Students who are applying to the PhD program should ensure that all materials are received by the annual deadline of November 1. Applicants will be notified of acceptance early in the calendar year of enrollment to facilitate planning to attend the on-campus Summer Session I.

Need additional information?  If you have questions about the program contact Mary Ann Cantrell or questions about the application process contact Sandi Schultz.


Please review these instructions and application checklist requirements prior to completion of the online application.

Students begin this program in cohort groups, in Summer Session I. Every Summer Session begins the Tuesday after the Memorial Day holiday. Complete applications for admission must be received by the annual deadline of November 1.

Please use this Booking Link to schedule an interview with the Program Director. Applicants will be interviewed virtually once their application has been submitted.

Application packet
The following items comprise the complete application packet.

  • Completed Online Application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Application fee (see below)
  • Letter of Recommendation from three professional contacts - PhD prepared individuals preferred (see below)
  • Interview with program faculty (best before November 15). Please complete the PhD Interview Questionnaire before your Interview and upload it on the Application site.
  • Essay (described below)
  • Official transcripts from all previous institutions of higher education
  • GRE scores, within last 5 years required only for BSN-PhD entry
  • Copy of RN License for US citizens/residents
  • Evidence of scholarly writing (e.g., publication, grant, thesis, report, term paper or equivalent)
  • International students:
    • TOEFL or IELTS scores
    • Official transcripts for degrees earned outside the United States must be credentialed by WES

Letter of Recommendation forms should be submitted on your behalf from
three (3) doctorally prepared contacts who are able to speak to an applicant’s intellectual ability for doctoral study and potential as a nurse educator and/or scholar.  Letters of Recommendation are submitted electronically using our online application process.

A personal reflection should be submitted that addresses the following: rationale for selecting this particular doctoral program; description of your role aspirations; what you expect to derive from doctoral study; how you envision yourself as a scholar; your experience to date with research and scholarship; identification of your areas of scholarly interest that could lead to the development of a doctoral dissertation; and discussion of which Fitzpatrick College of Nursing Faculty member(s) you would like to study with and why. The essay should be a maximum of three typed, double spaced pages using 12 point Arial or Times New Roman font.  The essay is submitted electronically as part of the online application process.

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is only required for applicants applying for BSN-PhD entry to the program. Applicants who have a Masters level degree (MSN, MPH) will be waived from the GRE requirement. Graduate Record Exam information can be accessed through GRE results are to be sent directly to the Office of University Admission.

Official Transcripts
An official transcript from every previous college and school attended is to be sent directly to the PhD in Nursing Office using the address listed below.  Transcripts from schools outside of the United States must be evaluated by World Education Services (WES) and an official evaluation from WES must be received prior to the application deadline.  Official transcripts can also be sent electronically to the Doctoral Program Assistant Director.

Additional Information for International Applicants
All transcripts from institutions outside the U.S. must be evaluated by WES and an official evaluation from WES must be received prior to the application deadline.

Each applicant must document the ability to speak, read and write English as evidenced by satisfactory scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Students whose native language is English are exempt. For those whose native language is not English, the minimum acceptable scores are:

  • Internet-based TOEFL - 83 overall and 26 in Speaking and 25 in Writing
  • IELTS – 6.5 overall and 7.0 in speaking

International students must present evidence of adequate financial resources to meet the expenses of full-time study, living and travel expenses to and from the Villanova campus.

Application fee (non-refundable)
The application requires a fee of seventy dollars ($70.00) payable in U.S. funds when application is submitted.

All correspondence concerning application to the PhD Program in Nursing should be mailed to the following address:

Doctoral Program - PhD in Nursing
Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing
315 Driscoll Hall
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085-1690

Contact us if you have questions about the program or the application process.

PhD in Nursing Program Director
Mary Ann Cantrell, PhD, RN, CNE, FAAN

Doctoral Programs Assistant Director
Sandi Schultz

This assessment is a guide to evaluate the type of doctoral program that best fits your career goals. Assessments are anonymous and Villanova Nursing will not receive your responses to the survey.

*There is no relationship between your responses and the evaluation of your application for admission into the FCN PhD Program.

Applicants to the doctoral program should have a master’s degree in nursing, or its equivalent, from an accredited school of nursing and should have taken a college level statistics course.  Admission is highly selective, based on academic achievement, performance on standardized admission tests, career focus and employment experience, if relevant.

Highly qualified students with a baccalaureate degree in nursing may be admitted directly into the doctoral program with the expectation that they will complete MSN requirements while progressing toward the doctorate.

Applicants should hold licensure in nursing in a jurisdiction of the United States or its equivalent.  International applicants will be evaluated in relation to the educational system in their countries.  Licensure in the United States is not required.

International applicants should familiarize themselves with requirements associated with student visas found on the International Student Services web page.

In general, up to six credits of relevant courses taken prior to admission to the doctoral program may be transferred into the doctoral program. Students will be asked to submit an official transcript including the course grade, as well as a course syllabus. These will be reviewed, and a determination will be made.

Course must have been taken within five years of admission to the doctoral program.

Students are not permitted to take courses outside Villanova University for credit toward the doctoral degree once admitted to the doctoral program.

The PhD in Nursing program is taught using distance learning technology in the Fall and Spring semesters. Summer courses are taught on the Villanova University campus. (International students are expected to the on campus Summer Sessions).

In order to participate effectively in Villanova's courses, you must have full access to a reliable laptop/desktop/mac. Your computer and communications hardware and software should meet or exceed the following requirements as listed in the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing Computing Requirements.

Both Mac and PC platforms are acceptable operating systems for academic use in the College.  iPads (Apple iOS) and Tablets (i.e.: Android, Samsung, Amazon Fire, etc. operating systems) are not recommended because of nursing course content compatibility issues and online distance learning requirements.

Each student is required to have a local installed copy of Microsoft Office. Enrolled students can download Microsoft office for either Windows or Mac operating systems.

For additional information regarding technology requirements and support, you may visit:

Click here for important information regarding the University’s authorization status, students’ responsibilities related to relocation and programs leading to professional licensures, and the complaint process for online students.

Financial assistance is available to students pursuing either the full-time or part-time PhD at Villanova University's M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing. Click here for information regarding the

  • Nurse Faculty Loan Program
  • Fitzpatrick College of Nursing Scholarship opportunities
  • Financial assistance options