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Washington State University

Steps to Apply: MN, DNP, PhD, Graduate Certificates

Applications open Aug. 1 – please refer to the Applications Deadlines pages for application close dates.

Before You Apply

  • You’ll need an updated professional curriculum vitae or resume.
  • Determine three references who are each willing to provide a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Ask them to discuss your leadership, academic standards, and skills as they pertain to your primary interest area. We recommend (but do not require) your references include a current or past faculty member in a nursing program you attended and two professionals from a work setting (head nurse, provider, NP/PA. etc). They will be contacted directly by WSU via email after you have submitted your application, with directions for submitting their evaluation form. Ask them to fill out the form and submit it within one week of receiving it.
  • DNP/MN/Certificate Applicants: Prepare a 500-word statement of purpose essay that you will submit on the CollegeNet application, that is well written, organized, and includes both your long- and short-term professional goals and how your goals fit with the health care needs of your community.
  • PhD Applicants: Prepare a “Program Intent and Goals Statement” that you will submit on the CollegeNet Application Statement of Purpose page. This statement is the most important section of the application for admission and all questions must be addressed or your application will be returned. Your statement should cover:
    • Why you want a PhD and how you envision it will advance your professional development and career.
    • Describe the potential research idea for your dissertation. What gap in knowledge do you want to investigate? Provide at least five references using APA 6th format to support the gap you have identified.
    • Identify the faculty in the College of Nursing you believe will be a good mentor for your dissertation topic. Why is each person a good fit for your topic? Refer to the faculty list at:
    • Prepare two to four specific goals for your PhD program that are organized, clear, concise and in-depth with demonstrated lucidity and well-developed thinking. Goals may include rationale for progression through the program, courses from other disciplines in which you would want to enroll, writing a grant to fund your PhD study, interest in a Teaching Assistant position (identify your skill sets and topic areas of expertise) and working with faculty to develop presentations and publications.
  • PhD Applicants: Choose an option for scholarly work submission:
    • Option 1: Conduct a literature search on your proposed topic for the dissertation research. Write a review of at least five articles. At the end of the review, summarize the gaps in knowledge followed by a description of how your proposed dissertation research will address at least one gap. Provide a rationale for the importance of your topic for nursing practice, research, education, or policy. References/citations are required both in the body of the paper and in a reference list at the end using APA 6th edition. The scholarly work should be no longer than 5 double spaced pages. Quality is valued over quantity.
    • Option 2: Submit a published paper (preferably a research report) for which you are the first author.
    • Option 3: Submit a literature-based paper written in your master’s or baccalaureate program for which you were the first author.
    • Option 4: Bacc to PhD applicants only – If you do not have experience in scientific writing and cannot provide a sample from one of the above options, you may take the Scientific Writing Course from Coursera. The course itself it free, however there is a $79 fee for the certificate of completion. The course is 6 weeks long and you must provide the completion certificate to the PhD Academic Coordinator prior to the first day of class. Click here to enroll.  Click on the sign up button and create a log in. Select purchase course for $79 which provides the certificate of completion. Pay for the course online.

Apply to the WSU Graduate School online

The application fee is $75 and non-refundable.

  • Create your online CollegeNET applicant profile.
  • When you get to the “Enrollment Plans” page, type “nursing” into the search box.
  • Select your PROGRAM based on the CAMPUS NAME (select one) you are applying to.
  • DNP/MN Applicants: This will be the campus where you will attend on-campus meeting dates as well as the area in which you will have clinical experiences if admitted.
  • Select the Term you are applying for.
  • Submit your updated professional curriculum vitae or résumé.
  • Submit your statement of purpose.
  • DNP/MN/Certificate Applicants: See instructions on “Statement of Purpose” above.
  • PhD Applicants: See instructions on “Program Intent and Goals Statement” above.
  • Submit your scholarly work selection.
    • DNP/MN/Certificate Applicants: Not Required
    • PhD Applicants: See instructions on submission of “Scholarly Work” above.
  • Request a minimum of three letters of recommendation through the online application. Your references will be contacted directly WSU via email with directions for submitting their evaluation form on your behalf. Please contact the references prior to submitting the application to ensure they are willing to respond to your recommendation request; ask them to discuss your leadership, academic standards, and skills as they pertain to your primary interest area. We recommend your references include a current or past faculty member in a nursing program you attended and two professionals from a work setting (head nurse, provider, NP/PA. etc). Ask them to fill out the form and submit within one week of receiving it. If they haven’t received the link to the form, have them check their junk mail and double check that the email address you submitted on the online application was correct.
  • Submit your application.
  • You will receive an email from the College of Nursing Grad Program’s Office acknowledging application submission and what other application materials are outstanding.

Submit Your Transcripts

  • Transcripts are required for the application review process. A copy of unofficial transcripts from every college and university that you attended is acceptable for the application review process; official transcripts are required if admitted. Please refer to the Graduate School application requirements.

Complete the Online Interview Questions

Please respond in depth to the following interview questions. Faculty who review your answers will be evaluating your writing skills, as well as your answers.

Application Review Process

  • You will be notified via email by the College of Nursing Graduate Programs Office that your application was received and if there any additional documents needed.
  • We begin reviewing completed applications upon submission.
  • PhD Applicants: You may be asked to participate in a phone interview as part of your application process.
  • You will be notified via email if you are accepted, wait-listed, or denied.
  • Admission questions? Contact the College of Nursing by email or phone 509-324-7334.