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Online Phd in Human Services


Choose a PhD in Human Services program designed to help you become an influencer in the field.
Choose a PhD in Human Services program designed to help you become an influencer in the field.

Ready to Get Started?

Fill out the form and we will contact you to provide information about furthering your education.

Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.

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Online Phd in Human Services

Ready to Get Started?

Fill out the form and we will contact you to provide information about furthering your education.

Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.

  • Current 01 Step 1: About You
  • 02 Step 2: Contact Information

Why Choose Walden?

DEMYSTIFY YOUR DISSERTATION

Starting early in your program, you’ll build key research and writing skills to help you begin your dissertation with confidence.

BECOME A MASTER RESEARCHER

By developing a solid research skill set, you’ll prepare to inform effective solutions to real and pressing social problems.

GET COMPREHENSIVE SUPPORT

Our academic centers and online Doctoral Degree Coach tool are just some of the ways we help you realize your dream of earning your PhD.

BUILD YOUR CAREER EDGE

Refine your networking skills and create your professional portfolio with the Human Services hub of Walden’s Career Center.

With a degree from Walden University, you can make a greater difference

Growing up in poverty, Jack knew that education was key.
See how this Walden grad used his Walden degree to help a wrongfully convicted man gain his freedom.

With a degree from Walden University, you can make a greater difference

Program Details

Learning Tracks

TRACK I: Choose this track if you have a master's degree from an accredited university in human services, counseling, social work, or psychology.

TRACK II: Choose this track if you hold a bachelor’s degree (in any field of study) from an accredited university or a master’s degree from an accredited university in a non-related field of study (any discipline other than human services, counseling, social work, or psychology). This track provides you with the option of earning your MS in Human Services as you progress toward your PhD.

Curriculum – General Program Specialization

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Foundation course (3 cr.)
  • Core courses (20 cr.)
  • Elective courses (15 cr.)
  • Research courses (20 cr.)
  • Completion of the Doctoral Dissertation
    • Dissertation support course (5 cr.)
    • 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)
    • Dissertation writing courses (continuous enrollment in 5 cr. per term for a minimum of 3 terms until completion)
  •  Four PhD residencies (4 four-day sessions)

View the COMPLETE CURRICULUM PLAN.

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 Specialist at 844-937-8785.

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Foundation course (3 cr.)
  • Core courses (45 cr.)
  • Elective courses (15 cr.)
  • Research courses (20 cr.)
  • Completion of the Doctoral Dissertation
    • Dissertation support course (5 cr.)
    • Communities of Practice and Research (CPR) courses (5 cr.; continuously enrolled in 1 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 terms until CPR completion)
    • Dissertation writing courses (continuous enrollment in 5 cr. per term for a minimum of 3 terms until completion)
  • Four PhD residencies to equal a minimum of 16 days

View the COMPLETE CURRICULUM PLAN.

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 Specialist at 844-937-8785.

Admission Requirements

General Admission Program 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.

Earn a Master’s Degree Along the Way

Walden understands the rigors involved with preparing for your doctorate. To signify how far you’ve come on your journey, you will be eligible to be awarded a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or an MS in Human Services degree upon completion of all the master’s degree program requirements, prior to completion of your dissertation or doctoral study.
Highlight your academic achievement and show employers and others that you possess comprehensive knowledge in your field of study.

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. Are you ready to reach a higher level in your field?

A smiling woman wearing a graduation gown.

 

A Personalized Guide to Completing Your Doctorate

Earning your Phd in Human Services requires commitment, perseverance, and hard work. You can do it, and Walden is here to help—with our Doctoral Degree Coach™.

  • Map and Track Milestones: Break your research down into manageable, sequential steps. See where you are, what’s ahead, and what you’ve already accomplished—all in one place.
  • Meet Weekly Targets: No more guesswork. Set prompts based on your to-do list and receive reminders and updates directly to your inbox.
  • Connect With Faculty: Stay on the same page and keep your progress on track. With shared access to your dashboard, your chair can easily guide you through your checklists, goals, and timelines.
  • Access Helpful Resources: Quickly find support from the right person at the right time. Our comprehensive resource guide points you in the right direction—no more frustrating searches.

