Courses Leadership and Organizational Management

Doctor of Human Services


Total program credits needed for graduation: 72 quarter credits

One academic quarter is three months. You will have a three-week break between each quarter.

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Core courses:

Multidisciplinary Practice and Case Analysis for Doctoral Learners

Learners in this course critically analyze theory and research in human services, with an emphasis on contemporary research and application issues. In addition, learners use a multidisciplinary approach to examine the connection between individuals, organizations, and society to construct public value in human services. Must be taken during the learner’s first quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
Action Research Methods in Human Services

In this course, learners develop and apply skills using data and technology for planning, executing, and assessing the action research process. Learners demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of the organization; collaborate with stakeholders to develop and implement an intervention for organizational improvement that includes collecting, analyzing, and interpreting both qualitative and quantitative data to assess the intervention and its effects; and share that information with stakeholders to bring about change.

4 quarter credits
HMSV8212 *
Advanced Ethics and Leadership for Diverse Populations

The focus of this course is the ethical and leadership responsibilities of human service professionals. Learners synthesize ethical principles with leadership roles in public and private settings and evaluate the ways professionals apply ethics and leadership in their work with diverse client and community populations. Prerequisite(s): HMSV8002.

4 quarter credits
Funding and Grant Writing Skills for Human Services

This course offers a comprehensive examination of the process of writing grant proposals and managing grant awards for programs or projects in for-profit, nonprofit, and government organizations. Learners research grant opportunities, align the program or project goals to be funded with the purposes of the funder, develop effective communication with prospective funders, analyze components of successful grant proposals, develop a fundable proposal, and plan for grant funding evaluation. 

4 quarter credits
Advanced Program Design in Human Services

Learners in this course focus on program design at the leadership level in the field of human services. In particular, learners evaluate needs-based program design approaches and the models that inform those approaches. Learners also evaluate effective communication strategies to communicate with internal and external stakeholders and to address ethical implications of various approaches to program design. 

4 quarter credits
Advanced Data Analytics and Program Evaluation in Human Services

Learners in this course examine needs assessment and program evaluation as fundamental tools in nonprofit, for-profit, and government organizations. In particular, learners apply needs assessment strategies to evaluate the needs of specific populations in various social and community settings. Learners also explore research-based program evaluation models and focus on developing skills in evaluating program effectiveness at the leadership level.

4 quarter credits
HMSV8700 *
Keystone: Determining Readiness for the Professional Doctorate Project

Learners synthesize the knowledge and skills gained during their program. Learners state the case for their planned capstone project to demonstrate their readiness to enter the professional doctorate project process. In addition, learners identify strategies to secure a supervisor/preceptor and project site. Grading for this course is S/NS. Prerequisite(s): HMSV8110.​ Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits

Specialization courses:

Strategic Planning and Organizational Effectiveness for Human Services

In this course, learners practice increasing organizational effectiveness through strategic planning. Using a leadership perspective, learners examine the ways an organization’s effectiveness is evaluated and use this knowledge to guide strategic planning efforts in such organizational areas as advocacy, fund development, and policy development. In addition, learners apply theoretical approaches to program development and evaluation related to for-profit, nonprofit, and government human services settings.

4 quarter credits
HMSV8320 *
Effective Negotiation and Mediation Skills for Human Services Leaders

In this course, learners gain an understanding of conflict management as it relates to human services leaders. Learners build and apply a working knowledge of evidence-based best practices and behaviors that support conflict management in a variety of human services settings. Throughout the course, learners apply strategies in negotiation, conflict management, and mediation and integrate ethical interpersonal communication skills necessary for positive multidisciplinary working relationships. Prerequisite(s): HMSV8404.

4 quarter credits
Leadership Theory and Practice in For-Profit, Nonprofit, and Government Human Services Programs

Learners in this course use a multidisciplinary lens to evaluate leadership theories and practices in diverse cultures from a historical and theoretical basis. Throughout the course, learners develop expanded leadership perspectives and practices that enable them to assure the viability of their organizations in for-profit, nonprofit, and government human services programs. 

