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PhD - Frequently Asked Questions

At this time our PhD program is not online. We do offer a few courses online as well as the ability to register for some courses that may be offered at an educational institution closer to where you live. (Note: You would need approval by your advisor prior to registering for any course outside the University of Iowa.) We do offer courses in blocks of time over a two-day time period to alleviate the amount of time a student would need to be on campus.

We have a PhD Admission and Progression Committee that reviews applications for the PhD program each fall. The committee reviews each student’s application materials, including GPA in previous programs (transcripts), letters of recommendation from professionals who know the applicant well, resume or curriculum vitae, and the applicant’s personal goal statement. Candidates are asked to participate in an interview or conference call with a faculty member who will present the applicant to the committee. We consider all documents and information from interviews in our decision. We believe it is essential to have a PhD faculty member who is a good match with the research interest area of the student.

We usually accept around 10 students per year.

We have excellent support services for students admitted to the PhD program. Students have a dedicated work/social area that includes desks, computers and printers, lockers, a copy machine, a refrigerator and microwave. Doctoral students have a student services specialist to assist with Graduate College rules and regulations. This is very important for learning the processes associated with comprehensive exams, proposal meetings and the dissertation defense. We have an Office for Nursing Research that helps students secure funding from NIH and other organizations to help fund their research. In addition, we have excellent literature support from the librarians at the Hardin Library and great online access to many journals. Assistance is available to students from the Writing Center, Information Technology Services (ITS), the Center for Teaching, and the Graduate College for formatting the dissertation. We also have an active University Graduate Student Senate that provides leadership opportunities and travel awards to help fund presentations of your doctoral research at conferences.

The length of time to complete the PhD program depends on a number of variables (e.g., whether you are a BSN-PhD student or a MSN-PhD student and if you are a full- or part-time student). It will also vary depending on your dissertation topic and whether or not it changes over time. The average BSN-PhD student takes approximately six to seven (6-7) years to complete the program. The average MSN-PhD student takes approximately four to five (4-5) years to complete the program. Students usually register for either six (6) semester hours (considered part-time) or nine (9) semester hours (considered full-time) during fall and spring semesters.

There are a number of funding opportunities for PhD students to apply for, including Graduate Assistantships (RA), College of Nursing scholarships, and the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP). Note that students appointed as Graduate Assistants are assessed in-state tuition regardless of their home state or country. There are also funding opportunities available through the University of Iowa Graduate College. In addition to funding that students can apply for, our Office for Nursing Research assists students in writing individual predoctoral grants to receive stipend and tuition assistance.

We are always looking for new funding sources for our PhD students at both the individual scholarship/fellowship level and institutional grant level.

International Students

Yes. We frequently have international students admitted to our program.

No, we do not require WES or ECE evaluations at the University of Iowa. We do require official translated and untranslated academic records and degree certificates.

No, you do not need a valid U.S. License prior to applying. You will need to obtain one before classes start. The RN license can be from any state; it does not need to be from Iowa. It cannot be expired.