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College of Nursing and Health Innovation | The University of Texas at ArlingtonCollege of Nursing and Health Innovation | The University of Texas at Arlington


Touching Lives. Transforming Health Care.

Roles and Responsibilities in the Nursing PhD Program

Research Advisor

Our PhD education is predicated on a strong mentoring relationship between the student and faculty throughout the curriculum. Your work at UTA will be guided by a research advisor and a supervisory committee. The Research Advisor, a faculty member in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, provides guidance to the student, helping them navigate through the process of coursework, comps, and the dissertation, which includes the student's research agenda. As the student's committee chair, the Research Advisor is selected early in the PhD student's course of study, and will help the student recruit the rest of her or his committee. This partnership is key to a student's success in the PhD program.

The Research Advisor is generally drawn from the College's active research faculty; a list can be viewed by clicking or tapping here. A comprehensive document describing current research by faculty member is available here.


The student's committee provides additional oversight to the student's scholarly and research agenda, and it is the committee as a whole that passes a student through coursework to comprehensive examination (comps), from comps to candidacy, from dissertation proposal to dissertation, and finally reviews the student's dissertation. The Research Advisor assists students in filling out their committee from members of the faculty at the University. Sometimes, faculty outside of the University may be selected to bring additional content expertise to a student's committee.

Doctoral Coach

Some students may need additional support in areas such as work-life-school balance, navigating difficult situations, emotional support, or needing advice from someone who is not as involved in the student's day-to-day work as a PhD student. This faculty member is a resource to assist in these areas. As a "coach," this person can provide informed, outside perspective to a student, while respecting the student's relationship to their Research Advisor.

The Doctoral Coach role is the conceptual successor to the PhD Mentoring program established by Drs. Bond and Baxley, and draws on the expertise gained through that program.

PhD Student

As a PhD student, you are expected to work at an academic, scholarly, and ethical level that is becoming of a member of the academic community. You must provide the initiative and determination needed to see your course of study and research agenda through to its successful conclusion, utilizing the resources that are available to you. You must identify and work towards your goals, provide feedback to and communicate with the people who are partnering with you as you work towards your PhD.

Some key characteristics of all successful PhD students irrespective of their areas of study are: effective utilization of time, actively searching the literature, regular writing habits, looking at research problems as new opportunities, and developing solutions to problems and discussing these solutions with the advisor. Success is within your grasp if you put in the effort to achieve.