Admissions Criteria

  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, completed within the past 5 years with a grade of B or better (3 credits).
    • Graduate course in Nursing Research Methods (3 credits) or Research- or Evidence-Based Practice (3 credits).
    • Prerequisite course for DNP to PhD applicants: Graduate course in the Structure of Nursing Knowledge or Nursing Epistemology (3 credits).
    • Prerequisite for international students: Graduate course in Nursing Theory (3 credits).
  5. Computer skills, including the ability to send and download attachments, word processing, spreadsheet, database management and presentation graphics.
  6. Students must meet the Technical Standards for Admission.

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

Application Process

Apply online

 Complete the online application.


Three references

Provide three reference letters: two professional and one academic or three professional letters. You will be asked for these in your application.

Submit documents online

Submit the following through your application portal:
  • Current curriculum vitae (CV): a complete resume with dated work and practice, honors, awards, publications and presentations
  • Copy of current unencumbered RN license
  • Document that addresses each of the following two topics. Each statement should be a single page (single spaced, 12-point font). Please ensure your name is on each page.
    • Discuss how you made the decision to pursue the PhD vs the DNP, or if you are a DNP to PhD applicant, discuss your decision to pursue a PhD.
    • In 500 words, briefly describe your research area of interest and why it is relevant to nursing science.
  • Scholarly writing sample authored by applicant (as a single author) that shows you are able to develop and present a coherent academic argument with good literature integration. This could include published articles, book chapters or books. The sample need not be new.
  • The Request for Consideration for Credit form and supporting documents, if requesting transfer credits

Submit official sealed documents

Submit via E-script to bostbFREEDUQUESNE.


Arrange for these sealed documents to be sent to:
Duquesne University
School of Nursing - PhD Applications
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282

If you have ever attended Duquesne University, the University Registrar's Office will automatically forward an official transcript for any Duquesne University coursework directly to the School of Nursing on your behalf. This transcript will be provided as a courtesy and free of charge. No transcripts from schools other than Duquesne University will be forwarded from the University Registrar's Office. You will need to request other transcripts from the originating school(s):

  • Official BSN transcript
  • Official MSN transcript
  • For DNP to PhD applicants: Official DNP transcript
  • Official transcripts for prerequisite courses, if not included on master's degree program or DNP program transcripts
  • Official transcripts of graduate courses, if requesting transfer credits

State Board of Nursing exceptions

Duquesne University participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). However, due to State Boards of Nursing regulations, the School of Nursing is unable to accept applications for admission to online programs and courses from students residing in:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona*
  • Louisiana
  • New York*
  • Oregon*
  • Tennessee
  • Washington

*Please note if you reside in Arizona, New York or Oregon, Duquesne University is able to accept applications for the PhD in Nursing and the PhD in Nursing Ethics programs.

Additional Requirements for International Applicants

General Admission Criteria

  • You can apply to Duquesne University School of Nursing by submitting an online application and your post-secondary education transcripts. All bachelor's and master's degrees must be from an institution of higher learning and recognized as an acceptable equivalent to a U.S. college or university.
  • Online students who will be practicing only in their native country should hold licensure or professional recognition of a nurse in that country. Online students who will be practicing nursing in the U.S. must have a current nursing license to practice in a state or territory of the U.S. where they will be practicing as students. In both of these situations, the applicant must provide verification of licensure.

Coursework Evaluation

Before you are admitted, your nursing coursework must be evaluated by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) to determine if your existing coursework is equivalent to the coursework requirements for our program.

Non-nursing coursework must be evaluated by any international credential evaluation organization that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).

English Proficiency Requirements

Duquesne University requires submission of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Duolingo Test scores, or Pearson Test of English (PTE) for all non-native English-speaking applicants.

Students who submit official TOEFL scores of 100 iBT or higher, IELTS scores of 7.5 or higher, Duolingo scores of 125 or higher, current to within one year, are excused from English Language Placement Tests except for the written and spoken English tests. Applicants must also meet the following minimum sub scores in speaking and writing:

Graduate TOEFL IELTS Duolingo
Writing 28 7.5 125
Speaking 25 7.5 125

Request for Credit

Applicants may submit a request for credit consideration. Submission of a request for consideration of credit does not guarantee approval. Each credit request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Transfer credits must meet the following criteria:

  • Maximum of nine doctoral level credits from a regionally accredited university and approved nursing program may be transferred toward completion of the program requirements.
  • Minimum grade of "B" or higher.
  • Credits may not have been applied to a previous degree.
  • Generally, courses mast have been taken within the past five years. However, the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing requires that Pharmacology must be taken within 5 years of the intended program completion in order to be eligible for prescriptive licensure. Students living outside of Pennsylvania should investigate the requirements for the State Board of Nursing in their home state.
  • Pass/fail courses will not be considered for credit.

Request for Credit Consideration

Please identifying the prior institution attended, course title, semester and year completed, the number of credits for which transfer is requested (indicated on the selected area on the application form) and the Duquesne University School of Nursing course for which consideration for credit is being sought.

Process for Submission

For each course you would like to request transfer credit, you must:

  1. Complete the Request for Consideration for Credit form.
  2. Request official transcript(s) for all requested transfer courses if completed at another institution outside of Duquesne University. 
  3. Submit the following with other application materials:

    • Request for Consideration for Credit form.
    • Official transcript(s) if completed at another institution outside of Duquesne University.
    • Course syllabus for each course taken outside of Duquesne University School of Nursing. The course syllabus should include a course description, course objectives, textbook(s) used, topical outline and methods of assessment. Courses completed at or previously accepted by Duquesne University School of Nursing are not required to include a course syllabus or outline with request.
  4. Your request will be evaluated by PhD faculty, and you will be informed of the decision in writing.

Additional Information

If you are interested in graduate loans, you must also complete the Graduate Financial Aid application and submit directly to the Office of Financial Aid.

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

Individuals Seeking Special Status (Non-Degree): Please review the process on how to be considered for Special Status.

Eligibility of Licensure

Individuals planning to practice in Pennsylvania who have been convicted of any crime (felony or misdemeanor) in any court or who have any criminal charges pending/unresolved may be prohibited from licensure or re-licensure as a registered nurse or may be mandated to complete additional requirements in order to be eligible for licensure, as determined by the PA State Board of Nursing. Any student with such a history must contact the PA State Board of Nursing Bureau of Health Professionals Monitoring (717) 783-4857 for guidance prior to enrollment.

Students who plan on applying for licensure outside of the state of Pennsylvania should contact the State Board of Nursing in their respective state.