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USM Online PhD Nursing Program Earns Lofty National Ranking

Mon, 07/06/2020 - 13:40pm | By: Van Arnold

The University of Southern Mississippi’s online PhD program in nursing has received a Top-10 national ranking by medical and training resource guide

USM’s program occupies the No. 5 spot among the rankings created from research of more than 7,700 accredited schools. EduMed used data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and from the schools themselves to formulate the list. Schools were scored on factors such as tuition cost, program flexibility, and accreditation.

USM offers two options for a doctorate in Nursing Leadership – BSN to PhD and MSN to PhD. Dr. Lachel Story, Dean of USM’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, points out that the program was moved to 100 percent online two years ago to meet the needs of students as well as professional calls to address the national nursing faculty shortage.

“In that transition, we took measures to ensure that our students receive a quality educational experience,” said Story. “For example, the courses are being external reviewed and certified by experts in online education, Quality Matters, to confirm that our courses are using evidenced-based best practices. These rankings reflect those intentional efforts and our commitment to assure our graduates are prepared to be leaders in nursing education, research, and practice.”

The groundbreaking new online Nursing PhD at USM is designed to bring nurses into a leadership role. Every aspect of the online Nursing PhD, from the coursework to the virtual residency and dissertation, is offered fully online.

This first-of-its-kind, online Nursing PhD allows students the freedom to gain valuable practice and research experience without interrupting their schedules. The program and classes were carefully selected to prepare today’s busy nurses for research, academic careers, and leadership roles in universities and health organizations.

Story notes that previously the program operated under a hybrid format, with 50 percent administered online. Since moving 100 percent online two years ago, the program has seen a steady increase in admissions (43 percent). The college admitted its largest class

for the Fall 2020 semester since the program beginning in 1997. There are currently 30 students in the program, with an additional 15 starting this fall. To view the Best Online PhDs in Nursing, visit:

To learn more about all degree programs in USM’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, call 601.266.5445 or visit: To learn more about the online programs at Southern Miss, visit