Ph. D. Program Information

The Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) builds upon a foundation of baccalaureate and master's education that integrates nursing theory, research and knowledge from other disciplines. Based on the Division of Nursing humanistic framework, the program emphasizes the dignity of the individual, scholarly inquiry, self enrichment and high personal and professional standards. The curriculum focuses on building a knowledge base in nursing, leadership, policy and research to begin the process of conducting original studies that lead to the dissertation. Cognates support the knowledge needed for in-depth exploration of theory and content of the research trajectory.

Curriculum Overview

The sequence of courses of the Ph.D. program curriculum is congruent with the elements identified for the research-focused doctorate by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The doctoral program is grounded in research. The curriculum includes formal emphasis within research courses, a research residency and self -directed learner activities. Within the 51 required credits, 36 are prescribed and 6 are elective (cognates). Dissertation development and progression follow coursework and a comprehensive examination with 9 total credits. NUR 603, The Scholarship of Health Care Organization and Policy, will be offered by faculty of the School of Nursing at Catholic University of America (CUA) and includes a week-long experience in Washington D.C.

Doctoral students are advanced adult scholars and their educational experience should be characterized by active, engaging learning modalities. In keeping with Molloy College strengths characterized by small classes with personal student-faculty engagement, the faculty guide learning in a variety of ways including an immersion experience in health policy, independent service learning in policy analysis and collaborative research relationships with faculty and experts, supported by web-enhanced courses and some distance methodologies. Socratic questioning, reasoned response papers, point/ counterpoint discussions and application of diverse research methodologies) are included in the required coursework.

Research Curricular Threads

The research core of the Ph.D. program at Molloy will be required of all students. The research "core" is a 15 credit combination of sequenced courses that give students progression in a breadth of understanding related to quantitative and qualitative design and analysis with opportunity for advancing expertise with the advanced level courses and additional cognates (2) that could be methods or analysis focused if the student's interest and goals warrant additional depth. Consultants to be determined are invited to campus to broaden the students' repertoire and offer advanced or alternative approaches to their research topics and provide mock reviews on proposals.

The Research Residency requirement has been specifically added to complete students' research base to a competency level that allows them to proceed to the dissertation. The array of research activities are made available with individualized guidance that may include even additional analytical foci. Courses required include a sequence of Quantitative and Qualitative Methods with options for advanced learning in a research approach supplemented by cognates. The Hallmarks series of required courses build competencies in research methods toward the dissertation proposal and progression credits.

Leadership Threads

The frameworks of contemporary nurse leaders, as well as others, will be used throughout the curricular threads. Four courses contain specific objectives as leadership threads with sample content for students to connect with their research or policy experiences. A planned seminar series and Molloy hosted conference activity with invited guest speakers and onsite consultants will expose students to a wide range of health leaders who may or may not be nurses.

As leadership in health policy is a significant component of the curriculum, the students focus on health policy with an intensive series of activities in policy analysis. This includes lecture and activities on contemporary issues, a policy brief writing workshop and an immersion experience in policy offices engaging in service learning policy activities in the Washington Health Policy Institute.

Course Summaries

Theory/Core - 15 credits
This cluster of core courses addresses the theoretical and conceptual bases for nursing practice, and the underpinnings of professional leadership.

  • Hallmarks of Scholarly Inquiry introduces the doctoral student to the scholarly process of dissertation research preparation.
  • Ethics: The Foundation of Leadership explores traditional and contemporary ethical principles and core nursing values in order to develop students' complex analytical skills.
  • Nursing Concept Analysis Through the Humanities allows students to investigate phenomena important to nursing through the lens of the humanities. Students also develop theoretical connections and philosophical reflections as bases for future theory construction. Students gain exposure to the United States health care system and the organizational, public and corporate policies that shape and influence it as a background for nursing leadership in the Scholarship of Health Care Organizations and Policy.
  • In Philosophical Evolution of Nursing Knowledge, elements of philosophy of science are used as a guide to explore the evolution of nursing science. Nursing theory construction is examined as a foundation for research.

Research - 15 credits
In the research cluster, students acquire the tools to build their research skills. A strong foundation in both qualitative and quantitative methods is offered in Qualitative Research Methods, Quantitative Research Methods and a choice of either Advanced Quantitative or Advanced Qualitative Analysis. Research Residency affords students learning opportunities encompassing all aspects of the research process. In Hallmarks of Scholarly Design and Implications, students have a particular emphasis on dissertation proposal development as well as implications for the nursing profession.

Leadership and Education - 6 credits
Leadership themes are threaded throughout the curriculum assuring preparation for leadership in health policy and organizations. Leadership Innovations and Interventions allows students to examine the complex interaction of forces shaping organizations and national and global policy. Nursing Education: Principles, Dynamics, and Innovations provides students with teaching experience and knowledge necessary for doctoral graduates of the future.

Cognates - 6 credits minimum
This component allows students to pursue an individualized plan of study that builds a specialized area of competence and supports their research interests and career goals. A portion of the cognate courses is ordinarily chosen from other disciplines (minimum of 3 credits) that contribute to the development of nursing knowledge through theoretical and/or methodological approaches. These courses may be taken at Molloy or other academic institutions. The choice of cognates must be approved by the advisor and Director of the Ph.D. Program.

Dissertation Seminar (3) and Dissertation Progression (6)
The dissertation is the culmination of doctoral study. Dissertation Seminar is taken after the completion of all required coursework and successful pass on comprehensive exam and provides the opportunity for the student to develop and refine the dissertation. Following the Dissertation Seminar, the student registers for continuous Dissertation Progression until completion of successful oral defense.

Admission Requirements

The Division of Nursing at Molloy College employs a "whole person" philosophy to evaluate candidates for admission to the doctoral program. A multi-faceted assessment of the applicant's potential for success includes the following:

  1. A master's degree from an accredited program. A higher degree in nursing (baccalaureate and/or master's). Degrees outside of nursing need to be relevant to nursing and health.
  2. Minimum Grade Point Average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale from applicant's master's program.
  3. An official report of scores, no more than 5 years old, from the Graduate Record Examination.
  4. Original official transcripts from all college programs and courses.
  5. Current license to practice as a registered nurse in the United States.
  6. A written statement of career goals after achieving the Ph.D.
  7. Description of a proposed area of research.
  8. Three letters of reference from professionals in the field that speak to the potential of the applicant as a scholar, to include at least one from a former faculty and at least one from a recent employer.
  9. A current curriculum vitae (professional resume).
  10. Graduate course in inferential statistics, (3 credit minimum, completed within last 5 years). If this criteria is not met, this will be added to the student's program of study.
  11. A copy of a recent scholarly paper, research report or publication.
  12. An interview with the Associate Dean and Director of the Ph.D. Program and faculty of the Doctoral Program with concurrent completion of an onsite brief writing sample evaluated by a designated Ph.D. admission committee.
  13. International students must follow the regular admissions procedure including submission of college transcripts. See the catalog for English evaluations of transcripts. The TOEFL examination for those whom English is not the native language is required with a minimum score of 500.

Students are admitted for the fall semester only. All materials for admission must be submitted to the Admissions Office of Molloy College, by March 1 of the year of application.

Ph.D. Degree Overview