Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing

Navi Mental Health Wayfinder

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Application Requirements
Application Guide
Required Documents
Prepare for Entry
PhD Supervision
  • Important Dates for September 2023 Intake

    Applications for the September 2023 intake will open on November 15, 2022. We encourage international applicants to apply by January 30, 2023 as it can take a few months to go through the process to obtain a study permit and entry VISA. We will accept applications for admission until April 30, 2023.

    PhD Program Application Process

    For details about the PhD program, including admission requirements, visit PhD Program.
    Mandatory Applicant Screening To be competitive for the PhD program, we expect applicants to have significant research experience and resultant scholarly outputs such as journal articles and presentations at conferences, as those are markers for future success as a PhD student engaged in research. Before officially initiating your application to the PhD program (and before paying the application fee!) through the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Online Admissions Application, you must email with the screening requirements below to determine if you are eligible to apply for the program. This screening will check if you meet the minimum academic admissions requirements and if your area of research interest matches with a potential supervisor’s area of expertise as applicants must satisfy the general regulations of the School of Graduate Studies as well as the Graduate Department of Nursing Science’s additional requirements. The screening may involve some correspondence with potential supervisors – this connection will be made by admissions staff after reviewing your documents. Note that if you pass the initial screening, it does not mean that you will be admitted to the program, only that you meet the minimum requirements and there may be a supervisor available for your research topic. The admissions decision can only be made after your application is officially submitted and reviewed. Screening requirements to be sent to
    1. Unofficial transcripts from each post-secondary institution you have attended: these can be screenshots or unofficial digital versions but must include the transcript “legend” which is usually printed on the last page. You can include a one page letter to support your application if you believe the marks you received do not reflect your performance due to extenuating circumstances. Applicants must hold a master’s degree or its equivalent in nursing or related field with at least a B+ standing from a recognized university.
    2. Proof of English Facility: Applicants from universities outside Canada where English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of their application.
    3. Curriculum Vitae: See Application Guidelines for details
    4. Potential supervisor: Identify one or more faculty from this online list – [PDF] with an area of expertise that matches your area of research interest. For each faculty member you identify, please provide a paragraph explaining why you see a potential match with them as a supervisor. Review the guidelines around identifying potential PhD supervisors
    If your application is considered eligible and an agreement reached with a supervisor, you will be approved to submit your application through the SGS portal. If not, there may be direction provided on other avenues you may wish to consider in pursuit of your academic goals. If you do meet the requirements of the program and match with a supervisor but the faculty member isn’t available to take on additional PhD students, you may be advised to apply in a future cycle.

    Transfer from the MN Program into the PhD Program

    Exceptional students who are excellent candidates for the PhD program may apply to transfer from the MN to the PhD program. Students must currently be enrolled in the MN program at the Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto to qualify.

    Candidates applying to transfer from the MN program must have:

    1. Agreement of an identified supervisor. Contact for support on this process.
    2. Completed the following:
    MN-Clinical: Four courses; two completed with a minimum grade of B+ and the following two required courses, both with a minimum grade of A:
    • NUR1176H History of Ideas in Nursing
    • NUR1174H Research Design, Appraisal and Utilization
    MN-HSLA: Four courses; two completed with a minimum grade of B+ and the following two required courses, both with a minimum grade of A:
    • NUR1156H History of Ideas in Nursing
    • NUR1127H Integrated Approaches to Appraisal and Utilization
    MN-NP: Four courses; two completed with a minimum grade of B+ and the following two required courses, both with a minimum grade of A:
    • NUR1094H Research Design, Appraisal and Utilization
    • NUR1095H Introduction to Qualitative Research

  • School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Online Admissions Application

    If, after going through the pre-screening process, your application is deemed eligible and a faculty member agrees to supervise your doctoral work, you may to submit your application through the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) application portal. Steps for completing the application are below:

