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Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services

Be a helping hand to some of society’s most vulnerable citizens with your doctorate in human services from the Golden State College. You will explore all facets of the human services field while developing the leadership skills to guide human services organizations.


Your Doctor of Philosophy in Human Services explores the history, systems, theories, strategies, and policies of the human services field. You will also develop your research and scholarship skills as you work toward the preparation of your doctoral dissertation. This doctorate degree in human services is designed to not only advance your knowledge as a human services professional but also to prepare you for the requirements associated with your specialization of choice. When you graduate with the PhD in Human Services, Standard Program of Study, you will be able to:

Design research related to human services theories and systems

Critique incorporation of social justice matters in human services organizations

Assess human services performance structures, capacity building, and talent development implementation strategies

Evaluate concepts, skills, and policies and initiatives that are fundamental to ethical and legal practice in the human services settings

Formulate strategies to navigate the complexities of human services systems based on best practices

Advocate for specific strategies, standards, policies, practices, and service delivery methods using multiple communication methods



This PhD program also requires you to focus your studies by selecting a specialization that aligns with your career and research interests. When pursuing your PhD in human services from the Golden State College, you will join students who have diverse interests and a shared passion for helping others and empowering their communities.


Program Requirements

Total number of credits: 62 credits

Core Course Requirements: 33 credits

Research Course Requirement: 3 credits

Capstone and Dissertation Course Requirements: 11 credits

Specialization Course Requirements: 15 credits

To be awarded the PhD in Human Services, you must complete the program coursework of 62 credits with a 3.00 minimum cumulative grade point average. You will need to complete three (3) non-credit In-Residence Workshops.* You will also need to complete all Dissertation requirements.** 

*For the PhD in Human Services, you are required to attend three In-Residence weekend workshops. 

**As a requirement for graduation from the Golden State College with a degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), each student must complete and successfully defend a Dissertation. The purpose of the Dissertation is to ensure that the student has mastered the ability to pursue a systematic investigation, which examines significant issues or problems. The Dissertation requirement is also designed to contribute to the student's knowledge, skills, and research expertise. Students choose a topic that addresses carefully chosen research questions that the student then investigates with quantitative or qualitative research, with a meta-analysis, or with a program design or program evaluation. Prerequisites, timelines for completion, and attendance requirements for Dissertation, as well as a detailed explanation of each step in the process, are described in the Dissertation Handbook.

The PhD in Human Services includes 11 core courses, plus one (1) elective research course, five (5) specialization courses, and a capstone seminar. The coursework leads up to your doctoral dissertation, which includes two (2) dissertation planning courses as well as five (5) units of the dissertation course. The doctorate in human services courses are instructed by faculty members who all have earned doctorates themselves. These qualified faculty members will enliven your discussions by teaching theory that they themselves have used in their professional careers.


Core, Research, Capstone, and Dissertation Course Requirements: (47 credits)


Note: you must select either RES 7415 or RES 7440 to fulfill the Research Course Requirement.


Doctoral Capstone

DOC 8770 Doctoral Capstone Seminar


Human Services

HUM 7100 History & Systems of Human Services

HUM 7160 Organizational Operations & Human Services Administration

HUM 7175 Program Review & Evaluation

HUM 8105 Applied Human Services Policy

HUM 8115 Theories & Strategies of Community Development & Advocacy


Organizational Leadership

ORG 8518 Professional & Business Ethics in Organizational Leadership



RES 7105 Scholarly Argument I

RES 7110 Scholarly Argument II

RES 7400 Research Design & Methods - Quantitative

RES 7410 Research Design & Methods - Qualitative

RES 7415 Advanced Statistics

RES 7440 Advanced Study in Qualitative Research

RES 7480 Evidence-Based Practice

RES 8910 Dissertation Planning I

RES 8912 Dissertation Planning II

RES 8990 Dissertation

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