Fall Deadline December 1
Spring Deadline October 1
Summer Deadline February 1
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) May be required in certain cases; consult program.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Admission requirements for the Ph.D. program are:

  • Graduation from an accredited baccalaureate program in nursing
  • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) on the last 60 credits of the most recent baccalaureate degree
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) completed within the last 5 years may be required, consult program.
  • Three to four academic references from individuals who can speak to your scholarly activities, research capabilities and potential for success in the doctoral program
  • Two examples of scholarly work related to nursing or health (see School of Nursing website for examples)
  • Essay (see School of Nursing website for specific criteria)
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • English proficiency scores: Applicants whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score. Minimum English proficiency test score: TOEFL = 580 (paper)/92 (internet-based), MELAB = 82 or IELTS = 7. Please refer to the Graduate School for more information. Applicants are exempt if any of the following applies to their situation:
    • English is the exclusive language of instruction at the undergraduate institution attended
    • Applicant earned a degree from a regionally-accredited U.S. college or university not more than five years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment
    • Applicant completed at least two full-time semesters of graded course work, exclusive of ESL courses, in a U.S. college or university, or at an institution outside the U.S. where English is the exclusive language of instruction, not more than five years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment

Applications should be submitted for priority consideration by December 1 for admission in the fall semester. If applying for spring admission, see website for deadline.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Several forms of financial aid are available for graduate students in the School of Nursing. These include fellowships, traineeships, scholarships, research, project and teaching assistantships, and loans. Most graduate assistantships cover the cost of tuition and provide a monthly stipend. Awards are made in the spring or early summer for the following academic year. Full-time Ph.D. students receive priority for teaching and research assistantships administered by the School of Nursing. Students in the Ph.D. program have also been successful in competing for federal National Research Service Awards (NRSA) which are individual predoctoral fellowships.

Graduate Research Scholars (GRS) Fellowships are designed to support highly qualified underrepresented students in the doctoral programs. Doctoral students who are preparing to be full-time faculty in nursing programs are also eligible for the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP). These loans, supported by the federal government, are available to cover tuition and other educational expenses. When graduates become full-time faculty members, up to 85 percent of the NFLP loan will be canceled over a four-year period.

Additional information on financial aid including application procedures is available in the School of Nursing Academic Affairs Office.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 52 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 32 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework (26 credits out of 52 total credits) must be completed graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements A student may not receive more than one grade below a B (or a U grade) in any 12 month period.
Assessments and Examinations To be eligible for the comprehensive candidacy examination, candidates must have completed all formal coursework requirements.
Language Requirements No language requirements.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements All doctoral students are required to complete a minor.

