Top 25 PhD Nursing Programs Online

Earning an online Ph.D. in nursing positions graduates for top roles in the field. According to PayScale, professionals with a Ph.D. in nursing earn an average salary of $91,028 per year.

Thanks to convenient online Ph.D. in nursing programs, many individuals can earn this degree while maintaining a full-time job as a nurse. Keep reading to learn about the top online Ph.D. in nursing programs, including common courses and potential careers and salaries for graduates.

Top 10 Online Ph.D. Nursing Programs

1University of Colorado Denver
2Villanova University
3Washington State University
4Indiana University
5University of North Dakota
6University of Missouri
7Johns Hopkins University
8Vanderbilt University
9Texas Woman’s University
10University of Mississippi Medical Center

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What Is a Ph.D. in Nursing?

An online Ph.D. in nursing program is one of two terminal degrees in the nursing field. This degree typically takes 3-4 years to complete. It focuses primarily on theory and research, rather than the clinical practice of nursing.

An advanced nursing degree opens new opportunities for fulfilling careers that pay strong salaries. With this degree, individuals can also achieve work-life balance by pursuing a job with summers off, like a position as a professor.

Why Get a Degree in Nursing?

Various reasons can motivate a nursing professional to earn a Ph.D. in nursing. Below, we outline common reasons individuals pursue this advanced degree.

  • Work-Life Balance: Ph.D. in nursing programs prepare students to work as educators at postsecondary institutions. Professors and instructors at colleges often work more traditional hours than nurses, and they get summers off.

  • Supplemental Income: Earning a Ph.D. in nursing allows graduates to pursue supplemental income as a per-course instructor while working a day job as a nurse practitioner.

  • Opportunity to Influence the Next Generation: Nursing professors get the opportunity to inspire the next generation of nurses. They teach future healthcare professionals ethics, bedside manners, and best practices.

  • The Chance to Test Theories: Ph.D. students can fill knowledge gaps within the nursing field by conducting research and running experiments.

  • Ability to Emerge as a Field Expert: Individuals earning a Ph.D. in nursing can publish their research findings in scholarly journals. Some scholarly journals only accept studies from Ph.D. candidates or graduates.


How much do Ph.D. nurses make?

Professionals with this degree can work as nurse practitioners or professors. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioners earn a median salary of $115,800 per year.

What is a nursing Ph.D?A nursing Ph.D. is one of two terminal degrees in the field. It focuses primarily on nursing theories and research.
Is a Ph.D. in nursing worth it?A Ph.D. in nursing positions graduates for top positions in the field, making it a worthwhile investment. For more information, refer to the benefits section of this page.
What is the difference between Ph.D. and DNP in nursing?Both of these terminal degrees cover similar topics. However, a Ph.D. focuses more on research, while a DNP focuses more on clinical practice.

Accreditation for a Ph.D. in Nursing

To ensure quality educational opportunities, prospective Ph.D. in nursing students should research a school’s accreditation status before enrolling. Schools may receive regional or national accreditation, with regional accreditation generally considered the more prestigious of the two.

Accreditation indicates that a school meets high standards with respect to factors like student learning outcomes, academic rigor, and faculty qualifications. Schools must undergo regular reviews from third-party accrediting agencies to maintain accreditation. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversee these accrediting agencies.

Programs within a school can also earn accreditation. A few common accrediting agencies for nursing programs include the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, American College of Nurse-Midwives Division of Accreditation, and Commission on the Collegiate Nursing Education.

To verify an institution or program’s accreditation status, use the Department of Education’s lookup tool.

Courses for a Ph.D. in Nursing

Individuals who plan to work full time during their studies should allot 3-4 years to finish their Ph.D. courses. Most Ph.D. in nursing programs require 90-120 credit hours, or 30-40 courses. Since the nursing field features many niche areas, students should research a program’s curriculum before applying to ensure it aligns with their career goals.

Some programs allow students to select a concentration or minor, which can position graduates as desirable job candidates and experts in topics like pediatric or geriatric nursing.

Below, we discuss five common courses found in Ph.D. in nursing programs. Keep in mind that not every college offers these exact courses, but many offer some variation of these classes.

