School of Nursing

Doctor of Philosophy

Philosophy students collaborating at a table

"We are changing the course of nursing and health science. We want you to change it with us."

 Program at a glance

  • The Ph.D. is a research-intensive degree to prepare nurse scientists.
  • The Ph.D. can be completed in 3-7 years.
  • OHSU is a health sciences campus with access to laboratories, patient populations and research centers.
  • See meet our Ph.D. faculty and learn about faculty research expertise.

Program Mission:

Prepare graduates who

  • Contribute to the advancement of nursing science in a substantive area of research
  • Provide leadership in the discipline directed toward accessible, high-quality health care, excellent nursing education and translation of research into practice

Program Purpose: Prepares scientists who will be educated to develop new knowledge through research and assume positions of leadership in academic and health care settings.

At the end of the Ph.D. program the graduate will be able to:

  1. Appraise the philosophical underpinnings of science.
  2. Examine and synthesize existing knowledge and different scientific perspectives to advance nursing science.
  3. Design and conduct research to create new knowledge to advance the field of nursing and nursing science.
  4. Apply professional and research ethics in the conduct of research.
  5. Demonstrate leadership skill to conduct culturally competent scholarship with interprofessional teams.
  6. Disseminate research findings to scientific, professional, and lay audiences to influence nursing practice, policy, and profession.
  7. Interpret the components of scholarship to research, teaching, and services to advance nursing discipline.
  8. Demonstrate skills to educate and mentor the next generation of nursing scholars.

Dual Admission Option

Accelerated Bachelor's to Ph.D.
Earn your bachelor of science with a major in nursing degree in 15 months and transition directly to the Ph.D. in nursing program.

Featured news

Dr. Roberts Davis

Teaching and researching: A way to make big impacts
Sex and gender differences in heart failure

Mary Roberts Davis worked as a critical care nurse for nearly 20 years before pursuing her Ph.D. at OHSU. After graduating, she became an assistant professor for the undergraduate program on the Portland campus of the OHSU School of Nursing.

She said, “When I worked as a nurse, I saw a lot of women come in with cardiovascular problems. They had reported their symptoms to the ER or a doctor, but the symptoms were often not recognized as being related to their hearts, and by the time they came in they were very sick.” Davis knew this needed to change at the policy level and in practice. She wanted to be a part of the transformation in this area. Exploring the gynecologic system’s role in the symptoms and development of cardiovascular disease is an important component of Dr. Davis's work.

One way she can devote time and effort to seeking solutions to this issue is through a BIRCWH-K12 grant (Building Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration in Women’s Health) funded by the NIH. The BIRCWH is an NIH-funded mentored career development award for junior faculty interested in women’s health and sex differences research. OHSU is one of 19 BIRCWH programs in the United States, and Mary is one of four current OHSU scholars and one of eighty-two current recipients in the U.S. to obtain this award.

This award will support Dr. Roberts Davis’s research on sex and gender differences in heart failure, including exploring how the gynecologic system history plays into the presentation of heart failure symptoms of people with a uterus. More specifically, Dr. Roberts Davis’s BIRCWH study examines sex and gender differences in symptoms and healthcare utilization prior to a diagnosis of symptomatic heart failure. The BIRCWH award supports Mary’s research efforts while connecting her with a robust mentor team from across OHSU and other institutions.

Dr. Roberts Davis decided to pursue her Ph.D. because it is “a great opportunity for nurses to transition away from the bedside but still make a big impact on patient, policy and the community.” Dr. Roberts Davis teaches Clinical Pharmacology in the Accelerated Baccalaureate program in addition to her research. 

Course Catalog

For all program specifics, Student Learning Outcomes and detailed school information, check out the School of Nursing Catalog/Student Handbook.

Ph.D faculty