PhD Program FAQ's


Am I eligible?

Please contact the PhD Program Office at 409-772-8206 for additional information or with any additional questions you may have.

Does UTMB Health consider applicants whose masters degree is not in nursing?

As noted in the admission requirements, a BSN or MSN is required. For potential applicants who do not have a nursing degree, please contact the PhD Program Office at 409-772-8206 for additional information.

What are the steps in applying to the program?

It is important to get all of your materials submitted as soon as you can after you have made the decision to apply to our PhD program. Please visit the UTMB Health Online Application to get started.

You may then send all of your required supplemental materials to the address listed in the on-line instructions. As the Admissions Office receives your information, they will document that it has arrived and will forward your information to the Nursing PhD Program Office. Remember to choose the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences when applying to the Nursing PhD Program.

What is the application deadline?

Admission to the PhD program occurs in the fall; the deadline for submitting a completed application is March 1st for prospective students, but we will continue to accept applications as long as there is availability for fall admission.

Is an interview required?

Yes. An interview with the Program Director is recommended. This is an opportunity for us to get to know you better and to find out why you are interested in the PhD degree and what research interest(s) you have. Both face-to-face and phone interview options are available.

Does the program provide advisement to prospective students?

Yes. Please contact the PhD Program Office at 409-772-8206 or 409-772-8227 to schedule an appointment with the Program Director, Dr. Alice Hill PhD, RN, FAAN. If you know what research area you are interested in, we will put you in contact with one of our faculty with whom you may wish to study so that you may contact that faculty member individually.

Do I have to take the GRE?

Yes. An official GRE score is required. If you have taken the GRE in the last five years, you may have Educational Testing Services forward an original copy to UTMB Enrollment Services.

PhD Program Questions

How long will it take?

There are two entry pathways: BSN to PhD and MSN to PhD

Course work in the PhD can be completed in 2 years of full-time study for the MSN-PhD and 3 years of full-time study for the BSN-PhD. Additional time for the completion of the dissertation is required. On average, BSN to PhD students will complete the program in 5 years and MSN to PhD students can complete the program in 3Ā½ to 5 years.

How much will it cost?

The costs of the program vary each year. For the current schedule of tuition and fees, please review information found earlier on this page.

Our costs are highly competitive with other doctoral programs in the U.S.A.

You may qualify for financial aid in the form of scholarships or teaching/research assistantships.

Tuition rates are distinguished by program. Select Nursing PhD (PDNU).

Is the online UTMB degree as rigorous as a traditional face-to-face degree?

Yes. Our online PhD has the same rigor of a traditional program and with the enhanced learning and increased student-student and faculty-student interaction that only E-learning can provide.

How does the online program work?

As a student in our online PhD program you will

  • Come to our Galveston campus once each year for 5 days. This annual visit is typically scheduled the 3rd week in August (subject to change) for orientation and/or to meet Residency requirements.
  • Have on-campus research experience and mentoring made available based on individual needs.
  • Enjoy easy online access to registration materials, the UTMB Bookstore and Libraries, and the support staff.

What is a hybrid online program format?

A hybrid online program is the integration of asynchronous and synchronous online learning experiences that result in increased knowledge and social interactions. Minimum pre-scheduled face-to-face activities will be offered at the beginning of each year, and at the time of the dissertation defense.

Are all of the nursing PhD courses online?

Yes. All PhD nursing courses are offered online (asynchronous and synchronous formats) as of fall semester 2009.

Current Student Questions

Do I have to take the qualifying examination?

Yes. The qualifying examination (CQE) is a requirement. You will find additional information about the qualifying examination in the GSBS Student Handbook located at:

Is a dissertation required?

Yes. A dissertation is required. You will begin this process after you have completed your coursework, have successfully completed your qualifying examination (CQE), and are admitted into candidacy.

Do I have to take a certain number of credits each semester?

We offer both full-time (minimum 9 credits) and part-time options (6 credits) for MSN to PhD students. BSN to PhD students are required to attend full-time (9 credits). If you are receiving financial aid that requires full-time study, you need to take a minimum of nine credit hours for the spring, summer, and fall semesters.

Can I take a semester off?

Yes. Three leaves of absence (LOA) are permitted.


Do I need a computer?

Yes. You will need a computer with high speed internet access to successfully complete the requirements for the PhD degree. Full technical requirements can be found earlier on this page.

What computer skills do I need?

You will need to be proficient in word processing (preferably Microsoft Word), presentation software (preferably Microsoft Powerpoint), spreadsheets (preferably Microsoft Excel), internet use (e.g., search/browse, access specific web sites), email (including the ability to attach and send documents via e-mail and to retrieve documents from incoming emails), uploading and downloading documents and files to online courses and official University web sites, and the installation and maintenance of anti-virus and firewall software. If you are lacking in any of these skills, it is important that you obtain these skills through, for example, courses offered at your area community college and/or high school or via self-study through any of the free on-line tutorials that are available on the web. Once enrolled, we offer e-camp for students at the beginning of the academic year. The PhD Program also offers various tutorials through the UTMB library.

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