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Multidisciplinary Human Services Specialization Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services

School of Counseling and Human Services

Lead Change for Human Services

Position yourself to make an impact in your community. Capella’s online PhD in Human Services, Multidisciplinary Human Services degree will expand your understanding of human service leadership, professional practice, research, and ethics. Through advanced studies and original doctoral research, you’ll learn to guide policies, practices, and legislation. You'll work with experienced human services faculty and professional peers as well as gain insight from professionals in other fields—public administration, public safety, and health care. Prepare to apply your knowledge and skills to a variety of leadership roles and settings.

What to Expect

  • Online and In Person
  • 10 Core Courses
  • 7 Elective Courses
  • 3 Dissertation Research Seminars
  • Comprehensive Examination
  • Dissertation

Classes Start February 5th

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

What You’ll Learn

Advance Human Services

Advance the human services community using a multidisciplinary approach to leadership and decision-making.

Lead Effectively

Learn to use advanced communication, collaboration, advocacy, and leadership techniques.

Understand Policy

Apply knowledge of laws and policies, professional and ethical behaviors, and effective cultural, global, and diversity concepts.

Harness Technology

Use the newest technology to enhance practice, create innovative solutions, and boost performance.

Fuse Knowledge & Research

Further knowledge within public service through a fusion of theory and the application of research.

Program Features

Our program offers additional benefits you might be interested in.

Professionally Aligned Curriculum

Our competency-based curriculum aligns with professional standards so you gain the most relevant skills and knowledge.

Scholar-Practitioner Faculty

Learn the latest in theory and practice from experienced doctoral faculty who are actively engaged in the human services profession.

Flexible, Engaging Online Learning

Access your courseroom anytime, anywhere, with any device; set your own schedule while meeting deadlines.

Capella offers both a PhD and a professional doctorate in human services

Choose the PhD if your interest is research in policy and program design for systemic change in the profession. Choose the doctor of human services to apply advocacy and problem-solving research in the community.

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 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
$3,810 - $5,267 per quarter, 92 total quarter credits, 16 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. 

10% Military Discount

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

Transfer Credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools. 

Employer & Association Discounts

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

Student Success Story

"I loved the flexibility of being able to work in the middle of the night. But equally important, I could always call for help when I needed it."

Rene Murrell
PhD in Human Services

Riverbend City, an interactive tool, lets you apply skills in a multidisciplinary environment

Applying your knowledge in a realistic setting will help you develop skills as a collaborative leader, negotiator, communicator, and advocate.

Accredited & Respected

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

Sample Courses

The online multidisciplinary human services doctoral degree curriculum focuses on leading change, program development and management, strategic planning, research, and ethics. You also have the opportunity to choose an elective curriculum.

Dissertation Research Seminar

Allows you to work extensively on your dissertation topic, methodology, literature review, and research plan early in your program.

Support to Reach to the Finish Line

Our doctoral curriculum is designed to give you dedicated support early in your program—so you can be confident in the steps to completing your degree.

Dissertation Mentors

During your dissertation, you’ll be matched with an experienced mentor who will help you stay on track to completing your degree.

Some of the courses you will take:

Course Number Course Title
HMSV8002 Multidisciplinary Practice and Case Analysis for Doctoral Learners
PSL7864 Quantiative Design and Analysis
PSL7868 Qualitative Design and Analysis
HS8216 Strategic Planning and Organizational Effectiveness
HS8515 Ethics and Decision Making in Human Services

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 members hold 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 résumés and interview tips. It’s about thoughtful and strategic career planning—beyond graduation.

Relevant Blog Posts

Whether you’re considering a return to school, exploring new career paths, or seeking ways to improve your job performance, the Capella Blog has relevant articles to support your goals.

Why Collaboration Is Key to Human Services

Collaboration is the new norm for human services. These three examples from the field demonstrate why.

Find the Right Human Services Career for You

Jobs in human services range from working with clients to managing organizations to building infrastructures.

Difference Between a Doctor of Human Services and PhD in Human Services

Find out which type of doctoral degree in human services is the best match for your career goals.

Move Forward in Your Career

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our PhD in Multidisciplinary Human Services.

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Adjunct, part-time, or full-time faculty
  • Behavior analyst
  • Case manager
  • Community programs director
  • Development director
  • Director of human services
  • Executive director
  • Grant writer
  • Housing specialist
  • Program manager/director
  • Social service administrator
  • Vocational specialist

Related Employment Settings to Explore

  • Child welfare/children's services
  • Adoption agency
  • Early intervention program
  • Family preservation agency
  • Court
  • Land-based or online college or university
  • City, county, state, or federal agency such as the department of health and human services
  • Clinic
  • Hospital
  • Community mental health center
  • Family service agency
  • Nonprofit organization

*These examples are intended to serve as a general guide.  Many factors determine what position an individual may attain, and Capella can’t guarantee a graduate will secure any specific job title.

You May Also Be Interested In

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.