Expand your career opportunities when you earn a Doctor of Social Work degree with a specialization in one of eight focus areas.
Effective policy and sustainable change are the result of successful collaboration with legislators, lobbyists, grass-roots organizations, and other groups and individuals. This specialization can help you advance social welfare by identifying community needs and learning best practices for working with key stakeholders on today’s most pressing social policy issues. You will have the opportunity to analyze the key factors that influence decision making related to positive social change and learn how to engage with local, state, and federal governments.
Walden students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.
In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.
Please refer to Walden’s catalog for more information about degree requirements.
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 advisor at 855-646-5286.
|Course Code||DRWA 8880G||Course||Doctoral Writing Assessment||Credits||(0 cr.)|
This course is part of Walden’s commitment to help prepare students to meet the university’s expectations for writing in courses at the doctoral level. In this course, students write a short academic essay that will be scored by a team of writing assessors. Based on the essay score, students will complete or be exempted from additional required writing support needed to meet writing proficiency standards. This required assessment course is free. Students will be enrolled automatically in it at the beginning of their doctoral program.
|Course Code||SOCW 8002||Course||Foundations of Graduate Study||Credits||(3 cr.)|
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Through this course, students gain a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. Course assignments focus on practical application of writing and critical- thinking skills and promote professional and academic excellence. Major assignments include the preparation of the Professional Development Plan and Program of Study.
|Course Code||SOCW 8110||Course||Advanced Social Work Theory and Practice||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||SOCW 8802||Course||Clinical Seminar I||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||SOCW 8117||Course||Diversity and Multiculturalism||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||SOCW 8137||Course||Contemporary Issues, Social Change, and Social Policy||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||SOCW 8138||Course||Program and Practice Evaluation||Credits||(5 cr.)|
In this foundational doctoral course, students are provided with an overview of the ways of knowing diverse contemporary theories in social work and the social sciences. Students will be able to understand how the assumptions of various epistemological paradigms (i.e., ways of knowing) inform research. Students will also explore how theories inform social work practice, policy, and research, and they will discuss the role of the social worker in social issues at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. In addition, there is an emphasis on the delivery of culturally sensitive and ethical services.
Doctoral students taking this first clinical seminar receive a comprehensive overview of the history, development, and evolution of clinical social work knowledge and practice with individual and family clients.
This course is designed to prepare students to provide leadership to communities, institutions, employees, and agencies to address social justice, fairness, and equity for diverse, vulnerable, and marginalized populations. Students examine the intersections of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual identity, ability, and socioeconomic status to understand individuals', communities', and families' experiences of oppression, power, access, and opportunity in society. In addition, students can engage in extensive self-awareness activities to address how their own values, attitudes, and beliefs will impact their ability to practice, advocate, and collaborate around social work, welfare, and policy.
How can students prepare for ethical leadership in social work practice, administration, and advocacy? In this course, students can enhance their understanding of the responsibility of social workers in advanced practice to foster social change for their community, clients, and profession through practice, policy, and advocacy. Students can use current research to analyze and evaluate policy and identify how community, national, and international issues affect the social work profession. In addition, students examine opportunities to learn how to influence policy as a response to the changing needs of a diverse population. Students also can gain an understanding of how to ethically initiate advocacy and social change processes.
Using models of evaluation derived from social science and social work theory and research, students can learn to apply research in social work to inform practice, future research, policy, and advocacy. Topics include the history and theory underlying program and practice evaluation, approaches to evaluation, selection of appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative models and techniques used to perform the evaluation, strategies for getting gatekeepers to be invested in the development of the research and in the outcomes, demonstration of program effectiveness, and dissemination of results to stakeholders. Students can gain an understanding of how to address dimensions of diversity (race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, sexual identity, gender, etc.) in their program and practice evaluations in an effort to ensure equity and fairness in program delivery and advocacy.
