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Doctor of Social Work DSW

School of Public Service Leadership

Doctoral Research Seminar with Residency

Your DSW program requires the completion of two professional doctoral research seminars (PSL-R8941 and PSL-R8942). The goal of the two DSW doctoral research seminar tracks is to prepare you for your capstone early and continue throughout your learning experience.

Each Doctoral Research Seminar has Three Steps:

In the courseroom, your instructor will lead you through a set of rigorous activities, assignments, and assessments designed to help you develop a first draft of your capstone research plan.

Next, you will attend a residency where you will engage in an intensive, iterative process with faculty and peers to further develop your research plan.

In this last step, you incorporate the feedback you receive in the final session of the residency to refine and submit your research plan.

Learn More About Residency from Capella Students

Residency Student Support Services

Capella Video: Before and After a Capella University Residency – Jesse McLain

Doctoral Research Seminars: Your Roadmap to Success

Doctoral research seminars are designed in an optimized, sequential format that allow you to work extensively on your capstone topic, methodology, literature review, and research plan from the beginning of your program. The 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 seminar begins with an an online course, including modules, assignments, and assessments. Next in the process is an in-person residency, followed by completion of a final assessment and development of a preparation plan for your next track.

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

What You’ll Learn—and When

Track 1 Throughout the course, you’ll focus on identifying a theory, topic, and research problem appropriate for your specialization. In track 1, you must also complete PhD dissertation milestone 1 (Research Ethics Education). Following the weekend residency, you’ll complete a final assessment that demonstrates track 1 learning outcomes. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.
Track 2 Throughout the course you’ll apply skills necessary to develop a research question and to select an appropriate dissertation topic. In track 2, you’ll complete PhD dissertation milestone 2 (Topic Approval). Following the weekend residency, you’ll complete a final assessment that demonstrates track 2 learning outcomes. Prerequisite: DRS-R8925. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.
Track 3 Throughout the course, you’ll apply the research skills necessary to develop a methodological design, sampling plan, and strategy for data analysis. In track 3, you’ll complete PhD dissertation milestone 5 (Research Plan Approval). Following the residency, you’ll complete a final assessment that demonstrates track 3 learning outcomes. Learners must complete track 3 prior to beginning the comprehensive examination. Prerequisite(s): DRS-R8926. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

Seminar Competencies

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

Scholar-Practitioner Development

Identify and cultivate the skills required to professionally implement your research design.


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 necessary to advance scientific research.

Doctoral Research Seminar with Residency Costs and Financing:

Residency is part of the three-credit doctoral research seminar and included in the quarterly pricing of the program. Included are academic sessions, as well as continental breakfast, lunch, and snack breaks on each full day of the in-person residency. Additional costs include airfare, lodging, evening meals, and miscellaneous personal expenses.

It is possible to finance your residency using Stafford and GradPLUS loan funds. Capella also accepts all major credit cards and checks. Additionally, we have partnered with Delta Air Lines to provide special discounts for Capella events.

Questions about residency costs and financing? Email or call an enrollment counselor at 1.866.933.5837.

Residency Locations

Residencies are offered annually at hotel conference centers throughout the United States. To reduce travel costs, locations are chosen based on the number of Capella students in the area. The following cities are locations in which a residency may be held: Arlington, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, and Phoenix.

Email or call an enrollment counselor at 1.866.933.5837 to learn about upcoming doctoral research seminar/residency dates and locations.

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

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