Doctoral Program

Our Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing is the program for you if you are:

  • a licensed nurse with a master's degree in Nursing;
  • a licensed nurse with a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's in another field

The PhD program in Nursing is designed to prepare nurses for careers as researchers, academics and health care leaders who will develop the discipline of nursing through the advancement of nursing knowledge, practice and education. Established in 1994 as a joint program with the Université de Montréal, doctoral students have access to courses and resources at both of these universities.

Postdoctoral studies are available to you if you are a holder of a doctoral degree who wishes to work with a Researcher from the School. Rules and regulations can be found on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.


The PhD program focuses on the development of advanced skills in critical thinking, scholarly communication and the conduct of rigorous research related to the student’s selected topic of inquiry. Students develop an individualized program of study and research training in collaboration with their thesis supervisor(s) that builds on their previous knowledge. experiences and area of research interest.

Faculty members in the doctoral program lead cutting-edge research in a wide variety of nursing domains, including health promotion, critical care, chronic illness, health care administration and ethics ( Our doctoral students gain advanced knowledge in both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, and have access to a variety of affiliated research centres for additional research training. As a founding member of the Quebec Nursing Intervention Research Network (RRISIQ), the Ingram School of Nursing also offers opportunities for specialized training in nursing intervention design, testing and knowledge mobilization.

Students in the PhD program are required to complete a minimum of 18 credits of coursework (including 3 compulsory 3-credit doctoral nursing seminars), a research proposal, a comprehensive examination, a research-based dissertation and finally the dissertation defense. Students are also helped to apply for funding, prepare manuscripts for publication and present their work at conferences or other academic forums during their studies. The PhD program is designed to be completed in 4 years of full-time study after a master’s program. An option for half-time studies is only available during the student’s coursework. A distance option for students who cannot relocate to McGill for the duration of their studies may be negotiated depending on the availability of elective courses and research mentors in the student’s home location.

For full information about our doctoral program in nursing, please consult our doctoral student handbook.


We offer all eligible candidates a recruitment fellowship of $20,000-$35,000 (depending on the number of successful applicants). Additional financial support may be available in the form of differential fee waivers (for international students); internal Faculty of Medicine awards; and research or teaching assistantships. Faculty also work closely with the doctoral students to apply for external funding opportunities throughout their program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the Doctoral program in Nursing at McGill University are required to:

  • Have completed master’s level studies with either an undergraduate or graduate degree in nursing.
  • Have a minimum C.G.P.A. (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of 3.3 (B+) or higher on a scale of 4.0 (i.e., B+ or 75% average) , in both the applicant's undergraduate and graduate programs
  • O.I.I.Q. (Ordre des infirmières and infirmiers du Québec) registration is required only if the applicant is planning to practice as a nurse in Québec.

Language requirement - all programs

You may need to provide proof of English language proficiency. Please visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website to see if this applies to you. Although this is a GPS requirement, minimum test score results are set by each department. The minimum scores required at the Ingram School of Nursing are:

  1. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): iBT (internet based test) - 100 overall (no less than 20 in each of the four component scores); PBT (paper based test) - 600.
    • The CBT is no longer being offered. CBT results will no longer be accepted as ETS no longer reports these results.
    • An institutional version of the TOEFL is not acceptable.
  2. IELTS (International English Language Testing System): a band score of 7.5 or greater (Academic module).

When registering for either TOEFL or IELTS, please request that test results be sent directly to McGill University (Institution Code: 0935). The University will then receive the test results electronically, directly from the testing agency.

Competency in French

Although French language proficiency is not a requirement for program admission, a working knowledge of French is an important asset for student who will conduct their dissertation research in Quebec.

Application Process

Consult our Applying to Graduate Programs page for more information and detailed instructions regarding program-specific requirements.

Information on McGill's current registration fees for doctoral studies can be found here.

Course of Study

Each student's program of study is designed with the thesis supervisor(s) taking into account the student's previous academic preparation, needs, and research interests.

1. Two years of full-time residency (or half-time equivalent). A student who has obtained a Masters’ degree in Nursing at McGill University or at an approved institution elsewhere will be automatically entered into the second year of the PhD program.

2. Doctoral students must complete a minimum of 19 credits beyond the Masters’ level (18 credits of coursework, and 1 credit for the comprehensive exam). The student's coursework is decided in consultation with the thesis supervisor(s) and Program Director. The following are the required courses for the program:

Required Courses:

NUR2 701 - Comprehensive Examination

NUR2 702 - Quantitative Research

NUR2 706 - Qualitative Nursing Research

NUR2 730 - Theory Development in Nursing

Complementary Courses:

In addition to the compulsory courses, students must complete a minimum of 9 credits of complementary courses (i.e, 3 courses) at the 600 level or above, related to research methods (eg, advanced statistics, advanced qualitative research methods, issues in measurement, mixed-methods research epidemiology) or substantive courses related to the student’s research topic.

Students may register for the comprehensive exam once they have completed a minimum of 18 credits of coursework. Additional courses can be taken throughout the student’s program as needed, to contribute to the students’ scholarly and research development.

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