Doctorate in Nursing Programs with No GRE

The nursing field as a whole has been seeing very rapid job growth in recent years, and this will most likely continue. Job growth generally for the field of nursing will increase by 16% by 2024; this is much faster than average when compared to other fields.

In higher paying, advanced nursing practice positions, the growth in demand will be even higher – an impressive 31% increase in employment by 2024.

Generally, nursing professionals with a higher education will be able to enjoy higher salaries and higher job demand. That is what earning your master’s degree and/or your Ph.D. in nursing can be such a wise investment of your time and money.

What Ph.D. in Nursing Professionals Do

For nursing professionals who are interested primarily in clinical care roles, you would usually earn your bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing. But if you are interested more in abstract thinking, research, and bringing needed change and reform to the nursing profession, you may want to earn your Ph.D. A nurse with this advanced practice degree has the advanced training that she needs to do research and to contribute to the body of nursing research knowledge.

Generally, many nurses with their Ph.D. tend to go into one of a few types of positions:

  • Nursing faculty: Many professionals in nursing with a Ph.D. will work as an instructor or professor for BSN or MSN degree programs. Nurse faculty also are needed for evaluating, creating and implementing new curricula and for mentoring new students in nursing. In addition to teaching, many Ph.Ds will do nursing research, and will disseminate such research in scholarly journals.
  • Nursing research director: Many nurse researchers serve as an administrator for a research in nursing department or a health care facility. The director might be the supervisor for many other nursing research workers. Or, she may oversee various nursing research projects that are done in that health care facility.
  • Director of clinical services: This is a type of clinical administrator who is responsible for the oversight of daily operations of departments that handle patient care in many health care facilities. This type of director is the link between executive management and the various department managers. The director does not work directly in patient care, but she is well aware of the work in all of the departments and works to improve patient care.
  • Other roles: A Ph.D. in nursing professional may work in executive leadership in pharmaceutical companies, medical research companies, and healthcare IT companies.

Overview of a Ph.D. in Nursing

Generally, a graduate from a Ph.D. in nursing program will engage in the following:

  • Generate and disseminate research and knowledge to advance the practice of nursing science and to help its translation into modern practice settings
  • Design and evaluate new nursing innovations that will improve health outcomes for modern patients
  • Engage in and provide leadership for health research teams
  • Influence the health science agenda and new policy efforts in your health care facility or university


When you choose your Ph.D. in nursing program, be that the university and the program itself are accredited. You should look for regional accreditation from one of these organizations:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

For nursing programs themselves, you should look for accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or CCNE.

With the above information in mind, we recommend that you consider the following online Ph.D. in nursing programs with no GRE:

#1 University of Arizona

The University of Arizona is worth your consideration if you desire a Ph.D. in nursing to focus your career on research in an academic, clinical or scientific environment. You have the option of entering the Ph.D. program as a post-BSN student, which allows you to graduate with a total of 79 credit hours.

Or, you may enter as a student with an MSN degree, and complete your Ph.D. in 64 credit hours. Students who already have a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree may complete this degree as well with 64 credit hours.

The online program has part time and full time options; to attend full time, you must complete nine credit hours each semester. Also, if you have not had a graduate level statistics class in the last 60 months, you need to take one in the first semester of the program.

After you begin the PhD program, you can choose to focus on three types of research at the university:

  • Biobehavioral Neuroscience
  • Health Disparities and Illness Self Management
  • Population Health and Wellness

This program’s coursework is all done online, but you have to attend a one week orientation on campus at the beginning of the program.

More information:

  • Campus: Tuscon AZ; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, CCNE
  • Tuition: $810 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: Ph.D. in Nursing

#2 Medical University of South Carolina

The Medical University of South Carolina has a Ph.D. in Nursing Science program that will prepare you to enjoy a career of nursing research and scholarly publication, as well as professional leadership. The expertise of this faculty and the curriculum stresses the care of our most vulnerable populations and the ways that we can promote health care equity for communities and needy individuals.

This program recruits the most talented and diverse nursing applicants who have a strong interest in nursing research that matches this university’s focus.

This program is made to fast track graduate nursing students through the program in 36 months full time or 48 months part time. Most of the graduates of this program become university faculty, researchers and organizational leaders in many types of health care organizations.

This Ph.D. in Nursing Science program is based on the vital competencies of nursing science:

  • Application of theory
  • Research methods and designs
  • Ethics
  • Team science
  • Mentored research
  • Knowledge translation/dissemination

Many Ph.D. in Nursing students choose this university because it ranks in the top 100 of universities in the US for receiving federal funds. Many doctoral students in nursing here will have access to the best clinicians and applied scientists from many disciplines. The MUSC College of Nursing was rated #1 among all online graduate programs according to US News and World Report.

More information:

  • Campus: Charleston SC; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), CCNE
  • Tuition: $799 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: Ph.D. in Nursing Science

#3 University of Missouri

The Ph.D. in nursing program at the University of Missouri is well suited for clinical scholars, educators and researchers. It prepares them for leading roles in many academic, industry and health care environments.

Because of the skills and knowledge that is needed to produce health related research of high quality, you do not have to have a master’s degree in nursing to be admitted into this three or four year program. Some students have backgrounds in health administration, health education, occupational therapy and social work.

All Ph.D. in nursing students will be mentored in this CCNE-accredited program for the following outcomes:

  • To move into leadership positions in healthcare and nursing
  • Initiate and keep collaborative relationships with healthcare professionals and nurses
  • Advance learning and knowledge in healthcare and nursing by evaluating current theories and find new areas for research
  • Educate new nursing students through mentoring and teaching
  • Advance the growth and development of new nursing policies

More information:

  • Campus: Columbia MO online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), CCNE
  • Tuition: $699 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: Ph.D. in Nursing

#4 University of Colorado Denver

The University of Colorado Denver offers a Ph.D. in Nursing degree that is focused on research that will prepare nursing scholars to advance the field of nursing. The program lasts three years full time and has three specialties:

  • Health Care Systems Approach
  • Caring Science
  • Biobehavioral Sciences

This nursing program is done 100% online and will equip nurses to do research and to engage in the development of nursing knowledge and scholarly inquiry across many settings:

  • Scientists and researchers
  • Scholar
  • Educator
  • Administrator

Your core classes will include:

  • Metatheory in Nursing
  • Role of the Scientist
  • Nursing Scientific Inquiry Methods
  • Qualitative Methods I-III

More information:

  • Campus: Denver CO; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, CCNE
  • Tuition: $565 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: Ph.D. in Nursing

Earning your Ph.D. in nursing will ensure that you have a long and productive career in nursing, and you will be able to do your part to advance the field of nursing practice for future generations of nurses.