Apr 13, 2024  
2022-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2024 Graduate Catalog

Nursing (Ph.D.), Program Information

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Dean of the School of Community Health and Policy

Kim D. Sydnor Ph.D.

4530 Portage Avenue Campus

1700 E. Cold Spring Lane

Baltimore, MD 21251



Department Chair

Maija Anderson DNP, RN

Asst. Professor

308 Jenkins Building

Tel:  443-885-4144



Program Coordinator

Malliga Jambulingam Ph.D., RN

Asst. Professor

308 Jenkins Building

Tel:  443-885-4601



Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator

Carol Ann Hendricks

Portage Building Room 301C



Program Description

The Ph.D. doctoral program in Nursing is designed to prepare nurse scholars to pursue intellectual inquiry and to conduct independent research that contributes to the body of nursing knowledge.  Particular emphasis is placed on nursing knowledge development that contributes to health services research and policy, ultimately leading to quality healthcare for all.  Graduates will be prepared to pursue careers in research, teaching, and nursing administration.

Nursing care has a significant role to play in addressing health disparities and improving health outcomes for all, and especially for vulnerable populations.  Successful innovation and change will require knowledge of health service delivery systems, and knowledge of health policy and of methods to shape health policy.  Nurse administrators, nurse clinicians and nurse scholars add an important dimension to policy deliberations with their understanding of the critical linkages between policy and research and practice.  Through improvement of health delivery systems, the nursing scholars can advance the nursing profession by systems changes that will allow for safe, effective and efficient delivery of patient care.


Morgan State University is accredited by Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and is approved by the State of Maryland’s Higher Education Commission (MHEC) to grant the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.  Research doctoral programs in nursing do not have specialized accreditation.  Doctoral programs exist within regionally accredited universities.

Program Objectives

At the completion of the program, graduates will be able to generate, test, and extend knowledge that provides the scientific foundation for nursing practice through relevant research, theory, development, and disseminate their findings to the broader scientific community.  Nursing scholars will also contribute to solutions that advance healthcare in complex systems with a culturally diverse society through the formulation and implementation of strategies that serve the public interest.  Graduates will further have the knowledge and skills required to address effectiveness, efficiency, and equity issues in improving healthcare for all:  and providing leadership for nursing in clinical settings, academic settings and/or political settings.

General Requirements

Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy in the nursing degree must complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours, complete a research practicum, successfully pass the dissertation proposal qualifying examination, submit an acceptably written dissertation, and pass an oral defense of dissertation.

Demonstration of the required competency in core courses requires that any grades of “C” in a core course must be retaken.  A student must retake any core course in which a grade of “C” has been earned, even if the student has not accumulated 20% of the curriculum in “C” grades.


To be eligible for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy Nursing Program, an applicant must:

  • Submit an application for admission to the School of Graduate Studies.  All required documents must be submitted as directed by the School of Graduate Studies prior to program review and admission decision.
  • Earned a master’s degree with a major in nursing from an ACEN - (formerly known as NLNAC) or CCNE - accredited college or university, or institution with approved application for accreditation.  A master’s in a health field to include a Master’s in Nursing and Master’s in Public Health from an accredited university may also be considered.
  • Verification of active licensure as a Registered Nurse in at least one state in the U.S. or in a foreign country without restriction, submitted as an attachment with the online application.
  • Possess a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (4.0 grading scale) from a Master’s program.
  • Three letters of recommendation from officials or faculty members of institutions previously attended who are acquainted with the applicant’s ability for graduate study or from employment supervisors where applicable.
  • Provide test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).  Test scores may not be more than 5 years old prior to the date of the application.  These scores must be delivered by ETS/GMAT/MAT to the Morgan State University School of Graduate Studies.
  • Use the application system to arrange for three letters of recommendation to be placed with the application.  Theses letters must be from officials or faculty members of institutions previously attended who are acquainted with the applicant’s ability for graduate study or from employment supervisors where applicable.
  • Submit a typed exposition regarding the candidate’s personal academic and professional plans and the reasons for selecting Morgan State University.
  • At least two years practice as a registered nurse (RN).
  • If the applicant’s native language is not English, the applicant must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum average score of 550 and no sub-score below 52 (paper version) or 79 with no sub-score below 17 (internet-based test).
  • Complete an interview with the Program’s Admissions Committee.


The Morgan State University Nursing Program application is a multi-step process;

  1. Step 1:  Each student must complete the School of Graduate Studies electronic application.
  2. Step 2:  Students qualified by the Graduate School will then be reviewed to determine if they meet the Nursing Program’s criteria.
  3. Step 3:  Students who meet the criteria for both the Graduate School and the Master of Science (Nursing) Program will be invited for an interview.
  4. Step 4:  Once the interview has been completed, the Admissions Committee will consider all information and make a final determination.


Meeting the minimum eligibility requirements and submitting all the required documents does not guarantee that an offer of admission will be made to the applicant.  The decision of the Program Admissions Committee involves a review and analysis of all the elements of the application as well as the availability of positions in the program.  The committee then recommends t the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies that an offer admission should be made based on that review.


Students achieve candidacy by successfully passing the qualifying examination (Dissertation Proposal Defense).  Prior to achieving candidacy, the student must enroll in NURS 993:  Pre-Candidacy.  Once a student achieves candidacy, enrollment in any course other than 997 is generally prohibited.  Students seeking additional skills, knowledge, or a certificate must seek approval through the program up to the School of Graduate Studies.  The request must be accompanied with a revised plan of study.

