Many nurses, after working at the bedside, seek different ways to utilize their knowledge and clinical skills. Some prefer to advance their career and become nurse practitioners and earn either an MSN or DNP. However, some nurses hope to take their knowledge and apply it to something a bit different than a clinical focus – research and education. Ph.D. prepared nursing helps address critical issues in healthcare and even helps shape policies and legislation.

Nursing knowledge in healthcare and research is essential. Nurses provide a unique perspective and use a patient-centered approach to various issues in healthcare. This perspective helps to benefit both patients and organizations and improves care outcomes. Since many who choose the Ph.D. in a nursing pathway do so to become educators, this degree type paves the way to shape the next generation of nurses.

Already have a nursing degree and looking to advance your education to a Ph.D. in Nursing? Bridge programs such as the BSN to Ph.D., MSN to Ph.D., and DNP to Ph.D. are available.

2024 - Best Ph.D. in Nursing Programs

For highly skilled and ambitious nurses, the Ph.D. in Nursing pathway is the pinnacle of registered nursing education. Many RNs feel called to research and academia, and a Ph.D. can provide ample opportunities for success in these areas. There are few things more important than choosing the right Ph.D. program, which is why we have ranked the top online/hybrid Ph.D. in Nursing programs available across the country. Check out our rankings below and take the first step toward a high-level nursing career.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, visit our Methodology Page (


Texas Woman's University

Denton, TX

At Texas Woman's University in Houston, Ph.D. students become experts in nursing theory development and research methods as they embark on a journey to bolster the future of nursing. Many graduates of the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program go on to teach at the college level while others pursue a career in nursing administration or research.

PhD Programs

Recipient of Quality Matters Implementation Plan award.
Offering hybrid or online-only degree completion options.
The historical women’s college does admit men.


Endicott College

Beverly, MA

Through research, innovation, and collaboration, the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree at Endicott College enables nurses to become leaders both in and outside the world of academia. The hybrid program offers flexible weekend and evening in-person and online course delivery options.

PhD Programs
  • A private college located outside of Boston.
  • Includes a loan option for those looking to teach.
  • Very low faculty-to-student ratios for each cohort.

Mercer University

Macon, GA

Nurses can transition their bedside and clinical experiences into scholarship when they decide to earn their Ph.D. at Mercer University. The online terminal degree readies nurses for careers in education and research to advance the profession of nursing.

PhD Programs
  • A dissertation is required to complete the degree.
  • The program receives funding via the Nurse Faculty Loan Program.
  • A private research university in Macon, Georgia.

University of Central Florida

Orlando, FL

Nurses can perform different professional roles aside from caring for patients in a hospital or clinical setting. From conducting original research to teaching, nurses can pursue their Ph.D. in Nursing online at the University of Central Florida. Students learn to contribute to the discipline as an academic.

PhD Programs

• Only open to RNs licensed in Florida.
• Students complete Dissertation / Doctoral Research.
• One of the first universities to offer a nursing Ph.D.


William Carey University

Hattiesburg, MS

William Carey University offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Education Program (DNP to PhD). Nurses who think they’d like to make a career educating the next generation of healthcare professionals can enroll in this online program. Nurses can continue to work while earning this terminal degree.

PhD Programs
  • Can be completed in 2-3 years.
  • There are four weekend meetings per year (two synchronous online and two in-person)
  • A private Christian university located in Hattiesburg, MS.

Which Ph.D. in Nursing Program is Right for Me?