Ethics in Nursing Research

In this course, students learn how to conduct research without violating ethical standards. Students identify ways to properly conduct studies on humans with dignity and respect. This class requires participants to read case studies and engage in class discussions about real-life ethical dilemmas within the nursing research field.

Nursing Theory

Most online Ph.D. in nursing programs include a course that focuses on nursing theories. Students discover the common nursing theories that guide practice. Class participants must read through white papers about past clinical trials and experiments. Learners often use information from this class to choose a theory they want to test in their own research project.

Research Processes in Nursing

In a research process course, learners discover how to properly conduct a research project. Students analyze past research projects, learn how to handle a control group, and examine how to define a hypothesis and findings. This course also covers how to visually illustrate findings through graphs, how to locate study participants, and where to apply for research funds. This class prepares Ph.D. candidates to begin working on their dissertation, so most students take it during the first semester of their studies.

Grant Writing

Ph.D. students focus their studies primarily on research and filling industry knowledge gaps. However, clinical studies and experiments require large budgets, and students must find ways to acquire these funds. For this reason, nursing Ph.D. programs usually include a grant-writing course. This class teaches students about types of organizations that provide grants and how to write a successful grant proposal.

Public Speaking

Individuals who successfully complete a Ph.D. program often present their research findings at conferences. Additionally, many Ph.D. graduates find employment as adjunct or full-time professors. These opportunities require public speaking skills. In a public speaking course, learners discover how to properly summarize details, create effective powerpoints, and engage an audience. This course also discusses various types of audiences, like captive audiences and voluntary audiences, and how to effectively speak to each.

How Much Do Nursing Majors Make?

PayScale reports that professionals with a Ph.D. in nursing earn $91,028 per year. Payscale also reports that individuals with a bachelor of science in nursing earn $84,378.

However, salaries vary significantly by factors like experience and role. For example, graduates with a Ph.D. in nursing can work as professors, and the BLS reports that postsecondary teachers earn a median pay of $79,540 per year. Nurse practitioners enjoy higher salaries according to the BLS, taking in a median salary of $115,800 per year.

Below, we discuss the salary outlook for specific nursing roles.

Career and Salary Outlook for Nursing Majors

With a Ph.D. in nursing, graduates can pursue many types of jobs, four of which we outline in the following list. Some of these positions only require a bachelor’s or master’s in nursing, but they may pay higher salaries to employees with additional education.

  • Registered Nurse: Registered nurses can practice with a bachelor’s degree. These professionals oversee the day-to-day care of patients, record medical observations, administer medications, and operate medical equipment. Many registered nurses work in hospital settings, while others may work in rehabilitation facilities, doctors’ offices, or nursing homes.

  • Nurse Anesthetist: A nurse anesthetist receives specific education and training to administer anesthesia to patients before surgery. They work closely with anesthesiologists to determine how much anesthesia to administer. Nurse anesthetists are advanced practice registered nurses who typically work in hospitals and surgery centers.

  • Nurse Practitioner: Nurse practitioners perform similar job duties as registered nurses. However, these professionals can diagnose patients and prescribe medications. They also record patients’ medical information and consult with doctors on an as-needed basis. Some nurse practitioners specialize in a specific concentration, like endocrinology.

  • Postsecondary Teacher: Many students pursue a Ph.D. in nursing to become a postsecondary teacher. These individuals teach the next generation of nurses at public and private universities and colleges. They must possess strong public speaking and critical thinking skills.

CareerMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate (2018-2028)
Registered Nurse$73,3007%
Nurse Anesthetist$174,79045%
Nurse Practitioner$109,82045%
Postsecondary Teacher$79,5409%

Scholarships for a Ph.D. in Nursing

Earning a Ph.D. in nursing requires a significant financial investment; however, students can take advantage of a variety of financial aid opportunities to help offset the cost of a degree, such as loans, scholarships, and grants. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. Below, we outline five scholarship opportunities for online Ph.D. in nursing students.

Advanced Practice Healthcare Scholarship Program
Who Can Apply: Students attending a college or university in California may qualify for this scholarship. Applicants must be enrolled in a nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist program approved by the California Board or scholarship committee. Other qualifications include a 2.0 minimum GPA and an agreement to work for 12 months in a medically underserved area.
Amount: $25,000

AfterCollege Scholarship Fund
Who Can Apply: Students seeking a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in nursing may apply for this scholarship. AfterCollege reserves these funds for students attending an institution with membership to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Finalists must submit recommendation letters, published articles, and a list of awards and honors to the selection committee.

