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College of Nursing

Doctoral Programs

Doctoral Degrees

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

The PhD in Nursing Science at the University of South Carolina prepares professional nurses for research careers in a variety of academic and health care settings. Our graduates are productive nursing scientists and scholars committed to improving the health and nursing care of patients and communities through interdisciplinary research collaborations. Pathways to the PhD in Nursing Science include BSN, MSN, or a Master’s Degree in another field.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The DNP program at the University of South Carolina graduates advanced practice nurses ready to assume clinical and leadership roles. This program offers clinical specialty and executive leadership tracks. Advanced practice nurse graduates develop skills to evaluate and assess research to improve patient care. Nurse Executive leader graduates are prepared to influence health care environments through professionalism, leadership, strong communication skills, and business knowledge. 

DNP or PhD - Which Doctoral Degree is Right for You?

  Doctor of Nursing Practice Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
Degree Objective The DNP prepares nurses as clinical practitioners, executive leaders, and  scholars to assume advanced clinical and leadership roles. The Ph.D. program prepares professional nurses for research careers in academic, clinical, health systems, and government settings.
Core Curriculum Leadership development, health policy , and evidence based practice for improved outcomes. Philosophy and theory of nursing science; research design, methods, and analytic approaches; professional roles.
Clinical Hours/Licensure Current unencumbered RN or APRN licensure in the state of residence Current RN license in the state or country in which research will be conducted
Dissertation Clinical Dissertation Required. Research Dissertation Required.
Distance Learning Option Courses delivered online for didactic component. Delivery formats include on-campus seminars with video conferencing options.
Full Time/Part Time Both full time and part time options. Both full time and part time options.
Program Length

Full time students can expect to graduate in 6 semesters

Part time students can expect to graduate in 9 semesters

(Dependent on factors such as length of final project)

Full time students can expect to graduate in
3-4 years (MSN entry) or
4-5 years (BSN entry)


Part time students can expect to graduate in 5-6 years

Career Focus of Graduates Using evidence based practices to improve patient outcomes. Engagement in research and education across community, academic, and clinical settings.
Admission Requirements
  • GRE not required
  • On-site interview
  • Writing Sample
  • GRE scores within past 5 years
  • On-site or phone interview
  • Writing sample
Fellowships/Scholarships Scholarship Opportunities Fellowships and Scholarship Opportunities