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

Professional Values

  • 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.


The goal of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing program is to prepare scholars who improve human health through the development and expansion of knowledge. 


At the completion of the program the graduate has the knowledge and skills to:

  • Initiate a beginning program of research that expands nursing and healthcare knowledge.
  • Incorporate social, cultural, political, economic, and ethical considerations into nursing scholarship and practice.
  • Participate in the international community of scholars to further the Jesuit mission of generation and dissemination of knowledge in the service of humanity.
  • Assume leadership roles in nursing research, education, practice, policy development, and/or administration in order to improve the health of society.

Credit Hours

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

Recent PhD in Nursing Dissertations:


Dr. Susan Eller
Simulation Psychological Safety Ecosystem: A Grounded Theory Study of Nurses' Experience with Psychological Safety in Prelicensure Simulation. Dissertation chair, Dr. Jorgia Connor


Dr. Susan Horner


Dr. Lamyaa ALyaba
Dr. Laura De La Pena
Dr. Timothy Finn
Dr. Lisa Harton
Dr. Awatef Ibraheem
Dr. Barbara Pudelek
Dr. Deborah Sindewald
Behavioral Symptoms, Inflammation, and Cortisol: Relationships to Cardiac Health and Quality of Life in Cardiac Rehabilitation Patients. Dissertation chair, Dr. Linda Janusek


A key consideration in selecting a PhD in Nursing program is the alignment of the student's research interest with the research area of one or more faculty members, who can provide mentoring, guidance, and oversight for students in a substantive area of focus or emphasis.
Faculty members who serve as advisors and mentors to PhD in Nursing students have an appointment to the faculty of the Graduate School of Loyola University Chicago. To serve as a disseratation chairperson, the faculty member must be appointed as a full member of the Graduate School faculty.
Listed below are faculty members who hold an appointment to the faculty of the Graduate School and who are available to serve as a mentor to PhD in Nursing students.  The faculty member's research interest area(s) are listed and the faculty member's full profile can be accessed using the hyperlink. 
Full members of the Graduate School faculty and their research areas:

Lisa Burkhart, PhD, RN, Health services research, spirituality, preventative care in spinal cord injury

Mary Byrn, PhD, RN, Women’s health and health inequities

Jorgia Connor, PhD, RN, Health disparities, community health, older adult health

Regina Conway-Phillips, PhD, RN, Cancer disparity, spirituality, health care disparity

Lorna Finnegan, PhD, RN, Primary care, health equity, community and public health

Patricia Friend, PhD, RN, Oncology, genomics, advanced practice nursing

Lindsey Garfield, PhD, RN, Perinatal mental health, minority mental health

Thao Griffith, PhD, RN, Pediatrics

Carol Kostovich, PhD, RN, Nursing presence, teaching-learning strategies, simulation

Alexandra Nowak, PhD, RN, Perinatal health disparities, preterm birth, genomics

Cynthia Paidipati, PhD, RN, Mental health, ethics, health equity

Monique Ridosh, PhD, RN, Self management, family functioning, and family quality of life

Karen Saban, PhD, RN, Social stressors, cardiometabolic health, stress reduction

Lee Schmidt, PhD, RN, Nursing surveillance and vigilance, instrument development and testing

Ginger Schroers, PhD, RN, Patient safety, medical errors, interruptions

Lisa Skemp, PhD, RN

Phyllis Solari-Twadell, PhD, RN, Faith community nursing, parish nursing, spiritual care, addiction, community health, primary care

Dian Squire, PhD, Anti-racism, equity, social justice, diversity, sense of belonging

Sandi Tenfelde, PhD, RN, Quality of perinatal and postpartum care, integrated health, big data

Dina Tell, PhD, Psychosocial stressors, including childhood adversity; social determinants of health; stress reduction intervention such as mindfulness stress reduction; statistical model for longitudinal data analysis

Associate members of the Graduate School faculty and their research areas:

Emily Chin, PhD, RN, Obstetric nursing

Audrey Klopp, PhD, RN

Angela Mahaffey, PhD, Chemistry, human physiology and microbiology

Kimberly Oosterhouse, PhD, RN, Older adult wellness and health outcomes, adult acute and critical care, nursing education

Annie Thomas, PhD, RN, Obesity, adolescent health, cardiometabolic diseases



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

Application Deadline

  • 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.