Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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For more than three decades, the University of Maryland School of Nursing's PhD program has prepared scholars and researchers to tackle the greatest challenges facing health care.


As a PhD student at UMSON, you'll conduct important research that not only builds a foundation for your career, but also contributes to the advancement of nursing science. You'll study under accomplished faculty members from UMSON's organized research centers while taking full advantage of our state-of-the-art health sciences campus. The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is the state's public health, law, and human services university devoted to excellence in professional education, research, patient care, and public service.

You're an ideal candidate for the PhD program if you are a bachelor's or master's prepared nurse who wants a research career focused on some of the most important disciplines, topics, and trends, including:

  • Aging Populations
  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Health Systems Outcomes
  • Implementation Science
  • Occupational Health
  • Pain and Symptom Science
  • Palliative and End-of-Life Care

The UMSON PhD program was initiated in 1979 as the 16th doctoral nursing program in the nation. Every student is carefully chosen and matched to the faculty member who can offer the greatest opportunity to succeed in developing his or her research program. As a graduate, you will join a thriving group of alumni—many of whom hold key leadership positions in academia, research, and administration across the country. 

Program Details

Post-Master's Entry

For master's prepared students, you will complete core courses to build upon your existing foundation in research methods and theory. You will choose a research area based on your individual interests and career goals, building domain expertise and research skills. Whether you decide on the part-time or full-time program, you'll complete coursework, research experience, supporting electives, and dissertation research. 

Post-Baccalaureate Entry

There are two options for students entering the doctoral program with a baccalaureate degree. If you are a current UMSON student, the first (MS to PHD) program option allows you to complete graduate courses depending on the master's specialty you choose and earn a Master of Science degree while proceeding with PhD classes. You can complete the program in four to five years of full-time study taking fewer classes than if you pursued a master's degree and PhD degree separately. You can apply to the PhD program at the end of the first year of full-time master's study. 

If you have a baccalaureate degree in nursing and desire a research career, the second (Post-BSN to PhD no master's) program option allows you to complete one year of core graduate courses and research rotations. Then you take the post-master's PhD courses, completing a minimum of 78 credits. No Master of Science degree is awarded. 

Program Inquires

University of Maryland School of Nursing
PhD Program
655 W. Lombard Street, Room 516
Baltimore, MD 21201-1579

Phone: 410-706-4359

Admissions Requirements

Applications are due November 1 for admission to the fall 2017 semester.

Applicants to the Doctor of Philosophy in nursing program should possess a bachelor's or master's degree with a major in nursing from an ACEN- (formerly known as NLNAC) or CCNE- accredited college or university, or an equivalent degree from a comparable foreign university. A Master's in Public Health from an accredited university may also be considered.

All applicants must submit the following materials to be considered for admission:

  • One official transcript in English and one native language transcript or mark sheets (if applicable) from your undergraduate and graduate schools listing subjects studied or marks received and rank in class or division. Transcripts should delineate a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for all previous course work (baccalaureate, master's, and any subsequent coursework).

All transcripts should be mailed to the Graduate School at:

Graduate School
University of Maryland, Baltimore
620 West Lexington Street, 5th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, mailed to the Graduate School. Please use code 5848 for the Graduate School. Test must have been taken within five years of application date. 
  • Three letters of recommendation, submitted to the Graduate School using the online form. Letters should provide evidence of personal and professional qualifications from three doctoral-prepared professionals familiar with the applicant's ability, work experience, contributions to nursing, and potential for success in the PhD program. 
  • Curriculum vitae, submitted to Please put in the subject line, "CV: [Last Name], [First Name]".
  • Verification of active licensure for the practice of nursing in at least one state in the U.S. or in a foreign country, submitted to
  • Essay describing your academic goals and research interests, submitted electronically to It is important that your research interests match with our faculty expertise. Please review our faculty research interests and mention a faculty member who may be appropriate.
  • International students only: TOEFL or IELTS scores, sent to the Graduate School using code 5848. The minimum acceptable IELTS score is 7.
  • Online application for admission. Click here to apply. An application fee of $75 must be paid with a credit card during the online application process. Your application will not be processed until payment is received. 

For More Information

All applicants must satisfy the general requirements of the Graduate School before being considered for admission to the PhD program. For more information about the Graduate School admission criteria, visit the Graduate School website.

What You'll Do

What You'll Do

After graduating from the PhD program, you'll be prepared to:

  • Design, conduct, analyze, and disseminate research findings to expand knowledge in nursing and related disciplines
  • Initiate, facilitate, and participate in interdisciplinary research with nurses and scholars from related disciplines
  • Assume leadership roles in academic and health care settings