Ph.D. Program

Preparing Nurse Science Leaders

Our Ph.D. program integrates science, theory, and research to educate the next generation of nurse scientists, educators, policy-makers, and practitioners. 

Application Deadline

January 15 

Financial Support


The Connell School fully funds every full-time Ph.D. student’s tuition, fees, and insurance for three years.

At a Glance

How many courses?

Most students take 21 courses (48 total credits). 

How long will it take?

Students typically complete the program in 4 years. 

When can I start?

The program begins in the fall semester.



Fall Semester

CourseCourse TitleCredit
Philosophical Inquiry for Knowledge Development in Nursing 3
Strategies for Knowledge Development in Nursing3
NURS9808Research Design and Methods I3
NURS9810Responsible Conduct of Research1

Spring Semester

CourseCourse TitleCredit
Integrative Review for Nursing Science                                 3
Research Design and Methods II 3
NURSXXXXIntermediate Statistics3

Fall Semester

CourseCourse TitleCredit
Advanced Qualitative Research Methods3
Research Seminar: Developing the Purpose, Aims & Questions2
 Cognate / elective or Advanced Statistics3
 Cognate / elective or Advanced Research Methods3

Spring Semester

CourseCourse TitleCredit
Healthcare Policy & Social Justice3
Research Seminar: Refining the Research Plan2
Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination1
 Cognate / Elective or Advanced Statistics3
 Cognate / Elective or Advanced Research Methods3

Fall Semester

CourseCourse TitleCredit
NURS9902Dissertation Advisement3
Cognate, Elective or Teaching Course  

Spring Semester

CourseCourse TitleCredit
NURS9903Dissertation Advisement3
Cognate, Elective or Teaching Course  

Each Semester Until Graduation

CourseCourse TitleCredit
Doctoral Continuation

Featured Faculty

Andrew Dwyer

Andrew Dwyer, Ph.D., FNP-BC, FNAP, FAAN

Throughout your CSON journey, you'll work with dedicated faculty who are committed to your success and will prepare you to impact health care and nursing science.
Andrew Dwyer, Associate Professor

Our Students

CSON's Ph.D. Program attracts students from a variety of backgrounds and with an array of research interests.

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 CSON Research

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

Recent Dissertation Topics

News from the Connell School

Opportunities at the Connell School

Graduate Nurses’ Association

The GNA facilitates professional development opportunities and sponsors social events, connecting you to your fellow students and serving as a voice for the CSON graduate community.

Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing

The KILN program helps students maximize their leadership potential, prepares them to provide nursing care in an increasingly multicultural society, and nurtures their ability to create positive social change.

Global Trips

Participation in CSON's international programs can count toward nurse practitioner (NP) supervised hours for graduate students.



Program Eiligibility

  • A master's degree from a nationally accredited university in nursing or a related field
  • A completed course in statistics (AP credits cannot be accepted)
  • A current RN license



Fall Enrollment
January 15

Application & Deadlines

Apply Now

Preference will be given to applicants with the following qualifications:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.5
  • Research experience, written clarity in area of research, and match to faculty research or methodology as described by applicant and determined by Ph.D. committee
  • Publications preferred, as listed on curriculum vitae
  • Excellence in writing, sample essay of course paper, or manuscript submitted by applicant
  • Leadership/leadership potential


  • January 15

Résumé or CV

To be uploaded to your online Application Form.

In addition to your academic history and relevant work experience, please include any licenses currently held, any social justice-related experience, any language skills other than English, and any research experience or publications.

Goal Statement & Writing Sample

1. Goal Statetment

Please submit a goal statement which will be used as a source of information about your educational objectives and as a sample of your writing ability. The goal statement should be typewritten (double-spaced) and no more than four pages in length.

Goal Statement Prompt & Guidelines

2. Evidence of Scholarly Writing

All applicants to this program are required to submit one piece of work that demonstrates graduate-level writing ability. This document may be an academic term paper, a published work in which you are the primary author, a training manual that you have created, a clinical case formulation, or another representative sample of your writing.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation:
  • A current or recent employer, preferably a nurse with a Ph.D. or a professional colleague
  • A professor with whom you have had recent academic interaction who can assess your potential for doctoral study and performance in your desired area of study
  • A person who is not a relative and who is well acquainted with your professional preparation and clinical practice
  • Letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically. When you register your reference writers through the application system, they will immediately receive an email with the link to the electronic reference form. For this reason, we suggest that you contact your references prior to registering them through the online application.
  • References will have the option to upload a supporting letter in Word or PDF format.
  • If you would like your references to receive the electronic form before you have completed the online application, you may go directly to the "Recommendations" link on the application and register your references before filling out the rest of the form.
  • You can log back into your application to check which letters have been received, as well as to send reminder emails to your references.


Official transcripts are preferred but not required upon application. If admitted, official transcripts will be required.

Official digital transcripts can be sent to

All hard copy transcripts may be sent to the following mailing address:

Boston College
Graduate Nursing Office
Maloney Hall - 2nd Floor
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

*If the last name on your transcript does not match the application name, please contact after submitting the application. 

Standardized Tests

Official GRE scores are a preferred component of the application, but are not required to apply.

Institutional code 3062

Please allow 2-4 weeks for test scores to be received in order to meet application deadline

Supplemental Forms

Based on the answers you provide in your application, you may need one or more of the following forms to complete your application:

International Students

  • Official transcript(s) evaluation (by the Commission on Graduate Foreign Nursing Schools or World Education Services) from all post-secondary institutions at which you have studied
  • CGFNS examination results
  • NCLEX-RN examination results/RN licensure
  • Official TOEFL (Evidence of English Proficiency) scores are required for students whose native language is not English. The following scores indicate minimum score requirements: 100 on the TOEFL iBT (internet-based test); 7.5 on the IELTS Band (academic); 600 or greater on the paper-based test; or 250 on the CBT test (computer-based test). Please request that your scores be sent to the William F. Connell Graduate School of Nursing by using our institutional code 3062 in the designated areas. Student copies or photocopies of TOEFL are not accepted.
    • You can get application forms and information about testing dates for the TOEFL from many U.S. consulates, USIA centers, and TOEFL centers overseas by writing to: TOEFL Registration, CN 6152, Princeton, New Jersey 08541 USA, or
    • The TOEFL score is not required if you meet both of the following criteria: You are a citizen of the United States, Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Guyana, an anglophone country of Africa, or an English-speaking country of the Caribbean AND your native language is English.

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