Application Process & Prerequisites

Students who are applying to the PhD program should ensure that all materials are received by the annual deadline of December 1. Applicants will be notified of acceptance early in the spring semester so that they can plan to attend the on-campus orientation and summer session.

Contact us if you have questions about the program or the application process.

Application Checklist

Please review these instructions and application checklist requirements prior to completion of the online application.


Students begin this program in cohort groups, in Summer Session I.  Complete applications for admission must be received by the annual deadline of December 1.


An interview should be scheduled with the Program Assistant. Applicants will be interviewed using an on-line platform once their application is at least 60% complete.

Application packet

The following items comprise the complete application packet.

  • Completed Online Application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Application fee (see below)
  • Letter of Recommendation from three professional contacts - PhD prepared individuals preferred (see below)
  • Interview with program faculty (best before November 15). Please complete the PhD Interview Questionnaire before your Interview and upload it on the Application site.
  • PhD Interview Questionaire.pdf
  • Essay (described below)
  • Official transcripts from all previous institutions of higher education
  • GRE scores, within last 5 years
  • Copy of RN License for US citizens/residents
  • Evidence of scholarly writing (e.g. publication, grant, thesis, report, term paper or equivalent)
  • International students: TOEFL in addition to GRE
  • International students: Official transcripts credentialed by WES for degrees earned outside the United States


Letter of Recommendation forms should be submitted on your behalf from three (3) doctorally prepared contacts who are able to speak to your potential as a nurse educator and/or scholar.  Letters of Recommendation are submitted electronically using our online application process.


A personal reflection should be submitted that addresses the following: rationale for selecting this particular doctoral program; description of your role aspirations; what you expect to derive from doctoral study; your experience to date with research and scholarship; and, an identification of your areas of scholarly interest that could lead to the development of a doctoral dissertation. The essay should be a maximum of three typed, double spaced pages using 12 point Arial or Times New Roman font.  The essay is submitted electronically as part of the online application process.


The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) may be taken at any site that offers these tests.  The Graduate Record Exam application and catalog can be accessed through  GRE results are to be sent directly to the Office of University Admission.

Official Transcripts

An official transcript from every previous college and school attended is to be sent directly to the PhD in Nursing Office using the address listed below.  Transcripts from schools outside of the United States must be evaluated by WES and an offical evaluation from WES must be received prior to the application deadline.  Officail transcripst can also be sent electronically to the Doctoral Program Assistant.

Additional Information for International Applicants

All transcripts from institutions outside the U. S. must be evaluated WES and an official evaluation from WES must be received prior to the application deadline.

Each applicant must document the ability to speak, read and write English as evidenced by satisfactory scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Test information can be obtained at: and Students whose native language is English are exempt. For those whose native language is not English, the minimum acceptable scores are:

Internet-based TOEFL - 83 overall and 26 in Speaking and 25 in Writing

IELTS – 6.5 overall and 7.0 in speaking

International students must present evidence of adequate financial resources to meet the expenses of full-time study, living and travel expenses to and from the Villanova campus.

Application fee (non-refundable)

The application requires a fee of seventy dollars ($70.00) payable in U.S. funds when application is submitted.


All correspondence concerning application to the PhD Program in Nursing should be mailed to the following address:

Doctoral Program - PhD in Nursing
Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing
319 Driscoll Hall
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085-1690

Contact us if you have questions about the program or the application process.

        PhD in Nursing Program Director
        Mary Ann Cantrell, PhD, RN, CNE, FAAN

        Doctoral Programs Assistant
        Rachel N'Diaye


Applicants to the doctoral program should have a master’s degree in nursing, or its equivalent, from an accredited school of nursing and should have taken a college level math course.  Admission is highly selective, based on academic achievement, performance on standardized admission tests, career focus and employment experience, if relevant. 

Highly qualified students with a baccalaureate degree in nursing may be admitted directly into the doctoral program with the expectation that they will complete MSN requirements while progressing toward the doctorate.

Applicants should hold licensure in nursing in a jurisdiction of the United States or its equivalent.  International applicants will be evaluated in relation to the educational system in their countries.  Licensure in the United States is not required.

International applicants should familiarize themselves with requirements associated with student visas found on the International Student Services web page.

Credit Transfer

In general, up to six credits of relevant courses taken prior to admission to the doctoral program may be transferred into the doctoral program. Students will be asked to submit an official transcript including the course grade, as well as a course syllabus. These will be reviewed and a determination will be made.

Course must have been taken within five years of admission to the doctoral program.

Students are not permitted to take courses outside Villanova University for credit toward the doctoral degree once admitted to the doctoral program.

Distance Learning Requirements

The PhD in Nursing program is taught using distance learning technology in the Fall and Spring semesters. Summer courses are taught on the Villanova University campus. (International students may attend classes on campus.)

In order to participate effectively in Villanova's courses, you must have full access to a reliable laptop/desktop/mac. Your computer and communications hardware and software should meet or exceed the following requirements as listed in the College of Nursing Computing Requirements.

Both Mac and PC platforms are acceptable operating systems for academic use in the College.  iPads (Apple iOS) and Tablets (i.e.: Android, Samsung, Amazon Fire, etc. operating systems) ARE NOT RECOMMENDED because of nursing course content compatibility issues and online distance learning requirements.

Each student is required to have a local installed copy of Microsoft Office. Enrolled students can dowload Microsoft office for either Windows or Mac operating systems.

For additional information regarding technology requirements and support, you may visit:

Click here for important information regarding the University’s authorization status, students’ responsibilities related to relocation and programs leading to professional licensures, and the complaint process for online students.

Financial Aid

Financial assistance is available to students pursuing either the full-time or part-time PhD at Villanova University's M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing. Click here for information regarding the

  • Nurse Faculty Loan Program
  • Fitzpatrick College of Nursing Scholarship opportunities
  • financial assitance options

Transcript Submissions: PhD Program

PhD Program:

Send Electronic Transcripts to:

Fitzpatrick College of Nursing
PhD in Nursing Program
Driscoll Hall Room 319
Attention: Rachel N'Diaye

Villanova University
800 E Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085

Questions about Financial Assistance?