Why do your PhD (Nursing) at Dal?

Dalhousie University's School of Nursing offers you the opportunity to conduct important nursing research in the process of earning your PhD (Nursing) degree.

The skills and knowledge you acquire from our experienced faculty prepare you for a career in nursing research and scholarship. In our collegial, collaborative learning environment, you will critique and analyze issues relevant to health policy and nursing practice, with an emphasis on community, family and women's health outcomes.

Join the ranks of graduate students who have earned a PhD (Nursing) degree from Dalhousie and gone on to make valuable contributions to nursing knowledge and practice.

Program structure

The PhD program is a full-time program and students are limited to no more than one day of work unrelated to their degree per week. Students are expected to complete the program in four years.

Supervisors conduct performance and progress reviews quarterly in December, April and July.

Course work

  • Course work is to be completed in the first 15 months of the program.
  • Comprehensive exams are taken in the second year of the program.


  • Thesis supervisory committees will be structured by the end of the first year in the program. Students must prepare a research proposal draft for the committee to review to determine the student's readiness for comprehensive exams.
  • Within six months of completing comprehensive exams, students must refine and defend their research proposals. Ethics applications must also be prepared simultaneously.
  • Students are expected to commit a minimum of four hours per weeks on research activities such as grant preparations, ethics applications and preparation of scholarly presentations.

Publications and seminars

  • Scholars Seminars are held on a regular basis and students will be scheduled at least once per year to present. Students are required to attend all sessions.
  • Publications are considered evidence of scholarly performance. Students are required to prepare a minimum of two manuscripts as first author for submission to scholarly journals during their time in the program.

Learn more about expectations of PhD students [PDF–70kB].

Required courses

Required courses are:

  • NURS6050 Contemporary Views of Nursing Science: Philosophy, Research and Practice
  • Two courses in the student’s substantive area of research, one of which will be NURS6200 Nursing Sensitive Health Outcomes or NURS6210 Women’s Health Outcomes
  • An advanced research methods/design course, for example, NURS6130 Measurement in Nursing Phenomena or NURS5100 Qualitative Research Methods
  • NURS6300 Doctoral Seminar

Students may also be required by their supervisor to complete additional course work related to their substantive area or to the methodology being used.