Doctor of Philosophy 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 scholarly research, creating new nursing frameworks or theories, leading health systems changes, and impacting health care policy.

Emory University’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing is a world leader in innovative research. Consistently ranked in the top five 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 grant funding. These research 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.

Our school is located on the Emory Campus across the street from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and across the patio from Rollins School of Public Health. Atlanta, Georgia has a lot to offer to students. Often called the city in the forest, Atlanta has many activities like beautiful Piedmont Park, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, the High Museum of Art, and many music and sports events.


Virtual Open House Events

Please join us for upcoming virtual open house events to receive more information and speak with the members of the program office and faculty!

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021 Time: 6 - 7 pm
  • Tuesday, October 19, 2021 Time: 6- 7 pm
  • Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Time: 6 - 7 pm

To register for one of these events today.

If you have questions please contact Jean Harrell

Program Directors & Staff

Lisa M. Thompson, PhD, MS, RN, FNP, FAAN

Director of Graduate Studies

Kate A. Yeager, RN, PhD, FAAN
Assistant Director of Graduate Studies

Jean Harrell
Graduate Program Administrator



Teaching Assistant Training & Teaching Opportunity Program

The PhD program in nursing trains students to teach through the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity Program, or TATTO, program. This program provides a short course offered in late summer before the second year, followed by training and teaching assistantships and teaching associateships throughout the year.

The Jones Program in Ethics

The Jones Program in Ethics (JPE) at Emory University provides students with a foundational, cross-disciplinary introduction to the question of ethics for their research, training and careers. Along with nursing school seminars the Jones Program is a required, integral part of the curriculum in LGS doctoral programs: Learn more Link here:

T32 Nurse Scientist Training Opportunities

Our National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) funded training T32 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.

Admission Requirements

The deadline for applications to the PhD Program in Nursing is January 1, 2022 for Fall admission.

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 (through Laney Graduate School)
  • 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 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 advanced practice or nurse-midwifery certification must be eligible for licensure as RN in Georgia by the end of the first year of study.


Meet our Faculty

  • Biologic Mechanisms of Labor Dysfunction: A Systems Biology Approach (Nicole Carlson)
  • Creating a Faith-Based Toolbox for African Americans Living with Moderate and Severe Dementia (Fayron Epps)
  • Aerobic exercise to improve cognitive abilities among adults living with HIV/AIDS (Rebecca Gary/Drenna Waldrop)
  • Savvy Caregiver Program for Caregivers of Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease (Kenneth Hepburn)
  • Occupational Heat Exposure and Renal Dysfunction (Linda McCauley; Vicki Hertzberg)
  • Machine Learning for Atrial Fibrillation Ablation (Vicki Hertzberg)
  • Enhance breast cancer survivorship of Asian Americans (Eun-Ok Im)
  • Center for the Study of Symptom Science, Metabolomics and Multiple Chronic Conditions; Occupational Heat Exposure and Renal Dysfunction (Linda McCauley)
  • Jim Crow in the Asylum: Psychiatry and Civil Rights in the American South (Kylie Smith)
  • An Effectiveness-Implementation Trial of SPIRIT in ESRD (Mi-Kyung Song)
  • Combustion of plastic waste and human health effects in Guatemala (Lisa Thompson)
  • Inflammation and Renin-Angiotensin System Dysfunction as risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease (Whitney Wharton)
  • Cognitive Dysfunction in Atrial Fibrillation (Kathy Wood)
  • Oral Chemotherapy Adherence Trajectories in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (Kate Yeager)

Meet our Students

Meet our current and past doctoral students and learn a little more about how they impact the world of nursing research.

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 (Alexis Dunn, NIH funded)
  • Brain-Gut Axis and Its Influence on Gestational Weight Gain (Sara Edwards, NIH funded)
  • Social Isolation and Retention in Care among Older Adults Living with HIV/AIDs (Moka Yoo-Jeong)
  • PBDE Exposure, Thyroid Disruption, and Antenatal Depression in African American Women (Abby Mutic)
  • Diabetes Management and Self-Care among Emerging Adults: Emerging Adult and Diabetes Care Provider Perceptions of Self-Management Influences, Visit Interaction, and a Tool to Enhance Diabetes Care (Rachel Wolf)
  • Occupational and Health Histories of Undocumented Immigrants Receiving Frequent, Emergent-Only Hemodialysis Dissertation (Daniel Smith)
  • Staying Alive in Little Five: Perceptions of Service Industry Workers Who Encounter an Opioid Overdose in Little Five Points, Atlanta (Sarah Febres-Cordero)

A full list of student accomplishments is updated regularly (PDF).

Where Do Our Graduates Work?

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
  • Emory University
  • Georgia State University
  • University of Hawai`i at Mānoa
  • University of Botswana, Gaborone

Tuition and Awards

Full-Tuition Scholarships

All full-time admitted students are granted full tuition waiver and receive an annual stipend over 12 months in exchange for teaching and research services. The stipend is drawn from a combination of faculty advisor grant support, school support and student research grants received during the program. Stipends are renewed each year, contingent upon satisfactory academic and research 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 stipend and research support funding during the doctoral program. Students also receive Professional Development Support Funds from Laney Graduate School to attend conferences and support research-related expenses.

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.

The Laney Graduate School also offers scholarships to PhD students.

In the News

Emory Nursing magazine cover

Ahead of the Curve

More than twenty years ago, Emory’s School of Nursing leadership had the foresight to create a doctoral program that would build the ranks of nurse scientists and help address the nursing shortage and the dearth of faculty needed to teach new generations. The program and its students were featured in Emory Nursing magazine.

PhD Program Newsletter

Contact Us

Lisa M. Thompson, PhD, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, FAAN
Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies
Fellow, Global Health Institute
Phone: 404-727-2481

Jean Harrell
PhD Graduate Program Administrator
Phone: 404-727-6923‍

Mission / Vision / Values

Our Mission
Educate visionary nurse leaders and scholars
Generate and apply knowledge
Transform nursing, health, and systems of health care within the local and global community
our Vision
To promote optimal health and wellness for all by creating, changing, and leading through innovative teaching, discovery, nursing practice, and social action in our local and global communities.
Our Values
To promote optimal health and wellness for all by creating, changing, and leading through innovative teaching, discovery, nursing practice, and social action in our local and global communities.
We believe the only way forward is to share what we know and work together, across communities, perspectives, and cultures.
Social Responsibility
We treat all with respect and dignity and actively engage with others to positively influence health and social justice for all humans.
We use our knowledge and rigor to create the world’s newest and most exciting approaches to health education and health care.
We stand as an example, shaping nursing, health care, and our school through vision, courage, and optimism.