Wilkes University

Ph.D. in Nursing

Ph.D. in Nursing

Lead as a scholar and educator.

Nurses must be constantly prepared to adapt to the ever-evolving health care industry. Now more than ever there's a critical demand for knowledgeable and qualified nurse educators and scholars. You can play a crucial role in strengthening the future generations of highly skilled nurses.

Our online Ph.D. in Nursing program prepares you as a nurse scientist to advance your health care career in academia or clinical practice. In our program, you'll receive early engagement with a dissertation chairperson, giving you the guidance you need from start to finish. And our online program is designed for working professionals, providing you with a structured balance between family, career, and continuing your education.

Program Highlights

  • Earn your Ph.D. online with just one, 2-day campus residency
  • Complete the 47-credit program in as little as three years with continuous enrollment
  • Collaborate with faculty and fellow students with diverse nursing experiences and backgrounds

In addition to rigorous academics, Wilkes University is committed to broadening access to education. Our net tuition cost for nursing programs is among the most competitive for regionally accredited universities.

Learn how to:

  • Synthesize empirical and theoretical literature from nursing and other disciplines regarding nursing education and clinical practice
  • Design a nursing research study that examines, refines, and advances nursing science and theory to transform nursing education and clinical practice
  • Critically evaluate research findings as applicable to nursing science
  • Contribute to the field of nursing science through the dissemination of research findings

View admissions requirements


The program is designed specifically for students interested in pursuing academic education or research roles within health care agencies. The program requires 47 credits*. All courses are 12 weeks in length except where noted.

  • NSG 615 (1) | Introductory Seminar (on-site, 2 day weekend seminar)
    • This seminar is a weekend residency that focuses on the dissertation process and student orientation to the university and Ph.D. program.
    • Course Prerequisites: Doctoral Standing
  • NSG 616 (3) | Philosophy of Science
    • The focus of this course is to prepare doctoral students to examine the development and organization of nursing knowledge. Philosophies of science, epistemologies and their influence on knowledge development in the discipline of nursing, and strategies for theory development and analysis are explored.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 615
  • NSG 617 (3) | Theory in Nursing Education
    • This course acquaints students with philosophical issues and nursing theories relevant to nursing education. An overview of central metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical system, considering specific issues in the philosophies of science and ethics that are of particular focus in nursing education.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 615
  • NSG 618 (3) | Health Care Issues and Policies
    • The nurse researcher contributes towards the development of healthcare policy and politics in local, state, national, and global healthcare markets. Application and analysis of evidence based research on policy and politics will impact population health outcomes and the future of nursing education, research, and practice.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 615
  • NSG 619 (3) | Research Process
    • This course introduces students to the seven steps of the research process, focusing on the development of researchable problems, literature review, and hypothesis/question generation within the context of quantitative and qualitative research designs and methods.
  • NSG 620 (3) | Seminar I
    • This course builds on the knowledge of philosophy, theory, and research process. The student, in consultation with his/her chairperson, begins the dissertation process.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 616, 617, 619
  • NSG 621 (3) | Statistics
    • This course applies knowledge of statistical methods used in nursing research. Topics include parametric and non-parametric methods of data analysis and model building. Alternate approaches to analysis of data are considered.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 619
  • NSG 622 (3) | Writing for Grants and Publication
    • This course explores the current state of nursing research and the major research and funding trends in nursing and health care. Students will be engaged in preparing a fundable grant application for dissertation study and strategies used to publish research funding.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 615
  • NSG 623 (3) | Quantitative Research and Analysis I
    • This course focuses on research methodologies that guide the design of studies which collect and analyze quantitative data. The focus will be on writing quantitative research questions and selecting appropriate research methodologies. Focus is placed on descriptive, correlational, experimental and quasiexperimental designs as applied to nursing problems.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 619, 621
  • NSG 624 (3) | Qualitative Research and Analysis
    • The focus of this course is on qualitative inquiry as an approach to the discovery of knowledge in the science of nursing. This course will focus on the scientific underpinnings, methodologies, and data analysis techniques in qualitative research for advancing nursing knowledge.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 619, 621
  • NSG 625 (3) | Quantitative Research and Analysis II
    • This course builds on the understanding of quantitative designs in nursing and health related topics. The course provides the opportunity for applied practice in quantitative methods using common statistical tests and SPSS.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 623
  • NSG 626 (3) | Measurement and Data Collection
    • This course provides an overview of principles of measurement, instrument design, and data collection methods. Methods to critically evaluate and select theoretically congruent instruments are explored.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 621
  • NSG 627 (3) | Seminar II
    • The student, in consultation with his/her chairperson, writes a Literature Review and identifies a Mode of Inquiry.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 615, 616, 617, 618, 619, 620, 621, 622, 623, 624, 625, 626
  • NSG 628 (1) | D. Competency
    • The comprehensive written examination is a series of questions that focus on the synthesis and integration of knowledge learned during doctoral coursework. Students demonstrate their ability and preparedness to move forward in the doctoral research program.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 627 and authorization from student’s Chair to register for comprehensive examination
  • NSG 629 (3) | Dissertation Seminar
    • This course focuses on completion of the first three chapters of the dissertation and submission of the proposal to the IRB committee(s) for approval. Students will then undertake proposal defense before continuing into dissertation implementation.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 628
  • NSG 630 (3) | Dissertation Implementation I
    • This course focuses on implementation of the student’s doctoral research study. After completion of the first three chapters, successful proposal defense, and IRB approval, the student, under guidance from their chair, begins the data collection process.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 629
  • NSG 631 (3) | Dissertation Implementation II
    • This course continues with the implementation of the dissertation. Students complete data collection and analysis thus, finalizing chapters 4 and 5 and satisfying final defense.
    • Course Prerequisites: NSG 630

*You may be required to take up to 6 credits additional coursework in preparation for the dissertation topic chosen.

For More Information:

Anthony Roma
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions
(570) 574-4886

The baccalaureate degree in nursing/master's degree in nursing/Doctor of Nursing Practice/, and post graduate APRN certificate programs at Wilkes University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.ccneaccreditation.org).