Frequently Asked Questions

The College continues to compile a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) concerning the Ph.D. in Nursing Program.  We hope you find this information helpful.  Please check this page frequently for updates!

1. How often will I be expected to be on campus as a Ph.D. student in your program? 

All entering doctoral students are required to attend an orientation on Wednesday of the the first week of Fall Semester coursework. This is followed by one to two days of on campus, in-class sessions.  On campus sessions are referred to as 'Formation of Scholars' sessions. All "in-person" class sessions are held on the Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta.  Students return to campus for two days in late fall semester (November) of semester one. The second semester (spring semester) includes a 2-3 day Formation of Scholars; there are no campus sessions during the summer session.  This pattern of campus course sessions repeats itself for year two of the program.  While a student is enrolled in Ph.D. coursework, he/she can expect EACH course to include approximately 7-8 "live" synchronous learning sessions during the course of any given semester.  Synchronous sessions are when all students/faculty are online at the same time.  The other class days are asynchronous sessions, where a faculty member records classes, students engage in online forum, or other types of learning.  

2. What is "synchronous" learning?

Synchronous learning sessions are included in every course within the PhD program.  This means that a student must allow time in their scheduled day to meet online with faculty and other class members at the scheduled time of class on the Registrar calendar.  Absence from synchronous learning is not acceptable, therefore applicants who cannot commit to synchronous learning activities may need to consider another program.

3. Am I required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?

Yes.  All applicants must take the GRE and scores must be within 5 years of entry to the program.  [The Millers Analogy test cannot be submitted as a substitute for the GRE (no exceptions).] Students are strongly encouraged to take the GRE no later than mid-December.  This will enable reports to be received by the priority admission deadline.

4. Can I attend the program part-time?

Yes, but strong consideration may be given to applicants with highest qualifications and those who are seeking full-time enrollment.

5. How long is the program?  

A student who completes the program as designed for the full-time student can complete degree requirements in the designated timeframe.  However, students who are working (full-time or part-time) are likely to take an additional one to two years for completion of dissertation coursework.  

6. What is the cost of tuition for the program?

Tuition for the Ph.D. program is posted on the web site under tuition and fees.

7. If accepted to the program, will I qualify for financial aid assistance?

For more than ten years, the College has been a recipient of funding through HRSA - title VIII funding - the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP).  Application for funding is made by the College in the spring semester and the College is typically notified by HRSA in August.  If funding is received, Ph.D. students may qualify for these monies.  In addition to NFLP funding, the College supports graduate students through competitive academic scholarships.  The student is always encouraged to apply for outside scholarship sources, as well.  Get information about NFLP. 

8. Is a master's degree in nursing required for program entry? 

Yes.  While we certainly understand scholarly and professional accomplishments among nurses, we require a master's degree in nursing as one of the minimum requirements for Ph.D. entry. 

9. What is the platform used for online courses?  

The College of Nursing uses a Moodle® platform to display all course information and to conduct asynchronous class sessions.  Online sessions for synchronous learning are conducted through Elluminate©.  Elluminate provides a virtual classroom for teaching and learning.

10. When is the deadline for application? 

For Fall 2013 admission consideration: February 15 is the priority deadline  and international student deadline.  March 15 is the final deadline, based on space available. 

11.  What computer skills are required for students in the program?

Students enrolled in Ph.D. coursework must possess the computer skills required to complete the following technology tasks:

  • Launch and operate a web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari
  • Bookmark frequently used web pages
  • Download and upload files
  • Download and/or install software applications
  • Operate a USB headphone and microphone
  • Save files to hard drive or portable flash memory
  • Access email account; send and receive emails and attachments
  • Create and save Word documents and PowerPoint presentations
  • Conduct online research using available databases and search engines, evaluate the credibility of online information, and correctly cite sources

12.  What are the computer requirements for use of online products?

Answer:  In order to participate in online class meetings and successfully complete course assignments, the following hardware configurations are recommended (see below).  Students are strongly encouraged to use a computer which is no older than four years.  Many computers older than four years will not be efficient when interfacing with software programs.


Windows-Based Systems

Recommended Configuration

1.Intel Core 2 Duo

2.1 GB (or more) RAM

3.Windows XP or Windows Vista

Network Card and Cable

An Ethernet enabled computer system with a 10-15 foot Ethernet cable or high-speed wireless connection

Network Configuration

Systems must have TCP/IP installed with configuration set to automatically obtain IP address from Mercer’s DHCP server

Audio Headset

Headphones with attached microphone (direct plug-in, not USB) College faculty use Logitech ClearChat Premium PC

 

Macintosh

Recommended Configuration

1. 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

2. 2GB (or more) RAM

3. Mac OS 10.4 Tiger or later

Network Card and Cable

An Ethernet enabled computer system with a 10-15 foot Ethernet cable or high-speed wireless connection

Network Configuration

Systems must have TCP/IP installed with configuration set to automatically obtain IP address from Mercer’s DHCP server

Audio Headset

Headphones with attached microphone (direct plug-in, not USB); College faculty use Logitech ClearChat Premium PC

Software Requirements include

Windows-Based Systems

Word Processing

Microsoft Word 2007 or 2003

Or other compatible word-processing software, such as Open Office. Assignments should be saved as .docx, .doc or .rft files.

Digital Presentations

Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 or 2003

Spreadsheets

Microsoft Excel 2007 or 2003

Web Browser

Internet Explorer is required to install Cisco Clean Access and Windows updates. Firefox may also be used to access course sites.

Audio/Video players

Windows Media Player and/or Quicktime

E-mail

Mercer e-mail

Browser Plug-ins

Adobe PDF Reader, Shockwave and Flash Player (free downloads from www.adobe.com)

Antivirus

All computers connected to the Mercer network are required to have antivirus software installed. This protects both computers and the Mercer network from harmful viruses and worms. For more information, refer to Mercer’s student technology site.

Macintosh

Word Processing

Microsoft Word 2008 or 2004

Or other compatible word-processing software, such as Open Office. Assignments should be saved as .docx, .doc or .rft files.

Digital Presentations

Microsoft PowerPoint 2008 or 2004

Spreadsheets

Microsoft Excel 2008 or 2004

Web Browser

Firefox is recommended

Audio/Video Players

Windows Media Player and/or Quicktime

E-mail

Mercer e-mail

Browser Plug-ins

Adobe PDF Reader, Shockwave and Flash Player (free downloads from www.adobe.com)

Antivirus

All computers connected to the Mercer network are required to have antivirus software installed. This protects both computers and the Mercer network from harmful viruses and worms. For more information, refer to Mercer’s student technology site.

 

13.  How many hours will students likely spend on the computer each week?

Students enrolled in the online Ph.D. degree program can expect to spend an average of eight to ten hours of Internet connectivity every week.