Alternate Entry Doctor of Philosophy (AE-PhD)

AE-PhD Program Overview

Application Deadline: November 1, yearly
Application Available: September 1, yearly
Program Start: Summer once a year only 
Length of Program: 4.5 years full-time 
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy 
Part-Time Study: After the foundation (first) year 
Distance Learning: Not at this time


About the AE-PhD

The Alternate Entry Doctor of Philosophy (AE-PhD) degree is designed for those who hold baccalaureate or graduate degrees in disciplines other than nursing.

The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing AE-PhD program prepares students to become researchers and to assume advanced leadership roles in nursing and health care delivery. A combination of conceptual approaches, challenging interactions in seminar discussions, and work with active researchers produces a stimulating environment for scholarly development.

AE-PhD Resources

Course of Study

The Foundation Year: The AE-PhD program is designed to satisfy RN licensure requirements and train students in specialty nursing roles. The first year of the program is an intensive, full-time series of foundation courses. The AE-PhD Foundation Year (Pre-Licensure) Courses (PDF) are accelerated, specially designed graduate courses that include content and experiences that are required to take the Registered Nurse licensure examination (NCLEX-RN) and that are required for graduate-level study in nursing. All foundation courses must be completed before students are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. The sequence of AE-PhD foundation courses begins in the first summer session, and full-time enrollment during the foundation sequence is required.

Doctoral Coursework: Upon passing the NCLEX-RN and getting licensed, the student is eligible to work as an RN in Texas only. The remaining years of the program focus on the coursework required for the PhD in Nursing in the student's focused area of study.

Program requirements for the AE-PhD in nursing include core courses and a focused area of study beyond the foundation year, plus a dissertation. The PhD program prepares nurse researchers to make significant contributions to nursing knowledge and nursing practice through ongoing scientific inquiry and the dissemination of research findings.

AE-PhD Objectives

Objectives for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD and AE PhD) Program

The graduate of the PhD program in nursing is expected to:

  1. Conduct research to advance knowledge and practice in nursing and healthcare.
  2. Develop, test, and refine theories for nursing and healthcare.
  3. Participate as a scholar in the advancement of theoretical, ethical, and practice aspects of nursing and healthcare.
  4. Participate as a scholar in transdisciplinary teams to advance the science of nursing and healthcare.
  5. Assume leadership roles in practice, education, and policy arenas to promote high quality and innovative health care, especially in underserved populations.
  6. Accept responsibility and accountability for disseminating knowledge.
Admission Requirements

All students interested in applying for graduate study in Nursing at the University of Texas at Austin must meet the admission requirements established by the University’s Graduate Studies and the School of Nursing. Applicants are expected to be graduates of accredited, or equivalent, colleges or universities. Below are the minimum requirements for admission.

Bachelor’s degree (or higher) in an area other than Nursing

  1. Degree: Bachelor’s degree in an area other than Nursing.
  2. GPA: 3.0 (4.0 scale) or comparable GPA in completed upper-division work (junior- and senior-level courses) and graduate work.
  3. Recommendations: 3 required and 1 reference must be from a healthcare professional. Written recommendations are not accepted.
  4. Prerequisites: Completion of AE-PhD Prerequisite Courses (PDF).  See pdf for completion time requirements and policies.
  5. Statement of Purpose
  6. Curriculum Vitae/resume

*Applicants to the AE-PhD program are encouraged to have volunteer or work experience in a healthcare related field.

Application Procedures

Any person applying for formal admission to the AEPhD program must submit the following application materials by the October 1 deadline.

Application for Admission

Complete online application for admissions and pay application fee at The application is only open between August 1st and November 1st. The online application is data entry only. All supporting application documents are uploaded on the My Status page after the application is paid and submitted.

*Recommendation: Complete online application, at minimum, 2 weeks prior to the November 1 deadline ensuring all documents provided by the application deadline.

Supporting Documents

  1. Official transcripts dated one year or less, from all post-secondary colleges or universities attended, including community colleges.
    1. (See AE-PhD Application Checklist (PDF) for transcript upload procedures.)
  2. Curriculum Vitae: include educational background, professional experience, volunteer experience and other relevant information (e.g., publications, scholarship and awards, professional organizations, and community activities).
  3. Personal Statement: Maximum two (2) pages. Readable font, 12-point, double spaced, 1-inch margins.
  4. Recommendations: 3 required / 3 maximum
    1. Using our secure, personalized form, three (3) professional recommendations that attest to the applicant's academic ability, professional competency and personal character must be submitted electronically by each recommender.
    2. One reference must be from a healthcare professional, a nurse, physician, nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist.
    3. Written recommendations are not accepted.
  5. Official TOEFL or IELTS scores taken within the past two years (for International Applicants only).
    1. See the International Students webpage for English language requirements.
  6. Alternate Entry Prerequisite Checklist (PDF) informs admissions committee details regarding the applicant’s prerequisite courses. Form must be fully completed and signed.

Visit the Graduate Admissions webpage (GIAC) for additional information.

For additional details on how to prepare your graduate application materials and personal statement instructions, please view the AE-PhD Application Checklist (PDF).

All materials must be submitted electronically to the My Status  page page that is available approximately 48 hours after the application submission.

Acceptance to Graduate Programs in Nursing

The School of Nursing Graduate Admissions and Progression Committee (GAPC) begin preliminary admission reviews after the October 1st deadline. All application materials are required to be submitted by the program’s application deadline; files that remain incomplete will not be reviewed or acted upon by GAPC.

If admitted, applicants will be notified of the admission decision by early February. Decisions are communicated in the following ways:

  1. Offers of admission are sent via email by the School of Nursing.
  2. Official e-letters from the Graduate and International Admission Center notifying you of the admission decision of the Office of Graduate Studies are available on the application Status Check page.

Acceptance by both the School of Nursing and the Office of Graduate Studies are necessary before enrollment is permitted. Please be aware, if admitted, completion of all compliance requirements are required at least one month prior to the first day of class.

NOTE: Email is the official means of communication for all university business.

If not admitted, applicants will be notified by the GIAC only.

Please email Graduate Student Services Office if you have questions about the admission process.


All files are in PDF format.