University to launch doctoral program in nursing science
Nursing professor Kathleen Schell conducts research on anatomical determinants of blood pressure differences from upper arm and forearm measures.


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8 a.m., Nov. 9, 2010----The University of Delaware will offer a Ph.D. program in nursing science, beginning in the fall 2011 semester. Aimed at preparing recipients for careers in academic, research, and health care settings, the program will require full-time study. Students will be able to complete coursework, comprehensive exams, and dissertation in three to four years.

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According to Kathleen Schell, interim director of the UD School of Nursing, the program will be the first doctoral program in this field in the state of Delaware.

“We have the opportunity to establish high standards for this long-awaited program in the First State,” Schell said.

“The establishment of our program is timely to contribute to the preparation of future nurse scholars who will develop nursing science, serve as stewards of the profession, and educate the next generation of nurses at a time when faculty shortages have reached an all-time high in schools of nursing with baccalaureate and graduate programs. Nearly 93 percent of current faculty openings are for positions requiring a Ph.D., and vacancies are expected to double in the next ten years as the 'boomer' generation of faculty and nurse scientists retires.”

Veronica Rempusheski, Jeanne K. Buxbaum Chair of Nursing Science, points out that the underlying assumptions and beliefs of the curriculum for the new program are guided by the mission of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), the federal institute that supports nursing research at the National Institutes of Health.

According to the NINR, nursing research is the development of knowledge to establish the scientific base for the care of individuals across the lifespan. Nursing science seeks to improve the management of symptoms during illness and recovery; enhance quality of life in those with chronic illness; promote healthy lifestyles and behaviors; reduce the risk of disease and disability; and enhance end-of-life and palliative care.

Areas of emphasis in UD's School of Nursing mirror those documented by the NINR.

“We're very excited that students in this program will benefit from interdisciplinary resources not only at UD but also at our partner institutions in the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance,” said Kathleen Matt, dean of the College of Health Sciences and executive director of DHSA.

Program features

The nursing science doctoral program will offer:

  • Individualized attention in a small cohort of students,
  • Immersion in the research process through assistantships on funded studies,
  • Course content on higher education in nursing, paired with teaching assistantships, and
  • A competitive stipend and tuition waiver for assistantships.

Admission requirements

Applicants must have completed a minimum of three credits undergraduate and three credits of graduate-level statistics.

In addition, they must have a BSN from an accredited college or university and an MS in nursing or other health-related discipline.

The application process includes

  • Submission of a written statement of goals and objectives that clearly identifies the applicant's research and curriculum interests and how those interests will fit with faculty expertise
  • An interview with the program coordinator
  • Submission of a critical writing sample

Information and application

For more information about the Ph.D. in nursing science, contact Veronica Rempusheski, interim program coordinator, at (302) 831-8502 or [].

The application deadline for the 2011-2012 academic year is Feb. 1. The online application process can be accessed at the graduate office website.

Article by Diane Kukich
Photo by Evan Krape