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Program Requirements 

Total Hours Required: 60 credits hours beyond the master's degree, including 6 hours for dissertation
Major: 30 hours plus dissertation
Free Electives: 18 hours
Women's Health Elective: 3 hours
Education Elective: 3 hours

Research Tools

  1. To complete the first research tool requirement, students must take statistics. The student must complete six hours of graduate level statistics.
  2. To complete the second research tool requirement, students may choose one of the following options:
  • Library Science
    • Course 1 LS 5533 Internet Research for Non-Library Science Majors
    • Course 2 LS 5553 Electronic Information Retrieval for Non-Library Science Majors
  • Informatics in Health Care
    • Course 1 NURS 6323  Informatics and Research in Nursing and Health Care
    • Course 2 NURS 6333  Current Topics in Informatics and Research in Nursing and Health Care 
    • Additional option LS 5363 Health Sciences Information Services and a second course at the approval of the academic advisory committee and/or program coordinator
  • Instrumentation
    • Course 1 NURS 5273 Measurement and Assessment in Nursing
    • Course 2 NURS 6173 Instruments in Nursing Research
    • Alternate course series at the approval of the academic advisory committee and/or program coordinator
  • Professional Writing Course
    • Course 1 NURS 6903 Professional Writing
    • Course 2 NURS 6003 Grant Writing
    • Alternate course series at the approval of the academic advisory committee and/or program coordinator
  • Population Health and Epidemiology
    • Course 1 NURS 6313. Epidemiology, Health Promotion, and Research in Advanced Nursing Practice
    • Course 2   Advanced course taken with approval of academic advisory committee and/or program coordinator
    • Additional option    a two course (6 credit) sequence at the approval of the academic advisory committee and/or program coordinator
  • Global Citizenship

Credit hours for research tools do not count toward the total hours required for the degree. As a general guide, an effort should be made to complete the Graduate Research Tool requirements early in the program of study. 

Special Requirements

  1. Grade of B or better is required in all courses. A student who has earned a grade of less than B (C, D, F, or WF) in two courses at the graduate level or who has earned a grade of less than B (C, D, F, or WF) twice in the same graduate level nursing course will be removed from the nursing program. For the purpose of removal from the nursing program, a grade of less than B is counted as a grade of less than B even if the course has been successfully repeated.
  2. Students admitted to the doctoral program provisionally, based on a low GPA or GRE/MAT, must complete the first 12 hours of coursework with a grade of B or better in each course; at least 6 hours must be in nursing courses. A provisionally admitted student will be dismissed from the program if a grade of C or lower is made in any course during the probationary period.
  3. Students in the online PhD program will be required to attend a 2-3 day summer residency in Denton, Texas. Orientation to various aspects of the program will be offered tailored to where the student is in his or her course trajectory. Planned social events will be offered to facilitate a sense of community among students and faculty.

Preliminary Exam

Upon completion of NURS 6023, NURS 6053, and NURS 6004 students will complete a preliminary examination to determine if further course work toward the doctorate may be completed.

Admission to Candidacy

For admission to candidacy the following are required:

  1. Unconditional admission status. If the admission was provisional, the student must have satisfied the requirements listed on the admission letter for advancement to unconditional admission status. The Graduate School must receive formal notification from the Dean of the College of Nursing that the requirements for advancement to unconditional admission have been met. The student is responsible for completing the form to change admission status from provisional to unconditional admission. This form is given to the Doctoral Coordinator who forwards it to the Associate Dean on the campus the student is attending. The final decision to change status is from the Dean of the Graduate School.
  2. An accepted degree plan must be filed in the Graduate School. If, during the course of the program, the student has substituted a course on the degree plan, an Application for Change of Degree Plan must be submitted to the Graduate School. These forms should be channeled through the Doctoral Coordinator.
  3. Good academic standing. No grade below B is accepted toward a doctoral degree.
  4. Completion of research tools.
  5. Completion of all course work.
  6. Successful completion of the preliminary examination and a preproposal meeting.

Completion of Dissertation

Each student is required to conduct a research project that exhibits evidence of scholarship and potential for adding the body of nursing knowledge.

The choice of a dissertation chairperson is an important mutual decision between the student and the faculty member. The student and chairperson should have a shared interest in the research topic and work together to develop the dissertation. In addition to the chair, the student selects at least two (2) additional committee members. The chair and at least one other committee member must be from the College of Nursing. Consult the Graduate Catalog for a comprehensive discussion of the Policies and Guidelines for Graduate Committees on Thesis, Dissertation, and Professional Papers.

The dissertation is a multi-step process. Proposal defense occurs following the preparation of the first three chapters. After proposal defense and Graduate School approval, students complete data collection and analysis. Approval from the Human Subjects Review Committee and agencies should be obtained prior to data collection. After chapters four and five of the dissertation are written, a final defense is scheduled. Students should follow the TWU's Guide to Preparation and Processing of Dissertations, Theses, and Professional Papers [pdf]. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association should be used by all students in the College of Nursing for preparation of the prospectus and dissertation.

Students must be enrolled during the semester in which they defend their proposal or file their dissertation for graduation. Students must also be enrolled in dissertation hours during semesters when they utilize their chair or committee members while working on the dissertation. Six hours of credit are earned for the dissertation.

Students should be aware of the filing dates, graduation application dates, and fees required for graduation. This information is available from the Graduate School.

Final Exam

The final examination is oral, over the completed dissertation


All program requirements must be completed within ten consecutive calendar years from the date when the first doctoral credit is earned. Students who have two continuous years of non-enrollment must reapply for admission to the program.

A student considering the doctoral program should plan on a minimum of two years of full time and one year of part-time study to complete the course work plus the dissertation. Full time study is at least 9 hours of course work per semester. Part-time study is also an available option. Many students complete the program on a part-time basis. Regardless of whether full or part-time study options are selected, efforts are made to provide rich opportunities for study and development.


Doctoral students who interrupt their progression in the doctoral program for more than two years must make a formal request to the College of Nursing for readmission to the program. The Graduate Academic Affairs Committee will evaluate the request. If the request is granted, the Academic Advisory Committee will, in consultation with the Doctoral Coordinator, stipulate any course work to be repeated. However, the ten-year time limitation for completion of the program shall remain in effect from the time the first doctoral credit is awarded. If during the student's absence, the curriculum or admission standards have changed, the student will be expected to meet any new admission standards and fulfill the requirements of the current curriculum.

Students not in good standing at the time they cease course work shall not be readmitted to the program. Students who have been dismissed from the program shall not be eligible for readmission. Students who have failed the qualifying examination for the second time shall not be eligible for readmission.

page last updated 3/16/2017 12:08 PM