With an online PhD in Human and Social Services from Walden, you can be a leader in effecting change and addressing the needs of those struggling with illness, addiction, violence, and poverty.

There is a strong global need for human and social services professionals in government and nongovernmental organizations. Underserved populations across the world require a range of human and social services such as healthcare, social work, financial aid, criminal justice, food aid, education, and housing.

As a professional in human and social services, you are committed to empowering your community. Through our online PhD in Human and Social Services degree program, you can deepen and broaden your ability to help others around the world live more productive, fulfilling, and independent lives.

The PhD in Human and Social Services program empowers you to promote positive change through effective policy and practice in a global context. Coursework emphasizes a holistic, interprofessional approach to human and social services, preparing you to help individuals, families, organizations, and communities navigate the social support systems and identify other professionals available to assist them.

Acquire the Professional Skills You Need

When you earn your PhD in Human and Social Services from Walden, you can:

  • Choose from two tracks, which are designed to align with your academic background.
  • Choose from the General Program or 14 career-focused specializations that reflect trends in the profession and support your interests.
  • Gain skills you can apply immediately, including cross-agency collaboration, professional networking, policy implementation, and global leadership competencies.
  • Broaden your international understanding of the field with global content and case studies. The program also offers a Global Social Services specialization.
  •  Engage with Interactive Learning Community, a learning tool that brings concepts to life through simulations and animated case studies.
  • Focus on professional skills such as grant writing and the development of an ePortfolio that reflects your student experience and helps you plan for future career growth.
  • Benefit from mentor guidance. Available exclusively in our PhD in Human Services program, the Advanced Customized option gives you the flexibility to tailor your coursework to your career objectives and personal interests.
  • Residencies: Four academic residencies that support your progress at key points in your doctoral journey. Residencies also strengthen your scholarly and professional connections.

Learning Outcomes

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.

Save Time and Money on Your Degree

  • You can automatically reduce your required PhD in Human and Social Services credits and coursework if you have completed your Master of Science in Human and Social Services or related degree. Reducing required credits in your program will make your education more affordable.
  • You can also complete your required PhD in Human and Social Services coursework sooner by transferring your applicable credits.

Find detailed information for this program including possible occupations, completion rate, program costs, and median student loan debt. This information will vary depending on whether you (1) hold a master's degree in either human services, counseling, social work, or psychology or (2) hold a bachelor’s degree (in any field of study) or a master’s degree in a non-related field of study (any discipline other than human services, counseling, social work, or psychology).


Earn Your PhD While Balancing Priorities

At Walden we understand that you likely work full time and may care for children or other family members. Explore our support services  designed to help you balance family commitments with your work and school responsibilities. We’re all in it together.

Note: Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic, such as tuition and fee increases; transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for the doctoral study/dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities, or health issues; leaves of absence; or other personal circumstances.
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