American Cancer Society Doctoral Degree Scholarships in Cancer Nursing
Who Can Apply: The American Cancer Society awards these funds to students pursuing a graduate degree in cancer research. This organization awards some of these funds through a research grant. These grants provide funds through a two-year period, with the option for renewal.
Amount: Varies

Geraldine “Polly” Bednash Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Individuals pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in nursing from an American Association of Colleges of Nursing member institution may qualify for this scholarship. Students need at least a 3.2 GPA. The recipient must also remain in good academic standing at their educational institution.
Amount: $5,000

Minority Nurse Faculty Scholarship
Who Can Apply: Minority students who agree to teach in a school of nursing after graduation can apply for this scholarship. Applicants must maintain full-time enrollment, and the scholarship committee prefers doctoral students. Johnson & Johnson and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing award these funds.
Amount: Varies

Top 25 Online Ph.D. Nursing Programs

Ranking Methodology

To rank the Top 25 Ph.D. in nursing Programs, OnlinePHD researched regionally accredited colleges and universities offering fully online, hybrid, and/or low-residency nursing Ph.D. programs. From that initial pool, our editors ranked the 25 best according to three factors:

  • Current Tuition (IPEDS data)
  • Current Reputation (Niche score)
  • Return on Investment (College Scorecard alumni salary)

OnlinePHD’s ranking only features institutions with regional accreditation. These colleges and universities combine convenience, affordability, and quality to meet the needs of working nursing professionals.

1. University of Colorado Denver

Colorado’s premiere healthcare complex, the Anschutz Medical Campus, is part of the University of Colorado Denver, and leads not only Colorado, but the west as one of the strongest educational institutions for medicine and nursing. While CU Denver was officially founded in 1912, the University of Colorado had been holding the last two years of its medical program in Denver for many years; a larger population meant a larger pool for medical students to care for. Today, CU Denver is the state’s top graduate school, and has become a national leader in online education with CU Online.

CU Denver’s online PhD in Nursing degree program gives working nurses the opportunity to earn a terminal degree that will set them on the course to a career as nurse scientists. Students can choose from three specializations – Health Care Systems Research, Caring Science, and Biobehavioral Sciences – and all coursework is fully online, with just a 1-2 week summer intensive session each year. With a competency-based framework, students learn the skills and knowledge they need at their own pace, with ample support from a world-class faculty that makes CU Denver one of the best PhD nursing programs online. (Denver is also one of the highest-paying cities for nurses in the US, attracting students to the on-campus program.)

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

2. Villanova University

Villanova University (VU) was founded in 1842 with its inaugural mission to educate its student body to be compassionate, critical thinkers. It is the oldest Catholic university in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth. This private university is just over ten miles from Philadelphia’s Center City. Villanova was an all-male university until 1918. Thirty-five years later a nursing division was created with the College of Arts and Sciences. By 1957, the first graduating nursing class earned their degree from the College of Nursing with a degree certified by the National League for Nursing. The maiden class of a dozen doctoral students began in 2004.

The M. Louis Fitzpatrick College of Nursing offers Villanova University’s Nursing PhD hybrid program that prepares graduates through educationally based and/or clinically based programs. As such, doctoral graduates are uniquely qualified to assume a variety of faculty roles in the academic realm or active leadership roles participating in the development of future research endeavors. VU’s College of Nursing has developed a flexible curriculum to meet student needs. This provides them with an opportunity to personalize their PhD learning experience. The M. Louis Fitzpatrick College of Nursing PhD program encourages its doctoral students to use their talents, skills and compassion to make a better world for everyone.

Format: Hybrid
Cost: $$$$$

3. Washington State University

Chartered by the Washington Legislative body in 1890, Washington State University (WSU) is a public university dedicated to research. The school is set upon 190,000 acres obtained through federal land grants. Informally, Washington State University is known as Wazzu. The school is home to a museum and several ongoing sustainability initiatives. During the fiscal year of 2013, WSU dedicated approximately $340 million to research within their 200+ fields of study. The first Wazzu PhD graduate earned their degree in the middle of the Great Depression – in 1929. Pullman, the 690-acre main campus, is home to WSU’s College of Nursing PhD in Nursing program, among other schools.

