PhD Student Handbook
Philosophy of Nursing Education
The College of Nursing, as an integral part of Michigan State University, subscribes to the land-grant philosophy and its tripartite mission including outreach that bridges the areas of teaching, research, and service. The College provides leadership for the education of nurses at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels who practice within an integrated, dynamic, and diverse health care system. All faculty members are committed to scholarship in teaching, research, service, and practice.
The goal of professional nursing education is to promote competence and leadership in evidence-based nursing practice, scholarship, and research spanning from the community to the international level. Nursing education is a lifelong process that applies the concepts and theories from nursing, the humanities, and the natural and behavioral sciences. Learning is most effective when individual learner needs are considered, and active learner participation is facilitated. This objective is best accomplished in an atmosphere that promotes educational access and respect for diversity.
The beginning practitioner of nursing, a caring professional, skilled clinician, effective communicator, and clinical scholar who promotes the well-being of individuals, families, and populations in health and illness, is awarded the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The beginning advanced practice nurse, a specialist prepared in theory application, role development, evidence-based practice, application ethics, shaping policy/organizations, health promotion, and illness prevention/management to meet the diverse needs of specific populations, is awarded the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN); or with an expanded area of expertise in leadership involving these areas and quality improvement, the advanced practice nurse is awarded the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) . The nurse scientist who is awarded the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing is prepared to conduct an independent program of research with rigorous scientific inquiry that extends knowledge to advance nursing practice, steward the profession, shape health policy, and impact the health and well-being of populations.
Accepted by MSU CON faculty: May 11, 1994
Amended by faculty vote: November 16, 2001
Amended by faculty vote: November 20, 2015
College of Nursing Mission Statement
The mission of Michigan State University’s College of Nursing is to enhance the health of the community by providing excellence in nursing education, nursing research and nursing practice. We will advance the profession of nursing and serve as an advocate for optimal health care for all people. The mission will be accomplished through our strategic priorities:
Education: Provide a balanced array of educational programs to prepare nurse leaders for practice, research, and education.
Research: Increase research activity in focused areas of excellence and expand team science.
Practice: Lead nursing practice partnerships that translate nursing science into practice to improve health outcomes.
Approved 5/10/2011 Faculty Meeting
College of Nursing Vision
The Michigan State University College of Nursing is a leader in creating positive change in healthcare outcomes locally, nationally, and globally through excellence in nursing education, research, and practice.
Approved 9/16/2011 Faculty Meeting
The purpose of the PhD program is to prepare nurse scientists to address emerging health challenges locally, nationally, and globally by advancing knowledge in nursing and related disciplines.
A major program emphasis is to prepare graduates for careers in intervention and translation science in the areas of wellness behaviors/risk reduction and self/symptom management.
Graduates of the program will be well-positioned to:
- Conduct original nursing research using appropriate designs, measures, and analysis.
- Apply relevant concepts and theories/frameworks to promote optimal health among individuals, families, and populations.
- Improve health outcomes through nursing interventions and translation of science.
Program Components & Benchmarks
The program of study is planned by the student in consultation with the major professor and guidance committee. Components will include core nursing and selected courses relevant to the student's chosen research concentration. Each student will meet University and College graduation requirements including:
- Complete courses as defined in the student's program plan and approved by the guidance committee, totaling a minimum of 67 credits.
- Earn a grade of 3.0 or higher in each NUR course and have an overall GPA of 3.0 at graduation.
- Satisfy Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship (RCR) requirements. Go to the graduate school website for more information.
- Maintain all University and CON compliance requirements.
- Complete required coursework based on curriculum at time of admission.
- Submit one external grant.
- Submission of a first-authored, peer-reviewed manuscript approved through the college process.
- Pass written and oral defense of the comprehensive examination.
- Pass written and oral defense of the dissertation.
- Possess a current, unrestricted professional nursing license in Michigan or home jurisdiction.
In addition to the University and College requirements listed above, the PhD students are expected to complete the following benchmarks.
Benchmarks for PhD students, their major professors (MP), and guidance committees (GC) are intended to prepare students for the broad range of competencies needed to become a successful scientist. In part, they were formulated in response to the report from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Task Force on the Research-Focused Doctorate in Nursing, and other studies of U.S. doctoral programs. Note: students are responsible for maintaining documentation showing that they have completed the benchmarks and complied with all University and CON requirements.
All PhD students must complete the benchmarks listed below:
- Attend all CON research/PhD program seminars or alternate seminars approved by MP or GC.
- Complete an annual review each year of the program.
- Provide evidence of having met the requirements stipulated in their admission letter and/or review letters (as part of the annual review).
- Submit abstract for peer-reviewed poster/paper presentation at progressively more prestigious venues (e.g., a local venue in year one, and regional, national, or international venues in subsequent years). Two presentations required prior to graduation.
Year One Benchmarks
- Work with MP to draft program objectives by the end of the first semester.
- Build GC with MP prior to initial annual review.
- Complete GradPlan prior to initial annual review.
- Participate in a regional or national research conference.
- Begin working on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant, a National Research Service Award (NRSA), or a comparable grant.
- Complete a minimum of one research practicum credit.
- Submit abstract for poster at regional or national level.
Year Two Benchmarks
- Work with MP to establish timeline for comprehensive exam.
- Complete additional research practicum credits.
- Show progress toward Teaching Certificate, if applicable.
- Submit NIH/NRSA or comparable grant for funding dissertation work following CON guidelines.
- Submit first-authored manuscript to a journal approved by MP and GC following CON Guidelines.
- Submit abstract for podium presentation at regional or national level.
Year Three to Graduation Benchmarks (if a program of longer than 3 years is desired, the student in consultation with his/her MP or Guidance/Dissertation Committee are responsible for adjusting the due dates.)
- Complete comprehensive examination following CON guidelines.
- Complete teaching certificate, if applicable.
- Complete research practicum hours.
- Defend dissertation proposal.
- File appropriate documents with the Graduate School.
- Defend dissertation and file appropriate documents with Graduate School
GradPlan is the web-interactive system for Ph.D. students to create and store their Ph.D. Degree Plans (program objectives and course plan) and subsequent graduate program activities. Access the GradPlan log-in page here.