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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

 Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)

Handbook, on-site dates, and curriculum information can be found on the Resources tab.

Welcome Prospective PhD Students!

Click the title link above to view a video by the Program Chair
Stay informed with the latest PhD Newsletter (PDF)!
Apply now via Graduate Admissions.

Thank you for your interest in the University of Tennessee, College of Nursing Ph.D. Program. The College of Nursing offers a doctoral program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in Nursing. The doctoral program prepares nursing scholars capable of integrating research, theory, and practice into their roles as researchers, educators, and/or administrators.


The mission of the PhD program is to educate future nurse scientists who will develop knowledge within nursing, and in interdisciplinary and interprofessional contexts. While maintaining high ethical standards, nurse scientists lead theory development; programs of research and other scholarship; dissemination of new health discoveries in professional and public forums; policy development; and education. They collaborate with other leaders to implement scientific findings to maximize health and health care in local, regional, national and global constituencies. Doctoral students at UTK have exciting opportunities to be mentored by nationally and internationally prominent nurse researchers as well as scholars in other disciplines. The PhD program is delivered by a combination of on-line learning and periodic block scheduling. Students are required to be on campus once early in the semester and once near the end. On-campus time is for professional development, face to face meetings, classes, presentations, examinations, seminars, discussion and mentoring. 

Features of note for our PhD program: 

  • Offered online with occasional on-campus residential periods
  • Special options:
    • Nursing Education
    • Health Policy
  • A full-time curriculum option.
  • A part-time curriculum (2 courses per semester).
  • A BSN to PhD curriculum for students who do not have an MSN degree. Students who desire can elect to receive the MSN degree along the way, but this is optional. (see additional information on the Resources tab)

For More Information 

Graduate Student Services



To submit a formal application to the College of Nursing [CON] Graduate Program (MSN, DNP, PhD, Post-MSN) at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville, you must apply directly through UT Graduate Admissions.  Read through the guidelines below, and then please visit the UT Graduate Admissions website to apply. The required application materials must be submitted directly to Graduate Admissions prior to the posted program deadline.

All applications must pass through two reviews: (1) the UT Graduate School; and if deemed admissible, then (2) the College of Nursing.

You may start and save an application for later submission, but will need to upload an essay/personal statement, a C.V. or resume (optional), and a copy of your RN license (if applicable).

Your application must be submitted and pass through initial review by the UT Graduate School in advance of the College of Nursing program application deadline.  The UT Graduate School processes and reviews applications in order of submission, and due to the application queue, students are strongly encouraged to submit applications well in advance (4-5 weeks typically) of the nursing program deadline.

It is your responsibility, as applicant, to ensure that your application is complete. You are strongly encouraged to check first with UT Graduate Admissions to see if all your transcripts/materials have been submitted properly. You can always check the processing status of your application, via the UT Graduate School status checker!

After you have submitted your online application, you will receive an important confirmation email from the UT Graduate School with final instructions about rating forms and any other nursing program admission requirements.

REQUIRED for all graduate/doctoral Nursing applicants:
  1. Graduate Application
  2. Application fee
  3. Three (3) rating/reference forms (two (2) required for Post-MSN) returned directly to the College of Nursing

​UT Graduate Admissions

CON Graduate Programs

​Anesthesia Program Office

​201 Student Services Building

Knoxville, TN 37996-0221

Phone: 865-974-3251

​Fax: 865-974-6541



​UTK College of Nursing

Room 203

Knoxville, TN 37996

Phone: 865-974-7606

​Fax: 865-974-3569


​1930 Alcoa Highway

Suite 430

Knoxville, TN 37920

Phone: 865-305-7762


Deadlines (PDF) 
Application Checklist (PDF)
Statistics Requirements for Graduate Programs (PDF)


Cost Estimate for Graduate Nursing Students


Financial Aid

Options for Graduate level financial aid are listed on the Graduate tab of the Financial Aid website 

Dr. Peggy Pierce, former Chair of the DNP, and Dr. Sandra Thomas, Chair of the PhD, held a Virtual Open House to provide prospective students with valuable information about their respective programs.  You can check out their presentation here: Doctoral Programs Virtual Open House Presentation (PDF)

Program Information

Program of Study Options



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Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System