Nursing is a versatile career with plenty of opportunities to choose from, but a PhD in Nursing opens up even more career opportunities. Whereas most nurses assist physicians in patient care settings, nurses who earn their PhD can take on additional roles in education, research, and more. These more academic and supervisory positions have the advantage of a less demanding schedule than the 12-hour shifts that many nurses tend to work, and they allow nurses to explore careers in specialties and areas that truly interest them.
For nurses who have an interest in research and who want to positively change the medical field, exploring the Best Online PhD in Nursing programs may lead to an exciting future.
Finding a PhD in Nursing
A PhD in Nursing can be a worthwhile investment in any nurse’s career. While many PhD programs require applicants to have a Master’s in nursing, some programs also offer a baccalaureate track. Most programs have a heavy emphasis in research, meaning that some of the programs can be offered entirely online, while others take a hybrid approach of offering online classes but also requiring periodic on-campus intensives. However, most of these options are designed to be convenient and flexible. Many programs pair students with faculty advisors who have similar research interests, and who can support and guide the student’s progress through the program. Some programs even specialize in working with particular populations.
Ranking the PhD in Nursing
Choosing a PhD in Nursing program is a big decision, and you want to find the program that not only gives you the best value, but that is also the right fit for your needs, budget, and career plans. Online PhD Programs has developed the following ranking of the 35 Best Online PhD in Nursing programs to make your choice easier. Online PhD Programs considered all of the fully online and hybrid nursing programs available and used the following three metrics to score each program:
- Cost (IPEDs data)
- Reputation (U.S. News and World Report data)
- Return on Investment (College Scorecard data)
The ranking includes only regionally-accredited, reputable colleges who have proven their experience in nursing education. Many of these schools are known for their impressive medical education programs, and have offered these programs as fully online or hybrid arrangements to make them more accessible to nurses who are working full-time, or who live a distance from the campus.
1. Indiana University
Founded in 1820, Indiana University has since become one of the top public universities in the world. Nine different campuses give 94,000 students access to a wide variety of fields of study, with the Bloomington campus – IU’s oldest – housing the School of Nursing. The School of Nursing was founded in 1914 and provides students learning opportunities with clinical partners located throughout Central Indiana. IU’s online learning system, IU Online, offers more than 120 online degrees taught by the same professors who teach on-campus. In 2017, Reuters included IU on its list of the world’s most innovative universities.
The IU Online PhD in Nursing Science is a distance-accessible hybrid program, with the majority of the course taking place online. Videoconferencing allows students to be in a virtual classroom with their classmates no matter where they are located. Two on-campus four-day intensives provide valuable in-person hands-on instruction and allow students to meet with their mentors and attend professional development sessions. Students can choose from two concentrations: Clinical Nursing Science and Health Systems. Graduates of the program are well-prepared for careers in private industry, practice settings, government, and more.
Average Net Price: $12,488
2. The University of Arizona
The University of Arizona was established in 1885, and its first graduating class consisted of three students. Since then, things have changed greatly, and today the university has two medical schools. Receiving $622 million in research investments each year, UA has been ranked 22nd in research among public U.S. institutions by the National Science Foundation. In the 2016-17 academic year, the university awarded 106 Bachelor’s, 263 Master’s, and 92 Doctorate degrees in nursing. UA has partnered with Banner Health to create Banner-University Medicine, the primary clinical partner of the UA Health Sciences.
Students can choose to complete the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) program at a full-time or part-time pace. All of the program coursework is completed online, and this distance education program focuses on research in clinical, academic, or scientific environments. In addition to online work, students travel to Tucson for the week-long Resident Intensive Summer Experience in August. Nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the University of Arizona College of Nursing offers this PhD degree in most states with the exception of Alabama, Massachusetts, and Tennessee.
Average Net Price: $15,758
3. University of Central Florida
Founded in 1963, today the University of Central Florida’s 13 colleges offer an impressive 216 different degrees. With over 67,000 students, UCF is one of the largest universities in the country. A preeminent research facility, UCF is located in Orlando, FL.
