Doctoral Programs

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Walden University PhD in Human Services

The PhD in Human Services program offered by Walden University is one of the largest of its kind. Students become part of a community of professionals committed to making a difference. Focus is placed on applying action-oriented research to students’ practical expertise. In this way, more cutting-edge public and private services can be developed through better assessment and modification. This program offers faculty-guided research based on professional interest and backgrounds, online courses focused on building scholarly skills, face-to-face residencies that prepare students for each phase of the program plus interaction with diverse faculty and professionals. Aside from its General Program that offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of human services, the program offers seven (7) specializations.

Clinical Social Work

The specialization on Clinical Social Work focuses on the use, understanding and development of models and theoretical frameworks for clinical practice with vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. Clinical scholars who are well-grounded in the qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry and highly skilled in a variety of intervention techniques are produced through this specialization. Graduates will find themselves leaders in direct practice, entering university-level teaching or clinical research positions if not into advanced positions in clinical administration, supervision and consultation.


The specialization in Counseling puts its focus on healthy life adjustment, biopsychosocial stress, human diversity and a synthesis of social, behavioral and developmental approaches to human growth. A learning philosophy that emphasizes developmental theories is utilized by graduates of this course. The broad application of these same theories is used to promote positive, health-oriented growth with emphasis on helping others achieve greater psychological, social, academic, vocational and ethical development.

Criminal Justice

The specialization on Criminal Justice addresses current issues related to public safety, juvenile delinquency, the courts and prison and the solutions to the control and elimination of criminal behavior. Students will be prepared to lead the complex process of changing the community’s social, educational and economic infrastructures to reduce violence as they get to study demographic shifts, economic disparity among racial and ethnic groups, urban decay, interpersonal violence as well as the role of substance abuse and poverty in criminal behavior.

Family Studies and Intervention Strategies

Students are provided with an understanding of the utilization of advanced clinical theory and research methodology within a unique client-centered ecological context in the Family Studies and Intervention Strategies specialization. A broad spectrum of theoretical and clinical approaches to intervention is taken up in this course with emphasis on the special needs of ethnic and racial minority, gay and lesbian, single parent and low-income families.

Human Services Administration

The focus of students’ study in the Human Services Administration specialization is on the theoretical foundations of organizational behavior as well as the practice of management and planning. Students learn to assess the effectiveness of the Internet and systemic efforts of community-based human services organizations which will then result to managers and direct-line staff having more effective strategies for improvement of the well being of the people they serve.

Social Policy Analysis and Planning

The specialization on Social Policy Analysis and Planning tackles the principles of social welfare as well as the use, development and protection of human and societal resources within a community-oriented framework. An integral part of the program is the international focus on sustainable development which is explored while covering an array of practice environments including urban, rural, community, regional and national.


This specialization allows students in the Ph. D. in Human Services program the option to design their own course of study. However, all Self-Designed programs must fit within the existing range of expertise on the Human Services faculty and the KAM curriculum structure of the General Program in Human Services. Development is also done in consultation with program faculty and approved by the faculty chair.