    1. If you are a first-time applicant, click Create an Account to begin your application. You will receive a verification code via email. Enter your verification code and create a password for your account. Once account is created, you may save and return to the application at any point in the process.  If you have previously submitted an application to SGS, please log into your account and “Start New Application”.
    2. Respond to all items in the application including essays about your research and career plans and upload required documents including CV, unofficial transcripts, writing sample, English Proficiency Test Results (if applicable), and the Doctoral Supervisory Agreement Form through your application portal.
    3. Download the Doctoral Supervisor Agreement Form.  Applicants will complete the form and have their potential PhD supervisor sign off before uploading the form to the SGS application site.
    4. Enter information for referees. Referees will automatically receive a notification email to complete a reference for your application, along with instructions to submit their reference letter in the application system. If you need to change your referees, please contact (Subject line: Change referees for new applicant). Please provide your first and last name and U of T applicant number.
    5. Pay the mandatory application fee through the applicant portal. Your application will not be processed until the application fee is received.
    6. You may send an email reminder to existing referees through your applicant portal after submitting your application.
    7. Arrange for submission of official transcripts (See Required Documents)
    8. You may view your application status, including outstanding requirements, by logging in to your account and selecting view applicant status portal.


    An interview with the Admissions Committee may be required. If this is the case, we will contact you by email to arrange for an in-person interview or, if this is not possible, an interview by telephone. Interviews typically take place from February to June.

    Program information session dates and recordings can be found here:


  • Curriculum Vitae

    You will be asked to upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) to the on-line application. Please use the categories listed below when you are developing your CV. If a particular heading does not apply, you may leave it out.

    • Academic education (post-secondary degrees, diplomas, certificates)
    • Continuing education & certification (including workshops, professional development)
    • Awards and honours (e.g. practice awards from employing organization, bursaries, scholarships)
    • Professional employment
    • Peer-reviewed presentations / publications / research (e.g. workshops, conferences, journal references)
    • Current membership in professional organizations
    • Committees (e.g. work-related, professional)
    • Clinical / administrative / practice innovations (please provide brief descriptions or examples)
    • Research involvement (please provide a brief description of projects and role and/or your involvement and role in research-oriented organizations)
    • Relevant volunteer activities

    Academic Research and Career Plans Essay Questions

    Text boxes are provided within the online application for responses to the items listed below (please note word limits). Responses can be created in a Word or other document then copy and pasted into the application form.

    1. State the research questions or a specific area that interests you and why it needs to be researched (~1000 words)
    2. Discuss your interest in and preparation for PhD studies in nursing (~250 words)
    3. Describe how your personal background and life experiences contributed to your research interests and to your decision to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Toronto (~250 words)
    4. Outline your career plans and discuss how doctoral education is relevant to your professional goals, and your area of research interest within the nursing profession (~250)
    5. Discuss why you think the program at the University of Toronto is a good fit for you given your interests and plans (~250 words).
    6. Describe your plan to balance the demands of the full time PhD program (course work, thesis/research, TAships) with personal and work commitments (~250 words).

    A Sample of Your Scholarly Work

    Please upload to your application a sample of your written work. Ideally this should be a research article or scholarly report on which you are the first author. If this is not available, then you should submit a sample of a graded paper from your last degree (Master’s level) written within the last 5 years.

    Two Letters of Reference

    Letters of Reference are submitted electronically through the SGS on-line application. You will need to provide the referees’ email addresses. Please communicate with your referees in advance to confirm their contact information. We will contact your referees by email and ask them to submit their recommendation electronically.

    • Academic/Supervisor Reference. One reference should come from the professor who supervised your Master’s thesis or who is most familiar with your research.
    • Academic Reference. One reference from a professor/lecturer who taught you and graded your written work during your previous degree and who can speak to your academic abilities. An alternate academic reference might come from someone who has taught you in a continuing education course or someone you know professionally who can speak to your academic abilities or research potential (e.g., ability to carry out research and analysis, ability to express ideas in writing and orally, potential to master complex theories and ideas). You might approach a senior figure in the nursing community whom you know through research work, committee work, conferences, etc.

    You can login to your application to check the status of your references. Once your referee submits his/her recommendation, you will be able to see that it has been received. It is up to you to ensure that you submit the correct contact information for your referee. It is also up to you to ensure your referee submits his/her recommendation by the application deadline.

    Note: SGS provides the option to select from Recommenders from Academic, Employer, and Professional.  Bloomberg Nursing requires 1 Academic reference and 1 Academic/Supervisor reference.  Applicants can select “Employer” or “Professional” reference to satisfy the Academic/Supervisor Reference.

