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Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)

Emory’s PhD program in Nursing is committed to improving human health, the experience of health, and the provision of health care through the discovery of new knowledge and its translation into practice. The program is designed to prepare researchers who want to revolutionize health care and improve health outcomes for diverse populations.

Applications are due January 1, 2023.


Emory University’s School of Nursing PhD program is a full-time, intense learning experience designed to develop the next generation of researchers, a generation that will change the face of health care. Our program is built on the research strengths of our faculty in areas of the management of chronic illnesses, including Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias, cancer, renal and heart disease, mental health, palliative care and caregiver support. Our researchers work in the areas of strengthening health care systems, conducting computational and data science, and improving women’s health and the health of marginalized populations in the United States and globally. The program is interdisciplinary, drawing on the strengths of Emory University and its partners in areas as varied as the humanities, natural and social sciences, public health, engineering, law, and business. Learn more about us at various events during the year.

Virtual Open House Events

Click to watch recordings of our November virtual open house.

Directors and Staff

Lisa M. Thompson
Director of Graduate Studies

Kate A. Yeager
Assistant Director of Graduate Studies

Jean Harrell
Graduate Program Administrator



Teaching Assistant Training & Teaching Opportunity Program

The PhD 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 first year, training and teaching assistantships and teaching associateships.

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. It 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.

Mayra Sainz

... interests are partnering with community organizations to conduct research that explores, addresses, and evaluates programs that reduce health disparities in BIPOC communities. Specifically, she is interested in partnering with religious communities to improve the quality of life for Latinx families impacted by dementia.

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Admission Requirements

The deadline for applications to the PhD Program in Nursing is January 1, 2023 for Fall admission. Applications are submitted through Emory's Laney Graduate School (LGS). For more about LGS admissions, click here.

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
  • 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 certification must be eligible for licensure as RN in Georgia by the end of the first year of study.


Meet our Faculty

The faculty, staff and students of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing are dedicated to the values of scholarship, leadership and social responsibility in shaping our current and future work as members of a leading private school of nursing. They are known for providing exceptional research support to doctoral candidates. To learn more about our nursing faculty, visit our Faculty and Research page. Current research studies conducted by our faculty include:

