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Nursing Graduate Program Virtual Open House!

Date: October 7th, 2020

Times: 9:00-10:00 MSc Thesis and PhD  and 11:00-12:00 MSc Course, MSc PHCNP, PHCNP Diploma

Please register here:

A link to the virtual open house will be sent a week before the event.

Applications for Fall 2021 open October 1, 2020 and close January 15th, 2020. 

Please email for questions or concerns.


The Ph.D. graduate will be expected to function as a leader in the profession who can direct and carry out independent research.  The students will, through course work, complete a comprehensive examination and a research thesis:

  1.  Demonstrate the ability to integrate scientific principles and theory in the solution of health care problems.
  2. Communicate effectively in educational and professional settings.
  3. Complete at least one required and two selected half courses, as well as a Doctoral Seminar.
  4. Plan, develop, and carry out research which makes an original contribution to nursing knowledge
  5. Present research results both orally and through peer reviewed publication. 
  6. Complete and defend a written thesis.

Admission Requirements 

  1. Submit all the PHD Supporting Documents for this program.
  2. Completed Master's degree with the equivalent to a McMaster B+ GPA.  
  3. Completion of a Master's level research thesis or equivalent (e.g. the candidate has already conducted funded research).
  4. 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. 
  5. Provide evidence of current registration or eligibility for registration with the College of Nurses of Ontario.
  6. Submit one official transcript. Please include RN diploma and any additional course work. Please note that non-English transcripts must be translated and notarized.
  7. Submit two academic and one clinical 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. 
  8. Submit confidential letters from one person who has known you in a professional context. Please download the guidelines here.
  9. Submit a Curriculum Vitae.
  10. Submit a personal essay responding to the five questions outlined here to provide us with insight into your motivation and interest in the PhD program. (one page per question, single spaced, 12 font)
  11. Submit Health professional Requirements.
  12. Declare Focus Within Fields of Study: Please download the form here. 

 If English is not your native language, an official copy of a TOEFL score, or other evidence of competency in English (i.e. IELTS, MELAB) is needed. A minimum TOEFL (iBT) score of 92 (580 on the paper-based TOEFL test of 237 on the computer-based TOEFL test) is required. IELTS minimum score 7.0. 

The appropriate foundation for graduate level entry is a professional degree. Candidates must comply with the School of Graduate Studies regulations for the Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees.


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:

English-Language Proficiency 

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).

 Pre-Clinical Communicable Disease Screening

The Ontario Public Hospitals Act requires that all persons working in a hospital setting meet certain criteria regarding surveillance for infectious diseases. In order for the requirement of the legislation to be met, once students have been enrolled in the Nursing Program, they must complete the Pre-Clinical Communicable Disease Screening on an annual basis. More information will be sent to specific applicants prior to registration.

Specific questions can be directed to the Office of the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (Health Sciences).


Master's Degree
(which includes a thesis component or equivalent)


Three half-courses:

NUR 700 (Philosophical basis of nursing research)

NUR 707 (Foundations of Nursing Leaders)

Graduate Seminar - Winter Term

Two electives—to be determined with Supervisor

SGS 101 and SGS 201

Indigenous Health Online Modules​


Comprehensive examination (in year two)

PhD Oral Examination Rubric 2018

​PhD Written Comprehensive Rubric

Acceptable research proposal for Ph.D. Thesis and Thesis Defense

Full time students are usually expected to complete all degree requirements within four years from date of entry; but all requirements must be completed within a maximum six years from date of entry for full time students.

Requirements for Degree Completion

See the Graduate Nursing Handbook for full details.

Comprehensive Examination

See the Graduate Nursing Handbook for full details.


See the Graduate Nursing Handbook for full details.

Graduate Seminar

All students in the PhD Program are expected to participate ​the Nursing Graduate Seminars. The seminars occur every Thursday from 1:00 to 3:00 pm in the Winter Term. A variety of topics including evidence based practice, critical writing, and faculty presentations on their research programs. The seminars are designed to enrich the graduate school experience and open up the possibilities of nursing research and career growth.  It is the one setting where all the students can engaging with peers (building a community of learners, and social support).

Related Pages

Graduate Application Deadline

January 15

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