Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Graduate School-Newark
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Doctor of Philosophy
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  Graduate School-Newark 2020-2022 Programs, Faculty, and Courses Nursing 705 Doctor of Philosophy  

Doctor of Philosophy


The purpose of Rutgers' Ph.D. program in Nursing is to prepare nurse scientists who will expand the knowledge base of nursing, steward the discipline of nursing, lead interdisciplinary research teams, influence health policy, and mentor the next generation of nurses and nurse scientists. Graduates are expected to lead the advancement of science in academic, service, and research institutions and to disseminate research findings to a variety of audiences including practitioners, policymakers, and the scientific community.

A graduate of the Ph.D. Nursing program will be prepared to: critically analyze philosophical viewpoints and evaluate their potential for developing scientific nursing knowledge; synthesize theoretical and empirical literature regarding concepts and phenomena relevant to the discipline of nursing; design and conduct rigorous, interdisciplinary research that is culturally competent; effectively communicate research findings and scholarship via a variety of venues including peer-reviewed publications; presentations for clinical, scientific, and interdisciplinary audiences; and the lay public; leverage research findings and health policy development strategies to influence the advancement of evidence-based policy; and educate future clinicians, educators, and scientists.


Students interested in the Ph.D. in Nursing program can apply via (1) the post-baccalaureate integrated pathway option, which includes coursework resulting in a master's degree along the way to a Ph.D.; or (2) the post-master's application option (

The in-class Ph.D. curriculum requires a minimum of 66 credits. Of that total, 9 credits are allocated to cognate courses; of these, a total of 6 credits must be taken outside the discipline of nursing. The remaining Ph.D. credits are taken within the School of Nursing and include 14 credits allocated to statistics, measurement, and philosophy of science; 13 credits allocated to research methods and theory development; 6 credits allocated to scholarship and policy development; 3 credits for a research practicum and 3 credits for a teaching practicum; 18 credits for research allocated as 3 credits for dissertation seminar (proposal development) and 15 credits for dissertation research.

In addition to completion of 66 credits, students must also:

Pass a qualifying examination for admission to candidacy (this examination is given after a student has completed the major portion of course requirements but prior to developing the dissertation proposal); form a dissertation committee; submit an approved dissertation proposal; complete a dissertation that is based on the candidate's original research related to a significant phenomenon in nursing; and defend the dissertation in a public forum.

Time Limit

Requirements for the Ph.D. in Nursing degree must be completed within seven years for full-time students and eight years for part-time students.


The requirements for admission to the Ph.D. in Nursing program are:

  • For the post-baccalaureate integrated pathway option, applicants must have a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited program.
  • For the post-master's, applicants must have a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited program and a master's degree with a major in nursing or a similar health-related field.
  • A minimum cumulative graduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale from all previous post-secondary academic programs (where A = 4.0).
  • The ability to demonstrate professional interests and future contributions to nursing science through the completion of three essays focused on the applicant's background/qualifications, Ph.D. program interest and goals, and research interests.
  • Three letters of reference (preferably two of which are from Ph.D.-prepared individuals).
  • Current RN license.
  • An in-person (or virtual) interview.
  • The GRE is not required for admission to our Ph.D. program.
  • A previous statistics course in the past five years is desired but not required
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must submit official TOEFL (Test of English as a Second Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores. Admitted students may be required to take coursework in English as a Second Language (ESL). The university may deny admission to international applicants who lack proficiency in English.
Applicants must submit the following materials:
  • A completed online application form.
  • Curriculum Vitae/résumé
  • Essay responses to three questions focused on your background/qualifications, Ph.D. program interest and goals, and research interests.
  • Three letters of reference from professional sources that support the applicant's ability to succeed in the Ph.D. in nursing program (preferably two of which are from PhD-prepared individuals).
  • Payment of the application fee.
  • Proof of a current registered nurse licensure in the State of New Jersey.
  • Official transcripts of all previous college work including coursework taken inside or outside of the United States.
Please request that ALL transcripts (even for courses completed at Rutgers School of Nursing) be sent to:
Graduate and Professional Admissions
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Proctor Hall, Suite 308
65 Davidson Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Or sent electronically (by the institution) to:

Additional Admission Requirements for Foreign Applicants

In addition to the admission requirements listed above, international applicants must also meet all of the following additional criteria:

Submit an official transcript evaluation by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Schools of Nursing (CGFNS) of all courses or degrees completed at academic institutions outside of the United States. Please instruct CGFNS to forward their official evaluation to:

Graduate and Professional Admissions
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Proctor Hall, Suite 308
65 Davidson Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854

Or sent electronically (by the institution) to:

Satisfactory completion of the TOEFL or IELTS (see Admission Requirements). Please request TOEFL or IELTS scores be sent to the graduate admissions office at the address listed above.

Applicants in F-1 or J-1 student status must prove that they have sufficient funds to cover both their educational and living expenses.

Please visit for additional information for international applicants.

Academic Advisement

Upon admission to the Ph.D. in Nursing program, students are assigned to a faculty adviser. Every attempt is made to identify an adviser with similar research interests as the student. Each semester, before registering for classes, students should arrange to meet with their adviser for a progress review on their plan of study. Students should also meet with the Ph.D. program director each year to review progress toward their degree and dissertation research.
It is expected that nursing Ph.D. students will have the same faculty adviser until the Dissertation Committee is formed. It is anticipated that the original faculty adviser will become the Dissertation Committee Chair, but that is not always the case. Once the Dissertation Committee is formed, the Dissertation Committee Chair assumes the role of the adviser. Before registering for any cognate courses or dissertation research credits prior approval must be obtained from the adviser.

