"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

Through the Nursing PhD program, students begin a career and life of inquiry. Graduates of the program become scientists who conduct research in nursing and continually grow the knowledge base of the discipline. They answer the “why” and “how” questions and pursue careers as academic faculty or clinical researchers.

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 – 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. The School’s graduate students have many opportunities to capitalize on the symbiotic relationship between the Nursing PhD, DNP, MS, and MEPN programs, and the basic, clinical, and social and population science programs offered by the Graduate Division.


There are over 100 faculty members in the four School of Nursing departments. See a list of Nursing faculty research areas.

Research Focus Areas

The Nursing PhD program offers three research focus areas: family health care nursing, community health systems, and physiological nursing. 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

Program Director
Jill Esquivel, RN, PhD, NP