Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Program Overview & Objectives
The Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) degree is designed to prepare scientists and scholars with the analytical and research skills required to expand knowledge of clinical, theoretical, and health systems issues.
Effective September 2020, students will no longer enrol in fields of study (Effective Care and Health Outcomes, Nursing Health Systems, Critical Approaches to Health and Health Care).
Graduates of the program will demonstrate:
- Superior understanding of the theoretical foundations of nursing science;
- A broad appreciation of the relationship between nursing science and the scientific basis of other health disciplines;
- In-depth knowledge and specialization related to a selected aspect of nursing science;
- The ability to design and conduct research studies of relevance and importance to nursing science;
- Commitment to ethical scholarship and collaboration in furthering knowledge with a critical and objective perspective on research; and,
- The ability to contribute to the education of undergraduate and graduate nursing students.
Continuing the tradition of first in nursing graduate education, our graduates are leaders in research and scholarship, clinical practice and health care administration, occupying positions of influence in policy and practice nationally and internationally.
PhD students must enrol on a full-time basis. PhD students normally aim to complete the degree in four years of full-time study. All requirements for the degree must be completed within six calendar years from the date of the student’s enrolment in the program.
The required course components of the PhD program are offered in-class only.
As your first step, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on the PhD program and the application process including identifying a supervisor.
Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Graduate Department of Nursing Science’s additional admission requirements stated below:
- 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.
- All English facility requirements must be met at the time of application.
- Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction and examination was not English must demonstrate proficiency in English. An interview may be required.
Please note: Meeting minimum admission requirements does not ensure admission to the program.
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.
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
Please visit our How to Apply section for detailed information on the application process and required documents.
The PhD in Nursing is offered as a full-time program.
Successful completion of all required courses by the end of Year 2 in the program.
Students must successfully complete a minimum of 3.0 full course equivalents (FCEs) that include:
- PhD Seminar (1.0 FCE)
- Research methods course NUR 1079Y Research Methods for Knowledge Discovery (1.0 FCE)
- One course (0.5 FCE) related to the substantive area of the field of study and thesis plans
- One course (0.5 FCE) may be either a method or substantive area course as determined by the student and the supervisory committee.
Students must attain a minimum average standing at the B+ level for required courses.
Students are normally expected to complete all five required courses (3.0 FCEs) by the end of Year 2. If all required courses are not successfully completed (with a minimum average standing at the B+ level) by the end of Year 3, the Faculty of Nursing will normally make a recommendation to SGS for termination of registration.
For students who enrolled prior to September 2020:
Students must successfully complete a minimum of 3.0 Full Course Equivalents (FCEs) that include:
- PhD Seminar (1.0 FCE)
Field of study Course (0.5 FCE) that includes one of the following:
- NUR 1085H (for students in the critical perspectives in health and healthcare field of study)
- NUR 1086H (for students in the Nursing Health Systems field of study) or
- NUR 1087H (for students in the Effective Care and Health Outcomes field of study)
At least one method course (0.5 FCE) relevant to the field of study and to the dissertation plans
At least one course (0.5 FCE) related to the substantive area of the field of study and thesis plans
The fifth required course (0.5 FCE) may be either a method or substantive area course as determined by the student and the supervisory committee.
All PhD students should visit the SGS site on PhD supervision. It has important information on the topic of student-supervisor relationship: SGS PhD Supervision
Literature Review Paper
Successful completion of the literature review paper.
The literature review paper topic as well as type and format of the literature review paper must be approved by the supervisor (with signed documentation by the student and supervisor) by March 1 of Year 1. This agreement should specify the problem statement, the format/type of literature review that is appropriate to the field of study, and to the scholarly traditions within which the student’s research is situated.
