Doctor of Philosophy

Post-Bachelor's PhD in Nursing

Program Description

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in nursing is designed to prepare students for positions as nursing faculty members, leaders in the application of innovative technologies to nursing education and clinical care, executive leaders in healthcare systems, and scientists who contribute to the body of nursing knowledge through their research. The BSN to PhD track is designed to support students in completing the PhD in a timely fashion to provide for a longer research career.

The doctoral program in nursing prepares nurse scholars to possess a body of knowledge about theory, processes and methods of inquiry in the discipline of nursing. The program allows students to contribute to disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge in nursing and healthcare from the basis of sound conceptual, methodological, and ethical decision-making. Students in the BSN to PhD track will have focused support in grant writing for programs such as the National Research Service Award (NRSA).

Student research must align with faculty research areas.

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Program Objectives

At the completion of the PhD in nursing program, graduates will be able to:

  • Conduct research to generate a body of knowledge and test theories that advance nursing science
  • Develop a program of scholarship that integrates research, teaching, leadership, and service to the profession
  • Contribute to interdisciplinary solutions that advance healthcare in a global society

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Curriculum

The Nursing BSN to PhD curriculum is delivered online with two multiple-day onsite intensives per year. The program requires a minimum of 75-credit hours beyond a master’s degree in nursing. This includes 51-credit hours of required courses that focus on foundation, knowledge development and research methods; 15 dissertation credit hours; and 9 credit hours of electives, allowing students to gain additional expertise in the area chosen for their dissertation. The cohorts will be encouraged to attend research conferences together, along with faculty, to increase dialogue and socialization. 

Policies and guidelines for this program are located in the Nursing PhD Handbook.

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Application Requirements

UCF General Education Requirements 

UCF requires all prospective student to fulfill the general UCF graduate admissions requirements. Visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog.

Nursing Program Requirements

  • Transcript: an official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended
  • BSN degree: must be from a regionally accredited institution or equivalent
  • GRE: an official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years
  • RN License: must be a licensed registered nurse in Florida
  • Written Essay: no more than 500 words, double spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font and 1-inch margins 
    (see below for evaluation criteria)
  • Interview: an interview with faculty 
    (see below for evaluation criteria)
  • Research Interests: that match faculty expertise
  • Curriculum Vitae: CV should reflect prior education, recent clinical accomplishments, any recent scholarly work (publications and presentations), awards, additional certifications, and activities with professional organizations. For recent graduates, this can include accomplishments as a student.
  • Letters of Recommendation: provide three letters of recommendation evaluating potential for doctoral study preferably by nursing instructors, nurse employers or nurses with advanced degrees

Written Essay and Interview Evaluation Criteria

The applicant is able to:

  • Conceptualize or develop a research idea or construct
  • Engage in creative thought
  • Explain their driving motivation to earn a PhD
  • Discuss the fit of career goals with focus of PhD education
  • Identify the fit of research interest with a CON faculty member’s program of research
  • Present an understanding of time commitment for doctoral education
  • Provide examples of ability to work effectively as part of a team
  • Discuss prior research and quality improvement experience
  • Display excellent written skills including grammatical and paragraph structure, spelling and proofed the document prior to submitting

The College of Nursing accepts the most qualified students based on evaluations of the applicant’s abilities, past performance, recommendations and match of UCF programs with applicant's career goals. Students are admitted to the program in the summer for the program of study.

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Program Director

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Donna F. Neff, PhD, RN, FNAP
donna.neff@ucf.edu
p: 407-823-5489
f: 407-823-5675

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Specifics:

Meet Martin Schiavenato, a 2007 alumnus of UCF's Nursing PhD programMartin Schiavenato: Using an orb to manage pain in babies
“I’ll never forget that baby. She lived a short life in excruciating pain. It was that encounter that inspired my research and decade-long quest to create a solution to manage pain in newborns.” Meet Nurse Martin Schiavenato, ’07PhD alumnus and champion of babies who can’t verbalize their suffering.
 

Meet Martin Schiavenato, a 2007 alumnus of UCF's Nursing PhD program

Knights in Nursing: Martin Schiavenato

Champion of premature babies who can’t verbalize their suffering

“I’ll never forget that baby. As a NICU nurse, I was accustomed to caring for preemies. She was different – full-term and appeared so beautifully healthy. Unfortunately, she suffered from a genetic disorder that rendered her skin useless and every measure of comfort hurt her. She lived a short life in excruciating pain. It was that encounter that inspired my research and decade-long quest to create a solution to assess and manage pain in newborns.

It is not easy to remain focused and single minded for more than 10 years, but there is a significant motivating force to keep me going. Prematurity is not going away, and in fact now rising in the U.S. What I’m doing needs to be done.

After initially developing an orb-type device, inspired from a polygraph to measure nervous system responses, we went back to the proverbial ‘drawing board’ to design a new way to capture facial grimacing. Our solution is a new mouth sensor that we expect to complete by August 2017, and have received funding for the first ‘human demonstration’ project or device trial in the NICU immediately after.

To help bring this and other innovations to the bedside, where they’re needed, I’m launching a startup this May to house and commercialize three of our technological developments. As a nurse scientist with a passion for technology to evolve, UCF provided an opportunity for me to learn to collaborate with computer scientists and engineers. This is something that has remained a foundation to my current research and career.”


Martin Schiavenato, ’07PhD, RN
Alumnus of the UCF’s first Nursing PhD cohort,
Associate Professor, Washington State University (WSU) College of Nursing,
Affiliate Professor, WSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,
Founder of the future startup, “Little Foot Innovation”

Martin Schiavenato: Using an orb to manage pain in babies
Meet Martin Schiavenato, a 2007 alumnus of UCF's Nursing PhD program“I’ll never forget that baby. She lived a short life in excruciating pain. It was that encounter that inspired my research and decade-long quest to create a solution to manage pain in newborns.” Meet Nurse Martin Schiavenato, ’07PhD alumnus and champion of babies who can’t verbalize their suffering.
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UCF is listed among the best nursing schools for earning a MSN and DNP, and is also listed as a best online graduate nursing program, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Please note: Online programs may not meet immigration requirements for students holding an F1 or J1 Visa to maintain status. If you have questions, please contact the International Services Center at intl.ucf.edu or call 407-823-2337.