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Earn your online Human Capital degree from Southern Miss!

Human Capital Development PhD – Executive Format
Program Overview

You know you are ready to make critical decisions about human capital investments, and you are ready to take your career to the next level. The Human Capital Development doctoral program from Online at Southern Miss focuses on development through the transfer of research. This convenient and affordable hybrid online degree program draws on real-world experiences and encourages professionals to engage in research meaningful to their organization.


This flexible delivery format combines 3-to-5 day and face-to-face courses with web-based instruction. Faculty and industry experts facilitate a think-tank learning environment where creativity flourishes and students engage with the brightest minds in human capital development.  This is your life, plus college.



The minimum standards for regular admission include:

  • An applicant must hold a master’s degree from an institution approved by a recognized accrediting agency.
  • The applicant must be eligible to re-enter in good standing the last college or university attended.
  • An applicant must present evidence, by official transcript, of a grade point average of at least 3.5 (figured on an A equals 4.0 scale) for the last two years of undergraduate study.
  • An applicant must have at least three (3) letters of recommendation from persons qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study.
  • An applicant must submit test scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).
  • Applicant must submit proof of immunization for two MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccinations.
  • An applicant whose native language is not English must achieve a TOEFL score of 575 or more.

In exceptional cases, students may be admitted conditionally.  In such instance, students must earn a 3.0 on the first (9) semester hours of coursework in order to qualify for regular admission. The department chair and college dean must approve the recommendation of conditional admission.

Southern Miss Graduate Studies
Graduate Admissions
118 College Dr. #10066
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001

Submit the following to the Office of Graduate Studies via the online Graduate School Admissions portal: 

  • Completed application form
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Official report of GRE test scores Immunization Record
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Current resume
  • Statement of Qualifications, Goals, and Career Objectives
    • This statement is an important part of the application portfolio. Applicants should use the title, “Statement of Qualifications, Goals, and Career Objectives,” with name and the degree you are applying for in the upper right corner.
    • The statement should address the following: reasons this graduate program was chosen, how the applicant plans to relate the specialty area to his or her education and experience, expected career benefits from this program, and any other matters that should be taken into consideration. Minimum of five pages double-spaced.

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

A minimum of fifty-four (54) graduate hours beyond the master’s degree with a 3.0 is required to graduate. Students must meet the general requirements set forth by the Graduate School of The University of Southern Mississippi. Additional requirements include the satisfactory completion of a written comprehensive examination, and the satisfactory completion and oral defense of an original research dissertation. Coursework for the Human Capital Development Ph.D. program includes the completion of a General Core (12 semester hours), Research Core (27 semester hours), and Research Concentration (15 semester hours).

Frequently Asked Questions

For pricing information, click here.  For financial aid information, click here.  For detailed tuition information, click here.

Yes. All students must take the GRE or GMAT and have recent scores (less than 10 years old) sent to The University of Southern Mississippi. 

The successful completion of 54 semester hours beyond a Master’s degree is required. This consists of a General Core (12 semester hours), Research Core (27 semester hours), and Student Research Concentration (15 semester hours).

Many of our students enroll full time while working, but the program is a big commitment. The courses are more demanding than undergraduate-level courses.


Upon completion of the program, you will earn a Doctorate of Philosophy in Human Capital Development degree.


May I start the program if I am not in a human capital development-related career?

Yes. Many of our students are not yet in the field, but are looking to gain knowledge and skills to become more marketable in a new career path.

Is it possible to complete any courses without visiting the University of Southern Mississippi campus?

Yes. This program is in executive format, which means you can complete some of your degree requirements by participating in online courses. Other courses will be completed through a combination of online interaction with other students and the instructor, and weekend, in-person class meetings. However, it is not possible to complete the entire program without visiting the Southern Miss Gulf Coast campus.

What is the HCD "Executive Format"?

Executive format is designed for professionals who want to be leaders in today’s training and development world by training students in the use of the latest tools and methodologies. This format is structured to accommodate the lifestyle demands of a professional. The program includes the full course load of a traditional graduate degree program. However, some classes are scheduled in a flexible format of online delivery, while other classes combine online interaction with in-person, weekend meetings.

Do you accept transfer credit?

Yes. We accept up to 6 semester hours of graduate credit from other accredited institutions. However, a total sum of no more than 9 semester hours of transfer work and non-degree work may be applied toward a degree.


Do you give credit for work/life experience?


How quickly can I complete the degree program?

How quickly you complete the degree program depends on many factors. The shortest completion time possible for coursework is about 18 months.  The dissertation process takes, at minimum, one year.

Is Financial Aid available?

The Financial Aid Office determines individual eligibility. Contact Financial Aid for more information:

What other online degrees are offered by Online at Southern Miss?

Please visit our programs page here: