Nursing Science (PhD) Program Details

Nurses who hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree are eligible to apply. We also encourage non-nurses who hold a graduate degree in a health-related field to apply. We do not require specific work experience for admission to the Nursing Science PhD program.

This Nursing Science program is online; however, it also includes periodic visits to the Rush campus. Your first visit will occur approximately one week prior to starting the program for an on-campus orientation. Subsequent visits for intensive learning sessions will occur every summer for the next three years of study.

Study Format

The PhD program of study requires a minimum of 63 hours of post-baccalaureate study plus the completion of a dissertation. This prepares you for a career in clinical research while ensuring that foundational graduate content, substantive science course work, and content related to a clinical phenomenon are integrated.

We have designed the curriculum to enhance the quest for knowledge essential for a scholarly research career. This curriculum combines core courses in research, theory and role development with cognate and supporting courses in your research area. Since course work builds upon previous content and experiences, you will need to take the courses in proper sequence.

You will also complete educational and research practica. These practica experiences are individually-tailored to your area of interest. Under the guidance of your faculty advisor, educational and research practica may be completed within the Rush network or at other approved sites.

Sample Part-Time Plan of Study             Sample Full-Time Plan of Study

Course Work

We recommend that you commit to pursuing full-time study, which enables timely completion of the program and continuity in developing and conducting your research. Most full-time students complete the program within four to five years. A part-time program of study requires an additional year to complete the core coursework.

Many students work full-time or part-time while completing their core coursework. Most students reduce or eliminate their work hours while completing the advanced clinical research practicum and dissertation.

Commitment to a Research Area

Before you enter the Nursing Science PhD program, you will identify the research area or clinical population in which you are interested. This will help to assure that you and your advisor are a good match. It will also focus your plan of study and help you proceed in a timely manner.

When applying to the Nursing Science PhD program, you need to demonstrate commitment to one of the broad areas of inquiry in which the College of Nursing can provide senior mentorship and outstanding research practicum experiences.

Currently, these are the available research areas:

  1. Health promotion and risk reduction interventions across the lifespan, including:
    1. Health benefits of breastfeeding
    2. Early childhood mental health promotion
    3. Aging and family issues
    4. Cardiovascular health
    5. Caregivers of older adults
    6. Persons with developmental/intellectual disabilities
    7. Marine oils and health outcomes
    8. HIV/AIDS
    9. Enhancing parenting skills
  2. Particular types of interventions, including the following:
    1. Complementary and alternative medicine approaches
    2. Physical activity
    3. Technological advances, including telehealth and medicine approaches
  3. Outcomes of interest, such as the following topics:
    1. Improved mental and physical health
    2. Reducing health care costs
    3. Reducing disparities

Since these research areas change and expand, we recommend that you inquire about the current faculty research foci.

Common Applicant Questions for all Nursing Programs
Admissions Contact
Elizabeth Miranda
Admissions Specialist


Attend an information session

Learn more about the Nursing Science (PhD) program at an online information session.