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The Graduate Center - The Life of the Mind in the Heart of the City

A graduate school of arts and sciences, the Graduate Center (GC) is the principal doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York, offering more than 30 doctoral degrees. In addition to rigorous academic training in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences in a PhD-focused, scholarly environment, the Graduate Center fosters globally significant research across the faculty and in a wide variety of centers and institutes. It is an inclusive community of 7,000 students, scholars, and researchers, drawing upon the widest possible range of experience of race and ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, age, physical ability, and socioeconomic status. Extensive library resources are found at the GC and at each senior college campus throughout New York City.

Program Overview

The Graduate Center Doctor of Philosophy Nursing Science Program serves as the only publically funded PhD program in New York City. The goal is to prepare nurse scientists, leaders, and educators who conduct research to improve the health care quality of New York City's culturally diverse, urban population. The school's values of excellence, diversity, and respect are demonstrated in an uncompromising commitment to academic rigor, accountability, evidence, and assessment; steadfast insistence on the ability to serve students from all backgrounds; and a dedication to meet the needs of the university's urban setting. The  Graduate Center is fortunate to have a very diverse student body and the overall program continues to focus on diversity of race, ethnicity, and gender. The Nursing program has strengthened partnerships with the three senior nursing programs from Hunter, Lehman, and College of Staten Island.

Graduates of the nursing doctoral program will deepen their ability to think analytically and innovatively. A dissertation is required. This course of study prepares graduates to undertake systematic, applied, funded research to improve patient outcomes that are  sensitive to the quality of nursing care. Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Demonstrate intellectual leadership for the promotion of health and elimination of health disparities 
  • Evaluate theoretical, historical, and philosophical concepts related to nursing and health care 
  • Conduct nursing research to promote quality nursing and health care
  • Synthesize research findings to develop and implement multidisciplinary programs that promote the health of people from diverse cultures
  • Interpret roles of the nurse scientist in a variety of settings.


The curriculum includes the study of nursing theories, as well as other health-related, interdisciplinary, and educational theories, research methods, and health policy/health economics in a context of multidisciplinary partnerships to provide quality-based, comprehensive health care.

Program Organization

Classes for each PhD cohort are scheduled on Fridays at a single location, primarily the Graduate Center, CUNY. Each cohort takes approximately 10 credits per semester and progresses through the curriculum as a unit. The cohort model provides opportunity for a cadre of future nurse leaders to develop collaborative, professional relationships within an educational environment.

Credit Requirements and Program Outline

The doctoral curriculum consists of 50 post-master's credits. There are 9 credits in nursing science, 18 credits in research methods, 9 credits in health care and policy studies, 3 credits in a research practicum, 3 credits of an elective or independent study and 6 credits of dissertation seminar. This curriculum design is consistent with professional doctoral education in nursing. There are no courses with a clinical component, as these courses were completed at the master's level.

Application Process - NursingCAS

The application deadline is December 1. Nursing's Centralized Application Service is a service of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. NursingCAS allows applicants to use a single online application and one set of materials to apply to multiple nursing programs at participating schools.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Doctoral Degrees 7

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE
Thesis Required


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline December 1st Not reported No

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE
Doctoral Degree Requirements 2 letters of recommendation, personal statement

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 8.7%
Black or African American 26.09%
White or Caucasian 36%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 10.87%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 0%
Unknown 8.7%


Male (10%)
Female (89%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 22
Part-time - 0
Male (1)
Female (21)

Location & Contact

Address 365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY  10016-4039
United States
Contact Prof. Donna Nickitas
Executive Officer
Phone: 212-817-7978

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The Graduate Center, City University of New York
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