Ph.D. in Nursing Education


The PhD program in Nursing Education (an online program with several visits to campus required) is designed to focus on the development of excellence in teaching competencies in the discipline of nursing and a research trajectory specific to nursing education. The program prepares graduates to:

  1. Evaluate multiple dimensions of contemporary nursing education demonstrating expertise in teaching to promote excellence in the discipline
  2. Formulate advanced knowledge and skill in research design, methods and data analysis relative to nursing and education
  3. Utilize concepts, theories and strategies from nursing and related disciplines to provide professional leadership for ethical, political, socio-cultural and economic problems confronting nursing education and the health care system
  4. Display expertise in an area of nursing science as a foundation for educating future nurses

Currently, there is a notable absence of education-based content and practicum in doctoral nursing programs. Historically a nurse educator would ‘teach as they were taught’; for better or worse. Few programs require education focused courses or experiences.

To insure an adequate supply of competent nurse educators, the National League for Nursing and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing strongly urge the nursing education community to engage in immediate and focused efforts to provide increased opportunities in graduate programs preparing educators and to provide greater support for faculty development activities. The national organizations also strongly advocate that careers in nursing education be promoted vigorously to talented neophytes and experienced nurses who have already demonstrated nurse educator skills, and that funding to support the preparation of nurse educators and the development of the science of nursing education be increased significantly.

In light of the looming crisis in the supply of faculty to teach in schools of nursing, the time has come for the nursing profession to outline a preferred future for the preparation of nurse educators. This crisis must be used as an opportunity to recruit qualified individuals to the educator role, to ensure that these individuals are appropriately prepared for the responsibilities they will assume as faculty and staff development educators, and to implement strategies that will serve to retain a qualified nurse educator workforce. The National League for Nursing asserts that the nurse educator role requires specialized preparation and every individual engaged in the academic enterprise must be prepared to implement that role successfully. In addition, each academic unit in nursing must have a cadre of experts in nursing education who provide the leadership needed to advance nursing education, conduct pedagogical research, and contribute to the ongoing development of the science of nursing education.

Education Emphasis

One of the strengths and a unique aspect of the PhD in nursing education program is the emphasis on education leadership and research that correlates with the statutory mission of UNC in relation to the preparation of doctoral students. The academic expertise and educational focus across campus provide an opportunity for nursing faculty and students to collaborate with other colleges/disciplines within the University in relation to coursework and research.