Our PhD in nursing offers students a chance to become nurse scientists, nursing professors, and nurse policy- and change-makers.

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a high-demand profession
a national nursing faculty shortage of means wide-ranging opportunities for PhDs
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ranked among the top 2% of U.S. nursing grad schools
(U.S. News & World Report)
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average nursing professor salary
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flexible hybrid formats
the best of both worlds, with many courses online and lively, in-person learning
  • World-class scholar-mentors exploring a rich variety of research
  • 4 years' free tuition + generous annual stipends for ALL admitted students
  • Powerful development of students' grant and scholarly writing, and ample opportunities and funding to present at major conferences
  • Loan forgiveness programs if pursuing full-time careers in academia
  • Deadline to apply: December 15 (for entry the following fall)

The PhD in Nursing is administered by the School of Nursing, but the degree is conferred by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS). Therefore, applicants will complete the application through GSAS.  Please review this detailed information about the application process and admission requirements.

[VIDEO] Discover the PhD in Nursing

The PhD in nursing program prepares students for careers as scholars, nurse scientists., and academics ready to contribute to nursing science, knowledge, theory, and practice through systematic inquiry. By graduation, PhD in nursing students will:

  • demonstrate advanced knowledge of nursing, related sciences and humanities, and methods of inquiry
  • expand the research base of nursing theory and practice
  • serve the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world by addressing major nursing and healthcare issues through research and in a scholarly manner

All applicants for the PhD must possess a BSN. Many also possess an MSN and nurses with other graduate degrees (MPH, MBA, MS in Health Administration, etc.) are also encouraged to apply.

Every year, UVA PhD nursing students earn grants to support their doctoral studies, and many publish and present around Virginia, the U.S., and internationally.

UVA's PhD in nursing program is focused on research, and the curriculum includes courses in qualitative, quantitative, and historical research. Over the course of the program, all PhD students submit a research proposal for peer review, and many submit proposals to the NIHNR's annual service awards competition.

Because research is such a critical element of the PhD program, we seek to admit students whose scholarly interests are congruent with those of our faculty. A list of faculty eligible to chair PhD student committees is available on the Faculty Directory page.


PhD in Nursing Admission Requirements

To be considered for the PhD program, applicants must:

  • Submit a completed application to the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (not the School of Nursing) and pay an $85 application fee
  • Have at least a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited program and a minimum "B" average
  • Submit transcripts for all post-secondary work
  • Submit three letters of reference that speak to the applicant's ability to pursue doctoral studies (two must be from doctorally-prepared nurse educators and one may be from a current or recent employer)
  • Submit a CV reflecting professional achievements and productivity
  • Submit an essay (1,000 words or fewer) describing the applicant's educational, research, and professional goals, including a specific description of the planned focus of study and a researchable topic for development
  • Have completed a recent course in statistics (with software applications)
  • Be available for an interview with one or more faculty members (conducted in Charlottesville or via Zoom as needed)
  • International applicants have additional requirements 
  • The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is no longer required to apply to the PhD program; however, the option remains for applicants to provide scores as part of the application. The institutional code for UVA is R-5820.

Statistics Prerequisite

One option is to complete Courses 1-3 of this series: https://www.coursera.org/specializations/statistical-analysis-r-public-health. Please note that the certificate showing successful completion of the course is required. The student needs to choose the paid option to receive the certificate. This is one example; please contact nursing-admissions@virginia.edu if you have questions.

Steps to Apply for the PhD in Nursing

Those interested in applying to the PhD in nursing program apply through UVA's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), which prefers to receive one package containing all supporting materials (recommendations, transcripts and scholarly writing). The completed application, the application fee and all supporting data must be received no later than December 15.


Financial Aid for PhD in Nursing Students

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Positions

  • All admitted students to the PhD program are eligible to be awarded four years of scholarship to cover tuition, insurance, and fees, in exchange for serving as a GTA 10 hours per week. 
  • See the Financial Aid page for more information.

Loan Programs for Future Nursing Faculty

  • The school also offers financial support programs to students considering full-time faculty positions through the Nurse Faculty Loan Program and the Virginia Nurse Faculty Loan. Through the Nurse Faculty Loan Program, funded by HRSA, doctoral students may borrow funds for their academic expenses (tuition and books). If they become a full-time faculty member at any accredited institution, up to 85% of the loan (principal and interest) is forgiven.
  • Doctoral students enrolled in UVA’s PhD or DNP programs who are planning on teaching full-time in Virginia can apply to the Virginia Nurse Faculty Loan. Students may be eligible to borrow up to $25,000 per year during the coursework phase of their programs. This loans is eligible for cancelation if graduates go on to teach full-time at any public or private nursing education program in Virginia for four years.

Visit our Tuition and Financial Aid web pages for more information.

Plans of Study for the PhD in Nursing

Please see a suggested Nursing PhD Plan of Study.

Please visit the Graduate Record for the official program requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing.