Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing

School of Nursing

About the Program

Are you a nurse looking to further your career and make an impact by advancing the field of nursing science?

A doctoral degree is the highest level of education that a nurse can pursue, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing can equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for an enriching career in nursing research, leadership, or academia. This research-focused degree prepares students to become highly skilled nurse scientists and nurse educators.

Bouvé’s PhD in nursing program helps nurse researchers to advance the science of nursing by developing expertise in both leadership and innovation.

March 15, 2022

Note: Application portal opens August, 2021


Graduates are expected to lead multidisciplinary research initiatives that advance nursing and health care through knowledge development and interdisciplinary scholarly inquiry. Students will work with nursing faculty whose research address innovative questions that seek to advance knowledge for improvement of care. In addition, students will have an opportunity to collaborate with faculty across the broader Northeastern University community in addition to Boston area research and healthcare institutions. This collaboration allows students to work across disciplines and to access populations and research sites essential to the success of their original dissertation study.


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.

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. Students must have a viable MA RN license. 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 previously listed 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.

4 courses, 3 credits each unless otherwise noted · 8 credits total
NRSG 9845 Dissertation Seminar 1
NRSG 9846 Dissertation Seminar 2
NRSG 9990/9991 Dissertation

Curriculum subject to change

Experiential Learning

As part of the curriculum, students are required to complete an experiential learning component referred to as the Research Practicum. The purpose of the practicum is to develop student research skills through engagement with an active research project. Students must have a current MA RN license.

See ‘Research Practicum’ in the Curriculum section for additional information.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadline: April 2, 2021

**Note: A Massachusetts RN license is required by matriculation in the PhD program in order to do the research practicum component of the program. 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
Current U.S. RN License* X X
Minimum GPA of 3.0 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, should be taken within the last five years X X
Three letters of recommendation that address your potential in a career in nursing research X X
Satisfactory completion of a basic statistics course X X
Personal Statement describing your goals, your reason for pursuing a PhD in nursing and your research area of interest X X
TOEFL scores or IELTS scores  (for international applicants) X X

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the PhD program have pre-requisites?

Yes. Both post-BSN and post-MSN students are expected to show satisfactory completion of a basic statistics course.

Note: Post-BSN students will be required to take an epidemiology course as part of their PhD coursework.

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.

What Is the Difference Between the DNP and PhD Programs?

Northeastern offers two different doctoral degrees in nursing: the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The PhD is a research-oriented degree, while the DNP is practice-oriented. Nurses interested in leadership might be interested in the DNP, whereas those interested in becoming nurse scientists would be a good fit for the PhD program.

Is there financial support for students?

A select number of competitive Graduate Assistantships are available for doctoral students. Graduate Assistantships cover tuition and include a stipend in exchange for working 20 hours/week as a research or teaching assistant.

Note: Graduate Assistantships are awarded each academic year. 

Can I complete the program part-time?

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

Is an RN license required?

Students must have a current Massachusetts Registered Nurse (RN) license in order to complete their research practicum in academic clinical institutions.

When are courses scheduled?

While the schedule may fluctuate depending on the semester, courses have generally been scheduled during the day and early evening, 1 or 2 days a week.

Can I transfer courses into the program?

Students may be able to transfer in up to 9 credits that have not been previously used towards another degree and were taken at the graduate level for a grade of B or better. Students must receive approval from the program director prior to transferring courses and must be enrolled in the program in order to begin the transfer process.

More information about Northeastern University’s transfer policy can be found in the Bouve Transfer Policy.

Are courses offered online?

During the COVID19 pandemic Northeastern is operating under the hybrid learning model NUFLEX.

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 along with a description of research interests so that you can be appropriately matched to:

Dr. Rhonda Board
Program Director
[email protected]
For more information about the program you may also email:

Kalyn Diaz
Program Administrative Coordinator
[email protected]

Recently Completed Dissertations

2019 & 2020

Jacqueline Brady Experiences of School Nurses Caring for Newly Arrived Immigrant and Refugee Children


Casey Garvey An Exploration of the Influence of Stigma and Trauma in the Illness Representations of those Veterans who Decided to Initiate Treatment for Hepatitis C Virus


Elizabeth Henderson Toward an Understanding of Suicidal Ideation Among Career Firefighters


Evin Howard Mold Exposure Levels in Inner-City Schools and Homes: An Examination of the Relationship Between Fungal Exposure and the Prevalence Rate of Asthmatic Symptoms Among Children Ages 5 to 15


Susan Maher New-onset Delirium among Elderly Acute Care Orthopedic Trauma Patients: Sleep Disturbance and Nutritional Status as Modifiable Risk Factors/i>

2017 & 2018

Anna Etchin Stress, Resilience and Reintigration Among Post-9/11 US Veterans: A Holistic Investigation


Bertha Lee Associations between Physical Activity and Positive Psychological Well-Being among U.S. Latino Older Adults


Kelly Gallant Caregiver Reactions in Pulmonary Hypertension


Lidia Lika Nusbaum Research Nurses’ Attitudes and Practices Regarding Communication of Risks and Benefits During the Research Informed Consent Process


Meredith Scannell Exploring the Issues of HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis and Sexually Assaulted Individuals


Rachel Pozzar Charting the Path from Diagnosis to Treatment: A Grounded Theory Study of Ovarian Cancer