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Reach Your Potential as a Human Services Leader

In this Doctor of Human Services specialization, you’ll develop the skills you need to achieve your career goals, including leading a human services agency or nonprofit organization in a senior management role. Courses in this program also focus on providing evidence to support human services programs, including assessing local needs and evaluating program outcomes. The capstone project for this Doctor of Human Services specialization involves conducting research for the development of program evaluation in the field .

Focus on Leadership

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

Start Your Capstone Early

Through our Communities of Practice experience, you’ll start moving forward on your capstone project at the beginning of your program.

Learn by Doing

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

Build Vital Career Skills

Learn networking best practices and create a professional portfolio with the Human Services Hub of Walden’s Career Center.

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Curriculum

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • 68 quarter credits
  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Foundation course (3 cr.)
  • Core courses (30 cr.)
  • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
  • Completion of the Doctoral Capstone
    • Communities of Practice and Research (CPR) courses (5 cr.; continuously enrolled in 1 cr. per term for a minimum of 5 terms until CPR completion)
    • Capstone writing courses (continuous enrollment in 5 cr. per term for a minimum of 3 terms until completion) 

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

Students are continuously enrolled in HUMN 9100D for a minimum of 3 quarters until completion of their doctoral capstone with final Chief Academic Officer (CAO) approval.

To complete a doctoral capstone writing project, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Doctoral Capstone/Dissertation Guidebook.

Courses

Course Code Title Credits
HUMN 8001D
Keys to Doctoral Studies Success

As leaders, advanced human services professional practitioners can inhabit many roles: generalist, planner, advanced case manager, advocate, humanitarian, and outreach worker. Throughout this course, students try on these roles in response to authentic human services scenarios in settings within a fictional community. In each scenario, they observe advanced human services professional practitioners applying role-specific strategies, approaches, and theories to help service users. Students also assess their current knowledge, skills, and abilities in relation to each role, as well as the values and experiences they bring to the profession. By the end of the course, students develop and refine a professional identity statement as a leader in the human services profession and examine self-care strategies relevant to the work of an advanced human services professional practitioner.

(3 cr.)
HUMN 8206D
The World of Human Services: Reimagined

As human and social problems increase across the globe, human services professional practitioners must be prepared to work in a variety of fields with many different populations. In this course, students examine their own calling to be a human services professional practitioner and connect their passion to leading positive social change. Students explore the value of human services and the challenges that professional practitioners face in the field today. The course covers human services ethics of professional practice, along with key skills every human services professional practitioner must master to be prepared to work anywhere in the world. Course content exposes new concepts and trends in human services, and students analyze and propose reimagined practices in some areas, including interviewing, assessment, and referral; understanding and applying research in the field; the role of program evaluations; interprofessional networking; and transnational practice.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 9001D
Communities of Practice and Research 1

This course is the first part of the capstone journey. The community created here becomes part of the student's program for five quarters, and the goal is to prepare for the dissertation study—the culminating work in the program. In this community classroom, students meet their doctoral mentor and other students. They discuss ideas related to applied research, writing, and project planning. As a human services professional practitioner at the doctoral level, students are preparing to be leaders in applying research to practice in the field. This community of practice and research can prepare students to develop an applied study in a human services area important to them. Students become familiar with Walden's resources that support human services field research development, strategies to organize research, research methods and resources, and finding a research question for their study. In the fifth quarter, students draft their prospectus in preparation to conduct their study.

Note: Students are continuously registered in the Communities of Practice and Research course (1–5) for five terms.

(1 cr.)
HUMN 8304D
Data as Evidence

Human services professional practitioners use statistics in a variety of professional undertakings, such as creating studies to assess human behavior or deciding which programs are most effective for meeting clients' needs. Students in this course study basic descriptive and inferential statistical methods commonly used in the social sciences, and they work toward developing the skills to write, analyze, and critique social science research. Students explore various methods, including computation and analysis of frequency distributions, measures of central tendency, and statistical hypothesis testing. Students also examine statistical tests (and underlying assumptions), including z-score; single-sample, independent-sample, and related-sample t tests; analysis of variance; correlation; regression; and chi-square tests. This course also provides an introduction to the SPSS statistical software package.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 8210D
Management and Leadership in Human Services

Public and nonprofit leaders in all areas of public administration require a thorough understanding of the expectations of their roles as leaders and managers of diverse and complex organizations. Students use theoretical and applied perspectives from which they study the intricacies of these roles, including the distinction between leadership and management, organizational culture, change management, systems theories, and organizational development. Students gain a practical understanding of these topics through the application of principles and concepts to public and nonprofit organizational settings in different cultures and societies depicted in case studies, a virtual city environment, and through relevant material provided by students themselves. Students will also explore how to promote inter-professional collaboration within and among organizations.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 9002D
Communities of Practice and Research 2

This course is the next part of the capstone journey. The community created here becomes part of the student's program for five quarters, and the goal is to prepare for the dissertation study—the culminating work in the program. In this community classroom, students meet their doctoral mentor and other students. They discuss ideas related to applied research, writing, and project planning. As a human services professional practitioner at the doctoral level, students are preparing to be leaders in applying research to practice in the field. This community of practice and research can prepare students to develop an applied study in a human services area important to them. Students become familiar with Walden's resources that support human services field research development, strategies to organize research, research methods and resources, and finding a research question for their study. In the fifth quarter, students draft their prospectus in preparation to conduct their study.

