Trinity Western University launches its first PhD program—a Doctorate in Philosophy of Nursing

Envisioning and equipping the next generation of nursing

Trinity Western University is pleased to announce its first-ever doctoral program—a Doctorate in Philosophy of Nursing (PhD), with a distinctly values-based approach to higher education, leadership, and research.

As the first faith-based doctoral program in nursing in Canada, Trinity Western’s PhD in Nursing will prepare nurses to be educators and leaders within academic, healthcare, and government settings.

"Given the remarkable legacy of Christian commitment to health care, it is with great joy that Trinity Western has received the provincial government’s approval to offer its very first PhD degree, in Nursing. This milestone in TWU’s history affirms our strength in fostering high-quality academic work, scholarship, and teaching," said President Mark Husbands.

Answering a national and global shortage

Provincially, nationally, and globally, there is a deepening shortage of doctorally-prepared nursing faculty. There are also insufficient numbers of nurse scholars prepared to generate disciplinary knowledge.

Dr. Barbara Astle, Director of MSN Program highlights the demand for the program.

“We need PhD-prepared nurse educators in order to fill the critical global nursing shortage, which has been accelerated by the pandemic,” said Dr. Astle.

“In addition to opportunities in higher education, our graduates will be well-positioned to pursue or to advance in leadership and research roles.”

Distinctly values-based Nursing education

Rooted in the Christian ethos of TWU, students will have opportunity to develop a values-based approach to higher education, leadership, and research.

“No other faith-based doctoral program in nursing exists in Canada (and few internationally), despite a growing cadre of nurses who desire to engage in the deep theological and philosophic traditions that underpin health, compassion, and healing,” said Dr. Reimer-Kirkham, Dean of Nursing.

Distinct from nursing doctoral programs that put top priority to developing nurse scientists, TWU’s intentionally well-rounded program will target all professional skills required for an academic position. This will include an Advanced Educational Leadership course, and an Advanced Public Policy and Knowledge Translation course, in addition to the research methodology and research design courses.

Online, in-class and experiential

The 48-month PhD in Nursing program offers a mix of online, in-class and experiential learning within a community of nurse scholars. The program features one- or two-week intensive summer residencies at the main campus in Langley, and at the world-class Laurentian Leadership Center in Ottawa.

Practical, mentorship-based

PhD in Nursing students receive internship and mentorship opportunities to learn professional skills from expert educators, leaders, and researchers.

Graduates of the program can look forward to advancing the discipline of nursing by generating new nursing knowledge that is responsive to the needs of society. They will be ready to engage in meaningful professional service, advocacy, and mobilization of complex knowledge to diverse audiences.

TWU School of Nursing’s outstanding reputation

Trinity Western University has provided CASN-accredited, BCCNM-approved undergraduate nursing education (BSN) for more than 25 years. Additionally, TWU has offered a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program since 2009. In August 2021, TWU received approval from the BC Ministry of Education to launch the Doctorate in Philosophy of Nursing (PhD) program.

The leadership of Dr. Sheryl Reimer-Kirkham, Dean of Nursing, Dr. Barbara Astle, Director of MSN, along with the outstanding calibre of TWU’s faculty, provide the foundation for this new PhD program. 

“Our world-class faculty, with interdisciplinary colleagues at TWU and transdisciplinary connections beyond, have built a collaborative research environment while maximizing competitiveness for extramural funding. At a relatively small university, it is important that we are well connected to nursing and health researchers and leaders locally, nationally, and globally,” said Dr. Reimer-Kirkham.

“With an ever-changing planet, we are equipping the next generation of nurse leaders and scholars to work alongside other disciplines for the well-being of the global community.”

For more information, please visit TWU Doctorate in Philosophy of Nursing (PhD).

About Trinity Western University

Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four campuses: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Photo credit: Wendy Lees