Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

Our nursing Ph.D. gives you the credentials and experience to shape the future of nursing and health care.

Oakland University developed its nursing Ph.D. program to help meet the nationwide shortage of university faculty in nursing. Introduced in 2019, our nursing doctorate equips you with the academic and scientific expertise to address systemic health care needs. The nursing Ph.D. qualifies you to educate nurses in classroom and clinical settings, as well as to conduct research involving health care practices, outcomes, access and equity. Oakland’s nursing doctoral program features convenient online courses, using a high-touch digital platform that fosters strong interpersonal relationships. Open to students who hold a BSN, MSN or DNP, our nursing Ph.D. program equips you to educate the next generation of nurses while promoting diversity and excellence in the profession.

Oakland University developed its nursing Ph.D. program to help meet the nationwide shortage of university faculty in nursing. Introduced in 2019, our nursing doctorate equips you with the academic and scientific expertise to address systemic health care needs. The nursing Ph.D. qualifies you to educate nurses in classroom and clinical settings, as well as to conduct research involving health care practices, outcomes, access and equity. Oakland’s nursing doctoral program features convenient online courses, using a high-touch digital platform that fosters strong interpersonal relationships. Open to students who hold a BSN, MSN or DNP, our nursing Ph.D. program equips you to educate the next generation of nurses while promoting diversity and excellence in the profession.

Nursing Ph.D.: The Oakland University Advantage

Through its history, the School of Nursing at Oakland University has helped create transformational change in nursing education, training and professional development. We created Michigan’s first Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and first forensic nursing program, and our high standards and commitment to innovation have brought us national recognition.

Our nursing doctorate builds on Oakland’s tradition of progressive nursing education by offering:

  • Outstanding research opportunities. As a nursing Ph.D. student, you’ll play an active role in investigations related to nursing practice, patient outcomes and population-level health trends. A key program goal is to develop nurse scientists who can design effective responses to the escalating health care challenges our society faces. 
  • High-profile faculty. Oakland’s nursing Ph.D. faculty includes internationally recognized scholars in multiple specialties, including two endowed chairs. You’ll have the opportunity to work with leading researchers on health care subjects such as end-of-life care, palliative care, population health, gerontological nursing and health promotion, among other subjects.
  • Personalized, high-touch support. You’ll belong to a diverse, tight-knit community in Oakland’s School of Nursing, enjoying strong relationships and camaraderie with professors and peers. Our nursing Ph.D. program welcomes students from all backgrounds, providing a positive environment that helps you reach your full potential. 
  • Convenience. Our nursing doctorate is built around online courses to accommodate professional nurses with full-time jobs. The format enables you to continue working while you earn the nursing Ph.D., while creating opportunities for synergy between your academic and professional pursuits. 
  • Accessibility. You can enter Oakland’s nursing doctorate program as a post-bachelor’s, post-master’s, or post-DNP student, with coursework and training aligned to your level of prior education. We also have a highly affordable nursing Ph.D. program, with in-state tuition offered to out-of-state students and the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) available to reduce debt loads for Ph.D. graduates who work in nurse faculty positions.

What Can You Do With a Nursing Ph.D.?

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), a shortage of Ph.D. nursing faculty forced U.S. nursing schools to deny admission to more than 75,000 qualified applicants in the 2018-19 academic year. Persistent faculty shortages pose a serious challenge for the health care system, which faces growing demand for nursing care as the U.S. population ages.

Our nursing Ph.D. qualifies you for faculty positions in university and college nursing programs. In addition to training the next generation of nurses, you’ll be equipped to conduct research that improves nursing practices and overall health care quality.

A nursing Ph.D. can also lead to non-academic career opportunities in the health care system. You may find high-level jobs with employers such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Health care systems
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Public health agencies
  • Health advocacy and social work organizations

Nursing Ph.D.: What You’ll Learn

Oakland’s nursing doctorate program offers separate plans of study for students who enter with a BSN (80 credits), MSN (60 credits) or DNP (48 credits).

Students entering with a BSN begin the nursing Ph.D. program with foundational courses in theory, research and professional practice. Courses in health care economics and mentored research are required of both BSN and MSN students.

The remaining courses are common to all three plans of study. They include:

  • Advanced Health Care Statistics
  • Quantitative Research Methods
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Measurement and Design / Big Data
  • Grant Writing
  • Health Care Quality
  • Advancement of Health Outcomes
  • Dissertation Research

Two additional courses form the cognate minor for all three plans of study.

Nursing Ph.D. Program Resources

Programs Related to the Nursing Ph.D.

Not sure if the nursing Ph.D. is right for you? Check out these other graduate degree programs at Oakland, and contact our admissions team to discuss your options.

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice - Nurse Anesthesia (DNP-NA)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner

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