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Doctor of Nursing (PhD)

Developing nurse researchers

Applications from qualified individuals looking to pursue a full-time, research-based degree that is focused on preparing students for a career in research, are welcomed.

Note: This is a full-time program of study. Students are expected to complete the program in four years.

Quick fact:

  • Dalhousie’s PhD in Nursing is the only nursing doctorate degree offered in Nova Scotia.
  • PhD in Nursing students have been successful applicants for national funding (CIHR, Killam, Vanier).

The PhD (Nursing) program offered by Dalhousie’s School of Nursing prepares nurse scientists and scholars. Our graduates advance nursing knowledge, theory and practice, as well as health policy, through scholarly research.

Our doctoral program is geared toward the study of short and long-term impacts of nursing practice at the individual, family, community and population levels, with a particular emphasis on nursing-sensitive and/or women's health outcomes.

Each PhD student organizes the program around his or her investigation of a particular research question relevant to nursing. In required classes and doctoral seminars, students analyze and critique health concepts and social policies from a nursing perspective.

Graduates leave with an advanced understanding of research methodology, ready to contribute to the development of nursing theory and practice.

Our philosophy

Graduate studies at Dalhousie’s School of Nursing are guided by a philosophy of primary health care that recognizes the unique strengths of individuals, families and communities.

We stress the five principles defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the 1978 Alma Ata International Conference on Primary Health Care and reaffirmed in the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion in 1986.

Those principles are:

  • Accessibility of health care for all people regardless of their geographic location, income, culture, race, etc.
  • Health promotion, injury/illness prevention focus as opposed to illness treatment and curative care focus
  • Participation of individuals, families, groups and communities in decisions that affect their health. Such partnerships are grounded in community development, empowerment, client education and informed decision-making, and the belief that informed people and communities make decisions in their own best interest.
  • Intersectoral collaboration, which acknowledges that health is determined by social, economic and physical environment factors.
  • Appropriate technology, which is affordable and accessible to people and communities.