Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Nursing

The goal of the PhD (Nursing) program is to prepare nurse scholars who will provide leadership in the advancement of nursing knowledge, nursing theory and practice, and health policy through scholarly research and the dissemination of research findings. This is a full-time program of study.

The orientation of the doctoral program is on the short and long term impacts of nursing practices and health outcomes at the individual, family, community, and/or population levels, or women’s health outcomes specifically. The required courses and the doctoral seminar provide forums to analyse, discuss, and critique the concepts of health outcomes and health and social policies from the perspective of nursing practice. Health related policy is addressed through the thesis, doctoral seminars, and courses in the student’s substantive area.

The program is organized around the four pillars of the School of Nursing research plan. These pillars are: Health Needs of People; Marginalized Populations and Health Equity; Health Systems and Health Workforce Planning and Impact; and Knowledge Translation Research. This starting point becomes the vehicle for the student to develop an advanced understanding of research methodologies and techniques and to gain knowledge which contributes to the theoretical development and practice of nursing.

Core courses, the doctoral seminar, and the thesis are all designed to prepare students who:

  • Understand the philosophical and theoretical foundations of nursing science.
  • Critically analyse their own and others’ perspectives in relation to research and nursing practice.
  • Demonstrate the requisite cognitive skills to examine health outcomes generally, or women’s health outcomes specifically.
  • Develop nursing practices that improve health outcomes generally, or women’s health outcomes specifically.
  • Influence health and social policy to improve health and health care systems.

The program consists of:

A minimum of four core courses:

  • NURS 6050: Contemporary Views of Nursing Science: Philosophy, Research, and Practice
  • Two courses in the student’s substantive area of study (one of which will be NURS 6200: Nursing Sensitive Health Outcomes, or NURS 6210: Women’s Health Outcomes)
  • An advanced research methods/design course

NURS 6300: Doctoral Seminar
Comprehensive Examination
NURS 9530: Doctoral Thesis

The PhD Comprehensive Examination in the student’s area of study must be taken in the second year of the program. Comprehensive examinations may be taken only after the completion of all required course work and they cannot be taken less than one year prior to the submission of the thesis for final defence. By the end of the student’s first year of study, the Thesis Supervisory Committee will be identified. It is to be comprised of the Thesis Supervisor and a minimum of two additional faculty having membership in the Dalhousie University Faculty of Graduate Studies and expertise in the student’s area of research interest. The Graduate Studies Committee and the Faculty of Graduate Studies will be notified of the Thesis Supervisory Committee membership. Members of the Thesis Supervisory Committee will set the student’s Comprehensive Examination.