Nursing — Ph.D.

The aim of the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in nursing is to prepare nurse scholars for leadership in education, health-care administration, and research. The nurse-scientist who completes this program should be committed to the generation of knowledge critical to development of nursing science and practice. Graduates join other nursing leaders in furthering the development of nursing science and improving health-care delivery throughout the world.

Learning outcomes for Doctor of Philosophy

The learning outcomes of the Ph.D. degree program are designed to prepare nurse scientists and scholars with a Christian perspective for leadership in education, health-care administration, and research within a global community. Upon completion of the Ph.D. degree, the nurse will:

  1. Embrace a wholistic perspective on life and demonstrate this by integrating the bio-psycho-social-spiritual dimensions in teaching, scholarship, and service.
  2. Extend Christ-centered values to nursing scholarship and education.
  3. Serve as a nurse scholar through the generation and dissemination of knowledge relevant to nursing science, health policy, and the nursing profession.
  4. Explain complex phenomena clearly in a spoken and written English to both professional and lay audiences.
  5. Demonstrate advanced competency and leadership in the use of technology for the purpose of generating new knowledge in nursing.
  6. Engage in collaborative discourse, scholarship, and leadership contributing to health care and society.

The curriculum

The Ph.D. degree is offered as a summers-intensive program on campus at Loma Linda University, with selected online or traditional courses during the academic year. Completion of dissertation will follow. This schedule is designed to accommodate the needs of adult learners who are either full-time students or part-time students with ongoing commitment to professional work during the academic year.  The core courses of the program are taught during four summer intensive sessions.  Concentration and elective courses may be taken at Loma Linda University or through the *Nexus partnership; or a limited number of approved units may be transferred from another university.

The doctoral degree program is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of knowledge development within the discipline of nursing through philosophical, theoretical, and scientific methods of inquiry. The credit requirement is 90 quarter units beyond the Master of Science degree. The core courses of the program emphasize these three areas.  In addition to the core courses, each student is encouraged to select an individually focused area of concentration that will support his/her chosen area of expertise in nursing and that will focus his or her area of advanced inquiry.  The area of concentration may fit established research programs of the School of Nursing faculty and may also take advantage of gradate courses throughout the University.  LLU Scholars Seminar is required during the academic year while away from the Loma Linda University campus.  The seminar focus is to integrate concentration and elective courses in the foundation for a dissertation at the University and to maintain momentum during the program.  The program may be completed in four-to-seven years.


NEXus is a partnership among select Western Institute of Nursing institutions to facilitate enrollment in doctoral courses not available on the student's home campus. Through NEXus, the institutions have identified courses that are available at a distance and open for enrollments from partner institutions. 

Progression criteria

The following sequential elements are required for progression in the doctoral program:

  1. Area of concentration developed and approval of student's proposed academic plan by the end of the first year of full-time study.
  2. Oral qualifying examination after completion of all required course work.
  3. Successful defense of research proposal.
  4. Advancement to candidacy.
  5. Successful defense of dissertation.

Refer to guidelines from the Faculty of Graduate Studies for dissertation format requirements.

Normal time to complete the program—5.5 years based on less than full-time enrollment.

Student admissions for the Ph.D. program is on hold until January 2017 for the autumn 2017 class.

In addition to Loma Linda University admission requirements, the applicant to the Doctor of Philosophy degree program in nursing must have the following requirements:

  1. Preference given to applicants with master's degree in nursing.
  2. Masters level nursing theory course and intermediate statistics course.
  3. Grade point average minimum of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or equivalent at the master's degree level.
  4. Interview with Ph.D. degree faculty.
  5. Evidence of scholarly work.

Applicants seeking graduate admission please refer to the website for more information.

NGRD 680Strategies for Theory Development in Nursing4
NGRD 681Philosophical Foundations of Nursing Science4
NGRD 686Applied Psychometrics for Health Care4
Electives – focus courses foundational to dissertation12
General electives4
NGRD 687LLU Scholars Seminar 24
NGRD 688Nursing Science Seminar 23
RELE 5__Graduate-level Ethics3
RELR 5__Graduate-level Relational3
RELT 5__Graduate-level Theological3
Research and statistics
NGRD 682Methods of Disciplined Inquiry2
NGRD 683Mentored Research2
NGRD 684Advanced Quantitative Research Methods4
NGRD 685Advanced Qualitative Research Methods4
NGRD 697Dissertation Research 220
STAT 531Parametric and Nonparametric Bivariate Statistics4
STAT 532Applied Bivariate Statistical Analysis4
STAT 533Applied Multivariable Statistical Analysis4
NGRD 699Guided Study 11-6
Total Units89-94

or another analytic topic relevant to dissertation data analysis


 Multiple registrations required to fulfill total unit requirement.

Normal time to complete the program

5.5 years based on less than full-time enrollment