"USCF attracts some of the most passionate and compassionate people who are dedicated to promoting health equity to those society has pushed to the margins. It was very easy to find quality people who sincerely care for our communities and provide infinite warmth and support towards one another."
—Brianna M. Singleton, PhD student, Nursing

Nursing PhD

The goal of the PhD Program in Nursing is to prepare nurse scientists who will generate and transmit knowledge fundamental to the discipline of nursing and to nursing practice. Graduates of the program pursue careers as academic research faculty, clinical researchers, and other positions through which they contribute to knowledge development and research leadership.

The UCSF School of Nursing takes pride in its graduate programs, which represent a century of pioneering leadership that has produced many of the country’s – and the world’s – renowned nurse scientists and visionary nursing leaders. Among schools of nursing nationwide, the UCSF School of Nursing is one of the top recipients of research funding from the National Institutes of Health and its faculty are widely recognized for their many publications and cited scholarly works.


The Nursing PhD program is taught by faculty members in the UCSF School of Nursing. These faculty are from the School’s four departments but also involve interdisciplinary collaborations with colleagues from other schools on the 10 campuses of the University of California as well as national and international colleagues. Thus, PhD students receive scientific mentorship and socialization from nursing and interdisciplinary faculty who have national and international reputations, networks, and contacts. See a list of nursing faculty research areas.

Research Focus Areas

Students are not required to align with a particular area of educational preparation in the PhD program; rather they are matched to individual faculty based on their research interests. However, there are areas of specialized knowledge in the school that students may select for research preparation, such as: 1) health equity, 2) symptom science, 3) community and population health, 4) digital health, omics and data science, or 5) aging and the life course. Research training is also supported in the fields of occupational/environmental health and HIV/AIDS.

The School of Nursing also administers the Sociology program, which constitutes a separate, so-named PhD degree. See the Nursing PhD program website for full descriptions.

The Nursing graduate programs are based at the Parnassus campus. Visit the program website for more information.

The Nursing PhD program is offered by the UCSF Graduate Division. The program is administered by the UCSF School of Nursing and delivered by faculty members in the UCSF School of Nursing.


Program Coordinator
Debbie Acoba

Interim Program Director
Sandra Weiss, RN, PhD