Research path

UMSN PhD studentCurrent Ph.D. students

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Ph.D. program focus

The University of Michigan School of Nursing Ph.D. program, which began in 1975, produces leading scientists who advance knowledge for the discipline of nursing and the health sciences. The program is predicated on a strong foundation of clinical expertise framed by a nursing perspective; education at the doctoral level builds upon and extends content acquired at the baccalaureate and master’s levels and emphasizes theory development and research skills.

UMSN's Hillman Scholars start out in the BSN program and complete the Ph.D. immediately afterwards, leading to a longer and more productive research trajectory. Meet the current scholars

Our graduates are clinically proficient and have advanced preparation in nursing and related sciences, as well as in research methods and data analysis. In addition to offerings within the School of Nursing, the program draws on the curricular and research resources of other disciplines and institutes within the University - a leader in education and research - making the opportunity to study the inter-relationships of physiological, psychological, and socio-cultural variables, alone or in combination, as they influence health outcomes a great strength of U-M's Ph.D. program.

Ultimately, building off the pedagogy of all U-M School of Nursing programs, the Ph.D. program prepares nurses who contribute to the field of nursing through active research, and progressive leadership in education, professional nursing organizations, health care systems, and other health related enterprises.

Applying

The Ph.D. program is open to post-baccalaureate or post-master’s applicants. See the application requirements for this program.

Substantive research areas

  • Health promotion
  • Chronic illness care
  • Effectiveness science
  • Vulnerable populations

Scope

The Ph.D. program prepares graduates to:

  • Demonstrate competence in all phases of research/scientific methods
  • Develop in-depth knowledge in a substantive research area of science
  • Conduct research that is grounded in, and in turn informs, theory, practice, and policy
  • Be a steward of the discipline of nursing

Appeal

  • Admitted students are matched to a current faculty member’s research who provides mentorship throughout the program
  • Students engage in scientific inquiry and increasing skills through grant writing and research dissemination
  • Curriculum integrates scientific processes, analytics, and substantive research foci directed by the primary research mentors in designated mentorship teams
  • Diverse student population
  • Opportunity to work with leading nurse scientists

Support

UMSN offers funding packages for incoming Ph.D. students enabling them to study full-time. Applicants to the Ph.D. program for Fall 2018 also have the opportunity to apply for two unique funding opportunities: a T32 fellowship focused on innovations for promoting health and safety; and the Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholars program. 

Upon entering the program, all students must be matched with active research faculty mentors at UMSN who are conducting high-impact research in health promotion and chronic conditions among vulnerable populations, spanning efficacy to effectiveness. In addition to coursework, students will work with their research faculty mentors approximately 20 hours per week in order to develop advanced research knowledge and skills.

Details regarding UMSN graduate fellowship funding packages:

  • Students in the first two years of the program will be supported by a variety of sources. (Included are a monthly stipend, tuition support and U-M GradCare health insurance.)
  • A third year of funding will be contingent on the receipt of student or faculty grant funding (e.g. R01, F31,T32, or similar grant).

Benefits of this program include:

  • Students’ ability to complete a Ph.D. in nursing in three to four years, while being embedded in a research team.
  • UMSN’s ability to address the critical shortage of nurse scientists and faculty.
  • Generation of new knowledge and innovative interventions to provide new ways of caring for people in need.
  • Provision of more nurse educators to train more BSNs and other students.

Students must maintain full time student status, will be expected to submit a National Research Service Award (NRSA) or equivalent training grant by the end of the second year of study, and remain in good academic standing to retain the funding package.

Policies

In addition to following all UMSN student policies and guidelines contained in the handbooks, Ph.D. students are required to comply with Rackham Graduate School policies. These include: 

Curriculum

The Ph.D. program is specifically designed to focus on research in nursing. The curriculum is in an on-campus format, however a few of the courses may be offered in a web-blended format. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program should plan to be on-campus for two or more days a week for class time. The Ph.D. curriculum is designed for full-time enrollment with 3 years to completion (post-baccalaureate or post-masters). Thirty-seven credit hours are required for pre-candidates. Post-baccalaureate students will take six credits of clinical scholarship in addition to the 37 pre-candidacy hours. A minimum of eight credit hours are required at the dissertation/candidacy level (course 995).

Courses

  • HS 851: Scientific Methods for Health Science: Applied Inference
  • HS 852: Scientific Models for Health Sciences: Linear Modeling
  • HS 853: Scientific Methods for Health Sciences: Special Topics
  • NURS 803: Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship
  • NURS 804: Systematic Research Synthesis
  • NURs 805: Grant Writing
  • NURS 806: Preparing Publications
  • NURS 880: Philosophical Influences and Theory Building in Nursing
  • NURS 881: Intervention Research
  • NURS 890: Substantitive Research Focus I
  • NURS 891: Substantitive Research Focus II
  • NURS 990: Dissertation: Pre-Candidacy
  • NURS 995: Dissertation: Candidacy
  • Cognate (elective course selected by student)
  • For post-baccalaureate students: NURS 595: Clinical Scholarship Praxis I