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PhD in Nursing

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)

Leading the Development of Nursing Science

Transform the Discipline

Advance the theoretical foundation of nursing practice and healthcare delivery with a Johns Hopkins PhD in nursing. 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.

Learn From the Best

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.

Get Funded

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

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Why Hopkins?

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

Featured Areas of Research

A brief glimpse into things we study:  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

Additional Information

View the recording of the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) virtual information session.

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As a PhD student, Tamar Rodney studies post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans with a traumatic brain injury. She explains why she chose nursing and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

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Application Deadline

Fall Entry
January 1

Apply Now

Mailing List

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Meet A Student

Take a glimpse into the life of a Hopkins Nursing doctoral student.

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Faculty Leadership

Faculty with leadership roles in membership organizations

Center of Excellence in Nursing Education

NLN designated Center of Excellence in Nursing Education

Published Manuscripts

314 Published manuscripts

Sponsored Projects

$14.7 Million in Sponsored Projects (FY2014)

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Rachel Walker
Rachel Walker
PhD '13, BS '07, RN, OCN®
I've learned to become a successful nurse scientist.

Within a year of launching her nursing career, Rachel Walker 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.

“I’ve been able to learn everything—from the ground up.”

Read Rachel's Story
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Admission Criteria

  • Graduate of an accredited Bachelor's or Master's in Nursing Program (if applicable. Applicants holding a degree in a non-nursing related discipline will be considered on an individual basis)
  • 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 academic, one professional)*
  • 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)

Admissions Application

*References should be recent, written for the purpose of your application to this program and from professors who know you as a student or employers who know you as a professional in a job setting preferably in a supervisory role. Personal references from colleagues, friends, or family members do not meet the requirement.


No prerequisite courses.

Transfer of Credits

Transfer of credit is granted on an individual basis. Up to 6 credits of graduate coursework taken at Johns Hopkins University or elsewhere within the last five years may be accepted for transfer.

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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.


  • Nursing Core (19 credits)
    • Philosophical Perspectives in Health
    • Scientific Perspectives in Nursing
    • Quantitative Research Design and Methods
    • Qualitative Research Design and Methods
    • Mixed Methods Research Design
    • Grant Writing Seminar
    • Measurement in Health Care Research
    • Responsibilities and Activities of the Nurse Scientist 
  • Statistics (9 credits)
    • Statistical Methods in Public Health I
    • Statistical Methods in Public Health II
    • Statistical Methods in Public Health III
  • Electives (19 required credits)
    • Theory and Concepts of Health Behavior
    • Symptom Evaluation and Management
    • Special Topics in Violence Research
    • Advanced Nursing Health Policy
    • Stress and Stress Response
    • The Evolving Roles of the Nurse Educator (online)
    • Statistical Methods in Public Health IV
    • Writing for Publication (online)
    • Advanced Seminar in Translational Research
    • International Health Systems and Research 3
    • Current Issues and Trends in Cardiovascular Health Promotion  Research
    • Critical Applications of Advanced Statistical Models
    • Technology and eTools to Conduct, Facilitate, Implement and Manage Research (online)
  • Dissertation (3 credits per semester until completion)
    • Dissertation Seminar
    • Dissertation

Sample Course of Study

  • Fall I (12 credits)
    • Philosophical Perspectives in Health
    • Quantitative Research Design and Methods
    • Statistical Methods in Public Health I & II
    • Research Residency – 15 hours per week
  • Spring I (12 credits)
    • Scientific Perspectives in Nursing
    • Qualitative Research Design and Methods
    • Mixed Methods Research Design
    • Measurement in Health Care Research
    • Statistical Methods in Public Health III
    • Research Residency – 15 hours per week
  • Summer I (1 credit)
    • Grant Writing Seminar
    • Comprehensive Examination
  • Fall II (13 credits)
    • Dissertation Seminar*
    • Dissertation*
    • Electives (10 credits)
    • Research Residency – 20 hours per week
    • Teaching Residency – 10 hours per week
  • Spring II (14 credits)
    • Dissertation Seminar*
    • Dissertation*
    • Activities and Responsibilities of the Nurse Scientist
    • Electives (9 credits)
    • Research Residency – 20 hours per week
  • Summer II
    • Preparation for Doctor of Philosophy Board Examination
    • Research Residency – 20 hours per week
  • Fall III Through Completion (3 credits per semester)
    • Dissertation Seminar*
    • Dissertation*

*PhD students having successfully completed the written Comprehensive Examination must be registered for at least three credits consisting of two credits dissertation advisement plus one credit dissertation seminar each semester they are progressing toward the degree.
*Part-time students who have completed the Comprehensive Examination must register for two credits dissertation advisement plus one credit dissertation seminar each semester they are progressing toward the degree after completing half (10) the required elective credits. 

Per Doctor of Philosophy Board policy, students must either be registered during fall and spring semesters, or be on an approved leave of absence.


* Up to 15 credits may be applied from the JHUSON MSN: Entry into Nursing program to the PhD Program.

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Tuition & Other Costs

Billed Expenses

(September 2017 - May 2018)

Tuition: $41,580 (full-time per year)1
Per credit cost: $2,310
Matriculation fee: $500 (one time only fee for first-time enrolled JHU students)
Health Insurance: $3,8562
Health fee: $475
Total Billed Expenses: $46,411

The Cost of Attendance (COA)3

COA Statement: The costs listed represent direct costs, which are billed directly by the School of Nursing. Students can still expect to incur indirect costs such as room, board, travel expenses, personal expenses, etc. Unlike direct costs, indirect costs will vary from student to student. A full projected annual Cost of Attendance, including both direct and indirect costs can be found here.

View the Cost of Attendance

1Full-time: 9 credit hours per semester. Students enrolling less than full-time will incur less charges.
2All students must have health coverage. Purchase of the School’s plan is optional.
3Amounts for other expenses vary based upon student's selection of books, supplies, and living arrangements.

Billed expenses are subject to change without prior notice. Changes to a student’s program or course load may result in additional tuition charges and fees. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

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

    Your essay should outline your areas of interest and how they align with current faculty areas of work. 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.

  • 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.  View Comparison Chart

    View information about a unique opportunity to earn a dual-degree DNP/PhD.

  • 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 1.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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

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Funding Opportunities

Scholarships & Grants

Grants are awards based on financial need that do not have to be repaid. Many students also benefit from scholarships and awards based on merit.

Scholarships & Grants


Many students will avail themselves of loans to help finance their School of Nursing Education. If necessary, we encourage you to borrow only what is absolutely essential to cover your educational costs.



Many students locate part-time employment to help pay education expenses. Numerous positions are available on campus and within various community based organizations. These jobs provide students with opportunities to gain practical work experience. Most positions are funded through the Federal Work-Study Program. 


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