Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh    
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jul 14, 2024
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Dual Program

Return to School of Nursing Return to: School of Nursing

Your options for education in nursing research and practice don’t end with a singular terminal degree. There is an increasing need for doctorally prepared nurses, and an especially crucial need for nursing scientists and nursing faculty.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing offers you a journey to get there, through the new dual degree Doctor of Nursing Practice/Doctor of Philosophy program.

This program admits baccalaureate-prepared nurses to simultaneously achieve their PhD and DNP degrees, from which they emerge as both nurse researchers and advanced practice nurses. Students graduate with two separate degrees, but 30 credits are shared between the two degrees.

You will join as a dedicated, passionate nurse with a drive and desire to impact nursing research and how health care is delivered, and you will leave with a range of career opportunities available to you, including:

  • Nursing faculty at a range of highly ranked universities
  • Nurse leaders of health systems and organizations
  • Advanced practice nurses who bring highly advanced skills in nursing research and clinical practice to their role

At present, the dual DNP/PhD program is available in these areas of Doctor of Nursing Practice concentrations

The DNP/PhD Program admits BSN graduates to the BSN to DNP/PhD track. Applicants for the program must satisfy the requirements for both PhD and DNP program admission. The DNP/PhD program follows a FALL TERM ONLY COHORT ADMISSIONS process. Applicants to the program must submit their completed applications by February 1 or May 1. Complete applications received by February 1 or May 1 will be reviewed and admission decisions made prior to June 1. Application decisions (except for international applicants) will be communicated electronically (by e-mail). Applicants must apply online at

Applications to the programs are reviewed in their entirety and appraised for evidence of intellectual inquisitiveness and rigor, and commitment and motivation for scholarship and the development of nursing science.

Interested applicants should contact the Student Affairs & Alumni Relations Office at 412-624-4586 or more information.


BSN-DNP/PhD for AG-CNS Concentration

(Students are expected to enroll Full Time)

The BSN Track consists of a minimum of 121 credits (cr):

  • 104 cr of Didactic courses from the Nursing PhD and AG-CNS DNP Curriculum
  • 17 cr. of Clinical Hours (1020)

Optional Breakout

YR 04 OPTIONAL breakout for Full Time Dissertation (FTDS)   If so, insert last 2 Dissertation Credits scheduled for YR 04 into YR 03.

PhD MILESTONE ORAL DEFENSE IN SUMMER TERM  Clinical practice clerkship-ND 1 day per week

Total Credits: Minimum of 122 Credits

Preliminary and Comprehensive Examinations and Dissertation Overview

The preliminary examination is taken after completing the following required courses.  

By following the establish curriculum plan, all full time students should sit for their Preliminary Examination in their third term of study. The examination is designed to assess the student’s breadth of knowledge of the discipline of nursing and potential ability to apply research methods independently. Remediation work may be required if deficiencies are identified that may impede the student’s success in program completion. See School of Nursing Policy 230.

The comprehensive examination assesses the student’s mastery of the general field of doctoral study, acquisition of depth and breadth of knowledge in a focused area of study, and the ability to use the research methods of the discipline. The comprehensive examination is taken after completion of all required course work and concurrent with the dissertation overview. See School of Nursing Policy 235.

The dissertation overview requires the student to formulate a research plan and to justify the selected approach for studying the topic before the student’s dissertation committee.

Dissertation Committee

Prior to the comprehensive examination and the dissertation overview, the student and research advisor propose, subject to approval by the director of the PhD program and the dean, a committee of four or more members, one of whom must be from another school within the University and the majority of whom must be from the School of Nursing. A majority, including the major advisor, must also be full members of the Graduate Faculty of the University.

See Doctoral Committee under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees  of the University catalog.

Admission to Candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy

Admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree constitutes a promotion of the student to the most advanced stage of graduate study and provides formal approval to devote essentially exclusive attention to the research and the writing of the dissertation. To qualify for admission to candidacy, students must be in full graduate status, have satisfied the requirement of the preliminary examination, have completed formal courses with a minimum grade point average of 3.00, have passed the comprehensive examination, and have received approval of the proposed dissertation research by the dissertation committee. Admission to candidacy is granted by the Dean.

Residency Requirement

Students seeking the PhD degree are required to engage in a minimum of one term of full-time doctoral study (nine credits), which excludes any other employment except as approved. The doctoral student must notify the PhD program director in writing the term that this occurs.

Dissertation and Abstract

The date and title of the dissertation defense must be submitted to the PhD program director one month prior to the final defense. For definitions and detail on what constitutes an acceptable dissertation, please see Dissertation and Abstract under Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees  of this catalog.

Research Apprenticeship Model

The PhD program includes an apprenticeship model of research training that combines rigorous coursework and an apprenticeship with successful research mentors. This model includes a formalized series of Apprenticeship Practica (minimum of 6 credits under the direction of a research mentor), with recommended experiences and a series of defined deliverables. This experience allows for the opportunity to acquire individualized and tangible research skills within a mentored research application environment which is additive to and precedes the dissertation experience

All mentors are experienced nurse researchers. During their apprenticeships, students acquire tangible skills in research methodology, grantsmanship, professional skills, the responsible conduct of research, and dissemination of research findings through publications and presentations. Students receive an intense and comprehensive research experience resulting in publications and pilot data to support applications for independent research funding and dissertation work.

Adult-Gerontology CNS-BSN to DNP Concentration

The Adult-Gerontology (CNS) concentration prepares nurses as expert providers of care to patients/families across the continuum of healthcare services (from wellness through acute care). The CNS functions as a developer and manager of programs of care for populations of patients; as a mentor who provides support to nurses caring for patients at the bedside; as a leader of multidisciplinary groups driving change throughout the organization ; and as a developer of evidence-based projects to ensure best patient outcomes.

CNS students choose a clinical emphasis of choice to focus their studies such as: general medicine or surgery, cardiopulmonary, critical care, oncology, or trauma and emergency preparedness (TEP). Graduates are eligible for national certification by the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. 

Return to School of Nursing Return to: School of Nursing

Catalog Navigation