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

Conference with students

About the Program

Our Ph.D. in Nursing program is committed to excellence in teaching and research. 

We offer an affordable, flexible, and transformational blended program. The nursing courses are offered using a weekend executive blended online format, meeting once per month on Saturdays for on campus classes with virtual synchronous option. 

The program consists of 48 credits and meets the recommendations of the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing (AACN) guidelines. We welcome out-of-state students, international students, and students from diverse backgrounds.

Ph.D Program GoalsPh.D. Student Outcomes: Indicators of Success
Graduates of the Ph.D. in Nursing program are prepared to:Graduates of our program will:
  1. Advance scientific knowledge through the conduction and dissemination of health promotion research
  2. Demonstrate leadership skills as nurse educators, researchers, and policy tickets for diverse populations
  3. Lead and/or just in transdisciplinary and community action research teams
  • Disseminate dissertation research and professional presentations
  • Initiate a program of study within two years of graduation
  • Secure employment post-graduation this researcher, educator or policy-maker
  • Hold leadership positions in professional nursing organization
  • Participate in political advocacy for populations with health disparities
  • Develop a team of research partners, including members from disciplines outside of nursing within two years of graduation
  • Participate in community service through research, community advocacy for other scholarship
PhD Nursing Students

What's New?

Fast Track Opportunities

While we are a post-master's program, we offer Fast Track opportunities for UMass Lowell Master's and DNP students.

For more information on our Fast Track opportunities please check: MS to PhD Fast-Track Program and DNP to PhD Fast-Track Program.

BSN to Ph.D.

We have developed three new pathways for BS prepared nurses. All options will be based on our well established Ph.D. program which focuses on health promotion. These three pathways include:

  • A direct entry BSN 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.
  • A BSN to MPH to Ph.D. in Nursing program with 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.
  • A BSN to MPH to Ph.D. in Nursing program with 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.

View our recent webinar video about the Ph.D. and DNP programs.

View the PhD dissertations completed (2015-2021)

  • The 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 3.0.

    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 the 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.
  • Students interested in applying to the program may contact the Program Director, Ainat Koren by email: for more information. Once a decision is made to apply to the program, the first step is to submit an online application. 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
    • 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
    • GREs are waived
    • Graduate Application fee

    International Applicants

    International applicants are encouraged to apply! We have educated Ph.D. nurses from Thailand, China and Israel. RN applicants who are from outside of the United States, must hold a master's degree in nursing or health-related field and have established professional records in nursing are encouraged to apply. The TOEFL or IELTS is required in addition to having grades translated into English by a reputable program. An in-person, Zoom or Skype interview is also required. For further requirements, please review the International Applicants website.

    PhD Program Director: Ainat Koren, PhD, DNP, PMHNP
    Telephone: 978-934-4429

    Learn about admission requirements

  • Career Opportunities

    Our program prepares nurse educators, administrators, researchers, and consultants. 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. Some of our graduates continue to post-doctoral programs while others begin an academic or research career immediately upon graduation. 
    We believe the Ph.D. in Nursing experience is more fully realized when nurse researchers, scholars, and educators have access to the unique strengths of each UMass campus - Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell, and Medical School.

    Nursing Ph.D. Programs across the University of Massachusetts' Five Campuses

  • PhD Nursing Students

    Informational webinar held on Nursing Doctoral Programs held in 2020:

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.”