Residencies

Four academic residencies support your progress at key points in your doctoral journey. Residencies also strengthen your scholarly and professional connections.

Tuition and Fees

CurriculumRequirementsCostTotal *
Tuition-Coursework63 quarter credits $655 per quarter hour for coursework credits$41,265^
Tuition-Dissertation 20–130 quarter credits$655 per quarter hour for dissertation credits$13,100–$85,150*
Program Fee $175 per quarter$1,750–$5,600*
Residency FeeFour Residencies$1,420 (virtual)
$1,520 (in-person: travel, lodging and other expenses are additional)
$5,680–$6,080
Estimated Range:  2.5-Year8-Year
   $61,795*$138,095*+
   (assuming completion in a 2.5-year timeframe)(assuming completion in an 8-year timeframe)

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 2.5-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.

CurriculumRequirementsCostTotal *
Tuition-Coursework88 quarter credits $655 per quarter hour for coursework credits$57,640^
Tuition-Dissertation 20–115 quarter credits$655 per quarter hour for dissertation credits$13,100–$75,325*
Program Fee $175 per quarter$2,100–$5,600*
Residency FeeFour Residencies$1,420 (Virtual)
$1,520 (in-person: travel, lodging and other expenses are additional)  
$5,680–$6,080
Estimated Range:  3.25-Year8-Year
   $78,520*$144,645*+
   (assuming completion in a 3.25-year timeframe)(assuming completion in an 8-year timeframe)

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 3.25-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.

Paying for Your Education

Our Enrollment Specialists can help you outline a plan and find resources for funding your education.

PROGRAM SAVINGS

Looking to reach your potential with a doctoral degree? We want to support you by making your goals more achievable. Receive up to a $5,000 grant when you start this program. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

Program Outcomes

Aligned with Council for Standards in Human Service Education (CSHSE) guidelines, Walden’s online PhD in Human Services program equips you with a versatile skill set designed to help you succeed. This non-licensure program can unlock your leadership potential while building your teaching, research, and consulting skills. Explore how to test current assumptions, develop new theories, and create a platform for new knowledge that drives the evolution of human services delivery and practice.

Career Outlook

Employment in community and social service occupations is projected to grow 12% through 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.1

With a PhD in Human Services, you can pursue opportunities throughout the globe as a transnational human services generalist and work in various settings and positions within human service organizations. Rise to the top of your field as a leader, researcher, or educator.

Walden is the

#1

granter of doctoral
research degrees.2

A PhD in Human Services can prepare you to work in settings such as:

  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools
  • Social assistance organizations
  • Hospitals
  • Executive, legislative, and other general government support areas

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this online PhD in Human Services program, you will be able to:

  • Develop strategies for assessing the needs of diverse populations based on human services theory and research.
  • Make ethical decisions based on the needs of diverse populations.
  • Conduct original research in human services to promote positive social change.
  • Advocate for individuals who are seeking human services supports.
  • Communicate effectively with others to promote the effective delivery of human services.
  • Develop a professional identity as a human services researcher.

Resources

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1Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Edition, Social and Community Service Occupations, SOC Codes 21-1000–21-2000. Retrieved January 2021. National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, do not guarantee actual job growth, and are subject to change.

2Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Database (IPEDS). Based on the most recent year’s completions survey data, using all classifications of instructional programs (CIP) codes. (Retrieved January 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data). A doctoral research degree (Award Level 17 and 19) is a PhD or other doctoral degree that requires advanced work beyond the master’s level, including the preparation and defense of a dissertation based on original research or the planning and execution of an original project demonstrating substantial artistic or scholarly achievement. Some examples of this type of degree may include EdD, DMA, DBA, DSc, DA, DM, or others, as designated by the awarding institution.

Note on Licensure: The PhD in 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.