Required COURSES

NURSING 802 Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research1
NURSING 803 Advanced Quantitative Design and Methods3
NURSING 804 Advanced Qualitative Design and Methods3
NURSING 815 Knowledge Development in Nursing3
NURSING 816 Proseminar in Nursing Research 12
Advanced Methods/Statistics6
Students complete 6 credits in consultation with their advisor from the options below:
Statistical Methods Applied to Education I
and Statistical Methods Applied to Education II
Introduction to the Design of Educational Experiments
Regression Models in Education
Statistical Analysis and Design in Educational Research
Introduction to Quantitative Inquiry in Education
Hierarchical Linear Modeling
Introduction to Biostatistics
Introduction to Clinical Trials I
Introduction to Clinical Trials II
Statistical Methods for Clinical Trials
Statistical Methods for Epidemiology
Introduction to Biostatistics for Population Health
Regression Methods for Population Health
Advanced Regression Methods for Population Health
Topics in Biostatistics for Epidemiology
Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance I
Theory and Application of Regression and Analysis of Variance II
Statistical Methods I
Students choose one of two tracks:
Theory and Practice of Nursing (12 credits)
Students complete 3 credits from the following:3
Contemporary Practices in Nursing (Topic: Chronic Illness Management)
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Diverse Communities
Child Welfare
Issues in Developmental Disabilities
Advanced Practice in Health, Aging, and Disability
Seminar-Topics in Demography and Ecology
Advanced Practice Nursing Theory: Adults and Older Adults
Advanced Practice Nursing Theory: Family Process & Child Development
Advanced Practice Nursing Theory: Psychiatric Mental Health
Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Illness and Disability
Stress and Resilience in Families Across the Lifespan
Healthcare Operations Management
Students complete 3 credits from the following, with NURSING 818 being strongly encouraged:3
Patient-centered Research
Advanced Assessment and Intervention Techniques
Seminar in Psychology of Individual Differences
Interventions with Children, Youth, and Families
Students must take:
NURSING 819 Clinical Field Practicum - Research in Health Care Settings3
Students completing the Theory and Practice of Nursing track must also take 3 credits from courses listed in the Policy and Leadership track.3
Policy and Leadership (12 credits)
Students complete 3 credits from the following, with NURSING 703 being strongly encouraged:3
Health Care and Public Policy
International Health Systems and Policy 2
Students complete 3 credits from the following:3
Translational and Outcomes Research in Health and Health Care
Measuring Health Outcomes
Prevention Science
Students must take:
NURSING 847 Health Policy Practicum3
Students completing the Policy and Leadership track must also take 3 credits from courses listed in the Theory and Practice of Nursing track.3
Nursing Education 33
Foundations of Curriculum Development and Evaluation in Nursing Education
Foundations of Teaching and Learning in Nursing
Nursing Education Practicum
Introduction to Higher and Post-Secondary Education
The Adult Learner: Implications for Curriculum and Instruction
Epistemic Practice and Science Teaching
Guided Research10
Students are expected to take at least 1 credit of Independent Study and participate in their faculty mentor's research group (or another research group agreed upon with the mentor) each semester.

Sample full-time course schedule

First Year
NURSING 9991-3NURSING 9991-3 
Population/phenomenon13Advanced Statistics3 
 11-13 10-12 2-4
Second Year
NURSING 9991-3Nursing Education13NURSING 819 or 84733
Additional Statistics3T&P: Minor, or3 
Minor3P&L: Health Policy Course1 
 10-12 7-9 4-6
Third Year
NURSING 9991-3Remaining Minor, Methods/Stats, Population13 
Additional Minor, Methods/Stats, Population13  
NURSING 818 (or Minor)1, 4, 53  
 8-10 8 3
Total Credits 63-77

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 18 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Graduate work should be less than five years old to be considered; additional justification and/or documentation are needed for work taken between five and ten years. Work ten or more years prior to admission to the program will not be considered.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

With program approval up to 7 credits numbered 300 or above will be allowed to count toward the Ph.D. degree. This applies to students in the Early Entry Ph.D. route in the School of Nursing.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. These credits are considered part of the total allowable credits available for a student to transfer. Coursework should be less than five years old to be considered; additional justification and/or documentation is needed for work taken between five and ten years. Work ten or more years prior to admission to the program will not be considered.


A semester GPA below 3.0 will result in the student being placed on academic probation. If a student has not returned to satisfactory progress by the determined deadline, a decision about whether the student will be permitted to continue will be made by the Graduate Admissions & Progression Committee (or appropriate subcommittee) with input from the student’s advisor.


Ph.D. students complete an annual progression review which includes a written review from the advisor. This is submitted to the Ph.D. Subcommittee of the GPC. The Subcommittee reviews the student CVs and advisor comments to gain an overall sense of student progression in the program. Comments from the Subcommittee regarding progression are then sent to the advisor who shares the result of the review with the student.

Graduate School policy specifies the following with regard to dissertation committees:

Dissertation committees advise and evaluate satisfactory progress, administer preliminary and final oral examinations, evaluate a dissertation, and/or sign a degree warrant. A student arranges a committee with appropriate expertise to afford the breadth and depth needed in degree examinations. In all cases, a student’s advisor (major professor) chairs the committee. The executive committee (or its equivalent) is responsible for approving the composition of all dissertation committees.

