PhD in Nursing


College of Nursing

Program Overview

If you want to become a leader in nursing research, science, and education, earn your PhD in Nursing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Our doctoral program is designed for nurses who currently hold a BSN, MSN, or DNP and are ready to shape the future of healthcare.

This doctoral nursing degree will prepare you to navigate complex healthcare systems, create partnerships, improve the industry, and educate undergraduate and/or graduate nursing students.

Credit Hours


Cost Per Credit Hour*

In-State $700 + fees,

Out-of-State $775 + fees

Testing Requirements


Admission Terms


*Cost per credit hour is an estimate based on maintenance and university fees. Some programs may have additional course fees. Please contact your department for additional information on any related fees, and visit Tuition and Fees in Detail at One Stop.

group of three female nurses discussing patient records

A Degree for Practicing Nurses to Become Nurse Educators, Scientists & Leaders

Did you know that there is a serious shortage of PhD prepared faculty in the United States? Have you ever thought that you might enjoy teaching the next generation of undergraduate and/or graduate students in nursing?

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program is designed for nurses who hold a BSN, MSN, or DNP and are ready to take their career to the next level as a nurse scientist, educator, and health care leader. The PhD prepares you as a leader in complex healthcare environments by fulfilling the vision of leading care, creating partnerships, and improving health.

Students attend twice a semester on campus intensives to learn from fellow student colleagues, outstanding faculty, and leaders in health care. The on-campus experiences build on course work and leads to mastery. PhD students have access to our writing lab, participate in Research Day, and have opportunities to showcase their research.

The PhD program curriculum is presented in a blended format of face-to-face, synchronous, and asynchronous online formats. The program emphasizes a course of study that reflects your unique interest in obtaining your career goals. You will experience classes with desirable faculty to student ratios so that you will receive the attention of committed, experienced, and nationally and internationally published faculty. As a PhD student you are welcomed into a community of scholars.

The program is designed for BSN or graduate-prepared nursing. We offer the following routes to the PhD:

  • BSN-PhD
  • DNP-PhD
  • MSN-PhD

The PhD Program Features:

  • Faculty with diverse fields of research
  • Emphasis on both qualitative and quantitative research
  • Simulation lab for research, clinical education, and instructional technology
  • Option of certification in health policy or nursing education
  • Individualized options for cognates, minors, and concentrations
  • Substantial financial support is available
  • Faculty that are committed to your success

The PhD program gives students an opportunity to engage with a community of scholars in nursing research. PhD students are taught by, and work collaboratively with, nationally and internationally prominent researchers in nursing and many other disciplines. These scholars have interest in the following areas:

  • Technology
  • Translation Science
  • Symptom Science
  • Caregiving
  • Outcomes Population Health

The PhD program is fully accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, the CCNE is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public’s health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency/fellowship programs in nursing.
Our graduates are nurse scientist leaders, educators, and health policy experts. Join us today and become a Vol Nurse.

Featured Courses

A few examples of the courses you can take during the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program include:

NURS 605: Middle-Range Theory Development and Evaluation

Examination of the hierarchy of nursing knowledge and strategies for theory development with a focus on extant and emerging middle-range theories

NURS 606: Grant Writing in Nursing Science

A practical, skills-oriented course of selected topics pertaining to preparation of federal-formatted grant proposals.

NURS 610: State of the Science Seminar

Development of competencies for critical analysis and synthesis of literature in a selected focus area within nursing science.

NURS 615: Research Ethics in the Health Sciences

Issues relevant to conducting health sciences research with an emphasis on conflict of interest, responsible authorship, policies for handling misconduct, policies handling safe recruitment and retention of study participants, and data management.

two women sitting in front of open computers talking at desk

College of Nursing Research & Scholarship Model

The interrelated circles in the model guide the College of Nursing scholarship. The five impact areas—Improving Child and Family Health, Promoting Global Health, Advancing Care of Aging Populations, Improving Psychiatric and Mental Health, and Creating Innovative Solutions—reflect the research of faculty.

nursing graphic

Through interdisciplinary team science, the faculty work to further health and well-being across the lifespan and globally to influence healthcare practice, policy, research, and education.

—Tami H Wyatt, Associate Dean of Research & Professor

Ready to Enhance Your Life While Bettering the World?


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