DNP & PhD Dual Degree

PhD Students

The Doctor of Nursing Practice – Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science Program (DNP/PhD) dual degree provides exceptional and highly motivated and highly qualified students with an integrated advanced clinical and research program of study leading to both the DNP and PhD degrees. This innovative program combines the existing DNP and PhD in Nursing Science programs, which are based in the College of Nursing and College of Graduate Health Sciences, respectively. Students who are accepted into the program focus on a clinical option in the DNP and a clinical research area in the PhD in Nursing Science program. The two doctoral programs have distinct goals, curricula, and outcomes. The DNP program prepares nurses for the highest levels of APRN practice and is the terminal practice degree. In contrast, the PhD in Nursing Science program prepares nurse scientists and is the terminal research degree. The combined degree program is designed to reduce the time normally required for a student to complete both degrees and to promote the education of expert practitioners who also want to contribute to the development of scientific knowledge for the discipline of nursing.

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Unlike the traditional DNP program, the first semesters of the combined program focus on developing students’ ability to conduct clinical research. Thus, students do not enroll in a clinical specialty course until later in the program. The total time to graduation varies and depends on the student’s background and research topic. Students apply to the DNP and PhD in Nursing Science program at the same time and must be accepted into both programs to be considered for admission into the combined DNP/PhD program. Student’s focus their research in the area of their faculty mentor’s program of research. The College of Graduate Health Sciences provides a tuition waiver for up to six years of full-time PhD program-focused coursework. Students enrolled in the PhD in Nursing Science or the traditional DNP Program can request a transfer to the combined program. Decisions regarding transfers are addressed on an individual basis and subject to joint approval by the College of Nursing Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the Dean of the College of Graduate Health Sciences, as appropriate. Students interested in a practice and research-focused career are encouraged to discuss their interests with faculty to help identify a potential faculty mentor well prior to making application to the program.


Sample Plans of Study

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Doctor of Philosophy
Contact Information

J. Carolyn Graff, PhD, RN, FAAIDD
Professor, PhD Program Director
Department of Advanced Practice and Doctoral Studies
Boling Center, 711 Jefferson #182
Memphis, TN 38105

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