PhD or DNP for academia

  1. My question is does it matter if you have a DNP or a PhD in academia or is the important thing that you have a terminal degree? I have been accepted to a PhD course and taken my first course, but I am paying out if pocket for this degree. I have the opportunity to start a DNP program with a focus on administration and education with funding for up to 85% of the cost of the program in exchange for 4 year full time faculty commitment. Should I switch programs?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   llg
    Only you can say which career path is right for you. The DNP sounds like the better financial deal ... but if administration/education are not fields that interest you, then it might not be a good fit for you. Start by clarifying your career interests/goals. If the DNP will allow you to meet those goals, then it is the better path for you. But if you will not be happy without the PhD, then maybe not. Thought: I do not someone who got a DNP, then added a PhD to it later.
  4. by   ProfessorD
    Thank you llg. The PhD programs focus is nursing education and administration as well. I know that my plan is to remain in academia and hopefully obtain a full time tenure track position. Now that you've mentioned it there are a few people in my cohort who are returning to add the PhD who are currently DNP
  5. by   Sue Demonas
    Look at the curriculum. See if the program, PhD and DNP, are offering any education electives which would prepare you for an academic role. If not, search out some nursing education electives. The PhD prepares a researcher and DNP prepares for advanced practice roles, but often include education courses in the program of study.
  6. by   ProfessorD
    Sue Demonas,

    Both the PhD program and the DNP have courses specific to the nurse educator role as well as the administrative role. Both programs are focused on nursing education and administration.
  7. by   Sue Demonas
    Quote from ProfessorD
    Sue Demonas,

    Both the PhD program and the DNP have courses specific to the nurse educator role as well as the administrative role. Both programs are focused on nursing education and administration.
    Not always. The intent of a PhD is to prepare a researcher and DNP was intended for advanced practice from AACN, although there has been some morphing of that in some programs.

    I'll agree to disagree with you on this one.
  8. by   ProfessorD
    Sue Demonas,

    I think I may have explained it wrong. Both of the programs that I am interested in have education courses built into the curriculum. I understand that the PhD is research focused and the DNP has a clinical focus. My main question is whether or not it would make a difference in my ability to advance in academia if I obtained the DNP instead of the PhD?

    PhD program of study

    NUR 664 Role Development for the Nurse Educator
    NUR 613 Role Development for the Administrator
    NUR 665 Curriculum Development and Program plannin
    NUR 666 Instructional Strategies and Evaluation of Student Learning
    NUR 713 Organization and Administrative Theory
    NUR 715 Information System and Technology
    NUR 720 Human Resources in Healthcare Administration and Education
    NUR 721 Creating an Online Educational Environment
    NUR 722 Healthcare and Teaching in the Global Environment
    NUR 723 Healthcare Economics and Finance
    NUR 724 Healthcare Systems, Insurance, and Managed Care
    NUR 725 Advanced Curriculum Assessment and Evaluation
    NUR 734 Program Evaluation
    NUR 735 Strategic Management and Planning
    NUR 726 Role Perspectives and Practicum
    NUR 748 Advanced Research Design and Methods
    NUR 800 Statistics
    NUR 801 Research Process I
    NUR 802 Research Statistics II
    NUR 803 Research Statistics III
    NUR 804 Research Statistics IV


    DNP program of study

    NURG 710 - Teaching-Learning Principles 3
    NURG 700 - Theory and Philosophy of Nursing Practice 3
    NURG 704 - Population Health 3
    NURG 712 - Nurse Faculty Role in Program Evaluation
    3 NURG 740 - Resource Planning for the APN 3
    NURG 742 - Emerging Diseases, Genetics and Health Trend 3
    NURG 701 - Methods for Evidence-Based Practice 3
    NURG 703 - Information Systems and Technology3
    NURG 702 - Biostatistics 3
    NURG 760 - DNP Project I 2
    NURG 705 - Advanced Practice Leadership 3
    NURG 711 - Nurse Faculty Role in Curriculum Development 3
    NURG 741 - Contemporary Issues WithinVulnerable Populations 3
    NURG 715 - Nurse Faculty Role Transition 3
    NURG 761 - DNP Project II 2
    NURG 745 - Advanced Practice Practicum
  9. by   Sue Demonas
    Thanks for the clarification, I understand now. It will truly depend on the needs of the institution where you apply. Some make no distinction, opining that a doctorate is a doctorate, while others limit the #s in either category. The bottom line is that the needs of the institution must be met by the directions that faculty work and spend their time. I wish you the best, we need plenty of nurse educators who want to be grounded in good educational theory during their instructional experiences.
  10. by   elkpark
    If your goal is a tenured position in academia, you will be better served by the PhD. A number of schools don't recognize the DNP for tenure purposes (just as many psychology programs don't recognize the PsyD for tenure purposes, just the PhD in psychology). The last state university in which I taught, a reputable nursing program but not a "big name," high-profile school had already decided that it was not going to recognize DNPs for faculty/tenure purposes; DNP-prepared faculty would have the same status as the MSN-prepared faculty (not eligible for tenure, not able to vote in faculty meetings; i.e., "second class citizens").

    There are plenty of schools that don't differentiate, of course, but you never know when, some time in the future, you might find that an opportunity you really want isn't available to you because of the degree. On the other hand, the financial considerations are significant. Best wishes for your journey!
  11. by   Julius Seizure
    I am surprised PhD programs don't qualify for the 85% funding as long as you still commit to be faculty. Is it just because that program isn't approved? I wonder if there are other PhD programs out there that are approved.

    For what its worth, my graduate school has many DNPs as professors and specialty directors. The program administration (Deans, etc.) are all PhDs, though.
  12. by   ProfessorD
    Julius Seiure, BSN, RN

    This specific program has not been approved for the 85% funding as of yet. It would be nice if it were. The program is not as expensive as other programs with tuition being $500 per credit hour. Total I would be out of around $27,000 for the PhD program with 3 courses transferring into the program. Total out of pocket after the loan forgiveness of 85% for the DNP would be around $5000-$7000. But as several of you have stated, it seems as though to not limit myself in future I would be safe to stay with the PhD program. I would have about 30 years left in academia upon graduation so a lot could happen within that time, and I wouldn't want to have to return to school later. Thank you everyone for your insight.

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