college of nursing

White Hall, 39 Butterfield Road, Kingston, RI 02881 - - – Phone: 401.874.2766 - Fax: 401.874.3811

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Doctor of Philosophy


The College of Nursing at the University of Rhode Island offers a Ph.D. program in nursing. Its purpose is to prepare nurse scholars and researchers capable of advancing nursing knowledge through the development and testing of nursing theory and the conduct of research in clinical practice. The program cultivates a sense of inquiry and stimulates collaborative relationships with professional colleagues both in nursing and other disciplines.


The doctoral program consists of 34 credits of course work (including core, advanced nursing and elective components) and 18 credits of dissertation research. The purpose of the core and advanced nursing component is to provide the basic knowledge and skills for generating new knowledge in nursing. It includes 22 credits of course work in nursing science, research methods (qualitative and quantitative), theory development (inductive and deductive approaches),
advanced nursing and role development in nursing research; and 3 in advanced statistics. In the nursing domain course (NUR 611), the students map out a program of study in their area of interest extending across the three theoretical domains of nursing. The program culminates with written and oral comprehensive exams and the completion of dissertation research.

Download the Curriculum Sheet (PDF)

Program Requirements


  • NUR 660 Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations for Health Care Research (4 crs)
  • NUR 651 Advanced Methods in Nursing Research I (Qualitative Methods) (3 crs)
  • NUR 652 Advanced Methods in Nursing Research II (Quantitative Methods) (3 crs)


  • NUR 602 Construction of Nursing Theory I: Inductive Process (4 crs)
  • NUR 603 Construction of Nursing Theory II: Deductive Process (3 crs)
  • NUR 671 Role Development in Nursing Research (3 crs)
  • NUR 611 Theories & Research in the Nursing Domains (3 crs)

The client, client-nurse, and practice domains are used to: (1) identify and explore central phenomena relevant to nursing, (2) identify theoretical frameworks for explaining these phenomena, and (3) raise nursing research questions. Phenomena that represent client experiences comprise the client domain. Examples include pain, anguish, fatigue, helplessness, hope, and well-being. Phenomena that arise out of the interaction between the client and the nurse are grouped in the client-nurse domain and constitute such concepts as collaborative decision making, interpersonal conflict, and patient teaching. In this domain, the client-nurse interaction often forms the medium through which nursing care is provided. The practice domain focuses on phenomena that provide understanding of the nature of nursing practice in terms of nurses’ actions, decisions, and use of knowledge. Activities manifested through expertness, decision making, nursing process, prioritization, and problem solving are examples from this domain.

An elaboration of these nursing domains is found in Hesook Suzie Kim’s 1983 book The Nature of Theoretical Thinking in Nursing (3rd edition 2010) and in her 1999 article “Structuring the Nursing Knowledge System: A typology of Four Domains” in Scholarly Inquiry for Nursing Practice: An International Journal.


FREE ELECTIVES (3 credits)



Part-Time and Full-Time Study

Students take 1 or 2, 3 credit courses per semester for part-time and 3 courses for full-time. Students may choose to move through courses in a two-and-one-half to a five-year time frame.

A variety of traineeships, graduate assistantships and loans are available to help finance doctoral education.

Admission Requirements

Admission decisions will be based on a comprehensive review of applicant qualifications presented as a total package. The following criteria will be used as the guidelines for admission decisions:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an AACN or NLN-accredited program in nursing or its equivalent. A minimum of 3.0 QPA is desirable.
  • Master’s degree in nursing or its equivalent. A minimum of 3.3 QPA is desirable.
  • Submission of two scholarly papers (one theoretical and the other empirical) is required for review by the graduate faculty. A master’s thesis or its equivalent may be submitted in lieu of two scholarly papers for review.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Eligibility for RI Licensure.
  • Three letters of reference attesting to the applicant’s capability for doctoral study, one of which should be by a doctorally prepared person.
  • Completion of an undergraduate course in statistics that includes inferential statistics.
  • Congruence of applicant goals with the objectives of the program and the goals of the College and University.

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