Royal Roads University doctoral degree program can be a model for others: report

Author: 
Jean Macgregor

Royal Roads University’s Doctor of Social Sciences (DSocSci) program produces advanced scholar-practitioners who generate high-quality research and action, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada.

The report, Training Scholar-Practitioners: Doctoral Education in the Professional Sphere, assesses Royal Roads’ DSocSci program in light of shifting labour market realities, the demands of a diverse student population and the growing need for universities to better prepare doctoral students for work in non-academic careers.

Critics have called for a modernization of the PhD in recent decades, citing overspecialization, lack of collaboration across disciplines and inadequate professional skills development as challenges to be addressed, the report states.

In response, and consistent with its mandate as a labour-market responsive university, Royal Roads University launched the DSocSci program in 2010 with a goal to facilitate action-oriented research on issues facing industry and society. The university’s DSocSci program is distinguished from other professional doctorates by Royal Roads’ signature interdisciplinary and transprofessional approach and by its accessibility to mid-career professionals through a blended delivery format.

Highlights from the report:

  • The delivery and alternative knowledge-sharing formats used in the DSocSci can be a model for designers of traditional and professional doctorate programs, particularly as knowledge mobilization becomes an increasingly integral part of Canada’s post-secondary agenda.
  • The DSocSci takes a holistic approach when evaluating candidates’ disciplinary backgrounds, and allows them to bring together multiple academic disciplines to solve problems rooted in practice`.
  • In sharing and promoting their research, candidates can act as conduits for the post-secondary sector in the professional world.

Download the report.