Registered nurses who hold a master’s degree in nursing or who have earned at least 24 credits toward a master’s degree in nursing are permitted to register for a maximum of nine credits of doctoral courses as non-matriculated students. With instructor permission and course availability, doctoral courses that may enroll non-matriculated students are: NGC 701 State of Nursing Science; NGC632 Interpreting Health Care Policy; NUS 705 Designing and Testing Interventions and Innovations; NUS 694 Quantitative Methods in Health Care Research (see placement policy); NUS 697 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods; NUS 691 Advanced Information Technology in Practice, Education, and Research; NGC 692 Seminar in Grantsmanship; 695 Advanced Statistical Techniques; and NUS710 Interpretive Phenomenology. Students may also consider updating their research and statistical analysis knowledge by enrolling in NGC 526 Evaluating Research Evidence for Health Care I (required for BS-PhD students) or NGC 527 Evaluating Research Evidence for Health Care II (required for BS-PhD and MS-PhD students who are unsuccessful in passing the required statistical assessment placement examination). A non-degree application must be filed with the Office of Student Services.
The PhD program curriculum is accessed by students through distance technology. Courses are offered in asynchronous, synchronous and hybrid formats as determined by the faculty. Regardless of the manner in which courses are offered, each course has due dates for assignment completion and required levels of student participation in on-line discussion, projects with fellow students, etc. Students are required upon admission to obtain required hardware and software and work with the School’s distance learning specialist to receive approval of their equipment and assure their ability to connect. Ongoing disruption of class due to student’s inappropriate technology and/or failure to work with IT to make appropriate corrections will not be tolerated.
Three credits of research elective (to be taken as 1 to 3 credits over the first year of enrollment) are required the first year as a BS-PhD student.
The Research Area Elective is a course taken individually with a faculty member, usually in the School of Nursing, who is expert in the same or similar substantive content area as the student. The elective nature is because the student is free to choose the faculty member with whom the course is taken. It is very likely that the faculty member chosen will be the student’s advisor or prospective dissertation chair.
The course is taken in the first full time year of study. It may be taken as three full credits or divided among semesters (for example, one credit in the first semester and two in the second semester. The course is designed to be flexible. The student and his/her advisor will decide together whether the elective is taken as an independent study (for example, guided readings and in-depth discussions) or a course in the student’s substantive content area of research interest. Regardless, the aim of the research area elective course is to support students’ in-depth exploration a research area of interest (e.g. through the published literature) in order to identify and refine the PhD research program which will culminate in the dissertation research.
Students must consult with the prospective faculty member they have chosen and their advisor (if not the same) and receive approval prior to enrolling. Students will register using NGC 600 for Independent study, or register for a course in their substantive area with their advisor’s approval. If taken as NGC 600, the student and faculty member will complete and submit the Independent Study application for approval by the PhD Committee.
Post-MS to PhD students are eligible to transfer a minimum of 15 credits from their Master’s program. To graduate from the Post-MS PhD program, students must have a minimum of 72 credits (transfer and UB unique); 36 must be unique to UB.
All accepted Post-MS to PhD students must take and pass the statistical assessment test to enroll in NUS 694 Quantitative Methods in Health Care Research (the first course in the PhD level statistics series in the School of Nursing). Minimum passing score is >83% on each of the four parts. Students should consult with their advisors first prior to enrolling in NUS 694. If students do not achieve a passing score, they are required to complete a graduate level statistics course with grade B or higher (NGC 527 or approved substitute course).
For new students the assessment must be completed during the summer prior to their fall enrollment.
The assessment is self-administered through the UBlearns Blackboard system, where detailed information about the assessment can be found. Incoming students are given access to the system upon admission to the program.
NGC 600, Independent Study, is available to any graduate student as an elective when appropriate to the student's educational goals and with the approval of the student's advisor. Students may enroll for Independent Study under the guidance of an appropriate university faculty member.
Independent Study may consist of directed study, readings, individualized instruction, field experience, research or other appropriate activities. Students may apply up to a maximum of 6 credits of Independent Study to their program. Approval of a proposal for Independent Study is contingent upon the availability of faculty and facilities and approval of the student's advisor.
The student must make an explicit agreement with a graduate faculty member or with other appropriate faculty as recommended by the student's advisor. The student must submit an Independent Study Proposal Form to the Office of Student Services as soon as plans are finalized. The proposal is then reviewed by the School of Nursing PhD Committee and, if approved, forwarded to the Graduate School for review. Independent Study proposals should be submitted in the semester prior to that planned for implementation.
One copy of the Independent Study Form should be retained in the Office of Student Services to submit to the Graduate School with the student’s Application to Candidacy (ATC).
