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Doctoral Programs, Nursing

Widener University has been training nurse scholars for decades, preparing nurses for leadership roles in both nursing education and health care management – and we have no intention of stopping there.

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 
    Over the last 30 years, Widener’s School of Nursing has graduated more than 190 nurse leaders who serve as pioneers in nursing education and health care. They are nationally known faculty, deans, and researchers, holding high-level positions in the United States and abroad and serving on professional boards at regional and national levels.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) 
    This new program is built upon a rich tradition of excellence. Designed in accordance with American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) guidelines, our DNP program provides the highest level of preparation for advanced clinical practice. Graduates are prepared for leadership positions in direct care of individuals and populations, as well as for positions that focus on patient outcomes and complex systems management and transformation.

Flexibility to Meet your Needs

Both programs are designed for working practitioners, and course schedules accommodate full- and part-time study. PhD classes are offered in an evening format, while DNP classes are offered in a hybrid format (combining online and in-class delivery). Either way, scheduling is sensitive to your career and family responsibilities. Part-time students can progress at their own pace within the established seven-year time limit for degree completion for doctoral students.

PhD vs. DNP

Our PhD program prepares nurse scholars for academic careers—as faculty, scholars, leaders, and researchers. Graduates are prepared to conduct research (independently and collaboratively) to advance nursing science, to generate and disseminate new knowledge, and to inform nursing, education practice, and health care policy. An accelerated MSN/PhD option is available.

The DNP program, offered on both the Main Campus in Chester and in Harrisburg, prepares advanced practice nurses to lead change and deliver the highest level of quality care. Graduates are skilled in critical appraisal of research evidence and interprofessional team-based collaboration to apply research findings in their practice. 

Graduates are prepared for systems-based care, practice improvement leadership, and to translate evidence into care in a variety of settings with the ultimate goal of enhancing health care outcomes for diverse individuals, groups, and populations (particularly the vulnerable and underserved). 

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