Apply to the PhD Program

Apply Now to the PhD Program

Application Fee

A $75 non-refundable application fee must be paid through the application system after the application is submitted.

Fee waivers are granted to military service members and veterans, members of the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, Columbia Nursing alumni, and applicants who can demonstrate financial hardship. Applicants can complete the Fee Waiver Request Form at least three weeks prior to the application deadline and email it to


All transcripts from post-secondary schools attended or in which credit was received must be uploaded to your online application. Unofficial transcripts are only required at the time of the application. Please do not mail in any paper transcripts to the Office of Admissions.

If you have attended a school outside of the United States, you must upload a course-by-course transcript evaluation conducted by the World Education Services (WES).


Written Essays

Two written essays are required on the application. The essays should be uploaded to the application as PDF files. 

  • Personal Statement: Describe your research interests, what led you to this area of research, and your career goals. Why is Columbia University the place where you can accomplish your goals? 
    • Essay Requirements: Two double-spaced pages (12-point font/one-inch margins) 
  • Social Justice/Health Equity Essay: In the U.S. and around the world, there are increasing concerns about inequity and a lack of fairness for many members in our society. Please discuss a situation where you see inequity in health care and/or the potential for advocacy within health care. You may choose to write about a personal experience of advocacy or inequity OR you may choose to write about a societal issue of personal interest to you.  
    • Essay Requirements: One double spaced page (12-point font/one-inch margins) 

Video Essay

Applicants will be recorded answering two video essay questions. The video essay is recorded live within the application, so applicants will need a webcam that is directly attached to their device and a web browser that supports Flash. Applicants are not able to upload a pre-recorded answer.  

Guidelines to support recording the video essay: 

  • Set up the space where you will record in advance. 
    • A good internet connection is needed. Direct wire connections to router are best. If you are using WiFi, it's recommended that you set up your recording space as close as possible to your router. 
    • Be aware of your surroundings. Make sure the background where you will be recording your video is neat, and if applicable, remove any items you do not want on camera. 
    • Place your camera level with the top of your head for the best angle. 
    • Have your light source facing you – placed right behind your computer/camera. This is best in order to provide good lighting. 
    • Be aware of your surroundings and environmental sounds when recording audio. Use an external microphone if you have one (this may provide better sound quality). 
  • Make sure to dress professionally and as if you were delivering your video essay in person to the Admissions Committee. 
  • Don't rely on reading directly from any notes or a script when delivering your video essay. 
  • Use the practice round of the video essay. This is an opportunity to work out any kinks before the actual recording starts. 
  • Feel free to introduce yourself at the beginning of your video essay, and be mindful of the topics you decide to share when answering the question. 

Timed Writing Sample

Applicants will be asked to answer a short essay question in a period of 10 minutes (two minutes to think about the response and 10 minutes to write the sample) within the application. A random question will be generated by the application site so applicants cannot prepare the essay in advance. Essays are evaluated on the content and structure of the applicant's response.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are strongly encouraged to be submitted from doctorally prepared faculty. If an applicant has difficulty finding three doctorally prepared letter writers, we will accept two letters from doctorally prepared writers and a third from someone who is not doctorally prepared who can speak to the applicant's potential for a research career. References should be written for the purpose of the applicant's application. Academic references should know you as a student and professional references should know you in a job setting, preferably in a supervisory role. Personal references from friends or family members do not meet the requirement. 

References selected must align with the experience the applicant has accounted for in their application (ie. if selecting a supervisor as a reference, the job in which you worked at should be listed on your resume).  

Recommendation letters must be submitted through the application portal. The applicant will be required to provide the recommender's name and email address on the application. The recommender will receive an email from the Office of Admissions directing them to complete the online reference form. They can also upload their letter through this form as a Word document or PDF file. 

As part of the admission process, all references will undergo a verification process.  After submission of an enrollment deposit and before orientation, we will reach out to your recommender to verify the authenticity of their submission. 

  • Note: Please use your recommender's institutional or work email address. Recommenders who have a personal email address (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo) attached to their information may be subject to additional review in order to verify that they are an academic or professional reference. 

Resume or CV

Applicants will be asked to provide their professional affiliations, awards/commendations, interests, hobbies, and community service involvement on the application. Applicants will also be asked to upload their resume/CV to the application portal. The resume/CV should be uploaded as a PDF in order to ensure proper formatting.

There is no page limit required for the resume/CV. In addition to academic and professional experience, applicants should include hobbies, interests, honors, awards, and travel experience. This type of information will give the review committee an opportunity to gain a more holistic understanding of the applicant.


  • GRE Exam Scores: GRE exam scores are not required for the PhD program. Unofficial scores can be uploaded to the application, however, the Office of Admissions requires receipt of the official scores by the admissions deadline. Columbia Nursing's school code is 2142.
  • TOEFL Exam Scores: Applicants who completed post-secondary education outside of the United States from a non-English institution are required to submit TOEFL scores. Unofficial scores can be uploaded to the application, however, the Office of Admissions requires receipt of the official scores by the admissions deadline. Columbia Nursing's school code is 9828.

Additional Documentation Not Required

  • Addendum: Applicants can submit a brief statement explaining substantive extenuating circumstances that they feel could impact their application. Information related to academic circumstances that have affected an applicant's performance should be addressed in this section.
  • Optional Essay: Applicants can submit a one-page essay (double-spaced/12-point font) focused on non-academic topics.
  • Communications: If an applicant has corresponded with our Admissions Office regarding any parts of their application or program requirements (i.e. prerequisite course review), they can upload the email communication in this section.

Additional Information Regarding Application Processing and Review

Note that the applicant must submit all materials directly, not through an agent or third-party vendor, with the following exceptions: submission by the U.S. Department of State's Fulbright program; submission by Danish-American Fulbright (DAF); and submission by Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD).

The applicant will be required to attest to the accuracy and authenticity of all information and documents submitted to Columbia. If you have questions about this requirement, please contact the Office of Admission at

  • Failure to submit complete, accurate, and authentic application documents consistent with these instructions may result in denial or revocation of admission, cancellation of academic credit, suspension, expulsion, or eventual revocation of degree. Applicants may be required to assist admissions staff and faculty involved in the admission reviews in verification of all documents and statements made in documents submitted by the student as part of the application review process.
  • All application materials will be verified by the Office of Admission or a third-party vendor for enrolling applicants. Detailed information regarding this process will be distributed upon publication of admission decisions.

Apply Now to the PhD Program