The PhD in Nursing Science, established in 2002, prepares military and federal nurse scientists and leaders and provides nurses with the opportunity to study in the unique environment of federal health care and military operational research. We prepare tomorrow's scientists and scholars with a foundation of sound science, diverse philosophical perspectives, and ethical and policy considerations in the discovery of new knowledge. Our research training is implemented through rigorous methodological perspectives in concert with advanced statistical techniques to address relevant and strategic questions important to our nation's military and federal service health care. Our graduates are well prepared to advance research that will make a difference in the lives of those we serve.

Our PhD is a rigorous program consisting of lectures, small group sessions, seminars, and other blended learning designs as well as a variety of research experiences in intensive and diverse environments. Students contribute to the discovery, development, and transmission of new knowledge, and the result of these activities is the development of a scientific body of knowledge relevant to military and federal health care. Graduate students also contribute to the research mission of the university through professional presentations and publications. Graduates of the PhD Program in Nursing Science readily assume leadership roles in their respective service or organization and carry with them the expectation they will be productive throughout their career.

Designed to prepare research scientists who conduct original research that generates new knowledge in areas relevant to military and federal nursing , the GSN PhD curriculum contains core courses in research methods, statistics, ethics, policy, nursing science, philosophy, data science and precision health/omics, all of which introduce the student to scientific inquiry. Key competencies include: critical appraisal and assimilation of diverse scientific perspectives in research, application of professional and research ethics and judgment in the conduct of research, dissemination of research findings with identification of the implications for policy, nursing practice, and the profession, and integration of data science and omics knowledge in nursing research and practice as underpinnings of Precision Health. Integration of research, teaching, mentoring, and professional service is emphasized as components of scholarship. The advancement of the profession with an understanding of the evolving nurse scholar roles and responsibilities are similarly fundamental aspects of the program. The research-focused doctoral training also prepares students to lead and participate in interdisciplinary research teams, to provide professional and research mentorship, and to engage and train future nurse scientists and scholars through discovery, application, and integration.

The USU doctoral curriculum can be distinguished from that offered in civilian universities because it provides:

  • an early and consistent immersion in research intensive environments such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and established military programs of research
  • a strong emphasis on ethics, policy, and leadership
  • clear interdisciplinary and tri-service collaborations focused on advancing the science in areas of significance to military and federal health care.

Graduates lead interdisciplinary teams who generate new knowledge that addresses unique military operational requirements with advances in science, technology and precision health to improve the lives of warfighters and federal beneficiaries. Research doctoral education (PhD) begins with advanced graduate coursework in foundational philosophy and theoretical approaches, advanced research methods and analyses, and specialty courses to develop substantive scientific expertise. The PhD culminates in a rigorous, independent research dissertation that generates original, novel, generalizable knowledge.


“PhD graduates serve the nation in public service, create new knowledge, train the next generation of scientists, and contribute to the advancement of health and science in both public and private positions.”


Beyond the Classroom

Graduates lead interdisciplinary teams who generate new knowledge that addresses unique military operational requirements with advances in science, technology and precision health to improve the lives of warfighters and federal beneficiaries.

Student Research

Military readiness is the top priority of USU with many different field experiences carefully created to insure students are prepared for any scenario they may find themselves in throughout their military career from medical dive courses in the Keys to mountain medicine courses in Vermont.

Field Exercises

Operation Bushmaster, a Military Contingency Medicine course capstone exercise, is a  multiple-day continuous medical field practicum where soon-to-be military health care providers put their knowledge to the test in a variety of complex scenarios that could occur on a battlefield, preparing them for any challenging environment.

Operation Bushmaster