Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing


The traditional Ph.D. program is offered in a weekend format, with classes meeting on campus one weekend each month (Saturday - Sunday) during the course of the semester.  Between each weekend class meeting, a 1 to 2 hour online, synchronous class meeting is held.

Full or part-time study is possible. Students entering post-baccalaureate must complete the program (including dissertation) in eight years from the date of initial matriculation.  Pre-PhD Coursework for BSN to PhD program listed below.

Students entering with a master's degree must complete the program (including dissertation) in six years from the date of initial matriculation.

Most courses are held at the Lake Shore Campus or at the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Ill.

BSN to PhD Program
Pre-PhD Coursework
Nursing Concepts and Theories 6 credits
GNUR 401, Discipline of Nursing: Conceptual and Theoretical Bases (3)
Advanced Concepts Course in Topic area(3)
 Research  6 credits
 GNUR 450, Research for Health Professionals (3) 
RMTD 404 or BMSC 402, Statistics (3)
Ethics 3 credits
GNUR 402, Ethics for Health Professionals (3)
Electives 5 credits
GNUR 530, Scientific Writing (1)
GNUR 410, Epidemiology (1)
3 credits in topic area
Practicum 3 credits
Individually planned
Total pre-PhD courses: 23 credits
masters to phd program
Sample Program of Study (Full-time)

(Does not include required statistics courses or electives).

  Fall Spring Summer
Year 1 GNUR 432 (3)
GNUR 500 (3)
GNUR 501 (3)
GNUR 512 (3)
GNUR 513 (3)
GNUR 509 (3)
Year 2 GNUR 510 (3)
GNUR 519 (3)
GNUR 540 (3)
GNUR 544 (3)
GNUR 542 (1)
GNUR 532 (2-3)
Qualifying Exam Part A
Year 3 Qualifying Exam Part B Dissertation Supervision Dissertation Supervision
Year 4 and beyond Dissertation Supervision Dissertation Supervision Dissertation Supervision

In addition to courses listed in the program plan, students are required to complete a minimum of 6 credits of advanced statistics, including a multivariate statistics course, and 9 credits in cognates and electives. Timing of electives is variable.

Course Legend

This course focuses on the nature and meaning of knowledge, the history of philosophy, and the foundation and evolution of modern nursing science. 

This course focuses on the analysis and development of concepts and conceptual thinking relevant to nursing and related phenomena. Traditional and advanced methods of concept analysis and development and the role of concepts in the comprehensive knowledge structure are emphasized. Fieldwork experiences for developing and refining conceptual knowledge are included.

This course focuses on theory development as it contributes to the body of nursing science. Emphasis is placed on strategies of theory development, evaluation, and testing in nursing as well as those in other disciplines. Theory development strategies are applied by examining phenomena relevant to nursing knowledge. (Prerequisite: GNUR 500, Conceptual Inquiry)

This course focuses on quantitative research methods and designs for nursing research. The linkages between theory, concepts, research design, instrumentation, sampling, data collection, analysis and reporting are emphasized. Ethical concerns related to the research process are discussed and analyzed. Strategies for developing a program of research and the leadership role of the researcher/scholar are addressed. (Prerequisite: master’s level research course).

Exploration of inductive approaches to research and the use of qualitative methods including grounded theory, ethnography, focus groups, and phenomenology. Discussion of techniques, analyses, and triangulation methods. Ethical, political, and special concerns of qualitative research are emphasized.

This course focuses on principles and concepts of measurement in nursing research. Psychometric theory and instrument development, critique, and testing are addressed. Methods for generating and evaluating reliability and validity evidence are emphasized and operationalized. Ethical concerns related to the development and use of measuring instruments are examined. (Prerequisites: GNUR 512, Quantitative Methods and Design for Nursing Research; GNUR 513: Qualitative Methods for Nursing Research; completion of one graduate level statistics course; pre- or co-requisite: multivariate statistics course).

This course provides an opportunity for students to analyze ethical issues and persona, institutional/organizational, society and global values and beliefs that have an impact on nursing practice, the nursing profession, and healthcare delivery. Students will clearly and carefully articulate their thinking approach to moral reasoning about various contemporary issues and justify their responses. Presuppositions about clinical practice, education, administration, and their impact will be explored. The realities of the social context and the effects on moral/ethical practice will be discussed. (Prerequisites: GNUR 512: Quantitative Methods and Design for Nursing Research; GNUR 513: Qualitative Methods for Nursing Research). 

This course provides students with a basic understanding of the research grant application process. The overarching objective is to foster fundamental skills and strategies needed to prepare and submit a competitive research grant proposal. Emphasis is placed on the means by which to best position a research grant application for success. Sources and types of funding from governmental agencies, private foundations, and professional societies are considered, with an emphasis on federal (NIH, AHRQ) grant programs, mechanisms, application and review processes. Key aspects of successful proposal development from conceptualization of an idea or research question to submission of the application are fully developed and explored. Strategies for successful writing for each component of a research grant are provided using examples and online tutorials. Best practices for approaches for amendment of a non-funded proposal are considered. (Prerequisites: GNUR 512: Quantitative Methods and Design for Nursing Research; GNUR 513: Qualitative Methods for Nursing Research).

This course focuses on policy dimensions affecting nursing and health care clinical practice, research, and educational environments. The history, structure, and processes of health policymaking at national through local levels are examined. Influential forces that shape health policy are addressed, including the leadership role of nurse scholars as members of the nursing profession and discipline. Issues of health care access, health disparities, quality, cost and global health are examined.

This course focuses on teaching and learning theories, principles, and practices in nursing education. Major topic areas include teaching and learning processes and resources, curricular and program designs and frameworks, competency development and assessment, evaluation and measurement strategies, the faculty role, and regulatory issues.

This course is designed to give students an experiential context for systematic application of concepts of teaching and learning in nursing education. Students will have the opportunity to operationalize numerous phases of the teaching role and explore a variety of teaching approaches and modalities in real and simulated settings. A faculty member guides students through the practicum experience. (Prerequisite: GNUR 509: Teaching Methods).

This course provides an opportunity for the student to undergo a mentored experience in scientific inquiry. With the Course Director, students will identify a faculty mentor who has an active program of research and can provide an environment for a mentored experience in scientific investigation. The student and faculty mentor will mutually develop achievable objectives with measurable outcomes. The experience can encompass a broad range of research activities that span the scope of scientific investigation. Success completion of the internship will provide the student with an experiential base of research, which will enhance their knowledge and skills in the conduct of research and facilitate their socialization in the multifaceted role of an investigator. (Prerequisite: GNUR 512: Quantitative Methods and Design for Nursing Research; GNUR 513: Qualitative Methods for Nursing Research).