defer tuition payment to after the semester ends.*
* Fall and spring semester only