Application Process & Requirements for UCF PhD or DNP Degrees

You are ready to practice at the highest level in nursing. Whether you’re seeking a PhD or a DNP, let us help you start your journey.

Follow these steps for admissions to a doctoral program at the UCF College of Nursing.


Meet Application Criteria

All doctoral students will need to fulfill general UCF graduate admissions requirements. Visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog for details.

Additionally, applicants will need to meet the minimum requirements for each respective doctoral program at UCF.



  • BSN degree from a regionally accredited institution or equivalent. Students with a Non-Nursing Bachelor’s may apply to a DNP program, but must take prerequisites.
  • GRE competitive score and taken within the last five years
  • Undergraduate statistics course
  • RN license in the State of Florida. Out-of-state applicants must be eligible for an RN license in Florida and obtain an RN license to begin clinical courses.


Post-Master’s DNP Programs: APN and Nurse Executive

  • BSN and MSN degrees from a regionally accredited institution or equivalent, with the following focus or specialty: 
    • Nurse Executive DNP – an MSN with a focus on leadership and management is preferred, but applicants with an MBA, MS or MSN in other fields will be considered.
  • RN license in the State of Florida or the state in which you practice.


Additional criteria for the Advanced Practice DNP program:
  • APRN license in the State of Florida. Out-of-state applicants must be eligible for licensure in Florida and must achieve APRN licensure to begin clinical courses.
  • APN certification or the ability to obtain certification in the first semester of enrollment is required.


PhD in Nursing Programs: BSN to PhD and Post-Master’s PhD

  • Degree(s) from a regionally accredited institution or equivalent:
    • BSN for the BSN to PhD program
    • BSN and MSN for the Post-Master’s PhD program
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation evaluating potential for doctoral study preferably by nursing instructors, nurse employers or nurses with advanced degrees
  • Research interests that match faculty expertise


Please note: Online programs do not meet immigration requirements for students holding an F1 or J1 Visa to maintain status. If you have questions, please contact UCF Global at or call 407-823-2337.

Attend an Information Session

In addition to learning more about the programs and application process, you’ll gain tips on writing your essay, how often you need to come to campus (if at all) and more. Register now.

Schedule an Advising Appointment

Before submitting your application and writing your essay, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with an advisor to discuss the essay and your goals for doctoral study. To schedule your appointment, contact the College of Nursing’s Graduate Student Services Office.

Gather Documents to Submit
  • Official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) reflecting prior education, recent clinical accomplishments, any recent scholarly work (publications and presentations), awards, additional certifications, and activities with professional organizations. For recent graduates, this can include accomplishments as a student.
  • Written essay (see below).
  • GRE official score taken within last five years:
Write Essay

All doctoral program applicants will need to write an essay.


All DNP Programs: BSN to DNP and Post-Master’s DNP

Your essay will need to address the following and meet the formatting requirements below.

  1. Describe your future career plans and how the program to which you are applying will help you achieve your career goals.
  2. Identify one significant contemporary issue or problem in U.S. healthcare and explore how members of the nursing profession can help address that issue or solve that problem.

An interview with faculty may also be required.


PhD in Nursing Program: BSN to PhD and Post-Master’s PhD

Your essay will need to address the following and meet the formatting requirements below.

  • Conceptualize or develop a research idea or construct
  • Engage in creative thought
  • Explain your driving motivation to earn a PhD
  • Discuss the fit of career goals with focus of PhD education
  • Identify the fit of research interest with a College of Nursing faculty member’s program of research
  • Present an understanding of time commitment for doctoral education
  • Provide examples of ability to work effectively as part of a team
  • Discuss prior research and quality improvement experience
  • Display excellent written skills, including grammatical and paragraph structure, spelling and proofreading of the document prior to submitting

An interview with faculty is also required and will be evaluated based on the criteria above.



Written essay formatting requirements:

  • Length:
    • 500 words or less for PhD programs
    • One page for all DNP programs
  • Double spaced
  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • 1-inch margins


Apply by Application Deadlines
Program Apply to UCF Admission Type
BSN to DNP: Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner | hybrid By Feb. 1 Fall Full- or part-time
BSN to DNP: Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner | hybrid By Feb. 1 Fall Full- or part-time
BSN to DNP: Family Nurse Practitioner | hybrid By Feb. 1 Fall Full- or part-time

DNP: Advanced Practice Nurse | online

By June 1 Fall Full- or part-time
  By Oct. 1 Spring Full- or part-time
DNP: Nurse Executive | online By June 1 Fall Part-time
  By Oct. 1 Spring Part-time
BSN to PhD in Nursing | online courses By March 1 Summer Full-time
PhD in Nursing | online By March 1 Summer Full- or part-time
Begin the Application Process

Admissions are decided by a committee of faculty and staff within the College of Nursing, based on an applicant’s overall GPA, GPA of the last 60 hours of undergraduate program, CV, written essay and GRE* score (*only applicable for PhD and BSN to DNP tracks).

The College of Nursing accepts the most qualified students based on evaluations of the applicant’s abilities, past performance, recommendations, match of UCF programs with applicant’s career goals, and for PhD applicants, match of faculty research areas.

Apply online at the UCF College of Graduate Studies.