Explore our PhD in Nursing Leadership specialization
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.
Minimum Degree Requirements
- 81 quarter credits
- Foundation course (1 cr.)
- Research courses (20 cr.)
- Core courses (25 cr.)
- Focus area courses (15 cr.)
- Dissertation (minimum 20 cr.)
- Four PhD residencies (Students will participate in four residencies during their second, fourth, sixth, and eighth terms.)
Walden students have up to eight years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.
In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.
To complete a doctoral dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.
Foundations and Essentials of Doctoral Study in Nursing
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and are provided with a foundation for professional development in doctoral nursing practice. Students learn professional standards and end-of-program expectations, and they explore the role of the scholar-practitioner as one who effects positive social change. They engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of professional writing, critical-thinking skills, and the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students also explore the essentials of being a Walden doctoral student, relevant professional and specialty standards of doctoral-level nursing, intra- and interprofessional collaboration, and the process of the PhD dissertation.
Research Theory, Design, and Methods
In this research course, students are provided with core knowledge and skills for understanding, analyzing, and designing research at the graduate level. Students explore the philosophy of science, the role of theory, and research processes. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research designs and data collection methods are introduced. The alignment of research components is emphasized. Students also explore ethical and social change implications of designing and conducting research. Students demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing an annotated bibliography. (Prerequisite(s): RESI 8401.)
Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
In this research course, students are provided with the opportunity to develop core knowledge and skills for designing and carrying out quantitative research at the doctoral level, including the application of statistical concepts and techniques. Students explore classical common statistical tests, the importance of the logic of inference, and social change implications of conducting quantitative research and producing knowledge. Students approach statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting appropriate statistical tests for a research design. Students use statistical software to derive statistics from quantitative data and interpret and present results. (Prerequisite(s): RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110, and RESI 8401.)
Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
Students in this research course are provided with the opportunity to develop basic knowledge and skills for conducting qualitative research at the doctoral level. Students explore the nature of qualitative inquiry, how theory and theoretical and conceptual frameworks uniquely apply to qualitative research, data collection procedures and analysis strategy, and how the role of the researcher is expressed in the ethical and rigorous conduct of qualitative research. Students practice collecting, organizing, analyzing, and presenting data, and they develop a detailed research topic for conducting a qualitative study. (Prerequisite(s): RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110, and RESI 8401.)
RESEARCH ELECTIVE - choose 1
Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
Students in this research course build upon knowledge and skills acquired in the prerequisite quantitative reasoning course and are presented with opportunities to apply them. They are provided with more specialized knowledge and skills for conducting quantitative research at the doctoral level, including understanding multivariate data analysis and applying more advanced statistical concepts, such as factorial ANOVA, mediation, moderation, logistic regression, ANCOVA, and MANOVA. Students explore existing datasets and apply suitable statistical tests to answer research questions with social change implications. In this course, they approach statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting the appropriate statistical tests for more complex research questions and social problems. Students use statistical software to perform analyses and interpret and present results. They will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by carrying out a quantitative research project. (Prerequisite(s): RSCH 8110 and RESI 8402.)
Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
Students build upon the knowledge and skills acquired in RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis. and have experience applying them. Students develop a more sophisticated understanding of the theoretical antecedents and practical applications of eight contemporary qualitative approaches. Students gain experience developing qualitative interview guides, collecting data, and managing the process from transcription through analysis. The unique challenges of confidentiality and ethical issues are explored as well as implications for social change. Students will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by developing a qualitative research plan using a topic relevant to their capstone. (Prerequisite(s): RESI 8402.)
Advanced Mixed-Methods Reasoning and Analysis
Students build upon knowledge and skills acquired in RSCH 8210 - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis and RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis for more specialized knowledge and skills to design mixed-methods research at the doctoral level. Students are provided with more specialized knowledge and skills for designing mixed-methods research at the doctoral level. They gain an understanding of the types of mixed-methods designs and how to select the most appropriate approach for the research question(s). The emphases of this course are on integrating quantitative and qualitative elements into true mixed-methods studies, practice in data analysis, and integration of qualitative and quantitative data within a research write-up. Students will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by developing a mixed-methods research plan that incorporates qualitative and quantitative elements appropriately. (Prerequisite(s): RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110, and RSCH 8210 or RSCH 7210 or RSCH 6210, and RSCH 8310 or RSCH 7310 or RSCH 6310, and RESI 8402.)