While conducting the dissertation research, students take NUS 699 under the direction of the advisor or dissertation chair. Dissertation credit is typically taken following the completion of required coursework. However, a maximum of six dissertation credits may be taken prior to taking the Qualifying Examination. Once six dissertation credits have been achieved, if a student has not taken the qualifying exam, approval of additional credits must be presented to the PhD Committee. The student may be required to take a Leave of Absence if additional credits are not approved. A minimum of 12 credits is required. Since most dissertations may take longer to complete, students may register for 1 credit each semester to maintain continuous registration until graduation.
The purpose of this one credit course is to facilitate understanding of the process from coursework completion through the dissertation, and to facilitate the role transition from PhD student to post-graduate roles in academia and research. Students are required to take 2 credits of dissertation seminar spread over 2 semesters. Students may take more than the minimum number of credits if required by the dissertation chair or if requested by the student. NUS 702 coursework will begin after a student has successfully passed their Qualifying Examination.
The purpose of this practicum is to provide students an opportunity to advance their research experience by working with a principal investigator or a team of researchers. To obtain actual research experience, the student will participate in an ongoing research program, and be supervised by a faculty mentor who has a current program of research. This is a one credit course (two credits are required) and can be completed in one semester or in two consecutive semesters, as one credit each. One credit equals a minimum of six hours per week in the practicum. The research practicum must be completed before the qualifying examination.
Students will register for this course with consent of their advisor and the research mentor who will supervise the experience. Objectives to be achieved and the plan for the semester should be developed with the mentor prior to beginning the research practicum. A form titled NUS 708 Research Practicum must be completed with the faculty mentor. The completed form is submitted to the Office of Student Services for approval by the PhD committee. The student cannot begin the Research Practicum without PhD committee approval. The form is located in the PhD UBlearns course.
In the middle and end of the semester, the student will provide written evidence of meeting the learning objectives to the mentor. The mentor may request additional evidence of meeting objectives before determining satisfactory completion of the practicum. Grading will be on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
From time to time it may become necessary to cancel a course due to low enrollment or other issues. This will be done at the discretion of the assistant dean for the PhD program and the Office of Academic Affairs.
The Graduate School defines good academic standing as a student who is making acceptable progress toward a graduate degree or advanced certificate. All graduate students are expected to remain in good academic standing throughout the entire course of their study. To monitor graduate student academic standing, the chair/DGS/program director in charge of each graduate program will regularly review the academic records of its graduate students. Any graduate student who fails to remain in good academic standing will be placed on academic probation for the subsequent fall or spring term.
The Graduate School’s minimum academic requirements for each graduate student to remain in good academic standing are:
Note: The S grade is awarded only in those instances where a student's letter grade would have been equivalent to at least a 3.0 (B) or better. As such, the S grade is considered equivalent to a 3.0 grade point average.
All BS to PhD students must maintain a 3.25 grade point average during the first year of study and will be evaluated after the first year by the PhD Committee. Following the first year for BS-PhD and for all MS-PhD students, a 3.00 GPA or B average must be maintained to progress through the program. All students will be evaluated by the PhD faculty every spring prior to continuing in the PhD coursework during an annual review.
Should a student not fulfill one or more of the progression standards, he/she will be placed on academic probation or dismissed from the program. The Office of Student Services will identify any student who may be considered for dismissal or probationary status and will notify the respective faculty advisor and the student of his/her failure to meet progression requirements.
Students who have been removed from probationary status and receive a second failing grade or receive two grades less than “B” in the same semester will be automatically dismissed from their program. Similarly, students who have repeated a course and earned two failing grades (less than “B”) in the same course will be dismissed.
PhD students will receive a formal evaluation of their academic progress after the first semester of enrollment and annually thereafter. The annual meeting will include faculty who teach and advise PhD students in addition to members of the PhD Committee and the assistant dean. The student evaluation includes feedback on progress in the program, including assessing overall GPA, addressing any incomplete or resigned courses, monitoring progress toward completing coursework, preparing for the qualifying exam and timely defense of proposal and defense of dissertation. A follow-up letter regarding the student’s standing will be sent by the assistant dean of the PhD program indicating his/her progress and status in the program. In the event of need for improvement, the assistant dean will consult with the student’s advisor for appropriate feedback and recommendations for advisement and mentoring.
All doctoral students are required to meet with their advisors for discussion, approval and submission of a completed PhD Student Annual Report and up-to-date Program Agreement. The Office of Student Services will send all PhD students the requirements for the annual report. The student must email an electronic copy of the program agreement to his/her advisor or dissertation chair by the posted deadline (usually April). Once completed and discussed with the program advisor/dissertation chair, the reports are sent to the Office of Student Services.
All matriculated (new and continuing) PhD students are required to attend (in person) and participate in a student orientation and research immersion, scheduled in August immediately prior to the semester start date. Students who have defended their dissertation proposal successfully are not required to attend but are welcome to do so.
