Proud history, bold future
Royal Roads University opened its doors as a public university in 1995, offering online education from day one.
We were different from the start. RRU recognized that mid-career professionals eager to return to career-furthering education had unique needs and expectations.
Drawn to our flexible programs for professionals and our beautiful campus, students of any age, at any stage in their careers, from any place around the globe, pursue lifelong learning at Royal Roads, online or in person — or both.
Students can choose from graduate and undergraduate degrees, as well as certificates, diplomas and courses.
In 2020, we celebrated 25 years of delivering life-changing education that inspires change-makers: people with the courage to transform themselves and the world.
A growing university
Today RRU offers more than 65 degree, diploma and certificate programs along with non-credit certificates and innovative courses through Professional and Continuing Studies.
In July 1996, the newly formed university began offering its first program: the Master of Arts in Leadership and Training. Forty-eight students graduated in that first class; today the program has celebrated more than 3,400 graduates.
In 2010, RRU became the first university in Canada to offer the Doctor of Social Sciences credential, an applied research doctorate.
Online since Day 1
RRU has been delivering online and blended education from the start.
A leader in online education, the university developed its own digital learning management system. It was a revolutionary concept, designed to encourage learners to proceed through their education at their own pace while they continued to manage work, family and life.
A changing campus
RRU maintains the unique historic and cultural value of the Hatley Park National Historic Site while also growing our facilities.
Notable developments on campus include:
- Updates to the circa-1943 Grant Building were completed in 2003. The greenhouse was carefully restored in 2005. Rose Garden House, the Commandant’s House and the Boat House were also renovated around the same time.
- The award-winning Sequoia building (formerly Learning and Innovation Centre) was the first purpose-built facility constructed on campus since RRU opened. Completed in 2011, it was funded by $15 million in provincial funding plus $5.1 million from the federal government’s Knowledge Infrastructure Program.
- A significant upgrade to the Sherman Jen building was completed in 2018. In addition to the building's conference and teaching spaces, it now includes environmental science teaching labs, wet labs, academic support and student commons spaces. The $24.8-million project included $9.3 million from the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, $5.7 million from the Province of British Columbia, and $7 million from philanthropist Sherman Jen. The balance was supplied by the university.
- The $15 million Dogwood Auditorium opened in 2021, transforming the former Royal Roads Military College swimming pool into an academic and event space to serve the campus and the Westshore communities.
Royal Roads University has always taken a global approach to education.
More than 32,000 graduates from around the world call RRU their alma mater.
RRU has also designed on-campus programs to better recruit international students, including the Master of Arts in Intercultural and International Communication and the Master of Global Management programs.
Indigenous students, faculty and staff
The Royal Roads campus is on the traditional Lands of the Lekwungen Peoples, the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.
Sneq’wa e’lun, or Blue Heron House, opened in 2013 as a campus home away from home for Indigenous students, faculty and staff. It houses the office of Indigenous Education and Student Services.
Named S’ael, a SENĆOTEN word for harmony, the first totem pole on the RRU campus was unveiled in 2015. Tsawout First Nation artist Tom LaFortune harvested and carved the 7.6-metre totem pole with the help of Howard LaFortune Jr.
Standing near the entrance to the university, it was created as part of our 75 years of changing lives celebrations — 55 years as a military college and 20 years as a public university. Former RRU chancellor Wayne Strandlund commissioned the carving as his gift to the university and the community.