Theoretical and Scientific Foundations for Nursing
In this course, students focus on the integration of scientific, philosophical, and theoretical concepts as the basis for the highest level of nursing practice. They examine the scientific underpinnings for nursing practice, including biobehavioral, pathophysiological, psychosocial, and environmental sciences, and they explore the interrelationship among knowledge, research, and practice. Students also explore and discuss clinical inquiry, ethical issues, and models of evidence-based practice. Considering various philosophies, students describe their own philosophy of nursing. They also apply course concepts to a variety of practical assignments, including a literature review, concept map, and evaluation of current clinical practice problems, among others.
Transforming Nursing and Healthcare Through Technology
When used effectively, information technology can support generation of new knowledge and emerging information technologies. In this course, students examine the critical appraisal and use of information technology in advanced nursing practice. Students work toward gaining the skills and knowledge to process and manage information systems/technology resources in consumer, clinical, and public health settings. Students engage in a variety of discussions and assignments designed to provide practical application of content on topics including retrieval and critical analysis of digital data to support healthcare quality improvement; electronic health records integration and evaluation; and Web-based learning and intervention tools to support and improve patient care. They also explore ethical, regulatory, and legal issues as well as the healthcare standards and principles for selecting and evaluating information systems and patient care technology.
Advanced Theoretical and Scientific Perspectives in Nursing
Students in this course focus on the sufficient formal and informal learning experiences to build scientific depth in an identified area of study. Students gain the competencies to critique, utilize, and integrate different theoretical and scientific perspectives for the conduct of research, including team science, to generate new ideas based on a critical evaluation of existing knowledge. Attention is given to integration of the components of scholarship, research, teaching, mentoring, and service to the profession gained from understanding the theoretical/scientific underpinnings of nursing and other disciplines.
Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Improvement
The focus of this course is on the development of leadership strategies and competencies to support healthcare and organizational quality delivery of care. Emphasis is placed on a systems approach exploring the organizational structures, which impact healthcare quality performance and, ultimately, patient outcomes. Using macro (enterprise-wide) and micro (individual and team performance) perspectives, students examine the leadership roles, which define, develop, and support decisions effecting quality strategies. In this course, students address how key organizational theories, principles, and concepts relate to achieving the effective and efficient delivery of safe healthcare services. Through the development of a quality program initiative, students demonstrate an understanding of the impact an initiative has on organizational structure, its environment, and the system's leadership.
Preparing for Dissertation
The focus of this course is on the preparation for the dissertation phase of training. In this course, students identify a dissertation topic and potential dissertation committee members; begin to conduct a literature review; develop a problem statement and research questions; and evaluate research designs, methods, and types of analyses to use for their dissertation. Students also complete their initial premise in this course and an annotated outline of their prospectus.
FOCUS AREA COURSES- choose 3 courses
Leadership, Professionalism, and Ethics in Public Health Practice
Critical issues, such as infectious diseases, inadequate healthcare access, and an aging population, require leaders who have a diverse skill set as well as the professional and ethical sensibilities needed to lead efforts that improve quality of life for individuals and communities. In this course, students examine theories of leadership as well as the professional attributes, skills, styles, and strategies required to advance public health goals. They explore ethical choices, values, professionalism, opportunities for advocacy, and the application of principles of social justice implicit in public health decisions and practice. Students learn how to employ collaborative methods for working with and motivating diverse communities and constituencies, and they consider methods and develop new strategies for evaluating and solving current problems in healthcare.
Public Health Leadership and Systems Thinking
Students in this course focus on leadership models and theories, the core principles of public health leadership, and the application of systems thinking to public health. Students examine how to create strategies and solutions from a systems and ecological perspective that efficiently utilize public health and healthcare resources. Students discuss descriptive and prescriptive systems, focusing on the application of these processes to current public health issues and challenges at the organizational and community levels.