All matriculated PhD students will participate in a program of non-credit activities to support professional socialization. Until the completion of coursework, PhD students will be required to participate in a variety of socialization activities adding up to 150 points (first years students complete 70 points).
Professional socialization activities may include (but are not limited to) the following:
Activities supporting the fulfillment of the professional socialization requirement should be planned in collaboration with the student’s faculty advisor who will assess the appropriateness of activities proposed by the student and establish the means by which such activities are documented.
Socialization activities will be assessed during the annual PhD review in May. Failure to participate and achieve the required points will result in review of the student’s standing by the PhD Committee and potentially the requirement to perform an additional scholarly activity.
The student’s dissertation committee prepares, administers, and grades the qualifying examination. The dissertation committee also is responsible for evaluating the student’s preparation for conducting a dissertation, reviewing, and approving the dissertation proposal, guiding the research, certifying completion of the dissertation, and preparing the student for a successful defense.
The student will select the dissertation chair with assistance from the faculty advisor (which may be, but is not required to be, the faculty advisor). The student with consultation from the dissertation chair will then select the dissertation committee members. The proposed dissertation committee must be approved by the Assistant Dean of the PhD program. The advisor sends a memo to the assistant dean indicating the student’s choice for a dissertation chair. The assistant dean sends a memo indicating such to the Office of Student Services with a copy to the faculty advisor and the dissertation chair. Once the dissertation committee is approved, the dissertation committee will oversee the remainder of the student’s work. Any change in the dissertation committee membership must be approved by the assistant dean for the PhD program. Criteria for the dissertation committee are as follows:
The major purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine whether or not the student meets minimum criteria (at the doctoral level) in nursing science and research methods. The examination is designed to test the student’s knowledge related to analysis and synthesis of the graduate program course content including elective courses. The examination will focus on the student's ability to synthesize knowledge and principles relative to their focus of study. It is recommended that all required course work for the PhD degree be completed prior to taking the qualifying examination.
The dissertation chair, in consultation with the student, determines the student’s readiness to take the qualifying examination and sets the date for the examination.
Please start the scheduling process at least six weeks in advance of the potential proposal or dissertation defense date. School of Nursing staff are not responsible for missed deadlines due to poor planning.
*Note: Academic days are defined as weekdays when classes are in session, not including the summer or winter sessions.
The dissertation should be an original contribution to the field as determined by the dissertation committee. Doctoral dissertations will be written in English.
It is the responsibility of the candidate and the dissertation chair to ensure that the standards of organization, presentation and documentation traditionally prescribed for publication in nursing are observed. Similarly, all copies of the dissertation must be substantially free of errors before they are submitted to the dissertation chair for final approval before the M-form is signed and the dissertation is prepared for electronic submission.
The final defense is a public event scheduled by the dissertation chair and student that is attended by the candidate’s dissertation committee, members of the faculty from the School of Nursing and the University as well as interested community partners and guests. The date and time of the dissertation must be posted on the nursing faculty and doctoral student listservs at least 10 academic days* in advance of the scheduled defense to allow interested students and faculty the opportunity to attend.
(*Note: Academic days are defined as weekdays when classes are in session, not including the summer or winter sessions.)
The student makes arrangements for the room and equipment, and contacts IT to arrange accessibility to remote attendees. A copy of the dissertation must be made available for review at least 10 days prior to defense in PDF form on the PhD program Information site on UBlearns. The student should provide a copy to the administrative staff of the PhD program who will upload the document.
The defense should be scheduled during the confines of a semester while classes are in session. In the event that the student needs to defend in summer or winter sessions, a written plan must be agreed upon and in place with all faculty/staff involved in the defense process by the last day of classes of the semester preceding the defense. Specifically, the student and Dissertation Chair:
If the student does not adhere to the agreed upon plan, it will be the student’s responsibility to find a solution. Faculty and staff are not responsible for missed deadlines due to poor planning.
Presentation of the dissertation should be conducted in the traditional (in-person, on-campus) manner and be limited to approximately 30 minutes. Limited exceptions to an on-campus presentation will be granted at the discretion of the assistant dean for the PhD program in consultation with the dissertation chair and PhD Committee.
Immediately following the student’s presentation, questions and comments will be moderated by the dissertation chair beginning with questions from the dissertation committee followed by questions from the public. Following the public defense, the dissertation committee will meet privately to determine the outcome of the dissertation defense. Following a successful defense, the dissertation committee chair will send the completed Dissertation Defense Approval Form to the Office of Student Services with a copy to the assistant dean of the PhD program. If the defense is unsuccessful, the dissertation committee chair will send a written memo indicating such to the Office of Student Services with a copy to the assistant dean for the PhD program. The dissertation committee has final approval of the dissertation.