Joint Nursing Science Ph.D. Program

The UAH College of Nursing and The UA Capstone College of Nursing


The purpose of the Joint Nursing Science Ph.D. program is to prepare nurse scholars who will advance nursing science by generating new knowledge through Interprofessional research initiatives and to improve the health of rural and medically underserved populations. It is a joint program between The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and The University of Alabama (UA).

Program Objectives

Knowledge Synthesis

As assessed by a comprehensive exam, students will: 1) demonstrate substantive knowledge related to the body of literature and theories about rural and/or medically underserved populations to inform nursing practice; and 2) appraise and synthesize models and theories from previously conducted research.

Research Conduct

As assessed by a successfully defended dissertation, students will demonstrate the ability to design and conduct ethical and culturally competent nursing research that is theoretically, methodologically, and analytically sound with the potential to influence health outcomes and generate new knowledge.

Research Dissemination

Students will contribute to nursing science by generating new knowledge and actively disseminating research at national and/or international venues and in respected peer-reviewed journals.

Collaborative Leadership

Students will demonstrate collaborative leadership as evidenced by serving as lead author on a professional presentation or manuscript by an interprofessional team which has been accepted for publication.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. program is determined by the Joint Ph.D. Oversight Committee who will assess the entire composite of information gained from a variety of sources. Each applicant must meet the following criteria and/or provide:

  • An application to the Joint Ph.D. Graduate Program. The application can be located here (insert link).
  • Transcripts. Follow the Graduate School’s transcript instructions to request transcripts from former colleges and universities.
  • A completed Application Information Sheet for the Joint Nursing Science Ph.D. Program
  • Evidence of successful completion of a bachelor of science in nursing degree at an accredited program and a master’s degree in nursing or a closely related health field. Applicants with bachelor’s degrees in a closely related health field and master’s degrees in nursing also will be considered.
  • A minimum graduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Official transcripts must be sent to the university Graduate College. The GRE requirement can be waived with a graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Official evidence of scores on the Graduate Record Examination taken within 5 years of application. GRE information can be obtained online at
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Three (3) letters of reference from professionals or professors who can adequately evaluate the applicant and the applicant’s previous work or potential for success. Two of the letters are strongly preferred from nurses with doctoral degrees.
  • A scientific writing sample: This scientific writing sample must be related to your research interest. Address the following in the writing sample: background of your identified area of research interest, significance to nursing, and identified gaps in the literature. Criteria for the writing sample includes: rigorous justification of the significance, evidence of the current state of the science, proper use of APA, 500 word limit, and reference page (not included in the 500 word limit). The writing sample must not have been previously published.
  • Copy of active RN license from every state in which you are licensed. Note: Licensure must be maintained throughout the program.
  • Transfer applicants: Evidence of good academic standing at the current institution. Determination of whether or not credits may be transferred will be based on evaluation of comparability of requested transfer course to Ph.D. course and university policy, and is completed after admission.

After the first review of the application and at the request of the Joint Ph.D. Oversight Committee, applicants will be asked to successfully complete personal interviews with Oversight Committee members. Research interests, professional involvement, and motivation for successful completion of doctoral study in the Ph.D. program will be assessed.

Completed applications are reviewed by the Oversight Committee throughout the year for summer enrollment. Applications (with GRE scores, transcripts, etc.) must be completed by March 1st if enrollment in the program is desired for that summer. Applicants must register for courses within two (2) years of acceptance into the Ph.D. program, or the acceptance is void.

Upon admission, you will receive written notification of admission from the Deans of the Joint Ph.D. Program. You will also receive a letter from the graduate advisors at both UA and UAH outlining requirements for entry into the Ph.D. program. Admission is contingent upon providing documentation of a background check and drug screen and results were acceptable to the admission committee.

Program of Study

Total Credit Hours: 69


Charles Davis
Director, Graduate Nursing Admissions and Advisement

Vicki Samuel
Graduate Recruitment and Retention Liaison
Capstone College of Nursing