Nursing Education and Leadership (D.N.S.)


The purpose of the Doctorate of Nursing Science at Russell Sage College is to prepare innovative, transformational nurse leaders as educators in both academic and health care settings and support the development of the expert educator/leader across multiple venues. A goal of the program is to build the nursing profession by providing its leaders. Individuals who earn a DNS can expect to assume faculty and leadership positions in academic and healthcare settings, advance education, research and scholarship in academic and health care settings and influence policy, legislation and the public about academic and healthcare issues. This programs builds on the Department of Nursing’s rich history of educating undergraduate and graduate nurses for over 80 years while changing the face of health care in the Capital District of New York State.

The curriculum for the Doctor of Nursing Science Program reflects current and diverse knowledge. The curriculum, built on the foundation of the Masters in Nursing Science, promotes critical thinking, evaluation and the application of theory and method to education and health care practice. Faculty are qualified mentors; full and part-time faculty are widely acknowledged to have expertise in their content area. Faculty mentors work with students to support them to identify and achieve individual learning goals for scholarly inquiry. This program reflects a successful partnership between profession, practice and the academic field. Our curriculum helps to narrow the schism that divides academics and practice. We have and promote a vision for nursing and health care leadership. We are ever vigilant to the nuances of the changing face of health care.


The Doctorate of Nursing Science reflects a contemporary statement of educational purpose: to translate learning into action and application within a framework of value that recognizes the obligation of educated persons to lead and serve their communities. The mission of the DNS is to respond to the national and global need to address faculty and health care leadership shortages as well as the need to prepare leaders who will advance the nursing profession and health care through the application of research-based evidence and demonstrated excellence.

The Mission Statement of the Department of Nursing is to provide and promote baccalaureate, graduate, and doctoral nursing education in an environment which emphasizes the development of individuals as professional nurses with a vision of their own power, and a clear sense of self and their professional role. The department endeavors to prepare graduates who are critical thinkers, who utilize, transmit, and develop new knowledge through systematic models of scholarly inquiry, and who demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning. Preparation for excellence in nursing practice is achieved through the integration of arts and sciences, humanistic concern for the health and well-being of others, and an awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity in a pluralistic society. Russell Sage College strives to prepare graduates who are assertive and practice client advocates, enabling clients to maximize their own potential. The global and technological context in which the nursing profession continues to evolve is emphasized, with the expectation that our graduates will assume leadership roles as professionals, and citizens in organizations to influence health care delivery, nursing education, and the welfare of society.

Russell Sage College is accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education. The Department of Nursing is a member agency of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, the National League for Nursing, and the Council of Deans of Nursing in Senior Colleges and Universities in New York State. The baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in nursing at Russell Sage College are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 887-6791. All nursing programs are registered with the New York State Education Department.

Admission Requirements

  • A master’s degree in nursing from a nationally accredited program or its international equivalent.
  • A GPA in the master’s program of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. (For those who have not achieved a GPA of 3.5, a small percentage of candidates may be admitted on a provisional basis.)
  • An application to Sage Graduate School [PDF 202 kb]
  • All official transcripts from all graduate programs attended.
  • An academic curriculum vitae including participation in research, community organizations, professional organizations, continuing education, certifications, and publications.
  • Three letters of recommendation from academically qualified individuals. These letters should specifically address the candidate’s strengths, evidence of potential to become a leader/educator in nursing, ability to complete program successfully, and vision for role upon completion of the program.
  • A writing sample: three to four page essay addressing your personal philosophy of education and leadership, post-doctorate career goals, and how you anticipate the program will help you achieve those goals.
  • Interview with core faculty or program director.
  • Current registered nurse license or its international equivalent.

Regular Admission

Annually, a cohort group will begin the program in the fall. The program must be completed within six years.

Transfer Credit

A maximum of nine graduate credits may be transferred from another accredited institution toward the DNS degree at the Sage Graduate School if the coursework was taken within three years of the first DNS course taken at Sage. Classes where the student achieved a grade of “B” or better will be considered for transfer credit. Transfer credit approval is granted by the doctoral program director and the Dean of Sage Graduate School.

Advanced Standing

Candidates, who have previously completed post-master’s courses or greater than 42 credits in their previous master’s degree in a related area of program competencies within the last three years, may be eligible for Advanced Standing. Some of those credits may be applied toward the required nursing cognates. The program director and admissions committee determine the acceptability for advanced standing. A maximum of nine graduate credits may be accepted for advanced standing.

Required Course Sequence for the DNS

Successful students in the Doctorate of Nursing Science will complete a minimum of 42 post-master’s credits. The curriculum emphasizes three themes :

  • Advanced Nursing Science and Nursing Knowledge (6 credits)
  • Advanced Research and Scholarship (15 credits)
  • Leadership in Higher Education and Health Care (9 credits)

The 42 required credits includes 24 credits of core courses, a required minimum of 6 dissertation credits and 12 credits of cognates. The cognates are designed to provide a breadth of knowledge and experience for students who come from varied backgrounds. Cognates are selected from courses in Sage’s Master of Science nursing program; the intent is to enhance each student’s preparation as educator/leader. Cognates are designated based on review of the candidate’s background. Six nursing education credits must be included in the student’s doctoral program if they are not part of the candidate’s background.

Total Credits
Course Sequencing
  • Advanced Nursing Theory
  • Cognate
  • Cognitive Science & Teaching Thinking Advanced Quantitative Research and Statistical Methods
  • Cognate
  • Educators as Leaders/Leaders as Educators
  • Advanced Qualitative Research
  • Measurement & Evaluation Methodology in Nursing Practice
  • Dissertation
  • Public Policy and Ethics
  • Educator/Administrator Role: Development in Higher Education and Practice
  • Cognate
  • Dissertation (continued)
  • Cognate