Our research-focused Ph.D. in Nursing program is designed for nursing professionals committed to shaping the future of healthcare as nurse researchers, educators, or policymakers. Through multi-disciplinary projects with other doctoral students from various health disciplines, you can develop the skills to lead or collaborate with cross-functional healthcare teams and promote positive change. Choose from five focus areas of study to gain the advanced expertise required for a career in nursing research and scholarship that meets your interests.

This program is designed to help advance your career and support continuous improvements in nursing science, education, and practice. Whether you want to advance scientific knowledge in the field, educate the next generation of nursing professionals, or influence policy and practice in our increasingly complex healthcare environment, Walden’s Ph.D. in Nursing program can prepare you to make a difference in patients’ lives, in communities, and across the globe.

Find detailed information for this program, including possible occupations, completion rate, program costs, and median student loan debt.

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  • "I'm much more confident in my abilities to take a leadership role in public health initiatives." - Melissa Thomas

  • Elements of Walden's Doctoral Nursing Programs

    Doctoral Nursing Comparison Chart Walden offers two doctoral degree programs designed to meet your career goals. 

    View the chart to help you determine which program is right for you.

  • Scholarship Opportunities

    Find out how you can fund your nursing degree with scholarships.

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  • Transfer credits for you doctoral program

  • Curriculum

  • Tuition and Fees

  • Career Options

  • Highlights

  • Learning Outcomes

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Walden’s Ph.D. in Nursing curriculum combines interdisciplinary coursework and a choice of five focus areas to prepare you to address complex healthcare issues and enable you to tailor the program to your career interests. Selected courses and collaborative projects bring you together with doctoral students from other health-related programs such as public health and health services to deepen your understanding of cross-functional issues and approaches. While four available focus areas allow you to develop your expertise in defined areas, a fifth Interdisciplinary Health option allows you to design your own focus area based on your unique professional goals. You may choose up to two focus areas in:

 

Find out more about the Ph.D. in Nursing now.  Request Information

Education

Prepare to research, design, implement, and evaluate educational programs for nurses, including formal academic programs that lead to a degree or certificate and more informal continuing education programs designed to meet individual learning needs. Gain the knowledge required to lead cutting-edge education programs through coursework focusing on distance education principles and the use of multimedia technology to facilitate learning.

Completion Requirements

  • 78 total quarter credits 
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Research courses (16 cr.)
    • Core courses (25 cr.)
    • Focus area courses (16 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days (students will participate in four residencies during their second, fourth, sixth, and eighth terms)

Time to completion may vary by student depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Students may transfer up to 36 doctoral quarter credits. Work experience is not eligible for transfer of credit. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion and to find out whether you can transfer credits, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Foundation course

Research courses

Core courses

Focus area courses

Dissertation

Healthcare Administration

Explore principles that impact healthcare decisions and practice as well as the theoretical foundations of governance and public policy. Through the Healthcare Administration focus area, you can prepare to manage and implement healthcare programs and services by applying best practices in leadership, ethics, and strategic planning. You can learn collaborative and effective approaches to working with diverse workforces and communities.

Completion Requirements

  • 77 total quarter credits 
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Research courses (16 cr.)
    • Core courses (25 cr.)
    • Focus area courses (15 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days (students will participate in four residencies during their second, fourth, sixth, and eighth terms)

Time to completion may vary by student depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Students may transfer up to 36 doctoral quarter credits. Work experience is not eligible for transfer of credit. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion and to find out whether you can transfer credits, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Foundation course

Research courses

Core courses

Focus area courses (choose three courses)

Dissertation

Interdisciplinary Health

Design an interdisciplinary focus area that reflects your professional goals and interests, broadens your perspectives, or enables you to work more effectively with diverse populations and teams. Choose three courses from the four other Ph.D. in Nursing focus areas: Education, Healthcare Administration, Leadership, and Public Health Policy. 