The coursework in the PhD nursing programs online program focuses upon core issues that include education, methodology and research. Graduates from WSU’s College of Nursing PhD in Nursing program are comprehensively prepared to assume advanced roles in healthcare research or faculty appointments by cutting edge institutes of higher learning. Additionally, PhD nursing students have access to scholarships, and assistantships, among other sources that help ease tuition costs. WSU’s College of Program Profiles – Nursing PhD in Nursing platform is a combo-program of online and on-campus formats. The PhD coursework includes a rigorous research-oriented program. To be considered for the PhD in Nursing program at WSU, the candidate must have a GPA of 3.5+ earned from an accredited graduate/master program.

Format: Hybrid
Cost: $$$$$

4. Indiana University

Indiana University (IU) is a renowned higher learning institution, serving students on nine campuses across the state; the Bloomington campus is the primary campus and home to the School of Nursing. According to Reuters (2017), IU ranked among the top innovative universities in the world. Indiana University celebrates its bi-centennial birthday in 2020. A giant celebration is planned for students and the state of Indiana. One of the most revered programs at Indiana University is the School of Nursing. The nursing school is a collaborative-driven school connected with IU’s hospitals and research facilities.

IU’s PhD in Nursing Science degree program uses a hybrid format with a majority of coursework web-based. The IU PhD Nursing Science program preps graduates to conduct cutting-edge clinical research or, to assume prominent professorships. Doctoral graduates are highly trained in the areas of data analysis, leadership, research methodologies and statistics, among others. Students have the option of two program tracks: one of which is the PhD in Nursing Science. IU’s objective is to prepare students to actively reach for a rewarding professional path.

Format: Hybrid
Cost: $$$$$

5. University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota (UND) is the state’s oldest university. It is located on the eastern edge of the state, just a few miles from the Minnesota border. At the time of its establishment, the campus was but a few acres; North Dakota’s statehood didn’t happen until six years later. Currently, the main campus is roughly 530 acres and is home to North Dakota’s only medical and law schools. The learning experience at UND is described as a personal journey towards a positive contribution to the world on a local and global level, and that’s especially true of one of the best PhD nursing programs online.

The three-year doctoral degree in Nursing (PhD) at UND provides a unique learning platform to study rural health behaviors, policy, systems and research. The PhD in Nursing program offers students a chance to collaborate with the Center for Rural Health and the National Resource Center on Native American Aging, among others. Graduates of the doctoral nursing degree are prepared to join universities at advanced faculty levels. They could also choose to participate clinically, participating in hands-on research in health care services or in the betterment of patient care. Upon completion of a dissertation, PhD nursing students graduate as highly qualified medical professionals ready to synthesize the concept of deep knowledge using pragmatic applications.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

6. University of Missouri

The largest public university in the state of Missouri is the University of Missouri (UM). The school is informally known as Mizzou or MU. It was founded in 1839 and holds the distinction as the first public higher-learning institution west of the Mississippi River. It also is the first established university within the boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase. UM is considered one of the top research facilities in the country and even boasts it is home to the most powerful research reactor at a university. In 2017 MU’s student enrollment exceeded 30,000. About 80 years after Mizzou was established, the Sinclair School of Nursing opened its doors in 1920.

In 2014, a notable industry organization ranked the Sinclair School of Nursing as the top nursing school in the nation. Sinclair offers a hybrid (mostly all online coursework) doctoral program in the University of Missouri’s PhD in Nursing, which prepares graduates for remarkable professional careers as educators, researchers, and clinical scholars among health care, research, and academic settings. When entering the program, doctoral candidates must select a specific area upon which to focus. Choices include Behavior Science, Serving Underserved Populations or Innovations To Improve Health Care at a system level.

Format: Hybrid
Cost: $$$$$

7. Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) was founded in 1876 and holds the distinction as the first research university in the country. In 2018, U.S, News & World Report revealed that it had ranked JHU as one of the top ten universities in the world. JHU is the alma mater of 37 Nobel laureates. Johns Hopkins University’s mission is to offer a platform for the creation of advanced-level knowledge seekers who have the know-how to create practical applications for cutting-edge discoveries. Johns Hopkins University’s School of Nursing offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) degree that prepares graduates for professional paths in research, practice and education.

