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PhD in Nursing


The PhD in Nursing program will be accepting applications for the 2022-2023 academic year. Programmatic revisions have been submitted and will be posted to this website once fully approved. Anticipate the Fall 2022 application process opening in March 2022 pending these necessary approvals. Thank you.

The Drexel Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing, a research-based program, aims to prepare nurse researchers to design, conduct and lead research studies as emerging nurse scientists.

The objective of the PhD in Nursing is to prepare professional nurses as scholars and researchers who will make a substantive contribution to the body of knowledge for the discipline of nursing and thereby improve health services for those who receive nursing care. Graduates are expected to plan and launch an independent program of research, seek needed support for initial phases of the research program, and begin to involve others (i.e., students, clinicians, and other researchers) in their activities.

The PhD in Nursing program represents leadership in the fields, with interdisciplinary collaboration as core administrative and curricular values basic to its philosophy and epistemology. Innovation is also central to this doctoral program as evidenced in its curriculum and research philosophy.

This full-time program is designed for students with advanced preparation in nursing at the master’s level (MSN to PhD). The Nursing PhD is only offered face to face on campus.

What you’ll learn

The PhD in Nursing program is committed to teaching traditional research methods, as well as innovative and emergent research paradigms. In addition to structured coursework, the program builds upon a research mentorship model which recognizes that research skills are learned most effectively by working with a faculty mentor, who provides opportunities to use the tools to design and execute an original research project within a focused program of study.

Graduates of the PhD in Nursing program possess knowledge and skills in theoretical, methodological, and analytical approaches to conduct research to discover and apply knowledge in nursing science and healthcare, and demonstrate expertise within an area of study from a nursing and interdisciplinary perspective. 

Research interests and expertise of doctoral program faculty reflect a diversity of educational backgrounds and research experience. Early in the program, the student selects an area of research emphasis. This research interest needs to match a faculty member’s research emphasis. The focal areas of research are in keeping with the goals and mission of the University, its resources, and with the expertise of the nursing doctoral faculty. The focal areas of research include the following: Innovation and technology to improve nutrition and functioning in elderly; Genetic disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder, and cancer predispositions syndrome; Health disparity in women’s health; Postpartum depression; Health risk management in vulnerable populations including those with intellectual disability, and family caregivers of person with neurodegenerative conditions; and Community-based participatory research.

What makes the PhD in Nursing program unique?

  • Commitment to an innovative interdisciplinary curriculum
  • Research mentorship with dedicated faculty members.
  • You are part of the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, a forward thinking, progressive, and interdisciplinary healthcare school.

PhD Program Faculty

Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, RN, CNSC, FASPEN, FAAN, FGSA Professor & Associate Dean for Interprofessional Research and Development
Kathleen Fisher, PhD, CRNP Professor
Ellen Giarelli, EdD, RN, MS, CRNP Associate Professor
Loretta Jemmott, PhD, FAAN Professor & Vice President, Health and Health Equity
Justine S. Sefcik, PhD, RN Assistant Professor
Roberta Waite, EdD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, ANEF Professor & Vice President, Health and Health Equity


The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.

Admission Requirements

The PhD in Nursing Program is not accepting applications for the 2021 - 2022 academic year. Periodic program updates will be posted as available on this website. Thank you.

Applicants must possess a master’s degree in nursing and a GPA of 3.5 or above for admission consideration.

Standardized Tests:
GRE scores


  • Official transcripts must be sent directly to Drexel from all the colleges/universities that you have attended. Transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope with the college/university seal over the flap. Please note that transcripts are required regardless of number of credits taken or if the credits were transferred to another school. An admission decision may be delayed if you do not send transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
  • Transcripts must show course-by-course grades and degree conferrals. If your school does not notate degree conferrals on the official transcripts, you must provide copies of any graduate or degree certificates.
  • If your school issues only one transcript for life, you are required to have a course-by-course evaluation completed by an approved transcript evaluation agency
  • Use our Transcript Lookup Tool to assist you in contacting your previous institutions


Three letters of recommendation required.

