• 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

Funding Opportunities


UTMB Scholarships

PhD Scholarship Opportunities

Waiver of Application Fees

The GSBS 50-50 Funds pay for 10 applications annually.

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 Expertise

Student Accomplishments

Faculty Biographies & Research

Deborah Jones | PhD, MSN, RN, FAAN

Deborah Jones


Provost ad interim
Senior Vice President and Dean, School of Nursing
Rebecca Sealy Distinguished Centennial Chair

Adrian Juarez | PhD, RN

Adrian Juarez


Assistant Professor

J. (John) Michael Leger | PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, CNL

J. (John) Michael Leger


Executive Nurse Leader Track Coordinator
John P. McGovern Chair in the Healing Practices of Nursing

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


PhD Program Director
Constance Brewer Koomey Professorship in Nursing

Carolyn Phillips | PhD, RN

Carolyn Phillips


Associate Professor
Dibrell Family Professor in the Art of Medicine

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


Assoc. Dean for Professional Development
Betty Lee Evans Nursing Professorship

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

Y. Kristen Starnes-Ott


Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor
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



Shout Outs

Dr. Verklan — Congratulations on being selected as a committee member for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses 2021 Acute and Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice Analysis Task Force to review the roles/responsibilities of the critical care CNS.

Congratulations to our Nursing PhD students for receiving the following awards: Emily Blumenthal, Doctoral Program of the School of Nursing Scholarship; Angela Mcgaskey, J. Michael Leger, PhD, RN Family Nursing PhD Scholarship; Keili Peterman, Lois E. Nickerson, R.N. Endowed Scholarship; Emily Blumenthal, Mariann Blum, Ph.D. Endowed Presidential Scholarship; Lisa Letz, Marie and Talbert Aulds Scholarship; Megan Steele, Michael Tacheeni Scott Endowed Scholarship; Colleen Villamin, Regina R. and Alfonso J. Mercatante Memorial Scholarship; and Lisa Wagner, SON Alumni Assoc. Fund

Lisa Wagner — Congratuations to Ms. Lisa Wagner on the successful defense of her dissertation titled Planting Seeds: A Naturalistic Inquiry into the Perceptions and Experiences of WIC Peer Counselors as they Interact with Mothers Making their Infant Feeding Decisions.

Dr. Tzeng — Congratuations on the September/October 2020 publication in MedSurg Nursing, and the August 2020 publication in the Journal of Patient Experience.

Dr. Elizabeth Lorenzo — Assistant Professor, joined the PhD Nursing Program on .

Dr. Cheyenne Martin — Presented the Sr. Charles Marie Endowed Lecture (virtually) at Incarnate Word University, San Antonio titled Profiles in Courage: An Exploration of Nurses and Physicians Engaged in Resistance Efforts in Europe During Nazi Occupation. This special lecture was given after evacuation from Tropical Storm Beta and severe rainstorms in Wharton.

Dr. Bruce Leonard — Congratulations on the co-authored PLOS ONE publication titled Processes and Outcomes of Diabetes Mellitus Care by Different types of Team Primary Care Models.

Dr. Virginia Chandlee — Congratuations on the successfull defense of her dissertation titled, An Exploratory Study of Pediatric Oncology Nurses' Perceptions of and Advocacy Responses to Ethical Issues in Securing Informed Consent in Adolescent and Young Adult Patients.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 nursephd@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 nursephd@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.

Program Information

  1. Does UTMB Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences offer accredited Programs?

    Yes. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences programs are accredited by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). UTMB is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

  2. 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.

  3. Is the program online?

    Yes. All the courses are taught online.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.