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PhD Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the focus of the UMSL Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) degree program?
  2. Are there different curriculums for students coming in with a Bachelor's (BSN) versus a Master's (MSN)?
  3. How would having a Ph.D. benefit me in my career?
  4. DNP versus PhD. Which one is right for me?
  5. What are some of the unique opportunities UMSL PhD students have?
  6. What is the difference among CARMA courses, cognates, and electives?
  7. Are there classes or meetings I MUST attend?
  8. Will I have an opportunity to meet with faculty members?
  9. If I decide to attend UMSL, at what point can I become a Research Assistant?
  10. How can I find grants or loans to support my PhD Program?
  11. Can I take courses elsewhere or transfer them in?

 

What is the focus of the UMSL Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) degree program?

  1. The Ph.D. program is designed for students seeking a traditional research doctorate with the desire to master both the broad discipline of nursing as well as the depth of a specific area of study. The Ph.D. graduate is dedicated to the advancement of the knowledge and science of nursing, the stewardship of the profession and educating new nurse researchers.

Are there different curriculums for students coming in with a Bachelor's (BSN) versus a Master's (MSN)?

  1. There are different options for students who are entering with a BSN versus a MSN, as well as full-time/part-time options for both.
    1. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to Ph.D.
    2. Post-Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to Ph.D.
  2. Students entering the BSN to Ph.D. take additional classes initially, then complete the same curriculum as their colleagues in the MSN to Ph.D.

How would having a Ph.D. benefit me in my career?

  1. Your faculty mentors, including your advisor and then dissertation committee will help you to design and implement actions to achieve your goals. UMSL has faculty members with various international foci and also faculty across the larger campus with varying interests.
  2. Graduates from this program will be prepared as research scientists, educators, and leaders in the discipline.

DNP versus PhD. Which one is right for me?

  1. The Ph.D. is focused on original research and prepares the graduate for a career of research and scholarship in academic or other settings.
  2. The DNP is a practice-focused education and prepares the graduate for advanced nursing practice in population-specific and setting-specific areas.

What are some of the unique opportunities UMSL PhD students have?

  1. We have a strong faculty with varied interests. We also exist within a state program that is robust in educating nurses at all levels. Therefore, Ph.D. students can be exposed to a full range nursing program. Our diversity in race and gender surpasses the area and national average and we are serious about plurality of voices.; We have shared courses across the UM system and offer courses at area schools at our own tuition rate per agreement.

What is the difference among CARMA courses, cognates, and electives?

  1. Collaborations for Advanced Research Methods and Analysis (CARMA) courses are taught across the UM system (UMSL, MU, UMKC) using the online and videoconferencing system that is used in other core courses. The CARMA courses are taught by faculty at all three UM system sites on a rotating basis. They are part of the core curriculum. Cognates are courses that are taken outside the core curriculum, may be taken across disciplines, and are chosen for their relevance to students' particular interests and needs. Nine cognate credits are required. Electives are additional courses of any kind that are taken in addition to the required coursework.

Are there classes or meetings I MUST attend?

  1. Orientation in August (the first week of classes on that Wednesday) there is a mandatory orientation for all Ph.D. students. We also conduct a Reflection Day, annually in January, when all Ph.D. students present their work in various stages.
  2. Some of the courses shared across campuses require synchronous video presence on certain class days. These are online and are scheduled at the beginning of the semester for that class.

Will I have an opportunity to meet with faculty members?

  1. Early on, each student will work with the Ph.D. Program Director until a faculty match or mentor can be identified to start assisting with your program. You will choose an advisor and then dissertation chair after meeting and interviewing with faculty some time during the first couple years of classes.
  2. All faculty members are available to you for consultation, whether they are on your committee and course instructors or not.

If I decide to attend UMSL, at what point can I become a Research Assistant?

  1. You can become a Research Assistant immediately if there is a position available when you apply.

How can I find grants or loans to support my PhD Program?

  1. The College of Nursing has funding available on a semester by semester basis, via scholarships, loans or research or teaching assistantships.
  2. UMSL Graduate School has limited funding for graduate students on a semester by semester basis.
  3. Outside funding may be sought by students.
  4. Reach out to the graduate academic advisor for additional resources and information regarding grants and loans.

Can I take courses elsewhere or transfer them in?

  1. The majority of courses must be taken within the UMSL curricular offerings.
  2. Previous coursework may be submitted for review by providing a course syllabus and transcripts from the institution. If they meet requirements of the curriculum they may be accepted for transfer.
  3. Students are encouraged to take core courses from UMSL contemporaneously unless there is an unavoidable barrier to progression because of sequencing.