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Rural and Northern Health (PhD)

Application deadline

The application deadline for a September 2025 start is January 31, 2025.

Academic Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Wenghofer, Coordinator

Telephone: 705-675-1151 ext. 3925


Telephone: (705) 675-1151 ext.1012

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Delivery Method: Remote - Synchronous
Program Language: English

Although the program is primarily taught in English and in a synchronous remote format, students are welcome to take electives on-campus and conduct their research locally in either English or French.

Applications for the PhD program must fulfill both the General Requirements for Graduate Applications and the Specific Requirement for Rural and Northern Health PhD Applications. All of the information must be compiled and submitted to the Admissions Office.


Applicants are evaluated on the following criteria for entry to the PhD program:

  1. A strong academic record: Prospective students will have completed a Masters degree from a recognized university with a minimum of a B+ (75%) average and are strongly encouraged to have successfully completed at least one course in each of: statistics and research methodology, and one or more courses in the social and/or health sciences;
  2. Excellent fit with the program based on interests and background;
  3. A proposed thesis project in the area of rural and/or northern health;
  4. Confirmation of support from an appropriate supervisor; and
  5. Previous acquisition of a basic knowledge of health research methods on which to build in the program.


Application Process

Step 1. Contact the Graduate Coordinator and/or individual faculty member about the possibility of becoming a student.  Students are encouraged to consult the faculty list on the Faculty Members tab in order to identify a potential supervisor (i.e. a faculty member they would like to work with).  

Step 2. Click here to submit the online application. Once students have applied, they will receive instructions (typically within 48 hours) from the Office of Admissions leading them to the MyLaurentian portal. Students can access the portal at; sign in credentials will be provided in the correspondence received from the Office of Admissions upon successful completion of an application. The following documents will be required in order to complete an application.


  • Three Reference Forms - 1 letter may be from an  employment/professional referee and the other 2 letters should be academic references (to begin the process at click on "Reference Submission" on the left-hand navigation menu)
  • Personal Statement (to be uploaded via MyLaurentian)
    • Summarize previous academic training and work experience as they relate to this application
    • Provide a justification enrolling in this PhD program at this time, explain the choice of supervisor, and their future career path (Must not exceed 500 words).
    • The personal statement must be typed in 12 point times font, with 1” page margins, and be double spaced. Any information that does not conform to these requirements or that exceeds the length specified will be removed from the application before review. However, references may be added to these documents and are not counted in the word limits.
  • Proposed Research Program Description (to be uploaded via MyLaurentian)

    • Outline proposed area(s) of research for their thesis, articulate the rational for the thesis project,and include a draft of the proposed methods

    • Must not exceed 1,000 words

    • The proposed research program description must be typed in 12 point times font, with 1” page margins, and be double spaced. Any information that does not conform to these requirements or that exceeds the length specified will be removed from the application before review. However, references may be added to these documents and are not counted in the word limits.

  • One publication or other written work on which the applicant was the principal author (to be uploaded via MyLaurentian)

  • Supplementary Application Form signed by a potential supervisor indicating a commitment to supervise.(form found in MyLaurentian)

  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume : must include: academic training/previous degrees, honors and awards, publications, grants (if applicable), relevant employment experience, languages written/spoken/understood, professional/community services (to be uploaded via MyLaurentian)
  • Official Academic Transcript(s) from all post secondary studies* (Please note that current or prior Laurentian University students do not need to request transcripts)  

*Please note that official transcripts or WES course-by-course (for institutions attended outside of North America) must come directly to the Office of Admissions from the previous post secondary institution by requesting at the time of your application or by contacting the institution's Registrar's Office.


Step 3. Once the Admissions Office receives all information and the application is deemed complete, the application will be forwarded to the department.  An Admissions Committee meets to review the applications.


Step 4. The Admissions Committee will review all applications on file and make a decision regarding the suitability of each applicant.  The Admissions Committee will then make a recommendation to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Laurentian University. The Graduate Studies office will verify the dossier and if satisfactory, the Dean of Graduate Studies will forward the recommendation to the Office of Admissions at Laurentian University for admission. 


