Nursing students working in the simulation lab

Nursing Doctoral Programs Comparison

DNP or PhD in Nursing. Which Doctoral Program is Right For Me?

Choosing a doctoral nursing program is an important step in advancing your education. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) advanced nursing doctorates that culminate in a path to advancing nursing practice and science.

Pace University's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is an accelerated online two-year doctorate program for working nurse practitioners who are looking to become leaders in their field. In our executive-focused part-time program, you will connect with other advancing nurse practitioners and learn the techniques and strategies that will take you to the next level of nursing practice.

The PhD in Nursing is a research doctorate that prepares candidates to conduct research and develop new nursing science, serving as a leader of your profession, and educating the next generation of nurses. Our research-intensive program focuses on primary healthcare, a people-centered approach that makes prevention as important as the cure.

Program Comparison

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

  • Focus - Practice
  • Learning Outcomes: Learn how to use evidence-based practice to make changes and improve outcomes
  • Program Length: 33 credits (5 semesters)
  • Modality: Flexible Online format
  • Curriculum: Develop a proposal for an evidence-based practice improvement project that targets health disparities and improves patient outcomes
  • Admission Requirements: Graduate of an accredited advanced practice master’s degree program in nursing

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)

  • Focus - Research
  • Learning Outcomes: Preparing graduates for tenure track faculty positions to educate the next generation of nurses, taught by full-time Ph.D. faculty with funded research programs
  • Program Length: 45 credits (8-10 semesters)
  • Modality: In-person program meeting one day per week on campus during the academic year
  • Curriculum: Completes a clinical research practicum and dissertation development seminars to develop their research proposal and dissertation topic based upon their own area of interest and clinical expertise
  • Admission Requirements: Completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees (at least one must be in nursing)

Program Leadership

Sharon Stahl Wexler, PhD, RN, FNGNA
Department Chair, PhD in Nursing

Program Director, Doctor of Nursing Practice

Students Testimonials

Christopher Brooks ’24

Christopher Brooks ’24

“The PhD program at Pace afforded me the opportunity to finally complete a longstanding professional goal while working full-time as a director of nursing.”

Simone Ashman phd student class of 2024

Simone Ashman ’24

“My Pace journey in the PhD program has empowered me to challenge traditional and existing practices and seek new problem-solving approaches using different schools of thought.”