Early Entry PhD Option

Program Requirements

The Early Entry PhD Option program of study consists of early and intensive research training, clinical practice, and required and recommended coursework. An integral part of the Early Entry PhD Option is preparation for a career as a nurse researcher. Throughout the program, students will participate in a research team facilitated by their major advisor. As students progress in the program, there is an expectation that they will select their own focus of research and conduct independent work culminating in the doctoral dissertation.

Programs of study are individually planned by the student and the advisory committee and take into consideration the students’ backgrounds, goals, and interests. Early in the program there is little variation from a traditional undergraduate student’s program. Early entry students enroll in the honors program, which provides an introduction to the research conducted by School of Nursing faculty and also a structure for introductory research experiences. As students progress in the program, clinical experiences and coursework are tailored to fit with their identified areas of inquiry. Graduate course work may be substituted for undergraduate required courses. For example, Early Entry PhD students have substituted graduate level quantitative and interpretive research courses for the undergraduate research course, thereby gaining considerable more depth in research while undergraduates. Students have also exchanged undergraduate courses for graduate-level population coursework such as enrolling in a women’s health theory course instead of an undergraduate family/perinatal course.

Application to the doctoral program is completed one or two semesters prior to completion of the baccalaureate degree. If students are making satisfactory progress in the Early Entry PhD Option (including maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher), admission to the PhD program is automatic. Upon graduation from the BS program, students continue directly into the doctoral program.

At the doctoral level, students complete all requirements of the current doctoral program: existing and evolving knowledge in nursing, methods, research ethics, PhD minor, doctoral seminars, teaching and learning, research and dissertation. As part of the doctoral program, students complete a comprehensive candidacy examination at the end of formal coursework. Once students have achieved candidacy they complete the dissertation (Additional information on PhD program requirements).