Nursing PhD

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PhD Program Paths

The PhD program is conducted in an online/hybrid delivery format. First year PhD students have 10 onsite and 4 online course dates/semester. Second year PhD students have 7 onsite and 7 online course dates/semester, and third year students have 4 onsite and 10 online course dates/semester. All courses offered in the summer, except NURS 8205, are 100% online. Electives, independent studies, and directed research classes may be offered online, hybrid or F2F. Dates for online classes are posted by July 1st for the next academic year.

BSN to PhD

The BSN to PhD option blends the doctoral curriculum with two different MSN concentrations - the Nursing Education concentration or the Nursing Leadership concentration. It reduces the number of master's level courses required in the traditional MSN program and facilitates completion of the nursing, PhD. BSN to PhD students are required to complete between 72 and 77 semester hours. Undergraduate students interested in this pathway may wish to learn more about opportunities provided through the ECU Honors College

Download the BSN to PhD curriculum plans here:

MSN to PhD

The most traditional path to a PhD, this option requires students to complete a minimum of 54 semester hours beyond the master's degree.

Download the MSN to PhD curriculum plans here:

DNP to PhD

The DNP to PhD option is an accelerated pathway that allows use of up to 15 semester hours from a DNP program to partially fulfill requirements of the PhD program.  The student's credit for coursework in a DNP program is determined based on a review of transcripts and course syllabi by the PhD program director. DNP applicants are responsible for providing course syllabi to evidence transfer credit.  A minimum of 39 additional semester hours of doctoral coursework taken at ECU is required for a total minimum of 54 semester hours for degree completion.

Download the DNP to PhD curriculum plans here:

PhD vs DNP

Professional nurses seeking terminal degrees can decide between the DNP and PhD. For help with the decision, please visit review the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's DNP whitepaper and its DNP-PhD contrast grid.