Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing

Professor Bowers (left) and PhD student Andrea Gilmore-BykovskiProfessor and mentor Barbara Bowers (left) with PhD student Andrea Gilmore-Bykovskyi


Welcome to the UW–Madison School of Nursing PhD website.  We are delighted to share information on our program. If you are a prospective student, we hope you will give UW–Madison serious consideration for your doctoral education.




What the UW–Madison School of Nursing Has to Offer

The School of Nursing is a special place to pursue a PhD degree—small enough to establish long-lasting, collegial relationships and receive individualized mentorship by nationally renowned faculty, yet large enough to offer a vast array of courses and the resources of a world-class research institution.

The UW-Madison School of Nursing is recognized for several unique and beneficial program features, including:

  • Various routes to attaining the PhD Degree. We have programs for post-bachelors and post-masters applicants, as well as a first of its kind fast-track Early Entry PhD option for students enrolled in our BSN program.
  • Individualized attention through close and collaborative mentoring relationships with PhD faculty. The typical ratio is 2 - 4 students per faculty mentor.
  • Early and continuous involvement in research. Students are encouraged to participate in their mentor’s research program from their first semester and gradually take on more independent work addressing their own research questions.
  • A growing faculty, comprising talented and enthusiastic young investigators and award-winning senior nurse scientists.

Our Program

The purpose of the PhD program is to prepare researchers to develop, evaluate and disseminate new knowledge in nursing and health science. Our training provides nurses with the foundation to become leaders in research that advances the scientific basis of nursing and contributes to the health of the public.

Students complete core courses in the areas of Scholarly Inquiry, Theory and Practice of Nursing, Policy and Leadership, and Nursing Education. The core is supplemented through minor coursework outside of nursing and guided research experiences. Although our courses are supported by instructional technology, our program is delivered in a face-to-face format to actively and personally engage students in the practice of scholarly inquiry and to allow students to take advantage of the offerings of the campus. Our program requires a minimum of 52 credits and is designed to be completed in 4 years. We make a strong commitment to fund PhD students to support full-time study.

We prepare graduates for roles as academic and clinical nurse scientists, with expertise in the theory and practice of nursing, health policy, and leadership. Our graduates hold positions at major Universities (e.g., University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Washington, University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Commonwealth University, The Ohio State University), large health-care systems, and with the government.

Our Faculty

Our faculty conduct research in the broad areas of Chronic Illness Management, Health and Aging, Health Promotion, and Informatics and Health Systems. Recent PhD student research addresses topics such as frailty in older adults; infant feeding; exercise and weight management in adolescents; symptom clusters in cancer; sexual concerns in persons with chronic health conditions; pain management in patients with dementia; policy and health service delivery in long-term and skilled nursing care settings, nursing staff factors and quality health outcomes, and health and well-being of minority populations. 

To Learn More about Our PhD Program

We invite you to:

For questions about the application process, admission, and financial support, contact Carol Aspinwall, Academic Student Services – PhD Program,, 608-263-9109.

Best wishes as you explore PhD education!

Kris Kwekkeboom, PhD, RN
Associate Professor and PhD Program Director

Why pursue a PhD in Nursing?

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