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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.

View a sample course sequence to understand program timing and see how your residencies and capstone fit together.

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. Discover specifically what you'll learn — and how you can apply it.

View full learning and career outcomes report for this program at

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.