PhD, Nursing


Doctoral preparation is the beginning of a life of inquiry -- graduates become scientists who conduct research in nursing and who contribute to the development of knowledge in our profession. They answer the "why" and "how" questions and focus their careers as academic faculty or clinical researcher. Through these positions, they continue to generate the knowledge base of the discipline.

If you have clinical experience which leads you to ask those "why" and "how" questions, it's likely that we have faculty who would enjoy helping you find answers. Review our faculty research activities and faculty profiles to see the areas of research they have explored, and then take a look at the courses we offer for doctoral study. We invite your interest.



The curriculum is designed to develop habits of scholarly thinking about problems relevant to the discipline of nursing. 

The initial segment of the curriculum provides course work in the areas of research, nursing science, and theory development.

The emphasis in the middle segment continues to be course work with the addition of research residencies, cognates, and independent studies that provide a basis for the student's projected dissertation focus and the subsequent initial program of research.

The final segment of the program, preceded by the qualifying examination and advancement to candidacy, entails development of a dissertation research proposal, data collection and analysis, and the writing of the dissertation. The dissertation is a work of independent research that makes an original contribution to knowledge in nursing. A key element of the program is faculty advisement.

Note:   The curriculum is subject to periodic revision at the discretion of the faculty.


The PhD program entails approximately four years of academic work.


See the Curriculum Details page for in-depth information about the PhD program of study.



Fees, Tuition, Registration, Aid

For information regarding tuition and fees please visit the Office of the Registrar page and the Financial Aid Office page.

International Students

International applicants should review the Information for Prospective International Students web page.

Student Notice

Images and voices of students in selected courses may be video-transmitted to other locations as a part of the distributed learning program. Students may be involved in patient research as well as in research on school programs, aggregate (non-personally-identifiable) student information may be reported as part of this research.

Nondiscrimination Policy Statement

The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy,1 physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or service in the uniformed services.2 The University also prohibits sexual harassment.

This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities.

1 Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.

2 Service in the uniformed services includes membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services.

Source: Office of the Registrar, University of California, San Francisco