Graduate nursing student giving a presentation

PhD in Nursing

Expand Nursing’s Influence on Healthcare Outcomes

Conduct innovative, independent research and push the boundaries of how nursing impacts patient outcomes, community wellness and healthcare delivery. The University of Texas at Tyler’s nationally ranked online PhD in Nursing program will prepare you as a nurse scientist through advanced education in qualitative and quantitative research, scholarly writing and publication, and healthcare policy and education.

Study in your own community while enhancing your professional expertise and making progress on your dissertation. Graduate prepared for career opportunities in academia and healthcare organizations, where you can generate nursing knowledge through research and shape the next generation of nursing professionals.

Why Earn a PhD in Nursing From UT Tyler?

The PhD in Nursing builds on the extensive knowledge and intellectual curiosity you acquired through professional experience and previous education. The University of Texas at Tyler’s online program equips you with the advanced knowledge and skills to design, conduct and evaluate your original research with the guidance of your dissertation Chair. Look forward to discovering possible solutions to daunting healthcare challenges throughout your meaningful career in nursing research.

Fulfill your professional goals with a flexible yet academically rigorous program:

  • Flexible Format: Online courses let you balance your work responsibilities with your academic pursuits. Finish your requirements and complete your dissertation from any location you wish.
  • Scheduled In-Person Activities: Meet classmates, faculty and potential collaborators during our on-campus workshops to enrich your experience and enhance your understanding of the material.
  • Research Intensive: Learn to identify gaps in research literature, so that you may formulate important research questions, design an appropriate research proposal, conduct your study, collect and analyze data, and produce a field-influencing doctoral dissertation.
  • Community-Focused: Complete your studies right in your community. Apply your advanced knowledge to service-learning activities, like volunteering for national organizations or participating in statewide disaster planning.
  • Outstanding Faculty: Train under the guidance of distinguished nursing educators and researchers. Our actively engaged professors often present at events like the American Academy of Nursing, Sigma International, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, National League for Nursing and the Southern Nursing Research Society Annual Research Conference.
  • Affordable: Achieve the highest educational level in nursing at a fraction of the cost of other comparable programs.


The School of Nursing offers two different tracks to obtain your PhD, depending on your academic needs: the BSN-PhD program and the MSN-PhD program.

The BSN-PhD in Nursing degree consists of 72 credit hours: 51 hours are dedicated to required classes, nine to electives and the remaining 12 to fulfill the dissertation. After completing the majority, if not all, of the coursework, you will take a Proficiency Examination before moving on to dissertation work. This path allows you to earn your PhD degree in four years of full-time study.

The MSN-PhD in Nursing degree consists of 60 credit hours, with 36 hours dedicated to fulfilling the PhD requirements and 12 to electives; the remaining 12 credit hours are devoted to the dissertation. MSN-PhD candidates must also pass the Proficiency Examination in order to advance to candidacy and enroll in dissertation credit hours.

Our thoughtfully designed curriculum prepares you to:

  • Design and conduct research contributing to the advancement of nursing science and health innovations.
  • Conduct culturally sensitive research to guide evidence-based practice.
  • Incorporate research outcomes to formulate policies pertinent to nursing and global health.
  • Disseminate innovative and creative strategies to improve health through nursing research, practice and education.

Review All PhD in Nursing Courses and Requirements

Careers With a PhD in Nursing

As a terminal degree and the highest-level nursing credential achievable, the PhD emphasizes independent scholarship and opens the doors to teaching in academia at a time when a nursing faculty shortage affects universities and other higher education institutions. The degree also creates a pathway to leadership roles and research positions in private industry, government, healthcare organizations and clinical settings. Institutions seek out PhD prepared scholars for their ability to transform research findings into healthcare policy, strategy and operations.

Graduates of UT Tyler’s PhD in Nursing program embark on careers as consultants, administrators, entrepreneurs, researchers, professors and policymakers. They teach or develop studies for many colleges and universities, as well as other institutions and organizations.

How to Apply

BSN-PhD in Nursing

  • A bachelor's degree in nursing from a college or university approved by a recognized regional accrediting body.
  • A grade point average of at least 3.2 for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work.
  • Have a current unencumbered license to practice professional nursing.

