Nursing Science, Ph.D.


The Ph.D. program offers four entry points for students:

  • B.S.N. entry - a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree from a program that is nationally accredited (Total 75 credit hours);
  • M.S.N. entry - a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree and a master’s in nursing degree from nationally accredited programs (Total 57 credit hours);
  • non-M.S.N. master’s entry- a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree from a nationally accredited program and a master’s degree in another discipline (Total minimum 57 credit hours);
  • D.N.P. entry - a Doctor of Nursing practice degree from a nationally accredited program (Total 39 credit hours).

Requirements for earning the Ph.D. degree include:

  1. doctoral residency of at least 18 graduate credit hours for three consecutive major semesters.  Enrollment in a summer term is not required to maintain continuity, but credits earned during summer terms (including May session) will count toward the 18 hours required for residency.  The residency requirement may be met only after admission to the PhD program;
  2. completion of an approved program of study totaling not less than 39 credits for D.N.P. entry options (at least 30 credits must be earned at the University of South Carolina); not less than 57 credit hours for master’s entry options and not less than 75 credit hours for B.S.N. entry option;
  3. completion of the admission-to-candidacy examination at least one full academic year prior to the date on which the degree is to be granted;
  4. completion of a foreign language and/or research methods requirement, met through a reading knowledge of a foreign language or competency in statistics/research methods specific to the student’s proposed course of study;
  5. completion of a mentored research experience under the supervision of College of Nursing faculty (NURS 898);
  6. completion of a comprehensive examination taken after admission to candidacy and completion of all course requirements except those courses in which the student is currently enrolled;
  7. completion of an oral defense of a doctoral dissertation.

Course Requirements

All Ph.D. students will take the following courses:

Course Title Credits
Core Courses:
NURS 800Philosophical and Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Science3
NURS 801Theory Analysis and Application for Nursing Science3
NURS 803Scientific Knowledge in Nursing3
NURS 804The Role of the Nurse Scientist3
NURS 810Nursing Research Methods I3
NURS 811Nursing Research Methods II3
NURS 813Nursing Research Methods III3
NURS 870Research Proposal Development3
NURS 898Research Internship3
NURS 899Dissertation Preparation12
Total Credit Hours39

DNP entry students must have completed a graduate level statistics course with a grade of B or higher within the past 5 years prior to enrolling in NURS 810.

Additional B.S.N¹, M.S.N. and non-M.S.N master’s² Entry Student Requirements

Course Title Credits
NURS 817Application of Statistics for Evidence Based Nursing Practice3
Select a minimum of 15 hours of elective courses as required by advisement of Program of Study committee15
Total Credit Hours18

B.S.N. entry students need to complete 18 credit hours of master’s level courses which may be from one of the existing nursing majors or emphasis areas or in an individualized program of study. Typically, enrollment in the master’s courses occurs before enrollment in the Ph.D. core courses and includes courses in nursing theory, research methods and entry level statistics.


non-M.S.N. master’s entry students who do not have beginning level graduate courses in nursing theory, research, or statistics equivalent to those required in the UofSC College of Nursing Master of Science in Nursing degree program will need to complete these courses prior to beginning the Ph.D. core courses.