We have a path to success for every level in your nursing career.
The Bridge Option offers students who hold a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree a shorter path to a PhD in Nursing.
The BSN to PhD track is available to registered nurses (RN) who have earned a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) degree.
The Master’s to PhD track is ideal if you are a registered nurse (RN) and have earned your master’s in nursing degree or a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) and a master’s degree in business or non-nursing health related field.
Program Admission Considerations (BSN-PhD): To be considered for this doctoral program track, you must have a current, active RN license, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or equivalent from an accredited school, and meet the general admission requirements.
Program Admission Considerations (Master's-PhD): To be considered for this doctoral program track, you must have a current, active RN license, a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a master’s degree in a business or non-nursing health related field, or a Master of Science in Nursing or higher from an accredited school, and meet the general admission requirements.
A Personalized Guide to Completing Your Doctorate
Earning your online PhD in Nursing requires commitment, perseverance, and hard work. You can do it, and Walden is here to help—with our Doctoral Degree Coach™.
Map and Track Milestones: Break your research down into manageable, sequential steps. See where you are, what’s ahead, and what you’ve already accomplished—all in one place.
Meet Weekly Targets: No more guesswork. Set prompts based on your to-do list and receive reminders and updates directly to your inbox.
Connect With Faculty: Stay on the same page and keep your progress on track. With shared access to your dashboard, your chair can easily guide you through your checklists, goals, and timelines.
Access Helpful Resources: Quickly find support from the right person at the right time. Our comprehensive resource guide points you in the right direction—no more frustrating searches.
Lead Nursing Into the Future
Drive continuous improvements in nursing science, education, or practice with a PhD in Nursing online from Walden. Gain the expertise to conduct research and develop healthcare policies, systems, and services for tomorrow’s nursing professionals. By earning your PhD at Walden, a pioneer in distance learning, you will benefit from our 50 years of experience educating doctoral students.
Demand for nursing faculty is high. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for postsecondary nurse instructors are expected to grow by 22% through 2030.2 The nursing field needs educators, leaders, and innovators who are committed to transforming the profession.
An online PhD in Nursing degree can empower you to reach your full potential as a nursing professional and impact the lives of many. Pursue meaningful work that makes a difference while opening the door to new paths and opportunities in your career.
An online nursing PhD program can academically prepare you to pursue a variety of career options, including:
Nursing instructor or teacher in postsecondary education settings2
Nursing executive (e.g., chief nursing officer, clinical director, nursing manager, nursing director)4, 5
Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.
An online nursing PhD program can academically prepare you to work in settings such as:
Colleges and universities
Public health agencies
Graduates of this online PhD in Nursing program will be prepared to:
Conduct research to generate findings that advance the knowledge and practice of nursing.
Demonstrate advanced competency in research design and methodology to address social problems and needs.
Engage in scientific inquiry that advances the knowledge base of research and practice in the profession.
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.
Demonstrate leadership by generating new knowledge that promotes positive social change and addresses the social determinants of health.
Contribute to the science of nursing through social change and social policy initiatives.
Apply ethical decision-making and values to the profession.
Advocate for policies and programs that improve health outcomes by addressing the social determinants of health among culturally diverse populations.
Demonstrate professional communication that supports the discipline and practice of nursing.
Demonstrate the ability to act as a role model and mentor to others who wish to pursue the profession (stewardship).
FAQ About Walden’s Online PhD in Nursing
A PhD in Nursing is a terminal degree, with the main goal of adding original research findings to the scientific foundation of nursing and healthcare. Some nursing PhD programs offer specializations in high-priority areas that emphasize research and teach critical attributes such as leadership, education, healthcare administration, interdisciplinary health, and public health policy.
Time to completion will vary from student to student. Walden’s PhD in Nursing program can be completed between 2.5 and eight years.* Students may be eligible to complete their required coursework sooner by transferring applicable required graduate credits into a Walden degree program.
*Note: Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic, such as tuition and fee increases; transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for the doctoral study/dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities, or health issues; leaves of absence; or other personal circumstances.
In order to apply for Walden’s PhD in Nursing program you will need the following:
- Online application
- Official transcripts
- Copy of RN license
- Clinical hours verification form
Admission requirements include a master’s degree in nursing (minimum GPA 3.0/4.0) from a U.S. school accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the U.S. Department of Education, or from an appropriately accredited non-U.S. institution. An active registered nurse (RN) license. You will also need a documented MSN specialization area recognized by CCNE.