The literature review paper must be submitted by September 30 of Year 2. The submitted literature review paper will be formally reviewed and evaluated by the supervisor and at least one additional thesis committee member. Written and verbal feedback about the submitted literature review paper will be provided to the student at a supervisory committee meeting. For the literature review paper to be considered a pass, both faculty members’ assessments of the literature review paper must be at the successful completion or pass level. If both examinations are considered pass, the student may receive either a satisfactory or excellent rating at their supervisory committee meeting. If one or both paper reviews are rated unsatisfactory or not pass, then the student receives an unsatisfactory rating at the supervisory committee meeting.
If the student does not successfully complete the literature review paper first submitted, the student will have one additional opportunity to revise and rewrite the literature review paper, based on the feedback received at the supervisory committee. The student must resubmit the revised literature review paper by December 1 of Year 2. This revised literature review paper must be formally evaluated by the supervisor and one other thesis committee member (normally the same committee member who completed the assessment of the original literature review paper). The student will receive feedback about the revised literature review paper at a supervisory committee meeting. For the literature review to be considered a pass, both faculty members’ assessments of the literature review must be at the pass level. If both reviews are considered pass, the student may receive either a satisfactory or excellent rating at their supervisory committee meeting. If one or both reviews are rated failure/not pass, then the student receives an unsatisfactory rating at the supervisory committee meeting.
If the student does not successfully complete the literature review paper on the second attempt, the Faculty of Nursing will normally recommend to SGS that the student’s registration in the PhD program be terminated.
Successful defense of the thesis proposal, normally by the end of Year 2.
Students are normally expected to defend their thesis proposal by the end of Year 2 of their program. Students must successfully defend their thesis proposal no later than the end of Year 3. The format of the proposal will be similar to that of a modified tri-council grant application. Assessment of the thesis proposal consists of both the written proposal and the oral defence of the proposal. Students who do not successfully defend the proposal after the first attempt may have one additional opportunity to successfully present and defend the written proposal, and this must be accomplished before the end of Year 3 of the program.
If the student does not successfully defend the thesis proposal by the end of Year 3 (including a second attempt, if required), the Faculty of Nursing will recommend to SGS that the student’s registration in the PhD program be terminated.
The student’s dissertation will be defended in the PhD Final Oral Examination of the School of Graduate Studies.
Program Length: 4 years full-time; 5 years transfer-from-master’s
Time Limit: 6 years full-time; 7 years transfer-from-master’s
Course Code Course Name Description NUR1025H Doing Qualitative Research: Design and Data Collection This course will deal with the issues and activities involved in designing and conducting qualitative research studies. It will build on NUR1024H – Foundations of Qualitative Inquiry, the first course in the Essentials of Qualitative Inquiry series. It emphasizes the practical considerations associated with designing qualitative studies, coordinating fieldwork, field relations, techniques of data collection, and data management. However, it also considers the implications of the activities of knowledge construction by addressing the dilemmas associated with reflexivity, positionality and rigor at various points in the design and conduct of qualitative studies. We will explore literature from the health and social sciences to examine the various issues and approaches associated with design and conduct of qualitative inquiry. Evaluation of student learning will enable students to pursue the steps of designing a research project over the course of three assignments: a) short problem statement, development of the research question(s), and selection of a suitable methodological approach, b) an outline of sampling
strategy and data collection methods that will address the research question(s) developed earlier, and c) a design of a study. Classes will include large group discussions of weekly topics and readings, in addition to small group exercises that encourage experiential learning and reflexive discussion of qualitative research activities. Analysis of qualitative data is not dealt with extensively in this course because it is the focus of the third course in the
Essentials of Qualitative Inquiry series: CHL 5115 – Qualitative Analysis & Interpretation.
NUR1076H Intermediate Statistics for Health Sciences Research This course is designed to: introduce graduate level students to intermediate quantitative statistical methods form foundations for more advanced courses, and apply statistical methods to research problems encountered in nursing and other health professions.
