Earning your Ph.D. in Human Services can prepare you to address the needs of diverse and underserved populations, including those struggling with illness, addiction, violence, and poverty.

This program combines action-oriented research with practical experience and connects you with a community of professionals so that you may improve the quality of life and change the world of others through effective policy and practice.

You are eligible to enroll in the Ph.D. in Human Services program with either a master’s or bachelor’s degree. Students enrolling with a bachelor’s degree can also earn an M.S. in Human Services as they work toward their doctorate. Students entering the program with a master’s degree may be able to transfer previously earned credits into this doctoral program.

Check with one of our enrollment advisors for details—and start changing your world.

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  • "Walden will inspire you to do something that will impact your world." - Mark Maxwell

  • Getting Recognition for Your Research

    Tony Cappello, Ph.D.A Walden Ph.D. in Public Health graduate offers advice about how doctoral students can gain more exposure for their research.

    View this article

  • Speak with Our Faculty

    Talk directly to School of Counseling and Social Service faculty about what it’s like to earn your degree at Walden.

    Learn More

  • Tau Upsilon Alpha

    Learn more about the Walden chapter of Tau Upsilon Alpha, the national human services honor society that recognizes students for their integrity, academic excellence, and dedication to empowering people through education and service.

    Learn More

  • How do I Choose the Right Degree?

    Psychology and counseling career guide cover.

    Download Walden’s interactive career guide to find the counseling or psychology program that aligns best with your professional goals.

  • Curriculum

  • Tuition and Fees

  • Highlights

  • Learning Outcomes

  • Learn More

Walden’s Ph.D. in Human Services program offers a General Program plus a variety of specializations to help you meet your personal and professional goals.


Accelerated Path to Your Ph.D.
If you hold a master’s degree in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology, you have an opportunity to shorten your path to the Ph.D. in Human Services and earn your degree faster. Call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 to learn more.


Find out more about the Ph.D. in Human Services now.  Request Information

General Program

Create your own learning experience through the General Program. You have the flexibility to design a program that may include courses on criminal justice, clinical studies, or child and family services. Explore the topics that interest you most and that closely match your personal and professional goals. To complete the program, choose any three courses from among the Ph.D. in Human Services degree program’s specialization courses.

Completion Requirements

  • 112 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Core courses (60 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Advanced Research Course (4 cr.)
    • Elective courses (15 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

The Advanced Customized option gives you a unique way to meet the coursework requirements in this program. Gain a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest and benefit from an independent, self-directed learning experience under the guidance of a mentor. Learn more.

Accelerated Path to Your Ph.D.
If you hold a master’s degree in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology, you have an opportunity to shorten your path to the Ph.D. in Human Services and earn your degree faster. Call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 to learn more.

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at
1-866-492-5336.

Courses

Elective courses may be any 5-credit graduate-level course.

Clinical Social Work

Advance your knowledge of social work theory, policy, and practice with a doctoral specialization in Clinical Social Work. Study the leadership skills necessary to design and implement more effective policies that provide culturally and contextually relevant services to those in need. You can gain valuable experience conducting research from both macro and micro perspectives in an effort to inform best practices in your field. This specialization focuses on outreach and advocacy practices in addition to clinical applications.

Completion Requirements

  • 112 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Core courses (60 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Advanced Research Course (4 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

The Advanced Customized option gives you a unique way to meet the coursework requirements in this specialization. Gain a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest and benefit from an independent, self-directed learning experience under the guidance of a mentor. Learn more.

Accelerated Path to Your Ph.D.
If you hold a master’s degree in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology, you have an opportunity to shorten your path to the Ph.D. in Human Services and earn your degree faster. Call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 to learn more.

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at
1-866-492-5336.

Courses

 

Criminal Justice

Designed for professionals involved in all aspects of public safety, including law enforcement and rehabilitation, you will examine the factors that contribute to criminal behavior, such as urban decay, substance abuse, and poverty. Explore the use of traditional forms of intervention, such as individual and group psychotherapy, as well as recent developments in intervention, including restorative justice as it relates to both criminals and the victims of crimes. You can gain greater insight into the problems facing the criminal justice system and how you can begin to address these challenges.

Completion Requirements

  • 112 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Core courses (60 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Advanced Research Course (4 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

The Advanced Customized option gives you a unique way to meet the coursework requirements in this specialization. Gain a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest and benefit from an independent, self-directed learning experience under the guidance of a mentor. Learn more.

Accelerated Path to Your Ph.D.
If you hold a master’s degree in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology, you have an opportunity to shorten your path to the Ph.D. in Human Services and earn your degree faster. Call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 to learn more.

