May 27, 2022  
2019-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

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School of Nursing
3008 Human Health Building  (map)
(248) 370-4253 • Fax (248) 364-8740 

Program director:
Laura Pittiglio
3039 Human Health Building
(248) 364-8756

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Program description

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in nursing program is designed to advance researchers and scholars in the provision of  leadership to the profession and to the discipline of nursing. Students are prepared to become researchers and to assume roles as transformational leaders in both the academic setting and the health care delivery sector. This predominantly online program cultivates nurse scientists to develop, test, and implement innovation in health care quality and health outcomes with a global perspective. In addition, it will facilitate the mentoring of the next generation of nurse scientists through the process of methodical inquiry by adept researchers. A combination of conceptual approaches, challenging interactive seminar discussions, and work with active researchers provide a stimulating environment for scholarly development. Graduates of this program will serve as leaders in the promotion and application of nursing and multidisciplinary research and knowledge.

Program delivery

The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree is a fully online program. As such, all courses in the Ph.D. plan of study are delivered online; however, courses may require online synchronous and/or distance-learning activities.

Doctor of Nursing Practice program objectives

Building on the foundation of a bachelor’s program, a master’s program, or a Doctorate in Nursing Practice program, the Ph.D. program will prepare graduates who:

  • Will demonstrate knowledge of the research process that contributes to the discipline of nursing, with specific focus on the program concentrations of health care quality and health outcomes in with a global perspective.
  • Will demonstrate expertise in the research process by contributing basic and applied knowledge to guide health care delivery.
  • Will obtain positions in academia and/or as nurse leaders in key health care areas in the state of Michigan, nationally, and globally.

Admission terms and application deadlines

BSN prepared applicants will be admitted for the winter semester. MSN and DNP prepared applicants will enter the program in the fall semester.  Before an applicant’s file can be reviewed for full program admission, all application documents must be uploaded in the Nursing CAS system by the semester deadlines listed below.

  • The application for BSN-prepared applicants is due August 15 for admission to the subsequent Winter semester.
  • The application for MSN and DNP-prepared applicants is due February 15, for admission to the subsequent Fall semester. (See additional requirements below)

Application requirements

To be considered for graduate admission, applicants must submit all Graduate Application Requirements and any additional department requirements by the published application deadlines:

Applicants do not submit an online Oakland University Graduate Application.  A completed application and required materials must be submitted through the Nursing Centralized Application Service (NursingCAS).  Information and instructions for applying through the NursingCAS can be found at the School of Nursing website.

      Additional department application requirements

  • Applicants for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program must have completed a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or international equivalent.
  • Complete the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)  (CHANGE - effective winter 2021 - the GRE is no longer a requirement for applicants to this graduate program)
  • Have an overall cumulative grade point average of B of (3.0) or higher at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Submit official transcripts for all post-secondary educational institutions from which the applicant earned a degree (beginning with the first baccalaureate) and for all enrollment in graduate-level coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree must be submitted to NursingCAS. International university transcripts must be evaluated by a professional credential evaluation service and submitted to NursingCAS.
  • Submit a written personal goal statement limited to 2-3 double-spaced pages. The personal goal statement should focus on why the applicant is pursuing a Ph.D. in nursing and how this degree will advance career goals. Additionally, the statement should highlight the applicant’s specific topic/area of research and the identification of at least one faculty whose area of research might match the applicant’s topic/area of research interest. The personal goal statement will be evaluated on various criteria, including content and appropriate use of grammar.
  • Submit two professional letters of recommendation

International Students

  • International students are encouraged to contact The Graduate School ( to determine what additional documentation is required for admission eligibility.

Admission review and assessment

Admission to graduate school at Oakland University is selective. In making admission recommendations to Oakland University Graduate School, each department assesses the potential of applicants for success in the program by examining their undergraduate records, professional statement, letters of recommendation, prerequisite courses and any other admission requirements established by the academic department. 

Qualified applicants will be selected for an individual interview with member(s) of the School of Nursing faculty. The interview will be scheduled after all application materials have been submitted.

Related links

Degree requirements

The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree requires Registered Nurses who graduated with a BSN, MSN, or DNP to complete a maximum of 80 credits. Up to 32 graduate credits might be counted towards the total number of 80 credits for those applicants entering the program with a MSN or a DNP per Graduate Policy. Therefore, for MSN entry the typical program is 60 credits and for DNP entry the typical program is 48 credits.

In the PhD program, graduate credit will not be awarded for courses in which a grade less than B (3.0) is earned. All numerical grades earned are used in computing a student’s grade point average.