Salaries for a PhD in Nursing–prepared professional will vary based on several factors, such as role, industry, and experience. If, for example, you are choosing to enter academia, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, faculty salaries typically range from approximately $80,000 at the assistant professor level to over $115,000 at the professor level. If you choose to pursue a leadership role within a healthcare organization, such as chief nursing officer (CNO), according to PayScale the average salary for a can exceed $129,000.*
*Sources: American Association of Colleges of Nursing and PayScale: Chief Nursing Officer salary (accessed October 2020) National salary projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, do not guarantee actual salaries, and are subject to change.
A PhD in Nursing opens the door to careers in academia, research, and leadership. 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 online PhD in Nursing program can prepare you to make a difference in patients’ lives, in communities, and across the globe.
A PhD in Nursing is a degree focused primarily on research and interdisciplinary studies. It is designed for nurses who want to help guide the future of healthcare. If you want to conduct scientific research at the highest levels in your field, shape healthcare policies as a government policymaker or program director, or educate the next generation of nursing professionals, a PhD in Nursing can give you the advanced expertise you need to succeed. This is a great nursing degree for any nurse who wants to make a difference in healthcare.
A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a terminal degree for clinical nurses. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is becoming an increasingly valued and sought-after credential. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has encouraged the medical community to make the DNP the expected degree for those who want to become nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists. Many online degree programs allow you to earn your DNP while continuing to work within the nursing profession. This option allows you to advance your career whether you’re just starting out or have worked as a nurse for many years.
Walden’s PhD in Nursing program’s online classrooms feature state-of-the-art learning technologies, media, and support materials. From interactive simulations, engaging case studies, and a robust online library, you will be highly prepared to earn your credentials as a PhD in Nursing professional.
Walden’s PhD in Nursing program offers a strong support staff that is dedicated to your success, including academic advising, the Writing Center, librarians, research assistance, one-on-one faculty guidance, dedicated dissertation support, and statistical support.
Our program is developed by industry experts who have been working in the nursing field. One hundred percent of our College of Nursing faculty hold doctoral degrees* to ensure our program covers relevant and real scenarios and skills needed.
*100% of BSN, DNP, PhD, and MSN (Nurse Executive, Nursing Informatics, Public Health Nursing and Nursing Education specializations), faculty are doctorally prepared, and 100% of MSN nurse practitioner (NP) didactic faculty are doctorally prepared. MSN-NP clinical faculty are either doctorally prepared or are APRNs with many years of advanced practice training as a licensed NP.
Walden’s PhD in Nursing offers a rigorous curriculum guided by respected teaching faculty who are not only 100% doctorally prepared* but also experts in research and have real-world experience in the nursing profession. Walden’s PhD offers five relevant focus areas: nursing education, population health, leadership, interdisciplinary health, and healthcare administration. The program also offers a bridge option for students who hold a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Each student works with a doctoral mentor, one who fits their research interests and needs, while earning their degree. PhD residencies are designed to help students to make progress toward their dissertation with the collaboration of faculty and through networking with other students.
*All didactic faculty in the DNP, PhD in Nursing, MSN (Nurse Executive, Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, and Public Health Nursing specializations), and BSN programs hold doctorates.
1National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using CIP code family 51.38 “Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing” for Doctoral degrees (Award level 17). Available at https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/use-the-data. (Retrieved January 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data.)
2Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Postsecondary Teachers, Job Outlook (Nursing instructors and teachers, postsecondary; SOC code 25-1072). Retrieved September 2021. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, do not guarantee actual job growth, and are subject to change.
3American Nurse, Trending Jobs | Nurse Scientist.
4Source: O*Net Online. Summary Report for SOC Code 11-1011 Chief Executives. Sample of reported job titles include Chief Nursing Officer. Retrieved February 2021.
55Source: O*Net Online. Summary Report for SOC Code 11-9111 Medical and Health Services Managers. Sample of reported job titles include Clinical Director, Nursing Manager, Nursing Director. Retrieved February 2021.
Note: Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic, such as tuition and fee increases; transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for the doctoral study/dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities, or health issues; leaves of absence; or other personal circumstances.
Note on licensure:
The PhD in Nursing is not a licensure program and will not prepare students as nurse practitioners.