|Course Code||SOCW 8451||Course||Public Policy Analysis||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||SOCW 8465||Course||Strategic Planning: Collaboration, Cooperation, and Coordination||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||SOCW 8809||Course||Fundamentals of Law and Public Policy||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Public administrators today work in a hypercharged, partisan environment with unprecedented access to public policy data. This challenging environment affords public administrators both extraordinary opportunities and severe constraints. Students in this course examine, in detail, the key stakeholders and actors in the public policy process with particular attention devoted to understanding the functions, impacts, and constraints of these stakeholders upon policy development and the policy-making process. In addition, students explore professional ethics related to the role of the policy analyst and consider the significant social outcomes of public policy. This course is an introduction to the theories and strategies used by policy-makers and policy analysts to develop, implement, execute, evaluate, and promulgate public policy. Students explore the impact and consequences of public policy and consider and evaluate policy in a social justice framework. Students craft a policy memorandum to a decision maker of their choosing that examines and evaluates competing alternatives regarding a current public policy problem.
In an increasingly complex world, leaders and managers in public and nonprofit organizations need to be strategic in their planning to fulfill the organizational mission and enhance stakeholder satisfaction. Students in this course explore the role and process of strategic planning with an appreciation for collaboration, cooperation, and coordination as they relate to the strategic planning process. Students will apply these concepts to real-life situations and organizations and develop a strategic plan.
Legal decisions and the law have an impact on the creation of public policy. Students in this course explore the relationship between law and public policy and the significance of court decisions on law and public policy. Students examine the role of administrative agencies in the creation and execution of law and public policy and the role of the courts in resolving challenges to agency rule-making; conflicts between executive and legislative branches of government; and conflicts between and among federal, state, and local laws. Students apply fundamental legal concepts and processes to the creation and execution of law and public policy.
|Course Code||RSCH 8110||Course||Research Theory, Design, and Methods||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
In this research course, students are provided with core knowledge and skills for understanding, analyzing, and designing research at the graduate level. Students explore the philosophy of science, the role of theory, and research processes. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research designs and data collection methods are introduced. The alignment of research components is emphasized. Students also explore ethical and social change implications of designing and conducting research. Students demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing an annotated bibliography.
In this research course, students are provided with the opportunity to develop core knowledge and skills for designing and carrying out quantitative research at the doctoral level, including the application of statistical concepts and techniques. Students explore classical common statistical tests, the importance of the logic of inference, and social change implications of conducting quantitative research and producing knowledge. Students approach statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting appropriate statistical tests for a research design. Students use statistical software to derive statistics from quantitative data and interpret and present results. RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110.)
Students in this research course are provided with the opportunity to develop basic knowledge and skills for conducting qualitative research at the doctoral level. Students explore the nature of qualitative inquiry, how theory and theoretical and conceptual frameworks uniquely apply to qualitative research, data collection procedures and analysis strategy, and how the role of the researcher is expressed in the ethical and rigorous conduct of qualitative research. Students practice collecting, organizing, analyzing, and presenting data, and they develop a detailed research topic for conducting a qualitative study. RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110.)
Students choose a course to support their capstone research project.
Complete one residency face-to-face as soon as you begin your program; required before you begin your capstone research project.
|Course Code||SOCW 8610*||Course||Capstone Research Project||Credits||(5 cr. per term for a minimum of four terms until completion)|
The purpose of this research forum is to assist and guide students in completing the Doctor of Social Work (DSW) capstone project study. Modules 1–3 are individual stages of the doctoral process that are a requirement for the completion of the capstone project. At the beginning of each quarter, students will submit a quarter plan that outlines a proposed schedule for completing the module and the final project. Within this forum, students will engage in regular scholarly discussions with the doctoral study committee and fellow doctoral students. This forum will include resources related to the capstone project, residencies, research, writing, and doctoral program expectations.
*Students are continuously enrolled in SOCW 8610 for a minimum of 4 terms until completion of their capstone project with final Chief Academic Officer (CAO) approval.
To complete a doctoral dissertation/doctoral study, 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/doctoral study process in the Dissertation Guidebook.
8-Year Maximum Timeframe
Students have 8 years to complete their doctoral degree requirements. See the policy in the Walden University Student Handbook. Students may petition to extend the 8-year maximum timeframe, but an extension is not guaranteed.
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.