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Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)

Leading the Development of Nursing Science
Rachel Klimmek
"“I’ve learned to become a successful nurse scientist.”"
Rachel Klimmek , PhD ’13, BS ’07, RN, OCN®
Within a year of launching her nursing career, Rachel Klimmek began to wonder how she could help more people. By conducting research, she discovered, she could make a tremendous difference for cancer patients and caregivers returning to their communities after treatment.
In the Johns Hopkins Nursing PhD program, she says, "I've been able to learn everything-from the ground up."
Read Rachel's Story
  • Program

    Program Overview

    Advance the theoretical foundation of nursing practice and healthcare delivery with a Johns Hopkins PhD in nursing. With access to world-renowned nursing faculty, cutting-edge facilities, and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration with noted researchers throughout Johns Hopkins University, you'll build the skills to develop and implement a scientific research program and launch your career. By graduation, most Hopkins nurse scholars have been awarded grants that continue their research and set them well on their way to a successful career.

    Those who earn a Johns Hopkins PhD:
    • Possess knowledge and skills in theoretical, methodological, and analytical approaches that will enable you to conduct research to discover and apply knowledge in nursing science and healthcare
    • Are prepared to assume a leadership role in nursing and in the broader arena of healthcare
    • Demonstrate expertise within an area of study from a nursing and transdisciplinary viewpoint
    • Often serve as educators in a variety of classroom and clinical settings within academic program


    Most full-time Johns Hopkins Nursing PhD students are 100% funded with a stipend for the first two years of study. Additional financial support is made available in following years. For full eligibility of scholarship opportunities, apply by January 15.

    Featured Areas of Research

    • Cardiovascular Risk Reduction
    • Domestic Violence
    • Biologic Basic of Nursing Therapeutics
    • Health Promotion
    • Chronic Disease Management
    • Symptom Management
    • Biobehavioral Aspects of Pain and Stress
    • Substance Abuse
    • Lactation and Breastfeeding
    • Health Disparities
    • Family Caregiver Stress
    • Forensic Nursing
    • Patient Health Care Decision Making
    • End of Life Care

    Search faculty expertise | Research at Hopkins Nursing | Research opportunities

  • Program

    Program Requirements

    The following are requirements for acceptance into the PhD program:

    • Graduate of an accredited Bachelor's or Master's in Nursing Program
    • A written statement of research goals including reason for interest in Johns Hopkins
    • Research interests that match faculty expertise and School resources
    • GRE scores from within the past five years (school code: 5767)
    • A minimum scholastic GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
    • Interview with faculty
    • Writing sample (publication or graded paper)
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
    • Three letters of recommendation (two from previous instructors and one from a current or previous employer)
    • Copy of official RN license(s), if applicable. Applicants holding a degree in a non-nursing related discipline will be considered on an individual basis.

    Transfer of Credits

    Transfer of credit is granted on an individual basis. The decision is based on equivalent content (for required courses), credit allotment and satisfactory completion of courses. You may petition for permission to substitute a course from another college or university by submitting a request in writing to the Office of Admissions along with the complete course syllabus. Up to 6 credits of graduate coursework taken at Johns Hopkins University or elsewhere may be accepted for transfer. Coursework must have been completed within the last five years. Coursework at the undergraduate level will not be considered for advanced standing credit.

    Physical Examination

    Students must present appropriate documentation of medical history, physical examination, immunization status and tuberculosis screening prior to registration. Specific information will be sent to you prior to your first semester.

  • Curriculum


    Each student completes a core curriculum and works closely with faculty advisors to complete an individualized course of study that fulfills the student's goals and develops the basis for a program of research. View Curriculum

  • Tuition

    Tuition and Other Costs

    Billed Expenses (September 2014 - May 2015)
    Tuition:  $40,626* (full-time per year)
    Per credit cost: $2,257
    Matriculation fee:  $500 (onetime only fee for first-time enrolled JHU students)
    Health Insurance: $2,830**
    Health Fee: $450

    Estimated Other Expenses***

    Room and Board: $12,294
    Books/Supplies:  $1,856
    Personal Expenses: up to $1,350
    Travel Expenses:  up to $3,366

    *Full-time: 9 credit hours per semester
    **All students must have health coverage.  Purchase of the School’s plan is optional.
    ***Amounts for other expenses vary based upon student's selection of books, supplies, and living arrangements.

