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Graduate Studies Calendar 2022-2023 Program Descriptions School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape SAPL Doctor of Design (DDes)
Doctor of Design (DDes)
1. Degree Offered

Doctor of Design (DDes)

2. Admission Requirements

The DDes targets mid-career design professionals, holding a professional design degree from an accredited school, and with five to seven years of professional experience in their discipline.

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements for Admission, the program requires:

a) Research Proposal
A research proposal that describes the applicant’s professional work to date and the nature of the research they expect to undertake. This will be used by the Admissions Committee as an indicator of the applicant’s ability to conduct doctoral-level, creative, design practice-based research and to determine if adequate supervisory resources are available. Only if such resources are available will the student be admitted. Please note that this research proposal (maximum of 2500 words) must include the following sections: Background of the researcher, context of the research proposal, research questions, and broader impacts of the proposed research. The research proposal should indicate potential supervisors and/or committee members, and whether they have been contacted by the applicant. Applicants are advised to contact the Graduate Program Director to obtain the names of potential supervisors.

b) Digital Portfolio
A portfolio that provides examples of, or illustrates, the applicant’s design work, professional work, consulting reports, policy reviews, research, creative thinking, community action, planning products, or graphics and visual communication.

c) Curriculum Vitae
A current copy of curriculum vitae (CV).

d) Reference Letters
Two reference letters. These can be academic or professional references.

e) Formal Interview
Applicants are required to participate in a formal interview (either in person or online) with the Graduate Program Director or their designate.

f) Proof of English Proficiency
For applicants who are required to prove proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL score of 105 (Internet-based test); an IELTS score of 7.5; or a CAEL score of 70 with a minimum of 70 in each component. This requirement can also be met by completing the Academic Communication Certificate with a minimum grade of "A-" in each course.

g) Funding Plan
A funding plan that demonstrates that financial resources are available for the entire program of study.

h) Grade Point Average
An admission grade point average (GPA) above 3.50 on a four-point scale. In some circumstances, alternate means of demonstrating academic capacity will be accepted for mature applicants who have been away from academia for an extended period of time.

3. Admission Deadlines

Deadline for submission of complete applications is available on the Future Students website:

4. Advanced Credit

A student may apply for advanced credit for previous courses that have not been used to satisfy the requirements of any other degree or diploma program. See Advanced Credit.

5. Program Requirements

a) Core required courses:

b) Additional course work when recommended by the Graduate Program Director in consultation with the student's supervisor and supervisory committee.

c) A thesis proposal approved by the supervisory committee during a committee meeting.

d) A written thesis.

e) A gallery exhibition of the research work, publicly presented at one of the semi-annual symposia.

f) Successful completion of all examinations, as described in section 10.

Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade)

Students admitted to the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape will not be allowed to request the Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade) for any course that is applicable to their degree; or apply any course awarded a grade of CG towards their graduation requirements.

Students may choose the Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade) for courses outside of SAPL that permit the CG Grade and are taken extra to load.

The use of the CG grade will affect students' eligibility for internal awards.

6. Additional Requirements

Students are expected to attend two on-site research symposia per year, for each year of their program.

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies thesis submission requirements, all DDes students are required to submit one bound copy of the thesis (bound in standard black cloth-covered cases, bearing the author's name, title of work, year and the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape lettered in white), and one portable document format (.PDF) copy.

7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Not given.

8. Time Limits

Students are expected to enrol on a full-time basis and complete the DDes within three years. The Faculty of Graduate Studies requires that a maximum completion time is six registration years. See Time Limits.

9. Supervisory Assignments

At the time of admission, each student will be assigned a supervisor by the Graduate Program Director.

Within three months of confirming their supervisor, DDes students must establish, in consultation with their supervisor, a supervisory committee. The supervisory committee must include at least two other members in addition to the supervisor and co-supervisor, if applicable.

10. Required Examinations

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements for Candidacy and Thesis Examinations, the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape requires:


Doctoral students are required to complete all candidacy requirements. For details, see DDes Candidacy Requirements:

Thesis Examination

Final thesis oral examinations are open.

Scheduling of the Examination
All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s draft thesis document before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee
The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

11. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to highly qualified students but cannot be guaranteed. For information on admission and academic awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this calendar, the SAPL website and the Awards Database on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website