PhD: Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

Earn a GW Nursing Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing to advance the theoretical foundation of healthcare delivery and nursing practice. Our PhD program is designed to equip graduates with the knowledge and skills in theoretical, methodological, and analytical approaches needed to conduct research and apply knowledge in the fields of nursing science and healthcare.

At GW Nursing, our students have access to world-renowned nursing faculty with research programs centered on addressing issues that contribute to inequity. . Our research faculty conducts clinical, community, health services, and educational research, underpinned by our commitment to health equity. They work closely with students to ensure that they have the necessary skills to build a program of research with high potential for impact on health and educational outcomes.  Graduates of our PhD program will be prepared to:


Implement theoretical and methodological approaches required for discovery science


Assume high level
faculty positions
within a university


Apply for post-doctoral
research fellowships at
universities or agencies


Influence nursing-related
policy, education,
and scientific discovery


Our Hybrid Curriculum

Our program is a hybrid format that combines carefully developed on-campus, learning-intensive weekends with weekly online learning experiences. Through our cutting-edge facilities at our Simulation and Innovation Learning Center, and award-winning online technology courses, students can develop the skills needed to design and implement scientific research programs and kickstart their careers.



Want To Learn More About The Program?

Questions about our PhD program should be directed to the program director, Laurie Theeke at [email protected]. We offer info sessions periodically throughout the year. During each session, we cover the admissions basics, tips on funding your education, why you should choose GW, and offer the opportunity to ask questions of faculty and admissions staff. View our upcoming info sessions.


Hear From Our Faculty & Students



Application Deadlines

Fall 2025

Application Open: Sep. 1, 2024

Priority: Dec. 1, 2024  
Release Date: Rolling

Final: Feb. 15, 2025
Release Date: Rolling



About the Program



The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing program consists of 57 credit hours.

Programs of Study


For full listing of courses and descriptions, please visit the University Bulletin.

On-Campus Requirements

You will be required on GW campus to attend Orientation the summer before year 1, as well as Friday/Saturday weekend intensives on each semester of years 1, 2 and 3..

Technology Requirements

Each student admitted to the program is expected to own and have ready access to a laptop or tablet with basic productivity software for classroom use. View Policy.

Competitive applicants will be offered admission first. Applicants are encouraged to apply early, as space is limited.

Complete applications submitted by the priority deadline will be reviewed first. Applications do not have to be verified by the priority deadline, only completed and submitted. Completed applications received after the priority deadline are reviewed solely on a space-available basis.

Students working more than 20 hours per week will be considered for the part-time program of study only.

A completed application includes the following components:

  • Active and unencumbered RN License
  • Master's degree in nursing or related field
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Current resumé
  • Statement of Purpose (addressing research and potential GW research mentors)
  • Writing sample (published article or graded academic paper)
  • Score > 100 TOEFL (international applicants)
  • Graduate-level inferential statistics course taken within the past five years*

*NURS 6208: Biostatistics for Health Care Research (3) is offered in the spring and summer for those who have not met this requirement


Admission Selection Criteria:

  • 3.0 (on 4.0 scale) preferred Masters GPA
  • Candidate Interview
  • Candidate Essay


Contact the Office of Admissions at [email protected]

At the conclusion of the PhD program, you will be able to:

  1. Evaluate, critique, and synthesize knowledge from nursing and other academic disciplines to generate new ideas.
  2. Examine diverse modes of inquiry to select the appropriate design to conduct research that builds on nursing science and theory.
  3. Integrate team science principles in the conduct of research with interdisciplinary teams.
  4. Demonstrate scientific integrity and the protection of human subjects in the design, conduct and analysis of research studies.
  5. Apply theory-base approaches and philosophic perspectives from nursing and healthcare research.
  6. Disseminate knowledge through publications and presentations.
  7. Employ strategic leadership skills to advance the profession, influence policy, and the conduct of research.

Graduate-level inferential statistics course taken within the past five years*

*NURS 6208: Biostatistics for Health Care Research (3) is offered in the spring and summer for those who have not met this requirement

Scholarship funding is available to select applicants. Students eligible for scholarship funding must be enrolled full-time, must agree to work no more than 20 hours a week while enrolled, must be continuously enrolled, and must maximize any employer tuition benefits first.

For students who have access to tuition assistance from their employers, GW tuition awards cannot be used in lieu of such assistance.

Students who apply before the priority deadline will receive preferential scholarship consideration and will be notified about funding status 2-4 weeks after acceptance into the Ph.D. program. 


  1. Funding is reviewed and awarded annually
  2. Employer tuition benefit documentation is required and will be reviewed during the time of acceptance.


Frequently Asked Questions