BSN to PhD in Nursing

The BSN to PhD program is designed to prepare the applicant for a nursing career as either an educator, researcher, administrator, or clinician. It is not designed to prepare a certified nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. Students entering this program receive a PhD nursing degree; the BSN student completing the PhD degree in nursing does not earn a master’s degree. Students wishing to earn a master’s degree must first enter the master’s program and complete those requirements before applying to the PhD program.


The applicant with a BSN will need to meet all the admission requirements for the PhD program and must have 1000 hours of documented clinical nursing practice before enrolling in the practicum courses.  In addition, an applicant will need approval from the master’s specialty coordinator of the applicant’s chosen clinical, administrative, or nursing education specialty.   See Admissions section for more information.

Program of Study

For the individual entering with a master’s degree in nursing,  the PhD program program of study will include a minimum of 82-83 credit hours, which includes all the core courses for the doctoral program, 12 hours of electives, and 18 hours of dissertation study. In addition, the BSN-PhD student must select a clinical, administrative, or nursing education specialty at the master’s level and complete the required credit hours (which vary depending on the specialty). The specialty areas are Adult- Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner or CNS, Adult-Gero Primary Care,Family Nurse Practitioner, Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner or CNS, Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, and Nursing Education. Those selecting nursing education must also have co-acceptance in another master’s specialty. Taking the BSN entry pathway into the PhD program will shorten the student’s program of study for the PhD degree by approximately 20 credit hours.

Changing Programs

Students entering the BSN to PhD program earn a PhD in Nursing Science degree; the BSN student completing the PhD degree in nursing CANNOT earn a master’s degree from the College of Nursing. If a student wishes to earn a master’s degree, he or she must withdraw from the UAMS Graduate School, then apply for admission to the College of Nursing. After acceptance is granted to the College of Nursing, the student must complete all requirements for the master’s degree before reapplying to the PhD program. Admission to the College of Nursing is not guaranteed nor is re-admission to the PhD program.


Jean McSweeney, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN
Phone: (501) 296-1982