MSN-PhD in Nursing

  • Hold or obtain a master's degree from a college or university approved by a recognized accrediting body before the first day of classes.
  • Have a current unencumbered license to practice professional nursing.

International Students

Applicants from countries other than the United States must also meet the admission requirements for international students seeking a graduate degree. Review all admission requirements for international students.

Applicants must submit evidence of English proficiency before the university grants admission. Applicants whose primary language is not English (the undergraduate degree is from a foreign institution) must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language, the Pearson Test of English or the International English Language Testing System. The minimum score requirements are as follows:

  • 79 TOEFL iBT (internet-based test)
  • 550 TOEFL PBT (paper-based test)
  • 53 PTE
  • 6.5 overall band score and 6.0 in each subsection IELTS

Admission Consideration

UT Tyler also gives consideration for admission to one or more of the following:

  • The applicant's demonstrated commitment to their chosen field of study.
  • Socioeconomic background.
  • The involvement and level of responsibility in other matters, including extracurricular activities, employment and community service.
  • First generation of family to graduate from an undergraduate program.
  • Family responsibility or raising children.
  • Multilingual proficiency.
  • Geographic region of residence.

STEP 1: Apply to the University

All applicants must apply to the university prior to applying to the nursing program.

BSN to PhD application.

MSN to Phd application.

Current or previous UT Tyler students must complete a new application if applying for a higher level of degree (i.e., BSN to MSN, MSN to PhD, MSN to DNP, MSN to post-master’s certificate).

If you are an online out-of-state applicant, please be aware of reciprocity agreements that may impact clinical hours: State Authorization.

How Much Does It Cost to Apply?

The application cost is $50 for domestic students; $75 for international students. The fee is nonrefundable and required before your application is processed. Make credit card payments at the time of application by Visa or MasterCard only.

The university waives fees for all UT Tyler alumni. Please select the “Pay by Check” option. UT Tyler waives the fees once your application is processed. Please do NOT send a check, as there are no refunds.

STEP 2: Submit Official Transcripts

  • Submit official transcripts showing the completion of a BSN or MSN from an accredited institution (do not submit community or junior college transcripts).
  • UT Tyler graduates do not have to forward transcripts from the Registrar’s Office.

STEP 3: Submit Nursing Documents

Please submit an essay, proof of your current nursing license and three professional or academic references through the following link: SON PhD Application and Documentation.


  • With a 3-5 page paper, link research interests and professional goals to the School of Nursing's emphasized areas: Vulnerable Populations, Health & Wellness and Innovations in Practice. Please see the SON PhD Application for details.

Current License

  • Provide your state of licensure and license number within the application.


  • Three professional or academic references are required.
  • Submit all reference information via the Reference Form.
  • Once you have filled out the reference link, prepare to receive a confirmation email.

The UT Tyler School of Nursing offers programs year-round with multiple start dates. Applications are accepted throughout the year, and prospective students need to be admitted two weeks before the session start date. In case of non-admission by that date, the start date will be deferred to the next session. For inquiries about the application process, please contact an enrollment advisor.

Applicants offered acceptance into a graduate nursing program may be assessed a nonrefundable seat deposit of $200 by the date indicated in the acceptance letter. Failure to pay the deposit results in forfeiture of the acceptance. The university applies the $200 toward the first semester’s tuition. Applicants who accept an offer of admission but later decide not to attend forfeit the seat deposit.


Cindy Mendez
“While researching PhD programs, I found many schools that offered online programs, which is what I needed. As a mother of three and full-time nurse, I was looking for convenience. I had narrowed my choices down to three schools and emailed the program directors for further information. Dr. Chilton was the only one of the three directors that personally replied to my request and invited further contact. I immediately knew the UT Tyler PhD program was the right choice for me. Aside from being convenient, UT Tyler is student-friendly.”

Cindy Mendez, PhD in Nursing, 2016

Next Steps

Chart the next phase of your career. Discover how a PhD in Nursing from UT Tyler can open the doors to your future.