DNP to PhD Bridge

Add research skills to your clinical expertise through Texas Woman’s University’s DNP to PhD Bridge program.

While both a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science (PhD) are terminal nursing degrees, the educational requirements for each differ with one focused more on clinical practice and the other focused on in-depth research.

If you are a DNP looking for greater knowledge on research methodology or aspiring to conduct original research, TWU’s Bridge program is for you.

Realizing that students have different needs and varying learning styles, TWU offers two formats for the Bridge program. At the Denton campus, the program is offered 100% online and has received the Quality Matters Implementation Plan award for online learning.

A hybrid program incorporating both face-to-face and online classes is available at our Houston campus. In both campus formats, students may attend either full time or part time.

Degree Plan

Admission Requirements

Admission to the D.N.P. to Ph.D. Bridge

Program Contact

Dr. Sandra Cesario

Application Deadline

Fall - February 1, to begin in the summer or fall

Admission Requirements

  • Current U.S. RN license (unencumbered) (Nursing credentials for International students will be assessed individually).
  • Graduate level research course*.
  • Graduate Level nursing theory course*.
    *Provisional admission may be granted to students who have not taken a master's level nursing theory and/or research course.  Unconditional admission will be granted upon completing a master's level nursing theory and/or research course with a minimum grade of B.
  • Evidence of graduation from a DNP program offered by a regionally-accredited university with national certification in nursing preferred.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.5 in the DNP program for unconditional admission.
  • Applicants with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in last 60 hours coursework may be considered for provisional admission on an individual basis.
  • Collect and submit the following documents:
    • Curriculum vitae or resume
    • A scholarly essay (1,000-1,500 word limit) that describes:
      • Professional goals
      • How a Ph.D. will help achieve professional goals
      • Potential area of research interest,
      • accomplishments or experiences that you are proud of
  • Email addresses for two academic or professional references who are familiar with your academic capabilities, who can provide letters of recommendation to be requested through and submitted into the application. 
  • An interview with PhD faculty will be required to complete the admission application process.

How to Apply

Begin by finding your program in TWU's Program, Majors & Degrees listings to see if your program has additional admission requirements and application deadlines prior to applying.  (This information is for all programs. The application deadline for your specific program will be listed in the Program Requirements.  Use that deadline as it applies below.  (Example: if a program only admits once a year and has a Fall deadline for 2023 of March 1, you would need to be looking to apply to the next deadline for Fall 2024.)

  1. Apply online.
    Apply to Graduate Programs according to the start semester and application portals below:
    • Spring 2024 - All programs apply via ApplyTexas EXCEPT applicants to the College of Business, Child Life, or Child Development master's programs or the Child Development and Early Education PhD program who should apply via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal.
      • Note: When applying through ApplyTexas, you will need to submit any required Documents directly to the program website.
    • Summer & Fall 2024 - All graduate programs apply via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal. Required documents will be asked for and uploaded into the application.

  2. Pay the application fee.
    The $50 fee, ($75 fee for International applicants), which applies to all new and returning applicants can be paid by:
    • Credit card - Online through the portal you applied on (either ApplyTexas or TWU's Online Graduate Application).
    • Certified check or money order by mail or electronically - payable to TWU, sent by mail to:
      TWU Admissions Processing, 301 Research Circle, Room 220; Denton, Texas 76204
      (include your full name and ID number).
    • Cash (no personal checks) - Pay at the Bursar's Office. After paying, bring the receipt to Admissions Processing (2nd floor of GRB).
    • Fee Waivers - Graduate applicants who are certified McNair Scholars are eligible for a McNair Scholar application Fee waiver. Submit the request using the Application Fee Waiver Submission Form.

  3. Submit transcripts to TWU.
    • Domestic Applicants must submit official transcripts for each college or university attended, both undergraduate and graduate. See the Information on Transcripts website for more details.
    • International Applicants are now required to provide an evaluation prepared by a NACES or AICE member evaluation service. International transcripts should not be sent directly to TWU.  See the International Admission website for more details.

For more information on graduate admissions or to contact an admissions official, visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Students who wish to apply for a Graduate Assistantship must meet the General Criteria for Appointment of Graduate Assistants.


Sandra Cesario, PhD, RNC, FAAN
Director, PhD Program 

Page last updated 10:23 AM, September 6, 2023