Do I need to take the Graduate Record Exams (GREs)?
GREs were previously required for admission, but effective summer 2017 we no longer require them as part of our application process.
What do I need for my admission application?
A series of program requirements are required for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in nursing to assess student and program outcomes and ensure quality. The requirements and policies, consistent with the School of Graduate Studies and Research,
are listed below. Students seeking admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing 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 for further information.
All applications must also submit the following for review by the doctoral program committee:
Applicants must have a minimum 3.5 GPA on a 4-point scale at the master’s level. A master’s degree in nursing or a related field is required. Applicants must have completed the following prerequisite coursework to be considered for admission.
Applicant must have an active registered nurse license in the United States or its territories. International students must submit evidence of licensure from their country.
A current vitae must be submitted with the application. The vitae should contain education and employment histories as well as areas of professional development, scholarship, and service.
Applicants must submit a writing sample that includes the following:
Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation.
Letters should be submitted by the applicant’s professor, mentor, and/or supervisor. The letters should address the applicant’s:
After the applicant’s admission file is complete,
applicants must complete an admission interview administered by the doctoral
program committee. Interview modification for students who are unable to attend
an in-person interview will be considered. All applicants will be required to
complete a brief presentation.
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.
What is the cohort format, and why is the program being offered in this manner?
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 many students will be admitted in a cohort?
Right now, we anticipate admitting 15–20 students for each cohort.
What courses do I need to take to get my PhD in Nursing?
in the program include 21 credits of Nursing Core courses such as Seminar in
Nursing Theory, Faculty Development in Nursing Education, Pedagogical Practices
in Nursing Education, Curriculum Evaluation in Nursing, Evaluation in Nursing
Education, and Technology in Nursing.
Students take 15 credits of research core, including: Statistical Methods
II, Quantitative Nursing Research, Qualitative Nursing Research, Research
Seminar I, and Research Seminar II.
Twelve credits of support courses include courses
such as Leadership in Nursing: A Case Study Approach and six credits of
electives. The program is completed with a minimum of 12 dissertation credits
(three credits of dissertation seminar and the remaining with credits of
Do I need to complete research or a dissertation?
this is a PhD 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
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?
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.
It has been a while since I was enrolled in a graduate course. What should I do to prepare?
would probably be helpful to make sure that your computer skills are
up to date. You should have a basic understanding of word processing, email,
databases or spreadsheets, and presentation software. Additionally, since you
will be spending a lot of time using your computer, you will probably want to
make sure it is up to date and capable of transferring large files quickly.
Will I use much technology?
You will need to use technology and a variety of computer programs. All courses have some electronic class components (using Moodle, D2L, or some other program), and you will be completing activities such as electronic chatting. You will also be expected to use the computer for library and database searching to obtain electronic information. A working knowledge of the following types of programs will also be very helpful: word processing, database or spreadsheet, and graphic presentation program such as PowerPoint. The computer programs and services you are expected to use will be available through campus resources. Additional information will be provided upon enrollment. Lastly, you should be comfortable using email communication and searching the internet.
Where will courses be offered?
We are currently offering classes in Indiana, Pa., Dixon University Center in Harrisburg, Pa., and IUP’s Pittsburgh East campus location.
How often will I be required to come to campus?
Students will be required to come to the
campus only two times per semester. Additionally, some class time will be
conducted in electronic format.
What is the format of courses?
Faculty will use
face-to-face as well as online delivery. Some courses may use Zoom technology.
How long will it take to complete the program?
It depends on
location and how many classes you take each semester. Courses can be completed
as quickly as 11 semesters.
How long will it take to complete the dissertation?
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 timeframe for most students would be two to three
Will I have to take summer courses?
Yes, you will
typically need to take two courses each summer. The program is planned for
enrollment throughout the calendar year.
Will I have to take program exams?
Yes, there are a
series of program requirements that are necessary to continue in the program.
These requirements include a candidacy exam and defense of dissertation work.
The exams include both oral and written components. Further details will be
provided upon acceptance into the program.
Who are the faculty teaching in the program?
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
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: even if you
come to campus only two times per semester, 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 meetings times.
Can I transfer courses from other programs into the program?
Yes, you may
transfer courses from other programs, but you must follow the Graduate School
guidelines found in the graduate catalog on the School of Graduate Studies and Research website for transfer courses and still adhere to program and
What kinds of resources are available to assist students?
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 grade of a B), you
must take one to be considered for admission. Please check with us for
potential offerings at IUP.
I would like a refresher on statistics. How can I get up to date?
are available at IUP and are offered through the Graduate School or the Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Department or through other universities. Enrollment in MATH 516 or GSR 516 at
IUP is suggested. Please see the IUP class listings.
I have a job and a family. Will I be able to manage the demands of school work?
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 (2019–20) 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 Financial Aid Office 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 HRSA
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, Teresa Shellenbarger, via email at Tshell@iup.edu
or by phone at 724-357-2559, if you have additional questions or need more
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