Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

PhD Program

A PhD in nursing allows you to be at the forefront of advancing nursing science. With a PhD, nurses can contribute to the profession through: research, creating new nursing frameworks or theories, leading systems changes, and impacting policy. 

Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is a world leader in innovative research. Consistently ranked in the top five (5) nursing schools in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, our faculty and students have a proven track record in successfully competing for, and obtaining highly competitive research studies. These studies not only advance the careers of the students and faculty, but also make a significant impact on the health of patients, families, and communities.  

Research studies conducted by our faculty include: 

  • Aerobic exercise to improve cognitive abilities among adults living with HIV/AIDS (Rebecca Gary/Drenna Waldrop-Valverde) 
  • Maternal Stress and the Gut-Brain Axis in African American Infants (Elizabeth Corwin) 
  • Savvy Caregiver Program for Caregivers of Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease (Kenneth Hepburn) 
  • Epigenetic and Biobehavioral Determinants of Preterm Birth Outcomes in Black Women (Anne Dunlop) 
  • Preparation for End-of-Life Decision Making in Mild Alzheimer’s Disease (Mi-Kyung Song) 

Student graduate’s dissertations include: 

  • How Does Prescription Drug spending Affect Medication Adherence, Acute Care Use, and Health Care Costs in Heart Failure? (Blake McGee) 
  • Risk Factors of recurrent Hospital Admissions for Young Adults Presenting with Hyperglycemic emergencies at an Inner City Hospital (M.K. Findley) 
  • Determinants of Preterm Infants’ Language Environment in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Lauren Zauche) 
  • Complement Activation and Perinatal Outcomes in African American Women (Alexi Dunn, NIH funded) 
  • Brain-Gu8t Axis and Its Influence on Gestational Weight Gain (Sara Edwards, NIH funded)

Here are just a few places our graduates work after completing the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program at Emory University:

  • Chief Nursing Officer with the Jamaican Ministry of Health
  • Epidemic Intelligence Service, Center for Disease Control
  • Pediatric Center for Wellness
  • RTI International – Division of Public Health and Clinical Research
  • The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Center for Pediatric Nursing Research and Evidence Based Practice
  • University of Botswana, Gaborone
  • UB School of Nursing

For admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program, Emory University seeks highly qualified applicants with the discipline and motivation to excel in interdisciplinary research. To be considered for admission, you must submit the following items: 

  • Completed application, click here.
  • Submission of a personal statement that describes the applicant's vision for what they want to study, who they want to study with, and why they want to study at Emory.
  • Research interests that match faculty expertise
  • Three (3) recommendations
  • Satisfactory GRE scores within five (5) years
  • Satisfactory TOEFL scores (if applicable)
  • World Education Services (WES) report (if applicable)
  • Transcripts issued by the registrar’s office from each post-secondary institution attended
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Emory University considers applicants who hold a BSN or MSN from a CCNE or NLNAC accredited program in the US or an international equivalent (Applicants holding a degree in a non-nursing related discipline will be considered on an individual basis)
  • Students entering with a BSN and intending to pursue NP or nurse-midwifery certification must be eligible for licensure as RN in Georgia by the end of the first year of study.

The deadline for applications to the PhD Program in Nursing is January 2, 2019 for Fall admission. Click here to begin the application process.

Nursing Courses

Nursing courses include NRSG 700 Evolution of Nursing Science, NRSG 705 Endogenous and Exogenous Determinants of Human Health, and NRSG 732 Theoretical and Scientific Basis for the Study of Clinical Phenomena. These courses provide the doctoral students with opportunities to understand the discipline and evolution of scholarship in nursing, critically evaluate and apply theories, critique and develop nursing phenomena related to clinical outcomes, and articulate theoretically sound and clinically relevant research questions.

Research Focus

The research focus consists of two statistical methods courses with BIOS 500 and BIOS 501 the courses usually taken by students.  Statistics courses are also available in psychology, sociology, biostatistics, political science, and other disciplines.  Also required are NRSG 710 Principles of Health Outcomes Research, NRSG 730 Measurement and Design in Clinical Research, and NRSG 734 Qualitative Methods.  This sequence provides students with skills to design, implement, and analyze nursing studies. 

Electives

Based on the student’s research interest, he/she will enroll in other related graduate elective courses which may be within the School of Nursing or other graduate programs such as the Departments of Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology, the Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and Epidemiology within the School of Public Health.  Students should work closely with their advisors to select electives that will provide them with a solid foundation in their area of interest.

Emory nursing faculty are committed to supporting the learning and discovery for our doctoral nursing students. The faculty is comprised of renowned scholars with a diverse range of expertise in areas such as:

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Caregiver Well-Being
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Gerontology and Elder Health
  • Global Health
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Maternal/Child Health
  • Mental Health
  • Rural Health
  • Sleep Research

Emory nursing faculty are known for providing exceptional research support to doctoral candidates. To learn more about our nursing faculty, visit our Faculty and Research page.


Meet the next generation of nurse scientists and educators who will change the face of health care on the Emory Nursing PhD Student Profiles page.

Full-Tuition Scholarships
All full-time admitted students are granted full tuition waiver and receive an annual stipend in exchange for teaching and research services. These awards are renewed each year, contingent upon satisfactory academic performance, for a total of four years. Faculty and students work together to identify and apply for National Institutes for Health's National Research Service Award and other fellowships for subsequent funding. 

T32 Predoctoral Fellowships
The School of Nursing offers a research training program for selected predoctoral students to focus on developing and testing interventions to improve health outcomes of persons with or at risk for chronic conditions such as cardiovascular and neurological diseases, cancer, diabetes mellitus, HIV-AIDS, and asthma/COPD. Individuals selected as fellows in this training program receive a monthly stipend, benefit assistance, assistance for professional travel, and modest funds to support research related expenses. Click here (http://www.nursing.emory.edu/centers-and-initiatives/t-32-grant.html) for more information about the School of Nursing's T32 predoctoral fellowships.

This National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) funded training program prepares pre-doctoral and post-doctoral nurse scientists to develop and test interventions to improve health outcomes of persons with or at risk for chronic conditions such as cardiovascular and neurological diseases, cancer, diabetes mellitus, HIV-AIDS, and asthma/COPD. Learn more about the T32 Nurse Training Grant

Not every state will allow a student to enroll in a distance education program or to participate in a clinical placement within the state. The states found on the link below are eligible states for distance-based education and clinical placement. For applicants not seeing their state on this list, please contact the Office of Admissions and Student Affairs. 

CLICK HERE to see a list of eligible states.  

Applicants to any of our distance-accessible courses/ programs that may lead to professional licensure or certification should become familiar with the regulations governing distance accessible programs in their state. Licensure requirements vary from state to state and by professional organization. Emory is working toward developing a database to provide this information. Prospective students residing in states other than Georgia should be aware of their state’s Board of Nursing and Department of Education rules and regulations.