The Johns Hopkins PhD in Nursing degree is a full-time onsite program that can be completed in as little as three years, with an option to finish in four. Doctoral candidates have access to world-class nursing facilities creating innovative health care approaches. The PhD program is where the place to begin to fine-tune the ways to create a scientific research program that opens professional opportunities worldwide. The vast majority of the students in the PhD in nursing program are funded 100%. Very often they receive a stipend during the first three years. The program offers many areas of focused research, making JHU one of the most useful PhD nursing programs online.. A partial list includes nursing therapeutics; pain and stress, forensic nursing and palliative care for end of life patients.

Format: Hybrid
Cost: $$$$$

8. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University (Vandy) was established in 1872. The school is a private university named for Cornelius Vanderbilt, the rail and shipping magnate who bestowed a $1 million endowment. Vanderbilt hoped his altruistic contribution would begin to heal lingering Civil War wounds.The majority of Vandy’s facilities are located on the a 330-acre campus, about two miles from downtown Nashville. Vanderbilt graduates include seven billionaires, congress members, governors, ambassadors, a Supreme Court justice and two Vice-presidents of the United States. Vandy’s School of Nursing opened in 1908 and continues its outstanding reputation as a top nursing school into the 21st century.

In the mid 1990s, the School of Nursing began offering Vanderbilt’s online PhD in Nursing Science program. The School of Nursing seeks to prepare critical thinkers with practical skills that adjust to the ever-changing healthcare disciplines worldwide. Ultimately, graduates are prepared to advance the science of nursing across a spectrum of applications. Doctoral candidates experience research initiatives and clinical experiences that they use throughout their personal and professional lives. Students searching for PhD nursing programs online will find none more admired than Vanderbilt.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

9. Texas Woman’s University

The Texas Woman’s University (TWU) was established in 1901. It remains the country’s largest state-supported women’s school. The main 270-acre suburban campus is located in Denton, TX, in the exurbs of Dallas. TWU also maintains branches of health science centers in Houston and Dallas. The school’s initial focus was to prepare women in rural areas who sought vocational training. The health science programs, which include TWU’s nursing school, are primarily located on the university’s satellite campuses near many outstanding hospitals. The College of Nursing opening in 1954 and is currently the fifth oldest doctoral program in the country. It also holds the distinction as the largest doctoral nursing program in the world.

TWU’s PhD in Nursing Science degree program has been designed to meet the professional objectives of nurses who seek leadership positions. The nursing PhD degree prepares graduates to integrate their nursing skills with related healthcare arenas in an effort to solve modern nursing dilemmas. The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science, on the Denton campus offers an online-only program. Alternatively, the same degree program offered through the Houston campus can be completed as a hybrid program with on-campus and web-based learning methodologies. Either path to earning a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science program is available on a full-time or part-time basis.

Format: Online and Hybrid
Cost: $$$$$

10. University of Mississippi Medical Center

The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss/ UM) was established in 1844 by the state’s legislature. The Carnegie Foundation categorizes UM as a premier research doctoral university. Ole Miss, during 2017, was home to a student body of 23,800 on six different campuses (2 main campuses and 4 satellites). In 1885, UM was the first coeducational university to employ a woman faculty member in the southeast United States. A 164-acre campus in Jackson, MS is home to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Mississippi’s only hospital directly managed by academia. UMMC’s School of Nursing offers a doctoral program in which PhD graduates receive a research degree that is clinically based.

The UMMC hybrid PhD nursing program is a flexible-hybrid program as coursework is available on-campus and online. The PhD nursing degree prepares graduates for leadership roles in nursing research and as policymakers advancing the science of nursing. The doctoral nursing program focuses upon areas that support the restoration of one’s health, how to better deliver care, and how to reduce risks of disease, among others. Additional research during the program is applied to underserved populations and to solve health care disparities.

Format: Hybrid
Cost: $$$$$

11. East Carolina University

East Carolina University (ECU) is a public doctoral research university. The school was chartered in 1907 by North Carolina’s legislature. The school’s facilities are located on 1,600 acres across six different campuses. The College of Nursing, established in 1959, and all other healthcare schools and facilities are located on the Health Sciences Campus. Many healthcare degreed graduates remain in the Greenville area to serve the underserved population. ECU’s College of Nursing graduates more nurses than any other school in the middle-Atlantic region of the United States. Even more impressive is the fact that The National League for Nursing has classified the College of Nursing as an Excellence Center.