4 quarter credits
Community Collaboration and Outreach in Human Services

Learners in this course examine a variety of social and professional situations to build their skills in effective and creative collaboration across organizations. In particular, learners analyze and benchmark best practices from an organizational, team, and individual perspective so that they may create inclusive and collaborative environments. In addition, learners examine conflict management, diversity management, group dynamics, cultural competence, ethical decision making, followership, and social responsibility.

4 quarter credits
Advanced Financial Management in For-Profit, Nonprofit, and Government Human Services Programs

In this course, learners investigate the strategies, techniques, and requirements needed to effectively manage finances in human services programs. Throughout the course, learners evaluate and apply financial analysis and reporting theories and practices employed by human service leaders. Learners also examine the technology used in financial analysis and gain an understanding of how to appropriately communicate an organization’s financial position to boards, stakeholders, and the community. 

4 quarter credits

Learners must register for HMSV9971 a minimum of four times to fulfill their specialization requirements.

HMSV9971 *
Doctoral Capstone

This course provides learners with resources, guidance, and support as they fulfill the required milestones toward completion of a doctoral capstone. Learners apply scholarly research within a particular professional context to advance their knowledge in the science and practice of the profession and solve organizational, institutional, or community concerns. Department consent is required for registration. Grading for this course is S/NS. Learners must register for this course a minimum of four times to fulfill their specialization requirements. Prerequisite(s): Completion of all required and elective coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer. 

3 quarter credits each



Three Elective Courses



At least 12 quarter credits

Choose any graduate course(s).






At least 72 quarter credits

* Denotes courses that have prerequisite(s). Refer to the descriptions for further details.

Learners who do not complete all program requirements within quarter credit/program point minimums will be required to accrue such additional quarter credits/program points as are associated with any additional or repeat coursework necessary for successful completion of program requirements.

Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, endorsement, other professional credential, or salary advancement. State licensing regulations and professional standards vary; learners are responsible for understanding and complying with the requirements of the state in which they intend to work. For more information, see the Licensure section for this program on Capella’s website (


Your doctoral program includes a keystone course which is intended to help you develop a strong foundation for your doctoral capstone topic. In this course, you’ll work with a faculty member who is an expert in the capstone process, examining the key supporting elements of your capstone topic. You’ll synthesize the knowledge and skills needed to prepare to complete your capstone project successfully. In addition, the faculty member in the keystone course will help you identify strategies to secure a project site to help complete your project. This experience will help you hit the ground running when you move into your doctoral capstone base as you near completion of the doctorate in human services.


The doctoral capstone is the culminating activity for the Doctor of Human Services program. The doctoral capstone requires a minimum of 4 quarters to complete. The capstone project will demonstrate your use of evidence to improve outcomes or resolve a gap in the field. As you develop your project, write your findings using an evidence-based approach, and complete your work, your experience will give you the skills and knowledge to practice at the top of your profession.

There are two approved options for your final capstone project: research paper or professional product

RESEARCH PAPER: This is defined as a publishable scholar-practitioner analysis based on research about a specific problem or issues appropriate to your specialization. The paper can take the form of an action research monograph or program description/analysis of an ongoing human services agency.

PROFESSIONAL PRODUCT: This is defined as an application of research to create a specific arrangement of materials and activities to bring about improvement in human service practice at a specific organizational setting. The product takes the form of program plan to help meet a need or goal within an organization or a change management plan that entails a set of processes, policies, and materials needed to help your selected organization meet objectives.

What can I expect?

Each unit consists of readings, discussions, and other activities you will be expected to complete throughout the week. Assignments are due on Sundays, though not every course requires an assignment each week.

In each course, you will receive a detailed scoring guide that describes expectations for every graded assignment.

Grades are based on your participation in weekly reading discussions and completion of assignments. You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of expected outcomes for your program or specialization. These outcomes are based on the needs and performance standards of your field or discipline.

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Transfer Credits

There are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including transferring credits which may help save time and money. You can transfer up to 20 credits into this specialization.

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