Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) Program

On-Campus Program » Newly Streamlined Curriculum

Program Overview

Associate Professor Ya-Fen Wang, Ph.D., RN presenting at MNRS

Scholar. Educator. Innovator.

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 R1 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.
  • 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.

Ph.D. Program Mission & Outcomes

Mission

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.

Outcomes

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

Find a Faculty Mentor

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 College of Nursing provides research support through our own Center for Nursing Research.  Visit this website to learn more: www.kent.edu/nursing/research.

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.

Program Curriculum

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.

Visit the Kent State University Catalog to learn more about curriculum specifics: catalog.kent.edu/colleges/nu/nursing-phd/.

Admissions

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

Ph.D. in Nursing Admissions Criteria

Applications to the Ph.D. in Nursing Program must have

  • 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 or master's degrees in nursing or related fields, 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)
  • 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 or 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?
  • 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 Ph.D.-prepared individuals are preferred)
  • Interview

English Language Proficiency Requirements for International Students: all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning one of the following:

  • 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
  • Minimum 110 Duolingo English Test score

For more information about graduate student support, please visit this website: www.kent.edu/graduatestudies. For more information on international student support, visit the Office of Global Education’s admission website here: www.kent.edu/kent/global-education.

1A 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.

Students selected for admission to the nursing program must meet the College of Nursing's Clinical Compliance Policy.

Apply Now

Deferred admission

Admitted students are expected to enroll in and attend courses during the term for which they were admitted.  As a courtesy, the Division of Graduate Studies allows admitted students to defer the term of enrollment to another term within one calendar year from the term of admission. Initial enrollment beyond one year is not permitted. To defer enrollment to a later term, domestic applicants should contact the Division of Graduate Studies and international applicants should contact the Office of Global Education

Students who have not enrolled in or attended courses within one calendar year of admission will need to submit a new application and pay a new application fee if they wish to attend courses.

Change of Application Term section

Applications and application materials are valid for one year only. Applicants may change the term of their application to a later term within one calendar year from the date the completed online application form was submitted. To be considered for admission during a different term, domestic applicants should contact the Division of Graduate Studies and international applicants should contact the Office of Global Education  to request an application term change and receive instructions on next steps.

It is important to note that some programs admit only one term per year. Refer to individual the programs website or University Catalog for the term(s) during which the program will consider admission.

Applicants interested in admission after one year will need to submit a new application and pay a new application fee.

Guide to Graduate Education

For more information about Kent State University’s admission policies please review the Guide to Graduate Education.

Guide to Graduate Education

 

Apply Now

Priority Application Deadlines*

Spring 2023: No Spring Admissions
Fall 2023: March 1, 2023
* Contact graduate admissions to inquire about current availability.  
Phone: (330) 672-7911
Email: nursingphd@kent.edu

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

For more information about Kent State's tuition and fees, visit www.kent.edu/nursing/students/tuition.

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:

Payment Options

  • 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

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I continue to work while attending the program?

Yes. In fact, according to a recent survey of Ph.D. in Nursing students at Kent State, the majority continue to work full-time while enrolled in the program.

How long will it take to complete the program?

The Ph.D. in Nursing program can be completed in as few as three years full-time. Many factors may contribute to extending your time in the program, such as taking the pre-candidacy coursework part-time or encountering unexpected challenges when conducting your dissertation research.

The university expects students to complete the degree in no more than nine years. Students who must be away from their studies for one or more semesters for personal, family, financial or other compelling reasons may apply for a leave of absence to attend to these issues.

Do you accept international students?

Yes, international students are encouraged to apply if they meet the admissions requirements.

All international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning one of the following:

  • Minimum 560 TOEFL PBT score (paper-based version)
  • Minimum 83 TOEFL IBT score (Internet-based version)
  • Minimum 78 MELAB score
  • Minimum 6.5 IELTS score
  • Minimum 55 PTE score

International applicants who do not meet the above test scores may be considered for conditional admission.

See the International Graduate Application Guide for additional details into the application process and the documentation you will need to provide.

Is the GRE required?

Yes, the GRE is required for admission to the Ph.D. in Nursing program. The scores must be less than five years old at the time of application. 

Kent State University's GRE code is 1367.

What is the difference between the Ph.D. and the DNP?

At the most basic level, the Ph.D. is a research-focused doctorate, while the DNP is a practice-focused doctorate.

Which doctoral degree you choose depends on your area of interest (nursing science or advanced clinical practice), your overall career goals (practice, education, research) and your prior nursing experience. 

See the Ph.D. or DNP: What Nursing Doctorate is Right for You? page to compare and contrast these two degrees.

By earning a Ph.D., would I be limiting my career options to being a professor?

No! While the Ph.D. will prepare you to work as a researcher and professor in academia, there are numerous opportunities for doctoral-prepared nurses throughout the workforce.

For example, many Ph.D. nurses are employed as researchers for hospitals and health systems. Many also hold top leadership positions within these organizations. 

Additional opportunities include independent consulting and leading nursing and healthcare associations.

Do you offer graduate assistantships?

As the majority of students in this program work full- or part-time as practicing nurses or nurse educators and have some or all of their tuition costs covered by their employer, we do not offer graduate assistantships.

The university does offer a number of awards and fellowships for graduate students. Additionally, the federal government provides generous loan forgiveness programs for nurse educators and nurses who work in public service.

See the Tuition & Aid section for more information.

Is this program online?

The majority of courses are delivered face-to-face at the Kent campus. A few courses (i.e., not more than one each semester) may be offered online. A few courses may be offered face-to-face using an intensive formatting.

Is this program offered jointly with the University of Akron?

No. From 1999 to 2018, a Ph.D. in Nursing program was administered jointly between Kent State University and the University of Akron. 

In the fall of 2018, Kent State University received approval for a Ph.D. in Nursing program to be offered solely at Kent State.

A new Ph.D. in Nursing program was developed to meet the needs of our students and the broader nursing community. This program will soon admit it's first class of students for the fall 2020 semester.

We thank the University of Akron for their partnership and remain eternally grateful for their 20+ year commitment to creating and nurturing a shared Ph.D. in Nursing program.

Where is Kent, Ohio?

Map of Ohio with locations of major cities and Kent State University

Kent, Ohio, is a small city located in the northeast Ohio region, near Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Youngstown. Known for its density of trees, black squirrels, and scenic sites along the Cuyahoga River, Kent is a destination for nature lovers and is home to over a dozen parks and nature preserves.

The city's proximity to multiple Interstate highways allows for easy navigation to and from major cities across the region, including Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, and Akron.

Many adult students are deciding to plant roots in Kent, drawn to its growing diverse population, family-friendly atmosphere, highly-ranked public schools, and central location.

Discover Kent & Kent State University

When is the application deadline?
Is an interview required for admission?

Yes. The director of the Ph.D. in Nursing program, as well as the faculty member who will serve as your advisor and mentor, will interview you to assess if our program is a good fit for your background, goals, and research interests.

Does my bachelor's and/or master's degree need to be in nursing?

It is preferred that the applicant's bachelor's and master's degrees both be in nursing. However, we may consider applicants who do not meet this requirement if

  • Their bachelor's degree is in a closely related health field and they hold an MSN or DNP
  • Their master's degree is in a closely related field and they earned a BSN

Learn more about the admission requirements and how to apply