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The Catholic University of America Announces Online Ph.D. in Nursing

Clinically-focused program prepares nurses for the front lines of research

Washington, D.C. –  To help meet the need for researchers to push nursing science forward, as well as for faculty who can train future generations of nurses, The Catholic University of America is bringing its respected Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing to the online format. 

This doctoral program is designed to help RNs develop the research skills to generate new data relevant to improving nursing care, as well as the abilities to apply and asses the findings within the clinical setting. Coursework is research-intensive, focusing on statistics, theory development, qualitative and quantitative methods, and other skills required to function at the highest levels of nursing science and practice. The program consists of 70 hours, 24 of which may transferred from master's level work.

The curriculum includes a dissertation exploring an aspect of patient care issues that should match the student’s professional goals and interests. Dissertation coursework is completed with the support and guidance of the dedicated faculty members of the School of Nursing—responsibilities that they take especially seriously for online students. 

The field is encouraging more nurses to earn a Ph.D. in Nursing, and to earn it earlier to take advantages of growing opportunities. According to a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, only 1 percent of nurses have a Ph.D., even as innovations in technology and medicine make health care and nursing even more complex. The field needs more researchers to ensure that nursing practice continues to advance and to provide optimal care for individual patients and populations. Nurses with this Ph.D. degree can seek employment at hospitals, health care systems, pharmaceutical companies and other businesses related to health care that need professionals to direct and conduct research.

Nursing is also facing a shortage of professors who can educate future nurses. A report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 2011-2012 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing, estimated that an aging faculty workface will result in a wave of retirements in the near future. Another AACN report, 2010-2011 Salaries of Instructional and Administrative Nursing Faculty in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing, states that nursing schools in the U.S. turned away more than 75,000 qualified applicants because of a lack of qualified educators.

The Catholic University’s Ph.D. in Nursing program dates back to the 1960s and was one of the first such degrees to be offered in the country. It’s one of several nursing degrees now offered online by the University, including the Master of Science in Nursing and the Doctor of Nursing Practice

By expanding to the online format, RNs from all over the country and the world can take advantage of the excellent nursing education offered through the School of Nursing. Throughout the years, the School has been awarded many competitive federal grants, a recognized marker of excellence and a testament to its commitment to research and discovery in the field. Accomplished faculty members who are active in both research and practice are a key element of the School’s success, as well as that of its students.

To learn more about the online Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from The Catholic University of America, go to or call 855-295-5711.