Our nursing science program is a research-focused doctoral education program that grants the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. Our program is offered in an online/distance format. It is designed to prepare scholars for research and academic careers in major universities and for research positions in public or private sectors of health care. Two tracks of study are available: Clinical Research and Health Services Research. These areas of study are reflective of the overall research interests and expertise of School of Nursing faculty members and the rich resources available in the Vanderbilt community. Faculty research interests include stress and coping, perceived control, health promotion, oncology, pediatric palliative care, impact of chronic conditions on individuals and families, family violence, health psychology/behavioral medicine, life transitions, and symptom management. Health services research topics include outcomes measurement and interventions, workforce policy, and economic aspects of health care delivery.
Course work is delivered using Internet supported technology with limited on-campus visits. Courses are taught using a combination of:
- Concentrated blocks of time on campus (i.e., intensives). Blocks are approximately 20 days per academic year spread out among three campus visits.
- Synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods. Synchronous classes (i.e., required same time sessions) are held weekly.
We embrace a student-centered approach with flexible learning strategies and the use of technology to maintain close scholarly interactions. Students work with faculty mentors who guide and oversee their educational program from admission through completion of degree requirements. They participate in intensive research experiences connected with faculty research projects and are exposed to a variety of research designs and analytic techniques. Requirements for the degree include successful completion of advanced course work, a qualifying examination paper, an oral qualifying examination, and dissertation (including oral defense of the proposal and findings). Full-time and part-time options are available.
The PhD in Nursing Science Program
offers two study tracks:
- Clinical Research
Designed to develop clinical nursing scholars who can impact nursing practice and research in a variety of roles and settings. Students are prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary for designing, measuring and analyzing theory-based intervention studies involving human subjects including behavioral studies and outcomes research.
- Health Services Research
Designed to develop beginning researchers specializing in answering questions related to patient care, patient outcomes and nursing. Health services research encompasses studies of health care and workforce needs as well as those aimed at testing interventions. Program curriculum is consistent with the doctoral competencies identified by AcademyHealth.