Ph.D. Nursing Program Admission Process and Deadlines

Application Annual Schedules

Doctoral (Ph.D. - Nursing) Admissions

Action or Activity
2016 Cycle
2017 Cycle
Web Application Opens
July 2015
July 2016
Regular Deadline
Screening Begins
Dec. 2015
Dec. 2016
Final Deadline
Classes Begin
  Sept. 2016  
  Sept. 2016  
 Note: deadlines falling on weekend days will be enforced on the following regular work days (Mondays).   


Application Review Policy

Interested persons and potential applicants are urged to talk with faculty by telephone or to make appointments to discuss in person their questions or interests in doctoral study. The Student Affairs Office will supply names of faculty with academic interests in specific areas.

Each year's application cycle begins with the opening in July of the on-line (web) application system. The regular (extended) deadline for completing submissions is December 1st, and screening of completed applications begins immediately after the deadline.

For best results in screening, Prospective PhD Students should submit their applications before December 1st.

Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Applications will be only accepted until January 2nd for areas that are still open.  (In some calendar years the deadline will be enforced on the first regular workday in the new year, e.g., Jan. 3rd, Jan. 5th, etc.)

Applications completed by the regular December deadline will have preference for admission and for scholarship funding.

Please be reminded that incomplete applications will not be reviewed; no exceptions can be made.

The annual cycle ends as admitted doctoral students begin their program of study (start classes) during the Fall Quarter (September). This is the only quarter for initial enrollment.

The School of Nursing reserves the right to process and admit applicants after the published deadline.

After Being Accepted to UCSF

Before the fall quarter begins in mid-September, accepted applicants will receive several notifications and steps which must be completed before first enrollment. For example, new students must verify for Student Health Services their status for certain communicable diseases, e.g., tuberculosis, hepatitis, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, etc. Visit Student Health & Counseling Services web site for more information.

It is imperative that students notify UCSF of their current and correct contact information during the months leading up to their first (September) enrollment. Many pre-enrollment steps must be accomplished through the mail in the last weeks of summer.

Admitted international students will receive information on required orientation event(s) prior to their first day of classes.

Statement of Goals

A goal statement must be included, a copy must be converted to PDF format and uploaded to the UCSF web server. The goal statement should clearly identify the particular area of research interest and include related clinical, teaching, and/or research experience.

It is important that the research interest of the applicant match the expertise of faculty in the School of Nursing, and you will want to identify at least one faculty member who shares a similar research focus. Future career goals after doctoral education also should be addressed. Be sure your goal statement is no more than five double-spaced typewritten pages and shows your full legal name and page number at the top of each page. Elsewhere, your application will also include a (one-sentence) summary statement of your proposed area of research interest.

A comprehensive goal statement is an essential component of your doctoral application.


Two official original transcripts must be sent directly to Nursing Student Affairs (see address below) from each college, university, and nursing school attended. Be sure to fully identify in your application each post-secondary (after high school) institution which you have attended.

Transcripts must be endorsed by the proper authority ("certified") and final college transcripts should include a statement of good standing or honorable dismissal from the last college attended. A preliminary transcript should show coursework in progress. If necessary and/or appropriate, a transcript may be individually downloaded as a PDF from a password-protected web site, should this be the policy of your institution.

Non-English transcripts must be translated into English by a certified translator. Non-US transcripts must be submitted for evaluation, as follows.

Non-US Transcript Evaluation

The School of Nursing requires all applicants who have completed degrees and/or coursework outside of the United States to submit their transcripts for validation and evaluation before they may be considered for admission.

Applicants may send their transcripts and credentials to any evaluation agency which requires submission of original transcripts and/or certificates directly from the education institution to the evaluation agency. The purpose of the evaluation is to verify that your degree/coursework is the equivalent to that of a U.S. Bachelor or Master's degree.

Evaluation agencies provide a variety of services. Be sure to request an evaluation that provides the following:

  • Lists all subjects/courses completed at the post-secondary level

  • Provides a U.S. semester credit and grade equivalent for each course

  • Provides a U.S. grade point average (GPA) for the Bachelor's, Master's, or their equivalents on a 4.0 scale, and

  • Designates the level (upper or lower) of each undergraduate course

In our experience, World Education Services (; 415-677-9378; 212-966-6311; provides the information we need in a format that is useful for the admissions decision.

However, applicants may choose to use any agency which meets the criteria above and can perform an evaluation meeting the four points mentioned above.

Letters of Recommendation

A minimum of four recommendations are required as part of the online application process (a maximum of five is permitted), as follows: [a] two recommendations provided by the most recent employer(s), preferably nurses; [b] one from a college professor / instructor (if you have graduated in the past five years) who can assess your performance and judgment in the are a in which you wish to study; and [c] one or two from individuals (not relatives) who are well acquainted with your professional preparation and experience.

Each recommendation should address the following areas, as appropriate: [1] research, [2] leadership, [3] creativity, [4] self-direction in learning, [5] writing, [6] teaching, [7] relationship to applicant, and [8] clinical practice.

An overall numeric rating is also requested.

Nomination of Recommenders

As part of completing the on-line (web) application, the names, affiliations, and emails of each of the four recommenders are provided by the applicant.

Each identified recommender receives at least one email (repeated if necessary) asking for their written recommendation. This email specifies a private web site for that recommender, to be used to submit/upload their letter/recommendation in PDF format.

With this system, applicants can verify when each of their specified recommenders has actually responded and which recommenders may still require a follow-up email request.

This email/web oriented system has simplified and speeded the process of collecting references/recommendations and allows for applicants and recommenders to avoid the delays and uncertainties of the previous postal-based process.


A résumé or curriculum vitae ("cv") must be included, a copy must be converted to PDF format and uploaded to the UCSF web server.


Applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination ( General Test. Proficiency in English is mandatory. Applicants whose first language isnot English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language(

Contact the Educational Testing Service ( for more information on the administration of these tests. Request that your score(s) be sent to UCSF's institutional code number R·4840, department code #0610 (GRE) or #43 (TOEFL). Provide your ETS-assigned registration number in the on-line application, if possible, to assist in matching your test scores to the rest of your application materials.

Applications will not be reviewed until all documentation has been received (including test scores in particular).

Note: Test scores can take up to six weeks to reach the university.