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Doctor of Social Work DSW

School of Public Service Leadership

Grow Your Social Work Career with Real-World Skills

Where will your path in social work take you? You can develop advanced, real-world leadership skills and get ready for a management role with the online Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program from Capella University.

Designed around national doctoral social work education guidelines, this program prepares you to take on the responsibilities of a leader, advanced practitioner, or educator.

At a Glance

  • Online & In-Person
  • 16 Core Courses
  • 2 Residencies
  • Capstone

Reduce Your Tuition by $10,000

Enroll in a qualified program, apply for a $10K scholarship, and meet the eligibility requirements.

Apply Now »

Classes Start April 8th

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.

$50 Application Fee (waived w/promo WINTER)

DSW Program Highlights

Command of Technology

Harness technology to provide enhanced services in social work and expand the reach and effectiveness of social service programs.

Leadership Focus

Focus on valued leadership skills, preparing you to serve as an advanced practitioner and leader in the field of social work.

Scholar-Practitioner Faculty

The expertise, diversity, and real-world experience of our scholar-practitioner faculty can guide you in your practice and career. All social work faculty members have a doctoral degree.

Professional Doctorate Research Seminar

Work extensively on your capstone topic, methodology, application to current theory, and overall project plan starting early in your program.

Learn more about the seminar »


Enhance the skills you’ve developed in your program coursework through intensive, onsite experiences with students and faculty.

Learn more about residency »

Doctoral Capstone

Apply what you’ve learned in a written project, demonstrating your use of evidence to improve outcomes or resolve a gap in the field.

25 Years of Online Doctoral Experience

With over 25 years of experience in online doctoral education, we understand the unique needs of doctoral students, and have designed our programs to meet those needs. We've structured our programs to help you reach your goals and obtain critical skills—with our expert faculty, support teams, and online resources to help guide you every step of the way.

Faculty & Support

You're never alone throughout your doctoral journey at Capella: our faculty and support teams guide and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment Counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials and have hands-on expertise in their fields. They know what you need to know today.

Doctoral Advising

Get expert support at every step to keep you moving forward toward your goal.

Capstone Mentors

Mentors offer knowledgeable guidance early in your program to help you complete your capstone project.

Cost & Learning Format

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. We'll set the schedule, you meet 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.

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. 

Employer Reimbursements

Many employers offer tuition reimbursement to employees. Ask your manager or HR department about options.

Employer & Association Discounts

Many employers and organizations partner with Capella to offer tuition discounts. An enrollment counselor can tell you more.

10% Military Discount

If you're an active-duty military service member, spouse, or veteran, discounts may be available.

Accredited & Recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

DSW Sample Courses

SWK801 Advanced Social Work Practice: Theoretical Perspectives 4 quarter credits
SWK8025 Leadership and Management in Complex Social Systems 4 quarter credits
SWK8035 Advanced Social Work Policy and Practice 4 quarter credits
SWK8045 Clinical Theories of Social Work Practice 1 4 quarter credits
SWK8075 Advanced Social Work Practitioner as a Leader of Social Change 4 quarter credits

What You’ll Learn

Earning a DSW can help you prepare as a leader, advanced practitioner, or educator.

  • Gain the tools for collaboration in diverse settings
  • Advocate to advance ethical social work policy and practice
  • Incorporate technology into your practice ethically

  • Deepen your understanding of programs, practice, and technology
  • Advocate for social justice and policy change
  • Communicate professionally with diverse individuals and groups

Social Work Career Insights

PhD in Social Work vs. Doctor of Social Work

Two doctoral programs focused on social work. What are the differences, and which one is right for you?

Collaborative Efforts in Counseling, Clinical Psychology, & Social Work

An overview of the similarities, differences, and collaborative opportunities available in counseling, clinical psychology, and social work.

4 Ways Students Can Stay on Top of Industry Trends

Tips on how to keep your industry knowledge up-to-date while earning a DSW.

DSW Professional Paths

Your education can help you reach your goals, professionally and personally. Here are some of the jobs and employment settings to consider with a DSW.

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Social worker
  • Clinical social worker
  • Adjunct or part-time social work faculty
  • Full-time social work faculty
  • Clinical manager
  • Clinical director

Related Employment Settings to Explore

  • Community college
  • Online and land-based college
  • Ambulatory care service
  • Hospital
  • Government—local, state, federal
  • Insurance carrier
  • Individual and family service

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other Programs to Explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

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.