UMass Lowell's Ph.D. in Nursing program focuses on health promotion.

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Three students from UMass Lowell's Ph.D. in Nursing program pose in their regalia

The Ph.D. in Nursing program at UMass Lowell prepares educators and scholars who will conduct research and advance knowledge in nursing science and health promotion. 

With a focus on health promotion, our program is committed to excellence in teaching and research. 

We welcome students from all diverse backgrounds including international students and out-of-state students.

Pathways to a Ph.D.

Earn your Ph.D. through one of three pathways:

  • The M.S. to Ph.D. program in nursing requires a total of 48 credits beyond the master's degree which includes 12 dissertation credits. Students may be full-time or part-time but in order to maintain a cohort program, part-time students are expected to enroll in a minimum of two courses per semester until course work has been completed. Students must achieve a B in all courses and maintain a minimum GPA of 3.000.

    Students must pass the Nursing Qualifying Examination which consists of two written publishable papers on approved topics related to theory, methods or an integrative review during the final semester of course work. The next step is to enroll in dissertation credits.

    View the Degree Pathway of Part-Time Study and Full-Time Study for a sample list of requirements in the program of study.

    The dissertation requirement is designed to demonstrate that the student has:

    • Acquired a substantial body of knowledge related to the selected field of study
    • Conducted an original research study
    • Developed the ability to use appropriate research methods, and
    • Contributed to the advancement of nursing knowledge related to health promotion
  • We offer three pathways for B.S.-prepared nurses. All options are based on our well-established traditional Ph.D. program. These three pathways include:

    • Direct entry B.S.N. to Ph.D. pathway for nurses with a bachelor's degree who want to pursue an academic or research career. This is a direct entry option into the Ph.D. program. No master's degree is conferred in this option. It is 69 credits and students must attend full-time.
    • B.S.N. to M.P.H. to Ph.D. in Nursing programwith a concentration in epidemiology. This pathway is for nurses who want to pursue an academic or research career and are interested in focusing on public health. It is 69 credits and students must attend full-time.
    • B.S.N. to M.P.H. to Ph.D. in Nursing programwith a concentration in social and behavioral sciences. This pathway is for nurses who want to pursue an academic or research career and are interested in focusing on public health. It is 75 credits and students must attend full-time.
  • As a UMass Lowell Master's and D.N.P. student, you can take advantage of our Fast Track Opportunities.

    For more information on our Fast Track opportunities, please visit the M.S. to Ph.D. Fast-Track Program and D.N.P. to Ph.D. Fast-Track Program.

Flexible format

Our blended program is affordable and flexible. All nursing courses except electives/cognates meet once per month on Saturdays for on-campus classes with remote synchronous option. This "weekend executive blended" format is designed to support your home and work commitments.

International students must enroll full-time; all other students participate part-time.

Funding options

Tuition can be expensive, and at UMass Lowell we want to help. 

  • Nurse Faculty Loan Program — To meet the demand for qualified nursing faculty, we are giving the opportunity to participate in the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP) to both full-time and part-time Ph.D. students. The NFLP will eliminate up to 85% of student loans for students who plan to teach at any accredited school of nursing or other approved programs in the country after graduation.
  • Teaching Assistantship — Limited teaching assistantship positions are available each year.
  • Other Funding — For additional funding options, visit UMass Lowell's River Hawk Scholarship Portal and search keyword "nursing." 

Learn more about our program

  • For specific questions, please contact:
    Ainat Koren, Ph.D., DNP, PMHNP
    Program Director

  • Try out the Ph.D. program by taking the Qualitative Methods course as a nonmatriculated student in the spring. 

  • Join one of our virtual informational sessions with Ainat Koren, Ph.D., DNP, PMHNP. Upcoming sessions will be offered:

    • November 17 at 7 p.m.
    • January - coming soon
    • February - coming soon

    Register for Information Session

    During this 60-minute session, you will learn about:

    • Career options with a Ph.D. in Nursing
    • Choosing, applying, and getting into the right Ph.D. program for you
    • Pathways to the Ph.D. in the School of Nursing
      • Post B.S. to Ph.D.
      • Post Master’s to Ph.D.
      • Fast Tracks
    • Application process
    • Ph.D. plans of study
    • Teaching assistantships and other funding opportunities

    Questions? Please contact:
    Ainat Koren, Ph.D., DNP, PMHNP
    Program Director

  • PhD Nursing Students

    View our Nursing Doctoral Program informational webinar held in 2020:

Admission requirements

The Ph.D. in Nursing program is now offering standardized test waivers to applicants of this program. 

There is currently no GRE requirement for this degree! 

