Aug 21, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Nursing, Phd (MS to PhD, Health Policy focus)

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The program targets the intersection of nursing, health policy, and population health, and prepares its graduates for leadership as researchers and educators who can:

  • Analyze the historical, sociological, economic, political and nursing perspectives of population health problems and existing proposed health policies
  • Evaluate and critique health policies that influence the access, quality, and cost of healthcare services.
  • Conduct theory-guided qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research that advances knowledge of and informs innovative solutions to population health problems and health policies.
  • Influence the development of innovative solutions to population health problems and health policies at local, state, national and international levels.

Degree Requirements

The MS-to-PhD in nursing requires 60 credits beyond the MS degree. For fulltime students, the program normally requires three years of coursework and the dissertation. Courses include health policy and economics, research methods, and statistics. Courses are offered by the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and a number of collaborating departments at UMass Boston and the other four UMass campuses. After completing core courses, students undertake a 3-credit policy internship, followed by a comprehensive examination. Successful performance in the comprehensive examination is a prerequisite to admission to candidacy for the PhD degree. Full-time students should complete the program in four years. Part-time students are required to register for 6 credits per semester and should complete the program in 5 or 6 years.

NOTE: Students take 2 electives. At least one elective must be a research methods course.


Comprehensive Examination

Students take a comprehensive examination when they have completed the necessary credits. Successful performance on the comprehensive examination is a prerequisite for candidacy for the doctoral degree.

En Route MS

An en route MS degree can be awarded after completion of 30 credits in the PhD program and successful performance on the comprehensive examination. These courses, along with others, are taken in the first two years of full-time study. Assuming students progress in their coursework as planned, they will be awarded the en route MS after successfully completing the comprehensive exam. Students need to submit a degree application form to the office of the registrar to formally request their MS degree to be awarded upon fulfilling the requirements.

Students receiving the en route MS degree will not be eligible for certification in an APN specialty without further didactic and clinical courses.

Advanced Practice Certification

Students enrolled in the nursing PhD program who wish to pursue additional coursework to apply for Advanced Practice certification (NP or CNS) after completion of the PhD will be allowed to take up to two NP courses for their elective requirements within the PhD curriculum at the discretion of their faculty advisor. Students are encouraged to discuss this option with their faculty advisor as early as possible during their PhD coursework.

Admission Requirements

Please see the general statement of admission requirements for all graduate studies programs in the “Admissions” section of this publication. Prospective graduate students in nursing will also meet these specific criteria for admission to the PhD Program in Nursing:

  • A clear statement of purpose and goals linked to a selected focus of study (Population Health/Policy)
  • three sealed references from professionals who can attest to ability
  • sealed transcripts of degrees earned from all colleges attended;
  • A copy of a practice license
  • A copy of a professional certification (if applicable)
  • A curriculum vitae/resume.

Special Instructions for PhD Program in Nursing Applicants

  • Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from an accredited program (BS-to- PhD)
  • Master’s degree in Nursing or related field from an accredited program (MS-to-PhD)
  • Current Massachusetts Registered Nurse license or eligibility for licensure in Massachusetts if planning to practice or teach in the US
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test; GPA as well as GRE scores must demonstrate strong verbal, quantitative, and analytical potential.

Candidates are required to schedule an interview with the program director or her or his designate as part of the application process. Out-of-state candidates can be interviewed by phone or Internet.

Application Deadline

Applications must be received no later than March 31st for fall admission. Applications received after this date are considered on a space-available basis. You may find the application online: www.umb. edu/admissions/grad.

Major Advisor and the Dissertation Committee

An academic advisor is assigned for each entering PhD student to assist in course selection and curriculum progression. After the comprehensive examination is completed,

  is taken, and students select their dissertation committee chair and members; the committee must be approved by the graduate program director.   dissertation credits are taken concurrently with NU 791 until 81 credits are completed.


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