UCF’s College of Nursing was established in 1979, and the U.S. News & World Report included the college’s online nursing program in its ranking of the best programs in the nation. The Princeton Review, Kiplinger, and Forbes all ranked UCF as one of the nation’s “best value” universities.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing is available online with small class sizes of no more than 20 students. Students participate in two annual intensives on the UCF campus, and are also paired with a faculty mentor who has similar research interests as the student. Realizing that distance can make frequent travel to campus prohibitive, the program allows students to coordinate their research practicums to take place where they live. UCF offers the resources that students would receive from a large research center – including access to biostatistics resources – but still enjoy the one-on-one attention and support facilitated by the small class sizes.
Average Net Price: $15,341
4. University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado Denver and the Anschutz Medical Campus are two of the campuses of the University of Colorado System. Located in Aurora, CO, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is home to the College of Nursing, the School of Medicine, and more. The campus has a rich history, with the University Hospital first opening the Boulder and Training School for Nurses in 1898. Today, the College of Nursing is affiliated with many health care organizations, including the Children’s Hospital Colorado, the University of Colorado Hospital, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
With a combination of online and in-person work, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing is designed for students who already have a bachelor’s in nursing or a master’s in nursing. There are three major pathways to the PhD, and students may elect to focus in health care systems, caring science, or biobehavioral science. Students complete the courses online, then attend a one- or two-week intensive experience in Denver during each semester. During their dissertation coursework, students travel to Denver two to three times. Program graduates will be prepared to work in many different roles including as researchers, administrators, health policy analysts, and more.
Average Net Price: $14,586
5. Medical University of South Carolina
With six colleges and approximately 1,500 faculty members on its Charleston, SC campus, the Medical University of South Carolina continues to develop excellence in education, research, and patient care. The US News and World Report ranks MUSC’s College of Nursing among the top three online graduate programs. MUSC’s 700-bed medical center includes a nationally recognized children’s hospital, and the university operates over 100 outreach locations across South Carolina. The university was founded in 1824, and has grown into one of the top academic health centers in the United States.
MUSC’s Ph.D. in Nursing Science program features coursework that is completed online paired with four on-campus Learning Intensives. The intensives are designed to complement the coursework, and include activities such as interactive workshops, student presentations, and discussions. The Ph.D. in Nursing Science program prepares students for various positions including university faculty, research positions, and organizational leadership roles. The accelerated full-time program can fast-track students to graduation in just three years, while students who take the accelerated part-time program can graduate within four years. Although students enjoy the flexibility of learning from a distance, they still develop strong relationships with faculty and other students.
Average Net Price: not reported
6. West Virginia University
West Virginia University features 14 colleges and schools and offers an impressive 360 majors. The WVU School of Nursing, located in Morgantown, WV, is committed to integrity, excellence, and inclusiveness. With programs at both the undergraduate and the graduate level, the WVU School of Nursing offers students unique learning opportunities in the healthcare field. Plus, with an active research program, the school works to address the ever-changing complexities of healthcare.
The PhD in Nursing is a part-time hybrid program consisting of online distance learning and in-person sessions. At the start of the program, students attend two, three-day in-person sessions. They then complete online coursework during the fall, spring, and summer over the duration of three years. Students also attend one-day in-person sessions each fall and spring, giving them valuable in-person education. After taking a qualifying examination, students begin a research and dissertation phase of the program. Graduates of this summer intensive hybrid program will be prepared to hold leadership roles in healthcare organizations, research teams, academia, and more.
Average Net Price: $11,486
7. East Carolina University
Located in the bustling city of Greenville, North Carolina, East Carolina University is home to 12 colleges and schools. ECU boasts an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1. The college understands the value of long-distance learning and offers more than 40 online degree programs. ECU’s College of Nursing was established in 1959, and the school has earned the designation of a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence. The College of Nursing is home to 135 faculty members and 35 staff members, and the Health Sciences Building features eight simulation labs where students can learn and practice patient care techniques.
ECU’s Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) is offered as an online hybrid arrangement with students spending varying amounts of time on campus during each year of the program. With a curriculum focusing on the social, behavioral, and biological sciences, as well as administrative leadership and education, students receive a well-rounded education that prepares them for many career opportunities. Students may focus their research on systems science or bio-behavioral science. Both full- and part-time options are available for this program, though students must complete the program within six years.
