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, established in 1994 as a joint program with the Université de Montréal, is designed to prepare nurses to contribute to the development of knowledge in the discipline through their careers in research and academia. While students may elect to complete their program at McGill, the partnership with the Faculty of Nursing at the Université de Montréal enables students enrolled in the McGill program to have access to courses and resources at both 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.


During their doctoral studies, an individualized program of study is developed in collaboration with the faculty advisor that takes into account the students’ previous experiences as well as their personal goals and objectives.

Faculty members in the doctoral program are active in a number of areas including family health, psychosocial oncology, palliative care, cardiovascular health, pain, and chronic illness. They bring expertise in both quantitative and qualitative approaches to inquiry. The Ingram School of Nursing also offers support to students in nursing intervention research (R.R.I.S.I.Q.). Click here for further information.

Admission Requirements 

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

  • Have completed master’s level studies with either their undergraduate or graduate degree in nursing.
  • Have a C.G.P.A. (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of 3.3 (B+) or higher on a scale of 4.0.
  • O.I.I.Q. (Ordre des infirmières and infirmiers du Québec) registration required only if candidate is planning to practice as a nurse in Québec.

Competency in English

Applicants to graduate studies must demonstrate an adequate level of proficiency in English prior to admission, regardless of citizenship status or country of origin. Normally, applicants meeting any one of the following conditions are NOT required to submit proof of proficiency in English:

  • Mother tongue (language first learned and still used on a daily basis) is English;
  • Has obtained (or is about to obtain) an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction (applicants need to provide the School of Nursing an official letter from a foreign institution confirming the above);
  • Has obtained (or is about to obtain) an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized institution in Canada or the United States of America (Anglophone or Francophone);
  • Has lived and attended school, or been employed, for at least four consecutive years, in a country where English is the acknowledged primary language.

Applicants who do not meet any of the above-listed conditions must demonstrate proficiency in English using one of the following options:

IBT(internet based test): PBT (paper based test): CBT (computer based test)*:
100 overall, (no less than 20 in each of the four component scores) 600 250

*The CBT is no longer being offered. CBT Test results will be accepted as long as considered valid by ETS.

N.B. an institution version of the TOEFL is not acceptable.

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum acceptable scores are:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): a band score of 7.5 or greater.

  • McGill must receive appropriate exam results directly from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language – visit or IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems – visit Applications will not be considered if test results are not available upon review of dossier in February.

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.

Important Dates

Application deadline

All supporting documents should be submitted by these deadlines

Canadian applicants:

  • Fall - March 1
  • Winter: November 1
  • Summer: No admission

International applicants:

  • Fall: January 1
  • Winter: August 1
  • Summer: No admission

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 Master's degree at McGill University or at an approved institution elsewhere, and is proceeding in the same subject to a PhD degree, may, on the recommendation of the School, be registered in the second year of the PhD program.

2. A minimum of 18 credits beyond the Master's level. The student's program is decided in consultation with the thesis supervisor(s) and Program Director. Students with a Master’s degree in nursing (equivalent to McGill) would enter the program in PhD 2. The following are the required and complementary 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:

Selected courses at the 500 level or above. A minimum of 9 credits of methodology (eg, advanced statistics, advanced qualitative research methods, issues in measurement, epidemiology) or substantive courses related to the student’s research topic.

3. Successful defense of the thesis proposal (Comprehensive Examination).

4. Dissertation and PhD Oral Defense examination.