Enhance your knowledge and expertise to support individuals and communities with our PhD in Human and Social Services degree program.
In this specialization, you will study prevention, intervention, and promotion of well-being in a variety of settings, including schools, communities, and organizations. Courses also explore the theoretical, ethical, social, political and cultural factors that influence social services programs. You will learn to identify the needs of individuals and families and to help these clients navigate services in their communities.
This program of study is for students who hold a bachelor’s degree (in any field of study) from an accredited university or a master’s degree in a non-related field of study (all disciplines other than human services, counseling, social work, and psychology). To recognize your past academic progress, you may be eligible to apply previously earned credits toward your doctoral program, significantly reducing your time to completion and total cost.1 Contact an enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286 for details.
If you hold an MS in Human Services or a master’s degree in a related field (counseling, social work, or psychology) from Walden or another accredited institution, choose Track I.
The Advanced Customized option gives you a unique way to meet the coursework requirements in this program. Gain a deeper level of knowledge in your specific area of interest and benefit from an independent, self-directed learning experience under the guidance of a mentor. Learn more.
If you are eligible for Track II, you may also be eligible to choose the Fast-Track Option, which allows you to earn your degree more quickly by taking additional courses per term. If you are a highly motivated student with discipline and a flexible schedule, learn more about this accelerated path to a doctoral degree or contact an enrollment advisor today.
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.
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||HUMN 8000||Course||Foundations of Graduate Study in Human Services||Credits||(3 cr.)|
Students in this course are introduced to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students work toward building a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. They assess the relationship of mission and vision to professional goals and develop a program of study and strategies for online success. Students also explore resources used throughout the program, such as the online Walden University Library. Students engage in course assignments focused on the practical application of professional writing, critical-thinking skills, and the promotion of professional and academic excellence.
|Course Code||HUMN 8150||Course||Helping Individuals, Organizations, and Communities: Introduction to Human Services||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||HUMN 8011||Course||Interviewing and Case Management in Human and Social Services||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||HUMN 8152||Course||Human and Social Services Administration||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||HUMN 8100||Course||Introduction to Research and Evaluation in Human and Social Services||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||HUMN 8205||Course||Cross-Cultural Ethics in Human and Social Services||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||HUMN 8207||Course||Grant Writing||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||HUMN 8210||Course||Management and Leadership Development in Human and Social Services||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||HUMN 8237||Course||Advanced Program Evaluation||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||HUMN 8660||Course||Social Change, Leadership, and Advocacy for Human Services Professionals||Credits||(5 cr.)|
This course is designed to provide students with a doctoral foundation in the history and development of the various human services professions. Students engage in coursework that integrates content from various specializations, in areas such as counseling, social work, psychology, family studies, and criminal justice. Examining both the strengths and weaknesses of the human services delivery systems, students review the origins of the profession as well as its various responses to the changing needs of society. Through critical literature reviews related to research, policy, and practice; discussions about human services and contemporary society; and practical assignments, students begin to develop their identities as leaders, researchers, and informants in the area of human services. Students focus on the competencies and ethics of human services professionals.
The first step in helping individuals, families, organizations, and communities is to form effective helping relationships. These relationships are characterized by the ability to connect with clients and those around them through demonstrating empathic caring, respect for people and institutions, and genuineness that leads to perceived trustworthiness. Just as an ERG is a unit of energy in physics, Empathy, Respect, and Genuineness (ERG) is the unit of energy in helping relationships. In this course, students will learn how to talk with people in ways that demonstrate empathy, respect, and genuineness while obtaining the kind of information required to help clients identify their unmet needs and participate in finding ways to meet them. Students will participate in mock interviews and will participate in critiques of their own work along with their instructor. Students in this course will also focus on the essential functions of case management including how to write up important case notes appropriately with special attention to ethical and legal issues. While the basic principles underlying an effective helping relationship may be close to universal (ERG), the actual process of demonstrating them could vary greatly across cultures or countries; therefore, students will explore how this might differ in a different setting and among different professions.
Diminishing resources compound societal challenges facing contemporary human services agencies. In this course, students examine the core competencies required of human service administrators to address these challenges and make a greater difference in the communities they serve. Students discuss a broad range of skills and innovative approaches, including cross-agency collaboration, stakeholder communication, supervision of people and processes, creation and implementation of policies, and strategic planning and management. Through course discussions and practical applications, students demonstrate knowledge and skills of human services administration, which they can translate into current work environments.
In order to be effective professional helpers, practitioners need to have a working knowledge of how research informs practice. This is becoming even more important as the emphasis on evidenced-based practice increases across all fields that provide human and social services. Students will explore different approaches to research and evaluation and will demonstrate the ability to find, critically read, and integrate relevant research articles from trustworthy sources. In addition, they will use case studies, discussions, and readings to help see the connections between theory, research, and practice and how applications might differ in different cultures and across different professions. They will also identify important ethical considerations related to conducting and reporting research results, especially in the context of program evaluations.
In this course, students examine the philosophy of ethics and social justice, with a focus on the interplay among race, religion, and culture within and between different societies and organizations. Students explore the complex social, political, and related ethical challenges that Human Services professionals face as they seek to meet the needs of diverse populations. They examine ethics and social justice related to economic disparity, power, and privilege. Applying concepts presented in the course, students engage in an in-depth assessment of an emerging or persistent ethical or social justice issue, through which they will demonstrate their ability to make recommendations for improvement or change. Students engage in readings, case studies, and practical assignments to gain a better understanding of the interactions among culture, ethics, and social behaviors.
Grant writing is a highly marketable skill that requires many nonprofit, educational, and community organizations to secure external funding 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 needs 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).
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 interprofessional collaboration within and among organizations.
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.