The College of Nursing offers a PhD program that prepares doctoral graduates with the skills ready to assume critical roles as health care leaders and educators. The PhD program seeks to integrate and collaborate on an interdisciplinary level. The PhD research curriculum centers on either a Bio-behavioral Science or a Systems Science. ECU’s PhD in Nursing degree program allows students the opportunity to discover crucial methods in serving rural, underserved populations. ECU’s doctoral nursing program is a hybrid program format that encourages a variety of learning strategies while honoring ECU’s mission of service.

Format: Hybrid
Cost: $$$$$

12. University of Kansas

In 1863, the Kansas legislature chartered the University of Kansas (KU) two years after Kansas was adopted as the 34th state. The main campus is located in northeast Kansas in the sizeable college town of Lawrence, Kansas. During the Second World War, KU became one of the select schools that offered a naval training program that led to Naval commissions. KU’s School of Nursing (within the KU Medical Center) offers nationally ranked programs on KU’s Salinas campus, including one of the best PhD nursing programs online.

The School of Nursing provides a unique educational backdrop for nurses who want to practice in small communities or rural areas. The University of Kansas PhD in Nursing degree program prepares graduates as: Leaders/interpreters among the various nursing/medical specialties, Researchers, or Advanced faculty members excelling in the academic realm. While full-time students can complete their studies in three years, most students graduate from the PhD program in five to seven years. KU’s College of Nursing PhD program ensures graduates have been trained through intensive research projects, independent research and traditional coursework.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

13. University of Nevada Las Vegas

The school’s humble beginnings began with a few classes in the auditorium of a local high school auditorium. In 2018, the US News & World Report ranked UNLV as the most diverse undergrad campus in the United States for the second time in two years. UNLV’s School of Nursing offers a Doctor of Philosophy – Nursing program. UNLV School of Nursing PhD graduates are nurse-scholars exceptionally trained through detailed research and dynamic educational experiences.

The School of Nursing recognizes the modern student’s need for convenience and flexibility. This is the reason why they offer UNLV’s online PhD in Nursing programs in a fully web-based format for students all over the US. It is noted that certain states do allow access to UNLV’s web-based nursing programs.The PhD in nursing online program requires each student to select from two educational paths: a DNP to PhD course or, the Educational-Nursing path. PhD nursing graduates are anticipated to excel in the medical realms of private healthcare, government healthcare, or academia.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

14. University of Arizona

Founded in 1885, University of Arizona is a public research university located in the city of Tucson. As the first university in the state of Arizona, the institution is renowned for its high research activity. Today, the university is among the most respected research institutions in the country, having distinguished itself as a leader in health sciences education. The College of Nursing offers the best learning resources and opportunities and ranks among the top 15 percent of nursing graduate programs in the country. With an exceptional faculty that comprises of professionals with experience in research, teaching and clinical practice, Wildcats is a top choice for nursing PhD.

University of Arizona’s online PhD in Nursing degree is an innovative program that features cutting-edge curriculum, offers robust resources and technology as well as a new approach in nursing science and healthcare. By the time learners graduate from the PhD program, they will be able to generate and pass on knowledge that not only advances nursing science but also facilitates the translation of such knowledge into practice. Graduates will also have the specialist skills required to work in research teams, design innovations and influence relevant agenda and policies. With a proven job market reputation, taking a PhD in nursing online will promise high ROI.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

15. West Virginia University

The WVU online PhD in Nursing degree program is an intensive course of study whose content prepares students for various roles in service, teaching and research. The university makes it possible and easy for both prospective students and current working nurses to take a PhD in nursing online part-time during Fall/Spring/Summer. Three years of coursework will see students completing research and defending their dissertation both orally and in writing. Students gain skills to thoroughly test, generate and disseminate knowledge relating to nursing science. Upon graduation, students can practice, engage in policy creation and assume leadership roles in different healthcare activities and organizations. With reasonable tuition fees, graduates will contribute to the development of knowledge and improvement of healthcare.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

16. University of Missouri-Kansas City

Students who enroll for UMKC’s online PhD in Nursing degree program will develop knowledge in clinical and biological research, health systems and outcomes research as well as nursing education research. Students can begin their coursework along either the BSN to PhD or MSN to PhD path. By relying on different methodologies to do original research, a student who pursues this course will be in a better position to advance their careers in research and academia, becoming nurse leaders who contribute to education, research and healthcare outcomes. The reputation of the online and distance education PhD program makes it an ideal course for nurses looking to take their career to the next level.

