Joint Nursing Science Ph.D. Program


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 (link to application).
  • Submit all official transcripts to The University of Alabama in Huntsville Office of Graduate Admissions by mail or an electronic transcript service.
  • 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.
  • Official evidence of scores on the Graduate Record Examination taken within 5 years of application. GRE information can be obtained online at The GRE requirement can be waived with a graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher or with 5 years or more of experience in the field or with an advanced degree in the US.
  • 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.
  • Scientific Writing Sample: This sample of your written work should demonstrate your intellectual ability (such as logic, critical thinking, analysis, or synthesis) and your technical writing skills (composition, grammar, references or citations). For example, you could submit an academic paper, essay, published article, or a professional report written by you. If someone other than you contributed to this document (including editing), explain your contribution and the contributions of others.
  • Statement of Purpose: In four double-spaced pages respond to the following:
    • Why do you want to pursue a Ph.D. in Nursing Science?
    • What professional goals do you hope to achieve during and beyond your Ph.D. program?
    • Describe prior experiences that have prepared you for doctoral study (e.g. research, presentations, publications, leadership roles in practice, education, or professional organizations).
    • What are your research interests?
    • How might research in this area advance the science of nursing?
  • Copy of active RN license. 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 15th 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.

Students who are enrolled in the Joint Nursing Science Ph.D. program will be divided evenly between UA and UAH for administrative purposes. Applicants who are employees of either UA or UAH will be enrolled in the University of their employment because of the restriction that employee tuition waivers can only be used on the campus of the individual’s employment.

The Joint PhD program requires students to visit campus for three days in May each year they are in the program for an intensive experience. The first year intensive is planned to orient students to courses and the university resources and will be held May 8 – 10, 2019. This is a mandatory intensive experience and all students are expected to attend.

Program of Study

Total Credit Hours: 69


Charles Davis
Director, Graduate Nursing Admissions and Advisement
University of Alabama in Huntsville
College of Nursing
NB 208B

Vicki Samuel
Graduate Recruitment and Retention Liaison
University of Alabama
Capstone College of Nursing