DNP & PhD Dual Degree Program
The Doctor of Nursing Practice – Doctor of Philosophy Program (DNP/PhD) provides highly motivated and qualified students with an integrated advanced clinical and research program of study leading to a combined DNP/PhD degree. This innovative program combines the existing DNP and PhD nursing 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 specialty area in the DNP and a clinical research area in the PhD programs, respectively. Thus, the two doctoral programs have distinct goals, curricula, and outcomes. The DNP program prepares nurses for the practice degree in nursing. In contrast, the PhD degree (with a focus in nursing) 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 practice leaders who also want to contribute to the development of scientific knowledge for the discipline of nursing.
Unlike the traditional DNP program, the first three semesters and the final three semesters of the DNP/PhD program focus on developing students’ ability to conduct clinical research. Thus, students do not enroll in a clinical specialty course until the fourth term of the program. The total time to graduation varies and depends on the student’s background. Students must be accepted to the College of Nursing DNP program to be considered for admission to the DNP/PhD program. The College of Graduate Health Sciences provides a tuition waiver for the 6 terms of full-time PhD program-focused coursework. Students enrolled in the PhD Program in Nursing 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 approval by the College of Nursing Associate Dean of Academic Affairs or the Dean of the College of Graduate Health Sciences, as appropriate. Students interested in a practice and research-focused career are encouraged to seek initial admission to the combined program.