PhD in Nursing

Preparing Student for Research Careers

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing program prepares students for research careers. The distance PhD nursing program admits students who have earned a bachelor's degree with a major in nursing (BSN, BS) or a master's degree in nursing or related disciplines. The traditional BS-PhD and MS-PhD tracks share a common program of study with the exception of nine (9) additional MS cognate credits required for BS-PhD students. Occasionally the PhD program also admits cohorts of BS- and MS-PhD students with a specialty focus (such as gerontology or oncology).

The Utah Model Emphasizes:

  • Synchronous distance learning
  • Studying with a cohort
  • Conference-based learning/on-campus intensives
  • Mentorship between students and faculty with common research interests
  • Year round study

Synchronous Learning

The PhD program is offered through synchronous distance education technologies for all students, local and non-local. The core courses are offered utilizing live synchronous videoconferencing technology, allowing students living outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, to participate and complete the program without relocating to Utah.

Conference-Based Learning/On-Campus Intensives

All PhD students, regardless of the state or country of residence, are required to attend three (3) week-long campus immersion experiences as a cohort. These week-long immersions are held at the University of Utah campus annually during the coursework phase of the program (the first three years of study).

The initial week-long campus immersion takes place during the first week of classes and serves as an orientation to the University of Utah and PhD program (typically in late August for fall admission). The exact dates for subsequent week-long immersions vary each year. Each of the three visits has distinct objectives that align with program progression.

In addition all PhD students, regardless of the state or country of residence, are required to attend a research conference as a cohort annually during the coursework phase of the program (the first three years of study). The research conference is chosen by PhD program faculty (exact semester, location and dates may vary depending on which conference is chosen). Each of the three conference attendance experiences is typically tied to current coursework and provides rich faculty/student mentoring and networking opportunities.

Year Round Study

The PhD program can generally be split into two parts: the coursework phase and the dissertation phase. The coursework phase of the program is nine (9) semesters year-round, which includes one to two core courses per semester. Students have the option of taking additional electives or area of specialization courses to reach full-time status (9+ credits per semester).

BS-PhD students must attend full-time for the first year of study due to the additional MS cognate work. A student's faculty advisor or dissertation committee may require additional coursework to address identified academic deficiencies and identify inter-departmental and College of Nursing courses in the student's area of specialization.

The program requires successful completion of written and oral qualifying examinations at the conclusion of formal coursework prior to admission to PhD candidacy and initiation of the dissertation. The length of time to complete the dissertation phase is variable. All coursework and the dissertation must be completed within seven (7) years.

Nursing Education Xchange (NEXus)

Opportunities are also offered for doctoral/graduate students, through the Nursing Education Xchange (NEXus), enrolled at member colleges and universities to take courses that may not be offered at his/her home institution for a common price.


Application for Fall 2020 opens in September 1st and the deadline is December 1st

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Welcome From the Assistant Dean of PhD Programs

Paula MeekRead More

Program Manager
Carrie Radmall
Phone: 801-581-8798

To consult faculty on the program of study or your research career, contact:

Assistant Dean, PhD Program
Paula Meek, RN, PhD, FAAN

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