Graduate Programs and Admissions

PhD Admission Criteria and Application Process

Online applications and supporting documentation are due by February 15 for admission in the following September and can be accessed through the Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research website. To ensure the protection of personal information, applications cannot be viewed by the department until they are submitted. Please contact the Nursing Graduate Office if you have questions about your application.

Applicants are selected on the basis of academic and research potential including:

  • GPA (typically 3.5 or higher);
  • Background experience, research and scholarly activities, and career plans;
  • Publications and presentations (particularly from the Master’s Degree);
  • Letters of Reference; and
  • Current Curriculum Vitae

The minimum requirements are:

  1. Master's degree in Nursing from the University of Alberta, or its equivalent. Students who do not hold the equivalent to this degree may be admitted and required to undertake additional course work in nursing theory, practice and/or research.
  2. A GPA of 3.5 in the last two years of study.
  3. Graduate qualitative and quantitative (with some statistics) courses or one graduate course in statistics and one in research methods (or equivalent) with a final grade of B or higher.
  4. Completion of an interview with the prospective supervisor.
  5. Written agreement of an appropriate supervisor.
  6. Satisfactory letters of reference.
  7. Clearly stated academic, research and professional plans.
  8. As required, a passing score on an English Language Examination. Applicants with degrees/qualifications in a language other than English must demonstrate English language proficiency. Applicants with qualifications from certain countries and international universities are exempt from the English language requierments (see the FGSR exemptions list). Although the satisfactory completion of an English language proficiency test cannot guarantee adequate language skills, a TOEFL score of at least 587 (paper-based), or a total score of 97 with a score of at least 22 on each of the individual skill areas (Internet-based); an IELTS overall score of 7.0 with the following minimum scores: Listening-7.5, Reading-6.5, Writing-7.0, Speaking-7.0, Overall-7.0; or equivalent where applicable is required by the Faculty of Nursing. In addition, the Faculty of Nursing may require applicants to successfully complete EAP 550.

Please note: meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an offer of admission.

Application requires:

  • A completed online application for Graduate Admission. Please note, unsubmitted applications are deleted 21 calendar days after you begin your application or the application deadline (whichever comes first). We suggest before you start your application, you gather the documents necessary to complete and submit your application (e.g. transcripts, degree certificates, English Language Proficiency scores, referee contact information, and other documents required by the department offering the program to which you're applying). If you require assistance or have questions regarding the application process, please email or refer to the FAQ section of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research website.  
  • Official transcripts/mark sheets and degree certificates from all academic institutions. Please read the Requirements for Acceptance of Uploaded Transcripts
  • Three letters of reference from academics and professionals knowledgeable about your academic and professional capabilities. Reference request emails (system-generated) will only be sent upon final submission of the application.
  • Current Curriculum Vitae: required form is also available in the Documents section of the online application.
  • A completed PhD Applicant Background Information Form: required form is also available in the Documents section of the online application. In this form, the applicant will clearly outline academic, research, and professional plans/expectations including:

    (a) Career Plans (identify your career plans and how they relate to your academic and professional background, and to the U of A PhD in Nursing program);

    (b) Research Plans (describe your proposed dissertation research topic and method to the extent to which you are able to do so at this time, and its significance for the development of nursing knowledge and/or nursing practice);

    (c) PhD Program/Supervisory Expectations (describe as specifically as possible your expectations of the program and of your PhD program/dissertation supervisor);

    (d) Name of Potential PhD Program/Dissertation Supervisor

    (e) Awards/Financial Assistance (indicate whether you will be applying for awards/financial assistance and your plans for same, including your interest in applying for a graduate teaching/research assistantship, or a part-time sessional teaching position).

Applications are not considered until all supporting documentation has been uploaded and the application has been submitted.

    Please note that it is the student's responsibility to ensure the completeness of their applications by planning ahead to make certain that all documents will be uploaded to the online application by the deadline.

    Upon acceptance into the PhD in Nursing program, the following additional admission requirements may apply:

    1. Official documents (transcripts, degree certificates, etc.) will be required upon receiving the conditional offer of admission letter. Documents must be sent directly from the post-secondary institution to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Office.
    2. College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) registration. Students enrolled in the PhD program may be required to be registered as active members of CARNA. Students who wish to work as teaching assistants must have CARNA registration. Students will be expected to provide proof of registration annually. The process of registration can take several months and students are expected to begin the application process as soon as they receive their letter of admission. Students in the PhD program must be registered in the province/jurisdiction where they will conduct their doctoral research.