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at
1-866-492-5336.

Courses

Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention

Examine the theory and strategies to respond to the initial basic needs of a community in an emergency situation and how to assist victims and their caregivers after the initial crisis has passed. Through this specialization, you can study the skills and practices specific to crisis counseling, including theories of crisis intervention and models for working with different populations. Examine the actions and behaviors that follow a disaster; learn how to address stress, coping, and adjustment difficulties; and study psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Explore a crisis at the community and regional levels and gain experience designing a crisis plan to prepare for future emergencies. This specialization also addresses the psychology and impact of terrorism on communities.

Completion Requirements

  • 112 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Core courses (60 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Advanced Research Course (4 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

The Advanced Customized option gives you a unique way to meet the coursework requirements in this specialization. Gain a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest and benefit from an independent, self-directed learning experience under the guidance of a mentor. Learn more.

Accelerated Path to Your Ph.D.
If you hold a master’s degree in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology, you have an opportunity to shorten your path to the Ph.D. in Human Services and earn your degree faster. Call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 to learn more.

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at
1-866-492-5336.

Courses

Family Studies and Intervention Strategies

The Family Studies and Intervention Strategies specialization provides students with an understanding of the utilization of advanced clinical theory and research methodology within a unique, client-centered ecological context. Students are exposed to a broad spectrum of theoretical and clinical approaches to intervention, which emphasize the special needs of ethnic and racial minorities, gay and lesbian individuals, and single-parent and low-income families. Graduates are particularly skilled at developing multimodal therapeutic approaches and recognizing special treatment considerations within a diverse client delivery system.

Completion Requirements

  • 112 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Core courses (60 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Advanced Research Course (4 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

The Advanced Customized option gives you a unique way to meet the coursework requirements in this specialization. Gain a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest and benefit from an independent, self-directed learning experience under the guidance of a mentor. Learn more.

Accelerated Path to Your Ph.D.
If you hold a master’s degree in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology, you have an opportunity to shorten your path to the Ph.D. in Human Services and earn your degree faster. Call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 to learn more.

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at
1-866-492-5336.

Courses

 

 

Human Services Administration

The Human Services Administration specialization focuses on the study of the theoretical foundations of organizational behavior and the practice of management and planning. Topics for inquiry include leadership, program development and implementation, creating and sustaining inter-organizational and community relations, and staff development and training. Students are taught to assess the effectiveness of the internal and systemic efforts of community-based human services organizations and, as a result, provide managers and direct-line staff with more effective strategies for improving the well-being of the diverse individuals and groups they serve.

Completion Requirements

  • 112 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Core courses (60 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Advanced Research Course (4 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

The Advanced Customized option gives you a unique way to meet the coursework requirements in this specialization. Gain a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest and benefit from an independent, self-directed learning experience under the guidance of a mentor. Learn more.

Accelerated Path to Your Ph.D.
If you hold a master’s degree in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology, you have an opportunity to shorten your path to the Ph.D. in Human Services and earn your degree faster. Call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 to learn more.

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at
1-866-492-5336.

Courses

Military Families and Culture

Members of the armed forces face a variety of challenges, both during their service and after they have fulfilled their duties. In this specialization, you’ll explore the topics of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and vicarious trauma and learn about the emotional impact of parent-child separation, frequent family relocations, extensive deployments, and other issues experienced by military families. You can gain the knowledge and insights needed to address the unique needs of military personnel, veterans, and their loved ones as they deal with the challenges inherent in military life.

Completion Requirements

  • 112 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Core courses (60 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Advanced Research Course (4 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

The Advanced Customized option gives you a unique way to meet the coursework requirements in this specialization. Gain a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest and benefit from an independent, self-directed learning experience under the guidance of a mentor. Learn more.

Accelerated Path to Your Ph.D.
If you hold a master’s degree in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology, you have an opportunity to shorten your path to the Ph.D. in Human Services and earn your degree faster. Call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 to learn more.

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at
1-866-492-5336.

Courses

Public Health

Address the critical public health issues impacting communities today and explore the role that health promotion plays in creating positive social change. Engage in an epidemiological approach to the study of disease and injury in populations, and apply this study to the control of public health problems. Examine the social, behavioral, and cultural factors that impact public health, and explore the chemical, physical, and biological hazards that can affect the health and safety of a community. You can gain the key strategies needed for effectively organizing and conducting population-based disease prevention and health promotion programs.

