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Social & Community Services PhD in Human Services

Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services

Be the Positive Change Communities Need

Your passion for helping people and the communities they live in is powerful. Capella has a social and community services PhD that can help you harness that power, make it into something great and transformative, and turn you into a leader who drives real change.

The social and community services specialization of this program offers experience in the advanced study of contemporary issues that challenge social and community services. You’ll prepare for a leadership role as a social change agent at community, state, and national levels.

At a Glance

  • Online and in-person
  • 9 Core courses
  • 7 Specialization courses
  • 2 Elective courses
  • 3 Dissertation research seminars
  • Comprehensive examination
  • Dissertation

Classes Start June 8th

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 SPRING)

PhD in Human Services—Program Highlights

Professionally Aligned Curriculum

Built by experts in the field, this PhD program is designed around the Council for Standards in Human Services Education and National Organization for Human Services.

Scholar-Practitioner Faculty

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

Capella is one of the first universities in the country to offer both a PhD in Human Services and Doctor of Human Services program.

Blended, Flexible Learning

Build social and community services expertise with a combination of online courses, in-person learning experiences, and engaging curriculum.

Multidisciplinary Approach

Apply what you learn in a multidisciplinary environment with interactive tools that develop skills in collaboration and leadership.

Real-World Learning with Virtual Simulations

Courses in your PhD program include access to RiverBend City, an interactive tool where you apply what you’re learning in a realistic, multidisciplinary environment.

Our unique doctoral structure

Our PhD in Human Services, Social and Community Services 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.

Meet Your Human Services Faculty

Our distinguished faculty members hold top credentials in their fields. They’re here to teach you critical knowledge and skills and to help enrich your education and career by bringing real-world relevance to the courseroom. Our faculty include:

Dinah Manns, EdD

Faculty Chair, Human Services & Research

Paige Krabill, PsyD, LSP, HS-BCP

Associate Chair, Human Services

Mary Rockey, PhD, BCBA, HS-BCP

Core Faculty, Human Services

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. 

A more structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. 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
$700 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

If you're an active-duty military service member, spouse, or veteran, discounts may be available.

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

Employer & association discounts

If your employer or organization is a partner with Capella, you may be eligible for a tuition discount.

Accredited & recognized

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

PhD in Human Services, Social and Community Services—Sample Courses

In your social and community services specialization, you’ll focus on applying skills in effective negotiation and mediation, conflict management, and creating effective collaboration across an organization. The program includes dissertation research seminars which allow you to get an early start on your dissertation.

Show course with description
Multidisciplinary Practice and Case Analysis for Doctoral Learners

Learners in this course critically analyze theory and research in human services, with an emphasis on contemporary research and application issues. In addition, learners use a multidisciplinary approach to examine the connection between individuals, organizations, and society to construct public value in human services. Must be taken during the learner’s first quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer

4 quarter credits
Methods of Family Research

Learners in this course explore the measurement of family variables and the complexities of family research design, data collection, and analysis. Topics include scales of measurement, validity and reliability, experimental and nonexperimental designs, and approaches to integrating clinical research with practice.

4 quarter credits
The Family in Social Context

Learners in this course examine families from a systems perspective and explore the dynamics and systems influencing family structures. Learners also identify the leadership skills needed to work with diverse family groups and the challenges faced by human services professionals.

4 quarter credits
Contemporary Issues in Compulsive and Addictive Behavior Treatment

Learners in this course examine current research and trends for working with compulsive and addictive behaviors along a continuum of prevention and treatment practices. Topics include changes in practice models based on transition to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) criteria; integration of substance abuse treatment into primary care settings; developments in psychopharmacological and alternative intervention practices; influences of ethics, culture, and public health model practices on intervention and treatment; and the use of Internet resources in the field.

4 quarter credits

What you’ll learn

You have the power to affect an entire community for good. Earning a PhD in Human Services, Social and Community Services can help you prepare as a leader, advanced practitioner, or educator.

  • Expand on professional ethics as they apply to social and community services.
  • Contribute valid, reliable, and ethical research.
  • Evaluate current public service theories and practices critically.
  • Embrace diversity as a core aspect of the decision-making process.
  • Comprehend social phenomena, current trends, and pressing issues.
  • Adopt critical-thinking and writing practices in social and community services.

PhD in Human Services, Social and Community Services—Career Insights

Why Collaboration is Key to Human Services

Collaboration is the new norm for human services. These 3 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.

PhD in Human Services, Social and Community Services—Professional Paths

Your education can help you reach your goals, professionally and personally. Here are some of the job titles and employment settings to explore as you consider a PhD in Human Services, Social and Community Services degree.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Executive director
  • Administrator
  • Director
  • Program manager
  • Supervisor
  • Advisor
  • Adjunct or part-time human services faculty
  • Full-time human services faculty
  • Educational coordinator
  • Educational counselor

Employment settings to explore

  • Government—local, state, federal
  • Family service agency
  • Area agency on aging
  • Advocacy organization
  • International aid organization
  • International human rights agency
  • Land-based or online college or university
  • Community college
  • Refugee relief agency
  • Family service agency
  • Child welfare organization
  • Social service agency

*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?

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