This course is designed to enhance students' understanding of the responsibility of human service professionals to foster social change, provide leadership and service to the human services professions, and advocate for their communities, clients, students, and professions. Students use research to examine the current trends and issues of the professions and identify how community, national, and international issues affect human services professions. Students also gain an understanding of the processes of advocacy and social change. Students continue to enhance their professional development plans by identifying specific goals for professional involvement and service.
|Course Code||HUMN 8110||Course||Advanced Social Work Theory and Practice||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||HUMN 8785||Course||Social Change in Action: Prevention, Consultation, and Advocacy||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||HUMN 8852||Course||Resource Development||Credits||(5 cr.)|
One of the primary focuses of social work is to promote social justice within a diverse society. In this course, students focus on an advanced exploration of traditional and contemporary clinical social work theories for providing culturally and contextually relevant services to individuals and families. Students examine social work theories in a way that informs clinical practice, and they discuss the role of the social worker in social issues at the macro and micro levels. Students evaluate existing practices and policies with the goal of designing and implementing more effective practices and policies that positively impact the individual, the community, and society at large.
In this course, students prepare for their roles as counselors in areas of prevention, intervention, and consultation with specific populations in different settings. Students assess these three areas of mental health counseling, including the relationships among them, methodological applications, and related ethical and legal considerations. They also discuss a variety of topics with their peers, such as applications for social change, needs of specific populations, iatrogenic harm, professional approaches and challenges, program evaluation, and future trends. Using an action-research model, students develop a blueprint for a project to address a contemporary mental health issue through the context of prevention, intervention, or consultation.
All nonprofit organizations require financial resources. Obtaining philanthropic financial support is essential to program delivery and stability. Students explore the concepts of philanthropy and development, identification of funding sources, donor/prospect cultivation and education, and solicitation and appreciation strategies. An emphasis is placed on creating an organizational philanthropic culture based on ethics and donor relationships. Students create a resource development plan for the organization designed in the Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector course.
|Course Code||RSCH 8110||Course||Research Theory, Design, and Methods||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||RSCH 8210||Course||Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||RSCH 8310||Course||Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis
Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis
Advanced Mixed-Methods 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 in this research course build upon knowledge and skills acquired in the prerequisite quantitative reasoning course and are presented with opportunities to apply them. They are provided with more specialized knowledge and skills for conducting quantitative research at the doctoral level, including understanding multivariate data analysis and applying more advanced statistical concepts, such as factorial ANOVA, mediation, moderation, logistic regression, ANCOVA, and MANOVA. Students explore existing datasets and apply suitable statistical tests to answer research questions with social change implications. In this course, they approach statistics from a problem-solving perspective with emphasis on selecting the appropriate statistical tests for more complex research questions and social problems. Students use statistical software to perform analyses and interpret and present results. They will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by carrying out a quantitative research project. RSCH 8110.)
Students build upon the knowledge and skills acquired in RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis. and have experience applying them. Students develop a more sophisticated understanding of the theoretical antecedents and practical applications of eight contemporary qualitative approaches. Students gain experience developing qualitative interview guides, collecting data, and managing the process from transcription through analysis. The unique challenges of confidentiality and ethical issues are explored as well as implications for social change. Students will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by developing a qualitative research plan using a topic relevant to their capstone.
Students build upon knowledge and skills acquired in RSCH 8210 - Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis and RSCH 8310 - Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis for more specialized knowledge and skills to design mixed-methods research at the doctoral level. Students are provided with more specialized knowledge and skills for designing mixed-methods research at the doctoral level. They gain an understanding of the types of mixed-methods designs and how to select the most appropriate approach for the research question(s). The emphases of this course are on integrating quantitative and qualitative elements into true mixed-methods studies, practice in data analysis, and integration of qualitative and quantitative data within a research write-up. Students will apply and synthesize their knowledge and skills by developing a mixed-methods research plan that incorporates qualitative and quantitative elements appropriately. RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110 and RSCH 8210 or RSCH 7210 or RSCH 6210 and RSCH 8310 or RSCH 7310 or RSCH 6310.)
|Course Code||HUMN 8550||Course||Preparing for Dissertation||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Students in this course focus specifically on the process of writing the dissertation prospectus. Students use their preliminary research plan, developed previously, and develop a problem statement, to be used in the dissertation. They further refine the problem statement and carry out the planning and the library research that will bring them to the formulation of a dissertation prospectus. The prospectus is a brief paper, typically 15–20 pages in length, that lays out the background for the problem statement, the problem statement itself, a survey of the relevant literature, typically 25–75 references, and a research, implementation, and evaluation plan for the solution of the problem.
|Course Code||HUMN 9001*||Course||Dissertation||Credits||(5 cr. per term for a minimum of four terms until completion)|
Through this course, doctoral students have the opportunity to integrate their Program of Study into an in-depth exploration of an interest area that includes the completion of a research study. Students complete the dissertation independently, with the guidance of a dissertation supervisory committee chair and committee members. Students complete a prospectus, proposal, Institutional Review Board application, and dissertation. Once students register for HUMN 9001, they are registered each term until successful completion of the dissertation.Students take this course for a minimum of 4 quarters and are continuously enrolled until completion of their Dissertation with final Chief Academic Officer (CAO) approval.To complete a dissertation, 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. (Prerequisites: RSCH 8100U, RSCH 8200U, and RSCH 8300U.)
1The number of credits eligible for transfer from a Walden or other accredited university master’s degree may be fewer depending upon the date the master’s degree was completed.
*Students are continuously enrolled in HUMN 9001 for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion of their dissertation with final Chief Academic Officer (CAO) approval.
To complete a doctoral dissertation, 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.
8-Year Maximum Timeframe
Students have up to 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 on Licensure: The PhD in Human and Social 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.