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Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Nursing

Earn your PhD from the UK College of Nursing, which is ranked among the top eight programs in the U.S. by the National Research Council. This doctoral program prepares students to conduct clinical research that generates new knowledge applicable to nursing practice.

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At a Glance

Fall 2025

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Spring 2025

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Credits and Tuition Cost (2024-2025)

Credits Required: 52
Cost Per Credit: $753.00


Fully Online

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Doctorate in Nursing overview

Program format
Fully Online
Total credits
Total Credits
Program level
Degree awarded
Degree Awarded

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What You'll Learn


Graduates of the PhD program will be able to:

  •    Establish a pattern of productive scholarship and participation in team science that results in the dissemination of scholarly work to lay and professional audiences.
  •    Contribute to the development of science and the discipline of nursing through the ethical conduct of culturally competent, original clinical and translational research.
  •    Demonstrate an understanding of the evolving roles and professional responsibilities of a nurse scholar through participation in professional and interprofessional teams and organizations and the provision of professional and research leadership and mentorship.
  •    Use different science perspectives and an in-depth knowledge of a substantive area to develop and apply a conceptual knowledge base that enhances the link between theoretical advances, research and practice to improve health outcomes.

Course Examples

  • NUR 770 Philosophical Foundations of Nursing Science
  • NUR 765 Research Design & Methods: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Research
  • NUR 771 Research Experience
  • NUR 763 Foundations of Science and Knowledge Development in Nursing
  • NUR 772 Dissemination of Scholarship and Scientific Findings
  • NUR 794 Analysis, Interpretation and Presentation of Quantitative Data
  • NUR 779 PhD Seminars-Becoming a Scientist; Roles for the Nurse Scientist and Career Planning

How to Apply

Application Requirements

Standard graduate application requirements apply.

  •  Three references attesting to the potential of the student for a scholarly career; at least one should be from a doctorally-prepared nurse (only email addresses required, the system will request the reference be submitted)
  •    Example of scholarly written work that demonstrates excellent writing skills and the ability to communicate clearly and logically; examples could include a publication or class paper.
  •    Goal statement that addresses short- and long-term academic, research and career goals; a self-evaluation of motivation, initiative and the potential for independent learning with specific examples of each; and examples of leadership experiences where initiative and self-motivation were important to success.
  •    Two faculty interviews arranged as part of the admission process.

Admissions Criteria

Standard graduate admission requirements apply.  

  •  Undergraduate grade point average of 3.3 on a 4.0 grading scale
  •  A bachelor’s degree in nursing from an NLN- or CCNE-accredited program
  •  Licensure as a registered nurse in Kentucky or in the state where research will take place. International students do not need licensure as a registered nurse in Kentucky.

   Applicants who do not meet the above requirements are reviewed individually on a space-available basis.

Program Contact

Jean Edward
Program Director


Fall 2025

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Spring 2025

Application Due Date:
Start Date:

Distance Learning

Licensure & Authorization

Where you live matters when completing distance education activities. If you will live outside of Kentucky while completing your program, please check the Distance Learning Authorization & Licensure page to confirm that the program can be offered in your state or country, and if relevant, that it meets professional licensure requirements in your state. Please note: Admission and enrollment in a fully-online program can NOT lead to the issuance of a J-1 or F-1 student visa. 

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University of Kentucky has been approved to participate in State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

Student Support

Once you become a student, you will have access to a wide variety of academic support services to maximize your success. These services are available completely online to meet the needs of our online students.

Why UK Online


No test scores required.

Grad tuition cap

Save money by paying for only 9 standard credit hours per semester, even if you take more.

Flexible schedule

Fit learning into your busy schedule with no prescribed class times.
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