Minimum Graduate School requirements for the dissertation committees are as follows:

  1. The chair or co-chair of the committee must be Graduate Faculty* from the student's program.

  2. PhD dissertation committees must have a minimum of 4 members, 3 of whom must be UW–Madison graduate faculty, former UW–Madison graduate faculty up to one year after resignation or retirement. At least 1 of the 4 members must be from outside of the student’s major program or major field (often from the minor field).

  3. The chair may designate 1 of the 4 members of the committee as a non-reader

    1. Readers are committee members who commit themselves to closely reading and reviewing the entire dissertation. While graduate programs cannot have fewer than three readers, they may require all members to be readers. The rationale for specifically designating non-reader status is to facilitate faculty participation in dissertations without automatically expecting the level of commitment associated with deeply engaging a PhD thesis. Given faculty workloads, designating a non-reader in some cases may permit faculty participation where engagement would otherwise be impossible.

  4. The required 4th member of a dissertation committee, as well as any additional members, all retain voting rights.

  5. * Graduate Faculty are those who hold tenure track appointments. Non-tenure track faculty (e.g., CHS professors) may participate as 4th or extra committee members, but do not count toward the four “Graduate Faculty” members.

The student and major professor should work together to identify dissertation advisory committee members with appropriate breadth and depth of knowledge. In addition to the Minimum Graduate School requirements for the dissertation committees outlined above, the School of Nursing has additional expectations for committee membership:

  1. At least 2 members will be from the School of Nursing faculty.

  2. In general, all committee members will serve as readers. However, in line with UW-Madison Graduate School Policy and Procedures of Graduate Advisor Committees, the chair may designate 1 of the 4 members of the committee as a non-reader.


15 credits

Time Constraints

A candidate for a doctoral degree who fails to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation within five years after passing the preliminary examination may by require to take another preliminary examination and to be admitted to candidacy a second time.

grievances and appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances.


The School of Nursing makes a strong commitment to funding students admitted into the Ph.D. program who are enrolled full-time. Sources of funding include extramural, campus, and internal School of Nursing funding. The majority of funding decisions are made in the Spring for the following academic year. Continuing and newly admitted students are encouraged to apply for funding.

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Program Resources

Career advising, funding, and professional development opportunities are shared with all students by a member of the School of Nursing Academic Affairs staff. Information on these support services can be found on the Student Site.

  1. Master in-depth knowledge in a substantive area of nursing.
  2. Articulate research problems, potentials, and limits with respect to nursing theory, knowledge, and practice.
  3. Formulate new ideas, concepts, designs, and/or techniques based on critical evaluation of knowledge in nursing and other relevant disciplines.
  4. Assume leadership in the creation of original research that makes a substantive contribution to health.
  5. Demonstrate cultural knowledge and cross-cultural skills in nursing scholarship.
  6. Demonstrate breadth in learning experiences through intra- and cross-disciplinary study, and integration of research, teaching, mentoring, and service to the profession.
  7. Negotiate and work successfully with interprofessional teams.
  8. Develop and disseminate nursing knowledge to meet the health needs of local, national, and global populations.
  9. Communicate complex research findings and implications in a clear and understandable manner to lay and professional audiences.
  10. Demonstrate knowledge of professional obligations, codes of ethics, and institutional policies and procedures that guide nursing scholarship.
  11. Demonstrate the capacity to identify ethical issues, seek guidance from appropriate resources and adhere to ethical principles and professional norms in the resolution of moral dilemmas.


School of Nursing Faculty Directory


Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN

Dean and Professor

Barbara Pinkenstein, DNP, RN-BC, FAAN

Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor

Katie Bleier

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs (Academic Dean)

Pamela McGranahan, DNP, PHNA-BC, PMHNP-BC

DNP Program Director, Clinical Associate Professor

Kristine Kwekkeboom, PhD, RN, FAAN

PhD Program Director, Professor

Advising and Student Services

Darby Sugar

Director of Advising & Student Services

Mariah Allen

Graduate Academic Services Coordinator

Admissions and Recruitment

Mandi Moy

Director of Admissions & Recruitment

Kate Beggs

Graduate Admissions & Recruitment Coordinator