Nursing Practice & Leadership (Ph.D.)
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Nursing Practice & Leadership

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Nursing Practice & Leadership in the Institute of Nursing Science and Practice of Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg is a doctoral program with the goal of promoting the next generation of scientists in nursing practice, considering a clinical leadership in cross-sectoral nursing and health care.

The program prepares doctoral students for the complex challenges of working as Senior Advanced Nurse Practitioner or in other professional positions within and outside of health care institutions and supports their early scientific independence. A practice-oriented focus is intended and desired, since subject-related nursing and health problems around the health and illness of people are not only dealt with in primary care, but also in secondary care.


The doctoral program in Nursing Practice & Leadership (Ph.D.) - similar to the doctoral program leading to a Ph.D. in Nursing & Allied Health Sciences - is based on a graduate school within the framework of a focused research program and a structured qualification concept.

A graduate program follows the principle of qualifying outstanding doctoral students and offers special seminars, interdisciplinary research colloquiums, and targeted methodological workshops to impart subject (in)dependent qualifications.

The focus is on acquiring the ability to conduct independent scientific work, taking into account specifically chosen scientific questions.

In addition, graduates of the doctoral program in Nursing Practice & Leadership will receive an advanced scientific qualification in the context of a thematically focused research program as well as of a structured qualification concept for clinical leadership and theory-practice-transfer.

This includes intensive mentoring, idealistic support, and exchange with other doctoral students.

The doctoral program in Nursing Practice & Leadership (Ph.D.) is designed as a combined online/ presence study program, which can be completed as an average-intensity degree in three years or as a part-time degree in six years taking into account the respective individual research questions for a Ph.D. thesis.

The study program starts in April of each calendar year.



Target group & prerequisites

Admission to this postgraduate Ph.D. program is possible for graduates who have passed a Bachelor and Master of Science degree in Nursing Science (300 ECTS) or equivalent degree in nursing science or in other associated sciences (e.g. public health, midwifery), thus providing in-depth knowledge.

A proof of at least two years of work experience in the nursing and health care sector with a nursing diploma (registered nurse) in adult nursing, paediatric nursing, psychiatric nursing, geriatric nursing or midwifery and proficiency in German (level C1) and English (level B2) are required.

The number of study places per calendar year is limited to a maximum of 30 persons.


Study structure & contents

Along with classroom teaching and seminars in Salzburg (5 to 15 days per year), the doctoral program in Nursing Practice & Leadership is based on the use of special Internet-based teaching and learning forms and so-called learning on demand strategies, similar to the bachelor's and master's programs of the Institute of Nursing Science and Practice.

This means, among other things, studying remotely using innovative learning platforms, learning objects in the form e-portfolios and podcasts, virtual lecture halls, online tutoring, etc.

Activities in the framework of a scientific community are also supported as best as possible and include attendance of summer schools, conferences, and research sojourns (7 days per year) in order to be able to establish national and international contacts or subject-specific networks for topic- and task-related exchange.

The modules of the graduate program are organized over the course of three years and are to be completed by all doctoral students of one cohort together.

This situation promotes group behavior and may be attended for longer than the intended period for reasons of unforeseen circumstances (e.g. leave of absence).

You will soon find an overview of the modules and courses in the download area.

The expansion of knowledge through the original research itself - and through the supervision of the main supervisor and second supervisor - is supported by the teaching of scientific knowledge and methodological training in the graduate program by national and international high-ranking lecturers from the nursing and health sciences:

  • Advanced quantitative social- and health research
  • Advanced qualitative social- and health research
  • Clinical assessment and management
  • Scientific methods of evidence-based nursing and health research
  • Scientific learning, working, writing, and publishing
  • Health policy, health economics and ethics
  • Gender and diversity in the field of nursing and health, etc.

