Doctor of Social Sciences, Ph. D.

  • N/A
    Application Deadline
  • 48 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English (take IELTS)
The Doctor of Social Sciences program is Canada’s first applied research doctorate designed exclusively for working professionals. It responds to the growing demand nationally and internationally for scholar-practitioners who can provide intellectual leadership in the workplace and help build sustainable organizations, communities, and societies in an age of global interdependence.
  • Overview
  • Programme outline
  • Key facts
  • Admission requirements
  • Fees and funding


The Doctor of Social Sciences program is Canada’s first applied research doctorate designed exclusively for working professionals. It responds to the growing demand nationally and internationally for scholar-practitioners who can provide intellectual leadership in the workplace and help build sustainable organizations, communities, and societies in an age of global interdependence.

An alternative to traditional doctoral programs, the Doctor of Social Sciences focuses on the interdisciplinary applications of the social sciences to complex, real-world problems of direct concern to organizations, communities, and society in general.

The program of study builds candidates’ knowledge of a range of applied social research methodologies and their understanding of their relevance to specific practical social purposes.

The Doctor of Social Sciences program is based on the academic and professional expertise of the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences (FSAS). Doctoral programs of study should normally be consistent with the research areas of emphasis in one or several of the FSAS schools: the School of Communication and Culture, the School of Environment and Sustainability, the School of Leadership Studies, the School of Education and Technology, and the School of Humanitarian Studies.

Victoria, BC or Calgary, AB Residencies

The residencies for the February 9, 2015 intake for the Doctor of Social Sciences will be held on the Royal Roads University campus in Victoria, BC. The residencies for the July 13th, 2015 intake will be held on-site in Calgary, AB.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Deadline and start date Victoria (Feb. 9, 2015 intake) Calgary (July 13, 2015 intake)
  • Full-time duration 48 months
  • Study intensity Part-time
    • Intensity Flexible
    • Duration part-time 48 months
  • Credits
    60 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    • Time flexibility
      Fully structured
    • Attendance
      Regular mandatory meetings
    • Teacher support
      Continuous support with feedback on request
    • Student interaction
      Online group works/assignments
  • Educational Form Academic

Programme Structure


SOSC700: Global Interdependence and Community

Explores key 21st century global challenges and trends and the interdependence between the global and the local worlds. Examines the fundamental shift from the pragmatic character of the industrial age to the post-industrial perspective which incorporates understanding the world from a blend of disciplinary views. Focused on themes that include human rights, environmental rights, and social justice, the course provides insights into how knowledge and leadership are intertwined in a paradigm of sustainability.


SOSC710: Social Science Theory and the Globalized World

Provides a critical overview of the history and development of applied social sciences within the broader context of contemporary social science. Examines theories of knowledge underlying the integration of theory and practice, the development of transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry, and the synthesis of theories of society and ecology. The overarching focus is on the developments in social theory that have responded to the complexity of the globalized world.


SOSC717: Directed Study

Permits an extensive exploration of current knowledge and practice in the student’s selected area of study and research. Co-designed by the student and the primary dissertation supervisor to advance knowledge of specific applied social inquiry area. The topic areas of study include substantive research issues and/or methods development. Pre-requisites: SOSC 700, SOSC 710, SOSC 720.


SOSC720: The Epistemology of Applied Social Sciences

Considers a range of approaches to the applied social inquiry traditions highlighting their epistemological assumptions and their appropriate applications. Conveys the importance of making informed research choices concerning the role of researcher and participants in inquiry methodologies. Fosters informed choices in designing applied research projects and in the articulation of the relationship between methodology, method and practical inquiry purposes, especially in a context of interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. Pre-requisites: SOSC 700, SOSC 710.


SOSC730: Applied Qualitative Social Scientific Methods

Engages the student with a range of current qualitative data collection, display and analysis methods, and overviews basic quantitative methods for use in mixed mode studies. Highlights the strengths, limitations and conditions of quality for specific data collection and analysis methods in the context of particular research methodologies. Includes an exploration of software innovations that support digital data storage, display and analyses. Lastly, explores the principles of ethical research practice and guides students to incorporate ethics concerns into their research. Pre-requisites: SOSC 720.