  • The preferred application deadline for Fall Admission is April 1, however, we use a rolling application system. Applications submitted after this deadline will be considered if space allows. There are no spring program admissions at this time.

    Admission requirements include:

    • Current Massachusetts R.N. license or eligibility
    • For B.S.N. to Ph.D., a baccalaureate degree in nursing; for the M.S. to Ph.D., a master's degree in nursing or health-related field with a minimum G.P.A. of 3.3
    • Official transcripts from prior academic undergraduate and graduate records
    • A personal statement about the applicant's interest in the program and career goals
    • Professional CV
    • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who can assess the applicant's academic preparation for advanced graduate work.
      It is requested that each reference include a personal letter on official stationery in addition to a numerical evaluation of the student using the standard UMass Lowell graduate reference form.
    • Writing sample is recommended
    • Personal interview is scheduled after review of completed online application
    • GRE test is waived
    • Graduate application fee
  • International applicants are encouraged to apply! We have educated Ph.D. nurses from Thailand, China and Israel. 

    Admission requirements for RN applicants who are from outside of the United States include:

    • For B.S.N. to Ph.D., a baccalaureate degree in nursing; for the M.S. to Ph.D., a master's degree in nursing or health-related field with a minimum G.P.A. of 3.3
    • Established professional records in nursing
    • The official score report for an institutionally approved language test for students from countries where English is not the national language: TOEFL and  IELTS. All test scores must be official and sent directly by the testing agency. 
    • An in-person, Zoom or Skype interview 
    For further requirements and information, please review the International Applicants website and the International Students & Scholars Office website.

Career Opportunities

The market for nursing PhDs is very strong in light of a current nurse faculty shortage which is predicted to continue through the next decade.

A student poses by a research exhibit

Our graduates are prepared to continue to post-doctoral programs or launch academic or research careers as:  

  • Nursing faculty

  • Healthcare organization leaders

  • Researchers

  • Consultants

What do students & alumni say about the program?

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Terri Jabaley

Clinical Inquiry Specialist, Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Research in Nursing and Patient Care Services, Dana-Farber Institute, Boston, MA

“I feel I am a strong teacher, researcher and writer because of the UMass Lowell Nursing Ph.D. program. I think that the faculty is the greatest strength of the program.”

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Sandra Mote

Clinical Associate Professor, UMass Lowell

“I am so impressed with the work that my professors do to prepare lectures online. Weekly classes are filled with lecture videos, clips, and websites to explore and great discussions with other students. Even with the online component, I have developed close relationships with my peers.”
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Judy Fredette

Program Chair and Professor of Nursing for Fundamentals and Maternity, Wachusett Community College

“UMass Lowell’s Ph.D. program is a good choice because of the highly educated, qualified, published, caring, motivating and inspiring professors. The program with a focus in health promotion has changed the way I think about teaching, learning and life. I feel that I am a good teacher but with my Ph.D. from UMass Lowell, I will be an even better teacher.”

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Somsak Thojampa

Associate Dean, Faculty of Nursing, Naresuan University, Thailand

“This program is excellent for international students. I learned a lot about how research is conducted in the United States by participating on many projects in the School of Nursing. I am sure that my research experience here will benefit my career when I go back to Thailand to continue my teaching and research as a faculty of nursing in my university.”

Nadia Raymond headshot

Nadia Raymond

R.N., M.S., Ph.D. student

“The Nursing Ph.D. program at UMass Lowell is excellent. It is the perfect choice of program for anyone who is thinking of pursuing a doctoral degree or any degree for that matter. UMass Lowell has succeeded at fostering a sense of trust and community in the Ph.D. program. The faculty is well prepared and supportive. I appreciate the fact that it is designed to complement every enrollee, wherever they are in life. It promotes diversity and inclusivity and encourages networking among students. I particularly enjoy the Colloquia, where everyone discovers interest, project, and accomplishments of other students and faculty. I am excited at the thought of evolving, to a nurse scientist, an accomplish nurse scholar, a well-prepared nurse leader who impacts nursing practice, patient care, and health care systems. I am grateful to be part of a positive and innovative community.”

William Chadbourne headshot

William Chadbourne

R.N., M.S., Ph.D. student

“I chose UMass Lowell because of the focus on Health Promotion. The professors are accomplished in their areas and passionate about teaching. The curriculum is relevant to today’s health care environment and challenges students to think in new ways. The class scheduling fits into my ability to work and pursue my Ph.D., which I consider a strong plus for this program. I have recommended UMass Lowell to several of my colleagues who are interested in gaining further knowledge to advance their careers.”

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