Nursing, DNP to PHD: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the DNP to PhD Pathway option?

This is an accelerated pathway to the PhD degree for those students who already have a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.

Will my work in the DNP program count toward the PhD degree?

Twenty-seven credits from the DNP program will fulfill the requirements of the PhD program. These credits will fulfill some of the PhD nursing requirements.

How many more credits will I need to take beyond the DNP?

A minimum of 33 credits of doctoral coursework taken at IUP is required.

What types of courses will I take beyond the DNP?

Students in DNP to PhD pathway will take 15 credits of research core courses, six credits of nursing core courses that focus on education topics, and 12 credit of dissertation. These courses should build upon knowledge obtained in the DNP work.

Why should I continue my education?

Some schools require the PhD degree for hiring into tenure track and/or permanent faculty positions. Additionally, DNP graduates may not have the needed research skills that will facilitate success in tenure track faculty positions.

When are classes offered?

Students enrolled in the DNP to PhD pathway will take classes in an immersive delivery format. Classes will meet two weekends (Friday and Saturday) per semester.

How many courses do I take each semester in the DNP to PhD pathway?

DNP to PhD students will take one course each term (including summers). Please see the course progression plan.

Do I need to complete research or a dissertation?

Yes, this is a Ph.D program which means it has research as a main focus. You will take a series of research courses that will help prepare you for the culminating dissertation.

I really liked the topic of my project in the DNP program. Can I continue with my work in this area for my PhD research?

You may be able to use your DNP work to lead into your PhD research. Remember, the focus of the IUP PhD program is nursing education, so you will want to make sure your research areas align with the program focus. We certainly encourage students, when possible, to build upon their existing work.

I don't know what I would like to research; do I need to have a firm idea of what I want to do before entering the program?

It is helpful to have an idea or area of focus for research early in the program so that course assignments projects, literature searches, and other activities can be building blocks for the dissertation. You don't need to have a definitive topic or research question for admission, but you should at least have some preliminary topic interests in nursing education. If you are having trouble identifying research interests, it might be helpful to read some nursing education journals such as the Journal of Nursing Education or Nurse Educator.

Do I need to take the Graduate Record Exams (GREs)?

Students applying to the DNP to PhD pathway are not required to take GREs. You may be asked to submit an example of your writing, but GREs are not required.

How many DNP applicants are selected for admission?

We only expect to admit a small number of students to the DNP to PhD pathway for each cohort.

What do I need for my admission application?

A series of program requirements are required for the DNP to PhD program in nursing to assess student and program outcomes and ensure quality. Students seeking admission to the program must satisfy the minimum School of Graduate Studies and Research requirements. International students are required to comply with the admission criteria as outlined in the graduate catalog. Please visit the School of Graduate Studies and Research at http://www.iup.edu/graduate for further information

How are applicants selected for admission?

All items in the applicant's application package will be evaluated by the doctoral program committee to provide a composite score for ranking of applicants to determine acceptance into the program.

Where will the DNP to PhD pathway be offered?

The program is offered online.

How often will I attend classes on campus?

The DNP to PhD program consists of one course each semester. Classes will be on Friday & Saturday twice during the semester.

What is the format of courses?

The program is offered online.

What is the cohort format and why is the program being offered in this manner?

Students are admitted as a group (cohort) and progress through a predetermined series of courses together. One of the primary advantages of this model involves the strong peer support and networking opportunities.

How long will it take to complete the program?

It depends on location and how many classes you take each semester. Regular courses can be completed as quickly as nine semesters.

How long will it take to complete the dissertation?

Completion time varies dependent upon many variables such as topic, scope and type of research, student organization and ability to complete work independently. It is anticipated that the minimum amount of time to complete the dissertation would be one year but a more realistic time frame for most students would be two to three years.

Will I have to take summer courses?

Yes, you will typically need to take a course each summer. The program is planned for enrollment throughout the calendar year.

How many students will be admitted in a cohort?

Righ now, we anticipate admitting 15-20 students for each cohort.

Who are the faculty teaching in the program?

Faculty teaching in the program are doctorally prepared and have met graduate school eligibility to teach doctoral courses. They are experts in the field of nursing education and research.

If classes don't meet each week, what do I do if I have questions and we don't have class? Will faculty be available outside of class meeting times?

Yes, faculty will still be available to assist you and meet your learning needs. All faculty maintain regular office hours and you will know when faculty are available to meet with you. Additionally, you can schedule an appointment for a conference (phone, email or in-person). You can also contact faculty via email. Lastly, electronic class activities will help ensure regular contact between class meeting times.

What kinds of resources are available to assist students?

The university offers a variety of resources for students. These include academic computing services, library services, the writing center, and the applied research lab.

I don't have any teaching experience; can I still enroll in this program?

Yes, you can apply for this program without having formal teaching experience.

What are the employment opportunities for me after completing this degree?

The program will prepare you primarily for tenure track positions in academia. Currently there is a nursing faculty shortage. It is anticipated this shortage will continue making jobs in academia plentiful.

I didn't take a statistics course before; do I need a statistics course now?

Yes, you must show evidence of a recent statistics course to be admitted into the program. If you haven't taken a graduate statistics course (and received a grad of a B), you must take one to be considered for admission. Please check with us for potential offerings at IUP.

I have a job and a family. Will I be able to manage the demands of school work?

Returning to school for a doctorate is a very demanding experience. Many people can juggle family, work and school. It may mean adjusting some priorities and giving up some leisure time. You will need to be very organized and structured. Many students find part-time programs of study more accommodating to demanding schedules than full-time programs of study.

How much does it cost to attend IUP?

The current (2020-21) cost per credit for part-time graduate students who are; Pennsylvania residents at IUP is $516. If you compare other doctoral programs you will find that IUP offers a very reasonable tuition rate.

Is tuition assistance available?

It is anticipated that scholarships, traineeships and other state/federal money may be available. Grant and loans may be available for qualified individuals. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for assistance with this inquiry. An Internet search may help you locate additional sources of funding through professional organizations or governmental agencies. Unfortunately, IUP does not participate in the Health Resources & Services Administration Nurse Faculty Loan Program.

Are there employment opportunities available within the university or department?

It is anticipated that there will be graduate assistant and teaching associate positions available within the Department of Nursing and Allied Health Professions. These positions provide work experience in higher education while paying tuition and stipends. They are great opportunities to work with faculty mentors and gain exposure to academia and the role of the nurse educator. Please contact the program coordinator for more information about these opportunities.

Will I be assigned an advisor?

Yes, at the start of the program you will be assigned an advisor who will remain your advisor throughout the program.

Who should I contact if I have other questions or need more information?

Feel free to contact the nursing faculty and doctoral program coordinator, Dr. Kristy Chunta at kchunta@iup.edu or call 724-357-3091, if you have additional questions or need more information.