Average Net Price: $13,327
8. Washington State University
Washington State University was founded in 1890, and today it consists of 11 different colleges. In addition to 64 doctoral degree programs, WSU offers 12 online undergraduate degree programs and 9 online graduate degree programs. The 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio is evidence of the school’s dedication to quality, personalized instruction. In 2017, the National League for Nursing named WSU’s College of Nursing a Center of Excellence in Nursing. The college was one of just 15 colleges to earn such a distinction. The WSU College of Nursing educates more than 1,000 students each year.
WSU’s PhD in Nursing program is a combination of in-person work with online courses. During the first and last two weeks of the first summer semester, students attend classes at WSU Spokane. The rest of the classes are offered via live video conferencing, making for a more engaging format than your typical online learning courses. Both Research and Teaching Assistant positions are offered, and approximately 66 percent of WSU’s students receive funding through assistantships, scholarships, or Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program awards. Program graduates are well-prepared for advanced faculty positions or for research positions in many different healthcare settings.
Average Net Price: $17,885
9. University of Texas at Tyler
Located in the picturesque forests of East Texas, the University of Texas at Tyler is a rapidly-growing university. It was founded in 1971, and is now home to seven academic colleges. UT Tyler students represent 58 nations, and the student-to-faculty ratio of 18:1 ensures a personalized education. UT Tyler’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares graduates for leadership positions, and is accredited by the Texas Board of Nursing. UT Tyler nursing graduates boast an impressive 95.1 percent pass rate on state licensure exams, evidence of the quality education they receive.
The UT Tyler PhD in Nursing is designed for those students who have limited access to doctoral education. Aside from a five-day in-person orientation each summer, the program is held entirely online, making it ideal for students who live far from UT Tyler, or who are balancing work, family obligations, and school. The program is community-focused, and students can study in the communities where they live. Students receive an education focused on health communities within the context of culture, and program graduates are prepared to serve as nurse leaders and researchers.
Average Net Price: $12,776
10. University of North Dakota
Located in Grand Forks, ND, the University of North Dakota was founded in 1883. Today, UND offers more than 225 academic programs and attracts over 13,000 students each year. As of fall of 2018, 648 students are enrolled in UND’s doctoral programs. The UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences is the only medical school in North Dakota, admitting 78 medical students each year. Currently, seven students have partnered with the school’s Indians Into Medicine program, which is designed to help American Indian students who hope to become medical professionals to work with tribal communities.
The Ph.D. in Nursing program is a three-year (plus dissertation) part-time degree that consists of both online coursework and intensive experiences on the UND campus. UND’s “live” online classes closely mirror the experience of being in an actual classroom, as students can interact with their professor and other students through web conferences. The program’s collaboration with the Center for Rural Health, the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center, and the National Resource Center on Native American Aging gives students valuable resources for a quality education. UND nursing students can also participate in the UND chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the national nursing honor society.
Average Net Price: $14,478
11. University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Located in iconic Las Vegas, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas has been educating students since 1957. Today, UNLV employs 1,033 faculty members and has over 5,000 enrolled graduate and professional students, as well as more than 24,000 undergraduate students. With professional schools in medicine, dental medicine, and law, UNLV offers students plenty of education choices. The U.S. News & World Report deemed UNLV as the most diverse university for undergraduates, and ranked the school’s Master of Science in Nursing program sixth out of 133 other online programs.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing is available as an online program, with students being able to complete the majority of the coursework remotely. Students attend an on-campus orientation before their first semester, and need to be on campus for oral comprehensive exams, their proposal defense, and their final dissertation defense. Students can choose from the Nursing Education Track and the Post-DNP to PhD. Track, depending on their career goals. The program also allows students to take electives through NEXus, a program that provides nursing courses at other member institutions. This means that students who live far from the campus can take in-person courses that are located closer to home.
