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Are You Passionate About Shaping the Next Generation of Social Workers?

As we navigate today’s societal challenges, championing and preparing tomorrow’s social work professionals is vital. This Social Work Education specialization in our PhD in Social Work program explores the principles of instructional design and adult learning, integrating Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) competencies in the development of assessment, instruction, and evaluation. You’ll examine learning styles, sociocultural dynamics, and other factors that contribute to diversity in teaching and learning.

You’ll also have the opportunity to apply your knowledge in developing syllabi and grading rubrics while being supervised in a teaching practicum.

A PhD in Social Work with a Social Work Education specialization academically prepares students to become impactful social work educators in an array of educational settings.

Prepare to Teach

Gain the practical skills and confidence you need to become an influential social work educator.

Start Your Dissertation Early

Beginning with the first course, you’ll focus on your topic and the tools required to start and finish your dissertation with confidence.

Get the Support You Need

Along with dedicated faculty and dissertation chairs, our knowledgeable academic staff are here to help guide your success.

Make a Positive Impact

Walden’s commitment to effecting positive social change is woven throughout this specialization’s courses and projects.

PROGRAM SAVINGS

Speak with an Enrollment Specialist to learn about our current tuition savings.


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Curriculum

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • 83 quarter credits
  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Foundation course (3 cr.)
  • Core courses (25 cr.)
  • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
  • Research courses (20 cr.)
  • Completion of the Doctoral Capstone
    • Building Doctoral Socialization and Competency courses (5 cr.; continuously enrolled in 1 cr. per term for a minimum of 5 terms until completion)
    • Dissertation writing courses (continuous enrollment in 5 cr. per term for a minimum of 3 terms until completion)
  • Four PhD residencies

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 1-866-492-5336.

Courses

Course Code Title Credits
DRWA 8880G
Doctoral Writing Assessment

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.

(0 cr.)
SOCW 8002
Foundations of Graduate Study

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.

(3 cr.)
SOCW 8110
Advanced Social Work Theory and Practice

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.

(5 cr.)
RSCH 8110
Research Theory, Design, and Methods

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.

Prerequisites

Doctor of Social Work

  • SOCW 8110 or SOCW 8110W

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

  • COUN 8001
  • COUN 8110
  • RESI 8801C

PhD in Social Work

  • SOCW 8110 or SOCW 8110W

All Other Programs

  • RESI 8401

(5 cr.)
SOCW 8112
Social Work Scholarship

To be responsible scholar-practitioners and stewards in the social work profession, students must understand social problems within the broader intellectual landscape: that is, the social construction of the social problem and the role it plays in the public's perception of the social problem. Additionally, students must be prepared to locate the historical context of the problem and the social welfare responses. Using critical reading and evaluation skills, tools, and techniques, students begin to evaluate the lay and empirical literature of a social problem underlying their future capstone or dissertation topic to prepare for the literature review process.

Prerequisites

  • SOCW 8110W or SOCW 8110

(5 cr.)
SOCW 9001A
Building Doctoral Socialization and Competency 1

[Under development]

Prerequisites

  • SOCW 8002 or SOCW 8002W

(1 cr.)
SOCW 8137
Contemporary Issues, Social Change, and Social 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.

Prerequisites

  • SOCW 8110 or SOCW 8110W

(5 cr.)
SOCW 8572
Adult Learning and Instructional Design

Graduates of a doctoral program are looked to as leaders and experts in their respective fields. As such, they have an added responsibility beyond their contribution to critical research and practice contexts; they must also be prepared to share their knowledge in a deliberate and audience-appropriate way, one that inspires others to not just listen, but to act. Though teaching and learning can take place in many situations—for example, agency or clinical supervision, research project leadership, and informal mentoring—graduates of social work doctoral programs may find themselves in the position to teach in a college or university setting, an opportunity to positively impact countless emerging scholars and practitioners. In this course, students consider critical applications of teaching and learning in higher education through a course-long scenario, in which they assume the role of faculty who have been charged with reenvisioning the design and delivery of an Introduction to Social Work course.

Prerequisites

  • SOCW 8110W or SOCW 8110

(5 cr.)
SOCW 9002A
Building Doctoral Socialization and Competency 2

[Under development]

Prerequisites

  • SOCW 9001A or SOCW 8601

(1 cr.)
SOCW 8138
Program and Practice Evaluation

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.

Prerequisites

  • SOCW 8110 or SOCW 8110W

(5 cr.)
RSCH 8210
Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis

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.

Prerequisites

Doctor of Social Work

  • RSCH 8110K or RSCH 8110W

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

  • RSCH 8110
  • RESI 8801C

PhD in Social Work

  • RSCH 8110K or RSCH 8110W

All Other Programs

  • RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110
  • RESI 8401

(5 cr.)
SOCW 9003A
Building Doctoral Socialization and Competency 3

[Under development]

Prerequisites

  • SOCW 9002A or SOCW 8602

(1 cr.)
SOCW 8574
Advanced Clinical Instruction and Supervision

[Under development]

Prerequisites

Doctor of Social Work

  • Advanced Clinical Practice and Supervision: SOCW 8570 or SOCW 8570W

OR

  • Social Work Education: SOCW 8572 or SOCW 8572W

PhD in Social Work

  • SOCW 8570 or SOCW 8570W or SOCW 8572 or SOCW 8572W

(5 cr.)
RSCH 8310
Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis

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.