Leadership and Organizational Change
Successful organizations in a rapidly changing and complex world require leaders who embrace change and are able to engage others in change. In this course, students use traditional literature, current articles, and interactive media to explore the qualities, characteristics, and skills of effective leaders as well as the theories, models, and relationships between leadership and organizational change. They assess the ethical issues and standards as well as the opportunities and challenges related to leading diverse organizations through change. Students also examine how current leaders employ leadership and organizational change to contribute to social change, and they consider how to use these lessons to make further positive changes within an organization or their own community.
The Language of Leadership
In today's complex environment, leaders engaged in shaping public policy must know how to use the emotional as well as the intellectual power of language to motivate, inspire, and competently manage their organizations. In this course, students examine techniques, such as effective communication, used in dynamic leadership that affect conscious and unconscious influences on human behavior. Through discussions, group assignments, and individual projects, students apply theoretical and practical course content to demonstrate the necessary components for making effective human connections. Students also learn why stories, symbols, and metaphors are essential elements in the language of leadership.
DOCTORAL WRITING ASSESSMENT
Doctoral Writing Assessment
This course is part of Walden's commitment to help prepare students to meet the university's expectations for writing in courses at the doctoral level. In this course, students write a short academic essay that will be scored by a team of writing assessors. Based on the essay score, students will complete or be exempted from additional required writing support needed to meet writing proficiency standards. This required assessment course is free. Students will be enrolled automatically in it at the beginning of their doctoral program.
In this course, doctoral students have the opportunity to integrate their program of study into an in-depth exploration of an interest area that includes the completion of a research study. Students complete the dissertation independently, with the guidance of a dissertation supervisory committee chair and committee members, in a learning platform classroom in which weekly participation is required. Students complete a prospectus, proposal, Institutional Review Board application, and dissertation.Students take this course for a minimum of four quarters and are continuously enrolled until completion of their dissertation with final chief academic officer (CAO) approval.To complete a dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the chief academic officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.
|(5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)|
|VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses|
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.
Tuition and Fees
|Tuition-Coursework||61 quarter credits||$745 per quarter hour for coursework credits||$45,445^|
|Tuition-Dissertation||20–130† quarter credits||$745 per quarter hour for dissertation credits||$14,900–$96,850*|
|Technology Fee||$160 per quarter||$1,600–$5,120*|
|Residency Fee||Four residencies||
$1,375 each (virtual)
$1,475 each (in-person: travel, lodging and other expenses are additional.)
|(assuming completion in a 2.5-year time frame)||(assuming completion in an 8-year time frame)|
These are ranges of what a student can expect in terms of time and tuition cost to complete a degree. It does not include other fees, nor is it adjusted for tuition increases over time. Walden faculty has concluded that generally students who do not complete their program in eight years are unlikely to complete and only allow students to exceed that time frame when a student petitions for an extension and provides good reason for the delay and assurances that obstacles to completion can be overcome. Time is calculated using the time allowed for each semester or unit that the student completes. Students are encouraged to work continuously during the program so as not to extend the time needed to complete the degree as work can become stale and students lose focus. Students who earn two grades of “Unsatisfactory,” who repeatedly drop a course before a semester or unit has been completed, or are unable to complete in the eight year time frame, should expect that they may be dismissed from the program. Walden believes that it is in the best interest of a student who is unable to complete the degree in the stated ranges to strongly consider withdrawal or obtaining a lesser degree.
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 and/or the student’s transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; writing, research and editing skills; use of external data for their doctoral study/dissertation; and/or individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations; care giving responsibilities or health issues; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; leaves of absence; and/or other personal circumstances.
Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included. Students may incur additional costs for remedial writing assistance, if necessary.
^This assumes students successfully complete their coursework on the first attempt.
†Based on a 2.5-year minimum completion requirement and an eight-year maximum time frame as outlined in Walden academic policy.
*Tuition and fees will be higher if students petition to extend the eight-year maximum time frame or choose to take more expensive elective courses.
+Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-642-0198.
Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.
*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.Find Ways to Save
Program Admission Considerations: A master's degree or higher.
General Admission Requirements:Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.
Walden University is committed to its students’ success while ensuring quality education to give graduates the ability to change the world.
Jaimee Kastler Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) graduate, PhD in Nursing graduate
My inspiration for getting my degree was the idea of giving back to the community.
Kristina McCall PhD in Nursing Graduate
I now have the best of both worlds: to educate and care for future nurses.
Roberta Salmon Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) graduate, PhD in Nursing student