Doctor of Philosophy Program Information

A Research-Focused Doctoral Degree

Dena, LaShawn, Kristin, Basilia


The OHSU School of Nursing offers an innovative mentored education leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. The recently redesigned curriculum emphasizes seminar courses focused on individual learning to nurture students in their progression from novice to scholar. Students who do not reside in Portland can enroll in courses and participate in mentoring relationships with faculty using distance-friendly technology, with occasional presence on the Portland campus.

Students usually complete PhD courses in 2 years. Although part-time study can be arranged, it is not recommended. In the first year, key courses in nursing knowledge and science are designed to be integrated, to develop scholarly thinking, and to develop each student's research focus. At the end of year 1, each student writes an integrative literature review in a focused research area. During the second year, each student acquires in-depth knowledge in either qualitative or quantitative methodology and engages in a year-long individualized mentored experience with a faculty research team. At the conclusion of year 2, students are ready to write a research proposal under the guidance of a mentor, usually the dissertation chair. Students then conduct an independent, but mentored, research study, write a dissertation, and earn the PhD degree. Two options are available for the dissertation: a traditional format or a manuscript-based integrated dissertation.

PhD coursework and mentored research opportunities are designed to provide a solid foundation in  nursing science, methodology, and scholarship while focusing on the development of each student's individual abilities and research interests. Benchmarks for success in the program--an integrative literature review (year 1) and a research proposal (year 2)—are intended to help students learn the real-world skills they will need as future scientists, faculty members, and nursing leaders.

Prospective students may enter study for the PhD with a prior master's degree in nursing or with a baccalaureate degree in nursing.   OHSU School of Nursing is a partner in NEXUS, a partnership of Schools of Nursing across the country that offer online doctoral courses to PhD students enrolled in partner universities. OHSU School of nursing participates in Western Regional Graduate Program so PhD students from WICHE states can pay resident tuition.

Programs of Study

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