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University of Colorado College of Nursing

College of Nursing

Doctor of Philosophy Admissions

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PhD Admissions

We are excited about your interest in the PhD program. Please use the tabs below to navigate through some helpful and useful information regarding our application and admission process.

​Eligibility Criteria for Nursing PhD Program Admission

Required documents for Graduate School admission are identified here.

In addition, the College of Nursing PhD program requires:

  1. Completion of a baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing from an NLN or CCNE accredited institution.

  2. A 3.0 undergraduate and/or a 3.5 graduate grade point average.

  3. Completion of a graduate-level inferential (intermediate) statistics course* with a minimum grade of B (3.0).

  4. Completion of master’s-level nursing theory course* with a minimum grade of B (3.0).

*If either the graduate-level nursing theory course or the inferential statistics is not reflected in the course title on the transcript, include a course description, course outline or other supporting evidence that this requirement has been met.

Applications complete by the first Monday in March will be reviewed for fall admission.

Please send all application documents to

Office of Admissions & Student Affairs
College of Nursing
13120 E. 19th Avenue C288-6
Aurora, CO 80045

Technical Standards

In spring 2008, the University of Colorado College of Nursing adopted the technical standards for admission, progression and graduation of College of Nursing students in the bachelor of science (BS) and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs. These standards also apply for master of science (MS), post-master’s, PhD and special graduate students taking clinical courses involving direct client care.

Candidates for these degrees must be able to meet these minimum standards with or without a reasonable accommodation for successful completion of degree requirements. In graduate courses or programs without clinical components, or those involving no direct patient care, the standards may be modified by the program council governing the specific degree program (MS or PhD). The following technical standards explain attributes necessary to complete the educational programs in nursing. The college will consider any applicant who demonstrates the ability to perform, or to learn to perform, the skills listed. An applicant with concerns about these technical standards is strongly encouraged to discuss the issue with the director of the particular program. An applicant is not required to disclose the nature of any disability. If appropriate, and upon request from the applicant, reasonable accommodations for a disability may be provided.

Please see page 49 of the Student Handbook for detailed information regarding the technical standards.


​Admissions Process

Please see the Graduate School’s website for detailed information regarding the admissions process.

In addition to the Graduate School’s requirements, the following identifies information specific to the College of Nursing PhD program:

  1. Completion of the University of Colorado graduate admission application and submission of the application fee (currently $50 for U.S. applicants and $75 for international applicants).

  2. A scholarly paper focused within the domain of nursing (for example: journal article, course paper).

  3. Complete the essay responses​.

  4. Four (4) letters of reference with at least two academic references.

  5. One (1) copy of official transcripts from each college/university attended.

  6. The GRE is not required for admission if you've obtained a graduate degree, however if you have completed the exam, please submit your scores to us. Submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores to the College of Nursing Office of Admissions & Student Affairs (School Code 4875).

  7. Submit TOEFL scores for international and English as a Second Language (ESL) students, if applicable.

  8. International students must submit professional evaluation of education credentials, if applicable.

When the application is complete, an interview with two faculty members will be scheduled either in-person at the CU College of Nursing or by telephone. To avoid delay in notification, please notify us of any changes in contact information.

Please send all application documents to:

Office of Admissions & Student Affairs
College of Nursing
13120 E. 19th Avenue C288-6
Aurora, CO 80045

​International Applicants

International students with credentials from institutions outside the United States are encouraged to apply six months to a year before the start of proposed graduate studies at the College of Nursing. Only those students who have completed a bachelor's degree or equivalent at a university in their own country or a bachelor's or master's degree in the United States are considered for admission.

Please consult the Graduate School website for requirements and information regarding international applicants.

English Language Proficiency

If your primary language is not English, or if you are an International Student, you will need to demonstrate required English language proficiency by meeting one of the following criteria:
1.     You are a citizen of a country whose official language is English including Australia, Belize, Botswana, Canada (except Quebec), Commonwealth Caribbean, Ghana, United Kingdom, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
2.     You have obtained a total score of at least 560 on the paper-based TOEFL and 50 or above on the Test of Spoken English (TSE); a score of 83 on the Internet-based TOEFL with 26 or above on the spoken English section. For other minimum subscores see
The College of Nursing TOEFL Exam Code is 3377. Be sure to use this code when registering for the exam to ensure that we will receive the results
3.     You have obtained a total score of 6.5 on IELTS with minimum subscores as follows:
·       Reading – Minim score of 5.5
·       Writing – Minimum score of 5.5
·       Speaking – Minimum score of 5.5
·       Listening – Minimum score of 5.5
Official IELTS scores must be sent directly to the College of Nursing
4.     You have graduated from the University of Colorado Denver’s ESL Academy.
5.     You have graduated from a US/UK accredited school abroad with English as the medium of instruction.
6.     You have earned an Associate or Bachelor’s degree in the U.S. or you have successfully completed a minimum of 2 semesters of full-time study in a master’s program at an accredited institution in the U.S., or you have completed the GTPathways core at a Colorado Community College where you were deemed to have the required English language proficiency.
7.     You have graduated from and completed one year of secondary school in the US that included at least one unit of college preparatory English.  

​PhD in Nursing

The College of Nursing has two major pathways to the PhD. Applicants may enter the PhD program with either a bachelor's degree in nursing or master's degree in nursing.

For applicants with a bachelor's degree in nursing, the MS-PhD pathway offers a 30-credit master of science degree (or an advanced practice specialty) leading into PhD course work and research. Both degrees are awarded.

For more information and to apply, visit the MS-PhD page for application and program specifics.