UBC's PhD in Nursing will prepare you to generate, integrate and implement new disciplinary knowledge aimed at improving nursing, health and health care.

You will join UBC's extensive community of scholars and work with your supervisor to develop a research training program that meets your goals.




  • Prepare for leadership roles within academic institutions, practice settings and policy arenas
  • Graduate with a portfolio that showcases your competencies and skills
  • Network with eminent scholars at seminars and conferences
  • Gain opportunities to access independent studies, practicums, and research and teaching opportunities
  • Meet and learn from leaders in nursing practice, research and policy

son phd



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.



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 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 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 on the SoN website.


The PhD dissertation is an original piece of work that offers you the opportunity to hone your research skills, become an expert in a specialized area of knowledge, and contribute to your field of scholarship. It will set the stage for your future research career.



Your PhD dissertation is guided by your Dissertation Supervisor.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies has an excellent resource for students and their supervisors that outlines how to get the most out of the supervisor-graduate student relationship at UBC:

Faculty of Graduate Studies Handbook of Supervision

UBC Crest The official logo of the University of British Columbia. Arrow An arrow indicating direction. Arrow in Circle An arrow indicating direction. Caret An arrowhead indicating direction. E-commerce Cart A shopping cart. Time A clock. Chats Two speech clouds. Facebook The logo for the Facebook social media service. Home A house in silhouette. Information The letter 'i' in a circle. Instagram The logo for the Instagram social media service. Linkedin The logo for the LinkedIn social media service. Location Pin A map location pin. Mail An envelope. Telephone An antique telephone. Play A media play button. Search A magnifying glass. Arrow indicating share action A directional arrow. Speech Bubble A speech bubble. Star An outline of a star. Twitter The logo for the Twitter social media service. Urgent Message An exclamation mark in a speech bubble. User A silhouette of a person. Vimeo The logo for the Vimeo video sharing service. Youtube The logo for the YouTube video sharing service. Future of work A logo for the Future of Work category. Inclusive leadership A logo for the Inclusive leadership category. Planetary health A logo for the Planetary health category. Solutions for people A logo for the Solutions for people category. Thriving cities A logo for the Thriving cities category. University for future A logo for the University for future category.