The five "core content courses" of the program (meeting the Graduate School requirements of 18 graded credits in the major) are:
- Philosophical Basis of Nursing Inquiry (NURS 588)
- Theoretical Perspectives in Nursing (NURS 589)
- Methodological Perspectives in Nursing Inquiry (NMETH 580)
- Ecology of Human Health (NURS 590), and
- The Science of Nursing Therapeutics (NURS 592)
These courses are meant to provide a breadth of scholarship and were designed to be taken during the first year of doctoral study. A course called Synthesis of Nursing Science (NURS 595) occurs in the summer of the first year as a mechanism for analyzing, integrating, and synthesizing the first year's core courses content. If a student wishes to vary from this plan of first-year courses, a petition can be brought to the PhD Coordinating Committee for consideration.
The Ecology of Human Health course (NURS 590), The Science of Nursing Therapeutics course (NURS 592), and the 6 credits of required Graduate Nursing courses provide a strong core in Nursing Science. While all of the courses have a nursing perspective, nursing is by nature interdisciplinary and therefore many of the courses may be of interest to non-nursing graduate majors. We ascribe to the belief that diversity of students enriches the learning experience, especially in graduate seminars.
During the second year of study, students have the opportunity to develop depth in a selected method. A minimum of 8 credits in a selected methodology you will use in your research is required. A conceptual advance in the 1997 program revision was the development of several methods courses for nursing/health sciences. In each area courses were developed to give an initial as well as in-depth content in the specific methodology. Methods are defined as involving specific methods, research approaches and types of analysis. Courses reflecting the methods most used in nursing science were developed. The major methods offered in the School of Nursing are:
- Clinical Evaluation and Outcomes Research;
- Interpretative Methods;
- Instrument Development and Testing;
- Theory Testing;
- Time Series and Sequential Analysis; and
- Physiological Measurement.
Meta Analysis and Observational Methods are also seen as important methods, but are offered only if qualified faculty is available. Non-nursing methods courses in other units of the University are identified.
A minimum of 10 credit hours of statistics are also required in the program, as well as 12 credit hours of study in related fields. Role Transition Seminars and Colloquia in Scientific Content and Dissertation are also a part of the required program of study. By the end of the second year, most students are completing their course work and taking their General Exam. The successful completion of this event signals the move from course work to dissertation work.