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PhD in Nursing


The College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing—a community-engaged, research-based program designed to prepares emerging nurse scientists to promote health and health equity through a social justice lens.

Unique to Our PhD in Nursing Program

  • Commitment to an innovative interprofessional curriculum.
  • Dedicated research mentorship with experienced faculty members.
  • You will be a part of the Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions, a forward thinking, progressive and interprofessional health care school.

About the PhD in Nursing Program

Our PhD in Nursing program aims to develop professional nurses into scholars and researchers who will contribute substantively to the nursing discipline's body of knowledge. The program equips graduates to improve the health outcomes for individuals, families and communities by planning and launching independent research programs and securing necessary support for their research initiatives.

Program Highlights

  • Leadership in Nursing: Our program emphasizes leadership in the nursing field with core values of interprofessional and community collaboration.
  • Innovative Curriculum: Innovation is central to our doctoral program, reflected in both the curriculum and our research philosophy.

Designed for MSN to PhD Students

The PhD in Nursing program is tailored for students with advanced nursing preparation at the master’s level (MSN to PhD). It offers mentored experience with faculty, in interprofessional settings and provides flexible study options, including full-time, part-time, in-person and hybrid formats.

What you’ll learn

The PhD in Nursing program is committed to teaching both traditional and innovative research methods. Structured coursework is complemented by a research mentorship model, where students work closely with a faculty mentor to design and execute original research projects.

Graduates will possess knowledge and skills in:

  • Theoretical, methodological and analytical approaches
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Social justice-oriented research
  • Promoting health equity among diverse populations

Research Focus Areas

Students select a research emphasis that aligns with a faculty member's expertise. Key research areas include:

  • Aging and caregiving (e.g., nutrition, dementia care)
  • Behavioral interventions and implementation science
  • Bioethics (e.g., intellectual and developmental disability)
  • Community engaged and population health
  • Determinants of health and health equity
  • Health innovation and technology (e.g., medical devices)
  • Innovative research methods (e.g., eye tracking methods)
  • Sexual health (e.g., HIV, STI, teen-pregnancy prevention)
  • Tobacco prevention and control

Explore our Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program and become a leader in nursing research and health equity.

More about Interprofessional Curriculum

Our interprofessional curriculum integrates collaborative learning experiences across multiple health care disciplines. Students in the PhD in Nursing program engage with peers from various health care fields, enhancing their ability to work effectively in diverse, team-based environments. This approach fosters a deeper understanding of comprehensive patient care, innovation in research and the promotion of health equity.

PhD Program Faculty

Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, RN, CNSC, FASPEN, FAAN, FGSA, Professor; Senior Associate Dean for Research
Kathleen Fisher, PhD, CRNP, Professor; Interim Director PhD in Nursing Program
Loretta Jemmott, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor; Vice President, Health and Health Equity
Safiyyah Okoye, PhD, MSN, RN, FNP-C, Assistant Professor, FIRST Faculty
Lilianna Phan, PhD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor, FIRST Faculty
Justine S. Sefcik, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor


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

A master's degree in one of the following:

  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN
  • Master's degree in health-related field (if master's degree is not in nursing, a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) is required)

GPA of 3.25 or higher

Standardized Tests:
GRE scores (optional)


  • 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. Letters must address your academic ability, professionalism and practice competence from a person in a position to appraise you, specifically a professor, employer or professional colleague. The reference may not be from a friend, family member or workplace/organizational peer or subordinate.

  • 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:
That addresses the following items (word processed, approximately 1000 word-length)

  • Introduce yourself and describe the personal attributes and experiences that will promote your success in Drexel University’s PhD in Nursing program.
  • Describe why you are interested in the Nursing PhD.
  • Your potential research interest. Identify a potential faculty member in the Nursing PhD program with whom you would like to work and offer an explanation as to how your interests fit with the proposed faculty mentor’s research platform/trajectory.

Interview 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.