Average Net Price: $11,582
12. University of Missouri
Located in Columbia, Missouri, the University of Missouri was founded in 1839. It holds the distinction of being the first public university west of the Mississippi River, and has since evolved into a significant institution. Mizzou is one of just 60 US universities to hold membership to the Association of American Universities. With more than 300 degree programs, Mizzou also has significant online offerings. Its 90 online options give distance students plenty of choices, and the campus is one of the few US universities to house a medical school, veterinary medicine college, and a law school.
The MU Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) is particularly unique in that it is one of just a few PhD programs that is open to both nurses and non-nurses. Students complete most coursework online, with the exception of a one-week campus stay during the first summer enrolled, and four days on campus each April. The program’s duration varies depending on whether students have an MS or BA degree, and students can complete the program at a full-time or part-time pace. Students may choose to focus in innovations to improve health and health systems, wellness in vulnerable and underserved populations, and symptom and behavior science.
Average Net Price: $17,762
13. University of Mississippi
When the University of Mississippi was founded in 1844, its first class consisted of 80 students. Today, there are over 24,000 students enrolled in UM’s 15 academic divisions. The UM Medical Center, located in Jackson, MS, was opened in 1955. It is the state’s only academic health science center, and includes seven health science schools. MMC is home to three specialized hospitals – a children’s hospital, a women and infants’ hospital, and a critical care hospital. In addition, the University Hospital offers the only Level 1 trauma center in the state.
The PhD in Nursing program is a clinical research degree that can be completed in five years or less. This hybrid program consists of both online and on-campus coursework, as well as dissertation research. Because this program is a collaboration between the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the University of Southern Mississippi, students may take the program’s core courses through either school. This program also offers multiple entry points. The post-baccalaureate entry point allows BSN-prepared RNs to bypass their master’s degree, and the post-master’s PhD option is suitable for registered nurses who hold a BSN degree and a graduate degree.
Average Net Price: $14,259
14. University of Kansas
When the University of Kansas first opened in 1866, its students gathered in an unfinished building. That single-building school has since expanded to five campuses hosting over 30,000 students and offering over 400 degree and certificate programs. Today, KU Online allows students to access undergraduate, graduate, and noncredit programs and certificates from a distance and with flexible schedules. The KU School of Nursing, located in Kansas City, KS, is a designated Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing, the only school in the region to receive such recognition.
The PhD in Nursing program offers a combination of online classes, web conferencing, and some limited on-campus visits. It is open to nurses with a BSN, MSN, or a graduate degree in a health-related discipline. Students can take a part-time, full-time, or 3-year Fast Track plan of study, and may choose from Emphasis Areas in Symptom Science, Health Care Systems, and Nursing Education. Approximately 75 percent of the PhD program graduates have been employed as faculty members, researchers, and administrators in the nursing education field. The remaining 25 percent of graduates have held positions including directors of research in hospitals, in pharmaceutical research, and in clinical practice settings.
Average Net Price: $18,365
15. Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Both Indiana University and Purdue University were always dedicated to providing quality higher education in Indianapolis. When mayor Richard Lugar called for a “great state university” in 1968, the schools merged their programs, creating IUPUI in 1969. Known as Indiana’s premier research university, IUPUI is home to more than 350 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. The Indiana University School of Nursing is the largest school in the country that offers degrees ranging from BSN to doctorate. The U.S. News & World Report ranked IUPUI’s graduate nursing programs as one of the top 30 graduate nursing programs.
IUPUI’s PhD in Nursing Science is a hybrid program that is distance-accessible. The program uses videoconferencing technology to place students in a virtual classroom. Students are also welcome to attend in-person classes (when available) for face-to-face learning. During the first two years of the program, students attend two required on-campus, four-day Intensives so that they may attend professional development sessions, meet with their faculty mentors, and interact with other students and faculty. PhD students may choose to focus on Clinical Nursing Science or Health Systems (which includes Nursing Education). Both BSN-PhD and MSN-PhD Tracks are available.
