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Nonprofit Management and Leadership Specialization Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services

School of Counseling and Human Services

Help Nonprofits Help Your Community

Every nonprofit is unique, and you’ll learn to lead different aspects of organizations with Capella’s online PhD in Human Services, Nonprofit Management and Leadership degree. Designed around industry standards for nonprofit management, including guidelines established by the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council, this program focuses on organizational and community collaborations, diverse population needs, employee and volunteer development, and legal issues. You’ll be prepared to pursue advanced positions as a nonprofit leader or consultant.

At a Glance

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

Classes Start January 7th

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)

What You’ll Learn

Learn How Nonprofits Contribute

Study society from a historical, political, and economic perspective to understand how nonprofits contribute.

Achieve Success With Resources

Oversee all resources and data-based evidence to achieve successful performance for nonprofit stakeholders.

Advance Nonprofit Works

Use research and creative approaches to contribute to the global nonprofit sector.

Improve Lives

Apply principles of organizational and social theory to improve life in our diverse culture and changing society.

Collaborate Effectively

Develop collaborative relationships among government, business, religion, and nonprofit entities.

Lead and Communicate Ethically

Lead effective, relevant, and professional communications and ethical behavior to promote your organization’s mission.

Our Unique Doctoral Structure

Our PhD in Human Services, Nonprofit Management and Leadership program is designed to remove roadblocks for you and demystify the dissertation process. This unique approach centers on supporting you in three ways: through program structure, a dedicated faculty and support team, and online resources. To help generate momentum toward graduation, you’ll begin your dissertation early in the program. Our faculty, support team, and online resources will help guide you every step of the way.

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 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
$697 per credit, 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

Active-duty military service members, their spouses, and veterans 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. 

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 doctoral degree in nonprofit management and leadership curriculum uses simulations, group problem-solving, and coaching to teach fund development, public policy, program evaluation, and performance improvement in the nonprofit sector. The program includes dissertation research seminars which allow you to get an early start on your dissertation.

Some of the courses you will take:

Course Number Course Title
HMSV8002 Multidisciplinary Practice and Case Analysis for Doctoral Learners
NPL7104 Leadership, Governance, and Ethics
NPL7304 Financial Analysis and Reporting for Nonprofit Leaders
NPL7308 Leading Resource Performance in Nonprofit Organizations
NPL8208 Advanced Fund Development Philosophy and Practice

Relevant Blog Posts

Why Collaboration Is Key to Human Services

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

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.

PhD in Nonprofit Management vs. Doctor of Public Administration

Nonprofit management and public administration are similar. So which doctoral program is right for you?

Move Forward in Your Career

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our online PhD in Human Services, Nonprofit Management and Leadership degree.

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Adjunct or part-time faculty
  • Chief development officer
  • Chief executive officer
  • Chief financial officer
  • Director of community engagement
  • Executive director
  • Full-time faculty
  • Fundraising/development manager
  • Marketing director
  • President
  • Program director
  • Social service director/administrator

Related Employment Settings to Explore

  • Charitable organization
  • Civic/community organization
  • Environmental advocacy organization
  • Foundation
  • Government—local, state, federal
  • Health care organization
  • Land-based or online college or university
  • Nonprofit organization
  • Religious organization
  • Social/human services organization

*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.