Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

PhD Program

Earn Your PhD in Nursing

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. Nursing science has a significant impact on the health of patients, families, and communities.

Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is a world leader in innovative research. Consistently ranked in the top 5 nursing schools in NIH funding, our faculty and students have a proven track record in successfully competing for and obtaining highly competitive research studies that not only advance the careers of 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)

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 prerequisite to interdisciplinary research.

  • Completed application
  • 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
  • 3 recommendations
  • Satisfactory GRE scores within 5 years
  • Satisfactory TOEFL scores (if applicable)
  • World Education Services (WES) report (if applicable)
  • 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.

The doctoral program consists of required courses in the sciences, research, and electives designed to give students grounding in their areas of research specialization. In addition to research coursework, the program provides mentored research practica during the first two years, prior to preparing for dissertation research.

The standard curriculum for students entering for all entering students, BSN or MSN, is described below:

Year 1
Students take a range of courses designed to give them a foundation in research methods and theory.

Year 2
Students take a mix of required courses and elective courses in their area of interest, and begin work with an advisor to develop a research project that will lead to a dissertation. Students will take required didactic and practical courses related to teaching  and mentored classroom teaching experience.

Years 3+
Students conduct research and complete their dissertations.

Emory nursing faculty are committed to supporting learning and discovery for 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 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

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 and those states identified, should contact their state’s Board of Nursing and Department of Education for specific rules and regulations pertaining to completion of clinical learning experiences in that state when enrolled in a distance-accessible program.