    Electronic or Scanned Transcript(s)

    You will be asked to submit both an electronic copy of your transcript as well as an official transcript (either by mailing a hard-copy or having your university email an electronic copy to

    You are required to upload one electronic or scanned transcript from each post-secondary institution you have attended to the on-line application so that we may assess your file immediately. Scanned copies of transcripts must be up to date and must include the transcript “legend” which is usually printed on the back of the paper transcript. You may upload those pages now as a single- or multi-page PDF, or each page as an image file. You must ensure that the files uploaded by you are legible.

    Official Transcripts(s)

    In addition to uploading a copy of your transcript, you should also order your transcript(s) from each university you have attended. Transcripts must be received by the Faculty of Nursing either directly from the issuing institution by email to or in an official envelope that is sealed and signed by the issuing institution across the seal. You may include a one page cover letter to support your application if you believe the marks you received do not reflect your performance due to extenuating circumstances.

    Please mail official transcripts to:

    Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
    Graduate Admissions
    155 College Street
    Toronto, ON
    M5T 1P8

    In the case of University of Toronto transcripts only, applicants may submit an ACORN print-out of grades rather than an official University of Toronto transcript.

    English Proficiency Test Results

    International applicants must submit a copy of their English proficiency test scores. Applications with unsatisfactory test scores will not be assessed. This requirement must be met at the time you submit your application.

    PhD Supervisory Agreement Form

    Review and complete the form with the assistance of your proposed supervisor.  Please note that completing the form and securing a supervisor does not guarantee acceptance into the PhD program.



  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

    GPA Calculation

    What is the grade average required to be competitive to enter the PhD Program?

    The minimum grade average required is a B+ in your Master’s program.

    I am in my final year of study and grades for my final year will not be available until May, which courses will be considered for my grade average?

    Completed courses will be considered for grade average calculation at the time of our admissions review. The Admissions Office will recalculate your final year average when you submit final transcripts with all completed grades.

    Non-nursing master’s degree

    I have completed a non-nursing master’s degree (e.g. MSc or MEd or MPH or MSW).  Can I apply to the PhD program?

    Yes! You will need to make a case in your essay question outlining how your education has prepared you for the PhD program at the Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing.

    Admission Offers

    When will I be notified whether I am admitted to the program? 

    We will start issuing admission offers as early as the end of February until the end of April on an on-going basis.

    Is there a waiting list? When will students be notified if they are placed on a waiting list?

    There is no wait list for the PhD program. Students will normally hear from the Admissions Committee with a final decision by the end of April.


  • How to prepare for entry to the PhD program once you have received an offer of admission:

    Accepting the offer of Admission

    You will receive your offer of admission by email. To accept our admission offer you need to complete and return the School of Graduate Studies Confirmation Form by uploading the form to your application. We will email you to confirm receipt. If you run into problems uploading the form or if you have questions, please reach out to us (

    Clearing admission conditions

    If your offer of admission has conditions, these will be outlined in your offer letter. You are required to clear all conditions by the due date (usually August 31) indicated on your offer of admission letter. Failure to clear outstanding conditions may jeopardize your entry to the PhD Program. Typically conditions will require that you submit a document (e.g. final transcript, letter, diploma) to show that you have fulfilled the condition. Please submit documents to:

    PhD Admissions
    Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
    155 College Street
    Toronto, ON, M5T 1P8.

    We will email you to confirm receipt of documents and to indicate the condition has been cleared.


    You can access ACORN as soon as you have accepted your offer of admission. To log in for the first time, you will need your student number, which is located on your Offer of Admission letter. Visit the ACORN home page for instructions on logging in for the first time and setting up a password.

    Take some time to explore ACORN. ACORN is where you will do many important things including enrol in courses, monitor your student financial account, print your tuition invoice, and obtain tax documents.

    TCard, UT email and UTORid

    Your TCard is your University of Toronto student card and is your key to many services and activities at the University and off-campus. Once you have obtained your TCard, you will be able to set-up your UT email account and you will be assigned a UTORid.
    TCard Office

    Fees, Registration, and Enrolment

    A breakdown of your tuition and supplementary fees for the coming year is typically posted in ACORN in mid to late July. You can login to ACORN to monitor your student account and to print out your tuition invoice, once it is available.

    You are considered registered as soon as you have paid tuition and incidental fees or have requested to register without payment (i.e. fee deferral). For information on registering without payment (i.e. fee deferral), visit the Graduate Fees section of the SGS website.

    Full details on enrolling in courses will be emailed to all students by the Registrar.

