PhD, Nursing

The PhD program prepares nursing scholars who will generate and transmit knowledge that is fundamental to the discipline of nursing and to nursing practice. The full scope of nursing concerns related to direct, indirect, and institutional care, as well as the social and policy factors shaping that care, are within the purview of the degree preparation. The central focus of the program is on preparation of scientists who will conduct nursing research; develop theory and contribute to the body of knowledge in nursing and the health sciences; and disseminate research findings through scholarly publications and presentations, including classroom teaching.

The curriculum is designed to develop habits of scholarly thinking about problems relevant to the discipline of nursing. 

  • The initial segment of the curriculum provides coursework in the areas of research, nursing science and theory development.
  • The emphasis in the middle segment continues to be coursework, with the addition of research residencies, cognates and independent studies that provide a basis for the student's projected dissertation focus and the subsequent initial program of research.
  • The final segment of the program, preceded by the qualifying examination and advancement to candidacy, entails development of a dissertation research proposal, data collection and analysis, and the writing of the dissertation. The dissertation is a work of independent research that makes an original contribution to knowledge in nursing. A key element of the program is faculty advisement.  

Prospective Students

In-state tuition and fees are fully covered for the first three years. In addition, starting with PhD students entering in the fall of 2019, a stipend of $20,000 will be provided to students to assist with living expenses in the 2019-2020 academic year, $16,500 for the 2020-21 academic year, and $17,000 for the 2021-2022 academic year. Additional financial support from scholarships, grants and employment may be available in subsequent years.

Learn about application requirements and the admissions process.


The PhD program entails approximately four years of academic work, though it is possible to complete it in three.

Objectives for PhD Graduates

Students who complete the PhD program will have achieved the following:


  1. Demonstrate a command of the literature pertinent to a selected field of nursing science;
  2. Formulate research questions that evolve from a theoretical perspective and contribute to nursing science;
  3. Demonstrate breadth of knowledge regarding a variety of research methods and expertise in at least one method;
  4. Address major research issues pertinent to a selected area of inquiry, such as scientific integrity and diversity;
  5. Defend a historical, theoretical, and philosophical perspective for nursing science in general and for a selected field of investigation in particular;
  6. Demonstrate commitment to a program of research as manifested by the selection of an area of inquiry that has potential for continuity and cumulative generation of knowledge;
  7. Demonstrate the ability to write and defend research proposals as preparation for subsequent intramural and extramural support;
  8. Complete an independent and original research investigation in the form of a dissertation;
  9. Show increased appreciation of professional involvement as evidenced by scholarly presentations, community service, and organizational participation.

Curriculum Details

The curriculum is subject to periodic revision at the discretion of the faculty.

Doctoral Foundation Course Schedule


Course Number Name (Instructor)


Year One - Fall Qtr.

N209A Comparative Qualitative Res Des (2units) (McLemore)

W 10-12

N209B Quantitative Research Design (2 units) (Alkon)

T 8-10

N229 Philosophy Nsg Sci (3 units) (Schumacher & M. Park)

Tu 1-4

B187 Intro Probability/Stats (5 units) (Paul)

Tu/Th 10-12

B187 Lab (Paul)

Th 1-3

Year One - Winter Qtr.

N202A Theory Dev in Nursing (3 units) (C. Leung)

W 10-12

N269 Integ Scientific Literature (3 units) (Cataldo & Fukuoka)

Tu 1-4

B192 Intro Linear Models (5 units) (Paul)

Tu/Th 10-12

B192 Lab (Paul)

Th 1-3


Year One - Spring Qtr.

N212B Quant Measurement/Theory (3 units) (J. Chen)

Th 9 - 12

N209C Quantitative Res Meth II (3 units) (Milo-Santos)

Tu 1-4

N251.01 Grant Writing (2 units) (Hong & J. Johnson)

Th 1-3

N212A Qual Data Coll/Ethics (2 units) (Asiodu)

Tu 10-12

Year Two - Fall Qtr.