Applying Previously Earned Credits toward the Ph.D. Nursing Degree

Six (6) credits can be accepted towards the minimum degree credit requirement.  These credits may not have been used towards a previous degree.  This evaluation takes place after admission into the program.  The five domain focused courses must be taken at Morgan except where permission of the Department Chair for the course is granted.

Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination (QE) is designed to validate the student’s readiness to conduct independent research within the broader context of the discipline of nursing.  The QE is designed to appraise the student’s ability to synthesize and apply knowledge essential for conducting scholarly inquiry to design and evaluate nursing research.  Content covered in the QE includes all coursework in the Nursing Ph.D. program curriculum.

Qualifying Examination

The Qualifying Examination (QE) is designed to validate the student’s readiness to conduct independent research within the broader context of the discipline of nursing.  The QE is designed to appraise the student’s ability to synthesize and apply knowledge essential for conducting scholarly inquiry to design and evaluate nursing research.  Content covered in the QE includes all coursework in the Nursing Ph.D. program curriculum.

Dissertation Completion

The doctoral dissertation is designed to provide students with a comprehensive and original research experience and requires a minimum of three (3) hours of related dissertation credits.  The dissertation credits can be fulfilled after the successful completion of coursework and passing the core competency examination.  The SCHP-Ph.D. Nursing is committed to helping students successfully move through the program in the allotted time.


Committee Selection

In consultation with his/her academic advisor, each doctoral student will identify a dissertation advisor/chair, who will serve as the chair of the student’s dissertation committee.  Once the selected advisor is approved by the office of the Dean, this faculty member works with the student to identify possible dissertation committee members that would be equipped to assess and provide feedback on the student’s dissertation.

The dissertation committee must be composed of three (3) - five (5) individuals (including the chair) who have been identified by the student and approved by the Office of the Dean.  At least two (2) members of the dissertation committee must be faculty in the MSU SCHP Public Health or Nursing programs, one of whom will serve as dissertation chair.  The remaining committee members may or may not hold faculty appointments in the SCHP.  Students must also select an external member who is currently practicing around the student’s dissertation topic.


Dissertation Expectations

Demonstrating superior writing and oral communication skills, the ability to think critically, and to solve health problems, students are expected to produce a scholarly written dissertation based on their research interest.  Students must further be skilled in the application of the guidelines in the most current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Manual) and writing all drafts of the proposal and final dissertation according to the manual’s approved style.

Students are also expected to consult regularly with the dissertation chair (bi-weekly meetings with the dissertation chair are recommended).  The chair and committee members should have two (2) to four (4) weeks to read and provide feedback on drafts and final versions of the proposal and dissertation.  Students are expected to respond to feedback in a timely manner, meet agreed upon deadlines and keep track of progress toward final completion of the dissertation process.  


Method of Defense

Doctoral students are required to complete two documents and defend them orally as follows:  1.  a dissertation proposal followed by a qualifying examination/proposal defense; 2.  a final dissertation followed by a final defense presentation and oral examination.  

Additional Requirements

Academic Integrity

All students are responsible for upholding the provisions of the Policy on Academic Integrity, as published in the School of Graduate Studies Graduate Catalog.  This policy assures that all students are treated fairly by prohibiting plagiarism and cheating, misrepresentation/falsification of academic work, abuse of academic materials, disrespectful or reckless behavior towards faculty and other students, staling and lying.  The school utilizes the online Canvas Turnitin platform to evaluate students’ original work.  Incidents of alleged academic misconduct will be handled through the established procedures of the University, which include an initial review within the Nursing Program by an Ad Hoc committee compromised of faculty, current students, and alumni with recommendation for action to the Dean of the SCHP.  Consequences of any such misconduct may result in a grade adjustment and reprimand letter, or a formal hearing procedure which may subject a student to disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion from the University.



Appeals concerning academic progress such as academic dismissal must be addressed in writing to the chairperson of the department of the degree program who, in consultation with the graduate coordinator, will review the appeal and prepare a report and written recommendation for review by the college/school Dean.  The college/school Dean shall submit a written recommendation along with the report and recommendation of the chairperson to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies who shall make the final decision regarding a student’s appeal.

Program Course Requirements

Practicum Course 3 credits

Dissertation Courses 3 credits

NURS 997 NURS 998  (Dissertation Guidance/Dissertation Defense) 3/9 credits*


* Upon achieving Doctoral Candidacy, the student will continuously register in Fall and Spring terms for the NURS 997 (Dissertation Guidance) until the Dissertation is completed and submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for review.  The course is used only when the curriculum has been completed, candidacy has been achieved, and the student is completing the research and writing of the Dissertation.  The NURS 997 course registration maintains the student status as a matriculated, full-time student (student is registered for 3 credit hours and the system reports a full-time 9 credit hour load).

After the intent to Defend the Dissertation form has been received by the School of Graduate Studies, this course registration will be changed to NURS 998 (Dissertation Defense) for the given semester and count for 3 credit hours of curricular coursework (NURS 998 will also count as 9 credits of load).  NURS 997 will not count toward curricular credits.  Other courses cannot be substituted for NURS 997 (Dissertation Guidance).  The only eligible grade for NURS 997 is the grade of “S” and the only acceptable grade for NURS 998 is “P/F” (Pass/Fail).

Total Credit Hours 48

45 credit hours of coursework and 3 credit hours of dissertation

Curriculum Sequence

Nursing (PhD), Curriculum Sequence  

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