PhD in Nursing Science Program

Preparing Your Application

PhD Webinar

Our webinars include an outline of the PhD in Nursing Science Program, program format, application process, components of funding, etc. Webinars are conducted throughout the academic year, and particularly ahead of a new application cycle (which open annually on August 1). Contact the PhD Program Manager to request information on upcoming live webinars. You may also click here to view a previously recorded webinar (August 10, 2022).

The admissions decision is heavily influenced by a careful review of each of the components of your application. Because of the importance of a scholarly fit between our students and faculty, we strongly recommend you explore the research focus of our faculty.

You are welcome to make personal contact with our faculty in order to help determine common scholarly interests. You may contact our faculty via email or in writing.

The following is required in order to consider your application complete. Only completed applications will be reviewed by our faculty. If you are an international/foreign student, you must also complete additional items listed on this page: Additional Application Requirements for International/Foreign Students

Required Application Components

  1. The online application form
  2. A minimum of three (maximum of 5) letters of recommendation describing your aptitude for doctoral study from doctorally prepared individuals
  3. Curriculum Vitae
  4. Official report of GRE scores - Waived for the Fall 2023 admission cycle

  1. Unofficial copy of transcripts from prior undergraduate and graduate work
    Official transcripts are required only after an offer of admission is made and accepted. Please DO NOT send your transcripts by mail. This will delay the review of your application. Unofficial transcripts must be part of your application even if you are a former VUSN graduate or applied to another VU program.
  2. Statement of Purpose essay describing your professional career goals, research interests, research experiences, and VUSN faculty nurse researcher(s) you are interested in having as a mentor(s)
  3. Writing Samples are recommended. Upload one or two samples of your academic writing (e.g. scientific paper, scholarly class assignment, book/chapter, case report).

After the faculty review your completed application, you may be asked to interview. If you are, interviews are required and can be conducted in-person or via Zoom. In the event an applicant cannot travel to Vanderbilt or is unable to use Zoom, a telephone interview will be scheduled.

Statement of Purpose

Your Personal Statement essay should nclude the following key points:

  • Your general research interest areas and how these interests have evolved
  • Previous research experience
  • Identify VUSN faculty whose research interests may align with yours
  • Discuss how research factors into your career plans

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of reference are required from doctorally prepared individuals that can describe your aptitude for doctoral study.

Recommenders should submit their letter of reference online. On your application, you will be asked to provide the e-mail addresses of your recommenders. Vanderbilt will contact your recommenders by e-mail and provide them with a link to a Web site, a password, and instructions on how to submit the recommendation online. Online recommendations are instantly attached to your application.

  • Allow recommenders at least one month to prepare the letter.
  • Follow up to ensure that forms and letters have been completed and submitted.

Curriculum Vitae

A curriculum vitae is a listing of achievements, unlike a resume, which describes activities associated with entries.

Prepare a curriculum vitae to highlight:

  • Professional achievements
  • Work accomplishments
  • Educational background

Include information about:

  • Academic background
  • Work history
  • Honors or awards
  • Any research conducted
  • Grants received
  • Publications or presentations

Writing Samples

It is recommended that you include one or two samples of your academic writing (e.g. scientific paper, scholarly class assignment, book/chapter, case report).

To begin your online application, go to: