Doctoral Programme Nursing Science

The Maastricht - Graz - Bern Doctoral Programme Nursing Science is a joint doctoral programme which began in 2000. This doctoral programme provides nurses with a structure to prepare a dissertation. It enables nurses with a master degree to become a Scholar in Nursing Science.

Research is performed in the research fields of the departments which are offering the programme. Therefore, all projects focus on health problems from a nursing perspective and contribute to nursing knowledge via the use of clinical research methodologies.

The thesis is usually a compilation of articles published in and / or submitted to international scientific journals. A doctoral thesis is equivalent to approximately five (Maastricht) or four (Graz) articles.

Students will finish their programme either at the University of Maastricht or at the Medical University of Graz. In Maastricht, the title is «Doctor aan de Universiteit Maastricht (PhD)». In Graz the title is «doctor rerum curae», which is read as «Doctor of Nursing Science».

The programme consists of four meetings per year, which alternate between Graz, Bern and Maastricht. During these meetings, the students participate in lectures focusing on methodological issues in qualitative and quantitative research. The students discuss theoretical, methodological and practical problems that they are encountering in the course of their doctoral projects. They work collaboratively in workshops on topics which are relevant to their PhD. They also further their knowledge regarding scientific writing and the revision process in group sessions. The doctoral students present their research findings at national and international conferences. The language in the programme is English.

Students from Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Germany as well as other European countries, are currently participating in this doctoral programme. Due to its international structure, this doctoral programme in Nursing Science has, since its inception, facilitated international networking.

Are you interested in joining the programme? Please contact a professor at one of the cooperating universities:

  • Prof. Dr. Sabine Hahn
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ruud Halfens
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christa Lohrmann

Profiles of current PhD students and their projects at Bern University of Applied Sciences

Friederike J.S. Thilo, MScN, RN

Friederike is PhD student in Nursing Science at the Maastricht University, the Netherlands, and research associate at Bern University of Applied Sciences. She is an experienced registered nurse and worked nine years at Centre hospitalier universitaire vaudois (CHUV), in Lausanne.

The topic of her doctoral thesis is the use and the non-use of health related technologies, using the example of fall detection technologies, in community-dwelling older people. Friederike explores factors related to the use and non-use of fall detection technologies from the perspective of older people, relatives, nurses and general practitioners. Moreover, she investigates the needs, preferences, usability and feasibility aspects of a fall detection sensor linked to a smartphone application. Persons aged 75 years and older are involved in the development and testing of this fall detection technology.

If you have any questions regarding the PhD programme please contact Friederike by mail.

Karin Anne Peter, MScN, RN

Karin Anne Peter is a clinical nurse specialist at a university hospital, a Research Associate in the area of health care at the Bern University of Applied Sciences and a Phd student at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.

The topic of her Phd thesis is psychosocial work-related stress for health care professionals in general hospitals in Switzerland. The aim of this Phd project is to determine psychosocial work-related stressors for health care professionals (nurses, doctors, medical-technical professions) in general hospitals in all parts of Switzerland (German, French, Italian), to assess strategies to prevent and reduce these factors and to improve the psychosocial health for Swiss health professionals.

If you have any questions regarding the PhD programme please contact Karin by mail.

European Doctoral Conference in Nursing Science EDCNS

The European Doctoral Conference in Nursing Science (EDCNS) is an international nursing conference for PhD students. The conference is organised alternately by PhD students from Maastricht University and the Medical University of Graz, in cooperation with the Bern University of Applied Sciences. The conference provides the opportunity for PhD students to:

  • meet and build contacts with colleagues all over Europe
  • give a presentation about a part of their thesis
  • share experiences and information in the area of nursing research
  • learn what is currently happening in nursing science in Europe
  • meet the profs!


Logo Universität Maastricht

Services of Health Services Research
Postbus 616
NL-6200 Maastricht MD

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ruud Halfens
T +31 43 3881572

Logo Universität Graz

Institute of Nursing Science
Billrothgasse 6
AT-8010 Graz

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christa Lohrmann
T +43 316 385-72064