Established in 1975, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing program prepares researchers and scholars to generate new knowledge and provide leadership to the profession and discipline of nursing. The program emphasizes the development of the student's capacity to make significant, original contributions to nursing science. Below is the process for applying to the Wayne State University College of Nursing's PhD program. 

Step 1: Apply to Wayne State University 

Admission to the program is contingent upon admission to the WSU Graduate School and the review of application materials by College of Nursing faculty. Applicants can apply online using the GradCAS system.

  • The initial application requires the following:
    • Application fee.
    • Unofficial transcript upload.
    • Resume upload.
  • To upload your supplemental materials (listed below) and complete the application, you must submit your application via GradCAS FIRST. Watch your email for directions on how to access your application, check for missing items, and monitor your application status.

Step 2: Submit supplemental materials 

All candidates must submit the following supplemental material when applying.

  • Official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions sent directly from the institution to Wayne State University. If an unofficial transcript is provided, an official transcript must be submitted during the first semester of the program. BSN-to-DNP students must complete the BSN at the latest by June of the year they are starting fall semester DNP courses. A transcript/credential evaluation is required for all international transcripts.
  • Resume or Curriculum Vita that includes education, work and/or research experience, publications, certifications, licenses, grants, professional affiliations, awards, honors, presentations, and/or courses taught.
  • Please write a 2-3 page double-spaced description of your goals for PhD study. Address the following points in your comments:
  1. Why are you seeking a PhD degree in Nursing at this time?
  2. Discuss your career goals and how an earned PhD in Nursing will help you to achieve those goals.
  3. What attracted you to the PhD program in Nursing at Wayne State University?
  4. Identify your specific area/topic of research interest. Describe how it fits within the Wayne State University College of Nursing's PhD Program's purposes, which are stated below:
    • To prepare scientists capable of generating rigorously tested knowledge that contributes to the positive development of individuals, families, communities, society and the discipline of Nursing.
    • To prepare nursing scholars who will test, generate and extend knowledge related to individuals', families', and communities' health promotion or to individuals' and families' symptom science; and to extend knowledge on urban environments that influence and alter health, and reduce health disparities.
    • To prepare leaders for the discipline and profession of Nursing.
  5. Every applicant is encouraged to identify potential mentors among the College of Nursing (CON) faculty. Please identify at least one to two faculty members whose Program of Research might match your general research area/topic. 
  • Two to three references from doctorally prepared individuals submitted electronically within the online application.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for applicants whose native language is not English and must be no more than two years old upon application date. Applicants who hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from the U.S. and certain countries are exempt. TOEFL requirements may vary if pathway includes a clinical focus. For more details, see the WSU Graduate School English proficiency requirements.
  • For priority consideration, application and supplemental materials are due by Nov. 15.
  • Complete an interview.

Step 3: Accept your offer

Check your WSU email for updates regarding your application. Once admitted, accept your offer of admission and check your Wayne State email regarding information on registration, important meetings and more.


Director, PhD Program

April Hazard Vallerand PhD, RN, FAAN

Academic Services Officer

Chelsea Smith, MA 

  • BSN second career/degree students
  • RN-to-BSN students
  • Graduate students