  • You may use our electronic letter of recommendation service. 
  • If a recommender prefers to submit an original, hard copy letter, please remind them that it must include an ink signature and be submitted in a sealed envelope.

Personal Statement/ Essay:
For applications received June 30, 2019 or earlier, please describe your research interests, career goals and insight into important issues in the profession.
For applications received after June 30, 2019, please describe why you are interested in the Nursing PhD, your potential research interest, and identify a potential faculty mentor in the Nursing PhD program with whom you would like to work.

Interview may be required.


Copy of any current license required.

Clinical/Work/Volunteer Experience:
While specific experience not required, previous related work experience may make applicant more competitive.

International Students:
International applicants, as well as immigrants to the United States and U.S. permanent residents whose native language is not English and who have not received a bachelor's degree or higher in the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, must show proficiency in English speaking as well as listening, writing and reading. American citizens born on U.S. military bases abroad may be waived from the TOEFL requirement after providing documentation of this status. Otherwise, applicants must  meet one of the following requirements:

If you take the TOEFLiBT exam, you must have:

  • a minimum combined score for listening, writing, and reading sections of 79 plus a speaking section score of 26 or higher.
  • a minimum score of 550 or higher and a Test of Spoken English score (TSE) of 55 or higher.

Tuition and Fee Rates:
Please visit the Tuition and Fee Rates page on Drexel Central

Nursing Program Mission and Values

The Nursing program faculty and staff are committed to educating nurses to embrace both the art and science of nursing, to integrate caring into practice, to think critically and practice competently, compassionately and safely in complex rapidly changing practice environments. The Nursing program supports administrators, faculty, staff and students in developing holistic evidence-based programs, which create healing and caring environments at all levels that reflect innovative education, interdisciplinary practice and research.

The highest goals of the program include demonstrating efficacy, quality and cost-effectiveness of evidence-based nursing interventions in promoting health, preventing disease, preserving human dignity, reducing health disparities and caring for the sick and injured.

All efforts in the Nursing program are designed to build nursing knowledge, enhance nursing practice, foster professional integrity, promote innovation, engage in interdisciplinary collaboration and ultimately improve the health outcomes of patients and families from diverse communities across the continuum of care.

The Nursing program is committed to excellence in nursing education through educational programs that are:

  • Authentic: We value a deep connection to others, appreciation of diverse opinions and respect for the other’s frame of reference. We value going beyond objective assessment to understand the context of the other, creative use of self and engagement in the artistry of the caring-healing process—the essence of Nursing.
  • Complex: We value complexity science by recognizing that our Nursing program is a complex, dynamic, unpredictable, emerging, self-organizing and adaptive system that cannot be reduced to the sum of its members. As such, we seek that administrators, faculty, staff and students develop skills to improvise, build on the innovations of others, develop positive interpersonal interactions, appreciate the reciprocity that our actions have on the larger system and ourselves and embrace surprise as an opportunity to learn, make sense of our dynamic reality and make a positive impact on the health of our clients.
  • Rigorous: We continuously review and redesign programs, courses, technology-infused learning systems and educational products for depth and quality with the learner's experience and background in mind.
  • Relevant: We continuously examine changing market forces, the progression of nursing knowledge and the best practices in health care and education to redesign educational programs. There is a strong commitment to population-focused care practice in diverse communities; therefore, we strive to ensure clinically relevant education and simulation experiences. Our faculty serves as excellent role models for developing clinicians.
  • State of the Art: We value the use of technological innovation and patient simulation scenarios which foster advanced and evidence-based interdisciplinary communication and teamwork, multiple patient management and crisis resource management skills, provision of culturally relevant care, decreased prevalence of errors and adverse events and a higher intellectual standard in both undergraduate and graduate nursing education.
  • Learner-Friendly: In consideration of the demanding, fast-paced lives of our students and nurse consumers, we offer high-quality educational programs in convenient and contemporary formats, including access to academic online courses with attention to user-friendly interfaces as well as resources to enhance academic success. In addition, the College of Nursing and Health Professions is committed to being a challenging and rewarding work environment for faculty, staff and administrators. Information and data on all aspects of the college’s operations are widely shared with faculty, staff and students and all are encouraged to participate in its decisions and activities.