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PhD Degree Admissions

International Students Admissions Information

ADMISSION CRITERIA (Summer start only)

1. Current unencumbered license as a Registered Nurse

2. A bachelor of science in nursing degree

3. A master's degree. (A master of science in nursing is preferred, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Applicants without a master's degree in nursing may be required to take additional nursing courses.)

4. Prerequisite courses:

  • Graduate course in Statistics (3 credits) - see FAQs
  • Graduate course in Nursing Research Methods (3 credits) OR Research/Evidence Based Practice (3 credits)
  • Computer literacy or completed courses in word processing, spreadsheet, database management, and presentation graphics

5. Successful phone interview with PhD Admissions Committee member.

6. Students must meet the Technical Standards for Admission.

Transfer Credits (Advanced Standing) Requests
Transfer credits must meet the following criteria:

  • Maximum of 9 doctoral level credits from an accredited university and approved nursing program may be transferred
  • Minimum grade of "B" or higher
  • Credits may not have been applied to a previous degree
  • Credits taken within the past 5 years

Procedure for requesting Transfer Credits:

  1. Complete the Request for Advanced Standing Form.
  2. Request official transcript(s) for all requested transfer courses.
  3. Submit the Request for Advanced Standing form,  the official transcript(s), and the course syllabus with other application materials.
  4. Your request will be evaluated by the PhD Admissions Committee.


Residency 1: Doctoral Week (Summer of year 1)
Every student admitted to the PhD program is required to come to campus for the first residency, usually held during the third week of May. This week includes an orientation to the PhD program and provides an opportunity for students to meet faculty and participate in live classes for the courses in which they are enrolled that summer.

Residency 2: Study Abroad (Summer of year 2)
Students enrolled in GPNG 923 Methods of Scientific Inquiry I will take part of the course as a study abroad experience in locations such as Dublin, Ireland where students will have housing at the Duquesne University Ireland campus.

Residency 3: Topic Defense
(Year 2 for 3-yr program and Year 3 for 4-yr program)
This residency provides an opportunity for the student to meet with his/her faculty mentor either at Duquesne University or another location such as a conference setting for intensive discussion and writing around dissertation topic development in preparation for approval.

Residency 4: Dissertation Research Seminar- Proposal Development
(Year 2 for 3-yr program and Year 3 for 4-yr program)
This residency is a 4-day, on-site residency on campus for intensive work with faculty on the development of the dissertation proposal. This may also include beginning development of the first manuscript if one of the dissertation manuscript options is selected.

Residency 5: Dissertation Final Defense
(Year 3 for 3-yr program and Year 4 for 4-yr program)
Students are required to come to campus for the final public defense of their dissertation.


The admissions process for nursing graduate studies is handled exclusively by the School of Nursing.

1. Complete the online application. If transcripts will be sent under a different name, i.e. maiden or former name, please indicate that name.

2. Provide three reference letters -  two professional and one academic or three professional. Send this link to your references to complete: Graduate Reference Form
By forwarding this link to your references, you waive your right to view the recommendations.

3. Mail the following to the School of Nursing - PhD Program:

  • Current curriculum vitae (CV): a complete resume with dated work and practice, honors, awards, publications and presentations
  • Copy of current unencumbered RN license
  • Discuss how you made the decision to pursue the PhD vs the DNP. Discuss your research topic of interest and how you envision it evolving over time. Use a separate page for each for each statement and limit each statement to one typed page, single spaced, 12 pt. font
  • Provide a sample of your scholarly writing (i.e. published article, Master’s thesis, scholarly paper, etc.)
  • Copy of course syllabus for prerequisite courses: graduate statistics and graduate nursing research methods or research/evidence-based practice
  • The Request for Advanced Standing Form and supporting documents, if requesting advanced standing (transfer credits)

4. Arrange for these sealed documents to be sent directly to the School of Nursing - PhD Program:

  • Official BSN transcript
  • Official MSN transcript
  • Official transcripts for prerequisite courses, if not included on Master's degree program transcript
  • Official transcripts of graduate courses, if requesting advanced standing

5. If you are interested in graduate loans, you must complete the
Graduate Financial Aid Application and mail directly to the Financial Aid Office.

6. If you are accepted, a non-refundable $250.00 deposit will be required to reserve your place in class.

PhD Special Status, Non-degree