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Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

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Nursing PhD Program at a Glance

  • Admit Term: Fall only
  • Credit Requirement: 66 credits (Post-Master entry); 90 credits (Post BSN entry)
  • Enrollment Mode: Curriculum includes both online and on-campus courses
  • Enrollment Level: Full-time and Part-time study available for students entering the program at the MSN or BSN level
  • Estimated Total Cost of Tuition and Fees: (Post-Master) $26,428; (BSN-PhD) $42,907

Are you ready to begin a life of inquiry and discovery? Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston now offers two entry points to our research-focused PhD Program. Potential students may apply for admission at the master’s or bachelor’s level. The BSN-PhD option was added for Fall 2022 to enable nurses interested in clinical research to become nurse scientists earlier in their careers.

The mission of the PhD Program in Nursing at Cizik School of Nursing is to prepare nurse leaders in the profession. Graduates of this program will lead the development and dissemination of knowledge through the conduct of nursing and interprofessional research.  Through the integration of theory, research, and practice, our goal is to prepare nurse scientists who will improve health and health care for patients and families.

In contrast to the practice-based Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), this doctoral program is rooted in foundations of theory and research needed to develop educators, leaders and discoverers of knowledge in the field of health care.

The Faculty

Our outstanding faculty are committed to preparing nurse scholars and scientists who can lead in extending the body of nursing knowledge. We foster a collegial and supportive environment with close faculty interaction. Our learning atmosphere is distinctive, challenging and includes rich mentoring experiences.

Research at UTHealth

The School’s dedicated Faculty promote collaborations, enhance scholarship and stimulate clinically relevant investigative questions and innovative approaches. We offer unique access to expert faculty researchers in a comprehensive six-discipline academic health center. Doctoral students also have access to courses and resources in the affiliated institutions of the Texas Medical Center, a vibrant academic and healthcare community in the heart of Houston.

Whether you see your future in the nursing world as a nurse scientist, UTHealth's PhD in Nursing is the next exciting step toward enhancing your career trajectory.

Student-Centered Support

Each PhD student will be assigned an academic advisor at the time of admission to the PhD program. The PhD student and their academic advisor will complete a degree plan to specify which courses are to be taken to complete the degree requirements. Degree plan policy and procedures may be found in PhD Program Policy D7320 (pdf).

Scholarship Assistance

Each year the School strives to fund between 15-20% of each class with some level of financial assistance. Scholarship awards are available for both full and part-time students. Interested students are encouraged to complete the application for admission and the Cizik School of Nursing Supplemental Scholarship Application before April 1. 

An additional resource for doctoral students is the Nurse Faculty Loan Program ("NFLP")which is a low-interest federal loan forgiveness program offered by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for MSN and doctoral degrees. For eligibility requirements and application information, please contact Heather Bright in the UTHealth Financial Aid office at 713.500.3866.

Curriculum Plans

The curriculum includes 66 semester hours for MSN-prepared students and 90 hours for BSN-prepared students, distributed as shown below. The course sequence is designed to prepare nurse scientist to develop, test, and implement innovation in health care delivery and to teach the next generations of nurses in research and practice. During the sequence of courses the student participates in development of a research program that includes interdisciplinary interactions. The student works with an interdisciplinary team of faculty mentors who have established research programs. Courses in the nursing sequence are focused on the health care delivery system, theory, and research. The student also takes one elective and three cognate courses that allow the student to develop knowledge in a focused area of interest. The theory, research, practice links provide the basis for the student to develop a dissertation that is focused on preparing a nurse scientist who will improve health and health care.