Format: Online

17. University of Southern Mississippi

The main campus of this public research university is located in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Established in 1910 as a teacher training school, University of Southern Mississippi has developed to be a distinguished center of learning, offering a host of academic programs. The growth of the university has been as a result of the institution’s focus on accreditation, a factor that has led to several of the university’s programs ranking among the best in the nation. Today, the university is well known for its science research center, strong fine arts programs as well as its athletics teams commonly known as the Golden Eagles.

The University of Southern Mississippi’s Nursing Leadership PhD is a fully online nursing PhD. The ground-breaking program is the first of its kind, allowing students to gain practical experience and bringing them to leadership roles without interrupting their schedules. By completing the program online and from the comfort of their homes, both part-time and full-time students become acknowledged experts in the field. This empowers them to either take on an administrative role or open their own practice. The prestige associated with the course, online learning and virtual residency mean lower costs during studies and high return on investment upon graduating.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

18. Virginia Commonwealth University

Although it was founded as the medical department of Hampden-Sydney College in 1838, Virginia Commonwealth University was established as a public university in 1968. Today, the university, located in Richmond, VA, has a professional and experienced faculty and takes pride in having one of the top nursing schools in the country. The VCU School of Nursing started in 1893 under the name Virginia Hospital Training School for Nurses. Today, VCU Medical Center is the leading hospital in Richmond, with an efficient Emergency Department, over 700,000 outpatient clinic visits and about 38,000 inpatient admissions every year. The university has black and gold as its school colors.

VCU’s online PhD in Nursing degree program offered by the School of Nursing features flexible online classes that minimize on-site participation. In addition to advancing nursing knowledge, the online PhD program is committed to promoting student success. The world-class facilities, nurse scientists and closely monitored experience offer learners numerous research opportunities. Students advance their nursing knowledge and acquire specialized skills in enhancing symptom management, studying various health conditions, interpreting biobehavioral outcomes and improving healthcare quality. The different skills that graduate students learn as well as the practical experience they gain ensure value for money by the time they join the job market.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

19. William Carey University

William Carey University, founded as Pearl River Boarding School in 1892, has its main campus in Hattiesburg and another campus in the Tradition Community located near Gulfport and Biloxi. The accredited university offers a number of highly-respected and accredited academic programs. The accredited Joseph and Nancy Fail School of Nursing emphasizes medical research and practical experience. The outstanding faculty and purpose-driven staff work with students to ensure that the knowledge acquired is translated into clinical practice. Indeed, the private university believes in its motto: Expect Great Things From God; Attempt Great Things For God.

William Carey University’s hybrid PhD in Nursing Education and Administration program equips graduates with the skills they need to develop as professional nurses. Students who attain the qualifications will be able to employ sound management, resolve conflicts, develop their problem-solving and decision-making abilities as well as sharpen their communication skills. Upon taking on the educator role, the graduates will use resources effectively and establish relationships that will help to promote the nursing profession. All the skills and competencies that students acquire are anchored on Christian-based values, a factor that prepares them for the job market and sets them on the path to professional success with one of the best PhD nursing programs online.

Format: Hybrid
Cost: $$$$$

20. Medical University of South Carolina

The MUSC online PhD in Nursing Science degree program is an accelerated course that prepares the graduate for careers in research, scholarly publication and leadership. Students who take up the program will cover symptom science/ self-management, health services research, behavioral health, technology-enhanced interventions and/ or community/ patient engagement. Students who successfully complete the PhD program will have better socialization and peer engagement skills and play their nurse scientist role effectively. The online/distance learning PhD nursing programs have lower tuition fees, assuring learners of both affordability and the flexibility that allows them to maintain their current career while preparing for the next.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

21. Duquesne University

Pittsburgh-based, private Catholic Duquesne University was started in 1878. Since it first opened its doors, Duquesne University has grown in remarkable ways to become a center of research and excellence. Today the university is not only recognized but is also listed among the top-ranked schools in the nation, particularly for the highly-ranked Duquesne University School of Nursing. The convenience with which students are able to access lecture materials, the online graduate programs and seasoned faculty are some of the reasons why the school has earned praise. The school has also chosen and invested in red and blue as the school colors.

