UNCW to add two new Ph.D. programs in 2016

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UNCW's psychology department will add a Ph.D. program, as will the nursing school, in an effort to better serve the healthcare needs of N.C. residents. Photo courtesy UNCW/Jamie Moncrief.
UNCW’s psychology department will add a Ph.D. program, as will the nursing school, in an effort to better serve the healthcare needs of N.C. residents. Photo courtesy UNCW/Jamie Moncrief.

UNC-Wilmington will soon double its doctoral offerings.

University spokeswoman Janine Iamunno reported Friday that the UNC Board of Governors has approved two new programs–leading to Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology and Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees. UNCW currently offers a Ph.D. in Marine Biology annd an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration.

“The academic community of UNCW is excited and pleased to have the UNC Board of Governors approve these new doctoral programs,” UNCW’s interim provost Marilyn Sheerer said. “These degree programs signify that UNCW has the faculty expertise in both of these areas and that the graduates coming out of these programs will address significant state needs. Currently, the university produces master’s level practitioners in nursing and psychology, but the new terminal degrees will provide an increased scope of independent practice and compensation for individuals in these fields.”

The doctoral program in psychology is aimed at helping reduce a shortage of psychologists statewide by training students in the areas of substance abuse treatment, developmental disabilities, dementia and psychological services in the correctional system.

“The UNCW Department of Psychology has expertise and leadership experience in each of these areas and considers it part of its mission to provide these much-needed services to North Carolinians,” Iamunno said.

According to NC Works, there is a market for nurse practitioners in North Carolina, and the profession is listed among the occupations with a bright future outlook. Demand is expected to grow, especially in rural areas with few medical professionals. The N.C. Institute of Medicine projects that the state is likely to experience a shortage of nurse practitioners and other primary care providers within the next two decades.

“Through its Doctor of Nursing Practice program, UNCW will focus on training health care providers to serve residents of rural and under-served communities,” Iamunno said.

Both programs are tentatively expected to begin in fall of 2016.