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Applications are now open - the deadline to submit an application and all supporting documents is January 15.

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MSc Thesis Based

Master of Science in Nursing by Thesis

Master's level graduates will be able to function as associate investigators in their selected area of interest. With their increased knowledge of the theoretical basis of practice, they will be able to play a role in evolving health care systems. For the Thesis-Based master's degree, students will:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to apply advanced scientific theory to their professional practice.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of appropriate clinical research methods, including the development of clinical measures and the determination of clinical and program efficacy.
  3. Complete four required and at least one additional approved half courses.
  4. Complete and defend a thesis arising from a health care issue.

Download and submit all items on the checklist MSC Thesis based supporting documents for this program.

The appropriate foundation for graduate level entry is a professional degree. Candidates must comply with the School of Graduate Studies Regulations for the M.Sc. degrees. The specific admission requirements are:

  1. A Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (60 units taken at a university) with a minimum of the equivalent to a McMaster B+ average over the final 60 units from an undergraduate nursing program. Applicants who are graduates of a baccalaureate nursing degree program for registered nurses and who have between 50 and 59 units of university study will be considered on a case-by-case basis. These 60 units will not include advanced credit for college courses.
  2. Submit one official transcript of academic work completed to date, sent directly from the issuing institution. Please include RN diploma and any additional course work. Please note that non-English transcripts must be translated and notarized.
  3. Submit two academic references (See Grad FAQ for academic versus clinical references). McMaster University uses the Electronic Referencing System. By entering the email address of your Academic referee through the online application, the system will automatically send an e-Reference request on your behalf. If for some reason you are unable to use the Electronic Referencing System, you can download the Reference form here.
  4. Submit one clinical reference from a person who has known you in a professional context. Please download guidelines here to send to your referee. 
  5. Submit a Curriculum Vitae.
  6. Submit a Declaration of Employment. Please download the form here.
  7. Submit personal essay responding to the 5 questions to provide us with insight into your motivation and interest in the MScN program. (one page per question, single spaced, 12 font). Please download the guidelines here.
  8. Submit Health Professional Requirements: Evidence of eligibility to be registered or licensed in his/her own province/country (copy of License/Registration).
  9. Submit Tentative Plan of Study/Identification of a faculty member who agrees to supervise the student. See our Areas of Excellence for a list of potential supervisors. NOTE: It is expected that applicants will approach potential supervisors at least three months prior to the application deadline. Please download the form here.
  10. Submit evidence of current registration or eligibility for registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario.

Applicants whose native language is not English are required to supply evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language. The most common evidence is a score of at least 92 (iBT), 580 (paper-based test) or 237 (computer-based test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The Nursing Graduate Program requires a minimum score of 7.0 for IELTS (Academic Test).


With an understanding that Indigenous learners can face specific barriers or challenges when pursuing higher education, schools and programs within McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences have facilitated admissions streams for applicants with Indigenous North American (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) ancestry. This process is intended to provide equitable access to Indigenous applicants and aligns with the intent of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action. Applicants wishing to apply through McMaster’s FIAP need to complete the supplementary self-identification application in addition to  McMaster university and program specific application processes. All Indigenous applicants who meet the admission criteria will be considered within an Indigenous applicant cohort.

Full details are found on the Indigenous Students Health Sciences Website:




Five half courses:

NUR 701 (Theoretical basis of nursing practice)

NUR 745 (Qualitative research methods)

NUR 715 (Quantitative Research methods)

NUR 709 (Statistical Methods in Health Sciences Research)

One additional graduate half course

SGS 101 and SGS 201


Complete and defend a thesis arising from a health care issue.

Requirements for Degree Completion

Students will be expected to complete Master's requirements within two calendar years (full time) of entering the program. The maximum allowable time for completing the M.Sc. will be three calendar years (part time). M.Sc. students will undertake:

  1. Complete, with at least a B- standing, a minimum of 5 graduate half courses which must include NUR 701NUR 745NUR 715NUR 709, and one additional half graduate course selected by the student in conjunction with his/her supervisory committee.
  2. Complete a thesis on an approved health care issue and defend the thesis at a final oral examination.

M.Sc. students will normally complete course work and formulate their research proposal in the first year of the program and will submit their research proposal no later than 12 months from entry and carry out their research from the 12th to the 24th month from entry.

Related Pages

Graduate Application Deadline

January 15

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