Exceptional faculty. Passionate peers. Incredible opportunities for change-making.

  • World-class scholar-mentors who are 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
  • BSN to PhD and MSN to PhD pathways available
  • Loan forgiveness programs if pursuing full-time careers in academia
  • Deadline to apply: December 15 (for entry the following fall)

The PhD in Nursing Science 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.

PhD in Nursing

The PhD program prepares students for careers as scholars, nurse scientists and academics and to contribute to nursing science, knowledge, theory and practice through systematic inquiry. By graduation, PhD 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 health care issues in a scholarly manner

All applicants for the PhD 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 US 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.


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 a minimum of 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 that reflects professional achievements and productivity
  • Submit an essay (1000 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.

Steps to Apply

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 the 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

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Positions

  • All US citizens and permanent residents admitted to the PhD program (whether a Virginia resident or not) are eligible to be awarded two to three years (24 - 36 months) of scholarship to cover in state tuition, including summers during that time period. In exchange, all PhD students serve as a GTA.
  • Individuals accepted to the BSN-to-PhD program are provided up to three years (36 months) of full scholarship in exchange for service as a GTA. 
  • We are able to provide financial assistance to very few international students per cohort.
  • Full-year GTAs earn a modest stipend and receive health insurance, and most positions require at least 10 hours a week of teaching with the option to pick up additional GTA hours (as many as 20 hours per week).
  • for more information.

Loan Programs for Future Nursing Faculty

  • The school also offers financial support to students considering full-time faculty positions. With funding from HRSA, doctoral students may borrow funds for their academic expenses (tuition and books) from the school. If you become a full-time faculty member at any accredited institution, up to 85% of the loan (principal and interest) is forgiven. Learn more about the .
  • Students applying for or enrolled in UVA's PhD or DNP programs may apply for the UVA-administered . Full-time doctoral students are eligible to borrow up to $25,000 per year during the coursework phase of their programs (years 1 and 2 for the PhD), loans that are then cancelled if graduates go on to teach full-time at any public or private nursing education program in Virginia for four years (two years of teaching for each year of loan). The application deadline for this program is May 15.

Visit our tuition and financial aid webpages for more information.

The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record is the official repository for academic program requirements.