Jul 17, 2019  
University of Alberta Calendar 2018-2019 
University of Alberta Calendar 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The Degree of PhD (Nursing) [Graduate]

Program Mission

Within a research-intensive context, the Faculty of Nursing's PhD Program exists to prepare for the 21st century nursing scholars who are able to generate new knowledge and facilitate change to advance healthcare outcomes and nursing within a global context.

Program Vision

Students in the PhD Program are engaged in and educated for excellence in the development, organization and evaluation of new knowledge. The Program is characterized by rigour, flexibility and relevance: rigour in the quality of scholarship and flexibility within and relevance to the discipline of nursing and the student's career goals and research interests. See the Faculty of Nursing website for full description of Program and Principles underlying it.

The graduate will exhibit competencies in each of the following core qualities:

  • Advancing nursing
  • Enhancing scholarship
  • Mobilizing knowledge
  • Extending inquiry
  • Leading change

Entrance Requirements

The minimum requirements are:

  1. Master's degree in Nursing from the University of Alberta, or equivalent qualifications from a recognized institution. Students who do not hold the equivalent to this degree may be admitted and required to undertake additional course work in nursing theory, practice and/or research.
  2. A GPA of 3.5 in the last two years of study.
  3. One graduate course in statistics and one in research methods (or equivalent) with a minimum grade of B (or equivalent) and completed within the previous six years of the application deadline.
  4. Completion of an interview with the prospective supervisor who prior to admission and in writing must indicate agreement to take on the student.
  5. A TOEFL score of at least 587 (paper-based), or a total score of at least 97 (internet-based) with a score of at least 22 on each of the individual skill areas (see English Language Requirement ) Even when study has occurred in English, the Faculty of Nursing reserves the right to request ESL 550 taken at the University of Alberta as a condition of admission.

The Faculty of Nursing also requires:

  1. Three letters of reference from academics and professionals knowledgeable about the applicant's academic and professional capabilities.
  2. Current curriculum vitae.
  3. A sample of written scholarly work, preferably a work in which the applicant is the sole or primary author.
  4. A completed "Background Information on PhD Applicant" form, available on the Faculty of Nursing website, that clearly outlines the applicant's academic, research and professional plans/expectations including: (a) Career Plans; (b) Research; (c) PhD Program Plan / Supervisory Expectations; (d) Name of Potential PhD Program/Dissertation Supervisor; (e) Awards/Financial Assistance applied for, if applicable.

Upon acceptance into the PhD in Nursing program, the following additional requirements may apply:

  1. College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) Registration
    It is strongly recommended that students enrolled in the PhD program are registered as active members in CARNA. Detailed information is available from the Registrar of CARNA (see www.nurses.ab.ca). Students who wish to work as teaching assistants must have CARNA registration. The process of registration can take several months. Students should begin the application process as soon as they receive their letter of admission.
  2. Immunization 
    See University Infectious Diseases Regulation .

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Certification (CPR)

Students may be asked to provide evidence of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification at the Basic Rescuer Level.

Program Requirements

For each student, advancement of the core qualities described in the program vision, will occur through a combination of activities, learning experiences and skills derived from supervision, course participation, scholarly experiences, various other activities and outputs, engagement with faculty and colleagues and reflection. These activities will occur in and outside of the Faculty of Nursing.

All students take the following four courses in the first two years:

In consultation with the supervisor and based on program plans, students are additionally expected to take design/method/analysis courses and one three-credit dissertation seminar (NURS 699 ).

Typically students take a total of 7-10 doctoral level courses which could include nursing history, research methods, statistics and philosophy of science as well as courses in students' substantive areas. The number and type of courses will vary according to students' academic backgrounds, experiences and career goals. The majority of courses are offered face to face and a few are offered via e-learning.

The minimum period of residence on campus is one Fall or Winter Term, or two Spring or Summer Terms. However, the Faculty of Nursing may require that a student spend more than the stated minimum time on campus.


There are three examinations during the PhD program: The Comprehensive Examination at the completion of the coursework, typically at the end of second year; The Doctoral Candidacy Exam which must be completed by the end of the third year; and the Doctoral Final Oral Exam. English is the language of study. All requirements for the degree must normally be completed within six years from the time a student first registers as a graduate student.

Financial Assistance and Scholarships

The Faculty of Nursing and Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research offer many opportunities for scholarships and assistance to qualified graduate students.