Duquesne University’s online PhD in Nursing Program is offered to both national and international audience. Started in 1994, this program equips nurses with the valuable skills that they require to become successful independent researchers. Those who graduate will also be able to serve as educators, demonstrate expertise in their area of study and apply the knowledge they acquire in nursing and healthcare in general. Learners will focus on disease prevention, palliative care, long-term care systems and adaptive leadership among other areas. With increasing demand for specialized nurses around the world, the job market will be theirs to explore once they qualify and graduate.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

22. Idaho State University

Located in Pocatello, ID, Idaho State University has been in existence for well over a century. The designated premier institution in medical education and health professionals, the university offers students a high-quality education. ISU offers two nursing programs at the doctoral level, with the Doctor of Philosophy in nursing being a program of note. Apart from an exceptional and dedicated faculty, there is a healthy student-teacher ratio that encourages learners to work towards their academic goals continuously. The health center at this leading doctoral research and teaching institution receives over 10,000 student visits every year. The official school colors by which ISU is identified are orange and black.

The Idaho State online PhD in Nursing degree program offers learners the option of taking the courses either in part-time or full-time schedules. By the end of the program, students will have improved communication skills, making it easy for them to communicate and disseminate scientific knowledge effectively. Learners will also be better placed to create original research, contribute to the growth of the nursing discipline and facilitate the application of professional knowledge. Taking advantage of the scholarship opportunities available will see students paying less in tuition fees, thereby saving significantly while enjoying the convenience of online learning.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

23. East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University is a public university that was established in 1911 and is located in Johnson City. The fourth largest university in Tennessee, ETSU has other campuses in Kingsport and Elizabethton. With a wide range of academic courses, the university has been ranked severally among the best schools in the country when it comes to rural medicine and primary care education. Buccaneers, the nickname for ESTU collegiate athletics teams, represent the school in sporting activities. The university’s official school colors are navy blue and gold and its motto is “Graduation Begins Today.”

ETSU’s hybrid PhD in Nursing degree program is designed to help students advance their knowledge and skills in nursing. Mostly an online degree, the programs ensures that learners have better knowledge of research methods, data analysis techniques, develop analytical and leadership skills as well as improve their practical clinical experience. Since students who successfully complete the program are better placed to handle complex health care delivery systems, they are likely to have more opportunities available to them when they enter the job market. The specialized nurses will also earn higher salaries, translating to better ROI.

Format: Hybrid
Cost: $$$$$

24. Walden University

Walden University’s online PhD in Nursing degree program is a research-focused degree program that not only prepares nurses for career growth but also equips them with the skills required to provide better care to patients. Some of the skills that students learn while taking the program include ethical decision-making, leadership and communication skills to help them engage in interdisciplinary projects and contribute to social change. By allowing students to transfer credit, Walden allows them to have a seamless and cost-effective experience as they pursue their studies. Once the students graduate, they will be well-trained to work in communities across the globe.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$

25. University of Texas at Tyler

Founded in 1971, the University of Texas at Tyler is a regional public university and a component of the internationally-renowned University of Texas System. The public university is set in a friendly learning environment that promotes the success of individual students. The student to faculty ratio, experienced faculty and leading programs in different academic fields allow learners to access high-quality education. The learning institution offers not only a wide range of programs but also different activities in which learners can engage. Commonly known as UT Tyler, this university has orange, white and blue as its official school colors.

The UT Tyler PhD in Nursing degree program is a nursing doctorate that involves four years of full-time study. Prospective PhD students and working nurses who take up this course will be able to design, carry out and communicate research relating to the nursing profession. Upon completing the course and graduating, the specialized nurses will also be competent in research and practice, formulating relevant policies that seek to address social needs. With better decision-making and leadership qualities, graduates will have the necessary competencies to implement innovative strategies that contribute to the success of nursing as a profession and health care in general.

Format: Online
Cost: $$$$$