Nursing: MSN-PhD Joint Degree Program

Major: Nursing
Degrees Awarded: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 91.0
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 51.3808
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 29-1141

About the Program

NOTE: This program is not accepting applications for the 2021-2022 academic year. Periodic program updates will be posted as available on the College of Nursing and Health Professions website.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing, a research-based program, which aims to prepare nurse researchers to design, conduct and lead research studies as nurse scientists. The objective of the Joint MSN/PhD in Nursing is to prepare nurse scientists early in their professional career to ensure they have a longer trajectory upon which to make substantive and sustained contributions to the body of knowledge for the discipline of nursing and thereby improve health services for those who receive nursing care. Students are expected to plan and launch an independent program of research, seek needed support for initial phases of the research program, and begin to involve others (i.e., students, clinicians, and other researchers) in their activities.

The full-time on campus program of study prepares the nurse generalist for a dual degree: the MSN in one of the advanced role tracks (current examples include: Clinical Nurse Leader, Clinical Trials Research, Nursing Innovation Concentration, Nursing Leadership in Health Systems Management) and the PhD. In addition to structured coursework, students work closely with their faculty advisor to develop an individualized program of study that allows for an in-depth exploration of a clinical specialty related to their research interests. The program of study builds upon a research mentorship model which recognizes that research skills are learned most effectively by working with a faculty advisor, who provides opportunities to use the tools to conduct research and design, and execute original research within a focused program of study.

Innovation, leadership, and interdisciplinary collaboration are strong educational values which are reflected in the Drexel University strategic plan. The PhD in nursing program represents leadership in the fields, with interdisciplinary collaboration as core administrative and curricular values basic to its philosophy and epistemology. Innovation is also central to this doctoral program as evidenced in its curriculum and research philosophy.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP), Graduate Nursing Division in which the Doctoral Nursing Program is housed, is regarded as a forward thinking, progressive, and interdisciplinary healthcare school within the university as well as in the larger context of advanced healthcare education.

Additional Information

For more information, contact:

Anna Pohuly
College of Nursing and Health Professions
1601 Cherry Street, Mail Stop 10501
10th Floor, Room 1011
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 267-359-5872

Admission Requirements

Criteria for admission include:

  • GPA of 3.5.
  • GRE scores.
  • OREs (and T0EFLs, international).
  • Letters of recommendation (3).
  • Articulation of research interests, career goals and insight into important issues in the profession in essays Professional accomplishments.
  • Fit with faculty research interests and expertise.

Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree in nursing prior to enrollment. Applicants who have not yet earned a BSN degree and/or hold a license to practice professional nursing will be admitted provisionally and cannot matriculate in the program until the BSN and/or the RN license is obtained.

Degree Requirements

The Joint MSN/PhD in Nursing curriculum requires a minimum of 91.0 quarter credits of course work plus qualifying examination, dissertation proposal defense (candidacy examination) and dissertation completion. Of the 91.0 credits, 45.0 credits are required for completion of the MSN, and 46.0 credits for the PhD in Nursing as follows: 9.0 credits in advance role, 30.0 credits in MSN track specific courses and practicum, 6.0 credits in epidemiology, 21.0 credits in nursing science, 12.0 credits in interdisciplinary analytic skills, and 6.0 credits in health professions education. In addition, there are elective courses that form the student’s field of concentration related to their clinical specialty and dissertation research (4.0 credits minimum).

These elective courses can be taken anywhere within the university but must be approved by the student’s advisor and the Doctoral Curriculum Committee in advance of taking these courses. The student files a plan of study outlining courses for completion of the MSN in the winter of the first year, and a plan of study outlining courses for completion of the PhD in the winter of the second year, which is approved by the Doctoral Curriculum Committee.

Program Requirements

MSN Courses
Core Courses
EPI 570Introduction to Epidemiology3.0
EPI 572Design and Analysis of Epidemiological Studies3.0
NURS 500 [WI] Confronting Issues in Contemporary Health Care Environments3.0
NURS 502Advanced Ethical Decision Making in Health Care3.0
RSCH 504Evaluation and Translation of Health Research3.0
Advanced Role Core Courses (Required courses for one of the following MSN advanced role tracks: Innovation, Clinical Nurse Leader, Clinical Trials, Leadership & Management)30.0
PhD Courses
Nursing Science
NURS 800Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Inquiry 1 3.0
NURS 801Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Inquiry II3.0
NURS 803Doctoral Seminar: Scientific Integrity1.0
NURS 804Doctoral Seminar: Creating Intellectual Community1.0
NURS 805Doctoral Seminar: Grantsmanship1.0
NURS 806Scientific Appraisal and Knowledge Development 3.0
NURS 819Qualitative Research Methods in Nursing Inquiry3.0
NURS 820The Science of Therapeutics3.0
NURS 863Mixed-Methods Research3.0
Analytic Skills
RSCH 770Foundations in Research Methods3.0
RSCH 811Intermediate Biostatistics3.0
RSCH 812Interpretation of Data3.0
RSCH 813Measurement Theory in Healthcare3.0
Health Professions Education
NHP 762Health Professional Education3.0
NHP 822Teaching Practicum3.0
Dissertation - Total credits will vary. Minimum of 4 credits required.
NURS 989Dissertation4.0-9.0
Total Credits91.0-96.0

Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

In order to graduate, all students must pass three writing-intensive courses after their freshman year. Two writing-intensive courses must be in a student's major. The third can be in any discipline. Students are advised to take one writing-intensive class each year, beginning with the sophomore year, and to avoid “clustering” these courses near the end of their matriculation. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

A "WI" next to a course in this catalog may indicate that this course can fulfill a writing-intensive requirement. For the most up-to-date list of writing-intensive courses being offered, students should check the Writing Intensive Course List at the University Writing Program. Students scheduling their courses can also conduct a search for courses with the attribute "WI" to bring up a list of all writing-intensive courses available that term.

Sample Plan of Study

MSN courses will vary by track. The following sample plan of study includes courses for the MSN in Innovation.

First Year
NURS 5003.0EPI 5703.0EPI 5723.0
NURS 5863.0NURS 5873.0NURS 8063.0
NURS 8003.0NURS 8013.0RSCH 5043.0
 9 9 9
Second Year
NURS 8193.0NURS 5643.0NURS 5023.0
PROJ 5013.0RSCH 7703.0NURS 8031.0
RSCH 8133.0RSCH 8113.0PROJ 5023.0
  RSCH 8123.0
 9 9 10
Third Year
INFO 6483.0NURS 6526.0INFO 7313.0
NURS 5443.0NURS 8633.0NURS 8203.0
NURS 8041.0 NURS 8613.0
NURS 8051.0  
NURS 9891.0  
 9 9 9
Fourth Year
NURS 9891.0-4.0NHP 7623.0NHP 8223.0
 NURS 9891.0NURS 9891.0
 1-4 4 4
Total Credits 91-94
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