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phd program

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)

The mission of the PhD program is to educate future nurse scientists, educators, and health care leaders.

View the latest PhD Newsletter

Individualized education in a challenging, supportive setting is at the heart of the PhD program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. You’ll benefit from a program of study designed to reflect your unique interests and meet your career goals, with small classes and a committed faculty whose members value community, quality, innovation, and accessibility. You’ll also become part of an exciting community of scholars engaged in nursing research and scholarly writing. Doctoral students regularly present papers and posters at meetings, publish in scholarly journals, and contribute chapters to faculty-edited books.

An advantage of pursuing the doctorate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is access to the rich resources of one of the top research institutions in the nation. PhD students are taught by, and work collaboratively with, nationally and internationally prominent researchers in nursing and many other disciplines. Key research foci of the college are technology, symptom science, caregiving, and translational science. Certificate programs are offered in nursing education and health policy. Both full-time and part-time options are available. The faculty is committed to quality, innovation, accessibility, and mentoring.


Find information on admission policies, deadlines and requirements on our Graduate Admissions page.

Zoom Sessions

We are offering online chat sessions with the PhD Program Chair for prospective students who would like to learn more information or ask questions about our programs. This is a great time to connect with the UTK College of Nursing Faculty and Staff.

To participate in the Zoom session, you will need to go to the following site:

You will need a webcam and microphone to participate. Joining by phone is also available by calling: (408) 638 0968 (US Toll), Meeting ID: 480 857 2241

If you need technical assistance, please email Dr. Hutson at

BSN-PhD and MSN-PhD: November 9 at 8 p.m.- 9 p.m. (EST); November 13 at 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. (EST) (Drs. Thomas & Hutson)

Program Features

  • Opportunity to work with nationally and internationally prominent nurse scientists and scholars from other disciplines, including public health and education
  • State-of-the-art simulation lab for research in instructional technology and innovative clinical education and research
  • Equal emphasis on both qualitative and quantitative research
  • Opportunity to receive substantial financial support through fellowships from the Graduate School and the College of Nursing
  • Blended curriculum delivery* through distance technology, with two on-campus sessions per semester
  • Optional certification in nursing education or health policy
  • Full-time or part-time options
  • Option for cognates/ minors/concentrations
  • Colloquium, a time for PhD and DNP students and faculty to share and discuss topics of interest
  • Distinguished faculty with diverse fields of research

*600-level nursing courses in the PhD and DNP programs are offered in a flexible blended format with two coordinated on-site face-to-face course sessions per term complemented with live online group and collaborative discussions and activities; structured asynchronous individual, group, and self-directed work; and individual guidance, mentoring, and advising. BSN to PhD students in clinical concentration courses have variable schedules.


1st session August 28–30

Day 1: August 28  (Monday)

  • 8:30 a.m.–12:45 p.m. — Graduate Orientation in Panhellenic Bldg.
  • 1:00–5 p.m. — PhD Program Overview
  • 5:30 p.m. — Dutch-treat PhD Faculty-Student Dinner at Naples Italian Restaurant

Day 2: August 29 (Tuesday)

Classes for First-Year Students:

  • 8 a.m.–noon — 610
  • 1–5 p.m. — 601

Classes for Second-Year Students:

  • 8 a.m.–noon — 613
  • 1–5 p.m. — 608

Scholarship Banquet is Tuesday night (all scholarship recipients required to attend)

Classes for Third-Year Students:

  • 8 a.m.–noon — 606
  • 1–5 p.m. — 612

Day 3: August 30  (Wednesday)

  • 9 a.m.–noon — PhD/DNP Colloquium showcasing faculty research

Note: Students to schedule advising appointments when schedules permit on Tuesday or Wednesday

2nd session November 6–8

Same schedule as above, with date for Research Conference TBA



Get in touch with PhD Program Chair Sandra Thomas.

Sandra Thomas
Chair, PhD Program

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