Online PhD in Nursing Science

An online PhD in nursing science is designed for individuals who are looking to serve as a leader in nursing and the health care industry. The degree program prepares students to exhibit an advanced understanding and skillset in the functional role of nurse scientist, using theory and research methods to apply and assess clinical teaching. The online option allows students access to their program through a number of distance technologies. Students and faculty members are able to communicate using videoconferencing, online discussion dialogues, and telephone conferencing, along with any other new technology. An online PhD in nursing science is top-tier as far as nursing careers go. By earning this degree, you will secure yourself a career in either health administration or clinical research – giving you the chance to be involved in advanced clinical practice. Some students use their degree as a way of breaking into nursing education, boosting nursing faculties across the country. This level of education can qualify an individual for a higher paying position than they previously or presently hold, as nursing science graduates take preference over nurse practitioners and nursing managers.

About Online PhD Programs in Nursing Science

With an online PhD program in nursing science, students build upon their previous education in nursing, and emphasize the use of creativity in development as well as in the comprising of ideas that can positively impact nursing science. Through research, examination, and assessment, students are able to convert knowledge and data into feasible schemes by way of communication and clinical application. Looking at the classes you might take, University of Missouri – St. Louis offers courses such as those listed below:

Year One:

  • Nursing Science. This course examines the state of scientific knowledge in nursing research and advanced clinical practice.
  • Biostatistics. This course provides a comprehensive understanding of the general linear model.
  • Research Institute. This course provides an introduction to the process of becoming a research scientist.

Year Two:

  • Biostatistics 2. This course is designed to provide a conceptual understanding of the statistical procedures associated with power analysis and advanced statistical methods.
  • Research Institute 2. This course assists students to develop the skills necessary for the analysis of research findings, the identification of funding sources and the foundation of the grant writing process. Develop and present research findings in multiple venues.
  • Development of Nursing Science and Theory. This course focuses on the discipline of nursing, including the evolution of the state of the art theory development in nursing.

Year Three:

  • Research Institute 3. This course addresses the role of the PhD prepared nurse in the roles of scientist, leader, academician, and policy maker.
  • Advanced Nursing Theory Development and Validation. This course focuses on a systematic study of contemporary nursing and related theories, on knowledge development, and on the application of major theory construction and validation strategies to specific nursing phenomena of interest.
  • Doctoral Seminar. Presentation and discussion of pertinent methodological and clinical issues related to doctoral research.

For your dissertation, strive to choose a relevant topic that you would be able to perform original research on. Choosing your dissertation topic can be a challenge, but the most important thing to consider throughout this selection process is picking a subject that interests you. In an online PhD program in nursing science, a suitable topic could be – Application of the Transtheoretical Model of Change to the Smoking Behavior of Men During Their Partner's Pregnancy or The Transition Experience of the New Nurse Graduate: The First Year In Practice.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Nursing Science

In multiple online PhD programs in nursing science, students are able to choose between two primary focus areas – clinical nursing science and health systems. This type of flexibility is not found in every program across the country, but is a nice option for students looking to concentrate their talents on one major area within the field. For those looking to dig deeper into clinical nursing science, they will study the interrelationships of health promotion, the quality of life in chronic illness, and health behavior. Health Systems looks more at how to create structures as well as resources that allow people and communities to obtain optimal health. Having this type of choice is important, and keeps students hungry for knowledge. As far as the disadvantages of an online PhD in nursing science, students are advised to consider their future career plans prior to enrolling. These programs are primarily designed for those who are looking to become either a professor or instructor. The time and financial commitment may not be worthwhile for those who are simply looking to further their education. However, in some instances, a PhD in nursing science can move you ahead in your career, helping you obtain an upper-level position.

Application&Admission Requirements

For those looking enroll in an online PhD program in nursing science, applicants must meet the admissions criteria by their prospective school(s). This starts with having graduated from an accredited college or university with at least a grade point average of 3.2. Each student will be asked to provide two reference letters, their scores on the GRE, and a one to two page description of their research plans if accepted. Furthermore, students are asked to present their official transcript from every school they have previous attended. Some students may be invited to come in for an interview if the admissions office is looking to find out more information about a particular applicant. There is generally an application fee every applicant must pay, but this number varies from school to school. For those who are international students or do not claim English as their first language, these individuals may have to take additional tests such as the TOEFL exam.

Career Options&Job Market

Students who earn an online doctorate degree in nursing science have the opportunity to chase multiple careers in the healthcare industry. Some of these positions include being a nurse scientist, registered nurse, chief nursing officer, or biological technician, or, as well as such educational leadership roles as a university president or college instructor. Despite the fact the annual salary ranges heavily for these positions, they each offer graduates the opportunity to take on an upper-level position in their desired industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of health services managers is projected to grow "faster than the average". In 2008, the average annual salary for medical and health services managers was $80,240. Additionally, job opportunities for nursing science graduates are expected to be good – particularly for applicants who hold previous working experience as a nurse or educator. Here is where a PhD can separate a student from the 2.6 million registered nurses they are competing against.

Where to Find Information

  • Nursing Science Quarterly This link takes you to an online journal focusing on nursing theory development, nursing theory-based practice and quantitative and qualitative research related to existing nursing frameworks, contributed by the leading theorists, researchers and nurse executives.
  • University of Washington This link will offer you an in-depth look at the Nursing Science program for UW, which you can use to compare to any program you are considering enrolling in.
  • Texas Woman's University College of Nursing This link allows you to look closely at one of the strong nursing programs in the country.
  • LifeLine: Nursing Science Journal A student-run online newsletter featuring articles written by students in the Program in Nursing Science at the University of California, Irvine.

How to Get Funding

Whether it is a loan, scholarship, or PhD fellowship program, students have multiple choices to look over. Students have always been encouraged to apply for any form of federal aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. The next step for students to take is to complete the GSM Application for Federal Financial Aid. However, with the application process taking a considerable amount of time to complete, it is recommended that students look to see if they eligible before taking any action. Students can look over the requirements for every financial aid program by visiting the official website for each. Earning an online PhD in nursing science can become much more possible when you have the financial assistance needed to pay for your education. To address any further questions you may have, be sure to speak with your school's financial aid office.

  • Federal Direct Stafford Loan. By being awarded a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, you will have the opportunity to earn low-interest loans while pursuing your PhD. The maximum loan available is $20,500 per academic year, along with a fixed interest rate of 6.80%.
  • Federal Perkins Loan. For those who are full-time students, and are in significant need of financial aid, the Federal Perkins low-interest loan is something to consider – offering an average of $3,500 per academic year – with a fixed interest rate at 5.0%.
  • Campus-Based Aid. The financial aid office of a college or university handles all Campus-Based programs. Almost every institution in the United States actively participates in all of the programs made available by the federal government.

Essential Advice

  • Strive to grab working experience before another degree – Once you have earned your bachelor’s degree, you may be tempted to immediately seek out further knowledge on the subject you are studying. However, jumping into an online PhD program right away is a move that should be avoided. It is important to reflect on the skills and knowledge that you have just learned and strive to gain work experience. By doing so, you are able to discover what your strengths and weaknesses are, and you will know where you need to improve .
  • Affordable – Online doctoral programs in nursing science serve a great purpose of educating students, but not everyone is able to afford an online PhD program. Prior to jumping into any application process, you should look to see if you are eligible for some form of financial aid.
  • Dig deep for information – Although a PhD can be a valuable tool for any individual, it may not be necessary for those who do not need it to further their careers. In an attempt to learn more about the degree you are considering, reach out to someone who is currently enrolled in an online doctoral program in nursing science and pick their brain on the program and its benefits.