PhD (Online)

The online PhD is a research-intensive program that prepares doctoral students as scientists who generate knowledge to advance nursing. Similar to graduates of the college's traditional PhD program, online PhD graduates are ready for careers in education, research, practice, and to assume leadership positions. Students work closely with faculty mentors to define their success early, and plan and conduct cutting-edge research using a variety of research methods.

This program of study is identical to the on-campus PhD program, there are minor differences in what is required of students. Students are admitted as a cohort; they are required to attend a one-week orientation at the beginning of the program of studey; and they are required to return to campus at the end of their program of study for a pre-determined period of time. Online courses are offered every two years and must be taken in sequence.

Discover more about the program opportunity and find a full course plan in our Forms & Material section.

How to Apply

Application Deadlines:

December 1st for a summer 2015 start 
(Online program offered every other year, in odd years)


Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing from a professionally accredited program with a minimum grade point average of 3.20 (4.00 scale) to be considered for admission.

Applicants must have completed (within 5 years), or be in the process of completing a graduate statistics course with a grade of B or better prior to the start of the program. See listing of approved courses. If the course is not completed by the start of the program, applicants must enroll for NURS 720- Biostatistics concurrent with the first semester of the Doctoral program at UWM.

Application Process

To be considered for admission, all nursing applicants must apply through the Graduate School and submit listed materials for the College of Nursing. 


Complete online Graduate School Application  (including a nonrefundable application fee). Submit official transcripts from all and any school attended directly to the Graduate School.


Applicants applying for the Spring 2015 semester can submit their required nursing materials through NursingCAS OR can choose to submit required materials directly to the Senior Advisor. Applicants applying for terms beyond the Spring 2015 semester are required to apply and submit all

Submit online through NursingCAS: Complete College of Nursing application using the online NursingCAS system by AACN. A completed application must include the required materials listed below. Forms such as the checklist and recommendation form can be accessed online, through NursingCAS.


Submit hard copy materials directly to the Senior Advisor (mailing address listed)
If you choose not to select NursingCAS to submit your materials, you may send your materials directly to the College of Nursing Student Affairs/Senior Advisor. This option will be available only for Spring 2015 applicants. After the Spring 2015 admission cycle all applicants will be required to submit application materials through NursingCAS.

Required materials for the College of Nursing

  • PhD Application Checklist
  • Current Curriculum Vitae
  • Recommendation Form: Submit three recommendation forms from people knowledgeable about your academic experience and potential for graduate study in nursing.
  • Personal Statement 3-4 pages, double spaced, addressing the following 5 components:
    • Overview of professional experiences
    • Short and long term professional goals
    • Nursing practice interests
    • Motivation for pursuing a doctoral degree
    • Educational objectives you hope to pursue if admitted
  • 2 Original Works: Select and submit 2 original works that reflect your scholarship and writing ability. Examples of original works could be: Evidenced based projects, clinical guidelines, examples of QI/QA projects in which you had a primary role and published articles reflecting aspects of research.
    If you do not have 2 examples of scholarly work, you may substitute 1 or 2 written papers in lieu of  1 or both original works. The papers must be 5-7 pages in length using APA format. Choose from the following paper topics:
    • Select a current, controversial issue facing health care today and discuss the issue.Provide a description of the issue, the controversy and its impact on health care providers.
    • Funding primary prevention has been cited as a potential cost containment measure towards controlling skyrocketing health care costs.Define primary prevention and provide examples of how this might be true.
    • Advance practice nurses (APNs) fill a unique niche in health care delivery. Discuss the role of APNs and their impact on health care outcomes.
  • Submit Graduate Record Exam/GRE results:  Current GRE scores are required for applicants with an undergraduate degree below a 3.20 on a 4.0 scale, as calculated by the UW-Milwaukee Graduate School. Exceptions will be made for applicants with a Master’s Degree in Nursing who obtained a 3.20 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher GPA as calculated by UW-Milwaukee’s Graduate School. Visit the GRE website for more information about preparation and registration:
  • Nursing License: Submit evidence of your current RN license from the United States (must include license number)
  • English Proficiency –The language of instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is English.All international applicants must provide scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with some exceptions. Minimum test scores and exceptions are located on the Center for International Education/CIE website. Email questions to:

For application questions and inquiries please contact Jennifer Daood, Student Affairs Graduate Advisor

College of Nursing
Cunningham Hall 135
PO BOX 413
Milwaukee, WI  53201