Frequently Asked Questions about the Nursing Ph.D. Program

What is the purpose of the Ph.D. program?

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program prepares nurse-scientists as teacher/scholars with an emphasis on nursing knowledge development in a substantive research area of science aimed to improve health and health care.

What are graduates of the Ph.D. program prepared to do?

The program is designed to prepare graduates to:

Develop and disseminate knowledge for the discipline of nursing that will impact health, healthcare and/or healthcare education.

Synthesize research findings to guide nursing knowledge development.

Design and conduct research.

Develop, test and refine theories as a basis for nursing science.

Analyze patterns of health equity and disparity.

Effectively communicate nursing knowledge verbally, in writing, and through emerging technologies.

Advance innovation in principles and methods of nursing education

Apply teaching/learning principles in nursing education at the individual, course, and program level.

Synthesize research findings to advance innovation and provide leadership in nursing education.

Evaluate own progress regarding effective teaching/learning practices at the individual, course, and program level.

Can I complete the program as a part-time student?

Yes. Students may take one or two courses per semester. (Part time is considered one to six credits. Full time is seven or more credits.)

How many credits are required?

The usual post-M.S.N. Ph.D. curriculum consists of 51 credits beyond the master’s degree in nursing. Course categories and the required number of credits include:

  • Nursing science — 12 credits
  • Research and statistics — 12 credits
  • Teaching — 9 credits
  • Cognates — 6 credits
  • Dissertation — 12 credits

The post-bachelor’s Ph.D. curriculum consists of 18 post-bachelor’s credits plus the usual Ph.D. courses listed above for a total of 69 credits. These may also be taken full or part time.

How long does it take to complete the program?

Full-time students can complete the post-M.S.N. course work in two years and then focus on completing their dissertation. Part-time students typically complete the post-M.S.N. course work in three years and then focus on their dissertation.

What are the admission requirements and/or prerequisites?

The requirements are as follows:

For those with an M.S.N.:

  • RN licensure
  • Master's degree in nursing
  • GPA of 3.4 on 4.0 point scale
  • Statistics course, including inferential analysis, within past five years
  • Acceptable scores on the GRE
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Completed online application form and fee
  • Official transcripts from all current and previous colleges
  • Curriculum vita or resume
  • Goal statement
  • Sample of scholarly writing
  • Personal interview

For those with a B.S.N.:

  • RN licensure
  • Baccalaureate degree
  • GPA of 3.0 on 4.0 point scale
  • Statistics course, including inferential analysis, within past five years
  • Acceptable scores on the GRE

For international applicants:

Qualified applicants may be denied admission to the Ph.D. program because of space constraints.

Are there any courses required prior to starting the program?

Post-M.S.N. applicants accepted into the Ph.D. program must have completed a statistics course (course including descriptive and inferential statistics) within five years of the date of enrollment in the doctoral program.

When can I apply?

It is recommended that students apply at least five months prior to their intended start date. For instance, one would apply by April for a fall semester start and by August for a spring semester start.

To be eligible for Marquette financial aid, your application must be submitted by February 1 for a fall semester start.

Are courses in the program available online?

Courses are increasingly being offered online or in hybrid formats. But we believe that personal interaction between other students and faculty enhances the educational experience and facilitates immersion in the community of scholars. Courses are offered primarily on Tuesdays and are sequenced to facilitate students enrolling full time and taking up to three courses (nine credits) in one day.

What are the residency requirements?

The goal of post-M.S.N. Ph.D. residency is to provide opportunities for students to become immersed in the campus community of scholars. Students can fulfill residency while taking their usual/post-M.S.N. Ph.D. requirements by completing nine credits of course work, or their equivalent, per term for two terms or summer sessions within an 18-month period or by completing six credits of course work in each of three consecutive sessions (e.g., fall, spring and summer OR fall, spring, fall).

For additional options for fulfilling residency requirements, refer to the Graduate School Bulletin.

What is the cost of the program?

For the latest tuition information, see Marquette's Tuition and Costs page.

Where can I find information about financial aid?

The Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) repays 85% of PhD program costs upon teaching 4 years in a school of nursing following graduation. A FAFSA must be completed. Contact for further information. NFLP recipients must include 9 credits related to nursing education as part of their program of studies: N8020 Nursing Education Research, Policy and Leadership (required of everyone), N8981 Nursing Education Residency and an education-related cognate.

Financial opportunities for Ph.D. students include:

  • Agnes Reinders Scholarship
  • Graduate assistantships (research and teaching)
  • Marquette University tuition scholarships
  • Specific foundation awards

Some types of financial aid require full-time enrollment and are based on academic performance. Other types of aid may stipulate specific criteria or obligations after graduation.

Please note the university-funded financial aid application deadlines:

  • February 15 (for the academic year or fall semester)
  • November 15 (for spring semester)
  • April 15 (for the summer session)

For more information about financial aid, please contact