Admission requirements


We welcome your application to the PhD in Nursing program. The PhD program is jointly administered by The University of Akron College of Health Professions School of Nursing and the Kent State University College of Nursing. Applicants select one of the universities for the application and give a ranked preference for the chosen University of Record. Every effort will be made to honor this preference, although it is not guaranteed. Applicants will be notified of their university of record in their admission letters. The University of Record maintains student records and transcripts and awards the doctorate. The doctoral diploma, while issued from only the University of Record, will recognize both universities and the PhD program.



Admission to the PhD program is determined by a review committee of PhD faculty who will assess the entire composite of information gained from a variety of sources. Each applicant must meet the following criteria and/or provide:

  • An application to The University of Akron Graduate College
  • A completed Application Information Sheet for the PhD Program
  • Evidence of successful completion of a bachelor of science in nursing degree at an accredited program and a master's degree in nursing or a closely related health field. Applicants with bachelor's degrees in a closely related health field and master's degrees in nursing also will be considered.
  • A minimum graduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Official transcripts must be sent to the university Graduate College.
  • Official evidence of scores on the Graduate Record Examination taken within 5 years of application. GRE information can be obtained online at
  • Current résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Three (3) letters of reference from professionals or professors who can adequately evaluate the applicant and the applicant's previous work or potential for success. Two of the letters are strongly preferred from PhD-prepared nurses.
  • An admission essay, using the following guidelines: In two pages and single-spaced, respond to the following questions: Why do you want to pursue a PhD in nursing? What are your professional goals? How have you been involved in research, publications, and professional presentations? How have you been involved in professional organizations? What are your research interests? Why are you interested in these research areas? How could research, and specially your research, in these areas advance science? How would research, and specifically your research, in these areas advance the science of nursing?
  • A sample of written work that indicates the logic and writing skills of the applicant, for example, by an essay, term paper, thesis, published article, or professional report.
  • *Current licensure  as a registered nurse and *professional liability insurance, or legally able to practice nursing in country of origin. *Patient care-related research activities and teaching assistant responsibilities often require current registered nurse (RN) licensure, or eligibility for licensure, within the State of Ohio and professional liability or malpractice insurance. Advisors and/or the Directors of the PhD program will provide clarification about the requirement for current Ohio RN licensure in individual circumstances.
  • International applicants: demonstrated proficiency in written and oral English, and a minimum score of 550 (paper-based score or equivalent computer-based score) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants with scores greater than 530 but less than 550 will be considered for conditional admission. In addition, international students must comply with university procedures for acceptance as an international student. This information is found in the graduate catalogs of the respective University of Record.
  • Transfer applicants: Evidence of good academic standing at the current institution. Determination of whether or not credits may be transferred will be based on evaluation of comparability of requested transfer course to PhD course and university policy.

After the first screening, and at the request of the PhD Admissions Committee, applicants will be asked to successfully complete personal interviews with Admissions Committee members. Research interests, professional involvement, and motivation for successful completion of doctoral study in the PhD program will be assessed.

Complete applications are reviewed by the admissions committee throughout the year for fall enrollment. Applications (with GRE scores, transcripts, etc.) must be completed by March 15 if enrollment in the program is desired for that fall. Applicants must register for courses within two (2) years of acceptance into the PhD program, or otherwise the acceptance is void.