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College of Nursing


PhD Program

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science (Ph.D.)

The PhD program prepares professional nurses for research careers. Most students receive substantial financial support to cover the majority of cost of tuition and fees during at least their first two years in the PhD program

The PhD core curriculum includes courses in nursing research roles, theories and methods. Beyond the core curriculum each student has an individual course of study, including mentored research experiences and elective courses, which lead to the preparation and defense of a dissertation. 

Entry tracks are available for BSN, MSN, DNP or Master's in another field.  Executive-style delivery, integrating face-to-face campus sessions with interactive learning activities, will provide students with a flexible, yet rigorous, PhD education. 

PhD-prepared nurses are in high demand in academic, clinical, and health system settings. Our graduates are productive nurse scientists, scholars and educators who are involved with transforming the health of patients, families and communities across the globe.

Why the PhD at USC?
  • Small class sizes
  • Individualized program of study 
  • Full funding available (at least first two years of program)
  • Study with faculty actively engaged in funded research
  • Top 31 in NIH funding among U.S Colleges of Nursing
  • Interdepartmental research opportunities 
  • Executive-style delivery
  • Earn a Certificate of Graduate Study while working on PhD
  • Entry available for BSN, MSN and DNP graduates as well as Master’s in another field
Admission Criteria
  • Successful completion of a BSN degree
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 from all previous institutions attended
  • A personal goal statement 
  • Three letters of reference from doctorally prepared registered nurse or physician 
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Current unencumbered RN or APRN licensure in the state of residence
  • Onsite or phone interview with nursing graduate faculty
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within five years of the admission application
Degree Requirements
  • Complete required coursework within 10 years
  • Complete a minimum of one research internship with a faculty member
  • Earn a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in all required courses and earn a B or higher in each course
  • Successfully defend written and oral defense of doctoral dissertation
  • Successfully complete doctoral degree requirements of The Graduate School 
PhD Spotlight 

Contact the Office of Student Affairs

Have additional questions about the Ph.D. Program?
Call us at 803-777-7412, email or stop by our office:

Williams-Brice Building, Room 208
1601 Greene Street
Columbia, SC  29208