Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) | College of Nursing | Kent State University

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.)

The Ph.D. in Nursing, offered jointly between Kent State University and The University of Akron, prepares nurse scientists to develop methods to advance health, health care, and the nursing profession.

Graduates of the Doctor of Philosophy program are expected to lead and promote innovative scholarly endeavors within and across disciplines and to assume leadership roles in the profession.

Students may choose which university will grant their degree. The diploma and transcripts are issued by the university to which the student was admitted 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.

Areas of Research

When choosing a doctoral program, it is important to find a mentor who is an expert in the area you wish to research. This unique joint program takes advantage of the diversity and combined strength of the two universities’ exceptional faculty to provide research opportunities in a variety of subjects, 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 (including biomarkers, simulation, action research, mixed methods, large data; instrument development)
  • End-of-life/palliative care

Admissions Criteria

We invite you to apply to the Ph.D. in Nursing program if you meet the following:

  • An active unrestricted Ohio RN license (or for international students, proof of legal ability to practice as an RN in country of origin)
  • A BSN and an MSN (or DNP) from an accredited program.1
  • A minimum cumulative 3.0 graduate GPA on a 4.0 scale.

Additional Requirements

  • Documentation of GRE results that are less than 5 years old at the time of application.
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of reference from a health care professional or academic faculty member who can speak to the applicant's professional and academic abilities. It is preferred that two of the three references are from doctoral prepared individuals.
  • A 2-page, single-spaced admission essay addressing the following questions:
    • Why do you want to pursue a PhD 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?
  • A sample of written work
  • An interview
  • International applicants must show evidence of one of the following:
    • minimum internet TOEFL score of 79;
    • a paper based TOEFL of 550;
    • a MELAB score of 78;
    • a PTE minimum score of 55, or;
    • a minimum IEL TS score of 6.5
  • International applicants that do not meet the above TOEFL, MELAB, PTE, or IELTS scores may be considered for a conditional admission.
1. A baccalaureate degree in a closely related health field may be considered if the applicant has a master's in nursing or doctorate of nursing practice from an accredited program. A master's degree in a closely related field may be considered if the applicant has a baccalaureate in nursing from an accredited program.
Additional Requirements


The curriculum consists of six components: philosophy and science/knowledge development, research methods and designs, statistics, cognates, healthcare/nursing policy and leadership, and the dissertation.

The Ph.D. in nursing program is 72 credits in total and should typically take 4 to 6 years to complete. Below you will find a sample curriculum plan for a 6-year part-time student. A full-time plan is also available.

Year 1


  • NURS 70710: History and Philosophy of Nursing Science / 3 credits
  • NURS 70727: Advanced Healthcare Statistics I / 3 credits


  • NURS 70715: Theory Construction and Development in Nursing / 3 credits
  • NURS 70737: Advanced Health Care Statistics II / 3 credits
Year 2


  • NURS 70705: Foundations of Research Methods in Nursing / 3 credits
  • ​Cognate / 3 credits


  • NURS 70725: Quantitative Research Methods in Nursing / 3 credits
  • NURS 70730: Qualitative Research Methods in Nursing / 3 credits
Year 3


  • NURS 70720: Introduction to Nursing Knowledge Development / 3 credits
  • NURS 70745: Advanced Topics in Quantitative Research Methods / 3 credits


  • NURS 70735: Nursing and Health Care Policy / 3 credits
Year 4


  • NURS 70751: Nursing Science Seminar I / 3 credits
  • Cognate / 3 credits


  • NURS 70752: Nursing Science Seminar II / 3 credits
Years 5 and Beyond
  • NURS 80199: Dissertation I / 30 credits
Each doctoral candidate, upon admission to candidacy, must register for NURS 80199 Dissertation I for a total of 30 hours. It is expected that a doctoral candidate will continuously register for Dissertation I, and thereafter NURS 80299 Dissertation II, each semester, including summer, until all requirements for the degree have been met.