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Drive Social Change With a Doctor of Human Services From Walden

Do you want to deepen your impact as a social problem-solver? Expand your knowledge and elevate your influence with Walden’s Doctor of Human Services program. Our practitioner-focused curriculum is designed to help you effect meaningful change in the field through direct practice, advocacy, or policy.

In this online Doctor of Human Services program, you’ll gain the expertise to help organizations move the needle on complex social issues. Focus your studies through two specializations and complete a capstone project on a topic you’re passionate about. Graduate from your program feeling energized, confident, and ready to make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

A Doctor of Human Services degree prepares human services professionals to address social problems through evidence-based advocacy and program evaluation.

Kick-Start Your Capstone

Through our Communities of Practice experience, you’ll start on your capstone project early in your program.

Personalize Your Path

Focus your studies with one of two relevant specializations that prepare you for leadership roles in your area of interest.

Build Your Confidence

Through immersive, hands-on content, you’ll gain greater self-assurance by practicing the skills and tools you’ll use out in the field.

Master Networking Skills

Explore networking best practices and build a professional portfolio with the Human Services Hub in Walden’s Career Center.

Program Savings

Receive up to a $5,000 Grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 29, 2021. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

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Leadership and Program Evaluation in Human Services Organizations

Explore how to effectively lead human services organizations and strategically evaluate programs to optimize outcomes.

Prevention, Intervention, and Advocacy

Focus on direct service and finding ways to support people, including advocating for new approaches to solve social problems.

Admission Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A master’s degree or higher. 

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.

Your Doctoral Journey

At Walden, we’ll guide you every step of the way with a comprehensive suite of support resources designed to help you confidently pursue the finish line, including our Doctoral Degree CoachTM. Since being founded in 1970 for working professionals who want to make a difference, our university has grown to become the No. 1 granter of doctoral research degrees in the U.S.1 Are you ready to reach a higher level in your field?


Advance as a Leader and Practitioner

Walden’s Doctor of Human Services program is designed to help you become a next-level practitioner and hands-on problem-solver. Expand your understanding of human services leadership, professional practice, research, and ethics. Gain actionable skills and tools relevant to running organizations, leading programs, consulting in applied research, and advocating for social justice issues.

To ensure our students are prepared for today’s human services field, coursework in this program is aligned with professional standards set forth by the Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE).

Start on Your Capstone Early

Walden’s Doctor of Human Services program includes our exclusive Communities of Practice experience. In these five companion courses, you’ll be introduced to the doctoral journey through a supportive, cohort-style approach led by a faculty advisor. Choose a research topic that aligns with your passion and learn how to use course assignments to build your knowledge and literature base. Develop key doctoral competencies that give you greater confidence and comfort in your capstone preparation.

During these courses, you will also learn how to:

  • Navigate Walden’s tracking and support systems, classrooms, and doctoral forms.
  • Develop a plan of study and create timelines.
  • Differentiate between scientific study and advocacy.
  • Improve your critical thinking, research, and scholarly writing skills.
  • Complete a prospectus form.

Use Immersive Learning Technologies

Walden’s online Doctor of Human Services program includes simulation technologies and other approaches to bring course content to life. Master critical skills in a safe and supportive environment. Build confidence as a human services practitioner-scholar while learning how to apply your new knowledge and competencies to your current job and future roles. You’ll have the opportunity to engage with tools such as:

  • Theravue, which uses virtual-simulation videos to help you practice intake interviews, educational sessions, and working with clients and community members.
  • Hart City, a virtual city that allows you to visit different locations, find resources, and complete assignments using these resources. See perspectives of different agencies and populations as well as the bigger picture of how it’s all connected.

Learn How to Make Change Happen

One of the central themes of Walden’s online Doctor of Human Services program is force field analysis, which involves exploring the forces working for and against achieving the ideal resolution to a problem. Through force field analysis, our courses empower you to identify the factors that stand in the way of positive social change—and those that support it. You’ll learn how to minimize opposing forces while increasing the favorable forces that make change more likely and more sustainable.

Meet Your Academic Team

  • William Barkley

    Bill Barkley


    With Walden since 1998, Dr. Barkley has been a full-time core faculty member in the online PhD in Human Services program since 2011. He was on the faculty of Vanderbilt University in the Human Development Counseling and Community Development and Action graduate programs for 30 years.

  • Kristin Faix Wilkinson

    Program Director

    Dr. Faix Wilkinson holds certification as a Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner (HS-BCP). She began her 20-year human services career in vocational rehabilitation as a program specialist and working with children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

  • Barbara Benoliel

    Barbara Benoliel

    Core Faculty

    Dr. Benoliel, who has been with Walden since 2007, is a certified mediator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) who practices in both civil and criminal dispute resolution. Her primary areas of research are in disputes related to human rights and interfaces with justice systems.

Learning Outcomes

  • Assess the needs of clients accessing human services programs using a variety of evidence-supported approaches.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the human service programs using a variety of evidence-supported approaches.
  • Develop strategies for working collaboratively with interdisciplinary teams of professionals to deliver support services to diverse populations.
  • Design research that contributes to positive social change related to human services.
  • Advocate for the needs of diverse populations in order to promote positive social change.
  • Develop an advanced human services practitioner professional identity.

Career Preparation

With a Doctor of Human Services degree, you can pursue opportunities as a human services leader, researcher, or educator. Open the door to new career possibilities in settings such as universities, hospitals, government agencies, and social assistance organizations.

Whether you’re looking to teach in academia or start your own nonprofit agency, Walden supports your goals through the Human Services Hub of our Career Center. Build a professional portfolio that you can show to potential employers as evidence of your capabilities. Learn about high-impact networking as well as job search best practices that can help you propel your career and ambitions forward.

Employment in community and social service occupations is projected to grow


through 2029.1
Walden is the


granter of doctoral research degrees.2

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