Steps to Apply to our Graduate Programs: MN, PhD, Graduate Certificates

Before you apply, update/gather all necessary application materials and documents

  • You’ll need an updated professional curriculum vitae or resume.
  • Determine three references willing to provide a letter of recommendation for you that discusses your leadership, academic standards, and skills as they pertain to your primary interest area. You will need to provide names, addresses, emails, and positions of your references on your application. 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. Each reference will receive instructions for submitting their recommendation through an evaluation form. Ask them to fill out the form and submit it within one week of receiving it.
  • MN/Certificate Applicants: Prepare a 500-word statement of purpose to submit with your application. It must be well written, organized, and include your long- and short-term professional goals and how they 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 part of your application. All questions must be addressed in your statement, or your application will be returned.
    • Your statement should include:
      • Why you want a PhD and how you envision it will advance your professional development and career.
      • A description of your 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.
      • Potential 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 on the website.
      • 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 one 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-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. 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.

Apply to the WSU Graduate School online

After you prepare/gather your required application materials and list of references, you are ready to apply. 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • MN/Certificate Applicants: Not Required
    • PhD Applicants: See instructions on submission of “Scholarly Work” above.
  • Provide information about your three references who will submit letters of recommendation for you.  Make sure you read the “before you apply” section above so you are clear on what your references need to do.
  • Submit your application.
  • You will receive an email from the College of Nursing Graduate Programs 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 review your answers and evaluate 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 are any additional documents needed.
  • We begin reviewing completed applications upon submission.
  • You will be notified via email if you are accepted, wait-listed, or denied.
  • Admission questions? Email or phone 509-324-7334.


Email or phone 509-324-7334