Doctor of Nursing

The Doctor of Nursing is a professional research degree, designed for experienced, registered nurses who are seeking to extend their professional development and in particular, their research skills and capabilities. Like the PhD, a professional doctorate requires the student to make a significant and original contribution to knowledge through research. The Doctor of Nursing comprises three years of research for a full-time candidate or the equivalent in half-time candidature. Students conduct a program of three separate research projects, related in terms of the area of interest and presented as a thesis in the form of a research portfolio.

As one of the most highly research-intensive and respected universities in Australia and a member of the prestigious Group of Eight, The University of Adelaide is the smart choice for your research program. The University is committed to providing unique opportunities for graduates and researchers who are recognised as worldwide leaders for their vision and capacity to address global research challenges.

All research students at the University have the opportunity to broaden their research experience by choosing from amongst the extensive range of Career and Research Skills Training (CaRST) programs on offer.


Graduate Attributes

The objective of this program is to produce graduates with specific attributes as outlined in University of Adelaide Graduate Attributes.
  1. Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth
  2. Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving
  3. Teamwork and communication skills
  4. Professionalism and leadership readiness
  5. Intercultural and ethical competency
  6. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency
  7. Digital capabilities
  8. Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

Potential careers

Nurse Educator, Nurse Manager, Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Researcher, Research Manager

Degree Structure

At The University of Adelaide the DNurs is classified as a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) and provides nurses with a broad research preparation designed to equip them with the knowledge and skills required for utilising, undertaking and facilitating research in their practice and professional contexts.

Students conduct a program of three separate research projects, related in terms of the area of interest and presented as completed research reports. The first research project will be a systematic review of the literature in their area of interest and there will be two further studies conducted using different research methodologies.

The doctoral thesis submitted for examination is in the form of a research portfolio of approximately 70,000 words in total. The thesis comprises:

  • Section 1 Introduction
  • Section 2 Research project 1 - Systematic review
  • Section 3 Research project 2 - e.g. Empirical study
  • Section 4 Research project 3 - e.g. Interpretive/critical study
  • Section 5 Conclusion
  • Appendices
  • Publications (does not contribute to the overall word count).

Admission Requirements

A successful application to a Doctor of Nursing program involves a number of considerations:

Academic background and Experience

An applicant must demonstrate that they have both the required academic entry qualifications and the professional experience to successfully complete a Doctor of Nursing as detailed in the academic program rules.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

As English is the language of instruction at the University of Adelaide, all applicants must provide evidence of their proficiency before an offer of a place is made.

Availability of supervision and resourcing

In addition to the academic requirements, the Head of School must certify that your proposed research project is acceptable to the School and that there are sufficient supervisory and other resources and facilities available to enable your candidature to be completed successfully. Accordingly, discussing your research interests with your prospective supervisors/School is essential prior to submitting your Doctor of Nursing application.  Visit our Research Degrees Projects page for details of some of the available projects on offer.  If you don’t find a project of interest here, you can apply with your own project idea after reaching out to potential supervisor(s) in your area of interest. 

Fees for Domestic Students

Eligible domestic students (including Australian citizens or permanent residents and New Zealand citizens) are covered by the Research Training Program (RTP) and are exempt from the payment of tuition fees. An RTP place is available for a maximum of 4 years of full time equivalent study for an eligible doctorate student.

Fees for International Students

The tuition fees for international research students are available on the web at:  

In addition to tuition costs, it is a condition of a student visa that you hold and maintain health insurance for the entire length of your stay in Australia. This insurance is called Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).
Tuition fees for international students who have been awarded a Research Training Program stipend scholarship are covered by a Research Training Program (RTP) Fee-Offset for a maximum of 4 years of full time equivalent study for an eligible Doctorate student.


The University of Adelaide offers a wide range of scholarships to assist both domestic and international students with the cost of their studies. For information on the opportunities available, closing dates and how to apply go to: 

Academic Program Rules

The Calendar is a comprehensive handbook of the University's academic program rules.

Related Degrees


The University of Adelaide provides a resourceful and supportive environment for conducting rigorous and high quality doctoral research, while broadening my global network.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.

Last updated: Wednesday, 17 Aug 2022