Dissertation Process

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Dissertation Process


The dissertation process occurs under the oversight of the Vice Provost, Graduate & Interdisciplinary Studies    . For questions about the doctoral dissertation process, please contact the office of the Vice Provost, Research and Interdisciplinary Studies.

These academic regulations are in effect for students who have started their degree program on or after April 1, 2013.


A dissertation is the culminating project of a 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 one of the following or 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. Unless an exemption has been granted by the Vice President Academic & Provost, all dissertations must be submitted for publication in RRU's Digital Archive, Pro-Quest and Library and Archives Canada to meet final graduation requirements. Dissertations in non-traditional formats must be accompanied by a written PDF summary (minimum 2,500 words), which is the only component that is electronically submitted and archived. Work on the dissertation may not begin until a doctoral student has successfully completed the written and oral candidacy examination and thereby reached doctoral candidacy status.

Oversight by a dissertation supervisory committee, including a supervisor qualified at the doctoral level and demonstrating relevant competencies of content and methodology and methods, is required. Public defences as well as a review by an external academic examiner are also required.

The external examiner should have an "arms-length" relationship with the student, the supervisor(s) and members of the dissertation supervisory committee. The dissertation should constitute approximately 1,400 hours of effort by the student resulting in the awarding of 42 credits.

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For questions about the dissertation process, please contact matthew heinz, PhD, Vice Provost, Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies, Royal Roads University.