Doctoral Program

The Connell School Ph.D. program integrates science, theory, and research to educate the next generation of nurse scientists and leaders. Our students strive to advance nursing knowledge and translate research into practice that promotes the health and care of patients. 

Students benefit from small class sizes and mentorship from faculty as they prepare for careers in academia, health care settings, and policy.

Our curriculum includes three core areas of study:

Knowledge development in nursing
Students build on their foundation in nursing science. Includes courses in philosophy of science, epistemology of nursing, and strategies for developing nursing knowledge.

Substantive nursing content
Challenges students to take what is currently known in nursing science and expand on it to answer contemporary issues in health care. Includes courses in ethics, policy, and cognate courses in the student's area of focus. 

Research methods
Prepares students to begin their program of research. Includes courses in qualitative and quantitative research methods, statistics, and research practica as well as dissertation advisement.

Students develop their research expertise through:

  • Independent study
  • Interdisciplinary colloquia
  • Collaboration with a dissertation advisor
  • Electives in research concentrations 
  • Clinical research in top-tier health centers in the Boston area
  • Access to other graduate courses within Boston College 
  • Access to courses through a consortium with area research universities, including Tufts, Boston University, and Brandeis 
     
A graduate of our program will be prepared to:
 
  1. Constructively critique and synthesize nursing and interdisciplinary knowledge within their area of inquiry relative to nursing science.
  2. Design, conduct, and disseminate innovative, rigorous, and ethically sound research that advances nursing science.
  3. Assume leadership roles and collaborate with other disciplines to address contemporary health care concerns.
  4. Use scholarly inquiry to generate and disseminate knowledge that facilitates humanization, advances the discipline, informs practice, and reshapes policy.
  5. Articulate the perspective of nursing in interdisciplinary dialogue for the common good of a diverse and global society. 

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Ready for a rewarding challenge that will change your life—and the lives of others?

How to apply

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CSON Doctoral Student Research

Our Ph.D. students regularly disseminate research findings in respected forums and receive prestigious awards, including being inducted into the American Academy of Nursing and named Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence Scholars.

Learn about recent CSON Research Projects

Learn about CSON Faculty and their Research Interests

Our Curriculum

Fall Semester

Course Course Title Credits Day
NURS9810 Responsible Conduct of Research 0-1 TU 12-1
NURS9808 Research Design & Methods I 3 MON 1-4
NURS9701 Epistemology: Historical and Contemporary Influences on Knowledge Development in Nursing 3 TU 9-12
PHIL5593 Philosophy of Science 3 TU 4:30 -7:30
  20-hour research or teaching fellowship, supported by a stipend   weekly
  Total Semester Credits: 9-10  

Spring Semester

Course Course Title Credits Day
NURS9809 Research Design & Methods II 3 MON 1-4
NURS9712 Integrative Review for Nursing Science 3 TU 9-12
xxxxx Intermediate-Advanced Statistics 3 T or W pm
  20-hour research or teaching fellowship, supported by a stipend   weekly
  Total Semester Credits: 9  

Fall Semester*

Course Course Title Credits Day
NURS9812 Research Seminar: Developing the Purpose, Aims & Questions 2 MON 9-11
NURS9751 Advanced Qualitative Methods or similar (as of Fall 2016) 3 MON 1-4
xxxxx Cognate / elective or Advanced Stats 3 TBD
xxxxx Cognate / elective or Advanced Research Methods 3 TBD
  20-hour research or teaching fellowship, supported by a stipend   weekly
  Total Semester Credits: 11  

Spring Semester*

Course Course Title Credits Day
NURS9812 Research Seminar: Developing the Purpose, Aims & Questions 2 MON 9-11
NURS9751 Advanced Qualitative Methods or similar (as of Fall 2016) 3 MON 1-4
xxxxx Cognate / elective or Advanced Stats 3 TBD
xxxxx Cognate / elective or Advanced Research Methods 3 TBD
  20-hour research or teaching fellowship, supported by a stipend   weekly
NURS9901 # PhD Comprehensive Examination 0 TBD
  Total Semester Credits: 11  

*PhD Fellows and students are also expected to attend PhD Student Forums / Research Brown Bags

Fall Semester

Course Course Title Credits Day
NURS9902 Dissertation Advisement 3 TBD
  20-hour research or teaching fellowship, supported by a stipend   weekly
  OPTIONAL: Additional Cognate, Elective or Teaching Course    

Spring Semester

Course Course Title Credits Day
NURS9903 Dissertation Advisement 3 TBD
  20-hour research or teaching fellowship, supported by a stipend   weekly
  OPTIONAL: Additional Cognate, Elective or Teaching Course    

 

Course Course Title Credits Day
NURS9911 Doctoral Continuation 1  

PhD Program Total Credits (post-Master’s): > 46

Pre-Enrollment

  Course Title Credits  
  Introduction to Statistics (graduate level) 0-3  
CSON provides an atmosphere of academic rigor. The faculty are incredibly supportive and have been wonderful mentors to me. It is inspiring to be surrounded by so many respected nurse scientists and educators.
Lauren Pfeifer, Doctoral Student