The course will cover fundamentals of linear regression, logistic regression analysis, survival analyses, analysis of variance and an introduction to structural equation modelling. Students will also learn to use SPSS software. At the end of the course, students will be able to define and use the inferential statistics taught in this course, to analyze real data, present the data in a format suitable for peer-reviewed publication, and to interpret the results.
NUR1077H Implementation Science in Healthcare Implementation science is built on the foundation of effective utilization of evidence in practice through a series of processes and theoretical models defined under the umbrella of knowledge translation. Knowledge translation (KT) is defined as the exchange, synthesis and ethically-sound application of knowledge within a complex system of interactions among researchers and users to accelerate the capture of the benefits of research for Canadians through improved health, more effective services and products and a strengthened health care system (CIHR).
This course will address the definitional, theoretical, methodological, clinical, evaluative and sustainable aspects of Implementation Science (commonly referred to as KT) reflected as an integral component in (a) the thesis of the PhD level student who is interested in evaluating KT interventions or methods; (b) the thesis of the PhD level student to maximize the impact and generalizability of their research results and to enhance scholarly outputs or (c) a selected initiative of the senior Masters level student (Year 2) demonstrating the application of research into practice (based on availability and permission of the instructor).
NUR1079Y Research Methods for Knowledge Discovery The focus of this course is on the critical examination of research, with an emphasis on maintaining the links between the research problem, theory, and research methods. Most research methods courses focus on either qualitative or quantitative methods, and rarely address how to meaningfully integrate the two. The course will ensure that PhD students develop methodological literacy, reasoning and thinking early on in the program. Research in nursing draws upon theories, research designs, and methods from a variety of disciplines including social and behavioural sciences, clinical sciences, management and business sciences, epidemiology, statistics and others. Strategies for critically analyzing research studies and designing robust research studies using a variety of methodological approaches are examined. NUR1081Y PhD Student/Faculty Seminars The PhD Student/Faculty Seminars are an important and integral aspect of the preparation of PhD students in the Graduate Department of Nursing Science. They afford students opportunities to hear about the research of faculty and their fellow students, to become part of a community of scholars in the Department, and to improve their presentation and seminar participation skills. All students in the first and second years of the PhD program are required to attend the seminars, and students in later years are welcome to attend any or all of them. Faculty members who are involved in PhD student supervision are also expected to participate in the seminars.
(2 hrs of class every week)
NUR1085H Topics in Critical Perspectives in Health and Health Care This seminar focuses on the current research and scholarship of faculty in the newly formed PhD field of Critical Perspectives in Health and Health Care. It will address such topics as new directions in critical perspectives in both theory and method as they pertain to research, practice and policy in health care. This flexible course is intended to facilitate the involvement of several core faculty members and distinguished visiting scholars with research programs in this area. NUR1086H Nursing Health Services Research Methods This seminar based course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the multidisciplinary nature of health services research, skill in critiquing health services research studies, and knowledge of the methods and analytical approaches used in health services research. This course will address topics related to study designs for health services research, validity and reliability in the measurement of health services phenomena, analytical challenges associated with multi-level data and/or data obtained from secondary sources, risk adjustment in outcomes research, testing mediation and moderator effects, and sampling strategies for health services research. NUR1087H Foundations of Clinical Research This course focuses on the rationale for and conceptualization of a clinical research study, ensuring links between the research problem, theory, questions and outcomes to be examined. Students will be guided in how to choose, develop and tailor research evidence/theory/conceptual frameworks to make the argument for their research problem. Students will be challenged to critique their own ideas and those of other researchers (including faculty members) through various lenses. Study design and methods will be addressed as secondary issues, with a focus on the contribution of the study conceptualization and rationale to design-related decisions (without going into the details of various study designs). This course will be most useful to students who are planning experimental and non-experimental quantitative studies including, but not limited to, randomized controlled trials of simple and complex interventions, prognostic studies, descriptive-correlational studies and pilot work in preparation for larger studies/grant applications.