    Billed expenses are subject to change without prior notice.    

  • Funding

    Funding Opportunities

    Qualified students interested in the PhD program may be eligible to receive tuition and stipend support through the School of Nursing. The following types of funding are available:

    Pre-doctoral Training Grants

    Graduate Assistantships

    Graduate assistantships provide an opportunity for acquiring valuable research and/or teaching experience for qualifying students. Selection is competition-based with priorities given to those who have a good academic standing in the doctoral program. PhD students hired as graduate assistants receive a full-tuition waiver (base tuition payment for up to 6 credits for those in their 3rd year of doctoral study or after) and a stipend of $22,032 for the academic year 2013-14. The full-tuition benefit is based on the number of hours worked at 20 hours per week. It is highly encouraged that the responsibilities of the graduate assistant position be consistent with the academic goals of the student.

    1. Full-time PhD students are expected to prepare and submit an application for external funding at the conclusion of the 1st academic year. Policies and guidelines
    2. Graduate assistantships are prepared to help ease financial strain which may be experienced by students during the application process and hence should not replace the effort to apply for external funding.
    3. Current students wishing to apply for a graduate assistant position can submit an application to the Doctoral Program Administrator

    Award: $22,032 for 12 months, plus tuition

    Graduate assistantships are made possible by generous support from donors and SON general funds, including:

    A. T. and Mary Blades Fellowship

    Established by A.T. Blades in loving memory of his wife Mary H. Blades who was a nurse.

    Caylor Fellowship

    Established by Mrs. Caylor, a 1947 graduate of the School of Nursing, to support graduate students.

    Ellen Levi Zamoiski Doctoral Fellowship

    Established in honor of Ellen Levi Zamoiski who was instrumental in forming the Consortium of Nursing Education, Inc. Zamoiski fellowships support future leaders of nursing.

    SON Fellowship

    Given to current doctoral students with an excellent academic standing in the program and those who have excellent research and/or teaching skills.

    Targeted Fellowships

    The following fellowships are part of the School's strategic efforts to enhance the educational experience for all students.

    Professional Development Award

    Established by Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing Professor Maryann F. Fralic, DrPH, RN, FAAN to provide financial support for students in the PhD nursing program. The Professional Development Award is designed to support selected full-time doctoral students in honing their professional skills. These students will receive financial support to invest in themselves through professional development opportunities that best fit their needs and personal interests.

    Award: $2,000

    Apply for Professional Development Award

    Johns Hopkins Hospital Clinical Research Fellowship

    The Johns Hopkins Hospital Fellowship in Clinical Research provides a qualifying PhD student with the opportunity for direct practice in a rich and diverse clinical practice environment.

    Applicants for this Fellowship will be students who:

    • Have a dissertation interest related to hospital-based practice or care problems
    • Are interested in designing and submitting funding to Dorothy Evans Lyne or another funding source to study nurse-initiated protocols of care and impact on patients
    • Are knowledgeable about evidence-based practice as the foundation for clinical research in a practice setting, and facile in research appraisal
    • Have experience or an interest in measuring clinical outcomes and data management to interpret and make inferences about its meaning for improving practice or care
    • Have the expertise to educate staff about research methods, analysis and interpretation, developing databases, data management, and data mining

    Award: $22,032, plus tuition

    Jonas Scholars Program

    Established by The Jonas Foundation, funds are made available to students who are committed to teach future generations of nurses.

