Human Services: Doctoral Degree

Research in psychology can be done with a doctoral degree in human services. In this article, you can find out what goes into a typical doctoral program, along with admission requirements and class types. Schools offering Human Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Human Services Doctoral Degree Program?

If you'd like to earn a doctoral degree in human services, you can find Ph.D. programs in human services, as well as counseling psychology and human development services. These programs typically focus on clinical psychology, but you could also undertake extensive research in a specialization like individual, group, multicultural or family counseling. You could also choose to focus on education, research or social work.

Degree Fields Human services, counseling psychology, human development services
PrerequisitesBachelor's degree, master's degree for some programs
Class SettingsSeminar-style lectures
Other RequirementsExtensive research and dissertation; some programs require internships
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 14% growth (for psychologists)
Median Salary (2018) $79,010 (for psychologists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Does the Program Work?

Seminars, workshops, internships and practicums are common features of a human services or counseling program. Because of these numerous onsite requirements, non-profit and public universities generally don't offer the human services doctoral degree program online.

To graduate from the Ph.D. program, you typically must complete and defend a dissertation on an original topic in the field. The length of time you need to finish the program depends on your prior level of education. If you enter with a bachelor's degree, you usually need over five years to complete all coursework and clinical practice requirements.

How Do I Apply?

Doctoral degree programs in human services or counseling psychology often set specific coursework and academic prerequisites for those entering the program. You need at least a bachelor's degree, but some programs only accept applicants who have earned a master's degree. You may be able to combine your master's degree and Ph.D. studies into one program. In these cases, you complete the required master's-level coursework before beginning your doctoral degree program.

You don't necessarily need to have earned a degree in human services or psychology to start the Ph.D. program. Most schools, however, expect you to have a strong understanding of the principles of psychology and counseling. Minimum postsecondary GPA requirements are also common.

What Courses Could I Take?

Once you've enrolled in a human services doctoral degree program, your coursework often depends on your particular program and area of specialty. Core courses typically cover research methods, patient assessment and counseling theories. You might work with an advisory board to determine the courses you must take to meet your specialty requirements. Some programs combine clinical, theoretical and academic approaches to human services counseling, and most require you to spend some time in a hands-on internship setting, working with real patients.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral

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  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral

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  • Northcentral University

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    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

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  • University of Kentucky

    Campus Locations:

    • Kentucky: Lexington
  • University of Missouri

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    • Missouri: Columbia
  • North Dakota State University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Dakota: Fargo
  • Yeshiva University

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • University of Connecticut

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Storrs
  • Washington University in St Louis

    Campus Locations:

    • Missouri: Saint Louis