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Doctor of Philosophy

Doctorate Degree Programme

Focuses on applied and multidisciplinary research, and is aimed at developing practice-oriented thought leaders for the industry/society.

Doctor of Philosophy


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The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme aims to develop practice-oriented thought leaders for the industry or society. It caters to those who wish to conduct applied research work that addresses issues and challenges pertinent to society, industry or professional practice. While students may choose to specialise in a specific discipline, researches that adopt an interdisciplinary approach are encouraged in view of the complexity of many contemporary issues and challenges.

Unique Features of the Programme

  • Focus on applied research topics that are of relevance to contemporary society, industry and professional practice.
  • Encourage a multidisciplinary approach.

Admission Requirements

Refer to general admission criteria for graduate programmes.

In addition, applicants will need to meet these minimum requirements:

  • A master's degree from a reputable university.

Applicants who do not meet the above criteria may be considered on a case-by-case discretionary basis. Due to the applied nature of this PhD, alternative criteria such as portfolio, patents, industry and professional achievements may be referenced to support admission.

While it is not compulsory to do so, applicants are encouraged to connect with a potential supervisor prior to applying. You may browse through the Faculty Listing to identity suitable faculty members who may complement your proposed area of research.

As part of the application process, interested applicants are also required to submit the following:

  • A latest CV;
  • A personal statement stating your motivation for pursuing a PhD, reason for selecting SUSS and your post PhD career aspirations;
  • Two academic reference letters. Referees are required to submit the reference letters directly to the Student Admissions department at;
  • A proposed topic or area of research stating the following:
    • Proposed topic or area of research;
    • Identified potential supervisor (if any);
    • Motivation for the proposed topic or area of research, and
    • Relevance of the proposed topic or area of research in addressing contemporary issues/challenges in the profession/industry/society.

    You may adopt the research proposal template, or design your own research proposal template for submission.

Programme Structure

Students are expected to complete 40 cu of research methodology courses and discipline-specific courses before passing the Qualifying Examination. Upon successfully completing the Qualifying Examination, the student will embark on the completion of the Dissertation. The final stage of the PhD study will be the examination of the dissertation and the Oral Defence.

For more information on the course requirement and programme structure, please refer to the diagram below:


Candidates who wish to conduct applied research work that addresses issues and challenges pertinent to society, industry or professional practice.

As the PhD programme focuses on the applied research addressing issues and challenges pertinent to society, industry or professional practice, apart from joining institutes of higher learning as faculty, graduates from this programme may also join applied research institutions, government agencies or private sectors organisations such as research firms and consultancy firms.

The SUSS PhD Scholarship aims to support applicants who have demonstrated academic excellence and whose proposed research aligns with the research focus of the Singapore University of Social Sciences and expertise of our faculty.

Applicants must have at least a 2nd Upper Class Honours Degree from a reputable university or equivalent qualifications, and will be expected to study full-time in the PhD programme. No separate application to the Scholarship is required. Eligible applicants will be automatically considered for the Scholarship.

For more details on the PhD scholarship, eligibility, terms and conditions, please click here.

  1. What is the minimum and maximum period of candidature?
    Minimum is 3 years and maximum is 7 years.

  2. What is the total number of credit units (cu) required for graduation?
    120 cu (80 cu for dissertation; 40 cu for coursework)

  3. What is the graduation requirement?
    Students must attain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of at least 3.0 for the 40 cu of courses and pass the Qualifying Examination and Oral Defense for the Dissertation Examination.

  4. Will I be assigned a supervisor?
    Yes. A supervisor will be assigned to guide the student. For those pursuing interdisciplinary research, more than one supervisor may be assigned where feasible.

  5. What is a Qualifying Examination?
    The Qualifying Examination consists of a written proposal and an oral presentation of the research proposal.

  6. How much is the tuition fees?
    Please refer to this table.

  7. When are the lessons scheduled for SUSS courses?
    Classes for SUSS courses are generally conducted on weekday evenings from 7pm to 10pm, or on weekends from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

  8. If I am an international student, do I need to apply for visa to come to Singapore?
    The University will provide the necessary information to facilitate the application of student pass. For more information, please click here.

  9. What is the difference between the PhD and DBA?
    The PhD programme is to train researchers in the Social Sciences with an applied focus who can create knowledge, advance professional development and make an impact to society.

    The DBA programme is for business leaders, entrepreneurs, senior management who have curiosity for knowledge, and are willing to develop the structural thinking as a scholar, to make use of evidence-based applied research to answer the business-related questions and optimize the decision making.

“As a real estate consultant, I was concerned about how various emerging technologies would disrupt the built environment and would necessitate massive urban regeneration. The rigors of the academic process may be applied to complex real-world issues to provide solutions which are better considered and more inclusive for all the stakeholders involved. I chose SUSS for their sharp focus on tackling practical real-world problems through a good balance of industry know-how and academic excellence. This program is most enriching for students who want to create new value for industry and for academia. Despite the pressures of deadlines and having to get used to academic language, I am enjoying this journey!”

Ku Swee Yong
Director, Real Estate Industry

“My academic journey with SUSS has been nothing short of exciting thus far. The pursuit of knowledge is a life-long endeavour, and this is truly embodied in the ethos of the University. Our world is evolving at breakneck speed. The senior leaders today must have a perceptive world view, which can be honed through the assimilation of theory informed by real practice.

As a working professional, I am truly appreciative for the opportunity to integrate my business experience with my passion for research. At SUSS, we learn from supportive and best-in-class faculty, many of whom are thought-leaders in their respective fields. The high level of academic rigour challenges me to think critically, yet not lose sight of industry relevance. I am confident this research degree will be a feather in my cap, and I look forward to continuing this journey of intellectual exploration with SUSS.”

Toh Shaowei
Head of Research & Strategy, Asia Pacific, Investment Management Industry
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