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PhD in Nursing

About the Program
About the Program

Starting in the Fall 2018, the School of Nursing at Queen’s will be offering an online PhD program. This innovative program will prepare you with the skills required to expand knowledge related to clinical, theoretical and health system issues. Situated in an academic environment that embodies scholarship, you will be well-prepared for a career as a leader in research and scholarship, clinical practice or health care administration.

Our online PhD program will consist of a series of six courses, five of which are offered online and one on-campus during the Spring onsite residency. In total, you will attend two, mandatory onsite residencies in the early Fall and Spring in the first year of the program then be expected to be onsite each spring for the Graduate Student Research Day Following the completion of courses after the first year, you will focus on your comprehensive exams then on your doctoral thesis. The thesis requires independent, original research and makes up at least two-thirds of the time normally required for the program.

Our experienced faculty members will use both synchronous and asynchronous teaching modalities to teach you in small graduate seminars, in which you will engage in a lively, critical examination of philosophy, policy and research, and delve into your own research. Nurtured by close mentoring relationships with faculty supervisors, the Queen’s model is to ensure graduate students present and publish their research, and normally complete their program in 4 years.


The research programs of faculty in the School of Nursing are reflected through 3 clusters: 

Practice environments

  • Models of care
  • Leadership
  • Workplace culture, structure and health
  • Communication strategies and systems

Populations with complex conditions

  • Optimizing function and well-being
  • Multimorbidity
  • Mental health and/or addictions
  • Outcomes monitoring

Health care quality

  • Advancing safety
  • Risk assessment and reduction
  • Educational and technological innovations
  • Health system service and delivery


“My experience as a student in the Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing was so many things. The courses were taught by brilliant professors who are experts in the subject matter. I learned the fundamental skills necessary to be a successful researcher and academic. The program encourages dissemination of student research and provides opportunities for national and international networking. After completing the program, I was recruited for a tenure-track faculty position at my university of choice. I have a career that I love and the knowledge and ability to help make a difference.”

AMANDA VANDYK, RN, PHD (Queen’s 2013) 

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa

Course Sequence

Mandatory Onsite Residency in September

NURS 901 Philosophy of Nursing Science (online)

NURS 902 Qualitative Research Methods (online)

NURS 999 Thesis Research (Independently with PhD Supervisor) 

NURS 900 Advanced Statistics and Analytic Techniques (online)

NURS 903 Advanced Quantitative Measurement, Methods and Design (online)

NURS 999 Thesis Research (Independently with Supervisor) 

Mandatory Onsite Residency in May (includes NURS 905)

NURS 905 Nursing, Health Services and Public Policy in Canada 

Prepare for Comprehensive Exam (independently with Supervisor)

NURS 999 Thesis Research (Independently with Supervisor)

NURS 906 - Thesis Seminar Course (online)

Write Comprehensive Examinations in Early Fall

NURS 999 Thesis Research (Independently with Supervisor)

NURS 906 - Thesis Seminar Course (online)

Graduate Student Research Day onsite in May

NURS 999 Thesis Research (Independently with Supervisor)

Oral Thesis Proposal Defence late summer/early fall


Graduate Student Research Day onsite each spring

NURS 999 Thesis Research (Independently with Supervisor) 

Final Oral Thesis Defence Onsite end of year 4


For more information please visit the School of Graduate Studies Calendar

"I loved the collegial atmosphere provided by the caring and supportive faculty. It was at Queen's that I developed my thirst for knowledge through evidence based research."


Dean of the School of Health and Community Services at Durham College


In keeping with the School of Graduate Studies policy, eligible full-time PhD students qualify for research assistantships (RA), teaching assistantships (TA), teaching fellowships (TF), Queen’s Graduate Awards (QGA), and internal awards. We encourage you to apply for additional funding through external scholarships. Entering students with federal government Tri-council awards are automatically provided a $5,000 top-up award by Queen’s.

Frequently Asked Questions

As an international applicant you are not required to be registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario, but must be registered as a nurse in your own country.  If you are not registered as a nurse in Ontario during the program you will be unable to conduct thesis research that requires registration.  This limitation on thesis research topics should be considered and discussed with a potential thesis supervisor prior to submitting your application.


No, this is a full-time program only. Most of the course work involved in the program occurs in the first year and most classes are organized for Mondays and Tuesdays.

The decision on a supervisor is made by the Graduate Program Committee, following discussions between you and a potential faculty supervisor. A faculty member must be able to supervise thesis research in your area of interest and be willing to do so, given their current work commitments. It is recommended that you review profiles of faculty members on the School of Nursing website to determine if there is someone who conducts research in your area.

Normally, you should have a general area of research interest before you begin the program, but a specific thesis topic is developed as you engage in course work and discussions with your thesis supervisor. On occasion, an applicant may have a specific plan for research, but this is not typical.

The Graduate Program Committee nominates individual applicants and students for internal scholarships and awards for which they are eligible. In order to be considered for awards in the first year, your application should be completed by February 1st. You are also encouraged to apply for external scholarships and fellowships as early as possible, as some of these may then be available to you during your first year of study. These are often offered by professional organizations or associations in nursing. You may also have the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant and/or research assistant.  Contact us if you would like more information about potential external funding. 

Admission Requirements

  • Master's degree in Nursing Science or equivalent with minimum overall average equivalent to B+;
  • Undergraduate university degree in nursing (International programs must be equivalent to a 4-year Canadian program); 
  • Two academic letters of reference (e.g. course professors in Master’s program);
  • Statement of academic, research and professional plans. Advance contact with potential supervisors is not required, but strongly recommended. 
  • Applicants without an undergraduate university degree in nursing will be considered, and are strongly encouraged to contact us prior to applying.
  • At Queen's University, English is the language of instruction and communication. Proficiency in English is, therefore, a prerequisite for admission. Applicants whose first language is not English or who have not recently studied for at least one complete year at a post-secondary institution where English is the official language of instruction, will be required to obtain satisfactory results in an English language proficiency test, as part of the application process, and before their application will be considered complete.
  • More information for International Students can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website 








In addition to the online application submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, the following must be completed and submitted by email or hard copy to the Graduate Program Coordinator in the School of Nursing, Queen’s University, 92 Barrie Street, Kingston, ON Canada K7L 3N6:

  • Doctoral Nursing Questions - Application can be found here;
  • Proof of registration as a nurse in local province or own country; and
  • Copy of Curriculum Vitae (Resume).



Apply Now

Deadline to apply:  February 1st. Applications will remain open until all seats are filled. 

Applications to all graduate programs are made through the School of Graduate Studies starting in September for admission the following year.

Please note, only complete applications will be reviewed by the Graduate Program Committee in the School of Nursing.