Theory (choose one course from below)***


N290 Family Theory (3 units) Offered Every Other Year (Chen)


N253 Theories of the Policy Process (3 units) (Malone)***

W 1-3

N227 Theories of Mental Illness (3 units) (Landolin)***

W 1-3

N221.01 Theories in Aging & Palliative Care (3 units) (Wallhagen)


N/S285A Qualitative Methods I (5 units) (Chesla/Pinderhughes)

Tu 1-5

- OR –


N289A Adv. Quantitative Res. Methods (3 units) (Weiss)

W 9-12

N289.01A Approach to Stat Analysis Lab 2 hours (2 units) (Alkon)

W 3–5

- OR -


S289A Adv. Quantitative Res. Methods I (4 units) (Harknett)

W 8:30-12:30

Year Two - Winter Qtr.

N/S285B Qualitative Methods II (5 units) (Chesla/Pinderhughes)

W 1-4

- OR -


N289B Adv. Quantitative Res. Methods II (3 units) (Hu)

W 1-4

- OR -


S289B Adv. Quantitative Res. Methods II (Harknett)

Th 1-5

Year Two - Spring Qtr.

N467 Teaching Residency (Variable units) (Staff)


*** PPC strongly recommends students complete N202A course prior to taking
N221.01; N227, N253, or N290.

Advanced Nursing Seminars


Course Number Name (Instructor)


Fall Quarter 2018


N223C The Role of Social Determinants in Symptom Experiences

and Symptom Management  (2 units) (Dawson-Rose)

M 1-3

N240.11 Occupational and Environmental Health Research Seminar (1-5 units) (Hong)

Th 5-7

N240.15 Theories and Methods in Aging Research (2 units) (Wallhagen)



Winter Qtr. 2019


N223A Symptom Research (2 units) (Weiss/Miakowski)

Tu 3-5

N240.11 Occupational and Environmental Health Research Seminar (1-5 units) (Hong)

Th 5-7

N240.16 Research Issues in Aging: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2 units) (Wallhagen)



Spring Qtr. 2019


N223B Theories and Methods of Symptom Science (2 units) (Wallhagen/Leutwyler)

W 9:30-11:30

N248/N223C The Role of Social Determinants in Symptom Experiences

and Symptom Management  (2 units) (Dawson-Rose)

M 1-3

N240.08 Advanced Child Development Science (2 units) (Chen)


N240.12 Family Health & Relational Research (2 units) (Chesla)


N285C Interpretive Phenomenology (2 units) (Chesla/M. Park)

W 1-3

NXXX Ethnography (Rehm)


N240.19 Quality & Safety of Patient Care (3 units) (Pelter/Foley)


N269A Machine Learning Primer for health Professionals (3 units) (Hu)

Th 2-4

N286A Community Participatory Research Methods (2 units) (Waters)


NTBO = Not To Be Offered
TBD = To Be Determined

Recommended Courses

These courses are recommended by the PPC for PhD students. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisor before deciding to enroll in these courses. Subject to change.

Course Number Name (Instructor)


N220 Academic Role Preparation (2 units) (L. Park)

Tu 3-5, Spring Quarter

N291 Applied Statistical Methods for Longitudinal & Hierarchical Data (4 units) (Cooper)

W 9-12, 1-3, Spring Quarter

N467 Teaching Residency- (variable units) (Staff)

Fall, Winter, Spring, & Summer

N248 Mixed Methods Course (Schumacher/Cataldo)


N285D Qualitative Methods Seminar (Rehm)


N289.01 Advanced Methods: Meta-Analysis (2 units) (Milo-Santos)

Th 11-12, Spring 

N298A Qualifying Exam Seminar (2 units) (Rehm)

Tu 10-12, Winter

Tu 1-3, Spring

N299 Dissertation Seminar (0 units) (Staff)

Fall, Winter, & Spring Quarters

**These courses are recommended for students to take by the PPC. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their advisor before deciding to enroll in these courses. Teaching Residency is required before serving as a paid Teaching Assistant (TA).

Academic Teaching Courses

These courses are to be offered on the UC Davis campus. They may be taken in any sequence. Additional information on these courses and registration for them will be available during Fall Quarter for the Winter and Spring courses. Subject to change.

Course Number and Name



NURS 302: Methods for Teaching Nursing & Health Sciences:
Curriculum & Instruction

4 units


NURS 303: Methods of Teaching Nursing & Health Sciences:
Evaluation of Learning

4 units