Grand Canyon University’s innovative doctoral degree programs prepare learners for leadership roles in their professions, communities and society. Our dynamic online learning community, integrated dissertation process, wealth of resources and collaborative environment support a successful and meaningful doctoral journey. We believe earning a doctoral degree is a journey and similar to climbing a mountain—challenging, invigorating and completely rewarding when you reach the top. Our goal is to help you conquer your own mountain and succeed on your doctoral journey. Readers of The Doctoral Journey blog, presented by the College of Doctoral Studies, will find resourceful and knowledgeable posts regarding the doctoral process, research best practices and dissertation tips among other topics from GCU’s doctoral faculty.
Let's get started on your degree

* Do you have a high school, college or university credits from outside the U.S.?
* Are you a U.S. Citizen?
* Are you a licensed, registered nurse in the U.S.?
(example: 777-777-7777)

* Required field

** Required field if international

Request More Information
Category: The Doctoral Journey

The doctoral programs at Grand Canyon University provide rewarding experiences and opportunities that will prepare its graduates for leadership in their field. Many learners beginning their program are bound to realize that the demands of their program will require some sacrifices. The first step to making the most of your program is taking the steps to prepare for your doctoral journey.

Continue Reading

The Grand Canyon University Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a crucial part of the dissertation process. All learners would benefit from understanding the role of IRB in overseeing research to protect human subjects.

The role of GCU IRB is to review all research conducted by GCU staff, faculty and learners to ensure high-quality research is conducted in a responsible and ethical manner. As stated in the GCU’s IRB Research Center on Doctoral Community (DC) Network and Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching (CIRT), the IRB complies with the university policy as well as the federal regulations governing the protection of human subjects published by the Office of Human Research Protections within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In addition to overseeing research, the IRB ensures that students receive training in research ethics through CITI program before any research may begin.


All IRBs must operate by the same set of regulations; however universities may have their own additional policies.

The Nuremberg Code

The Nuremberg Code is a set of international research standards written during the Nuremberg Trials after World War II. The Code sets out ten points, focusing on the need for the informed consent of human subjects in research, willingness of researchers to terminate research at any point where human subjects are at risk. Additionally, the Code states that research should always have some value to society.

The Belmont Report

The Belmont Report is the standard for HHS research regulations. The National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research wrote this basic set of ethical research principles in 1979.

The three basic principles of ethical research are “respect for persons,” “beneficence” and “justice.” In other words, researchers must treat subjects respectfully by seeking informed consent (respect for persons), minimize risks to subjects (beneficence) and ensure that distribution of subjects is fair through sound research design and procedures (justice).

Federal Regulation 45.CFR.46

45.CFR.46 (or Title 45, part 46 in the Code of Federal Regulations) comes from the National Research Act of 1974, which outlines four kinds of human protections: (1) universal protections for all human research subjects, (2) additional protections for women, unborn and newborn infants, (3) additional protections for prisoners and (4) additional protections for children.

Documents like the Nuremberg Code and Belmont Report are important standards for IRBs to reference, but they are general guidelines that don’t account for the differences between human subjects. 45.CFR.46 makes specific protections to fill in the gaps, though these regulations don’t apply outside the United States.

CITI Program

The GCU IRB requires researchers to complete the “Basic Research” and “Responsible Conduct of Research” courses through the CITI Program, which certifies learners for five years. This requirement directly affects learners, who will need to have a strong understanding of research ethics under IRB oversight.

IRB and doctoral learners

All doctoral learners completing dissertations, and faculty, staff and student researchers are required to obtain approval from the GCU’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) in accordance with GCU’s policy. Learners may not begin recruiting participants or implementing data collection activities until they receive official notification of IRB approval. The IRB Research Center is designed to help doctoral learners complete all required steps and ensure the IRB submission and review processes goes as smoothly as possible.

Are you ready to pursue a rewarding challenge, develop innovative research and advance your career? Learn more about what Grand Canyon University College of Doctoral Studies has had to offer you by visiting our website or clicking on the Request More Information button on this page.

Written by Samuel Sprague, a public policy major at Grand Canyon University.


Do you want to be a pioneer in creating a collaborative community focused on student learning? If so, then you will need the right knowledge and an ability to strategize. GCU’s Education Specialist (EdS) in K-12 Leadership program is designed to equip you with these skills and can prepare you to advance to a position of leadership in today’s culturally and economically diverse educational communities.

Continue Reading

Blurring the lines between “working hours” and “living hours” is a dangerous habit. Frustration from school and work blend seamlessly into home life, skewing productivity and the quality of life in both worlds.

Learners can find themselves perplexed when they find themselves desperately dashing off the last lines of an assignment in the brief moments between waking up and carrying out their morning routine. Many will remember a time when they were half-engaged with family and half-engaged with an article.

Continue Reading

The majority of students in an undergraduate classroom are between the ages of 18 and 24. Although these students are certainly adults, the term “adult learner” is typically applied to someone who is in their late 20s or older. Adult learners bring new opportunities to the undergraduate classroom, as younger students can learn from their more developed worldviews and life experiences. But they aren’t without their challenges, as professors must find new ways of applying the curriculum in meaningful ways. If you pursue a career in higher education, you may one day find yourself facing these challenges.

Continue Reading

Grand Canyon University offers a wide selection of online doctoral degrees that can provide you with the skills and experience that you need to gain a competitive edge in your field and advance your career. If you’re considering the benefits of earning a doctoral degree and have questions about how to get started, then read on for an introduction to what to expect when applying to a doctoral program.

Continue Reading

Life offers endless learning opportunities, and the College of Doctoral Studies at Grand Canyon University (GCU) thrives on helping you find them. In fact, the college’s mission is to create a vibrant learning community and guide individuals on a meaningful doctoral journey. From higher education to technology and psychology, all of our programs incorporate GCU’s Christian worldview to inspire service, integrity and purpose.

Continue Reading
Next Page »