Shared Programs

Royal Roads University Policy

Policy Number: 
First implemented: 
December 5, 2018
Approved By: 
Academic Council
Office of Oversight: 
VPA and Registrar


(Leading to two credentials or to one joint credential)


To provide clarity on the program design requirements regarding dual/double/combined degree partnerships and joint or shared degrees at RRU.

1) Dual or double or combined degree partnerships, designed with either external or internal partners to offer complementary programs culminating in the offer of more than one credential, should be designed so that students can:

  • Meet the learning outcomes of both degrees;
  • Meet the credit and curriculum requirements of two sufficiently different degrees to warrant the granting of two separate credentials; normally, at least one-third of the curriculum content that students are required to complete should be non-overlapping;
  • Any required capstone project or paper or thesis, can be designed to meet the requirements of each of the programs;
  • Meet the minimum GPA requirements for the appropriate academic level when calculated for each degree separately;
  • Meet the requirements of two different degrees with enough overlap in academic focus and curriculum content (either by way of shared elective requirements or by way of shared learning outcomes) so that the aggregate time to completion for the two degrees, taken separately, can be shortened considerably when taken together; normally, at least one-third of the curriculum content and/or learning outcomes of the two programs should overlap;
  • Meet a requirement to take at least one-third of the coursework or credit-load from each of the two participating programs.

2) From time to time, it may be desirable to design a program with an external institutional partner where the two programs in question are not sufficiently different to warrant the granting of two separate degrees, but rather one joint or shared degree. In cases like this, the program may be designed to allow students to take coursework at each of the two partner institutions – with roughly half (and, in any case, no less than one-third) of the coursework being taken at each institution – and to complete one final capstone project or paper or thesis meeting the requirements of both partner institutions and assessed and/or approved by faculty from each of the institutions.

Definitions: While there appears to be no agreed-upon standard for the naming of shared degree programs, either provincially or federally in Canada or elsewhere in the world, for the sake of this policy, dual or double or combined degree programs are those that lead to two complementary but separate credentials, while joint or shared degree programs are those that lead to one single credential that includes credits earned from two separate but similar programs. Meanwhile, because different nomenclature protocols may be in place at institutions with which partnerships are built, some flexibility in naming conventions may be required.

Scope: This policy for building shared programs should guide the design of such programs when the partnership is between two programs at RRU as well as when the partnership is between an RRU program and one at an external institution. Also, the policy normally applies to partnerships at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

Responsibilities: The Office of the Registrar will ensure that all proposals for programs with shared credentials will not normally be made open for admission of students until such proposals are appropriately reviewed and approved by Curriculum Committee and, at least until the end of 2020, appropriately reviewed and approved by Academic Council.

Related documents: From time to time, guidelines for building partnership programs may be created and mandated either (a) by RRU executive members responsible for overseeing the quality of academic programs and/or for managing RRU’s relationships with other institutions, or (b) by the Curriculum Committee, or (c) by the Registrar’s Office. Also, in general, RRU’s academic regulations remain in effect for any of these new complementary programs except where this policy explicitly supersedes the content and intent of those regulations.

Date of next scheduled review:  As required.