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College of Nursing

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Doctoral Programs

Earn a terminal degree in nursing practice or prepare for a research career as a nurse scientist.

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science

The Ph.D. in Nursing Science at the University of South Carolina prepares you for a research career in a variety of academic and health care settings. Our graduates are productive nursing scientists and scholars committed to improving the health and nursing care of patients and communities through interdisciplinary research collaborations. Pathways to the Ph.D. program include BSN, MSN or a master’s degree in another field.

Doctor of Nursing Practice

The DNP program at the University of South Carolina prepares you to be an advanced practice nurse ready to assume clinical and leadership roles. APRN graduates develop skills to evaluate and assess research to improve patient care. Executive Healthcare Leadership program graduates are prepared to influence health care environments through professionalism, leadership, strong communication skills and business knowledge. 

Which Doctoral degree is right for you?

DNP: prepares nurses as clinical practitioners, executive leaders and scholars to assume advanced clinical and leadership roles.

Ph.D.: prepares professional nurses for research careers in academic, clinical, health systems and government settings.

DNP: Leadership development, health policy and evidence-based practice for improved outcomes.

Ph.D.: Philosophy and theory of nursing science; research design, methods and analytic approaches; professional roles.

DNP: Current unencumbered RN or APRN licensure in the state of residence.

Ph.D.: Current RN license in the state or country in which research will be conducted.

DNP: Clinical evidence project required.

Ph.D.: Research dissertation required.

DNP: Courses delivered online for didactic component.

Ph.D.: Executive-style format that includes on-campus seminars supported by online learning activities.

DNP: Students are admitted in a cohort and follow the same program of study.

Ph.D.: Full-time and part-time options available.

DNP: Students can expect to graduate in six to eight semesters.

Ph.D.: Full-time students can expect to graduate in 3-4 years (DNP/MSN entry) or 4-5 years (BSN entry). Part-time students can expect to graduate in 5-6 years.

DNP: Using evidence-based practices to improve patient outcomes.

Ph.D.: Engagement in research and education across community, academic and clinical settings.

DNP: GRE not required, On-site or phone interview, Writing Sample

Ph.D.: GRE scores within past five years, On-site or phone interview, Writing sample


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