Early PhD Option

The Early Entry PhD Option in nursing is an innovative program designed for undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing a research career. Early Entry students plan an individualized program of study and research, drawing on existing undergraduate and graduate courses in nursing and related disciplines. The option consists of early and intensive research training, clinical practice, required and recommended course work. Two degrees are awarded to students who complete this option: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BS) and Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D).

Application Period: February 1 – April 1
Click here for the application

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The program of study includes undergraduate and graduate credits. Current university standards for degree credits are followed. A minimum of 124 credits is required to earn a baccalaureate degree; followed by the required 52 doctoral credits. Upon successful completion of doctoral research credits and the dissertation defense, the PhD is awarded.

A student’s program consists of early and intensive research training, clinical practice, and required and recommended coursework. Existing courses and independent study are used to satisfy program component requirements.


An integral part of the Early Entry PhD Option is preparation for a career as a nurse researcher. Throughout the program, students will participate in a research team facilitated by their major advisor. Students participate in colloquia exposing them to the breadth and depth of research at the UW-Madison School of Nursing. Additionally, colloquia bring together Early Entry students with doctoral students and faculty. As the students progress, there is an expectation that they conduct independent research.

Clinical Practice

The Early Entry PhD Option prepares a nurse researchers with basic clinical nursing knowledge and skills and advanced knowledge and skills related to a specific clinical population. Basic clinical knowledge and skills prepare the student to demonstrate minimum nursing competencies. Each student is required to satisfactorily complete 12 credits of undergraduate-level clinical nurse courses. As part of the clinical practice component, students build on basic knowledge and skills, identify a population of interest, apply principles of systematic inquiry, identify gaps in clinical practice, and develop research-based guidelines. This may be accomplished through individually arranged advanced practice experiences.


At the undergraduate level, a student’s required coursework consists of theory courses (20 credits), population-based courses (9 credits), research courses (6-9 credits), and additional nursing courses (7-10 credits).


Mandi Moy

Position title: Director of Admissions & Recruitment

Email: mandi.moy@wisc.edu

Phone: 608-263-5261