The College of Nursing online PhD program integrates science, theory, and research to educate the next generation of nurse scientists and leaders. Our students strive to advance nursing knowledge and translate research into practice that promotes the health and care of patients.

What makes our program distinguished?

Ranked in the top 15% of graduate nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report, the online PhD is a research-intensive program that prepares doctoral students as scientists who generate knowledge to advance nursing. Similar to graduates of the college’s traditional PhD program, online PhD graduates are ready for careers in education, research, practice, and to assume leadership positions. Students work closely with faculty mentors to define their success early, and plan and conduct cutting-edge research using a variety of research methods.

Students are admitted as a cohort and are required to attend a one-week orientation at the beginning of the program and return to campus at the end of their program of study. Online courses are offered every two years and must be taken in sequence.

Explore research opportunities and focal areas in our Research and Impact section.


Applicants must have:

  • a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in Nursing or health related field from a professionally accredited program with a cumulative grade point average of at 3.2 (4.0 scale) for all previous graduate course work;
  • satisfactory performance on the aptitude portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) which includes verbal, quantitative, and analytical scores;
  • completion of an graduate level statistics course (within the last five years) with a grade of B or higher; current GRE scores are required for applicants with an undergraduate GPA below a 3.20 on a 4.0 scale, as calculated by the Graduate School. Exceptions will be made for applicants with a Master’s Degree in Nursing who obtained a 3.20 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher GPA as calculated by the Graduate School. Visit the GRE website for more information about preparation and registration.
Application Process

All applicants must apply through the Graduate School’s application system, Panthera. Select Apply Now, College of Nursing, PhD Online.  Submit the following to the Graduate School:

  • a non-refundable application fee;
  • unofficial transcripts from all and any schools attended (regardless of how long ago it may have been). Applicants will be required to submit official transcripts after an admission offer is accepted;
  • current Curriculum Vitae;
  • three (3) different people who are willing to submit a reference for you that are knowledgeable about your academic experience and potential for graduate study in nursing;
  • personal statement: 3-4 pages, double spaced, addressing the following five (5) components:
    • Overview of professional experiences
    • Short and long term professional goals
    • Nursing practice interests
    • Motivation for pursuing a doctoral degree
    • Educational objectives you hope to pursue if admitted;
  • two (2) original works that reflect your scholarship and writing ability. Original works could be evidence-based projects, clinical guidelines, examples of QI/QA projects in which you had a primary role and published articles reflecting aspects of research. If you do not have two (2) examples of scholarly work, you may substitute one or two written papers in lieu of one or both original works. The papers must be 5-7 pages in length using APA format. Choose from the following paper topics:
      • Select a current, controversial issue facing health care today and discuss the issue. Provide a description of the issue, the
        controversy and its impact on health care providers
      • Funding primary prevention has been cited as a potential cost containment measure towards controlling skyrocketing health
        care costs. Define primary prevention and provide examples of how this might be true
      • Advance practice nurses (APNs) fill a unique niche in health care delivery. Discuss the role of APNs and their impact on
        health care outcomes.
  • a conversation with a faculty member is required as part of the application process- phone, or video technology may be used when travel is prohibitive.
  • evidence of English proficiency: all international applicants must provide scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with some exceptions. Minimum test scores and exceptions are located on the Center for International Education website.

For More Information

Jennifer Daood
Doctoral Programs
Senior Advisor