Each student must pass a First Examination in nursing administered upon completion of the first 18 credits of doctoral study. The student must pass a written examination that will consist of essay questions representing core content in nursing science and nursing knowledge, measurement, health disparities, and policy initiatives. 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.
Each student is expected to pass the Second Examination at completion of academic course work. The Second Examination consists of two parts. Part One consists of a written preliminary research proposal. Part Two requires an oral presentation that demonstrates the ability to formulate a well-articulated problem statement and to develop key questions that will direct the dissertation, to demonstrate mastery and synthesis of relevant scholarly literature, and to propose a preliminary research methodology. The student is expected to respond to questions about the presentation, posed by the Examination Committee. Once the exam is successfully completed, the student will constitute a dissertation committee with the approval of the Program Director and will proceed to develop a dissertation proposal. A student who fails the Second Examination will be given an opportunity to repeat it in three months. Any student failing the second attempt will be required to withdraw from the program.
The student will design a dissertation under the supervision of a dissertation chair and committee members. The dissertation committee is composed of four members plus the chair. All dissertations must focus on developing knowledge in a significant area of nursing practice, health care policy, or education. Dissertation research projects may be qualitative, quantitative, or multi-method 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 4 to 6 years which includes completion of doctoral dissertation. The student must complete a final oral dissertation defense.
A student is deemed not to be making satisfactory progress if he or she:
- has completed 18 credits and has not passed the First Examination
- has a grade point average below 3.00
- has not completed his or her degree in six years
- has accumulated more than two open grades (“INC,” “INP,” “NGR,” “ABS,” and “ABP”).
Students are assigned an academic advisor in their first year.