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Total program credits needed for graduation: 120

One academic quarter is three months. You will have a three-week break between each quarter.

To learn more, call 866.933.5978, or email us. When you connect with Capella, we will immediately put you in touch with an enrollment counselor trained to assist you with specific questions and needs for your area of interest.

Required Courses

40 course quarter credits.

Collaboration, Communication, and Case Analysis for Doctoral Learners (4 quarter credits)
Survey of Research Methods (4 quarter credits)
Quantitative Design and Analysis (4 quarter credits)
Qualitative Design and Analysis (4 quarter credits)
Advanced Study in Research Methods in Public Service* (4 quarter credits)
Public Service Leadership (4 quarter credits)
Program Development and Management (4 quarter credits)
Strategic Planning and Organizational Effectiveness (4 quarter credits)
Ethics and Decision Making in Human Services (4 quarter credits)
Advanced Communication Skills for the Human Services Leader* (4 quarter credits)
PhD Research Seminar Track 1 (non-credit)
PhD Research Seminar Track 2 (non-credit)
PhD Research Seminar Track 3 (non-credit)

Fourteen Elective Courses

56 course quarter credits.

Choose any graduate course(s).

Comprehensive Examination and Dissertation Courses

24 course quarter credits.

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination* (4 quarter credits)

Learners must register for HS9960 a minimum of four times to fulfill their Specialization requirements.

Dissertation Courseroom* (5 quarter credits each)

*This course has a prerequisite. Contact an enrollment counselor or refer to the course descriptions for more information.

Residency Requirement

To support your academic and professional success, residencies provide learning and community-building experiences in a stimulating scholarly environment. For this specialization, you must complete three four-day residencies (PSL-R8930, PSL-R8931, PSL-R8932).

What Can I Expect?

Most students take one to two courses at a time. One course typically requires 10 to 12 hours of study per week.

Courses are divided into 10 weekly units. Each unit consists of readings, discussions, and other activities you will be expected to complete throughout the week. Assignments are due on Sundays, though not every course requires an assignment each week.

In each course, you will receive a detailed scoring guide that describes expectations for every graded assignment.

Grades are based on your participation in weekly reading discussions and completion of assignments. You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of expected outcomes for your program or specialization. These outcomes are based on the needs and performance standards of your field or discipline.

Learn more about online learning at Capella.

Transfer Credits

There are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including transferring credits which can help save time and money. You can transfer up to 48 credits into this specialization.

Sign Up for a Free One-Week Mini Course

Learn more about our online learning experience with a free one-week Mini Course.

Take an Individual Course

Whether you're completing continuing education credits, want to see if online learning is right for you, or are simply interested in a specific topic, you can enroll in many of Capella's online courses without committing to a degree program. We recommend speaking with an enrollment counselor to discuss your goals and ensure the credits you earn now can be applied to a degree program later.

Learn more about individual courses


If you have elective courses in your specialization, you may be able to use them to fulfill both your degree and concentration requirements at the same time. However, completing a concentration may extend your total credits beyond the requirements of your degree. Concentrations available for this specialization include:

  • Forensics
  • Health Policy and Management
  • Homeland Security
  • Public Administration
  • Public Health
  • Public Policy Management and Collaborative Governance
  • Public Safety Leadership
  • Nonprofit Management and Leadership

To learn more, call 866.933.5978, or email us. When you connect with Capella, we will immediately put you in touch with an enrollment counselor trained to assist you with specific questions and needs for your area of interest.