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This program helps you learn and apply advanced theory and leadership skills in human services. Doctoral-level course work can prepare you to conduct valid, reliable, and ethical research. Learn how to think critically and write effectively about the field of human services.

Outcome goals and graduates' proficiency levels

Each doctoral program and specialization is designed around expected learning outcomes (see Expected Program Outcomes below). End of program performance is determined during the comprehensive exam and dissertation process. Because the work is unique to each learner's dissertation or research topic and the criteria for evaluation are aligned to that work, we do not collect data on proficiency levels for doctoral programs.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Human Services specializations

  • Multidisciplinary Human Services
  • Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  • Social and Community Services

Quality and Professional Relevance

  • 100% of Capella faculty in the School of Human Services hold doctoral degrees from accredited universities and colleges.
  • More than 1,000 colleges and universities have employed Capella learners and graduates as leaders, staff, and faculty.

Expected Program Outcomes for All Specializations

  1. Understand the current theories and practices of the human services disciplines.
  2. Conduct valid, reliable, and ethical human services research.
  3. Think critically and write effectively in one's discipline and/or professional practice.
  4. Effectively advocate for social change.
  5. Embrace the need for diversity/multicultural perspectives in decision-making.
  6. Develop social and professional ethics.

PhD in Human Services Degree Program Graduates

Data from graduates of the PhD in Human Services degree program have been combined for these Career Outcomes results.

The graphs below show some key findings from Capella's Alumni Outcomes Survey. We use this information to help improve our courses, programs and services and to give you an idea of how alumni are using their degrees.

Career Preparation
All Human Services Graduates

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Career Preparation
PhD Human Services Graduates

The skills and knowledge have been immediately applicable to my career: 60%

My degree has positioned me to achieve my professional ambitions: 38%

Capella's competency based curriculum has prepared me for the needs of my profession: 50%

Percentage of respondents who answered "strongly agree" or "agree"
Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q3 2017 - Q1 2018.

Career & Professional Accomplishments
All Human Services Graduates

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Career and Professional Accomplishments
PhD Human Services Graduates

Made a significant contribution to my profession: 56%

Successfully changed jobs and-or-careers: 31%

Assumed leadership responsibilities: 38%

Received a salary increase: 44%

Received a promotion: 56%

Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes, and Capella does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, or other career growth.

Percentage of respondents who indicated they had accomplished each item.

Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q3 2017 – Q1 2018.

PhD in Human Services Degree Program Graduates

Data from graduates of the PhD in Human Services degree program have been combined for these Student Experience results.

The graphs below show some key findings from Capella's Alumni Outcomes Survey. We use this information to help improve our courses, programs and services and to give you an idea of how alumni feel about Capella and what general skills and abilities they gained.

Satisfaction With Capella
  PhD Human Services Graduates

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Satisfaction with Capella
PhD Human Services Graduates

I have or intend to recommend Capella: 38%

I am satisfied with my Capella education: 45%

Capella gave me the most efficient direct path to completing my degree: 40%

Percentage of respondents who answered affirmatively.
Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q3 2017 – Q1 2018.

Skills & Abilities
PhD Human Services Graduates

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Skills & Abilities
PhD Human Services Graduates

Write clearly, accurately, and professionally; use sources appropriately : 63%

Communicate thoughts and ideas in varied settings : 63%

Show ethical conduct reflecting values and beliefs of discipline : 57%

Show knowledge of field; respect contributions of other fields : 75%

Analyze theoretical issues or investigate real-world phenomena, create knowledge : 63%

Locate, evaluate and communicate information; address legal, professional, other issues : 63%

Critically examine, analyze, and evaluate thinking using intellectual standards and creativity : 63%

Critically evaluate, select, and use discipline-appropriate technology : 63%

Show appreciation for group and individual differences : 75%

Demonstrate effective leadership in diverse environments : 57%

Apply the specialized knowledge associated with professional practice area : 75%

Percentage of respondents who rated themselves as "proficient" or "exceptional" on ability to demonstrate the skill or ability on the job.
Source: Responses to the Alumni Outcomes Survey one year after graduation. The data were collected during Q3 2017 – Q2 2018.

Expense, completion, & career information (Gainful Employment)

Capella believes in being clear about the real cost, time, and value of a Capella degree The Gainful Employment disclosures, required by the US Department of Education (ED) (under 34 CFR 688.6), provide some information about completion, expenses, and occupations. Most of our students are part-time so they might not take a full course load or attend all 4 quarters each year. We took that into account in calculating these data. For example, we define program length for certificates and master's and doctoral degrees as the number of calendar quarters it takes a typical student to complete a program. The ED has defined time to complete for a bachelor's degree as 4 years. Program cost is based on the specific pricing structure for each program which is either a cost per credit or a cost per active quarter.

Other related information may be found on the Learning Outcomes, Career Outcomes, and Student Experience tabs on this page.

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Earn Your Doctoral Degree

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Become an expert in your field. Enroll in an online PhD, PsyD, or EdD program at Capella.

"After 9/11, the 20-page paper I wrote became a department manual on stress management techniques."

Deborah Moore, PhD

2004 Graduate

School of Public Service Leadership