Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

School of Nursing

PhD Program Virtual Open House 

Thursday February 22, 2018

12:00 PM EST and 4:00 PM EST
via BlueJeans Application

Please contact for instructions on how to access.

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, older adults and families, HIV, cancer, mental health, depression, substance use, sleep disorders, and use of technology in critical care.

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.

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. 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 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: March 15, 2018 

A Massachusetts RN license is required prior to matriculation in the PhD 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
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, with at least 2 recommendations from persons who have a PhD and can speak to the applicant’s ability to be successful in a PhD program 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 or IELTS scores  (for international applicants) X X

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. In the past, students have completed the following research practicum opportunities: research practicum opportunities:

  • Working with a research team at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to analyze the data from an underserved population in the Boston area who received vouchers to receive BRCA genetic testing.
  • Supporting researchers at the VA Hospital in Jamaica Plain on two research projects: a 12-week post-deployment veteran re-integration program, and a Translational Research project for veterans with TBI and Stress disorders.
  • Completing a literature review, manuscript development, and qualitative coding and interviewing at the VA Medical Center in Bedford, MA.
  • Supporting an NUCare pilot study on a wellness coaching program at the Boston Housing Authority.
  • Conducting a secondary analysis of qualitative interviews of patients with bladder cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
  • As a member of an interdisciplinary research team at Northeastern University’s Healthcare Systems Engineering
  • Completing a secondary analysis of a study at Northeastern University led by Dr. Rachel Jones on the effects of HIV interventions on the relationship between sex scripts and sexual behaviors.

Research Practicum opportunities are available at other Boston area academic health centers.

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

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?

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.

Is an RN license required?

Students must have a current Massachusetts Registered Nurse (RN) license.

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 Dr. Pam Burke, Program Director, at, along with a description of your research interests so you can be appropriately matched.

You may also email for more information about the program.

Completed Dissertations

Maram Pic

Maram Taher Alghabbashi, PhD
Toward an Understanding of Married Saudi Women’s Attitudes and Knowledge Concerning STIS: Mode of Transmission, Personal Risk, and Perception of Their Ability to Decrease Personal Risk
Advisor: Barbara J. Guthrie, RN, PhD, FAAN

Shirley Gilles Revised

Shirley Gillies, PhD, RN, FNP
Fear Avoidance Beliefs and Non-Specific Chronic Low Back Pain
Advisor: Elizabeth Howard, PhD, MSN, ACNP-BC

Kerry Nolte

Kerry Nolte, PhD, ARNP
Protecting Themselves: Toward an Understanding of Black Women‘s Approaches to Encouraging A Male Partner to Test for HIV
Advisor: Barbara J. Guthrie, RN, PhD, FAAN


Valeria Ramdin, PhD, APRN-BC, CNE
Socioecological Factors Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency: Implications for Adults with Obesity and Chronic Pain
Advisor: Elizabeth Howard, PhD, MSN, ACNP-BC


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

Fleck Revised

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

Ali Salinger, MS
Program Coordinator
SON Doctoral Programs


Pam Burke
Program Director
211 Robinson