In addition to regular electronic special teaching events and research-related seminars, sufficient time is given to non-public research colloquiums, inter-university events, journal clubs, and so-called chocolate & research conversations.
Thereby, the doctoral students should practice and perfect the skills of critical analysis and reflection of different problem solutions as well as presentation and discussion of their own research work with the help of the national and international lecturers and the staff of the Institute of Nursing Science and Practice.

Along with subject-specific education, the opportunity to acquire generic skills is also provided within the framework of this doctoral program.

These are additional qualifications, that are relevant both to the profession as a scientist or to a leading position as Senior Advanced Nurse Practitioner (e.g. development and management of a Nursing Development Unit, taking over a department for nursing development, establishment and management of outpatient nursing support centers, etc.), thereby increasing opportunities in the nursing and health-related job market.

Please note that modules in the graduate program are evaluated by means of essays or presentations.


Professional opportunities & activity fields

The aim is to prepare doctoral students for the complex challenges of working as Senior Advanced Nurse Practitioner in the clinical leadership of health care organizations or in other academic positions at colleges or universities and to support their early scientific independence.

The career opportunities and fields of activity after completion of the doctoral program in Nursing Practice & Leadership at Paracelsus Medical University are manifold.

Potential fields of work can be:

  • Scientific nurse expert, depending on the focus in primary and secondary care centers.
  • Transferring research findings, to nursing-related evidence-based practice, in health care organizations.
  • Nurse leader in specialized institutions with clinical leadership as well as in the field of education and consulting of selected populations or settings of health care.
  • Practical preceptor and advisor as well as in the implementation and coordination of Junior Advanced Nurse Practitioners in health care organizations.
  • Generating nursing-sensitive data as well as creating and managing databases to develop meaningful evidence related to nursing practice.
  • Scientific lecturer or employee at colleges or universities, authorities, ministries, NGOs, etc.



Attendance weeks

You will find the dates of the attendance weeks in the download area.

Study fees

Your study fee is our commitment to excellent quality in teaching, research, and administration. Students of our doctoral program benefit from all the advantages of a small group: an excellent supervision ratio, inter/national lecturers, personal exchange, direct and fast ways. You and your individual situation are in the focus of all our efforts.

The study fee is payable annually and amounts to EUR 5,100* per academic year (for full-time) and can be scaled (for part-time). In addition, there is a one-time examination fee of EUR 1,500.

After successful registration, a one-time fee of EUR 500 has to be paid for the compliance with the admission requirements procedure (selection of applicants and processing) by the Ph.D. committee with external experts.

The ÖH-fee of currently EUR 20.70* per semester has also to be considered.

The individual financial situation should not prevent anyone from studying at our university. The following support options are available:


*subject to annual valorization



The eligibility of applicants is determined by a two-step admission process and must be followed even if the research topic changes during the doctoral program leading to the Ph.D. in Nursing Practice & Leadership.

The admission procedure is handled electronically via the website of Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg:

Electronic registration of applicants by December 15 of each calendar year with a 1.000 to 1.500 word letter of motivation detailing goals and plans for both education and career, as well as providing information on why the applicant wishes to become a scientist in the doctoral program leading to a Ph.D. in Nursing Practice & Leadership.

Simultaneous submission of required certificates and documents in electronic form:

  • Certificates of general, psychiatric or pediatric nursing, geriatric nursing, midwifery (registered nurse) as well as Bachelor- and Master of Science degree or equivalent, curriculum vitae, passport photograph, proof of at least two years of professional work in nursing and health care.
  • Information on the research proposal with 2.500 to 3.000 words must be provided - see guidelines in the download area - by describing the formulated research interests and the methodological approach.
  • University internal check of the proofs received for completeness and correctness
  • The selection of applicants is done according to admission requirements by the Ph.D. Committee of the Institute of Nursing Science and Practice at Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg.

In this context, the Paracelsus Medical University is committed to equal treatment without distinction of gender, ethnicity, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation, and to the creation of positive and career-enhancing conditions for women.



The registration will be activated after the accreditation has been completed.