Core Curricular Components


The required coursework comprises nine credits (NURS580, NURS581, and NURS554), plus two terms enrolled in the doctoral seminars (0 credits). Students are also encouraged to seek suitable electives with guidance from their supervisor.

NURS 580 - The Philosophy of Evidence
Prerequisite: NURS 511 or equivalent

This course introduces the philosophy of science and evidence as it is understood in the context of nursing scholarship. The learning activities provide an opportunity for critical appraisal of: the ways in which scientific activity within the applied health sciences, and particularly nursing as a practice discipline, is distinguished from other forms of scientific activity (which may not be practice or action oriented); the nature of discovery and exploration in the development of nursing knowledge; and the value of scientific inquiry in the context of the larger projects of an applied health discipline. It creates the philosophical foundation upon which students can create informed claims about knowledge, theory and evidence regarding phenomena of concern to the discipline.

NURS 581 - Leadership in Knowledge Application and Translation
Prerequisite: NURS 580

Through an examination of philosophies, theories and praxis in the application of nursing knowledge, this graduate level course will prepare students to lead innovative research, education and practice in knowledge application and translation. Learning activities will focus on theoretical and practical issues around developing and applying knowledge to improve health or health care systems. The course will provide an introduction to basic principles, conceptual frameworks, research design, and interventions used in knowledge translation, and students will develop capacity to engage with an array of knowledge users and stakeholders.

NURS 554 - Advanced Research Methods
Prerequisites: NURS 580, and NURS 548 and NURS 549 or equivalent

This course involves intensive inquiry into research design issues relevant to nursing and health research, including the conduct of interdisciplinary research. It addresses issues in quantitative and qualitative research, and extends the discussion to consider the design and conceptual complexities of mixed methods. The course offers an integrated approach to considering the relationships between research questions, design, methods, and reporting of data from multiple sources. The course is designed to be an interactive seminar.

NURS 601 - Doctoral Seminars
Prerequisites: None

This course is designed as a set of student-centered seminars to provide an ongoing opportunity for students to discuss phenomena relevant to nursing science, academia, and the process of undertaking doctoral thesis research.



To be prepared to assume leadership as a nursing scholar, students will develop a portfolio of relevant experiences that show how they have achieved the following set of competencies. These will be accomplished through a range of learning experiences that each student will plan (with guidance from their supervisor) according to their individual needs.

  1. Writing for peer-reviewed publication

  2. Writing competitive research funding proposals (e.g. SoN Internal Research Grants)

  3. Conducting peer reviews (e.g. manuscripts, grant proposals)

  4. Conference & seminar participation (e.g. presentations, networking, planning)

  5. Research teamwork (e.g. participation, management)

  6. Interdisciplinary collaboration (e.g. committee work, project leadership)

  7. Knowledge application (e.g. KT planning, implementation, policy innovation)

  8. Community engagement (e.g. leading a clinical research team)

  9. Teaching (e.g. planning, leading)

  10. Mentoring & consulting skills (e.g. advising a clinical research team)



Students must complete their comprehensive exam within the first 24 months in the doctoral program. After completing required coursework (plus electives as determined in collaboration with the supervisor), students prepare an annotated bibliography. This serves as the foundation for the comprehensive exam, which comprises two essays in the form of a take home exam and an oral defence. Further details are available here on the SoN website.



Students must complete their candidacy exam within the first 36 months in the doctoral program. After completing the comprehensive exam, students establish their supervisory committee and proceed to develop their proposal. The written proposal is approved by the committee, and is followed by an oral defence. Further details are available here on the SoN website.



Students complete their dissertation research under the supervision of their committee. They must submit the written dissertation (in either traditional or manuscript style) and complete the final oral examination no later than 72 months of their admission to the doctoral program. This process is coordinated through the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Further details are available here on the SoN website.