Average Net Price: $9,744
16. University of Missouri-Kansas City
The University of Missouri-Kansas City first offered classes in 1933. It quickly expanded into a major university, and today it is one of only 30 universities in the country to house schools of nursing, medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy on the same campus. UMKC offers an impressive faculty-to-student ratio of 1:14, ensuring plenty of personalized instruction and support. The Princeton Review named UMKC a “Best Value College” in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The graduate nursing program was ranked among the nation’s top 20 best online graduate nursing programs by The U.S. News & World Report.
The PhD in Nursing allows students to complete most coursework online using the online learning platform Canvas. Regardless of where students are located, faculty provide students with personal attention and can be reached by phone and email. Students must attend Research Institute I and II in-person on the UMKC Kansas City campus. These sessions are three days long and take place in the first and second summers of study. Both a BSN – PhD and an MSN – PhD track are available. The PhD in Nursing program supports developing nursing knowledge in three areas: Clinical/Biological research, health systems/outcomes research, and nursing education research.
Average Net Price: $14,864
17. William Carey University
Founded in 1892, William Carey University operated as a Mississippi women’s college until becoming coeducational in 1954. Its main campus is located in Hattiesburg, MS, and this Christian university seeks to blend faith with learning. Many of William Carey University’s degrees are offered completely online. The Joseph and Nancy Fail School of Nursing offers both undergraduate and graduate programs.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Education and Administration Program is designed to prepare students for careers as nurse educators or administrators. All of the courses are offered in a web-enhanced format, and face-to-face meetings are scheduled four times per year. Students may take the program in a two- or three-year option. The program is open to students who have earned an MSN from an accredited school of nursing and a GPA of greater than 3.5 on their MSN courses. Students may also transfer up to 15 hours from another university in credit toward the program’s 60-hour requirement.
Average Net Price: $16,293
18. New Mexico State University
Located on a 900-acre campus in Las Cruces, New Mexico State University is home of the first Honor College established in New Mexico. The U.S. Department of Education classified NMSU as a Hispanic-serving institution, and the university enrolls students from 49 states and 89 foreign countries. NMSI is the lead institution in the state for the NASA New Mexico Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. Recognized as one of America’s Top Colleges in 2018 by Forbes, NMSU offers a wide selection of programs, many of which are available online for distance learning.
The NMSU Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) is an online program that prepares students for the challenges that nurses face in the 21st century. The program emphasizes meeting the health care needs of the diverse populations on the US-Mexico border, as well as those in rural communities. Students must come to the campus for one week per year, annually attend a research conference selected by faculty, and complete a dissertation. Online courses and assignments make this program accessible for students who don’t live near NMSU. An MSN from an accredited college or university is required for admission.
Average Net Price: $9,449
19. Villanova University
Villanova University holds the distinction of being the only Augustinian Catholic university in the United States. Located in Villanova, just 12 miles outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Villanova University is home to six schools and colleges. In 2004, the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing was designated a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. With this designation, the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing became one of just three centers to have earned this title. The College has 49 full-time and 60 adjunct faculty, 46 of whom hold at least a Master’s degree in nursing.
Graduates of the PhD in Nursing will be prepared to conduct clinically-based or education-based studies, advancing nursing science. This program is flexible, with the fall and spring semesters being in a distance learning format. On-campus summer sessions complement the distance learning, giving students in-person educational experience. International students may take advantage of a non-distance learning option. This program is offered to students who have a master’s in nursing from an accredited school of nursing. This 51-credit program is designed for students who plan to become teacher-scholars in nursing for academic careers.
Average Net Price: $35,491
20. University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi was founded in 1910 as a teachers’ college. Today, Southern Miss is home to the sixth-oldest acceptance-based Honors College in the nation. Southern Miss offers an impressive 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring plenty of individualized attention. In 2017, BestColleges.com ranked Southern Miss as the top university in the state for online education, as well as the second-best overall four-year public university in the state. The U.S. News & World Report also ranked the university’s Master of Science in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice as top programs in the state.
The Nursing PhD is a groundbreaking new program entirely online. Students must have graduated from an accredited baccalaureate or master’s program to be eligible for the Nursing PhD. With the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, both full-time and part-time students who plan to teach at any accredited school of nursing in the country can eliminate up to 85 percent of student loans.
