PhD in Nursing/DNP

DNP students in class
Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Nursing Practice

About the Program

Achieve the highest level of proficiency in the field of nursing—while specializing in what you love—with a dual Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing from Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. Here, you’ll develop a unique focus for your research and practice—and you’ll be prepared to excel in the lab, classroom, or in hospital executive offices.

What to Expect

In just five years, you’ll become a dual-doctorate graduate from Case Western Reserve, one of the top research universities in the U.S. In our program, you’ll complete coursework in a side-by-side fashion, taking courses in both the DNP and PhD programs concurrently.

Your PhD in Nursing is a research doctorate—you’ll learn from the nation’s top nurse scientists as you conduct interdisciplinary research alongside them and prepare your dissertation. You’ll also complete a DNP project, with the potential for it to serve as a pilot study for your dissertation.  

You’ll have the opportunity to complete course requirements for both the DNP and PhD in nursing degrees (55 credits), after which you’ll complete your proposal development, candidacy exam, proposal defense, DNP project and final PhD dissertation defense.

The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing created the first practice doctorate in nursing in 1979. Since 2004, our DNP program has been recognized by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing as the highest level of preparation for clinical nursing. Our graduates apply their education and expertise in leadership roles on the front lines of nursing, in clinical practice, administration, teaching, systematic improvement, and health policy design and development. Where will your degrees take you?

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Beyond the Classroom

At Case Western Reserve, you’ll have a unique opportunity to network with colleagues from around the country, sharing ideas and experiences. You’ll collaborate with our world-class faculty on their research projects—studying obesity, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cystic fibrosis, and cancer, just to name a few options. Explore our focus areas and learn how to get involved in moving the nursing needle forward.

What’s more, Cleveland is a health care hub—you’ll have outstanding clinical and research opportunities with some of the nation’s best hospitals. Cleveland is home to Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth Medical Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and University Hospitals. And, there are countless volunteer opportunities and ways to connect with the local health care community.

By the Numbers


university in the country, U.S. News & World Report


among nursing schools nationally for new and continued research funding from National Health Institutes


years to complete program

Admissions Requirements

Prospective students must be admitted to both the PhD and DNP programs, indicating interest in the dual doctorate within the online application. When filling out the first program of choice, please indicate the dual doctorate interest and we can forward the application to the other degree program. Admission to the DNP program is determined by the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, whereas admission to the PhD program is determined by the Case Western Reserve University School of Graduate Studies.

Application requirements include:

  • Online application, including a statement of purpose
  • Application fees for each application
  • Uploading an essay to the DNP questions and also an essay for the PhD questions
  • Bachelor's degree (BSN) from an accredited institution
  • Unofficial transcripts can be uploaded to the application, but the DNP programs requires official transcripts for application review
  • Current resume/CV
  • Academic references
  • International applicants: a 90 on TEOFL or 7.0 for IELTS


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