• BSN to PhD Program | Doctoral Programs

Explore the School of Nursing's PhD Programs

Shaping future generations of nurse scientists!

A Message from the PhD Program Director


Built on a legacy of excellence and innovation, the UTMB Health School of Nursing PhD program mission is to prepare the next generation of nurse scientists, nurse leaders, and nurse educators to engage in current and emerging health care challenges with diverse populations in Texas, as well as nationally and globally.


The UTMB Health School of Nursing PhD Program aims to transform the landscape of nursing through innovative and translational research, leadership, health policy, and education that will contribute to improving the health of uniquely diverse and often vulnerable populations in Texas, as well as nationally and globally.

Purpose Statement

The purpose of the UTMB School of Nursing PhD program is to develop nurse researchers who embrace interdisciplinary collaboration, generate knowledge, advance science, and impact health policy with the goal of promoting holistic health and wellbeing of diverse individuals and populations across the lifespan.

Learn more about the PhD Program's Philosophy

PhD Program Tracks & Curriculum

A successful graduate of the Ph.D. Program at UTMB School of Nursing will demonstrate the ability to:

Create conceptual systems that reflect synthesis, coherence, and the extension of knowledge about health promotion, human response, and healing within the context of biobehavioral research, vulnerable populations, and contemporary pedagogies.

Design, conduct, communicate, and evaluate research that contributes to a body of knowledge in nursing science.

Test, generate, and extend knowledge about nursing practice that includes health promotion, human response, and healing into clinical settings.

Collaborate with others on the integration of conceptual, practical, and ethical knowledge of human health in the organization, implementation, and evaluation of health care practices and policies.

Provide leadership to improve the local, national, and international health care environments.

Online Educational Framework

Purpose Statement & Philosophy

Program Objectives

Faculty Biographies & Research

Deborah Jones | PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN

Deborah Jones


Senior Vice President and Dean, School of Nursing
Chief Integration Officer
Rebecca Sealy Distinguished Centennial Chair

Adrian Juarez | PhD, RN

Adrian Juarez


Assistant Professor

Elizabeth Lorenzo | PhD, RN

Elizabeth Lorenzo


Assistant Professor

Cheyenne (Darlene) Martin | PhD, RN, FAAN

Cheyenne (Darlene) Martin


Rebecca and Edwin Gale Professorship

Hoang Nguyen | PhD

Hoang Nguyen


Associate Professor

Mary O'Keefe | PhD, JD, APRN, CNS P/MH, LPC, FAAN

Mary O'Keefe


Constance Brewer Koomey Professorship in Nursing

Patricia Richard | PhD, RN

Patricia Richard


Department Chair for Undergraduate Studies
The Florence Thelma Hall Distinguished Professorship

Linda Rounds | PhD, APRN, FNP, FAANP, FAAN

Linda Rounds


Associate Dean for Professional Development
Betty Lee Evans Nursing Professorship

Y. Kristen Starnes-Ott | PhD, BS, CRNA, FAANA, FNAP

Y. Kristen Starnes-Ott


Vice Dean for Academic Affairs
Betty P. Akins Endowed Chair in Nursing

Huey-Ming Tzeng | PhD, RN, FAAN

Huey-Ming Tzeng



M. Terese Verklan | PhD, RNC, FAAN, CCNS

M. Terese Verklan



Frequently Asked Questions

Nursing PhD Program Transition from GSBS to SON

  1. Who will be available to answer questions about this transition?

    Dr. Mary O'Keefe, PhD Program Director and Dr. Ainslie Nibert, Department Chair for Graduate Studies, will be readily available to answer any questions regarding the transition of the Ph.D. program from the GSBS to the School of Nursing.

  2. When will the Ph.D. program administratively move to the School of Nursing from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences?

    The official transfer date is September 1, 2023.

  3. Will my candidacy (CQE) process change?

    The CQE process has been updated effective May 2023 and is outlined in your student resources, which you can access through your Student Blackboard Information Site.

  4. Will the degree plan change for academic year 2023-2024?

    No, the degree plan will remain the same during this academic year.

  5. Will there be any changes to the approval or defense process for my dissertation in 2023-2024?

    No, there will be no changes to the overall approval processes. However, required forms will be processed through the SON beginning September 1, 2023.

  6. Will my dissertation committee members change?

    No, the committees members for dissertations that are established prior to September 1, 2023 will not change.

  7. Will tuition change for academic year 2023-2024?

    No, tuition will remain the same.

Before You Apply

  1. What information will the Nursing PhD Program consider when reviewing files for admission?

    All elements of applications to the Nursing PhD Program are reviewed: In addition to the applicant's educational and professional history, special attention is paid to the applicant's personal statement and research interests as well as statements by individuals who provided references for the applicant.

  2. Do former UTMB students have to submit transcripts to NursingCAS?

    No. If you are an alumni of UTMB you do not have to submit your transcripts. You will still have to log into NursingCAS, submit all other required documents, and after you submit your application, email the Nursing PhD Office at bndeleon@utmb.edu and inform us that you have submitted your application and you are an alumni. We will attach your transcripts to your application for you. If you have attended another university after you attended UTMB, then you will have to follow the previous instructions and submit only the transcript of the school attended after UTMB.

  3. How do I request credit for nursing courses taken at another school?

    PhD students may transfer up to six (6) credit hours. After you are admitted to the UTMB Nursing PhD program, you may submit a petition to the Program Director for a transfer of credits. Email the Nursing PhD Program Office at bndeleon@utmb.edu and inform us that you have courses that you would like to receive credit for. After your petition is reviewed, you will be notified which courses are approved or denied for transfer credit.

  4. I live outside of the United States of America. May I attend UTMB PhD program?

    Since the PhD program is online, this program does not meet the requirements for students who have VISAs for educational purposes and are required to enroll in courses offered on campus.

  5. Can I transfer to UTMB School of Nursing if I have a degree from another country?

    Applicants with international credits must submit an official course-by-course credentialing report to NursingCAS using one UTMB's required Credentialing Services. Please click here to see the Credentialing services approved by UTMB.

Additional Program Information

  1. What is the difference between a PhD degree and a DNP degree?

    The PhD emphasizes fundamental research. The DNP is focused on practice, with students completing a quality improvement project. In the PhD program, students conduct original research, completing a dissertation, a form of inquiry that results in improved patient outcomes and transformations in health care.

  2. Is the program online?

    Yes. All the courses are taught online.

  3. How often will I be required to come to campus?

    Students are only required to come to campus once a year in August for 4-5 days for on-campus seminars and meetings with faculty and fellow students.

  4. How long will it take to complete the program?

    On a suggested plan of study, PhD coursework takes two years to complete, in addition to the comprehensive qualifying exam and dissertation. The dissertation typically takes two to three years following completion of the comprehensive qualifying exam.

  5. Can I work while attending the PhD program?

    Most students work full- or part-time. MSN to PhD students can choose to enroll full- or part-time. BSN to PhD students are required to be enrolled full time. Most MSN to PhD students are part-time typically enrolling in 2 courses each semester. Students should recognize that working and going to school is challenging, especially when balanced with other commitments such as a family. Students are encouraged to plan for how to best balance personal and work demands with the need for reading, study, and completing course assignments.

  6. How many admissions does the PhD programs have per year?

    The Nursing PhD program only has one admission per year, in the fall. Our application dates are October 1st — July 1st. Applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed on a space available basis.