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Academic Requirements

Each student must pass a First Examination in nursing administered upon completion of the first 20 credits of doctoral study. Students must pass a written examination that will consist of a “State of the Science Paper” on a selected phenomenon of their choice. The purpose of the First Examination is to determine the student’s ability to:

  1. Demonstrate a broad mastery of core content, theory, and research in a discipline.
  2. Select an appropriate phenomenon for an integrative literature review.
  3. Critically appraise empirical and conceptual literature of the selected phenomenon using articles, books, and/or dissertations.
  4. Undertake independent scholarship. 

If the First Examination is not passed the first time it is taken, the student must pass the retest administered during the following semester. A pass on the retest is a prerequisite for remaining in the program.

Students are expected to pass the Second Examination at completion of academic course work, generally in the fall of year three (see program Hand- book). The Second Examination consists of two parts:

  • Part One consists of a written preliminary dissertation proposal.
  • Part Two requires an oral presentation of the preliminary dissertation proposal which:
         a. Demonstrates the ability to formulate a well-articulated problem statement
         b. Develops key questions that will direct the dissertation,
         c. Demonstrates mastery and synthesis of relevant scholarly literature
         d. Proposes a preliminary research methodology.


Second Examination: Oral Proposal Process

The second exam consist of both the written dissertation proposal and the oral defense of this proposal. The proposal must be reviewed and approved by the committee chair before it is sent out to the dissertation committee for review and approval. The proposal should include the first three chapters of the dissertation: Research Aims, Literature Review and Methodology.

The oral presentation should cover a brief powerpoint overview of your proposal. This presentation should describe why you chose the topic, what the topic is about, what is the gap, how you will study, what are the implication for nursing education, practice and research, etc.

Level III: Advancement to Candidacy

Students can advance to doctoral candidacy after the written dissertation proposal is approved and successfully defended orally (second exam) and course work has been completed, assuming all Graduate Center requirements are fulfilled. For detailed information please read the Nursing student handbook.

Satisfactory Progression
A student is deemed not to be making progress if he or she has:

  1. completed 21 credits and has not passed the First Examination
  2. a grade point average below 3.00
  3. been enrolled for 12 semesters without passing the Second Exam
  4. not completed his or her degree in six years
  5. accumulated more than two open grades (INC, INP, NGR, ABS, and ABP)

Dissertation Process Overview

Students will design a dissertation under the supervision of a dissertation chair and committee members. All dissertations must focus on developing knowledge in a significant area of nursing practice, health care policy, or education. Dissertation research projects may use qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods in approach. All dissertations are expected to meet rigorous standards of research and scholarship, hence students should expect that their doctoral studies may take between four to six years which includes completion of the doctoral dissertation. The student must complete a final oral dissertation defense.