Skip to Content

College of Nursing

  • PhD Program

    UofSC Nursing Research

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

The Ph.D. program at South Carolina prepares you for a nursing research career in academic, clinical or health system settings. Generous tuition support and executive-style weekend course delivery create flexibility for you to earn your doctoral degree.

South Carolina Ph.D. graduates are productive nurse scientists, scholars and educators who are involved with transforming the health of patients, families and communities across the globe.

The Ph.D. core curriculum includes courses in nursing research roles, theories and methods. Beyond the core curriculum, you will develop an individual course of study, including mentored research experiences and elective courses that lead to the preparation and defense of your dissertation.

Entry tracks are available for BSN, MSN, DNP or master’s-prepared students from another field. 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 Ph.D. program.

Full and part-time program options as well as executive-style delivery, integrating face-to-face campus sessions with interactive learning activities, offer you a flexible, yet rigorous, Ph.D. education.

South Carolina’s Ph.D. program is designed to be financially and logistically accessible for you. Most students receive substantial financial support to cover the majority of their tuition and fees for the first two years of the program, and the executive-style weekend program format offers you flexibility to work while you advance your studies.

South Carolina’s small class sizes create opportunities for you to form deep relationships with faculty mentors and program peers, accelerating your growth as a nursing researcher. Working closely with advisers and faculty who are actively engaged in funded research, you’ll develop an individualized program of study that allows you to pursue your passion, generate your own grant-funded projects and make an impact in healthcare.

By pursuing your Ph.D. at South Carolina, a comprehensive R1 institution, you’ll have access to collaborate with the College of Nursing’s clinical and research faculty as well experts across campus, including faculty at the College of Engineering, Arnold School of Public Health and more.

In addition, you may also earn a Certificate of Graduate Study during your Ph.D. studies, further advancing your career and marketability.

  • Successful completion of a BSN degree
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 from all previous institutions attended
  • A personal goal statement that indicates how the program will advance your professional goals. Include the area of nursing science that you are interested in pursuing and faculty at the UofSC College of Nursing who may be appropriate mentors for your area of interest
  • 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
  • Interview with nursing graduate faculty
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) within five years of the admission application. Waived for applicants who have a DNP.

Apply to Graduate School
The Graduate School coordinates online applications to our master's and doctoral programs. There may be supporting materials that are required along with your online application for graduate admission, so be sure to review the requirements before you apply.

The PhD  program accepts students for fall entry. 

  • Admission cycle for fall entry:
    Application opens - November 1
    Priority decision deadline - February 15

You will receive full funding of tuition for at least the first two years of the program. The College of Nursing also offers scholarships, assistantships and other financial aid options for Ph.D. students.

Your Ph.D. program costs depend on several factors. For estimated costs, view Graduate Program Cost Estimates 2021-2022. For the most up-to-date cost information, visit the Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees website.

  • 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 
View our Ask The Expert video sessions with Director of Graduate Admissions, Scott Ranges and Graduate Program faculty!

 Ph.D. Student Success

sheng headshot

#1 in Research

Jingxi Sheng's long-term research focuses are healthy behaviors and health outcomes among Asian Americans. She is particularly interested in understanding and investigating physical activity determinants with her faculty mentors, Dr. Sue Heiney and Dr. Demerius Abshire.“I chose UofSC Nursing because it has an excellent reputation and is number one in South Carolina for faculty research productivity. There are several renowned nurse scientists researching my fields of interest.” 

ubong headshot

Interprofessional Collaboration 

Ubong James collaborates with his faculty mentor, Dr. Michael Wirth, as well as Dr. James Hebert and Dr. Christine Blake, both from the UofSC Arnold School of Public Health. His research intends to provide an understanding of potential associations between food-related consumer behaviors and dietary inflammation. James enjoys the numerous interdisciplinary research opportunities in and around UofSC and the college’s Ph.D. mentorship program.

kayla headshot

PhD Mentorship

Over the past two years, PhD Student Kayla Everhart has been working with her PhD mentor, Dr. Robin Dail on Dail’s five year $2.7M National Institutes of Health funded study as a research coordinator. The study includes five NICU sites, enrolling 440 infants, to examine body temperature and heart rate over the first 30 days of life as a predictor of infection.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.