Completion Requirements

  • 74-77 total quarter credits 
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Research courses (16 cr.)
    • Core courses (25 cr.)
    • Focus area courses (12-15 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days (students will participate in four residencies during their second, fourth, sixth, and eighth terms)

Time to completion may vary by student depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Students may transfer up to 36 doctoral quarter credits. Work experience is not eligible for transfer of credit. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion and to find out whether you can transfer credits, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Foundation course

Research courses

Core courses

Focus area courses (choose any three)

Dissertation

Leadership

You can gain the skills required to become a healthcare leader who can work effectively with diverse workforces and communities in a variety of political and economic settings. Through the Leadership focus area, you can build competencies in organizational change management, team building, mediation, collaboration, and systems thinking and planning. You can also develop the leadership and ethical capabilities required to advance public health goals as you gain the skills to motivate, inspire, and manage people through effective communication.

Completion Requirements

  • 77 total quarter credits 
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Research courses (16 cr.)
    • Core courses (25 cr.)
    • Focus area courses (15 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days (students will participate in four residencies during their second, fourth, sixth, and eighth terms)

Time to completion may vary by student depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Students may transfer up to 36 doctoral quarter credits. Work experience is not eligible for transfer of credit. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion and to find out whether you can transfer credits, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Foundation course

Research courses

Core courses

Foucs area courses (choose three)

Dissertation

Public Health Policy

Learn to design, implement, manage, and influence public health policy at the local, state, and federal levels. Explore how data is used to form policy recommendations and to draft legislation that promotes the equal distribution of health resources and reductions in health risks. Examine microeconomic and macroeconomic models, the influence of public finance on policy decisions, and the tools and techniques used to evaluate the impact of social programs.

Completion Requirements

  • 77 total quarter credits 
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Research courses (16 cr.)
    • Core courses (25 cr.)
    • Focus area courses (15 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days (students will participate in four residencies during their second, fourth, sixth, and eighth terms)

Time to completion may vary by student depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Students may transfer up to 36 doctoral quarter credits. Work experience is not eligible for transfer of credit. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion and to find out whether you can transfer credits, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Foundation course

Research courses

Core courses

Focus area courses (choose three)

Dissertation

Walden offers one of the shortest and more affordable Ph.D. in Nursing programs compared to those at other online regionally accredited universities.

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost Total*
Tuition 76 total quarter credit hours $675 per quarter hour $51,300
Residency Fee 4 during your program
(Residency 2 and Residency 4 may be virtual)
$1,160 (travel, lodging, and other expenses are additional)
Virtual: $1,260
$4,640
Technology Fee  Per quarter $120 $1,200
    Total $57,140
    Transfer up to 38 credits $26,250
    Total with Maximum Transfer Credits $30,890

Tuition Savings Available

Maximum transfer credit total includes reduction in technology fee as related to reduced number of courses over time.

*Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

*Books and materials are not included and may cost up to an additional $2,500 - $4,500.

*Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Transfer credits for you doctoral program

Walden’s Ph.D. in Nursing program can help you prepare for career advancement and support continuous improvements in nursing science, education, and practice. With a research-focused doctoral degree, you can position yourself for a leadership role in an academic setting, public institution, private foundation, or think tank. Careers* graduates may pursue include:

  • Nursing faculty
  • Nursing professor or assistant professor
  • Director of public or private research
  • Director of program development in a clinical setting
  • Head of Policy in a public institution or private think tank

*Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

In this research-focused doctoral program, you can:

  • Gain the advanced scientific expertise and experience to conduct research in hospitals, educational institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and other health-related industries.
  • Engage in interdisciplinary projects that prepare you to lead or collaborate with diverse healthcare teams.
  • Develop the knowledge and leadership skills required to develop healthcare policies, systems, and services for tomorrow’s nursing professionals. Phi Nu Chapter logo.
  • Join Phi Nu, Walden’s chartered chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and connect with nurses around the world to share the latest nursing research and best practices in clinical, scientific, and leadership areas.

