PhD FAQs

Why UAMS College of Nursing?
The UAMS College of Nursing is committed to individualized attention and to the development of our doctoral students.  We ensure that by admitting 5 – 8 students each year.  Our faculty are funded leaders in nursing and are dedicated to providing a supportive learning environment.

How do I decide between a PhD and a DNP? 

This is an individual decision based on a number of factors, including career aspirations.  In brief, the PhD is the recognized research degree and is offered in many disciplines.  If you are aspiring to an academic faculty position in a university setting, the PhD is the usual credential.  The DNP prepares clinical nurses for advanced practice and provides students with the opportunity to gain doctoral level education while maintaining a practice focus.  Currently, there is no DNP program in the state of Arkansas, but the College is actively seeking approval to begin a program.

Can I take courses without being admitted into the doctoral nursing program?

Yes. You may take up to six (6) credits total as a non-degree seeking student with the permission of the course faculty.  This does not ensure admission at a later date.

Can I transfer credits taken at another university?
Yes, you may request review and acceptance of six (6) credits taken at another university.  Additional credits may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What kinds of changes can I expect I will need to make in my daily life?
As students anticipate their schedules, they generally think about the amount of class time – and, if thinking ahead, will also remember to include class preparation time. Individuals sometimes forget about the time it takes to assimilate new information. Education at the PhD level not only provides new information, it challenges familiar ways of thinking and practicing. Be prepared for the “hidden time” you’ll need to make those changes and don’t over-schedule work. Remember that your family deserves your time and attention, as well.

Can I work while getting my doctoral degree?
Yes, you can work.  However, many students underestimate the amount of time required to be successful in meeting course requirements.  This is an individual decision which we will be happy to discuss with you during the application process.

What is the application deadline?
The deadline for submitting a completed application is March 15th. If the class cohort is not filled by this date, applications will be considered until the class is full.

Do I need letters of recommendation to apply to the program?
Yes, you need four (4) recommendations. These should be solicited from professionals who can address your qualifications for doctoral study. Therefore, at least two (2) from the recommendation checklist should be from persons with doctoral education. They should not be from friends, relatives, neighbors, or religious leaders. It is important to be certain that the recommendations requested are completed and submitted by the person asked to be a reference. We will not review your admission packet until your file is complete. Please see the doctoral application instructions on this site for the recommendation forms and the mailing address for completed forms.

Is an interview required?
Yes, an interview is required. This is an opportunity for us to get to know you better, to learn about our career goals, and to assess the match between your research interest and that of our faculty. In some cases, a telephone or skype interview can be arranged. This is also a chance for you to meet faculty and ask questions. Applicants will be notified regarding acceptance about two (2) weeks after the interview.

How do I develop my coursework?
Upon admission, you will meet with the PhD Director. She will work with you to determine your progression through the program of study. You will select either a part-time program of study (6 credits/semester) or a full-time program of study (9-10 credits/semester). Electives are added to individualize your coursework. Please see the separate headings for part-time (PT) Plan of Study and full-time (FT) Plan of Study.

How many of the nursing courses are offered online?
Most of the required courses are offered in a “blended” format.  This means that typically the first class in each month is offered face-to-face, and the remaining classes are taught using Blackboard.  Several courses are taught entirely face-to-face; these classes are generally scheduled on Thursday afternoons and Fridays.

Can I start anytime?
All master’s to PhD students begin their programs of study at the beginning of June. BSN to PhD students start in the fall or spring, depending on the course schedules of their specialty program of study.

Do I need a computer?
Yes, you will need a computer with high-speed Internet access to successfully complete the requirements for the PhD degree.  Many of our students work with a notebook computer on and off campus.

What computer skills do I need?

We expect our students to be competent in Microsoft word processing; Internet searches and use; and sending, receiving, and saving emails and attachments. It is desirable to know PowerPoint for slide presentations, software for reference management, and Excel for spreadsheet work. To minimize problems, you should also install anti-virus software and update it periodically. You will receive an introduction to Blackboard and a program to manage references during your orientation to the program.

What is required of foreign students?
 
English Proficiency Certification – Any international applicant whose native language is English must provide a document identifying their country and  noting that the native language is English.  Any applicant whose native language is not English and who does not have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution is required to submit a minimum score of 550 (or 213 on computer-based scoring or 80-at least 20 on each section is required on internet based scoring) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The test must have been taken within two (2) years immediately preceding the requested semester of admission. (Departments have the prerogative of setting higher score requirements.) Arrangements to take the TOEFL may be made by writing directly to TOEFL, The Educational Testing Service, P. O. Box 592, Princeton, New Jersey 08540. The student should request this organization mail his/her TOEFL score to institution code #R6901. It should be used on registration papers from the Educational Testing Service.  For all international applicants, official test results of the TOEFL score and the GRE score must be sent directly to UAMS by the Educational Testing Service. A photocopy of the scores sent to the student, who in turn forwards the scores to UAMS, is not sufficient. No action will be taken on an application containing a photocopied test score.