    Award: $5,000 per year matched with $5,000 from the School for two years

    Learn more about the Jonas Scholars Program

    Post-Doctoral Fellowships

    As a research intensive university, Johns Hopkins is committed to having faculty and students engage in discovery of knowledge, inventing new technologies, and applying knowledge in the community and abroad. The School of Nursing offers a variety of post-doctoral opportunities to students eager to engage in this process.

    Blaustein Fellowship in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Research

    A two-year research fellowship, endowed by a $1 million gift from the Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Foundation, provides a post-doctoral opportunity for nurse researchers with an interest in psychiatric and mental health nursing. The Blaustein Fellowship allows promising scholars to conduct multidisciplinary and collaborative research to advance the mental health and well being of individuals in both hospital and community settings. The 24-month fellowship is accompanied by an annual stipend of up to $51,000, depending on experience.

    It also includes tuition remission up to $1,000 and support for research-related experiences. Nurses with research doctorates or nearing completion of their doctoral degree who demonstrate strong commitment to scholarship, multidisciplinary collaboration, and psychiatric or mental health nursing research are encouraged to apply.

    Apply to the Health Disparities Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship

    Global Health and Gender-Based Violence

    This two-year fellowship in global health and gender-based violence fosters multidisciplinary and collaborative approaches to scholarship, investigation, and gender-based violence prevention and intervention programs in low-resource settings. The fellow will work with and be mentored by a research team to conduct a 5-year community-based trial: Microfinance intervention to improve health of rape survivors in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

    Applications are welcomed from nurses or public health professionals with research doctorates or those nearing the completion of a doctoral degree. Priority is given to candidates that demonstrate a commitment to scholarship and multidisciplinary research with a strong interest and experience in gender-based violence and work in low-resource settings.

    For more information, contact Dr. Nancy Glass.

    Interdisciplinary Research Training on Violence in the Family

    Offering an exceptional opportunity for students interested in the causes, effects and prevention of violence, this fellowship is funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) National Institutes of Child Health and Development. The goal of the program is to train nursing, public health and medical scholars to address the prevention and identification of family violence and its physical and mental health effects.

    Learn more about the Interdisciplinary Fellowship in Violence Research

    Interdisciplinary Training Program in Biobehavioral Pain Research

    The Johns Hopkins Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health offer a postdoctoral training program for fellows interested developing an interdisciplinary program of pain research

    The goal of this 2-year postdoctoral program is to prepare fellows to work within an interdisciplinary research team to address the complex challenge of pain. This is achieved by integrating training in two or more areas of expertise behavioral/social science, biomedical science or clinical research.

    The program incorporates coursework, mentored research experiences in at least two core areas, an individual research project, preparation of an extramural grant application, and experience in writing and publishing papers. Each fellow is collaboratively mentored by two faculty, each representing a different area of expertise in behavioral/social science, biomedical or clinical research.

    Apply to the Interdisciplinary Training Program in Biobehavioral Pain Research

    Nursing-Specific Funding

    American Cancer Society

    The American Cancer Society offers a Doctoral Degree Scholarship in Cancer Nursing. The candidate must be pursuing a doctoral degree in nursing with a focus in cancer care. The field of study may include research, education, administration or clinical practice. The initial award is a 2 year, $15,000 per year unrestricted stipend with an option for a 2 year competitive renewal. The instruction PDF for the application can be found at the above link. The electronic application is submitted through proposal Central and is due annually on October 15.

    Award: $15,000/year for 2 years (option for 2-year renewal)
    Deadline: October 15

    Apply for American Cancer Society Scholarship

    John A. Hartford Foundation, "Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity" 

    The American Academy of Nursing seeks applicants for its Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity (BAGNC) Predoctoral Scholarship Program. This 2-year scholarship program supports full time doctoral education for nurses committed to careers in academic geriatric nursing. Through generous funding from The John A. Hartford Foundation, the BAGNC Program awards a total of $100,000 ($50,000 per annum) to each selected Predoctoral Scholar candidate. The Mayday Fund provides an additional $5,000 award to selected candidates whose research focuses on pain in older persons. 

