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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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PHCNP Graduate Diploma

Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHCNP) Graduate Diploma​


Post-Master’s degree applicants who wish the Graduate Diploma in Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHCNP).

What is PHCNP?

Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioners (PHC NPs) are registered nurses, who are specialists in primary health care, who provide accessible, comprehensive and effective care to clients of all ages. They are experienced nurses with additional nursing education which enables them to provide individuals, families, groups and communities with health services in health promotion, disease and injury prevention, cure, rehabilitation and support.

History of the Field 

The Council of Ontario University Programs in Nursing (COUPN) established the Ontario Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHC NP) Programme in 1995. A consortium of nine Ontario universities offers the program. Graduates are eligible to write the Canadian Nurse Practitioner Exam Examination: Family/All Ages to qualify as an NP-PHC.

PHCNP Workplaces 

Where do primary health care nurses practitioners work? Where ever there is a need for primary health care services, including:

  • Community Health Centres
  • Long Term Care
  • Palliative Care
  • Aboriginal Centres
  • Community-based facilities (public health, occupational health, correctional services)
  • Ambulatory Care Centres (i.e., urgent/emergency departments, primary care clinics)
  • Family Health Teams (FHT)


Admission Requirements

  1. Submit the PHCNP Diploma Supporting Documents for this program
  2. A completed Master’s degree in nursing, and achieved the equivalent to a McMaster B+ GPA average.
  3. Two years of full-time nursing practice within the past five years (3640 hours).
  4. Submit two academic references. See Grad FAQ for details on academic versus clinical references. If for some reason you are unable to use the Electronic Referencing System, you can download the Reference form here.
  5. Submit personal essay responding to four questions related to suitability for the PHCNP program (one page per question, single-spaced, 12 font) Please download the guidelines here.
  6. Confidential ​clinical references from two persons who have known you in a professional context, mailed or emailed directly to the Nursing Graduate Program. Please download the guidelines here.
  7. One official Transcript. Please include RN diploma and any additional course work. Please note that non-English transcripts must be translated and notarized.
  8. Curriculum Vitae:  Include list of publications and funded research grants.
  9. Verification of employment hours. Please download the form here.
  10. Health Professional Requirements. Provide a current College of Nurses of Ontario annual registration payment card.

    If English is not your native language, an official copy of your TOEFL score, or other evidence of competency in English. A minimum TOEFL (iBT) score of 92 (580 or 237) is required. IELTS minimum score 7.0.


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:




Seven half courses:

SGS 101 and SGS 201

NUR 761 Pathophysiology
NUR 762 Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnosis 1
NUR 763 Advanced health Assessment and Diagnosis II
NUR 764 Therapeutics in Primary Health Care I
NUR 765 Therapeutics in Primary Health Care II
NUR 766 Roles and Responsibilities
NUR 767​ Integrative Practicum in Primary Health Care

Requirements for Degree Completion

Once the courses have been completed successfully, students are eligible to write their RN (Extended Class) exams.

Click​ here for a Timetable of Course Requirements for the PHCNP Program.


Program Timeline:

Students complete the program full-time in one year.


Related Pages

Graduate Application Deadline

January 15

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