Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

School of Nursing

As a student in the PhD in Nursing program you will gain the knowledge and skills needed to identify and examine health problems that impact urban and underserved populations. Upon graduation, you will be able to assume the role of researcher, educator and scholar in a school of nursing, clinical agency, research center, or other setting. You will find yourself providing leadership for the profession and developing new knowledge that will influence nursing practice and improve health outcomes for all individuals.


Students will study with nursing faculty whose research programs address questions that extend across a broad health spectrum, from illness and self-management through health promotion. Collectively, the faculty has expertise in a variety of research interests, such as health issues of women, children and families, HIV, cancer, mental health, depression, substance abuse, and perinatal injury.

In addition, you will have the opportunity to study with faculty from other Northeastern departments. Our close ties with the University’s Institute on Urban Health Research and School of Social Science, Urban Affairs and Public Policy, as well as with the Center for Community Health Education, Research and Service and other organizations provide opportunities to work across disciplines and access populations and sites for your dissertation.

Northeastern Faculty ResearchBouvé Nursing Research

Sample Curriculum and Degree Requirements

Post-master’s students (also referred to as Advanced Entry)  will build on their prior degrees and clinical foundations by completing 48 semester hours, including the dissertation. Post-baccalaureate students will complete 60 semester hours, including the dissertation. On a full-time basis, students entering with a master’s degree can expect to commit a minimum of three years to completing the program; if entering with a bachelor’s degree, a minimum of four years. Both full- and part-time options are available to all students. Course descriptions can be found in the PhD Handbook.

8 courses, 3 credits each unless otherwise noted · 22 credits
NRSG 7700 Science of Nursing
NRSG 7705 Theoretical and Conceptual Foundations in Nursing Science
NRSG 7709 Qualitative Research Methods
NRSG 7712 Quantitative Research Methods
NRSG 7715 Measurement in Clinical Research
NRSG 7750 Health Care of Urban Populations
NRSG 7770 Research Colloquium (1 credit)
NRSG 7755 Intervention Research: Development, Implementation, and Evaluation

2 courses, 3 credits each · 6 credits
PHTH 5210 Biostatistics
PHTH 6210 Applied Regression Analysis

2 courses, 3 credits each · 6 credits
Cognates are courses that are taken outside the School of Nursing and should provide depth and breadth to the student’s phenomenon of interest. Examples of cognates include:

  • PPUA 7247 Doctoral Seminar in U.S. Health Policy and Management
  • STRT 6220 Strategic Management for Healthcare Organizations
  • PHTH 5232 Evaluating Quality of Care

2 courses, 1-4 credits each · 6 credits
NRSG 9984
Students are required to complete 6 credits of supervised research practicum with a seasoned researcher. The purpose of the practicum is to develop student research skills through engagement with an active research project. Research practicum activities vary and may include any or all of the following aspects of the research process:

  • Assisting/conducting critical literature reviews
  • Developing proposals
  • Developing human subjects guidelines
  • Recruiting and consenting participants
  • Collecting data

  • Managing data
  • Analyzing data
  • Developing presentations
  • Writing scholarly research paper(s)

In addition to the courses listed above, post-baccalaureate students are required to take:
NRSG 5121 Epidemiology and Population Health (3 credits)
NRSG 7104 Foundations in Nursing Research (3 credits)
2 Elective Courses (6 credits)

Electives may be taken in nursing or in an area related to the student’s dissertation research, including appropriate methodology and statistics courses. Some examples of outside disciplines include:

  • Public Health
  • Exercise Science
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Healthcare Policy and Administration
  • Sociology

4 courses, 3 credits each unless otherwise noted · 8 credits total
NRSG 9845 Dissertation Seminar 1
NRSG 9846 Dissertation Seminar 2
NRSG 9990 Dissertation (1 credit repeatable course, to be taken twice)

Curriculum subject to change

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: April 15, 2016

If you are a registered nurse, you may enter the PhD program after completing a baccalaureate or a master’s degree. A degree in nursing is preferred.

Admissions Requirements Master’s Degree Entry Post-Bac Entry
Minimum GPA of 3.5 X X
Official transcript(s) of ALL college-level study X X
A minimum GRE of 300 or equivalent for the verbal and quantitative combined, within the last 5 years X X
three letters of recommendation that address your potential for a career in nursing research X X
satisfactory completion of an epidemiology course X  
satisfactory completion of a basic statistics course X X
essay describing your goals and reason for pursuing a PhD in nursing and your research area of interest X X
TOEFL scores (for international applicants) X X
ApplyCampusRN Scholarship InstructionsApplication Info

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a PhD and a DNP?