Prerequisites

  • HUMN 9001A or HUMN 9001D

Note: Students are continuously registered in the Communities of Practice and Research course (1–5) for five terms.

(1 cr.)
HUMN 8243D
Push and Pull of Understanding Human Services Problems: Force Field Analysis

[Under development]

Prerequisites

  • HUMN 8206D or HUMN 8206

(5 cr.)
HUMN 8244D
Champions for Change: Action Research for Advocacy

Human Services professional practitioners and leaders often participate in advocacy on behalf of the needs of a group, a community, or a population. Action research is a form of collaborative inquiry, with the full participation of members of the group to collect and analyze the information needed to support advocacy, which creates positive social change. In this course, students evaluate action research as a tool used for advocacy in human services. Using an example of action research, students analyze and evaluate the planning process, data collection, and use the findings to create a communication to stakeholders and other audiences as a method of advocacy. Students also consider how to include action research in their doctoral capstone project.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 9003D
Communities of Practice and Research 3

This course is the next part of the capstone journey. The community created here becomes part of the student's program for five quarters, and the goal is to prepare for the dissertation study—the culminating work in the program. In this community classroom, students meet their doctoral mentor and other students. They discuss ideas related to applied research, writing, and project planning. As a human services professional practitioner at the doctoral level, students are preparing to be leaders in applying research to practice in the field. This community of practice and research can prepare students to develop an applied study in a human services area important to them. Students become familiar with Walden's resources that support human services field research development, strategies to organize research, research methods and resources, and finding a research question for their study. In the fifth quarter, students draft their prospectus in preparation to conduct their study.

Prerequisites

  • HUMN 9002A or HUMN 9002D

Note: Students are continuously registered in the Communities of Practice and Research course (1–5) for five terms.

(1 cr.)
HUMN 8237D
Advanced Program Evaluation

Doctoral level practitioners are often called upon to conduct rigorous evaluations of programs and the results of their evaluations often determine the fate of the programs they evaluate and the clients served by those programs. Therefore, it is important that students learn how to conduct both formative and summative evaluations and how to evaluate the fidelity of program implementation prior to evaluating program outcomes. In this way, program evaluation also tests the theory or logic model on which the program is based. Students will use hands-on activities to develop their ability to develop evaluation plans, provide constructive critical critiques of other students' projects, and accept constructive, critical feedback from others. They will also connect with other professionals engaged in evaluation research through various professional forums (e.g., listservs, blogs, and professional associations). In addition, they will explore how the process, pressures, and outcomes of evaluation research could differ in a different culture and across different professions.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 8651D
Board Governance and Volunteer Management

Volunteers are the lifeblood of many nonprofit organizations. These organizations rely heavily on their volunteer board of directors to govern and guide them toward their mission. The success of nonprofit organizations is largely dependent on the effective management of program volunteers and board members. This course explores the volunteer management process, including volunteer recruitment, orientation, training, supervision, and evaluation, with an emphasis on creating and maintaining an effective board of directors. Students design a board development or volunteer management plan based on the concept paper they developed in the Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector course.

(5 cr.)
OR
HUMN 8339D
Holding Up the Mirror: Understanding Different Cultures and Increasing Global Consciousness

Professionals in all areas of public policy and administration work with individuals and organizations of different cultures on a daily basis; therefore, global consciousness is vital to effective communication and interaction in the field. In this course, students explore and analyze the cultural values and styles of communication, reasoning, and leadership unique to their home culture. Students apply these concepts to better understand the people, values, and policies of other cultures. They also identify and become familiar with challenges that American nonprofit organizations face as they work internationally or cross-culturally within the United States. Sharpening critical-thinking skills, students research and assess an organization within their own community that has international links; through this assessment, students gain further awareness of different cultures and the importance of cross-cultural ties.

Prerequisites

  • A course or direct experience in nonprofit management is strongly advised.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 9004D
Communities of Practice and Research 4

This course is the next part of the capstone journey. The community created here becomes part of the student's program for five quarters, and the goal is to prepare for the dissertation study—the culminating work in the program. In this community classroom, students meet their doctoral mentor and other students. They discuss ideas related to applied research, writing, and project planning. As a human services professional practitioner at the doctoral level, students are preparing to be leaders in applying research to practice in the field. This community of practice and research can prepare students to develop an applied study in a human services area important to them. Students become familiar with Walden's resources that support human services field research development, strategies to organize research, research methods and resources, and finding a research question for their study. In the fifth quarter, students draft their prospectus in preparation to conduct their study.

Prerequisites

  • HUMN 9003A or HUMN 9003D

Note: Students are continuously registered in the Communities of Practice and Research course (1–5) for five terms.