Course Structure
Course #Course TitleHours
Core Courses
N7501 Conceptual Basis of Scientific Inquiry* 3
N7530 Analysis of the Context of Healthcare* 3
N7543 Empirical Basis of Scientific Inquiry* 3
N7550 Research Proposal Development* 2
N7550B Research Proposal Development Practicum* 1
N7552 Research Planning and Implementation* 2
N7552B Research Planning and Implementation B* 1
N7554 Research Forum**** 1
N7555 Research Practicum**** 3
Research Design and Methods
N7540 Advanced Research Designs and Methods I* 3
N7541 Application of Measurement Theory to Biomedical and Health Science Research* 3
N7542 Advanced Research Designs and Methods II* 3
XXXX Research Methods Elective** 3
Statistical Methods
N7505 Advanced Statistics for Clinical Research I 4
N7506 Advanced Statistics for Clinical Research II 4
Cognates
XXXX Cognate 1** 3
XXXX Cognate 2** 3
XXXX Cognate 3** 3
Candidacy
N7590 Candidacy Examination* 1
Electives
XXXX Elective 3
Dissertation
N7600 Dissertation 12
Total 66
Full-time Plan
Course #Course TitleHours
Semester 1 - Fall
N7501 Conceptual Basis of Scientific Inquiry* 3
N7530 Analysis of the Context of Health Care* 3
N7555 Research Practicum**** 3
Semester 2 - Spring
N7540 Advanced Research Designs and Methods I* 3
XXXX Cognate I** 3
N7505 Advanced Statistics for Clinical Research I 4
Semester 3 - Summer
N7506 Advanced Statistics for Clinical Research II 3
N7542 Advanced Research Designs and Methods II 4
N7554 Research Forum*** 1
Semester 4 - Fall
N7541 Application of Measurement Theory to Biomedical and Health Science Research* 3
N7543 Empirical Basis of Scientific Inquiry* 3
XXXX Cognate II** 3
Semester 5 - Spring
NXXXX Research Methods Elective** 3
NXXXX Cognate III** 3
N7550 Research Proposal Development* 2
N7550B Research Proposal B* 1
N7590 Candidacy - Can Enroll Spring or Summer 1
Semester 6 - Summer
XXXX Elective 3
N7554 Research Forum *** 1
Semester 7 - Fall
N7552 Research Planning and Implementation* 2
N7552B Research Planning and Implementation B* 1
N7600 Dissertation 3-6
Semester 8 -Spring
N7600 Dissertation 3-6
Total 66
Part-Time Plan
Course #Course TitleHours
Semester 1 - Fall
N7530 Analysis of the Context of Health Care* 3
N7501 Conceptual Basis of Nursing Sciences* 3
Semester 2 - Spring
XXXXX Elective ** 3
N7505 Advanced Statistics for Clinical Research I* 4
Semester 3 - Summer
N7506 Advanced Statistics for Clinical Research II* 4
Semester 4 - Fall
XXXX Research Methods Elective 3
N7555 Research Practicum 3
Semester 5 - Spring
N7540 Advanced Research Designs & Methods I* 3
XXXXX Cognate I** 3
Semester 6 - Summer
N7542 Advanced Research Designs & Methods II* 3
N7554 Research Forum *** 1
Semester 7 - Fall
N7541 Application of Measurement Theory to Biomedical and Health Science Research* 3
N7543 Empirical Basis of Scientific Inquiry* 3
Semester 8 - Spring
XXXXX Cognate II** 3
N7550 Research Proposal Development* 2
N7550B Research Proposal Development B* 1
Semester 9 - Summer
N7590 Candidacy - Spring or Summer of Year 3 1
N7554 Research Forum*** 1
Semester 10 - Fall
N7552 Research Planning and Implementation* 2
N7552B Research Planning and Implementation B* 1
XXXXX Cognate III** 3
Semester 11 - Spring
N7600 Dissertation 6
N7554 Research Forum*** 1
Semester 12 - Summer
N7600 Dissertation 6
Total 66
Curriculum Structure BSN-PhD
Course #Course TitleHours
Core Courses
N6901W Advanced Pharmacology for DNP 3
N6804W Advanced Pathophysiology for DNP 3

N6810W /

N6810B

Advanced Physical Exam and Differential Diagnosis for DNP/

Advanced Physical Exam and Differential Diagnosis Lab for DNP
3
N6802 Health Policy, Politics & Ethics 3
Leadership Concentration (student may choose from the course options below with approval of advisor)
N6701 Transforming Healthcare through Nursing Leadership 3
N6702 Organizational Development: Creating Cultures of Excellence 2
N6702B Nursing Leadership and Administration Practice 1
N6703 Developing and Leading Human Performance 3
N6704 Organizational Quality Improvement and Patient Safety 2
N6704B Nursing Leadership and Administration Practice 1
N6705W Nursing Leadership Role Focus 2
N6706 Healthcare Financial Management  3
N6706B Nursing Leadership and Administration Practice 1
N6707W Analyzing Issues in Quality Improvement 1
N6708 Role of Nurse Leader in Advancing the Health of Populations 2
N6709W Project Management Foundations 1
Full-Time BSN-PhD
Course #Course TitleHours
Semester 1 - Fall
N6804 Advanced Pathophysiology for DNP 3
N6802 Health Policy, Politics & Ethics 3

N6810W /

N6810B

Advanced Physical Exam and Differential Diagnosis for DNP / 

Advanced Physical Exam and Differential Diagnosis Lab for DNP

3
Semester 2 - Spring
N6901W Advanced Pharmacology for DNP 3
XXXX Nursing Concentration 3
XXXX Nursing Concentration 3
Semester 3 - Summer
XXXX Nursing Concentration 3
XXXX Nursing Concentration 3
Semester 4 - Fall
N7501 Conceptual Basis of Scientific Inquiry* 3
N7530 Analysis of the Context of Healthcare* 3
N7555 Research Practicum**** 3
Semester 5 - Spring
N7540 Advanced Research Designs & Methods I* 3
XXXX Cognate I** 3
N7505 Advanced Statistics for Clinical Research I* 4
Semester 6 - Summer
N7506 Advanced Statistics for Clinical Research II* 3
N7542 Advanced Research Designs & Methods II* 4
N7554 Research Forum*** 1
Semester 7 - Fall
N7541 Application of Measurement Theory to Biomedical & Health Science Research* 3
N7543 Empirical Basis of Scientific Inquiry* 3
XXXX Cognate II** 3
Semester 8 - Spring
NXXXX Research Methods Elective** 3
NXXXX Cognate III** 3
N7550 Research Proposal Development* 2
N7550B Research Proposal B* 1
N7590 Candidacy - Can Enroll Spring or Summer 1
Semester 9 - Summer
NXXXX Elective** 3
N7554 Research Forum*** 1
Semester 10 - Fall
N7552 Research Planning & Implementation* 2
N7552B Research Planning & Implementation B* 1
N7600 Dissertation 3-6
N7554 Research Forum*** 1
Semester 11 - Spring
N7600 Dissertation 3-6
Total 90
Part-Time BSN-PhD
Course #Course TitleHours
Semester 1 - Fall
N6804W Advanced Pathophysiology for DNP 3
N6802 Health Policy, Politics & Ethics 3
Semester 2 - Spring