Average Net Price: $12,506
21. Illinois State University
Located in Normal, just a short drive from Chicago and St. Louis, Illinois State University offers a small campus feel with the quality education that you would expect from a larger university. Illinois State values the quality of education offered, and has an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Ninety-three percent of classes are taught by professors, rather than graduate students. Plus, 98 percent of Illinois State professors hold the highest degree in their field. College Factual ranked Illinois State University as the 22nd Best College for the Money out of 1,200 US schools.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing has a blended curriculum with some courses available online, while others are offered on-campus. The program is designed to provide nurse researchers with expertise in vulnerable populations. Program graduates will be prepared for careers in academic, business, government, or industrial settings. Once enrolled in the program, students are matched with faculty at the Mennonite College of Nursing, and these faculty members act as the students’ advisors during the program. Program applicants must have a Master of Science in Nursing from a CCNE- or NLN-accredited program.
Average Net Price: $19,227
22. East Tennessee State University
East Tennessee State University, founded in 1911, is located in Johnson City, Tennessee on a 350-acre campus. Eleven different schools and colleges make up the university, and ETSU offers over 100 baccalaureate, master, and doctoral programs. Over 14,500 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students attend ETSU each year, and 87 percent of students receive some type of financial assistance. The university works to create a student-centered community of learning, promoting a balance of liberal arts and professional preparation.
The ETSU Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing can be completed mostly online, and was designed to offer working professionals flexibility and convenience. The online coursework is complemented by on-campus intensive sessions once each semester. This program prepares students to become expert practitioners and nurse scientists capable of conducting research to improve health and provide leadership within the healthcare system. Graduates can pursue careers in schools of nursing, health agencies, and health care delivery systems. A BSN and master’s degree, an MSN, or a master’s degree in a related discipline are required. Additionally, applicants must have at least two years of full-time work experience as a registered nurse.
Average Net Price: $13,926
23. Duquesne University
Duquesne University is one of the top Catholic universities, and holds the distinction of being the only Spiritan institution of higher education in the United States. The self-contained campus, located in Pittsburgh, is a short walk or bus ride from downtown. A 14:1 student-to-teacher ratio is evidence of the school’s dedication to providing a quality education. The School of Nursing was ranked number 67 in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Graduate Schools rankings, and The Princeton Review included Duquesne University on its list of the 384 best colleges in the nation for 2019.
Duquesne University’s Online PhD in Nursing Program has been offered for over 20 years, with program graduates going on to hold careers in nursing education, research, and organizational leadership. Students can choose a 3- or 4-year program, which cover identical material but differ in their intensity and duration. Both of the programs are offered online, and students must complete residencies at Duquesne’s Pittsburgh, PA campus. Students also complete a study abroad residency at Duquesne’s Rome or Dublin campus. The program’s curriculum is research-based, and students have up to eight years to complete all of the program requirements.
Average Net Price: $30,540
24. University at Buffalo
Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a research-intensive public university. It is the largest campus in the State University of New York system, and was the first SUNY school invited to join the Association of American Universities. The U.S. News & World Report included the University at Buffalo in its list of the top 40 public universities in the nation, and Kiplinger’s deemed the school one of the “best values” in higher education. The University at Buffalo School of Nursing was founded in 1936 and is staffed by 56 faculty.
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing Program prepares students to hold roles as researchers, academics, and leaders in local, national, and global settings. This program offers a flexible learning environment with online classes to accommodate distance learning. The classes are scheduled two days a week, allowing students to work while enrolled in the program. Students may take the program on a part-time or full-time basis. The University at Buffalo offers the program as both a Post-BS to PhD and a Post-MS to PhD track. Students are encouraged to join one of the university’s many scholarly teams focusing on shaping health policy, advancing nursing practice, and more.
Average Net Price: $16,120
25. George Washington University
In 1821, George Washington University was chartered by an Act of Congress. With a rich history and a location just four blocks from the White House, GW is the largest institution of higher learning in Washington, DC. The university employs 1,258 faculty and 1,170 medical faculty. Thanks to agency partnerships, GW students have research opportunities with the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and more. The George Washington University School of Nursing has both a Washington, DC and an Ashburn, Virginia campus. It offers bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and certificate programs.