Selecting a Ph.D. program can be challenging. Each nurse has individual work and family demands, so the school needs to fit into the nurse’s busy life. There are a few considerations nurses should take into account when looking for a Ph.D. program:

  • Online Learning vs. Classroom Learning – Selecting an online program vs. an on-campus program is a personal choice. While some prefer the convenience and flexibility of online learning, some enjoy face-to-face, interactive learning, along with peer support. Some programs are 100% online, and some require minimal campus visits (often referred to as "hybrid" programs). Whichever the learning method, nurses should choose the one right for them.
  • Accreditation – National accreditation is critical when selecting a Ph.D. program. Proper accreditation ensures the school meets strict quality standards and allows the nurse to pursue future degree options. Also, nursing boards in some states require national (as opposed to local) accreditation for licensure. Students should look for accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) when researching schools.
  • Program History – Some nursing programs, including online programs, are popping up left and right. Students should be cautious and do their research when looking at Ph.D. programs. Schools that have been around a long time tend to be more reputable, and they also likely have enough data (for example, graduation rates) that the student can use to measure the program’s success.
  • Program Cost – Cost is a significant factor when deciding to return to school. Most websites are transparent with the tuition cost and associated expenses, so there won't be any surprises. Many schools offer financial aid options as well as the choice to attend part-time. However, students should also prepare for additional expenses such as immunization requirements, technology equipment requirements, supplies, parking fees, and graduation or university fees.
  • Residency/Internship Requirements – Studying course material is one part of Ph.D. programs, but nurses must also apply what they’ve learned to real life. Nurses should make sure that whichever program they choose, they are able to meet the practicum requirements. Ensuring they have resources and mentors in the community and surrounding organizations is crucial to the student's success.

RELATED: Dual DNP/PhD Programs

On-Campus vs. Online PhD in Nursing Programs

As stated earlier, choosing an online program vs. an on-campus depends on the needs of the student. Below are some advantages of both online and on-campus programs:

Online Ph.D. Nursing Program Advantages

  • Flexible schedule – Nurses can work around the clock. They may work weekends, holidays, swing shifts, and graveyard shifts. For this reason, a school must be flexible. Online programs allow nurses to study course material when they can as well as learn at their own pace. They can submit assignments and correspond with instructors and peers electronically, not having to wait until the class or the instructor's office hours.
  • Tuition and Costs – An advantage of online Ph.D. programs is cost. In some cases, students may select a school that is based outside their state. Schools sometimes don't charge different tuition rates for out-of-state students in their online programs, which is a significant cost-saver and allows more education options. Students are encouraged to research this thoroughly, however.
  • Accessibility and Convenience – As stated earlier, online programs are far more flexible than campus programs. At the touch of a button, students can access learning materials, peers, instructors, and online learning modules. They can study in the middle of the night, on holidays, on weekends, or whenever it's convenient. They are not limited to certain hours on certain days. Plus, they don’t need to waste time commuting, parking, and walking to class.
  • Fast Completion – Many online programs boast rapid completion. While students need to be wary of schools that advertise this (specific curricula must be completed), some legitimate online programs do allow students to finish faster than traditional, campus programs. This is because students can study at their own pace. If eager to start out in their new role, online learning might be the way to go.

On-Campus Ph.D. in Nursing Program Advantages

While more and more online nursing programs are popping up, some students still prefer traditional campus learning. Some advantages of on-campus education include:

  • The ability to interact face-to-face with peers and instructors
  • Not having to worry about technology issues
  • Not needing to spend extra money on electronic or technological supplies
  • Accreditation is usually not a concern

Admission Requirements & Curriculum

While admission requirements for a Ph.D. in nursing program may vary between schools, prospective students may be required to:

  • Hold a current, unencumbered RN/APRN license
  • Hold a BSN or MSN from an accredited university (some schools allow admission for BSN nurses)
  • Have completed a specific number of clinical hours
  • Provide transcripts from all schools attended
  • Have a GPA of 3.5 or higher (specific GPA requirements may vary between schools)
  • Submit a written goal statement to include research career goals
  • Interview with faculty

Ph.D. in Nursing Course Topics

Since the Ph.D. in nursing is more research and education-focused, the course topics differ from that of a more clinically-focused degree program (such as the DNP). Course topics may include:

  • Qualitative and quantitative research
  • Scientific inquiry
  • Synthesis and application of nursing knowledge
  • Research development
  • Statistics
  • Chronic illness and care systems

Program Length

The didactic/clinical portion of the Ph.D. program can take around 1-3 years to complete depending on if the nurse starts from a BSN or MSN. The first year is reserved for core courses, while the following year and beyond focus on electives specific to the student's goals and the completion of a teaching practicum. Students are also required to complete a dissertation as well; the dissertation period may take another 1-3 years to complete, depending on the student’s area of focus.