For a full description on the difference between the PhD and DNP, visit

Does the PhD program have pre-requisites?

Yes. Post-MSN students are expected to show satisfactory completion of an epidemiology course and a basic statistics course. Post-BSN students are expected to show satisfactory completion of a basic statistics course.

What is the cost of the program?

Doctoral students in the Nursing PhD program pay per credit taken. The latest cost per credit for Bouve College of Health Sciences programs can be found on Northeastern’s Student Financial Services webpage.

Is there financial support for students?

Enrolled students may apply for the Nurse Faculty Loan Program. A select number of graduate assistantships may be available for doctoral students, which covers tuition and includes a stipend in exchange for 20 hours of work each week.

Can I complete the program part-time?

Yes, part-time options are available for post-BSN and post-MSN students.

Is the GRE required?

Yes, the GRE is required. A minimum GRE score of 300 or equivalent for the verbal and quantitative combined within the last 5 years.

When are courses scheduled?

While the schedule may fluctuate depending on the semester, courses are generally scheduled during the day and evening 2 days a week.

Can I transfer courses into the program?

Students may be able to transfer in up to 3 courses (9 credits) that have not been previously used towards another degree and were taken at the graduate level. Students must receive approval from the program director prior to transferring courses. The transfer policy can be found in the PhD program handbook.

Are courses offered online?

No, all required courses are offered in-person at Northeastern University’s Boston campus. Some electives and cognates may be offered online or in a hybrid format.

Can I speak with faculty in the PhD program that may share my research interests?

Yes, we would be happy to put you in touch with our faculty. Please send your query to Alice Murphy, Administrative Coordinator, at, along with a description of your research interests so you can be appropriately matched.

Completed Dissertations


Esther Ampadu, PhD, RN
Impact of Nurse Faculty Job Stress on Job Satisfaction and Intent to Remain in Academia
Advisor: Michelle A. Beauchesne, DNSc, RN, CPNP, FAAN, FAANP, FNAP


Patricia Fleck, PhD, RN, NNP-BC
Mother’s Experience During Repair of Long-Gap Esophageal Atresia: A Phenomenological Inquiry
Advisor: Carole Kenner, PhD, RN, FAAN


Michelle Plasse, PhD, APRN
Impact of Authentic Leadership of Team Psychological Safety as Mediated by Relationship Quality
Advisor: Susan Jo Roberts, DNSc, ANP, FAAN


Monika Schuler, PhD, RN, CNE
Use of a Shadow: The Nurse Intervention in Early Baccalaureate Nursing Education and is Impact on Role Perspectives
Advisor: Susan Jo Roberts, DNSc, ANP, FAAN


Rosemary Taylor, PhD, RN
Nurses’ Perceptions of Horizontal Violence
Advisor: Susan Jo Roberts, DNSc, ANP, FAAN


Nadiah A. Baghdadi, PhD, MSN, RN
Cultural Competency of Nursing Faculty Teaching in Baccalaureate Nursing Programs in the U.S.
Advisor: Elizabeth Howard, PhD, RN, ANP

Kelley Strout

Kelley Strout, Ph.D., M.S., RN
Wellness and Cognition among Community Dwelling Older Adults
Advisor: Elizabeth Howard, Ph.D., RN, ANP

Brenda Douglas

Brenda Douglas, Ph.D., M.S., RN
Characteristics Predictive of Lifestyle Change among Older Adults with Hypertension
Advisor: Elizabeth Howard, Ph.D., RN, ANP

Ola Sukkariah

Ola Sukkarieh, Ph.D., M.P.H., B.S.N., RN
The Relationship among Diabetes Self-Care, Psychological Adjustment, Social Support and Glycemic Control in the Lebanese Population with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Advisor: Elizabeth Howard, Ph.D., RN, ANP

Mary Ann McDonnell,

Mary Ann McDonnell, Ph.D., RN, CS/NP
Race, Gender and Age Effects on the Assessment of Bipolar Disorder in Youth
Advisor: Carol Glod, Ph.D., RN, CS, FAAN

Contact Info

Alice Murphy

Alice Murphy
Administrative Coordinator, PhD and DNP Programs
School of Nursing
102 Robinson Hall

Barbara Guthrie

Barbara Guthrie
Program Director
102B Robinson