PhD Admissions

PhD student
Admission Requirements

A baccalaureate or master’s degree in nursing from a U.S. program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or an international program with commensurate standards is required for admission to the PhD Program in Nursing.

Post-baccalaureate Students

Applicants with a baccalaureate degree in nursing must demonstrate exceptional academic qualifications, have clear research-oriented career goals, and choose a dissertation topic congruent with the research program of a Graduate Faculty member in the School of Nursing. Applicants with baccalaureate degrees must complete a nursing research and a graduate-level statistics course.

Applying for Admission

The following admission materials must be submitted online to the Duke University Graduate School. Prospective applicants should familiarize themselves with the Graduate School requirements.

  • Official, confidential transcript(s) of all college-level coursework.

  • Optional GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores - Applicants can submit GRE scores should they feel the scores enhance their application.
    [Taken within the past 5 years]. For a free online GRE guide, see For free online GRE practice tests, see Or visit Go Grad for the GRE Guidebook.

  • Three letters of recommendation. These letters should be solicited from individuals with doctoral degrees who can address the applicant’s academic abilities and potential for doctoral study.

  • English language proficiency test scores. Foreign graduates must submit either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International Language Testing System (IELTS) accepted, but IELTS is preferred.

  • Personal Statement. Applicants should submit a paper (1 - 2 typed pages, 12-point font, single-spaced) indicating:

    • Purposes and objectives for undertaking graduate study

    • Research interests and career goals

    • Strengths and weaknesses in the chosen field

    • A description of a prior research project or research participation and how this has influenced career choice and desire to pursue graduate studies

    • Reasons for choosing Duke for PhD studies

    • Name(s) of PhD Nursing faculty members in the School whose research program most closely fits with the applicant’s research interests.

The application and the $95 application fee must be received by December 1.

Personal Interview

Applicants may be asked to interview by Zoom or come to campus for an interview. The School covers the costs for campus interview travel except for international travel. International applicants are interviewed via Zoom.

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Technology Requirements

Learn more on recommended computer specifications and Duke Office of Information Technology-supported software here.

Students with Disabilities: Duke University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please get in touch with the Duke Student Disability Access Office in advance of your participation or visit.

Nursing License

Students must hold a valid current nursing license in a U.S. state, preferably North Carolina. To obtain information about nurse licensure procedures for the State of North Carolina, consult the Licensure/Listing Page of the North Carolina Board of Nursing website, or telephone the North Carolina Board of Nursing at (919) 782-3211. Exceptions to holding a U.S state nursing license for international students can be waived by the PhD Program Director.

All PhD in Nursing applicants are required to have a baccalaureate or master’s degree in nursing accredited by either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or an international nursing program with commensurate standards.

Applicants are expected to have completed a graduate-level statistics course prior to starting the program. This course must have been completed within the last 5 years.

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