College of Nursing PhD Program
Sandra P. Thomas, RN, PhD, FAAN
Professor and Director of the PhD Program
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Welcome to the Program
Thank you for your interest in the University of Tennessee, College of Nursing Ph.D. Program. The College of Nursing offers a doctoral program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in Nursing. The doctoral program prepares nursing scholars capable of integrating research, theory, and practice into their roles as researchers, educators, and/or administrators. Given the impending shortage of nursing faculty in the U.S., we place special emphasis on preparation for the faculty role through course work and preceptorship experiences. Newly available is an accelerated curriculum option for nurse educators, involving 4 consecutive semesters of course work (15 months), followed by the dissertation. Students pursuing this option will earn a certificate in Nursing Education. Faculty research expertise is strong in the areas of women’s physical and mental health, anger and violence, empathy, gerontology, psychoneuroimmunology,and nursing education. The College of Nursing is a Cooperating Site of the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology (co-directors Joanne Hall and Sandra Thomas). Discourse analysis, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and grounded theory are prominent among the qualitative approaches used by faculty researchers. A new manuscript dissertation option is available.
Program Delivery Mechanisms
The PhD program is delivered by a combination of on-line learning and periodic block scheduling of on-campus orientation and instructional activities. Students are required to be on campus once early in the semester and once near the end. On-campus time is for professional development, face to face meetings, classes, presentations, examinations, seminars, discussion and mentoring. On-campus schedules may vary slightly from term to term.
There are four (4) options* to complete the program:
- An accelerated option for nurse educators that includes a minor in education (course work is completed in 15 months).
- A full-time curriculum for students desiring cognates other than education.
- A part-time curriculum (2 courses per semester).
- A BSN-to-PhD curriculum for students who do not have an MSN degree.
* Note that all options make maximum use of summers. Possible cognate areas include but are not limited to anthropology, child and family studies, psychology, education, gerontology, management, medical ethics, philosophy, public health, social work, and statistics.
To learn more about the program options visit the main nursing site. More about the academic programs.