Doctoral Degree

PhD in Nursing Science

Become a leader in the field as a nurse scientist that is prepared to advance the profession through scholarship, education, and research.

As you earn your PhD in nursing at Widener, you will have plenty of hands on experience in our simulation lab. Here you will encounter many real-world situations that professionals encounter in the workplace after grading from the nursing PhD program. Learn more about earning your doctoral degree in nursing.

Program Overview

In our nursing science doctoral degree program, you’ll join a tradition of academic excellence that will prepare you to be a nurse scientist. For more than three decades, our powerhouse program has guided nurses to become scholars and leaders in nursing education and to go on to inform the nursing profession.

Here, you’ll be engaged in nursing science and develop the skills to conduct research that advances theory and generates the evidence for nursing education and practice.

Led by our expert, full-time faculty, our program offers you the flexibility to meet the course requirements on a timeframe that complements your demanding career and family responsibilities.

Nursing Phd Program Options

View the Loading... for information on coursework and curriculum requirements. 

The PhD program offers full- and part-time options. Classes are offered in an evening format to meet the scheduling demands of working educators and practitioners.

Part-time students can progress at their own pace within the established seven-year time limit for degree completion for doctoral students.

An accelerated MSN-to-PhD option is available. Visit the Loading... to view program requirements and admissions information. 

Admissions & Aid

Graduates of accredited BSN, MSN, or DNP programs are invited to apply for admission by submitting evidence of:

  • A completed online application.
  • Transcripts from previously attended higher education institutions.
  • A minimum of 3.5 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) in the highest degree obtained.
  • A graduate statistics course with a grade of at least B (3.0) is recommended.
  • A graduate course in nursing theories and conceptual models with a grade of at least B (3.0) is recommended.
  • Two references—one from an educator and one from an employer with a graduate degree. One of these must have a research doctoral degree.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Statement explaining goals for doctoral work in nursing with emphasis on proposed area of specialization.
  • Interview with a School of Nursing faculty member (this is arranged after a preliminary review of application materials).
  • International applicants, immigrants to the U.S., and U.S. permanent residents are required to submit the results of an English proficiency test taken with 2 years, unless they are from a TOEFL-exempt country.
    View English Proficiency Requirements
  • International applicants who will be seeking licensure in the U.S. should work with Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) to utilize their credentials evaluation service

View the Loading... for full admissions information.

  • August 15—for matriculation in the fall semester
  • December 15—for matriculation in the spring semester
  • April 15—for matriculation in summer sessions

Nursing PhD students who aim to become full-time nurse educators are eligible to apply for the nurse faculty loan program, made possible by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This program is an exceptional way to make affording a graduate education within reach for nursing professionals who wish to become educators.  

If accepted into the loan program, 85% of the monies borrowed over the course of the loan will be forgiven after 4 years of full-time academic nursing employment (or 2 half-time positions). Students are eligible to borrow up to $35,000 per academic year for up to 5 years. A small stipend may also be awarded to assist with the cost of books. 

Students who participate in the program agree that they will secure a full-time (or two half-time) positions in academic nursing. Students may be eligible to take up to two years to find employment in your designated field. 

How and When to Apply

If you have been accepted and choose to attend Widener University, you will receive information about the application program directly from the School of Nursing. Students apply to the program once a year.

Doctoral Degree Nursing Program Highlights

Step into nursing leadership with a doctor of philosophy.

National Center of Nursing Excellence

The National League for Nursing named Widener a Center of Excellence for advancing the science of nursing education.

Recognized for Advancing Nursing Education

1 of 6 schools nationwide designated as a Center of Excellence for Advancing the Science of Nursing Education.

College of Distinction Nursing 2023-2024 Logo

College of Distinction for Nursing

Recognized for top-quality teaching and successful outcomes.

Founders Hall midday shot

Renowned in the Region

Our School of Nursing was ranked 7th in Pennsylvania among private colleges.

Founders Hall, home to Widener's School of Nursing, at dusk

Top 30 in Nation

Our School of Nursing is proud to rank #28 out of more than 1,100 private institutions evaluated across the nation.  

Source: Nursing Schools Almanac


Leadership Development

Our program emphasizes personal leadership development. Your student experience will be enriched with a specialized leadership course focused on the behaviors required as a leader and the necessary skills to overcome the challenges facing higher education and health care settings.

Nursing doctoral student and faculty member

Faculty Mentorship

Thrive in a learning community that provides close mentorship and one-on-one support. Our full-time faculty members bring active clinical and academic research experience to the classroom. Widener provides the opportunity for you to build a professional network that supports you long after graduation.

Research Opportunities

You will have opportunities to collaborate with Widener's Leadership Center for Nursing Education Research whose mission is to advance the science of nursing education through rigorous educational and educational-clinical research. Expert research consulting services for constituents within the nursing and nursing education community and professional development are available.


Partner with expert faculty who aren’t just teaching the courses but are creating the science of nursing education.

Your Inside Track to Success

Your Inside Track to Success

Join a network of graduates who have gone on to leadership roles in local and international health care and research institutions.

Outlook & Outcomes for PhD Nursing Students

Potential Careers

  • Academic/clinical faculty member
  • Nurse researcher
  • Academic administrator
  • Nurse leader
  • Nurse educator

Recent Employers

  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • National League of Nursing
  • Tower Health
  • Oman College of Health Science
  • NYU

Student Stories

Headshot of Nichole Butler

"I’ve had one of the best experiences in education that I could have ever imagined."

Nichole Butler

Class of 2021

Take the Next Steps


We’re glad you made the decision to apply. All applications and supplemental materials are submitted through the online application system. There is a $35 application fee to apply to Widener.