Advance your career by pursuing a PhD in Social Work online.
The criminal justice system faces numerous challenges as it works to combat crime in our communities. Adept social work professionals can help address some of these issues to improve the well-being of society. In this specialization, you can focus your research and studies on the factors that can contribute to criminal behavior, such as addiction, homelessness, and unemployment. Through dedicated research, you can explore current forms of intervention and help pave the road for advances in individual and group psychotherapy and processes such as restorative justice. Use this knowledge to inform your role as a scholar, educator, policy analyst, agency leader, or researcher.
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 1-866-492-5336.
|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 8116||Course||History and Development of Social Work||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.)|
|Course Code||SOCW 8550||Course||Preparing for Dissertation||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.
This course is designed to provide a doctoral foundation in the history and philosophy of clinical social work and social welfare. Students can explore the strengths and weaknesses of the social work delivery systems. They can review the origins of the profession as well as its various responses to the changing needs of society. Students can begin to develop their identities as leaders, researchers, and best-practices informants in the area of social work through critical literature reviews related to research, policy, and practice; discussions about social work and contemporary society; and course assignments. Students in this course also focus on the competencies and ethics of social work and social welfare professionals.
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.
The focus of this course is specifically on the process of writing the dissertation prospectus. Students will use their preliminary research plan, developed previously, and develop a problem statement, to be used in the dissertation. They will 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||SOCW 8350||Course||Historical and Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||SOCW 8351||Course||Policy Analysis in the Criminal Justice System||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||SOCW 8117||Course||Diversity and Multiculturalism||Credits||(5 cr.)|
Students in this course look at the evolution of crime—from lone criminals to worldwide syndicates—using the scientific rigor built into the selected readings and discussions. Among the topics examined are the philosophy of community- and problem-oriented policing, transnational crime, terrorism, and the new nexus between them. Current and future leaders are equipped with the knowledge and depth of understanding to assess and manage the opportunities, innovations, and challenges in their profession.
Students in this course review key court decisions and explore the tension between constitutionally guaranteed individual rights and crime-prevention and public-safety efforts. Students also cover policy analysis and planning in the criminal justice field and offer an understanding of the policy context in which the criminal justice system functions.
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.
|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||SOCW 9000*||Course||Dissertation||Credits||(5 credits per quarter for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)|
Doctoral students are offered 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 in this course. 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 SOCW 9000, 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 8100, RSCH 8200, and RSCH 8300.)
*Students are continuously enrolled in SOCW 9000 for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion of their capstone project 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 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.