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PhD vs. DNP

Find Your Future in Nursing

Nursing Research (PhD- Doctorate of Nursing Science)

Focuses on developing new nursing knowledge and advancing scientific inquiry


In a PhD program, coursework will focus on research and analytical methods, theory, and nursing science. Most programs allow student to specialize in research interests that will directly relate to their careers; this research will culminate in a dissertation.

Career Tasks

Nurse scientists will spend their time researching, conducting analysis, and performing scientific studies to improve all patients’ health status. Collaboration with DNPs and other healthcare professionals is expected.


Nurse Researcher or Educator for healthcare facility, Nurse Scientist, Policymaker, Academic Professor, Author

Nursing Practice (DNP- Doctorate of Nursing Practice)

Focuses on a clinical career and improving outcomes of patient care and population health


DNP programs focus on a combination of healthcare policy and advocacy, information systems and technology, healthcare quality improvement, evidence-based practice, and organizational and systems leadership. A final project may also  be required.

Career Tasks

DNPs will direct patient care, including diagnosing, treating and educating patients to help improve their outcomes. Collaboration with PhDs is expected and necessary to apply the findings of scholarly research within a clinical practice setting.


High-level advanced Leadership/Practitioner within Healthcare facility, Quality Improvement Management, Healthcare Informatics, Clinical Educators, and Policymakers


Top 50 Best Value DNP Programs of 2016

Top 50 Best Value PhD Programs of 2016

Additional Nursing Salary Data:

Average Nursing Salary for DNP- $116,000 (that is, the average annual salary of those holding a Doctorate in Nursing Practice as reported from

Average Nursing Salary for those with PhD- $87,590 (that is, the average annual salary for those holding a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science reported by