The PhD in Nursing is a low-residency PhD program which prepares students for careers in which they will influence improvements in healthcare and the healthcare system. During their first two years in the program, students will spend 2 and a half days on campus twice a semester. Online sessions are designed to maximize student engagement without requiring travel to campus. The classes are taught by expert faculty who are conducting clinical, educational, health services, and health policy research. Students are carefully matched with faculty advisors sharing their same research interests. Graduate assistantships including full-time tuition remission and a stipend are available during students’ first two years of program study.
Average Net Price: $37,638
26. University of Northern Colorado
The University of Northern Colorado is situated In Greeley, Colorado between the Rocky Mountains and high plains. The university is home to more than 100 undergraduate programs and 120 graduate programs. UNC offers an 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and focuses on both research and hands-on learning. With over 12,000 students, almost 3,000 of which are graduate students, UNC’s six colleges offer students plenty of opportunities. Average class size is just 26 students, ensuring students receive plenty of individualized attention for a comprehensive, quality education.
The Ph.D. in Nursing Education program prepares students for careers as nurse educators in educational institutions and health care agencies. This post-Master’s program is held online, making it ideal for students who don’t live close to the university’s campus. Students will study four major focus areas: nursing science, nursing education, research, and professional leadership. Applicants must submit three professional letters of recommendation, a personal statement about their goals and interests in nursing education, an example of a scholarly work or project, a copy of their current RN license, and more.
Average Net Price: $15,003
27. Vanderbilt University
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University was founded in 1873. Vanderbilt University has become an internationally recognized research university with ten different schools and colleges. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanderbilt University 14th among national universities, and also ranked the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing 14th among graduate schools of nursing. In 2017, Reuters ranked Vanderbilt University 10th in its list of the world’s 100 most innovative universities. The university was also included in The Princeton Review’s 2018 rankings of schools with the happiest students, the best quality of life, and the most beautiful campus.
The PhD in Nursing Science Program is designed to prepare students for research and academic careers in the public or private health care sectors. This research program has an online/distance learning format with limited on-campus visits. Concentrated on-campus intensives occur three times per academic year for no more than 20 days total. Online courses are a mix of synchronous and asynchronous sessions. Students may choose a Clinical Research or Health Services Research track of study, and are mentored by faculty throughout the program’s duration. Both full-time and part-time options are available to accommodate each student’s schedule.
Average Net Price: $23,295
28. Saint Louis University
Established in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the oldest Catholic universities in the country. The university added a second campus in Madrid, Spain, so SLU’s current enrollment of almost 13,000 students come from all 50 states and 78 foreign countries. SLU has a rich heritage and started the first medical school west of the Mississippi in 1836. Today, the university has over 20 graduate and undergraduate programs that have been included in U.S. World & News Report’s listings of the top 100 programs in the country. With an incredible student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, SLU ensures that students have plenty of individualized attention for a quality education.
Students who enroll in SLU’s PhD in Nursing program are able to choose to take classes on campus or from a distance. Students who are learning from a distance interact with students on campus through online conferencing software, with most classes scheduled for Friday mornings. The program is offered as a post-baccalaureate-to-PhD program, or as a post-master’s-to-PhD Both full-time and part-time study options are available, and the SLU School of Nursing offers generous scholarships to eligible graduate students. Full-time on-campus students are eligible for graduate research assistantships.
Average Net Price: $31,718
29. Virginia Commonwealth University
Founded in 1838, Virginia Commonwealth University is located in Richmond, Virginia. Today, VCU offers over 200 programs and educates over 31,000 students annually. The school’s 18:1 student-to-faculty ratio means that students received individualized attention and support. In addition to its 173-acre main campus, VCU has multiple satellite locations, including VCUarts Qatar, the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, and the VCU School of Medicine Inova Fairfax Campus. The VCU Medical Center is the region’s number-one-ranked hospital. It is the only Level 1 trauma center in Virginia verified in burn, pediatric, and adult trauma care.