  • Exploring the Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis in Psychoneurological Symptoms for Children with Solid Tumors (Jinbing Bai)
  • Biologic Mechanisms of Labor Dysfunction: A Systems Biology Approach (Nicole Carlson)
  • In-the-KNOW (Novel approaches to Optimizing Women's Health): A
    mobile application to optimize HIV prevention and sexual/reproductive
    health communication among Black women in the Southern
    United States (Rasheeta Chandler)
  • Nursing Resources and Health Care-Associated Infections: Measures of Hospital Performance (Cimiotti)
  • Center for the Study of Symptom Science, Metabolomics and Multiple Chronic Conditions (Sandra Dunbar)
  • 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)
  • Developing a Distance Education System to Train SAVVY Caregiver
    Program Interventionists: Extending Access and Capacity in
    Community-Based Delivery of Evidence-Based Interventions (Kenneth
  • Roybal Translational Research Center to Promote Context-Specific
    Caregiving Mastery for Informal Caregivers of Community-Dwelling
    Persons Living with Alzheimer's Disease or Related Disorders (Kenneth
  • Occupational Heat Exposure and Renal Dysfunction (Linda McCauley; Vicki Hertzberg)
  • SCH INT Chart Assessment for Real-time Investigation of Nursing and
    Guidance (Vicki Hertzberg)
  • Machine Learning for Atrial Fibrillation Ablation (Vicki Hertzberg)
  • Sensor Hardware and Intelligent Tools for Assessing the Health Effects
    of Heat Exposure (Vicki Hertzberg)
  • Integrate Dynamic System Model and Machine Learning for Calibration-
    Free Noninvasive ICP (Xiao Hu)
  • Learning to Predict Delayed Cerebral Ischemia with Novel Continuous
    Cerebral Arterial State Index (Xiao Hu)
  • To enhance breast cancer survivorship of Asian Americans (Eun-Ok Im)
  • A Web-App Based Lifestyle Physical Activity Promotion Program to
    Improve Depressive Symptom Experience: Midlife Korean American
    Women (Eun-Ok Im)
  • To reduce the burden of caregiving on health outcomes of midlife
    women: Asian American family caregivers of persons living with
    Alzheimer's disease (Eun-Ok Im)
  • Cancer Pain Management: A Technology-Based Intervention for Asian
    American Breast Cancer Survivors (Eun-Ok Im)
  • Home-Based Self-Management of Chronic Pain in Adults with Sickle
    Cell Disease: Applying a Biopsychosocial and Technological Approach
    (Nadine Matthie)
  • Center for Symptom Science, Metabolomics, and the Microbiome
    (Linda McCauley)
  • Center for Children’s Health Assessment, Research Translation, and Combating Environmental Racism (CHARTER) (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)
  • Preparation for End of Life Decision Making in Mild Alzheimer's
    Disease (Mi-Kyung Song)
  • Training in Interventions to Improve Outcomes in Chronic Conditions
    (Mi-Kyung Song/Rebecca Gary)
  • Combustion of plastic waste and human health effects in Guatemala (Thompson)
  • Inflammation and Renin-Angiotensin System Dysfunction as risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease (Whitney Wharton)
  • Role of estradiol and related hormones on inflammation, sleep, and
    risks for Alzheimer's disease (Whitney Wharton)
  • Building Community and Research Engagement among Sexual and
    Gender Minority Older Adults at Risk for Alzheimer's Disease and
    Related Dementias (Whitney Wharton)
  • Cognitive Dysfunction in Atrial Fibrillation (Kathy Wood)
  • Implementing an evidence-based, multilevel intervention to promote HPV vaccination among HIV positive adults (Wells)
  • The Role of the Gut Microbiome and Short Chain Fatty Acids in the
    Regulation of Inflammation and Neuropsychological Symptoms in
    Patients with Head and Neck Cancer (Canhua Xiao)
  • Oral microbiome and periodontal diseases in oral HPV infection among people living with HIV (Canhua Xiao)
  • Oral Chemotherapy Adherence Trajectories in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (Kate Yeager)

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
  • Data Science
  • Environmental Health
  • Farmworker Health
  • Global Health
  • Health Informatics
  • Maternal/Child Health
  • Mental Health
  • Nurse Workforce and Quality of Patient Care
  • Palliative Care
  • Sleep Research
  • Transgender Health

For additional information, please visit our Office of Nursing research page.

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 (Alexi 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)

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

Here are just a few job titles of our graduates.

  • 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 through Spring 2023

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.

Charting Innovative Paths for Nursing Research & Scholarship

Student Presentations at GANLC 2023

Many of our students participated in the 11th Annual Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition Doctoral Symposium, “Charting Innovative Paths for Nursing Research & Scholarship” at Emory Nursing Learning Center on 2/11/23.

Students gave the following presentations at the Event:

  • Policing Mental Health: Race and Psychiatry in Atlanta
    Avi Wofsy – PhD Student, Emory University
  • Childhood Trauma Exposure and Length of Labor: A Potential Oxytocin-Linked Contributor to Adverse Perinatal Outcomes in Black Birthing People
    Abby Britt – PhD Student, Emory University
  • Personal Measures of Air Pollution During Pregnancy and Infant Head Circumference and Length at Birth
    Hina Raheel – PhD Student, Emory University
  • Ways of Knowing: The Historical Intersections of Breastfeeding, Capitalism, and Whiteness
    Octavia Vogel – PhD Student, Emory University
  • Bots and Fake Participants: Ensuring Valid and Reliable Data Collection Using Social Media Recruitment MethodsZ
    Roseline Jean Louis – PhD Student, Emory University

Many students presented posters. Hayden Herring, 1st year student, won 1st place for his poster.

Hayden Herring, 1st year student, won 1st place for his poster.


Application Process Questions

Additional Questions

Featured Story

PhD program continues to grow

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.
Read More

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