Course requirements

After acceptance and prior to starting the program, MSN prepared students are required to provide evidence of successful completion of a graduate level Theory course (min 3 credits) and a graduate level statistics course (min 3 credits). DNP prepared students are required to provide evidence of successful completion of a graduate level Health Informatics course (min 3 credits) and a graduate level Health Policy course (min 3 credits). Students must contact the School of Nursing Academic Advising Office and supply information needed to determine course equivalency. Equivalency will be reviewed and approved by the PhD program director.

Curriculum Overview

For BSN entry the program is 80 credits. For MSN entry the program is 60 credits (*).
For DNP entry the program is 48 credits (+).

Research (23 credits)

Nursing Science Topical Seminars (6 credits)

Cognate Minor (minimum of 8 credits)

  • Two (or more) cognate courses    ( 8 credits )*+

Comprehensive/Qualifying Examination (1 credit )*+


Doctoral Week

Every student admitted to the PhD program will be required to come to campus for one week each year to attend “Doctoral Week”. This is tentatively planned for the second or third week of May. For first-year students, this week will include an orientation to the PhD program as well as provide the opportunity for students to meet their faculty mentor. Additionally, all the doctoral students will participate in hybrid classes for which they are enrolled that summer and for students who are further along in the program time will be allocated for presentation opportunities (including Dissertation Defense).

Satisfactory academic progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the term used to denote a student’s successful completion of coursework toward a certificate or degree. Federal regulations require the Office of Financial Aid to monitor Satisfactory Academic Progress for all financial aid recipients each semester.

Students who fall behind in their coursework, or fail to achieve minimum standards for grade point average and completion of classes, may lose their eligibility for all types of federal, state and university aid. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional details.

Good academic standing

All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their graduate program. To be in good academic standing, a graduate student must make satisfactory progress toward fulfilling degree requirements, including the completion of critical degree milestones as set forth by the academic program. The student must also maintain a minimum semester and overall GPA of B (3.0), as well as a B (3.0) or above in all courses.

Good academic standing is a requirement for:

  • Holding a Graduate Assistantship
  • Receiving a fellowship or scholarship
  • Advancing to candidacy for a graduate degree
  • Going on a leave of absence
  • Obtaining a graduate certificate or degree from Oakland University

Additionally, graduate students must meet all department academic standards which may be more stringent than the minimum set forth by the University.

School of Nursing requirements: Students are required to follow university policies and procedures for graduate students, as described in the Oakland University Graduate Catalog. In addition to the university requirements, specific School of Nursing policies and procedures are outlined in the School of Nursing, Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Student Handbook.

Students are expected to earn a grade of B (3.0) or above in each course in the PhD program. In courses graded Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory (S/U), students are expected to earn a course grade of satisfactory. In courses graded Satisfactorily Progressing (SP)/Unsatisfactorily Progressing (NP), students are expected to earn a course grade of satisfactorily progressing (SP). Students who are not making satisfactory progress (i.e., <3.0, U, NP) in the program may be placed on probation with conditions imposed for retention in the program or may be recommended for dismissal from the program. 

Graduate students who are not in good standing in the School of Nursing for any reason are subject to probation and/or dismissal from further graduate study.

Continuous enrollment

The continuous enrollment policy for doctoral students requires continuous registration of graduate students for at least 1 credit each semester in the academic year to maintain an active graduate student status. This includes semesters in which the comprehensive, preliminary or qualifying examination is taken, defense, and each subsequent term (fall and winter) until the degree requirements are met and the dissertation or project is submitted to Oakland University Graduate School.

Students are required to submit a leave of absence form if extenuating circumstances arise where the student has to take a semester off. Failure to submit this form may result in a loss of admission status.

Some agency and graduate assistantship eligibility may have course-load requirements that exceed the minimum registration requirements of the Continuous Enrollment Policy (e.g., Veterans Affairs, Immigration and Naturalization for international students, and federal financial aid programs). Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to register for the appropriate number of credits that are required for funding eligibility and/or compliance as outlined by specific agency regulations under which they are governed.

Related program information

Plan of study

All accepted applicants, in consultation with the PhD program director, must develop a plan of study that details specific courses the students will use to satisfy their degree requirements. The plan of study must be signed by the program director and student and submitted, in coordination with advising, to Oakland University Graduate School.

Note:  Credit granted for successful completion of a course toward an undergraduate degree program may not be repeated for a graduate degree. If a substitution is approved, the minimum number of program-approved graduate credits will be required. A Petition of Exception - OU Course Waiver/ Substitution requesting the substitution must be approved


Students are responsible for requirements and policies stated in the School of Nursing, Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Student Handbook and each course syllabus. Every student admitted to the PhD program is assigned to an academic adviser who is available to assist with the interpretation and implementation of relevant policies and procedures.

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