What is TRANSIT?

Prompted by the growing complexity of health problems in underserved minority populations, TRANSIT’s goal is to transform the Columbia University School of Nursing PhD program to produce expert nurse scholars to lead interdisciplinary and translational research in the underserved urban communities.

TRANSIT is a federally-funded initiative that aims to reduce health disparities in the Northern Manhattan area of New York City.

Why Columbia?

As one of just 18 schools of nursing in the country situated within a health sciences center, we provide an environment well-suited to interdisciplinary research.

As a student here, you will have access to world-renowned researchers in the school of nursing and throughout the university.

The surrounding neighborhood of Washington Heights provides a rich, culturally diverse environment in which community members and students can develop collaborations to advance science and improve the overall health of the community.

Who Should Apply?

Students with a minimum Bachelor of Science in Nursing who have a strong interest in conducting research with underserved populations should consider applying. Minority* applicants are strongly encouraged to apply.

*“Minority” means an individual whose race or ethnicity is classified as American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds are also considered minority.


The scoring system for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) has been revised beginning with the exams offered after August 1, 2011. Do I need to re-take the GRE if I already have my scores calculated under the old system?

No, we will still accept scores from exams taken prior to August, 2011. Since test scores will continue to be ranked according to percentile (e.g. 70th percentile), the new scoring system will not influence our ability to evaluate your academic profile.

How should I study for the GRE?
There are many ways to study for the GRE. This is a personal decision that should be based on your personal preferences and learning abilities. There are many GRE preparation materials available in book stores and in libraries. We recommend that you enroll in a course, available through local colleges or private companies that offer a variety of formal classroom, online, and web-based live GRE preparation courses.

What are the admission requirements?

TRANSIT applicants must fulfill the general requirements to the PhD program, including :

  • Current New York State nursing license or eligibility
  • GPA of at least 3.5
  • Satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
  • Three strong references attesting to the applicant's academic ability and potential
  • Personal goal statement that is congruent with program goals
  • Graduate-level course in health and social policy*
  • Graduate-level biostatistics course*
  • Computer and information literacy


Is tuition assistance available?

All admitted PhD students receive full tuition support and a stipend to offset the costs of education for the first two years of doctoral coursework. Support is available via several mechanisms, including teaching and/or research assistantships and grants as available. For post-bachelor applicants, other sources of financial support must be sought to complete the master's level pre-requisite courses.

How long is the PhD program?

The length of the PhD program varies depending on the individual student’s course plan and dissertation project. All requirements must be completed with seven years. Most students complete the PhD program in 3-5 years.

*Can be taken as co-requisite


Why is the stipend amount approximately $23,000?
In keeping with the standard annual allowance set by the NIH, all nursing PhD students receive uniform stipend amounts.

How do you live in NYC on $23,000/year?
With careful budgeting, it is possible to live in NYC on a doctoral student stipend. Modest (frugal) living, prepaying expenses (eg, rent) and paying off any high debts prior to matriculation are all beneficial. However, it is important to realize that as a doctoral student, you cannot live at the same standard of living as you did when you were employed full-time. Realize that this lifestyle, while disciplined, is temporary while completing the demand of full-time doctoral study at Columbia. A degree from Columbia is a lifelong, invaluable investment.

Is it possible to work on the weekends to supplement my stipend?
During the first two years of coursework, we discourage outside part-time work that is not related to your training as a nurse scientist/educator. During the dissertation phase, students may receive enhanced pay as research assistants or project directors; occasionally students will supplement their income with very part-time employment in a practice setting.

Can I attend the doctoral program part-time or are there any online classes I can take?
Because the PhD program at Columbia is a rigorous, “hands-on” training experience with internationally recognized faculty, we believe that the best way to mentor the next generation of nurse-scientists is through full-time study under the guidance of their faculty advisor. For this reason, we do not offer part-time or online training.

What if I have more questions about the PhD program?
Please review our website and Facebook pages:

Or contact Dr. Pat Stone - PhD program Director:
or Dr. Nancy Reame - TRANSIT INITIATIVE Director:

617 West 168th Street
New York, NY 10032

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