N6810W /

N6810B

Advanced Physical Exam and Differential Diagnosis for DNP / 

Advanced Physical Exam and Differential Diagnosis Lab for DNP

3
N6901W Advanced Pharmacology for DNP 3
Semester 3 - Summer
XXXX Nursing Concentration 3
Semester 4 - Fall
XXXX Nursing Concentration 3
XXXX Nursing Concentration 3
Semester 5 - Spring
XXXX Nursing Concentration 3
N7505 Advanced Statistics for Clinical Research I* 4
Semester 6 - Summer
N7506 Advanced Statistics for Clinical Research II* 4
Semester 7 - Fall
N7530 Analysis of the Context of Healthcare* 3
N7501 Conceptual Basis of Scientific Inquiry* 3
Semester 8 - Spring
N7540 Advanced Research Designs & Methods I* 3
XXXX Cognate I** 3
Semester 9 - Summer
N7542 Advanced Research Designs & Methods II* 3
N7554 Research Forum*** 1
Semester 10 - Fall
N5741 Application of Measurement Theory to Biomedical & Health Science Research* 3
N7543 Empirical Basis of Scientific Inquiry* 3
Semester 11 - Spring
N7550 Research Proposal Development* 2
N7550B Research Proposal B* 1
XXXX Research Methods Elective** 3
N7590 Candidacy 1
Semester 12 - Summer
N7555 Research Practicum**** 3
N7554 Research Forum*** 1
Semester 13 - Fall
N7552 Research Planning & Implementation* 2
N7552B Research Planning & Implementation B* 1
XXXX Cognate II** 3
Semester 14 -Spring
N7600 Dissertation 3-6
XXXX Cognate III** 3
Semester 15 - Summer
N7600 Dissertation 3-6
N7554 Research Forum*** 1
Semester 16 - Fall
XXXX Elective** 3
N7600 Dissertation 3-6
Total 90

* Required courses are offered only one (1) time a year.
** These courses may be selected from offerings at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston or other universities through enrollment agreements.

Note: 1 semester hour of credit is earned for

  • 3 clock hours per week of clinical experience,
  • 1 clock hour per week of lecture, or
  • 2 clock hours per week of seminar.

Consult individual course descriptions in the catalog for details on clinical, lecture, and seminar hours and prerequisite or corequisite requirements.

Candidacy Exam

The candidacy examination serves as a basis for determining the student's readiness for pursuing dissertation research. It is composed of a written paper and an oral examination. The student should demonstrate a command of the theoretical and methodological issues related to the selected topic as a basis for pursuing research in a specific population of interest. The candidacy examination is viewed as a continuing step in the educational process building on previous course work and leading to the dissertation proposal defense and the dissertation. Candidacy exam policy and procedures may be found in PhD Program Policy D7315 (pdf).

Dissertation Requirement

An original research dissertation that constitutes a substantial contribution to the body of knowledge in nursing must be completed under the direction of a dissertation committee chairperson who is a member of the School of Nursing faculty. Information regarding the dissertation policy and procedures may be found in PhD Program Policy D7400 (pdf). The Dissertation Manual for students admitted before Fall 2021 can be found at Dissertation Manual (pre 2021) (pdf). For students admitted Fall 2021 and after, the Dissertation Manual can be found at Dissertation Manual (post 2021) (pdf).

An active list of recent graduate dissertations are available for viewing through the Texas Medical Center library.

***N7554 Research Forum. Students will need to complete three (3) one credit Research Forum course during the course of the program. Research Forum can be taken any semester but must be taken three different semesters.

Dissertation- Students must complete 12 hours of dissertation prior to graduation. The 12 hours are taken after Candidacy is successfully completed and should be taken in increments of 3 hours but must have at least 3 hours in the last semester (semester of final defense)

NOTE: The elective and cognates taken must be at the graduate level.   

The cognates chosen should reflect the focus of the dissertation research and should be taken outside the school of nursing and must be approved by the dissertation Chairperson/Student Advisor

                          Cognates = 3 Courses= 9 credits                           Elective =1 Course= 3 credits

**** N7555 Research Practicum- Research Practicum will be offered every semester. The student should plan with their advisor for timing of completion  

Accreditation

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program, Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and post graduate APRN certificate programs at the Cizik School of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org).

Program Director

Geri L Wood, PhD, RN, FAAN

Director, PhD Program (Email)