Completion Requirements

  • 112 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Core courses (60 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Advanced Research Course (4 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

The Advanced Customized option gives you a unique way to meet the coursework requirements in this specialization. Gain a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest and benefit from an independent, self-directed learning experience under the guidance of a mentor. Learn more.

Accelerated Path to Your Ph.D.
If you hold a master’s degree in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology, you have an opportunity to shorten your path to the Ph.D. in Human Services and earn your degree faster. Call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 to learn more.

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at
1-866-492-5336.

Courses

Social Policy Analysis and Planning

Impact and inform public policy and advance the greater good by identifying community needs and working with key stakeholders on issues affecting the health and welfare of a community. Study how to analyze existing policy and investigate the key economic and legal factors that influence decision making. Explore strategies behind successfully collaborating and coordinating with legislators, lobbyists, and others to create informed policy and sustainable change.

Completion Requirements

  • 112 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (1 cr.)
    • Core courses (60 cr.)
    • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
    • Foundation Research Sequence (12 cr.)
    • Advanced Research Course (4 cr.)
    • Dissertation (20 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan
  • Four Ph.D. residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

The Advanced Customized option gives you a unique way to meet the coursework requirements in this specialization. Gain a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest and benefit from an independent, self-directed learning experience under the guidance of a mentor. Learn more.

Accelerated Path to Your Ph.D.
If you hold a master’s degree in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology, you have an opportunity to shorten your path to the Ph.D. in Human Services and earn your degree faster. Call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 to learn more.

Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at
1-866-492-5336.

Courses

 

 

Curriculum Component Requirements  Cost  Total* 
Tuition 112 total quarter credit hours  $550 per quarter hour $61,600
Books and Materials Estimated costs Included in tuition $0
Residency Fee Four 4-day residencies
(Residency 2 and Residency 4 may be virtual)
$1,160 each (travel, lodging, and other expenses are additional)
Virtual: $1,260 each
$4,640
Technology Fee  Per quarter $120 $2,640
    Total $68,880
    Transfer up to 56 credits  $32,120
    Total with Maximum Transfer Credits $36,760

*Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336.

Maximum transfer credit total includes reduction in technology fee as related to reduced number of courses over time.

*Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Call 1-866-492-5336 for information about a full range of options for:

Apply credits to your Ph.D. in Human Services

As a student in Walden’s Ph.D. in Human Services program, you can choose when, where, and how you learn thanks to our online format and MobileLearn®. Through this education technology, you can listen to coursework on your MP3 player, access your classroom from your iPhone, download coursework to your laptop, and more.

Find out more about what defines Walden’s Ph.D. in Human Services program:

Advanced Customized Option

Available exclusively in our Ph.D. in Human Services program, the Advanced Customized option gives you the flexibility to tailor your coursework to your career objectives and personal interests. Under the guidance of a mentor, you can:

  • Gain a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest.
  • Benefit from a uniquely independent, self-directed learning experience.
  • Practice your scholarly writing and prepare for your dissertation.

The Advanced Customized option is a new way to meet the requirements for all specializations in the Ph.D. in Human Services program. It consists of one prescribed course and two quarters of independent study. If you choose a specialization in the Ph.D. in Human Services program (e.g., Family Studies and Interventions), you will take one specified course in that area and then move on to independent study. If you choose the General Program, you will take one graduate-level course of your choosing before continuing on to independent study.

This program option is only available to qualified students who meet select criteria as they progress in their program. To qualify:

  • You must have completed at least 30 quarter hours in Walden’s Ph.D. in Human Services program.
  • You must have a cumulative Walden GPA of at least 3.5 at the time of application.
  • You must have a Walden faculty member submit a letter (or email) of recommendation that addresses the quality of your writing as well as your ability to work independently.

If you are interested in the Advanced Customized option, you can discuss the application process with your academic advisor.

Getting Recognition for Your Research

A Walden Ph.D. in Public Health graduate offers advice about how doctoral students can gain more exposure for their research.

View this article

At the end of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Analyze theories, models, historical foundations, and conceptual frameworks related to the profession of Human Services through a process of scholarly inquiry.
  2. Appropriately apply ethical, social, multicultural, diversity, and political considerations to scholarly inquiry and professional practice.
  3. Evaluate qualitative, quantitative, and/or mixed methods research published in professional journals, textbooks, and other scholarly resources.
  4. Appropriately apply principles of quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods to research design.
  5. Appropriately apply social change theories to human services practice and research.
  6. Evaluate social systems and organizational theories related to human services research and practice.

For assistance in deciding which specialization fits your goals, request information or speak with an enrollment advisor by calling 1-866-492-5336. A list of international toll-free phone numbers is available for students outside the United States.