Prerequisites

Doctor of Social Work

  • RSCH 8110K or RSCH 8110W

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

  • RSCH 8110
  • RESI 8801C

PhD in Social Work

  • RSCH 8110K or RSCH 8110W

All Other Programs

  • RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110
  • RESI 8401

(5 cr.)
SOCW 9004A
Building Doctoral Socialization and Competency 4

[Under development]

Prerequisites

  • SOCW 9003A or SOCW 8603

(1 cr.)
SOCW 8114
Advanced Social Work Scholarship Community

[Under development]

Prerequisites

  • SOCW 8752 or SOCW 8752W or SOCW 8574 or SOCW 8574W
  • SOCW 8112W or SOCW 8112

(5 cr.)
Choose one course from the following RSCH courses:
RSCH 8260
Advanced Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis

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.

Prerequisites

Doctor of Social Work

  • RSCH 8210K or RSCH 8310K or RSCH 8210W or RSCH 8310W

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

  • RSCH 8110
  • RSCH 8210
  • CPLB 802L

PhD in Social Work

  • RSCH 8210K or RSCH 8210W or RSCH 8310K or RSCH 8310W

All Other Programs

  • RESI 8402

(5 cr.)
OR
RSCH 8360
Advanced Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis

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.

Prerequisites

Doctor of Social Work

  • RSCH 8210K or RSCH 8310K or RSCH 8210W or RSCH 8310W

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

  • RSCH 8110
  • RSCH 8310
  • CPLB 802L

PhD in Social Work

  • RSCH 8210K or RSCH 8210W or RSCH 8310K or RSCH 8310W

All Other Programs

  • RESI 8402

Note: This course was previously RSCH 8350.

(5 cr.)
OR
RSCH 8460
Advanced Mixed-Methods Reasoning and Analysis

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.

Prerequisites

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision

  • RSCH 8110
  • RSCH 8210
  • RSCH 8310
  • CPLB 802L

PhD in Social Work

  • RSCH 8210K or RSCH 8210W or RSCH 8310K or RSCH 8310W

All Other Programs

  • RSCH 8110 or RSCH 7110 or RSCH 6110
  • RSCH 8210 or RSCH 7210 or RSCH 6210
  • RSCH 8310 or RSCH 7310 or RSCH 6310
  • RESI 8402

Note: This course was previously RSCH 8450.

(5 cr.)
SOCW 9005A
Building Doctoral Socialization and Competency 5

[Under development]

Prerequisites

  • SOCW 9004A or SOCW 8604

(1 cr.)
SOCW 8550
Preparing for Dissertation

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.

Prerequisites

  • RSCH 8260W or RSCH 8360W or RSCH 8460W or RSCH 8260K or RSCH 8360K or RSCH 8460K

(5 cr.)
SOCW 9000
Dissertation

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 four 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
  • RSCH 8300

(5 credits per quarter for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)
VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses

Students are continuously enrolled in SOCW 9000 for a minimum of three 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.

Eight-Year Maximum Time Frame
Students have eight years to complete their doctoral degree requirements. See the policy in the Walden University Student Handbook. Students may petition to extend the eight-year maximum time frame, 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.

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Requirements Cost Total *
Tuition-Coursework 63 quarter credits  $610 per quarter hour for coursework credits $38,430^
Tuition-Dissertation  20–130 quarter credits $610 per quarter hour for dissertation credits $12,200–$79,300*
Technology Fee $160 per quarter $1,760–$5,120*
Residency Fee Four Residencies $1,375 (virtual)
$1,475 (in-person: travel, lodging and other expenses are additional)

$5,500–$5,900
Estimated Range:     2.75-Year 8-Year
 
$57,890
$128,750*+
(assuming completion in a 2.75-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 2.75-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.

FINANCIAL AID

Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

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PROGRAM SAVINGS

Speak with an Enrollment Specialist to learn about our current tuition savings.


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Admission Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: An MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program.

General Admission 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.


Immersive Learning Technologies

Walden’s online PhD program in social work incorporates cutting-edge technologies to enhance the delivery of course content and improve your learning. Practice and master critical skills in a safe and supportive environment through immersive simulations, online communities, and skills-based exercises. Build confidence as a social work scholar-practitioner while focusing on applying your new knowledge and competencies to your research, current job, and future roles.

PhD in Social Work Dissertation

Walden’s online PhD in Social Work program culminates in an independent capstone project, or dissertation. The dissertation allows you to contribute original research to the field while demonstrating your critical thinking, data analysis, and academic writing skills. Doctoral competencies are integrated throughout your courses—starting from day one—to prepare you for your capstone and your career.

Below are select titles of dissertations completed by Walden PhD in Social Work graduates:

  • Child Welfare Workers’ Perceptions of Their Competencies at Detecting and Reporting Abuse of Foster Children
  • Understanding the Young Adult African American Male’s Perceptions of Civic Engagement
  • Examining the Efficacy of a School-Based Mental Health Program in Iowa
  • Methamphetamine Screening and Brief Intervention in a Hospital Heart Failure Program
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Patients’ Sociological Resilience, Self-Determination, and Decision-Making for Life-Sustaining Treatments
  • Mental Health Professional Perceptions of Barriers to Fidelity for Empirically Supported Treatments
  • Exploring the Use of Familismo to Manage Depression Among Elderly Latino Women

Meet Your Academic Team

  • Lisa Moon

    Dean

    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.

  • Alice Yick

    Alice Yick

    Academic Coordinator

    Dr. Yick has spent the past 17 years in online higher education working with doctoral students. She has taught research methods and epistemology courses and has chaired dissertation committees. Dr. Yick has also served on institutional review boards (IRBs) at various universities.

  • 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.

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