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MS-PhD Combined Program

The MS-PhD Combined program at the University of Rochester offers baccalaureate-prepared nurses the ability to earn a master’s in one of six nurse practitioner specialty areas, alongside a PhD in Nursing & Health Science.

Jim McMahon

As a bachelor’s-prepared nurse, earn your master’s and PhD in Nursing and Health Science in five years of full-time effort, moving more quickly toward becoming the health care leader and researcher you want to be.

The University of Rochester is dedicated to helping you discover new knowledge in a dynamic, collaborative environment. We offer the resources and challenges you need so you are prepared to embark on a new kind of career as a researcher in nursing and health science.

Below is a map of what it takes to earn your master's and PhD at the UR School of Nursing.

Note: We are not currently accepting applications to the MS-PhD Combined program.

MS-PhD Combined Program Curriculum

The full-time MS-PhD in Nursing & Health Science Combined program curriculum prepares you to conduct research both independently and as a key member of an interdisciplinary team. Before you begin the program, you will work closely with an advisor to map your degree plan.

MS and PhD courses are taken in a very rigorous three years of full-time enrollment after which the master’s degree is awarded. You will then continue to complete the PhD dissertation proposal and dissertation research. Throughout the program, you will work closely with faculty who are active in research and experts in their field.

The first three years of MS and PhD coursework are very intensive, with five days per week of classes, clinical hours, and study time required to meet the program goals. Having a strong support system while in this program is key to your success. Students are strongly discouraged from taking on employment more than one day per week. Financial support is available for full-time study.

 Sample Degree Plan 

Review a sample degree plan for the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner-PhD program.

Sample MS-PhD Degree Plan

Please note: This is a sample degree plan only. Please contact Admissions or your program director to discuss your specific degree plan.

 Master’s Specialty Curriculum 

See below for specifics on specialty coursework related to the master’s degree curriculum:


MS-PhD in Nursing Program Phases


The first three years of this program feature fast-paced, intensive MS and PhD coursework. The master’s portion of the program for nurse practitioner students becomes increasingly clinical, including full-day precepted clinical experiences with expert nurse practitioner mentors. The PhD in Nursing & Health Science coursework then becomes increasingly specialized as students seek out cognate courses to support their individual research interests.

 Proposal Development: One to Two Semesters 

  • Constitution of a dissertation committee
  • Participation in Dissertation Workshop in preparation for proposal defense
  • Finalization and defense of the dissertation research proposal

 Dissertation Research: Six to 18 Months, depending on nature of research 

Once the proposal has been successfully defended and research review board approval has been secured, the student conducts the dissertation research project independently under guidance of the committee. The final dissertation is then written, revised with critique from the committee, and defended publicly with a private critique to follow.

Connect With Us

Interested in earning your PhD? Connect with us to discuss the PhD degree in nursing and health science and the opportunities available at the University of Rochester. 

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