As a Walden doctoral student, you have the opportunity to engage in original research as part of your dissertation. Our faculty and staff work closely with you so that you can successfully complete your doctoral research. An experienced faculty mentor guides you through each step of the process and offers a fresh perspective on your research.

Choose an area of special interest, then apply your knowledge and expertise to conduct original research that addresses current and future healthcare issues. Your research can help facilitate positive social change and make a difference in patients’ lives, their communities, and around the globe.

Find out more about what defines Walden’s Ph.D. in Nursing program:

Lifelong Learning for Nurses

Wherever you are in your nursing career, Walden offers a program to help you achieve your personal and professional goals. Learn from experts in the field and collaborate with nurses from around the country as you pursue a degree that can help you make a greater difference.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Completion Program

  • Earn a BSN without compromising your personal or professional obligations.
  • Equip yourself with the tools you need for success in a nursing career through a flexible, relevant, evidence-based online nursing degree program.
  • Gain an advantage when applying to master’s degree programs with a BSN that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

  • Choose from specializations that help you meet your specific career goals.
  • Contribute to positive social change in your community by becoming a leader in the profession.
  • Gain an advantage when applying to doctoral degree programs with an MSN that is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Post-Master’s Certificates in Nursing

  • Add depth to your degree or pursue a new specialization.
  • Gain the credentials you need to advance your career if you have been away from the educational environment for some time.
  • Prepare for professional development and leadership positions.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

  • Enhance your talents as a nurse leader in order to serve at the highest level within your existing specialty.
  • Assume greater practice and leadership roles in community-based healthcare organizations, evaluate and apply research that contributes to better patient outcomes, and promote a more effective and efficient healthcare system.
  • Help fill the need for advanced practice nurses holding doctoral degrees.
Walden University’s MSN and BSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, D.C. 20036, 1-202-887-6791. CCNE is a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate education programs in preparing effective nurses. For students, accreditation signifies program innovation and continuous self-assessment.

    Which Program Is Right for You?

    Doctoral Nursing Comparison ChartWhether you want to directly impact nursing practice today or conduct cutting-edge research that improves patient care tomorrow, Walden’s School of Nursing now offers two doctoral degree programs designed to meet your career goals.

    View the comparison chart for an overview of Ph.D. in Nursing and the DNP to help you determine which program is right for you.

    Choose the research-focused Ph.D. in Nursing program if you want to:

    • Advance your career as a nursing scientist, researcher, educator, or policymaker.
    • Conduct research at the highest levels in your field.
    • Engage in interdisciplinary coursework and projects that prepare you to lead and collaborate with diverse healthcare teams.
    • Shape future healthcare policies and programs for the next generation of nursing professionals.

    Choose the practice-focused Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program if you want to:

    • Advance your career as a chief nursing officer, nurse administrator, manager of health informatics, or policy professional.
    • Evaluate and apply research to improve patient outcomes and promote a more effective healthcare system.
    • Gain experience in the clinical setting through field experience courses.
    • Educate or mentor the next generation of nurses.

    Graduates of this program will be prepared to:

    1. Utilize current research and theory to develop prevention and intervention strategies that advance the knowledge and practice of Nursing.
    2. Demonstrate advanced competency in research design and methodology to address social problems and needs.
    3. Engage in scientific inquiry that advances the knowledge base of research and practice in the profession.
    4. Evaluate the role of research and scholarship in the field of Nursing in relation to its role in improving health interventions and advancing the development of related theory.
    5. Synthesize nursing’s philosophical and/or theoretical underpinnings in the practice of research.
    6. Contribute to the science of Nursing through social change and social policy initiatives.
    7. Apply ethical decision-making and values to the profession.
    8. Advocate for policies and programs that improve health outcomes among culturally diverse populations.
    9. Lead professional communication that supports the discipline and practice of Nursing.
    10. Demonstrate the ability to act as a role model and mentor to others who wish to pursue the profession. (Stewardship)

    For assistance in deciding which specialization fits your goals, request information or speak with an enrollment advisor by calling 1-866-492-5336. A list of international toll-free phone numbers is available for students outside the United States.