Once a Dissertation Committee is formed and a chair/adviser is finalized, the student can not initiate a change in chair/adviser. If the chair leaves the School of Nursing or the chair recommends a change in writing, then a change in chair will occur and the chair will be replaced by another faculty member.

Academic Policies

A full-time course load is defined as 9 or more credits for the fall and spring, and a course load of 18 credits or more per semester requires the approval of the director of the Ph.D. program.

A student registered for 8 credits or less for a fall or spring semester has part-time status.

Students must be registered every regular semester (spring and fall). Those students who interrupt their studies must register for Matriculation Continued by contacting the Ph.D. program director. With the approval of the director of the Ph.D. program, students may register for Matriculation Continued for up to two semesters, in total, during the pursuit of their Ph.D. degree. In the event of extenuating life circumstances, students may request permission to register for additional Matriculation Continued status. This request, however, will need to be approved by the Ph.D. program director and Rutgers University-Newark Graduate School. Students receiving funding based on maintaining full-time status must contact the Graduate School-Newark dean's office to register for full-time Matriculation Continued.

When a student applies for admission, the requirements for the degree at the time of admission become the student's program of study. Full-time students must complete all degree requirements within seven years of matriculation; part-time students must complete all degree requirements within an eight-year time frame from matriculation. Should extenuating circumstances necessitate prolonging the time limit, the student's record is reviewed. Extensions are only granted to those students who have a history of satisfactory performance and who can document a timetable and plan to complete the requirements within a reasonable period of time. A written request for such an extension is made by the student to the director of the Ph.D. in Nursing program. The director of the Ph.D. in nursing program reviews the request, timetable, plan, and the student's record and forwards their recommendation and documentation to the associate dean of nursing science and the associate dean of the Graduate School-Newark. The final decision to approve or disapprove the request for extension rests with the associate dean of nursing science.

In keeping with the policies of Graduate School-Newark, up to 40 percent of coursework, not research credits, may be transferred from other graduate degree-granting institutions. For further information on the transfer of credits from other degree programs and other institutions, see Transfer of Credit in the Academic Policies and Procedures section of this catalog.

Students are expected to earn grades B or better in their coursework. No more than 6 credits with a grade of C or C- may be used in meeting the requirements for a Ph.D. in nursing degree. An overall grade of B average is required for graduation.

The Graduate School-Newark requires that all students maintain a minimum cumulative B or better average during each semester of study in order to remain enrolled. Failure to maintain the minimum cumulative average may result in academic dismissal.

The grade of incomplete (IN) may be granted when a student has not completed the assigned work in a course because of illness or other reasons satisfactory to the instructor. The grade of IN is issued at the discretion of the instructor. If the incomplete (IN) grade is a prerequisite for a subsequent course, the student will not be allowed to register for that course and, if already registered, will need to drop/withdraw from the subsequent course. The student must complete all required course assignments within one (1) academic year to convert the IN to a letter grade (example: All course requirements for an IN grade issued for a fall semester course must be satisfied and the IN converted to a letter grade by the end of the fall semester of the following academic year). After one academic year, the IN cannot be removed from the student's transcripts and cannot be converted to a letter grade.

Grade Complaints

The nursing program has procedures to ensure that all parties get due process when a grade complaint arises. Any complaints by students about their grades should be handled within the graduate program. The program's procedures give the student a chance to determine if an error was made in assigning the grade. On the other hand, they enable the instructor to explain why the grade was given. Complaints about grading practices of individual instructors are handled in the following manner:

1. Within 10 days of receiving official notification of the grade, the student should meet with the instructor who recorded the grade in question.

2. If the two parties cannot resolve the matter, the issue becomes dead unless the student files a written complaint with the graduate program director or a designee within 10 school days of meeting with the instructor.

3. The graduate program director must review the case, consult with all parties, and attempt to mediate the dispute. Within 10 school days of receiving the written complaint, the graduate program director or designee shall consult with all parties and propose a resolution.

4. If the student is not satisfied with the results achieved at that level, within 10 days, he or she can refer the matter to the Student Life Committee (SLC). To support this appeal, the student must forward to the chair of the Student Life Committee the previously written complaint and all materials submitted earlier in the case.

5. To review materials the student has submitted, the SLC forms a subcommittee composed solely of its members who have graduate faculty status.

6. Within 15 school days of receiving the complaint, the SLC shall render a decision. In arriving at its decision, the SLC may consult with anyone it chooses. In extraordinary cases, it may even ask third parties from among the faculty to review the grade in question.

7. Any student wishing to dispute the decision of the SLC may appeal to the dean of the Graduate School-Newark. Such an appeal must be made in writing by the student within 10 school days from the day the student received notice of the program faculty's decision. In this document, the student should outline clearly the grounds for the appeal.

8. The dean of the Graduate School-Newark shall render a decision within 10 school days of the receipt of the appeal. This decision is final.


The Qualifying Examination

The Dissertation

For additional information, contact RU-info at 848-445-info (4636) or
Comments and corrections to: One Stop Student Services Center.

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