20 Best Online PhD in Human Services Degree Programs [2019 Edition]

PhD in Human Services ProgramsWhen it comes to turning your educational acumen into an actionable response to the needs and concerns of individuals and your greater community, few graduate degrees offer quite the same boost on this front as an online PhD in Human Services.

To ensure that you have all the tools you need to overcome the rigors of this PhD program – and create the change you want to see within your community – let’s spend a few minutes breaking down the path to a PhD in Human Services from a variety of different angles.

What is a PhD in Human Services?

Simply put, a PhD in Human Services is designed to indicate that you have the ability to guide policies, practices, and legislation that relate to public matters and issues within your local area. Those who either want to delve deeper into crucial research areas related to this field or apply their learning to real-world scenarios are often members of incoming PhD cohorts.

Completing this kind of degree will normally require a commitment of 90 credit hours on campus or in the virtual classroom. However, some universities do lower the coursework burden based on already completed post-graduate credit hours – specifically the work you’ve logged via a bachelor’s or master’s degree program.

List of Online PhD in Human Services Programs

I’ve included a list of universities below offering a PhD in Human Services online, as well as related programs like the Doctor of Social Work.

Walden University

Difference between a PhD in Human Services and a PhD in Public Administration

While both of these doctoral programs focus on offering services and guidance to the public, how these degrees actually reach this point requires subscribing to two different approaches. A PhD in Human Services focuses more on improving the connection between social workers and the community, while pursuing a similar degree within the public administration field takes a “big picture” view via political action and policy implementation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that if you fall on the public administration side of this discussion, you can expect to earn up to $90,251 per year in the professional sector as a political scientist or professor. The average earnings for a human services professional that stays in academia over this same time span clocks in at $74,960.

How do you get a Doctorate in Human Services?

Earning a PhD in Human Services requires either committing to the standard on-campus experience – including a rigid class schedule – or working on your degree via an online program. While there’s no universal right answer to which option is best, it’s hard not to gravitate toward the flexibility and freedom offered by a virtual classroom experience that shapes and molds itself to your daily demands and current professional responsibilities.

Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services Curriculum

Before signing up for classes, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the standard coursework that comprises this kind of PhD program.

As you hone and refine your expertise in the human services field, you can expect to cover topics including:

  • Social Policy Analysis and Planning
  • Conflict Management and Negotiation
  • Criminal Justice
  • Community and Social Services
  • Community Intervention and Leadership
  • Family Studies and Intervention
  • Disaster and Crisis Intervention

Most PhD programs require a dissertation in addition to your regular courses. If you’d prefer not to complete a dissertation, these universities have no dissertation requirement.

Naturally, this list can shift somewhat based on your target institution’s unique program framework. However, having this cross-section in mind can help prepare your as the start of the semester nears.

Degree Concentrations

If you’re interested in going even deeper into specialization via unique area of study, most universities offer concentrations as part of your PhD coursework. Some of the most common examples within the human services field include:

  • Public Safety Leadership
  • Nonprofit Management
  • Social Work
  • Collaborative Governance

Again, this list should just serve as a guiding example as you map out your doctoral path. Connecting with a guidance counselor at your chosen school can ensure that you select the concentration that accurately fits your future goals and professional outlook.

If your undergraduate studies were in Human Services, a doctoral degree concentration can help add focus and depth to your degree.

Admission Requirements

To earn a spot in an incoming PhD in Human Services cohort, you’ll need to start off by having a master’s degree in an appropriate area of study, or a stellar undergraduate resume – specifically capped off by a final GPA that hovers around the 4.0 mark.

From here, submitting your complete transcripts, as well as letters of recommendation and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, often rounds out the process.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

In terms of your career outlook, the BLS notes that this portion of the professional and academic worlds is growing at a much faster than average rate when compared to other industries.

Specifically, opportunities to serve as either a professional social worker or a tenured professor that stays on the academic side of things have rates of job growth that easily reach the 22 percent mark. In other words, whether you plan on helping members of your community in real-world scenarios or training the next incoming class of PhD candidates, there are plenty of viable career paths awaiting you after graduation.

List of Universities offering an Online Doctoral Programs in Human Services

Rank University Featured Image tbl-programs Location mdgtbl-description
1

Albizu University

PROGRAMOn-Campus
LOCATIONFlorida
ACCREDITATIONMSCHE
Since 1974, Albizu University has been is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
  • On-campus PhD in Human Services
2

A.T. Still University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMissouri
ACCREDITATIONHLC
A.T. Still University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Online Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc)
3

Amridge University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONAlabama
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Amridge is a SACSCOC-accredited institution offering degrees in undergraduate, graduate and doctor programs.
  • Online PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy
4

Baylor University

PROGRAMOn-Campus
LOCATIONTexas
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Baylor University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees.
  • On-campus PhD in Health Services Research
5

Capella University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Capella is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Online Doctor of Human Services – Advanced Program Evaluation and Data Analytics
  • Online Doctor of Human Services – Leadership and Organizational Management
  • Online PhD in Human Services – Multidisciplinary Human Services
  • Online PhD in Human Services – Social and Community Services
6

