The human services field encompasses a wide variety of social, educational, and civic arenas. Specialization options in human services may include public administration, nonprofit management, health policy and administration, public health, clinical social work, or human services administration.
Fully online distance-learning doctorate programs in human services are not generally available, but they do exist in a blended format. For instance, some programs allow students to complete all coursework online but also require short on-campus residencies or internships. Many programs may require comprehensive exams and possible dissertations. Students seeking a fully online program could consider doctoral programs in similar fields, such as a Doctor of Public Administration.
Doctorate Degree in Human Services
Although doctoral courses may be taken online, human services programs involving counseling or social work often require internships and first-hand experience at local clinics, community centers, or non-profit organizations. Short residencies over the course of the program, allow students to meet with faculty and fellow students, attend seminars, and make use of school resources for dissertation research, if required.
Program Info and Requirements
Online classes contain the same content found in an on-campus program, delivered through video lectures, online texts, and assignments. Students may use textbooks as well as read scholarly articles that may be available through the school's online library. Doctoral students may be able to participate in online courses in an asynchronous format, accessing content and completing studies at their convenience, but assignments and special projects or papers are usually deadline driven. Before beginning dissertation research, doctoral students may need to demonstrate content competency by passing a comprehensive examination.
The coursework in a human services program will vary depending on the chosen specialization. Typical doctoral courses may include:
- Adult and Child Development
- Adult and Child Behavior
- Theories in Counseling
- Criminal Justice
- Human Services Delivery
A graduate with a human services doctorate degree can find a career in many fields of social service such as social worker, counselor, human services administrator, case manager, behavioral technician and executive director. However, specialties, such as social work and counseling, may require licensure or the completion of a certification exam before beginning work.
Distance learning doctorate degree programs in human services prepare students for a variety of advanced careers in the human service sector. These programs may require some on-campus residences or an internship, but they can also give successful candidates a competitive advantage when they are pursuing human service jobs.