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Doctor of Social Work Doctor of Social Work

School of Public Service Leadership


Capella University's online Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program prepares you to be an advanced practitioner and leader in the field of social work. This program, designed around national, doctoral social work education guidelines, is one of the few DSW programs available online. Engage in online coursework and conduct either an action research study or a program evaluation, working alongside social work professionals and practitioners.

The curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, research, and the integration of theoretical knowledge with practical experience. There is a strong focus on leadership, advanced practitioner skills, and the growing use of technology to expand the reach and effectiveness of social service programs, build awareness of important social issues, and enhance professional development. Prepare to be a leader, advanced practitioner, or educator with a multidisciplinary learning experience.

The Building Blocks of Your DSW

Your DSW program includes three integrated components: online coursework, in-person experiences (called residencies), and a capstone project. Each facet of your education builds on the others to take you through your program and to your goal of a doctorate.

Degree Outcomes

With your Doctor of Social Work from Capella you'll apply theory, knowledge, and research and develop innovative approaches to social issues. You'll also provide leadership that promotes sustainable change in social service programs and practice to improve the quality of the field of social work.

Career Outcomes

Common jobs with an online Doctor of Social Work include adjunct, part-time or full-time faculty, author or keynote speaker, child, family, or school social worker, clinical instructor, director of quality assurance, human services director, medical or public health social worker, researcher or senior social worker. Potential workplaces include: consulting firm, community college, government, hospital or clinic, nonprofit organization/non-governmental organization, land-based or online college or university, or research organization.

Detailed Program Information

Get all the details about cost, courses, requirements, and more.

Download the GuidedPath Specialization Guide »

Classes Start November 6th


Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future. 

Admission Requirements » | $50 Application Fee

Cost & Learning Format

Online education isn’t one size fits all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

Our online-learning format that guides you along. You pay per credit; we set the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1–3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$4,296 per quarter, 71 total quarter credits, 0 max transfer credits

Get the Details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Sample Courses

Some of the courses you will take:

Course Number Course Title
SWK8015 Advanced Social Work Practice: Theoretical Perspectives
SWK8025 Leadership and Management in Complex Social Systems
SWK8035 Clinical Theories of Social Work Practice 1
SWK8045 Advanced Social Work Policy and Practice
SWK8075 Advanced Social Work Practitioner as a Leader of Social Change

Ways to Save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable–there are more ways to save than you might think. 

10% Military Discount

Military service members and their spouses could be eligible for a discount.

Discover Military Benefits »

Employer & Association Discounts

Many employers and organizations partner with Capella to offer tuition discounts. Talk to an enrollment counselor to learn more. 

Employer Reimbursements

Many employers offer tuition reimbursement to employees, even if there’s no formal program. Check with your manager or HR dept.

Faculty & Support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment Counselors

These folks are superstars. We hear it from our students (and grads). They’re here to help find a program fit and set you up for success.  


Our distinguished faculty holds top credentials in their fields. They’re here to teach the knowledge and skills you’ll need, now. 

Doctoral Advising

A doctoral degree takes special effort. It's why we offer expert support at every step to keep you moving forward toward your goal.

Career Center

For this team, it’s more than resumes and interview tips. It’s about thoughtful and strategic career planning–beyond graduation.

Ready for the Next Step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.