400 West Campus Drive, 203.785.2389
M.Phil., Ph.D.

Azita Emami

Director of Graduate Studies
M. Tish Knobf (203.785.6455,

Professors Xiaomei Cong, Azita Emami, M. Tish Knobf, LaRon Nelson, Carmen Portillo, David Vlahov

Associate Professors Deena Costa, Soohyun Nam, Monica Ordway, Hermine Poghosyan, Raquel Ramos, Julie Womack

Assistant Professors Bridget Basile-Ibrahim, Shelli Feder, Zhao Ni

Fields of Study

Common areas of inquiry include chronic conditions; self- and family management; symptom science; maternal and child health; sleep and sleep disorders; global health; health equity and health disparities; end-of-life and palliative care; environmental influences on health; and community-based interventions.

Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree


Completion of fifteen core courses and four cognates in the student’s area of specialization (including one advanced analysis course) is required. Successful completion of the Dissertation Seminar (NURS 906 in the fall and NURS 907 in the spring) every term until the final dissertation defense is also required. The required core courses are: NURS 901, Quantitative Methods for Health Research; NURS 902, Qualitative Methods for Health Research; NURS 903, Measurement of Biobehavioral Phenomena; NURS 904, Mixed Methods Research; NURS 905, Intervention Development and Introduction to Implementation Science; NURS 908, Synthesis of Knowledge and Skills for Nursing Science; NURS 915, Nurse Scientist and Grant Writing; NURS 912, Knowledge Development for Nursing Science; NURS 913, Chronic Conditions: Risk Factors, Prevention, and Management of Adverse Outcomes; NURS 929, Responsible Conduct of Research; NURS 985, Achieving Population Health Equity; BIS 505, Biostatistics in Public Health II; BIS 633, Population and Public Health Informatics; EPH 505, Biostatistics in Public Health; and CDE 534, Applied Analytic Methods in Epidemiology, or S&DS 563, Multivariate Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences.

Cognates may be taken in any area related to the student’s dissertation research, including appropriate methodology and statistics courses. It is recommended that one of the four cognates be a health policy course. Some examples of the disciplines that doctoral students have chosen are public health, developmental psychology, exercise physiology, family and human relations, and sociology. Cognates may include independent study with Ph.D. program faculty.

The grading system includes Honors, High Pass, Pass, and Fail. Students must maintain a High Pass average and achieve a grade of Honors in at least two core courses to remain in good standing. After the first year, no more than one grade of Pass in a core course will be permitted. A grade of Pass or better is required for all cognates.

In addition to all other requirements, students must successfully complete NURS 929, Responsible Conduct of Research, prior to the end of their first year of study. This requirement must be met prior to registering for a second year of study.

The Yale School of Nursing does not offer the option of a combined degree.

Graduate Research Assistant and Teaching Fellow Experience

During the first two years of the program, students are Graduate Research Assistants with faculty mentors and participate in the mentor’s ongoing research.

Teaching experience is also considered to be an integral part of graduate education. Therefore, two terms as a Teaching Fellow are required. Teaching Fellows assist with the teaching of master’s-level courses, typically during their third year of doctoral study.


Successful completion of three examinations is required.

  1. The preliminary examination is taken in June after the first year of coursework has been completed. The preliminary examination is intended to allow the student to demonstrate mastery of doctoral coursework. Passing the preliminary examination is a prerequisite for continuing in the second year of doctoral study.
  2. The qualifying examination typically takes place at the end of the second year of study, when required coursework is completed. If the qualifying examination is not completed by the end of the sixth term, the student will be placed on Academic Probation. If not completed by the end of the seventh term, the student will be dismissed from the program. The student prepares a comprehensive dissertation proposal containing a statement of the problem to be studied, conceptual framework, critical review of relevant literature, design, methods, and plan for analysis. The oral qualifying examination typically lasts one to one-and-a-half hours. The student gives a twenty-minute formal presentation of the proposed study and answers questions regarding the research and related topics. Successful completion of the Qualifying Examination is required for candidacy for the doctoral degree.
  3. The final oral examination is based on the dissertation. The dissertation is intended to demonstrate that the student is competent in the chosen area of study and has conducted independent research. The final oral examination typically lasts one-and-a-half to two hours. The student gives a twenty-minute formal presentation of the dissertation and answers questions. Successful completion of the final oral examination is required before the Ph.D. can be awarded.

Master’s Degree

M.Phil. This degree will be granted to Ph.D. students who successfully complete two years of coursework, but do not progress to the dissertation stage. To be awarded the M.Phil. degree, students need to complete all core courses, four cognates (may include independent study with faculty), and two years of Graduate Research Assistant experience, and must pass the Preliminary Examination. This degree is normally granted only to students who are withdrawing from the Ph.D. program.

For information on the terminal master’s degree offered by the Yale School of Nursing (Master of Science in Nursing), please visit the School’s website,

Required Nursing Courses

All Ph.D. students are required to take the following courses. For a complete list of Nursing courses, see the School of Nursing bulletin, online at; and Yale Course Search at

NURS 901a, Quantitative Methods for Health ResearchJulie Womack

This course introduces students to quantitative research methods and how to evaluate various scientific designs for investigating problems of importance to nursing and health. Emphasis is placed on scientific rigor, validity, and the critical appraisal of research. Experimental, quasi-experimental, and observational designs are presented and evaluated for internal, external, construct, and statistical validity. The interrelationships of the research question and study aims with study design and method are thoroughly explored. The course prepares students for designing a quantitative study. Required of first-year Ph.D. students in nursing. Three hours per week for fourteen weeks.
Th 3:30pm-6:20pm

NURS 903a, Measurement of Biobehavioral PhenomenaXiaomei Cong

This course is designed to review measurement theory, reliability, and validity of measurement methods and discuss the accuracy and precision of biological and behavioral measures for clinical research. Measures are evaluated through the lens of diverse communities and populations, with the goals of promoting health equity. Required of all second-year Ph.D. students in nursing. Open to advanced graduate students in other schools of the University. Three hours per week for fourteen weeks.
T 2pm-4:50pm

NURS 904a, Mixed Methods ResearchShelli Feder

The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of mixed methods research. This overview consists of the history, philosophical foundations, purpose, data collection, analysis, and evaluation of the common mixed methods designs. Required of all Ph.D. students in nursing. Three hours per week for seven weeks.
T 9am-11:50am

NURS 906a, Dissertation Seminar IM Tish Knobf

This required doctoral course provides the student with advanced study and direction in research leading to development of the dissertation proposal and completion of the dissertation. Students are guided in the application of the fundamentals of scientific writing and criticism. All Ph.D. students in nursing are required to take this seminar every term. Three hours every other week for fourteen weeks.
Th 9:30am-11am

NURS 908a, Synthesis of Knowledge and Skills for Nursing ScienceM Tish Knobf

This course is designed to develop beginning competencies necessary to engage in a career as a nurse scientist. It includes the basic principles and processes of scientific writing, literature searches, synthesis of research evidence, and presentation skills.
Th 1pm-2pm

NURS 912a, Knowledge Development for Nursing ScienceDeena Costa

This course introduces the historical perspective of the philosophy of science and the relationship to nursing science. Students review nursing’s disciplinary perspective and examine the philosophical, theoretical, and conceptual linkages for knowledge development for nursing science. The course is required of all first-year students in the Ph.D. program and open to others by permission of the instructor. Three hours per week for fourteen weeks.
T 9am-11:50am