Preparing nurse scholars to improve health through research, education, and leadership


Advance the scientific foundation of nursing practice and health care delivery with a PhD in Nursing from the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Under the guidance of our faculty, students are prepared to launch a program of research addressing the social, cultural, political and ethical issues related to an area of nursing scholarship. At Loyola Nursing, our PhD students enjoy a small program that offers a personalized learning experience with the opportunity to build close mentor relationships. The PhD in Nursing program is open to bachelor's and master's-prepared nurses. 

Looking for a nursing degree focused on advanced clinical practice? Learn more about our DNP program. 

Our Commitment to You


Graduates of Loyola's PhD in Nursing program will have the knowledge, competencies, and values to conduct in-depth research and teach nursing at the collegiate level. 



You will have a comprehensive understanding of: 

  • Philosophical and scientific methods to launch research examining aspects of the nursing profession
  • Theoretical foundations of nursing science
  • Teaching methods
  • Current nursing trends and health policy
  • Quantitative and qualitative methods and design for nursing research
  • Statistical analysis



You will be able to: 

  • Analyze and critique theory
  • Synthesize theoretical and research literature
  • Critique research studies
  • Formulate research questions to address gaps in knowledge
  • Design and conduct research studies
  • Interpret research study results


  • Commit to the responsible conduct of research and scholarship
  • Address the social, cultural, political, and ethical issues related to an area of nursing scholarship



To encourage and foster student-faculty mentorships, the PhD in Nursing program offers both online and face-to-face experiences. Classes meet on campus one weekend each month throughout the semester; between each weekend class, students engage in a weekly one- to two-hour online class. Both full- and part-time study is available.



Students enrolling with a BSN will complete 67 number of credits and a dissertation in eight years or fewer. Students enrolling with an MSN degree will complete 45 credits and a dissertation in six years or fewer.




Throughout your PhD coursework, you will explore areas of nursing science development, research, philosophy, ethics, teaching, and related topics. 

  • Year 1: Fall 
    • Philosophical Bases of Nursing
    • Conceptual Inquiry
    • Pre-requisite Statistics 
  • Year 1: Spring 
    • Quantitative Methods and Design for Nursing Research
    • Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Science
    • Introduction to Linear Models
  • Year 1: Summer
    • Qualitative Methods of Nursing Research
    • Nursing as a Moral Practice
  • Year 2: Fall 
    • Measurement for Nursing Research
    • Categorical Analysis
  • Year 2: Spring 
    • Nursing and Health Policy
    • Grantsmanship
    • Research Internship
  • Year 2: Summer 
    • Teaching Methods
    • Elective
  • Year 3: Fall
    • Qualifying Examination
    • Teaching Practicum
  • Year 3: Spring
    • Dissertation Supervision
    • Elective
  • Year 3: Summer 
    • Dissertation Supervision
    • Elective 
  • Year 4 and beyond:
    • Dissertation Supervision (as needed)



A directed dissertation is required to complete a PhD in Nursing. For their dissertations, our PhD students examine research questions on a wide variety of topics. At Loyola Nursing, research focuses on, but is not limited to: 

  • Social context, stress, and epigenetic determinants of health
  • Prevention and self-management of chronic disease
  • Health disparities and vulnerable populations
  • Optimizing outcomes in education and practice



The PhD in Nursing program welcomes applicants with a BSN or MSN. Admission is competitive and based on the strength of application materials and interview. 

Begin your journey to earning your PhD in Nursing! Learn more about the specific application requirements and apply today.

Questions? Contact Interim Assistant Dean for the PhD Program Lee Schmidt, PhD, RN, at lschm3@luc.edu


  • Fall term: July 1

Admission decisions are made throughout the year, and early application is encouraged. All applications undergo a two-stage review process: the PhD in Nursing Committee reviews applications, then applicants interview with a member of the Graduate Faculty.


Tuition and Financial Aid

The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and Loyola's Financial Aid Office are committed to helping students secure the financial resources to make their education at Loyola affordable.