SOSC740: Applied Quantitative Social Scientific Methods

Engages the student with a range of current quantitative data collection, display and analysis methods. Covers survey research, including sampling, measurement, questionnaire construction, coding, validity and reliability assessment, data reduction, and analysis. Includes discussions of fundamentals of statistical inference and covers both inferential and non-inferential multivariate methods.


SOSC790: Dissertation

Culminating project of the doctoral program. Successful completion of the comprehensive exams is required before work on the dissertation may begin. The results of the research must make a distinct interdisciplinary contribution to applied scholarship in the social sciences. The dissertation should demonstrate a high degree of original work and understanding and knowledge of the topic area. Evidence of originality may be demonstrated by a combination of the following: the development of a new critical analysis of a practical issue or challenge; the development of a new theory from practice; the novel application of existing theory to a practical challenge; or the discovery of a new professional approach to practice. The dissertation should be written to a standard for professional and academic communication. It should be evident that the dissertation can be the basis for a published book, a monograph or a series of articles, and a significant application in the field. Pre-requisites: SOSC 700, SOSC 710, SOSC717, SOSC 720, SOSC 730, SOSC 740, successful completion of comprehensive exams.

Credits: 42.0


Career professionals with a master’s degree in one of the social sciences or related disciplines who have a minimum of 10 years work experience in positions of decision-making authority and, those who seek to advance their applied research skills and provide analytical leadership to solve complex real-world problems.

The program design is tailored to career professionals and speaks to recent Canadian research that shows two out of three PhD graduates will work in non-university settings, rather than as university professors.

This degree will be of particular interest to policy analysts, senior administrators, or executives from the public, private, or non-profit sector who work in areas such as natural resource management, health care, global security, professional communication, disaster relief, humanitarian aid, conflict management, values-based leadership, environmental sustainability, or learning and technology.

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score: 600

    The TOEFL – or Test OF English as a Foreign Language – offers a paper-based test (PBT). The final, overall PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on an average taken from the three test components (listening, structure, and reading). The writing part of this test is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Read more about TOEFL (PBT).

  • Minimum required score: 100

    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Before starting a programme, you need to have a basic knowledge of the English language.

Find English courses on Preparation Courses Portal.

Academic Requirements

Students must have the following:

  • Master’s degree in one of the Social Sciences, or related field, normally required;
  • Evidence of experience related to the degree program. Normally a minimum of 10 years with senior level decision-making authority.
  • A competitive, interdisciplinary, applied research proposal that reflects current research foci in the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences at Royal Roads University;
  • English language skills and competency:

For applicants whose first language is not English, competency can be demonstrated in one of the following ways:

  • TOEFL (paper-based) 600; TOEFL IBT (Internet-based) minimum score of 20 in each section for an overall minimum score of 100 or better. (Institution Code: 9054)
  • International English Language Testing Services: 7.0 overall with no individual item score less than 6.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: Minimum score of 68.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): International English Language requirement with Verbal 560, Quantitative 740, and Analytical 4.0.
  • Evidence of competence in English through other standardized tests or education experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Flexible Admission

No Flexible Admission process for this program. All applicants must have a recognized master's degree.

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • EUR 13660 International
  • EUR 13660 National

Tuition costs are for the entire program :

  • $79,460 (Domestic) ;
  • $79,460 (International)


Royal Roads University Awards

There are a variety of awards, scholarships, and bursaries available to help offset your tuition fees.

Entrance Awards
Apply to a competition that falls before your first day of class

In-Course Awards
Apply to a competition that falls after your program begins

Convocation Awards
Recipients are selected by way of academic performance, application, or peer nomination

Student Research Awards
Major grants to support research training for master’s and doctoral students

External Award Postings
Other award notices received by RRU are posted on MyRRU.

Funding Sources

The following external resources offer additional funding opportunities through loans, scholarships, or grants.

Government Student Loans
Information about program eligibility and application procedures

Student Line of Credit
A popular and flexible alternative to government student loans

Lifelong Learning Plan
This plan allows you to borrow from your RRSP's tax-free

Emergency Funding
This program assists students with short-term emergency needs due to unforeseen expenses

Aboriginal/First Nations
Funding resources and the President's Aboriginal Support Bursary

International Study
Links to helpful sites for international students studying in Canada and for Canadians wishing to study abroad

Canadian Forces and DND
Financial assistance is available to employees of the Canadian Forces and their family

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Testimonial Registration Module

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, StudyPortals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.