    Award: $50,000/year for 2 years (additional $5,000 for research focusing on pain)
    Deadline: January

    Nurse Faculty Loan Program

    Funding is used to provide loans to students enrolled in advanced education nursing programs that prepare graduates to serve as faculty in a school of nursing. Loans can be provided to students in the MSN, DNP and PhD programs who pursue the Nurse Educator certificate option. All Nurse Educator courses must be completed prior to the completion of the student’s degree program. 

    Apply to the Nurse Faculty Loan Program

    Oncology Nursing Society

    The Oncology Nursing Society offers several one time, unrestricted awards. Additional small research grants that can be used for nursing research conduct (not stipends). 

    Award: $3,000-$5,000 doctoral scholarships; $10,000 small research grants (one-time awards)
    Deadline: February 1 for doctoral scholarships; November 1 for small research grants (letter of intent due October 1)

    Apply for Oncology Nursing Society Awards

    Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society

    Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) offers several small research grants which are open to doctoral students who are members. Grants are usually smaller and can be used to cover costs related to dissertation research. There are several different types with different focuses. Local STTI chapters often provide their own small research grants as well. The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing is home to the STTI Nu Beta chapter.

    Award: Approximately $5,000 small research grant awards
    Deadline: Varies depending on award (see website)

    Apply for STTI awards

    Southern Nursing Research Society

    The Southern Nursing Research Society (SNRS) offers two dissertation awards to support doctoral students in the Southern region (includes Maryland) enrolled in research-focused programs as they initiate a program of nursing research to advance nursing science and practice.

    Award: Up to $3,000 one time dissertation award
    Deadlines: March and September (dates can vary)

    Apply for Southern Nursing Research Society Award

    State of Maryland Graduate Faculty Scholarships

    Funding for the Graduate Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Living Expenses Grant is provided by the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) through the Nurse Support Program II (NSP II) to address the issues of recruiting and retaining nurses in Maryland hospitals.

    Award: $13,000 per academic year ($6,500 per fall and spring semesters) up to $26,000
    Deadline: August 1 for fall entry

    Apply for State of Maryland Graduate Faculty Scholarships

    TriService Nursing Research Program

    The Department of Defense provides research awards through the TriService Nursing Research Program to nurses in the armed services, including a predoctoral award. Active duty and Reserve students pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in nursing are eligible. Dissertation topics must focus on one of the TriService priority areas:

    • military deployment health
    • generating and translating research into practice in a military context
    • recruitment and retention of the military workforce
    • developing and sustaining military nursing competencies

    The topic of "military deployment health" is broad and includes the management of diseases such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension as well as issues in mental health. Award recipients must attend TriService Grant Camp for guidance on applying for and managing this award prior to being selected for the award.

    Award: Up to $30,000 in direct costs
    Deadline: January 4

    Apply for the TriService Nursing Research Program

    Other Funding Opportunities

    American Association of University Women

    One of the world's largest sources of funding exclusively for graduate women, the AAUW Educational Foundation supports aspiring scholars around the globe, teachers, and activists in local communities, women at critical stages of their careers, and those pursuing professions where women are underrepresented. Scholarships are not nursing-specific.

    Award: $20,000 dissertation fellowships (final year of dissertation work); $30,000 post-doctoral research leave fellowships; $6,000 short-term research publication grants
    Deadline: Mid-November

    Apply for the American Association of University Women's award

    Fahs-Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation

    Grants are to help support doctoral dissertation expense of students in the United States or Canada. Proposals must have clear relevance to major social problems affecting families or individuals, including education and literacy issues, or to interventions designed to assist individuals, couples, or families in their functioning and well-being.

    Award: Up to $15,000 dissertation awards
    Deadline: May 1 and November 1

    Apply for the Fahs-Beck Fund for Research and Experimentation

    Graduate Women in Science

    Award: From $5,000 to $10,000
    Deadline: January 15

    Apply for Graduate Women in Science award

    Guggenheim Foundation

    Ten or more fellowships are awarded to fund final-year dissertation projects in the natural and social sciences and the humanities that promise to increase understanding of the causes, manifestations, and control of violence, aggression, and dominance. Highest priority is given to research that can increase understanding and amelioration of these issues. Students become eligible at the writing stage of their dissertation. 

