Skip to Content

Lead Social Change With Walden’s Doctor of Social Work Program

How do you want to impact the social work field? With three distinct specializations, Walden’s Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program gives you a focused path to becoming the influential leader or educator you were meant to be.

Designed for the working professional, our program enables you to develop key doctoral skills from day one. Master the tools and resources you need to be successful in your program—and in your social work practice. Be empowered to make a difference with a curriculum grounded in social change.

A Doctor of Social Work degree academically prepares social work professionals to advance into administrative leadership, social work education, or entrepreneurship.

Pursue an Education for Good

Walden’s commitment to positive social change is woven throughout the program’s coursework and projects.

Prepare for Your Capstone

Starting with the first course, you’ll build research and writing skills to help you kick off your capstone project with confidence.

Choose Your Focus

Featuring three specializations, our DSW program gives you the flexibility to align your coursework with your career goals.

Build Practical Skills

Immersive learning technologies and online simulations allow you to sharpen your leadership and teaching skills.

Program Savings

Receive up to a $4,000 grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on August 30, 2021. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now


Walden’s Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program offers a variety of specializations to help you meet your personal and professional goals.

Advanced Clinical Practice and Supervision

Prepare to take your practice to the next level or supervise practitioners in social work and other related fields.

Impact Leadership in Social Work Administration

Gain insight into organizational behavior, staff development, internal and community relations, and management.

Social Work Education

Prepare to become an impactful educator who can effectively prepare the next generation of social workers.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for this program, you must:

  • Currently hold an MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program.
  • Have at least two years of full-time or part-time post-MSW practice experiences within the past five years, including agency-based social work practice.

To apply, please submit your 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.

Go Boldly Forward With Our DSW Program

Walden’s Doctor of Social Work online program provides an immersive and engaging learning experience that fosters your growth as a social work leader. Build a powerful doctoral skillset you need to complete your capstone with confidence. At every step, our faculty are here to support you based on more than 50 years of serving doctoral learners at a distance.

Program Directors/Faculty – Doctor of Social Work

  • Lisa Moon

    Lisa Moon


    Dr. Lisa Moon has worked in the field of social work for more than 30 years, with a professional background that encompasses child protection, medical social work, and mental health. Her research interests include mental health services for children, issues related to caring for the elderly, simulative education, and accreditation for social work programs.

  • Debora Rice

    Debbie Rice

    Program Director

    Dr. Rice brings experience from her nearly 28 years as a clinical social worker to Walden’s doctoral social work programs. She serves as a family violence consultant to rural communities and advises church personnel on individual and community development strategies.

  • So`Nia Gilkey

    Core Faculty

    Dr. Gilkey has taught as a social work educator since 2004 and has been an active social work clinician/practitioner since 1992. Her areas of practice and study include child and family trauma, mental health and mental disorders, child welfare and family resiliency, and homelessness.

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of our DSW program, you will be prepared to:

  • Utilize current research, best practices, and theory to promote prevention and intervention strategies that address social problems and needs of social groups.
  • Employ various research and statistical tools to find data used to address the etiology and dynamics of social problems and social needs.
  • Evaluate the role of research and evaluation in social work in improving social interventions and advancing theory development.
  • Critically evaluate the history of social work, its mission, and its core values.
  • Promote social change by collaborating with leaders, agencies, and universities to advocate for policies and programs that advance the economic and social well-being of culturally diverse clientele.
  • Demonstrate the ability to assess the role of diversity in characterizing and shaping the human experience.
  • Apply ethical decision making and practices in social work.

Academic Residency

The Doctor of Social Work academic residency gives you an opportunity to interact with your peers and faculty, build your clinical skills, and strategize for your action research project. These experiences are designed to enhance your development as both a social work clinician and a scholar-practitioner so that you’re empowered to create positive social change.

During the four-day DSW program academic residency, you’ll be able to:

  • Participate in sessions with small groups of other students who share your professional and research interests.
  • Develop advanced social work skills in clinical work, research, information literacy, critical thinking, and scholarly writing.
  • Network and socialize with peers to strengthen your scholarly and professional community.
  • Meet one-on-one with faculty members, academic advisors, and student support staff members.

For your convenience, the academic residency is scheduled several times throughout the year. They are held in a variety of locations in the United States and virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can participate in the residency as soon as you begin your Doctor of Social Work program, and it must be completed before you begin your action research project.

Career Outlook

Social workers help empower those who may be struggling, stand up for social justice, and make a profound impact on people’s lives. With a Doctor of Social Work degree, you can help create real, sustainable change for your clients and community.

Whether you want to start your own non-profit organization, move into leadership, or get to the next level as a practitioner, earning your DSW can light your way forward. Expand your career options while commanding new respect from employers and peers.

Demand for social work professionals is expected to increase


by 2029—faster than the national average.1
Walden is the

No. 1

granter of doctoral research degrees.2


You May Also Be Interested In


Have a Question?

Chat with a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) Enrollment Specialist.

Chat Now