Which Nursing Careers Require a Ph.D.?

While some nurses choose to earn a Ph.D. to fulfill their educational goals, sometimes it is a requirement for certain positions. Examples include:

Some may even consider a Post-Doctoral Nursing Fellowship Program.

List of Ph.D. in Nursing Programs

Popular with nurses interested in teaching and research, Ph.D. nursing programs have grown in popularity and are available at schools across the United States. Below you will find a state-by-state guide on available Ph.D. in nursing programs.

Jump to Your State Listings


School of Nursing
1720 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294
(205) 975-7529


550 N 3rd St
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 496-2644

PhD Programs
1305 N. Martin | PO Box 210203
Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 626-6154


PhD Programs
4301 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
(501) 686-7000


PhD Programs
606 E Huntington Dr
Monrovia, CA 91016
(626) 815-6302

11262 Campus St.
Loma Linda, CA 92350
(909) 558-4923

2570 48th St.
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2145

Factor Bldg, 700 Tiverton Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90095
(310) 825-9193

2 Koret Way
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-1435

106 Berk Hall
Irvine, CA 92697-3959
(949) 824-1514


12950 E. Montview Boulevard
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-2152

PhD Programs
501 20 ST.
Greeley, CO 80639
(970) 351-1890


231 Glenbrook Rd
Storrs, CT 06269
(860) 486-3716

PhD Programs
400 West Campus Drive
Orange, CT 06477
(203) 785-2389


25 North College
Newark, DE 19716
(302) 831-1253


11300 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami Shores, FL 33161-6695
(305) 899-3379

PhD Programs
Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-7703

12201 Research Parkway, Suite 300
Orlando, FL 32826
(407) 823-2744

1225 Center Dr
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-3261

P.O. Box 248153
Coral Gables, FL 33124
(305) 284-3666

12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd MDC Box 22
Tampa, FL 33612
(813) 974-2191


1120 15th Street
Augusta, GA 30912
(706) 721-9767

1520 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-7980

33 Gilmer St SE
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 413-2000

1501 Mercer University Drive
Macon, GA 31207
(180) 063-7237 x8


PhD Programs
2528 McCarthy Mall, Webster Hall
Honolulu, HI 96822
(202) 887-6791


921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, ID 83209
(208) 282-2102


PhD Programs
Campus Box 4040
Normal, IL 61790
(309) 438-2583

PhD Programs
1032 W. Sheridan Rd
Chicago, IL 60660
(773) 274-3000

PhD Programs
600 S. Paulina St
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-7100

PhD Programs
845 South Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 996-7800


PhD Programs
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 274-5555

PhD Programs
610 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907
(765) 494-4600


50 Newton Road
Iowa City, IA 52242
(319) 335-7018


PhD Programs
1246 West Campus Road Room 153A
Lawrence, KS 66045
(785) 864-6414


2301 S 3rd St
Louisville, KY 40292
(502) 852-5555


801 Harding Blvd
Baton Rouge, LA 70807
(225) 771-4500


School of Nursing
525 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
(410) 955-4766


PhD Programs
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 552-4250

PhD Programs
376 Hale Street
Beverly, MA 01915
(197) 892-7058 x5

PhD Programs
360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2000

PhD Programs
651 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-2703

PhD Programs
100 William T. Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
(617) 287-5000

113 Wilder Street- Suite 200
Lowell, MA 01854
(978) 934-4525

PhD Programs
55 Lake Avenue
North Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-3488


PhD Programs
220 Trowbridge Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 355-1855

PhD Programs
433 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309
(248) 370-4253

PhD Programs
426 N. Ingalls St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
(734) 763-5985

PhD Programs
5557 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 577-4082


PhD Programs
308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 624-9600


PhD Programs
2500 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216
(601) 984-1000

