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Residency Requirements

Your PhD program requires the completion of 3 residential colloquia (PSL-R8921, PSL-R8922, PSL-R8923). Each colloquium experience offers the challenges, resources, and practice necessary to develop the subject matter expertise and academic skills needed to complete a meaningful independent research project.

Colloquium is a requirement for PhD degrees at both online and land-based universities. Taking time from your work and family can be a challenge, but the value you will gain from this experience is immeasurable. In fact, Capella students tell us much of their success is a direct result of the time and effort put into their colloquia experience.

Doctoral colloquia each have 3 steps:

To give yourself the best possible chance of success, you’ll begin focusing on components of your dissertation early on in your PhD program. You’ll do this with the help of doctoral colloquia. Doctoral colloquia each have 3 steps:

Each colloquia starts with an instructor-led online course, which includes self-paced modules, assignments, and assessments.

Next, you’ll embark on a Weekend Experience. These energizing residencies will provide you with insights and knowledge that will prove invaluable during your PhD studies and beyond.

In this last step, you’ll complete a final assessment, along with a Track Preparation Plan for your next colloquium track.

Learn More About Colloquia from Capella Students

Email or call an enrollment counselor at 1.877.269.7780 for more information.

Colloquia: Your Roadmap to Success

Colloquia are designed in an optimized, sequential format that allows you to work extensively on your dissertation topic, methodology, literature review, and research plan from the beginning of your program. The weekend experiences give you the time and resources to focus on your project as you build the skills and confidence required to steadily move toward your goals.

Each colloquium begins with an online course, including modules, assignments, and assessments. Next in the process is an in-person weekend residency experience, followed by completion of a final assessment and development of a preparation plan for your next colloquium track.

When it comes to your colloquia requirements, timing is key. Your coursework builds the foundation for your colloquia and your experience at colloquia will keep you on track in your program. Your colloquia tracks are scheduled so you can create quality work and complete all tasks for each track before moving on to the next one. On time completion of the three colloquia tracks can significantly decrease your time to graduation and overall cost of your degree.

What You’ll Learn—and When

Track 1

Learn how to identify a research problem, a research topic, and a literature review.


Complete before the end of your third active quarter of enrollment.

Track 2

Craft a well-formed research question, select the correct methodology and research design to answer the question and begin developing a sampling strategy and plan for your dissertation.


Complete between Tracks 1 and 3. There must be one full quarter of coursework between tracks (you cannot attend two tracks back-to-back).

Track 3

Further develop the concepts of your dissertation topics and craft a preliminary full research design. By the end of Track 3 you should have a viable Research Plan to submit during the early milestones of your dissertation.


Complete during your final two quarters of coursework, before you begin your Comprehensive Examination.

Find out how each track fits into your overall program plan with a sample course sequence.

Your Colloquia Experience

For each colloquium requirement, you will complete online components and attend a face-to-face, 4-day weekend residency experience with your faculty and other PhD students in your program. During the weekend experience, you can expect to consult with faculty to receive direction, feedback, and help as well as participate in peer review sessions.

Activities include sessions focused on:

  • Scholarly writing and presentations
  • Research topics, planning, methodology, and design
  • Library usage
  • Literature review
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Academic integrity and ethics

Special accommodations (e.g., sign language interpreters, mobility assistance, extra time in the courseroom) can be made for students who need additional support.

Colloquia Competencies

As you advance through the colloquium tracks, you will gain mastery in each of these critical areas:

Scholar-Practitioner Development

Identify and cultivate the skills required to professionally execute the research design process.


Develop questions that align with an identified problem, study existing literature, propose research methodology, analyze data, and apply ethics and academic integrity to research.

Critical Thinking

Apply advanced critical thinking skills to synthesize ideas and concepts from previous research as well as guide and support new research methods and designs.

Scholarly Communication

Cultivate academic communication skills in verbal and written interactions within the scientific research process.

Colloquia Costs and Financing

The registration cost for each colloquium is $1,495. Included in this cost are all session activities and instructions as well as continental breakfast, coffee, lunch, and afternoon snacks on Friday to Sunday. Additional costs include airfare, lodging, evening meals, and miscellaneous personal expenses.

You can finance your colloquia using Stafford and GradPLUS loan funds. Capella also accepts all major credit cards and checks and offers a Colloquium Payment Deferral Agreement for those who qualify. Additionally, Capella has partnered with Delta Air Lines to provide special discounts for Capella events.

To view an estimate of your total tuition (excluding travel costs) and a sample course sequence, calculate your costs and graduation date.

Questions about colloquium costs and financing? Email or call an enrollment counselor at 1.877.269.7780.

Colloquia Locations

Colloquia are offered throughout the U.S. at alternating locations each year, and are held at hotel conference centers. To reduce travel costs, locations are chosen based on the number of Capella students in the area. Past locations have included Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, and Arlington. Email or call an enrollment counselor at 1.877.269.7780 to learn about upcoming colloquia dates and locations.

While you are free to travel with friends and family, only students are able to attend sessions and meals. Childcare is not provided.