(1 cr.)
HUMN 8207D
Grant Writing

Grant writing is a highly marketable skill that requires many non-profit, educational and community organizations to secure external funding in order to provide needed services to the community. In this course, students will explore the basic skills needed for non-research grant writing including identifying potential funding sources, creating objectives and a need statement, preparing and justifying a budget, identifying appropriate assessment plans, and writing an executive summary. Course assignments will allow students to directly apply what they are reading and discussing by writing a full grant proposal based on an actual request for proposal (RFP).

(5 cr.)
HUMN 8211D
Consulting to Human Services Organizations

Leaders of human services organizations may seek consultants to support organizational planning, funding, or program evaluation. In this course, students explore consultation practices that will help build relationships with human services organizations and be an effective consultant. Students address specific consulting situations including vision and mission statement development, grant funding, project plans, data collection, and reporting. In this course, students participate in a simulated initial interview with a human services organization leader. The application project includes a project plan outline and engagement letter.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 9005D
Communities of Practice and Research 5

This course is the next part of the capstone journey. The community created here becomes part of the student's program for five quarters, and the goal is to prepare for the dissertation study—the culminating work in the program. In this community classroom, students meet their doctoral mentor and other students. They discuss ideas related to applied research, writing, and project planning. As a human services professional practitioner at the doctoral level, students are preparing to be leaders in applying research to practice in the field. This community of practice and research can prepare students to develop an applied study in a human services area important to them. Students become familiar with Walden's resources that support human services field research development, strategies to organize research, research methods and resources, and finding a research question for their study. In the fifth quarter, students draft their prospectus in preparation to conduct their study.

Note: Students are continuously registered in the Communities of Practice and Research course (1–5) for five terms.

(1 cr.)
HUMN 9100D
Capstone: Leadership and Program Evaluation

[Under development]

Prerequisites

  • All coursework including Communities of Practice and Research courses must be completed.

(5 cr.)
VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses

Students are continuously enrolled in HUMN 9100D for a minimum of 3 quarters until completion of their dissertation with final Chief Academic Officer (CAO) approval.

To complete a doctoral capstone writing project, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.

Eight-Year Maximum Time Frame
Students have up to eight years to complete their doctoral degree requirements. See the policy in the Walden University Student Handbook. Students may petition to extend the eight-year maximum time frame, but an extension is not guaranteed.

Note on Licensure: The Doctor of Human Services program, including its specializations, is not designed to lead to professional licensure, including licensure as a professional therapist, counselor, social worker, or psychologist.

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.

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Requirements Cost Total *
Tuition-Coursework 48 quarter credits  $615 per quarter hour for coursework credits $29,520^
Tuition-Doctoral Study/Project  20-120 quarter credits $615 per quarter hour for dissertation credits $12,300–$73,800*
Technology Fee $160 per quarter $1,280–$5,120*
Estimated Range:     2-Year Minimum 8-Year Maximum
 
$43,100*
$108,440*+
(assuming completion in a 2-year time frame) (assuming completion in an 8-year time frame)

These are ranges of what a student can expect in terms of time and tuition cost to complete a degree. It does not include other fees, nor is it adjusted for tuition increases over time. Walden faculty has concluded that generally students who do not complete their program in eight years are unlikely to complete and only allow students to exceed that time frame when a student petitions for an extension and provides good reason for the delay and assurances that obstacles to completion can be overcome. Time is calculated using the time allowed for each semester or unit that the student completes. Students are encouraged to work continuously during the program so as not to extend the time needed to complete the degree as work can become stale and students lose focus. Students who earn two grades of “Unsatisfactory,” who repeatedly drop a course before a semester or unit has been completed or are unable to complete in the eight year time frame, should expect that they may be dismissed from the program. Walden believes that it is in the best interest of a student who is unable to complete the degree in the stated ranges to strongly consider withdrawal or obtaining a lesser degree.

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 and/or the student’s transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; writing, research and editing skills; use of external data for their doctoral study/dissertation; and/or individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations; care giving responsibilities or health issues; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; leaves of absence; and/or other personal circumstances.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included. Students may incur additional costs for remedial writing assistance, if necessary.

^This assumes students successfully complete their coursework on the first attempt.

Based on a 2-year minimum completion requirement and an 8-year maximum timeframe as outlined in Walden academic policy.

*Tuition and fees will be higher if students petition to extend the 8-year maximum timeframe or choose to take more expensive elective courses.

+Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition discounts. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-642-0198.

FINANCIAL AID

Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

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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.

Meet Your Academic Team

  • William Barkley

    Bill Barkley

    Dean

    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.

Career Outlook

Earning your Doctor of Human Services degree can help you open the door to new career opportunities and greater influence in your field. Expand your options in settings ranging from universities and hospitals to social assistance organizations and government agencies.

Through the Human Services Hub of our Career Center, Walden is here to support your goals. Create a professional portfolio that you can share with employers to showcase your skills. Master the art of high-impact networking as well as job search best practices that can help you shape the future you want, whether you’re looking to teach in academia or start your own nonprofit agency.

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