Step 5: If approved for admission, the Office of Admissions will send the student an Offer of Admission via MyLaurentian.  Applicants wishing to accept the offer of admission must indicate their response on MyLaurentian within 3 weeks of receiving the offer. Once the student has accepted the offer, a transition to the registration process occurs.



All short-listed applicants will be required to attend an in-person interview (or teleconference meeting for those who are unable to attend in person).

One of the most important aspects of graduate training is the timely, clear identification of a Supervisor for each graduate student.


1. Check your program requirements

You can find your program requirements on this page, under admission requirements. For some Graduate programs you will need to secure a supervisor as part of your application process. You can find if you need to contact a supervisor on the how to apply to graduate programs page.

2. Complete your Application

Once you have reviewed your program requirements you can apply through the graduate application portal. This will take you to an external site, hosted by OUAC. Within 48 business hours of submitting your application you will receive an email with further instructions.

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3. Setup your myLaurentian account and upload your documentation

Once your application has been received by Laurentian University, you will receive an email that contains information on accessing your myLaurentian Portal where you will continue the application process. To activate your account, visit the myLaurentian Portal and click the yellow bar "New to Laurentian".

Please note that the submission of items on the “My Checklist” is solely the obligation of the applicant. Please review this list carefully in order to complete your application.

Learn more on our how to apply to graduate programs page.

Detailed How To Apply
Note for Current Students

The degree options listed below are for the upcoming academic year, not the current academic year. If you are a current student looking for which courses to take in order to complete your degree options from a previous academic year's curriculum, please consult with an academic advisor.

Students must follow these regulations while in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.


Approved Fields of Study:

  • Health Services
  • Health Policy


Program Requirements

The minimum requirements that doctoral students must successfully complete are:

1. Required Courses

  • IRNH-6106EL - Theory and Framework in Health (3 credits)
  • IRNH-6107EL - Health Policy Analysis (3 credits)
  • IRNH-6056EL - Research Seminar (3 credits)
  • IRNH-6057EL - Research Seminar (3 credits)


2. Elective Courses – as required by Supervisory Committee


3. Pass a comprehensive examination which includes the preparation of a Ph.D. research proposal that is approved by the student’s Supervisory Committee


4. Obtain appropriate Research Ethics Board Approval(s) for all research including human subjects


5. Write and defend a Ph.D. thesis (IRNH 6000EL) based on original research


All students, in consultation with their Supervisor and Supervisory Committee, shall develop their program of study by evaluating their academic strengths and weaknesses using the stated competencies of the program. Based upon this plan and depending upon their education and professional background, some students may require additional coursework. It is expected that all full-time students will have completed all of their required coursework by the end of their first year of doctoral studies and all part-time students will complete required course work by the end of their second year of studies. Please note that all students will not be allowed to proceed to their comprehensive examination without having successfully completed all of the required coursework.

Students must also obtain a minimum grade of 70% in each graduate course, including elective coursework, in order to pass the course. Students who receive less than 70% in a required course must repeat the course.

Required Courses

IRNH-6000EL - Thesis

IRNH-6056EL - Research Seminar 1

IRNH-6057EL - Research Seminar 2

IRNH-6106EL - Theory in Health Research

IRNH-6107EL - Health Policy Analysis


Elective Courses

IRNH-6134EL - Topics in Interdisciplinary Ph.D Studies in Northern Rural Health

IRNH-6144EL - Guided Individual Study

IRNH 6206 EL - Critical Appraisal of Health Research

IRNH 6216 EL - Issues in Rural and Northern Health

IRNH 6286 EL - Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology

IRNH 6306 EL - Perspectives on Indigenous Health and Wellness

IRNH-6000EL - Thesis IRNH-6106EL - Theory and Framework in Health IRNH-6107EL - Health Policy Analysis IRNH-6056EL - Research Seminar IRNH-6057EL - Research Seminar IRNH-6144EL - Guided Individual Study
IRNH-6206EL - Critical Appraisal of Health Research IRNH-6306EL - Perspectives on Indigenous Health and Wellness - - -