Nursing, Ph.D. (Mostly Online)

ETSU Online Nursing PhD

 Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) Program Overview

The purpose of the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) degree program at ETSU is to prepare expert practitioners and nurse scientists who are capable of conducting research that will improve health and provide leadership in the health care delivery system. Graduates of the program will meet an escalating need for nurse educators and researchers in schools of nursing, health agencies, and complex health care delivery systems across the state and nation. The Ph.D. program prepares students with advanced knowledge and skills in the science of nursing, with an emphasis on the application of knowledge to improve the health of rural and/or underserved population groups. The student is expected to demonstrate a sound knowledge of research methods and techniques of data analysis, and acquire analytical and leadership skills for dealing with social, ethical, cultural, economic, and political issues related to nursing, health care education, and research. The curriculum is designed to provide the student with coursework in the philosophy of science, ethics, statistical procedures, research methods, nursing science, and selected in-depth study in a selected cognate area. The curriculum is designed to accommodate working professionals and delivered in a blended online format with required on-campus intensive sessions once each semester. A dissertation on a topic of interest is required.

This mostly online Nursing Ph.D. program was designed with working professionals in mind, offering the flexibility and convenience of online coursework and a limited number of on-campus meetings. Mostly online means that a limited number of on-campus meetings or on-campus coursework are required. Please contact us for more detailed information about this program.


Applicants seeking admission to the Ph.D. degree program at East Tennessee State University must fulfill all the requirements for admission to both the School of Graduate Studies and the College of Nursing. The School of Graduate Studies requires that all students submit the following materials: a completed application with payment of a nonrefundable application fee; official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work; and a written essay. In addition, College of Nursing requirements for admission to the Ph.D. degree program include: BSN from a nationally-accredited nursing program and a non-nursing master’s degree (longer program of study may be required), or MSN degree from a nationally-accredited nursing program or Master’s degree in a related discipline with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4 point scale.* Submission of Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores; Licensure in the United States as a registered nurse and eligibility for licensure in Tennessee or compact state;* At least two (2)-years of full-time work experience (or equivalent) in nursing as a registered nurse; Three (3) letters of recommendation, one (1) from the applicant’s current (or most recent) supervisor, one (1) from a faculty member who worked directly with the applicant during previous graduate study, and one (1) from an individual selected by the applicant; Completion of an interview; Completion of a writing sample on a selected topic at the time of interview; A cover letter expressing the applicant’s personal goals for doctoral study (unless clearly articulated in the written essay requested by the university); and A résumé or vita, as appropriate.

Factors given consideration in the admission decision include: previous graduate grade point average (GPA), level of GRE performance, clarity of goals for doctoral study as stated in writing and during the interview, writing ability, professional work experience and achievements, professional honors and awards, interest in rural and underserved population groups, and quality of references/recommendations. The Ph.D. Admissions Committee may admit a promising applicant who has not met all the admission requirements on a conditional basis.

Your Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) Program:

Course Requirements

Foundations of Scientific Inquiry

  • NRSE 6100 - Philosophy of Nursing Science (3 credits)
  • NRSE 6110 - Interdisciplinary Approaches to Bioethical Issues (3 credits)

Research Methods and Data Analysis

  • NRSE 6020 - Advanced Data Analysis (4 credits)
  • NRSE 6030 - Quantitative Methods in Nursing Research (3 credits)
  • NRSE 6040 - Qualitative Methods in Nursing Research (3 credits)
  • NRSE 6014 - Measurement of Clinical Outcomes (3 credits)

Nursing Science

  • NRSE 6000 - Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Practice (3 credits)
  • NRSE 6002 - Health Policy Leadership (3 credits)
  • NRSE 6010 - Concept Development in Nursing Practice I (3 credits)
  • NRSE 6012 - Concept Development in Nursing Practice II (3 credits)
  • NRSE 6900 - Dissertation Seminar (1 credit)
  • NRSE 6019 - Collaborative Approaches to Practice (3 credits)

Cognate Course Selections: 12 Credit Hours

At least one nursing course must be included.

Dissertation: 12 Credit Hours

  • NRSE 6960 - Doctoral Dissertation (1-12 credits)

Total Hours Required: 59 credit hours

Source: ETSU 2015 - 2016 Graduate Catalog
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.)


2015-16 ETSU graduate base tuition plus online fees*:

  • $554 per credit hour for in-state students
  • $706 per credit hour for eRate for out-of-state students

*Tuition cost reflected here includes 2015-2016 base tuition and online fees only and does not include RODP courses and programs. Some courses and programs may have additional fees. More information can be found on the University Tuition and Fee Information and the Incidental Fee Information pages.

Students meeting the requirements for Border County residency qualify for in-state tuition rates. 

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information:


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