710 William Carey Parkway
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
(601) 318-6051


4483 Duncan Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 454-7055

PhD Programs
136 Clark Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-2491

PhD Programs
5100 Rockhill Rd
Kansas City, MO 64110
(816) 235-1000

PhD Programs
1 University Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63121
(314) 516-5000

S235 School of Nursing
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-0277


PhD Programs
College of Nursing
42nd and Emile
Omaha, NE 68198
(402) 559-4000


New Jersey

PhD Programs
180 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 972-4307

PhD Programs
College of Nursing
400 South Orange Ave.
South Orange, NJ 07079
(973) 761-9000

New Mexico

PhD Programs
2502 Marble Ave NE
Albuquerque, NM 87131
(505) 272-0858

New York

PhD Programs
One South Ave, P.O. Box 701
Garden City, NY 11530
(800) 233-5744

PhD Programs
4400 Vestal Parkway East
Binghamton, NY 13902
(607) 777-2000

PhD Programs
617 W 168th St
New York, NY 10032
(212) 305-5756

PhD Programs
433 First Avenue
New York, NY 10010
(212) 998-5300

861 Bedford Rd
Pleasantville, NY 10570
(914) 773-3200

School of Nursing
101 Nicolls Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
(631) 689-8333

3435 Main St. Wende Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214
(716) 645-2000

North Carolina

PhD Programs
307 Trent Drive
Durham, NC 27710
(919) 684-3786

East Fifth Street
Greenville, NC 27858
(252) 328-6131

Carrington Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
(919) 962-2211

1400 Spring Garden Street
Greensboro, NC 27412
(336) 334-5000

North Dakota

PhD Programs
430 Oxford St Stop 9025
Grand Forks, ND 58202
(701) 777-4174


10900 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 368-2000

PhD Programs
1375 University Esplanade
Kent, OH 44242
(330) 672-7930

1585 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-4041

PhD Programs
College of Nursing
2600 Clifton Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45220
(151) 355-8550 x0


PhD Programs
2501 N Blackwelder
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
(405) 208-5000

PhD Programs
1100 N Stonewall Ave
Oklahoma City, OK 73117
(405) 325-0311


PhD Programs
3147 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd
Portland, OR 97239
(503) 494-8311


1601 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 895-2000

3500 Victoria Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
(412) 624-4586

Rhode Island

PhD Programs
45 Upper College Rd
Kingston, RI 02881
(401) 874-1000

South Carolina

PhD Programs
171 Ashley Avenue
Charleston, SC 29425
(843) 792-8515

College of Nursing
1601 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208
(803) 777-7412


365 Stout Drive
Johnson City, TN 37614
(423) 439-4578

Loewenberg College of Nursing
101 Wilder Tower
Memphis, TN 38152
(190) 167-8200 x3


304 Administration Dr.
Denton, TX 76204
(940) 898-2000

301 University Blvd
Galveston, TX 77555
(409) 772-1011

PhD Programs
701 S Nedderman Dr
Arlington, TX 76019
(817) 272-2011

110 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 471-3434

PhD Programs
3900 University Blvd
Tyler, TX 75799
(903) 566-7000

6901 Bertner
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 500-2000


PhD Programs
10 South 2000 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
(801) 581-3414


PhD Programs
4400 University Dr
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 993-1000

PhD Programs
100 E Queen St
Hampton, VA 23668
(757) 727-5000

225 Jeanette Lancaster Way
Charlottesville, VA 22903-3388
(434) 924-0141

PhD Programs
1100 East Leigh Street
Richmond, VA 23298
(804) 828-0724


1410 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-2100

PhD Programs
14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave
Vancouver, WA 98686
(360) 546-9788

West Virginia

PhD Programs
School of Nursing
64 Medical Center Drive
Morgantown, WV 26506
(304) 293-4831


PhD Programs
1250 W Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(800) 222-6544

PhD Programs
702 West Johnson Street. Suite 1101
Madison, WI 53715
(608) 263-2400

PhD Programs
2442 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 229-1122

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.