With a 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 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 With your Walden’s PhD in Human and Social Services degree program 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.

Earn Your PhD Faster

If you hold a master’s degree in a related field, you may be eligible to apply previously earned credits toward a PhD in Human and Social Services, significantly reducing your time to completion and total cost.*

If you are a highly motivated student with discipline and a flexible schedule, you may also be eligible to choose the Fast-Track Option, allowing you to earn your degree more quickly by taking additional courses per term. Contact your enrollment advisor at 1-866-492-5336 for details.

Find detailed information for this program, including possible occupations, completion rate, program costs, and median student loan debt.

*The number of credits eligible for transfer from a Walden or other accredited university master’s degree may vary depending upon the date the master’s degree was completed.


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.


Walden Facts


Almost 95% of Walden alumni responding to our survey say that their program helped them to advance positive social change.*


More than half of Walden doctoral graduates who responded to our survey say their degree contributed to earning a pay raise.*

Source: www.WaldenU.edu/survey_methodology; % calculated on total number of respondents to our 2014 survey.


Brian Feely

Brian Feely

PhD in Human Services Student
The amount of support, resources, and assistance available to students is phenomenal.
Since completing my degree, I am proud of writing and publishing my first children’s book.
With the help of my PhD, I would like to continue my endeavors in the human services field as a leader who will not stop at the promotion of positive social change in my neighborhood and beyond.
Kahla D. LaPlante PhD in Health Services Student
Kahla LaPlante
Mildred Peyton PhD in Human Services Graduate
Mildred Peyton
Tomica Buford PhD in Human Services Student
Tomica Buford
Man researching online education on laptop
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