The VCU online PhD program offers excellent flexibility with online classes and minimal on-campus presence. Students will complete some required face-to-face courses during the first year of the BS to PhD option. Two tracks – biobehavioral research or health care quality research – allow students to choose the path that they are most interested in. Students also have the option to take courses at The Nursing Education Xchange member colleges. During the program, students receive close mentorship from faculty, and both scholarships and graduate teaching assistantships are available to help with the program’s cost.
Average Net Price: $20,741
30. Texas Woman’s University
Texas Woman’s University educates approximately 15,000 students annually, making it the nation’s largest university primarily for women (though men have been admitted to TWU since 1972). A member of the Women’s College Coalition, TWU’s purpose is to “Educate a woman, empower the world.” TWU has campuses in Denton, Dallas, and Houston. The university also has an e-learning campus that offers online degree programs. Today, TWU serves as a public university that offers baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees.
The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science (PhD) program instills students with the skills they will need to hold leadership positions in a hospital, clinic, or classroom setting. The program is available in two different formats. The first format, offered through the Denton campus, is provided 100 percent online. The second program is a hybrid option that incorporates face-to-face classes at the Houston campus as well as online classes. Both full-time and part-time options are available for either program.
Average Net Price: $9,129
31. Idaho State University
Idaho State University offers 250 programs to over 12,000 students each year. While the main campus is located in Pocatello, Idaho, the university also has locations in Meridian, Idaho Falls, and Twin Falls. ISU was founded in 1901 and is now the state’s designated lead institution in health professions. ISU has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and students are active in fields such as energy, nuclear research, engineering, technology, biological sciences pharmacy, and more. For nature lovers, the ISU campus is an ideal destination with easy access to outdoor recreation opportunities.
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing is an online program that prepares students to conduct independent research, collaborate in the roles of both scholar and leader, and provide education that improves health and health care. It is available as both a full-time and a part-time option, so students can choose the program that works best for their schedule. Students complete a core curriculum, as well as work closely with faculty advisors to complete an individualized course of study. Each year the College of Nursing awards approximately $40,000 in scholarships to students.
Average Net Price: $12,637
32. Endicott College
Endicott College is located in Beverly, Massachusetts, just 20 miles north of Boston. Founded in 1939, Endicott’s current traditional student class size is approximately 2,800, with an additional 2,300 students enrolled in doctoral, graduate, and accelerated undergraduate programs. Ninety percent of Endicott College graduates are employed in careers related to their major. The college has received many nationally recognized awards, and most recently the U.S. News & World Report included Endicott College in its recognition of the most innovative colleges, the best regional universities, and the best regional universities for undergrad teaching in 2019.
The PhD in Nursing focuses on four dimensions: Human flourishing, nursing judgment, professional identity, and spirit of inquiry. The program is designed to accommodate students who are also busy professionals, yet who seek a rigorous educational experience. Students have the option to take courses face-to-face in a classroom on the Beverly campus. Alternatively, students may choose a hybrid model with online and face-to-face courses through the Canvas platform. In building upon the knowledge students acquired through Baccalaureate and Master’s programs, this program will emphasize the relationships between theory, research, and nursing practice.
Average Net Price: $35,097
33. Hampton University
Located in Hampton, Virginia, Hampton University is known as one of the top historically black universities in the world. Today, Hampton U offers technical, liberal arts, and graduate degree programs to over 4,000 students each year. Hampton University’s online program, Hampton U Online, ensures that education is accessible even to students who can’t make it to campus in person. Hampton U Online allows students to complete certificate, undergraduate, and graduate degree programs online anytime. Affordable Colleges Online recognized Hampton U Online as a best online college in Virginia in 2018.
Hampton University’s PhD in Nursing is offered through Hampton U Online. This program requires at least 48 hours of coursework beyond the master’s level, and students have seven years to complete the PhD requirements. This program focuses on family and family-related research, though students can pursue individual interests with elective and cognate classes. During the program, students must pass three doctoral examinations – a qualifying examination, a comprehensive examination, and an oral defense of the dissertation. Program applicants must hold a master’s degree in nursing from an accredited program, and have a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
Average Net Price: $26,031