The Doctor of Social Sciences program is the first degree of its kind in North America. It approaches the study of complex, real-world problems within an interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary framework. The program design brings the research intensity of a traditional doctorate to an applied, professional focus.
In this program, you will explore interdisciplinary applications of the social sciences for practical, sustainable transformation across organizations and society.
The Doctor of Social Sciences (DSocSci) program 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 is designed to build your knowledge and understanding of a range of applied social research methodologies and their relevance to specific practical social purposes. The DSocSci program is based on the academic and professional expertise of the faculty at Royal Roads University. Doctoral programs of study should align with one of the university’s strategic research themes and be linked to the subject expertise of the university’s academic programming.
Who It's For
You are a career professional with a master’s degree in one of the social sciences or related disciplines with a minimum of 10 years of work experience in a position of decision-making authority. You are also seeking to advance your 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 Ph.D. 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 sectors 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.
The Doctor of Social Sciences (DSocSci) program includes two 3-week on-campus residencies; the remainder of the program is completed online.
You are not required to take an extended leave from your workplace, but you will need time off to attend the residencies. All students must complete each of the courses in the program of study prior to undertaking candidacy exams.
Exams first require a written submission. An oral examination based on the written submission is conducted by the supervisory committee and chaired by the program head. Candidacy exams are assessed as a pass or fail. After successful completion of your oral and written candidacy exams, you move to formal candidacy status and submit your research proposal to the supervisory committee for approval. Once your proposal is approved by the committee, you are required to obtain ethics clearance from the university. Once ethics clearance is obtained, you may then begin work on your dissertation.
Students may pursue a traditional monograph dissertation or a dissertation by portfolio. Both dissertation options adhere to the same standards, and must demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes as follows:
Make a distinct interdisciplinary contribution to applied scholarship in the social sciences
Demonstrate a high standard of original work, including understanding and knowledge of the topic area
Reflect an intentional, holistic and conceptually linked approach to knowledge generation and dissemination
Demonstrate originality via one or more of the following methods: 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 DSocSci is a professional degree program that focuses on the interdisciplinary applications of the social sciences to our contemporary world. Through such applied research, the program addresses complex real-world problems at the organizational, community, and societal levels. The program responds to the national and global demand for workplace leaders with doctoral-level research skills who have the capacity for social and organizational innovation in support of sustainable organizations, communities, and societies.
The competency framework is comprised of five competency domains and is a guide for the pedagogical design and learning assessment. It articulates the goals of the DSocSci program specifically in terms of the desired outcomes for learning. Program competencies will be demonstrated in course work, program participation, and especially dissertation design, decision, and management. A competency framework serves a series of purposes:
It is a means of orientation for teaching and learning in the program.
It becomes the basis of a learning contract between students and their faculty.
It permits consistency in program delivery while at the same time permitting flexibility and variation in particular course designs.
It provides a basis on which students can self-manage their work in the program.
One or more learning outcomes have been identified for each competency, each of which is supported by a set of assessment criteria. These criteria are not exhaustive, and specific course activities may demand the criteria is rearticulated or augmented to more accurately reflect the extent to which students have mastered the competency.
Additional learning outcomes, specifically those concerning subject matter areas associated with the knowledge domain, will be developed in consultation with the student to reflect their area of research.
Normally, a master’s degree in one of the Social Sciences, or related field;
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.
No Flexible Admission process for this program. All applicants must have a recognized master's degree.
English Language Proficiency
If English is not your primary language, please review our English Language Requirements.
Application documents to the DSocSci program are to be submitted to the RRU Admissions Office where files will be prepared for review by the DSocSci Adjudication Committee.
Admission selection will reflect a number of factors, including the applicant's academic skills and ability, the alignment of the proposed dissertation topic with the applied and academic goals of the degree, available faculty expertise to supervise the proposed dissertation, and the desire to balance topic areas within the cohort across areas of research expertise within the Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences.
A telephone interview may be required.
ITAI: Introduction to Academic Integrity
SOSC700: Social Change and Interdisciplinary in Global Context
SOSC710: Social Science Theory and the Globalized World
SOSC717: Directed Study
SOSC720: Research Paradigms in Applied Social Sciences
SOSC730: Applied Qualitative Social Scientific Methods
SOSC740: Applied Quantitative Social Scientific Methods
Financial Aid & Awards
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