    Paying your tuition

    You should login to ACORN and print out your invoice. For instructions on making your tuition payment, consult the Student Accounts page.


    School of Graduate Studies (SGS): SGS usually holds an orientation session during the first week of September. SGS will email you with full details over the summer.

    All newly admitted PhD students: The Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing hosts a welcome luncheon typically held the first Monday of the academic year. Full details will be emailed to new students over the summer.


  • Information about PhD Supervisors

    At the time of application, you must have a faculty member agree to supervise your thesis work if you are admitted to the PhD program. This agreement fosters a close link between a student’s research interest and those of the prospective supervisor, which in turn helps to promote the student’s success in the PhD program and its timely completion. This matching occurs during the mandatory applicant screening process.

    To help identify potential supervisors:

    • Read “Selecting a Supervisor” (below)
    • To identify a faculty member who might be an appropriate match with your research interest, review the list of potential PhD supervisors and their key areas of research (below). You can also visit our website to read the faculty biographies.
    • Become familiar with the faculty member’s research by reading a selection of her/his publications.
    • After you have found a potential match through the mandatory applicant screening process and have been approved to submit your application you will need to have the faculty member sign the PhD Thesis Supervision Form and Funding Policy Acknowledgment Form, which is to be submitted with your application package. You will access this form in the SGS on-line application.

    The number of faculty members in the position to take on new PhD students varies year to year depending upon current supervision load, leaves and sabbatical plans. Junior faculty members, working in collaboration with senior faculty members, from time to time agree to supervise doctoral students.

    Connecting with prospective supervisors

    The mandatory applicant screening process will determine if and when it will be appropriate to reach out to prospective supervisors. Selecting a supervisor is perhaps the next most important decision you’ll make after deciding to pursue PhD studies. Your supervisor is your guide through the program as a whole, and specifically in reaching the milestones that lead to successful completion of a thesis. The investments you both make are huge and the fit must be mutual.

    When you engage with faculty at Bloomberg Nursing who are prospective supervisors, they will assess whether or not they are in a position to help you given their interests and constraints/commitments and your skills, strengths and aspirations. You, in turn, will focus on whether or not they are a good fit for you, in terms of their interests and your needs. When requesting a meeting with a potential supervisor, you should provide your CV and publications you have completed in the last 5 years.  Prepare for meetings with prospective supervisors by reading their work and drafting questions to ask of them. Here are some documents we suggest:

    1. Canadian Association for Graduate Students. Your Future: A Guide for Potential Graduate Students:
      This document is offers guidance in selecting a graduate program and a supervisor, as well as in seeking financial support for graduate study. Pay particular attention to the specific questions you can and should ask of a potential supervisor.
    2. The School of Graduate Studies website also has excellent material for prospective and current students.
      Pay particular attention to Graduate Supervision: Guidelines for StudentsFaculty and Administrators. Like the other guide from the CAGS above, this document contains a helpful list of questions for potential supervisors.

    Ideally, you and your supervisor will be interested in the same subject matter and/or population and share preferences for research methods (i.e. qualitative vs. quantitative, and even in terms of specific designs within these traditions, such as randomized trials). However, sometimes successful student/supervisor pairings bring together individuals who are not necessarily exact matches on all of these parameters and sometimes matches that are not immediately obvious can turn out to be logical and fruitful. Keep some points in mind:

    1. Your precise research question and design usually crystallizes in the first year or two of doctoral work, as you complete course work, attend seminars, and have discussions with your supervisor and committee. Your applicant statement must provide some early ideas that you have about possible projects that reflect an understanding of research and researchable questions. You are normally looking for fit, broadly speaking, rather than a supervisor who is an exact match for the specific question and design you may have at the time of your application.
    2. A mutual interest on the part of a student and his/her supervisor in a common clinical phenomenon or in similar concepts or research methods can be what it takes to make a strong match, rather than common specialization in a particular disease or age group or both.

    You and your supervisor will assemble a committee of faculty members to oversee your thesis work. These professors offer additional viewpoints on your work as it evolves and complement your supervisor’s expertise, particularly in specific subject matter or technical aspects of your research.

    PhD supervisorsList of Faculty Available to Supervise PhD Students

    Please visit our Faculty Directory for more information about and contact details for potential PhD supervisors.

    If you have difficulty identifying a supervisor, please contact Dr. Kimberley Widger ( for assistance.



Site Directory