The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science program is designed to prepare nurse scientists with expertise in clinical-translational research methods to advance the scholarly discipline and to contribute to the growing body of knowledge in the field of nursing.

As the most trusted profession and the primary caregivers in the healthcare setting, nurses bring a uniquely personal perspective to research. Nurses know that optimal patient health requires a whole-person approach that recognizes the interdependencies of the different, and sometimes deeply personal, aspects of a patient’s life. That is why our PhD program emphasizes the combination of translational science methods with traditional models for research to comprehensively address health and healthcare needs of local, national and global communities.

The PhD program is high-touch, and students will have a mentor in their area of research interest and have immediate immersion in research with the opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant on day one of the program. Students will work closely with their mentor throughout the program, who will help them develop expertise in their area of interest and develop into a scholar. Students are educated by nurse scientists conducting cutting-edge research in their respective fields. In addition to their course work, the student’s education will be enriched through research seminars in which students will have the opportunity to engage with leading scientists in and outside of nursing who are conducting novel and high impact research.

  • Guaranteed funding for the first four years of the program
  • Guaranteed housing offer (visit UCI Housing for more information)
  • Leading research faculty who incorporate interdisciplinary integrative health approaches to promote population health and well-being one person, one family, one community at a time
  • Strong collaborative relationships across schools — from engineering to the arts — to create novel solutions for the health challenges facing underserved communities
  • Commitment to using community-informed and community-based research methods to tackle population health needs with compassion, determination, and a keen understanding of the need for appealing, user-friendly approaches to providing healthcare
  • Dedicated, one-on-one mentorship in research and teaching

UCI nursing science faculty conduct interdisciplinary research that incorporates integrative health approaches to promote population health and build healthy communities. The PhD program will specifically promote the development of scientific and theoretical expertise that contributes to scholarly endeavors in six key areas:

  • Integrative health and wellness promotion
  • Community health
  • Philosophical and theoretical foundations in nursing
  • Health services and practice
  • Digital technology and health
  • Health disparities and diversity
  • You are passionate about developing and comprehensively testing new knowledge in a selected area of nursing science.
  • You are excited about incorporating translational science into nursing research endeavors.
  • You desire to provide leadership for the health and well-being of communities through translational science and the understanding of social, cultural, economic and political milieu within which knowledge translation operates.
  • You desire the opportunity to contribute to interdisciplinary research initiatives in your area of expertise.

Research/knowledge development

  • Utilize professional and research ethics and judgment in the conduct of research
  • Conduct independent original research
  • Critique and integrate different scientific perspectives in the conduct of original research
  • Engage in and prepare to lead interdisciplinary research teams
  • Situate their knowledge within the history and philosophy of science
  • Conduct culturally and linguistically compentent scholarship


  • Lead in advancing the discipline through scholarly and scientific contributions
  • Provide career and research mentorship to others


  • Communicate scholarship to professional, interdisciplinary, policy, and lay audiences
  • Communicate scholarship through publications and presentations


  • Demonstrate understanding of the influence of politics and policy on knowledge generation and implementation

Substantive area of specialization

  • Demonstrate mastery of in-depth knowledge in a substantive area


The PhD in Nursing Science is a three to five-year, full-time commitment that includes a combination of formal courses, electives, independent study, teaching assistant assignments, formal examinations, and the completion and successful defense of a doctoral dissertation based on original research that contributes to the scholarly and scientific knowledge of the nursing discipline.

Early coursework will introduce you to theoretical foundations in the nursing discipline and to advanced research methodologies in nursing, health sciences, and related fields. Elective and independent studies will contribute to expertise in areas of research leading to your dissertation.

Download sample schedule of classes 

Application Details

DNP (Post-Master’s)

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