About the Program

Program Details

The PhD in Nursing prepares nurses who hold master’s degrees to serve as academicians and contribute to the body of nursing knowledge to improve health care and prepare the next generation of nurses.


The curriculum provides students with discipline-specific and interdisciplinary, theoretical, and empirical knowledge essential for the conduct of original research and for advancement of both practice and education.

The core courses in nursing science, theory construction, research methodology, statistical analysis, ethics, and spirituality prepare students in the process of scientific inquiry, enabling them to articulate, conceptualize, critique, and test theory, and utilize methods of scientific inquiry in researching questions in their substantive area of interest. Coursework in these areas enables students to identify and formulate a research focus and create and conduct original research toward the development of a program of scientific inquiry. Offered sequentially, the core courses:

  • Provide students with the scientific and theoretical foundations of the discipline.
  • Enable students to utilize frameworks for understanding sources of knowledge in nursing, modes of inquiry, and models of scholarship.
  • Enable students to critique, articulate, test, utilize, and develop theories.
  • Enable students to articulate how the nursing profession is informed by the Christian faith.
  • Empower students with the knowledge base and ethical framework to promote social change.

Specialties and Concentrations

The overarching rubric of the curriculum is wellness promotion and health maintenance within which specific areas of concentration have been identified. These areas of concentration are:

  • Health of the Family and the Community
  • International Health
  • A secondary specialization in Nursing Education is also available.

These areas reflect the changing trends in health care and accommodate the diverse research interest of students.

Coursework consists of 55 units.

An additional three units are required from the following:

  • Advanced Quantitative Methods
  • Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
  • Advanced Research in the Humanities
  • Advanced Evaluation Research

A maximum of nine doctoral level semester units may be transferred from another regionally accredited university with approval of the program chair.

Program Goals

The program prepares scholars with knowledge and expertise to assume independent roles in the development, evaluation, and dissemination of nursing knowledge through systematic inquiry. The program prepares nurses who will:

  • Develop, test, and use theoretical knowledge to advance nursing science and improve health outcomes.
  • Pursue systematic intellectual inquiry relevant to the discipline of nursing and health care.
  • Use frameworks for understanding sources of knowledge in nursing, modes of inquiry, and models of scholarship.
  • Develop ethical, social, and health policies for the advancement of nursing education, research, and the health of those whom nursing serves.
  • Articulate the intersection of the Christian tradition with the nursing profession.


Consistent with the mission and purpose of the university, the School of Nursing is a Christian community of disciples, scholars, and practitioners. Its purpose is to advance the work of God in the world through nursing education, research, professional practice, community, and church service.

Health is defined and understood by the faculty as totality or completeness, whether for an individual, family, or community. That totality or completeness, within this conceptual definition, cannot be seen apart from the constitutive element of spirituality. Our conceptual approach to health highlights our distinctive role as a Christian university and provides the discipline of nursing with a distinctive domain for research and advanced nursing practice.

Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.

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