Clemson University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONSouth Carolina
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Clemson is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award the bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist’s, and doctoral degrees.
  • Online PhD in International Family and Community Studies
7

Concordia University Chicago

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONIllinois
ACCREDITATIONHLC
CU Chicago is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees.
  • Online PhD in Health & Human Performance
8

Drexel University

PROGRAMOn-Campus
LOCATIONPennsylvania
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Drexel is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • On-campus PhD in Health Services Research and Policy
9

Emory University

PROGRAMOn-Campus
LOCATIONGeorgia
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Emory University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, doctorate and professional degrees.
  • On-campus PhD in Health Services Research and Health Policy
10

Houston Baptist University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONTexas
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
HBU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and doctoral degrees.
  • Online EdD in Executive Leadership in Mental Health and Human Services
11

Indiana State University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONIndiana
ACCREDITATIONHLC
ISU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1915.
  • Online Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc)
12

Liberty University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONVirginia
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Liberty is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees.
  • Online EdD in Community Care and Counseling – Marriage and Family
  • Online EdD in Community Care and Counseling – Pastoral Care and Counseling
  • Online EdD in Community Care and Counseling – Traumatology
13

Loma Linda University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONCalifornia
ACCREDITATIONWSCUC
Loma Linda is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
  • Online Doctor of Marital and Family Therapy
14

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science

PROGRAMOn-Campus
LOCATIONMassachusetts
ACCREDITATIONNECHE
MCPHS University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
  • On-campus Doctor of Health Sciences
15

Nova Southeastern University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONFlorida
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
NSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s, educational specialist, doctoral, and professional degrees.
  • Online EdD in Human Services Administration
16

Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONUtah
ACCREDITATIONNWCCU
RMUoHP is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • Online PhD in Health Sciences
17

Rush University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONIllinois
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Rush University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
  • Online PhD in Health Sciences
18

Saybrook University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONCalifornia
ACCREDITATIONWSCUC
Saybrook is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
  • Online PhD in Transformative Social Change
19

Texas Tech University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONTexas
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
Texas Tech is accredited with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees.
  • Online PhD in Family and Consumer Science Education
20

Trident University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONCalifornia
ACCREDITATIONWSCUC
Trident is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
  • Online PhD in Health Sciences – Global Health
  • Online PhD in Health Sciences – Health Policy and Administration
21

University of Colorado – Denver

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONColorado
ACCREDITATIONHLC
CU Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Online PhD in Education and Human Development – Early Childhood Special Education/Early Childhood Education
  • Online PhD in Education and Human Development – Family Science and Human Development
  • Online PhD in Education and Human Development – Mathematics Education
  • Online PhD in Education and Human Development – Research, Assessment and Evaluation
  • Online PhD in Education and Human Development – Science Education
  • Online PhD in Education and Human Development – Urban Ecologies
  • Online PhD in Education and Human Development – Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies
22

University of Indianapolis

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONIndiana
ACCREDITATIONHLC
UIndy is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
  • Online Doctor of Health Science
23

University of Louisiana – Monroe

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONLouisiana
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
ULM is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, post-baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees.
  • Online PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy – Systemic Studies
24

University of Minnesota

PROGRAMOn-Campus
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
All campuses of the University of Minnesota operate with the accreditation of the Higher Learning Commission.
  • On-campus PhD in Health Services Research, Policy & Administration
25

University of South Dakota

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONSouth Dakota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
USD has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) since 1913.
  • Online PhD in Health Sciences
26

Walden University

PROGRAMOnline
LOCATIONMinnesota
ACCREDITATIONHLC
Walden has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1990.
  • Online PhD in Health Services
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Advanced Research
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Community and Social Services
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Community Intervention and Leadership
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Conflict Management and Negotiation
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Criminal Justice
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Family Studies and Intervention
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – General Program
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Gerontology
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Global Social Services
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Higher Education
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Human Services Nonprofit Administration
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Mental Health Facilitation
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Military Families and Culture
  • Online PhD in Human and Social Services – Social Policy Analysis and Planning
27

University of Washington

PROGRAMOn-Campus
LOCATIONWashington
ACCREDITATIONNWCCU
UW is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
  • On-campus PhD in Health Services – Evaluative Sciences and Statistics
  • On-campus PhD in Health Services – Health Behavior and Social Determinants of Health
  • On-campus PhD in Health Services – Health Economics
  • On-campus PhD in Health Services – Health Systems Research
  • On-campus PhD in Health Services – Occupational Health
28

Virginia Commonwealth University

PROGRAMOn-Campus
LOCATIONVirginia
ACCREDITATIONSACSCOC
VCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award certificate, baccalaureate, master and doctorate degrees.
  • On-campus PhD in Health Services Organization and Research

Is a PhD in Human Services worth it?

At the end of the day, answering the question of this PhD program’s “worth” requires a deeper inspection of your personal goals and motivations. Are you interested in higher paying career opportunities? Perhaps this degree simply serves as a stepping stone to a promotion within your current line of work.

Even if you’re just looking for an academic challenge that pushes you to your limits, that’s okay too. The big key here is that you understand what you want to get out of the PhD in Human Services program and build your future academic and professional plans around these aspirations.

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