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

Frequently Asked Questions - PhD Program

What are the admission requirements for the PhD program?
  • Successful completion of a BSN degree
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 from all previous institutions attended, , science grades strongly considered
  • A personal goal statement that indicates how the PhD program will advance your professional goals
  • Three letters of reference from doctorally prepared registered nurse or physician who can speak to the applicant’s ability to successfully complete the PhD program outcomes
  • 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
Do I need to have earned a master's degree in nursing before applying to the PhD program?

Students who have earned a BSN, a master's degree in nursing, a DNP, or a BSN and a master's degree in another field are eligible for admission. For those without a graduate degree in nursing, master's level nursing courses are incorporated into the plan of study prior to enrolling in PhD core courses.

Are GRE scores required in order to be considered for admission?

For applicants with a DNP degree, the GRE is waived based on previous success in a doctoral program. For all other applicants, admission to the Nursing Science degree program, like most PhD programs at the University of South Carolina, requires scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within five years of the admission application.

What is the timeframe to complete the PhD program?

Students entering with a DNP or MSN can complete the degree with 3 years.  BSN admits should anticipate taking 4 years. It is anticipated that students will enroll in 2-3 courses per term.  It is possible to accelerate this schedule or slow it down by taking more or fewer classes per semester.  All courses must be completed within 10 years of the graduation date or will need to be revalidated

Is it possible to study full-time or part-time?

Both full-time and part-time students are enrolled in our program.

What financial aid and scholarship options are available to PhD students?

There are many funding sources available for PhD students.  Potential sources include university and private scholarships, government agency traineeships, federal loans, and professional association scholarships.  The Financial Aid section of the site has more information. All students can anticipate the full funding at least the first two years in the program.  

How certain do I need to be about a specific research area for my dissertation?

Although students are not required to identify a specific research area prior to matriculation, having a potential match with our graduate faculty in a broad research area can facilitate degree progression. Faculty research emphasis areas are detailed in the Research section.

What options are available to take courses in other academic areas?

Students take a minimum of 6 credits outside of nursing, and many students earn a Certificate of Graduate Study in a related area. Examples of available graduate certificates include Applied Statistics, Gerontology, Health Communication, Public Health, and Women's and Gender Studies.

What career opportunities will I have with a PhD in Nursing Science?

Our graduates are productive nursing scientists and scholars committed to improving the health and nursing care of patients and communities.  They serve as faculty in academic institutions as well as researchers in a variety of agencies, government or clinical settings.

How do I find out more information about the PhD in Nursing Science at the University of South Carolina?

Please contact us!
Office of Student Affairs, College of Nursing
University of South Carolina
Phone: 803-777-7412
sranges@mailbox.sc.edu