    Award: $15,000 one-time dissertation award
    Deadline: February 1

    Apply for Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship

    The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment

    Established in the memory of Melissa Aptman, a Miami native who was murdered in May 1995, The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment is a non-profit educational, training and consultative organization that awards scholarships to graduate students from any discipline who address issues of violence prevention and/or treatment. The award must be used to support expenses that are directly related to the dissertation research. It may not be used for tuition, books, fees, personal travel, or personal expenses.

    Award: $2,000 one-time award
    Deadline: April 1

  • FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How well-defined does my research proposal have to be in my application?

    Your essay should be as specific as possible, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to develop a full-length, sophisticated research proposal. Reviewers will look for a summary of your previous experience, qualifications, and information about your interest in a specific area of research. We will also consider your writing skills and determine whether there is a good match between your research interests and our faculty expertise.

    Should I contact a faculty member with similar research interests prior to applying?

    Although contacting a faculty member in your research area is not required, it is an opportunity to become familiar with researchers in your area of interest and to ask questions not addressed on the school's website.

    How are faculty advisors selected?

    Once you are admitted to the PhD program and decide to matriculate, the PhD Admissions Committee determines who will be your advisor(s). Generally, one advisor is selected, but in some instances-depending on your research area-two advisors are assigned, one of them serving as the primary advisor and the second serving as a co-advisor. We try to match students with faculty members who have similar research interests.

    I've been accepted, can I delay matriculation?

    Yes, you can delay your matriculation for up to a year from the term for which you are accepted. Priority for scholarships is given to those who apply by January 15.

    How long does it take to complete the PhD program?

    The time needed to complete the program varies, depending on how fast you progress. Some students in our program finish their degree in three years, others take four years or longer. Students have the option of attending full-time or part-time, and many choose to work full-time while they complete the program.

    Is financial aid and/or scholarships available?

    Financial aid is available to all full-time students in various forms:

    • Trainee fellowships and scholarships
    • Research and teaching assistantships
    • Federally subsidized loans
    • Health-related organizational financial support

    Students who choose to work part-time are also eligible for scholarships and/or grants. For more information on funding fellowship and scholarship opportunities click on the "Funding Opportunities" tab.

    English is not my first language, are there additional admissions requirements?

    Students whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language. More

    What are the differences between the PhD and DNP programs?

    The PhD program prepares the nurse scholar to develop and conduct scientific research that advances the theoretical foundation of nursing practice and healthcare delivery. The program is designed to prepare nurses for careers as research scientists, often in academic or governmental positions.

    The DNP program prepares nurse leaders for evidence-based practice in both direct patient care and executive roles.





    Prepares nurses at the highest level of nursing practice who will lead in applying and translating research into practice

    Prepares nurses at the highest level of nursing science to conduct research that advances the empirical and theoretical foundations of nursing and healthcare globally

    Competencies and Content

    Knowledge and skills in applying and translating research into practice; leads dissemination and integration of new knowledge in healthcare organizations

    Knowledge and skills in theoretical, methodological, and analytic approaches to the discovery and application of knowledge in nursing and healthcare

    Program Outcome

    Practice leaders such as an advanced practice nurse caring for individuals or other practice leadership positions in nursing such as healthcare administration

    Nurse scientists prepared for a career in research in academia or other research-intensive environments focused on the design and testing of interventions to advance nursing and healthcare

    Hopkins Program Hallmarks

    An intense practice immersion experience with expert clinical faculty

    An intense mentored research experience with a faculty investigator with an established funded program of research

    Final Project

    A practice application-oriented DNP capstone project

    Completion and defense of an original research project


Application Deadlines

Fall Entry
January 15

January 15 for full eligibility

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