PhD in Nursing

Prepare to support continuous improvements in nursing science, education, and practice.

Gain the expertise to conduct research and develop healthcare policies, systems, and services for tomorrow’s nursing professionals. By earning your PhD at Walden, a pioneer in distance learning, you’ll benefit from our more than 50 years of experience educating doctoral students.

Walden’s research-focused PhD in Nursing program prepares you to play a key role in leading advancements in settings such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Educational institutions
  • Public policy organizations
  • Pharmaceutical companies

Fast Facts

Next Start Date: January 8, 2024

Transfer Credits: Up to 40 credits

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Recognizing your previous academic progress, we will apply up to 26 credits toward your doctoral program, potentially significantly reducing the number of credits to completion. The bridge option builds on your current knowledge and experience with scholarly research and relevant coursework that will further prepare you for leadership positions in nursing administration, policy, or academia.
The Education focus area helps prepare students to research, design, implement, and evaluate educational programs for nurses, including formal academic programs that lead to a degree or certificate and more informal continuing education programs designed to meet individual learning needs.
Through the Healthcare Administration focus area, you can prepare to manage and implement healthcare programs and services by applying best practices in leadership, ethics, and strategic planning. Explore principles that impact healthcare decisions and practice as well as the theoretical foundations of governance and public policy.
Design an interdisciplinary focus area that reflects your professional goals and interests, broadens your perspectives, or enables you to work more effectively with diverse populations and teams. Choose courses from the four other PhD in Nursing focus areas: Education, Healthcare Administration, Leadership, and Population Health.
Become a nurse leader who can work effectively with diverse workforces and communities in a variety of political and economic settings. Through the Leadership focus area, you can build competencies in organizational change management, team building, mediation, collaboration, and systems thinking and planning.
Learn to design and influence population health at the local, regional, and global levels by analyzing risk factors of disease and how to initiate preventative measures by conducting research to improve the health care needs of communities and populations. Explore how data is used to form policy recommendations and to draft legislation that promotes the equal distribution of health resources and reductions in health risks.


This research-focused program offers interdisciplinary coursework that prepares you to lead and collaborate with diverse healthcare professionals in a wide range of settings, including hospitals, universities, and health-related industries. Our program can prepare you to:

  • Conduct scientific research at the highest levels in your field
  • Shape healthcare policies and procedures
  • Educate the next generation of nurses

Additionally, this program offers virtual and face-to-face residencies that allow you to network with expert faculty members and other doctoral students while you hone your research, writing, and critical-thinking skills.

Reduce your time to completion and total costs if you have already earned a DNP degree.

Doctoral Degree Coach

Earning your online PhD in Nursing requires commitment, perseverance, and hard work. You can do it, and Walden is here to help--with our Doctoral Degree Coach.

  • Man at Crossroads

    Map and Track Milestones

    Break your research down into manageable, sequential steps. See where you are, what’s ahead, and what you’ve already accomplished—all in one place.

  • Meet Weekly Targets

    No more guesswork. Set prompts based on your to-do list and receive reminders and updates directly to your inbox.

  • Shaking Hands

    Connect With Faculty

    Stay on the same page and keep your progress on track. With shared access to your dashboard, your chair can easily guide you through your checklists, goals, and timelines.

  • Three Books Lined Up

    Access Helpful Resources

    Quickly find support from the right person at the right time. Our comprehensive resource guide points you in the right direction—no more frustrating searches.

Partnerships With Purpose

More about our PhD in Nursing program

Demand for nursing faculty is especially high. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for postsecondary nurse instructors are expected to grow by nearly 18% through 2029.* The nursing field needs educators, leaders, and innovators who are committed to transforming the profession.

Your career options may include a role as a:

  • Nursing instructor or teacher in postsecondary education settings
  • Nurse scientist
  • Nursing executive (e.g., chief nursing officer, clinical director, nursing manager, nursing director)
Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

*Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, Occupational Projections Data (Nursing instructors and teachers, postsecondary; SOC code 25-1072; Employment percent change 2019–2029: 17.6%). Retrieved September 2020. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, do not guarantee actual job growth, and are subject to change.

†Sources: American Nurse, Trending Jobs | Nurse Scientist; O*Net Online. Summary Report for SOC Code 11-1011 Chief Executives. Sample of reported job titles include Chief Nursing Officer. Retrieved February 2021;O*Net Online. Summary Report for SOC Code 11-9111 Medical and Health Services Managers. Sample of reported job titles include Clinical Director, Nursing Manager, Nursing Director. Retrieved February 2021.

(BSN-PhD): To be considered for this doctoral program track, you must have a current, active RN license, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or equivalent from an accredited school, and meet the general admission requirements.

(MSN-PhD): To be considered for this doctoral program track, you must have a current, active RN license, a Master of Science in Nursing or higher from an accredited school, and meet the general admission requirements.

You will also be required to submit a completed online application, employment history, and official transcripts.

Your Enrollment Specialist will help you gather all of the required materials starting with your application all the way through your first day of classes.

Walden’s Enrollment Specialists are committed to helping you identify and leverage opportunities to save money on your education. Get in touch with an Enrollment Specialist today at 888-968-5331 to learn more.
Our Enrollment Specialists are ready to answer any questions you may have regarding this program. Fill out the form on this page to be contacted or call 855-203-5779.

Why earn your PhD in Nursing at Walden?


“I teach first-year nursing students at a small college and have clinical days at a large hospital. I was able to use what I was learning at Walden to help guide my students.”

Kristina McCall | PhD in Nursing Graduate

Find additional detailed information for this program.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using CIP code family 51.38 “Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing” for Doctoral degrees (Award level 17). Available at (Retrieved January 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data.)

Enrollment Restrictions by State

Walden currently cannot enroll residents of the following states/districts into the PhD in Nursing program: Wisconsin.


A 15% tuition reduction for servicemembers, veterans of the U.S. armed forces, employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and their spouses.*

*A 15% tuition reduction is available to new students who are servicemembers, veterans of the U.S. armed forces, or employees of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This tuition reduction is also available if you are a spouse of a servicemember, veteran, or employee of the VA. This tuition reduction cannot be retroactively applied. Tuition reductions are applicable to tuition only and do not apply toward books, materials, and other supplies or fees needed for a course.

Walden may change the tuition reduction offered hereunder at any time, but such change will not affect the tuition reduction for students who are currently enrolled at Walden and using the existing tuition reduction. All tuition reductions, grants, or scholarships are subject to specific eligibility requirements. Contact a Walden University Enrollment Specialist for details.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,