PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify the characteristics of doctoral dissertations in nursing science submitted since 2000. METHOD: Three-hundred and five dissertations of six schools of nursing published from 2000 to 2006 in Korea were analyzed with the categories of philosophy, method, body of knowledge, research design, and nursing domain. RESULT: In philosophy, 82% of all dissertations were identified as scientific realism, 15% were relativism, and 3% were practicism. Two-hundred and fifty dissertations (82%) were divided into a quantitative methodology and 55 dissertations (18%) were qualitative methodology. Specifically, 45% were experimental, 23% methodological, 13% survey and 17% qualitative designed researches. Prescriptive knowledge was created in 47% of dissertations, explanatory knowledge in 29%, and descriptive knowledge in 24%. Over 50% of all research was studied with a community-based population. In the nursing domain, dissertations of the practice domain were highest (48.2%). CONCLUSION: Dissertations since 2000 were markedly different from the characteristics of the previous studies (1982-1999) in the increase of situation-related, prescriptive and community-based population studies. A picture of current nursing science identified in this study may provide a future guideline for the doctoral education for nursing.