School of Nursing Graduate Program


Should you have any other queries, please email our Graduate Officer at


The application deadline date for September admissions is January 15.

Apply here.

Ph.D. Degree in Nursing

The Ph.D. graduate will be expected to function as a leader in the profession who can direct and carry out independent research.  The students will, through course work, complete a comprehensive examination and a research thesis:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to integrate scientific principles and theory in the solution of health care problems.
  2. Communicate effectively in educational and professional settings.
  3. Complete at least one required and two selected half courses, as well as a Doctoral Seminar.
  4. Plan, develop, and carry out research which makes an original contribution to nursing knowledge
  5. Present research results both orally and through peer reviewed publication. 
  6. Complete and defend a written thesis.
  1. Download the application supporting document for this program
  2. Master's degree or demonstrated readiness to transfer from the McMaster thesis-based M.Sc. to the Ph.D. degree within 24 months from entry into the M.Sc. program.
  3. Completion of a Master's level research thesis or equivalent (e.g. the candidate has already conducted funded research).
  4. Two academic and one clinical references.
  5. Personal essay responding to the 5 questions to provide us with insight into your motivation and interest in the PhD program. (one page per question, single spaced, 12 font)
  6. Identification of a faculty member who agrees to supervise the student. See our Areas of Excellence for a list of potential supervisors. NOTE: It is expected that applicants will approach potential supervisors at least three months prior to the application deadline.
  7. Evidence of current registration or eligibility for registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario. International students licensed to practice nursing in another country will be considered on an individual basis.

The appropriate foundation for graduate level entry is a professional degree. Candidates must comply with the School of Graduate Studies regulations for the Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees.

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to supply evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language. The most common evidence is a score of at least 92 (iBT), 580 (paper-based test) or 237 (computer-based test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The Nursing Graduate Program requires a minimum score of 7.0 for IELTS (Academic Test).

The Ontario Public Hospitals Act requires that all persons working in a hospital setting meet certain criteria regarding surveillance for infectious diseases. In order for the requirement of the legislation to be met, once students have been enrolled in the Nursing Program, they must complete annually the Pre Clinical Communicable Disease Screening. More information will be sent to specific applicants prior to registration. Specific questions can be directed to the Office of the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (Health Sciences).

(which includes a thesis component or equivalent)

Three half courses:

NUR 700 (Philosophical basis of nursing research)

Graduate Seminar - Winter Term

Two electives - to be determined with Supervisor

SGS 101 and SGS 201

OTHER REQUIREMENTS Comprehensive examination (in year two)

Acceptable research proposal for Ph.D. Thesis and Thesis Defense

Full time students are usually expected to complete all degree requirements within four years from date of entry or within six years for part time students; but all requirements must be completed within a maximum six years from date of entry for full time students and eight years for part time.

Requirements for Degree Completion

See the Graduate Nursing Handbook for full details.

Comprehensive Examination

See the Graduate Nursing Handbook for full details.


See the Graduate Nursing Handbook for full details.

Graduate Seminar

All students in the PhD Program are expected to participate in the Nursing Graduate Seminars. The seminars occur every Thursday from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in the Winter Term. A variety of topics including evidence based practice, critical writing, and faculty presentations on their research programs. The seminars are designed to enrich the graduate school experience and open up the possibilities of nursing research and career growth.  It is the one setting where all the students can engaging with peers (building a community of learners, and social support).

Open House

Friday, Oct. 6, 2017
HSC Farncombe Atrium (3rd Floor)

10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Phd, MSc Thesis and MSc Course based

1:00 p.m. to 3:00p.m.
MSc combined PHCNP and PHCNP Diploma

For details and registration contact: Mary Lynn Taylor at