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    Walden University’s Online Ph.D. in Social Work program helps you make a positive impact on the world as you make significant contributions to your profession and to society. You will have the opportunity to enhance your role as an advanced social work scholar, researcher, and leader in the field.

    Benefit from a challenging curriculum that enables you to analyze advanced theory and explore some of the most pressing and cutting-edge issues in social work. Follow your specific interests by choosing one of the available specializations, such as Addictions and Social Work, Medical Social Work, or Clinical Expertise. Collaborate with professors and colleagues, build your social and professional community, and enhance your ability to influence positive social change.

    A Master of Social Work (MSW) is a prerequisite for Walden’s Ph.D. in Social Work program.

    Specializations (in addition to the General Program):

    • Addictions and Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Disaster, Crisis, and Intervention
    • Family Studies and Interventions
    • Medical Social Work
    • Policy Practice
    • Social Work Administration

    Why choose the Criminal Justice specialization?

    The Criminal Justice specialization prepares students to address some of these issues criminal justice systems face to combat crime in communities. Learn how to improve life in your community by focusing your research and studies on the factors that can contribute to criminal behavior, including addiction, homelessness, and unemployment. Explore current forms of intervention and help implement advances in individual and group psychotherapy. Conduct research into the new field of restorative justice. Use this knowledge to develop your skills as a scholar, educator, policy analyst, agency leader, or researcher.

    Study outcomes

    Graduates of this program will be prepared to:

  • Utilize current research, best practices, and theory to promote prevention and intervention strategies.
  • Employ various research and statistical tools to gather data used to address the dynamics of social problems.
  • Evaluate the role of research and evaluation in social work.
  • Critically evaluate the history of social work, its mission, and its core values.
  • Promote social change by collaborating with leaders, agencies, and universities to advocate for policies and programs that advance social well-being.
  • Demonstrate the ability to assess the role of diversity in characterizing and shaping the human experience.
  • Apply ethical decision-making and practices in social work.
  • Career options

    A Ph.D. in Social Work can provide you with greater opportunities to move your career forward as a:

    • Social worker
    • Researcher
    • Evaluator
    • Agency leader
    • Policy analyst
    • Educator/professor/faculty member
    • Supervisor in the social work field
    • Program director


    Completion Requirements

    • 77 total quarter credit hours
      • Core courses (42 cr.)
      • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
      • Dissertation (20 cr.)
      • Four Ph.D. residencies

    Time to completion may vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable


    Walden’s School of Social Work and Human Services features a distinguished faculty of scholars, researchers, and professionals with public and private sector experience who share a commitment to teaching. They blend academic theory with first-hand knowledge to enrich your learning experience and to broaden your perspectives on the latest issues and best practices.

    USA requirements for international students

    Each university in the Unites States of America sets its own admission standards so there isn't the same criteria for all the students and the university can decide which applicants meet those standards. The fee for each application is between $35 to $100. 

    After the selections of the universities you want to attend, the best of all would be to contact each university for an application form and more admission information for the international students. Moreover, for a graduate or postgraduate program it's necessary to verify the admission requirements. Some programs require that you send your application directly to their department. 

    Admissions decisions are based on students's academic record and different test scores, such as TOEFL, the SAT or ACT (for undergraduate programs) and GRE or GMAT (for graduate programs). Admission decision is based on your academic results and motivation.

    University requirements

    Program requirements


    Admission requirements for Walden’s programs vary but generally include the following:

    • Official transcript(s)
    • Transfer of credits based on a course-by-course evaluation of relevant transcripts
    • A master's degree or higher
    • Applicable test scores
    • Completed online application
    • Employment history
    • List of transfer credits

    English Language Requirements

    IELTS band: 6.5 TOEFL paper-based test score : 550 TOEFL iBT® test: 79

    Work Experience

    At least 3 year(s) of work experience is required.

    Three years of related professional or academic experience

    Technological Requirements

    Computer and internet access.



    At Walden, our goal is to help you reach yours. From your first inquiry about your online program, through every step in your studies, you can benefit from our wide range of student support services designed to help you succeed in attaining your degree online.

    Founded in 1970, Walden University is a global leader in student-centred online education. A regionally accredited institution in the United States, Walden University attracts a community of extraordinary students and faculty from around the world.

    Our quality online programs feature nationally recognized experts, accomplished faculty, and visionary leaders—all professionals who are dedicated to upholding the university’s high academic standards.


    Walden University’s mission is to provide a diverse community of career professionals with the opportunity to transform themselves as scholar-practitioners so that they can effect positive social change. Three values—quality, integrity, and student-centred approach—are at the core of the university. A commitment to these values demands high standards of excellence, uncompromising openness and honesty, and primary attention to the progress of our students.


    Accreditation is an important hallmark of quality. When evaluating credentials, employers and universities often look for applicants who earned their degrees from accredited universities.

    Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association. The North Central Association is one of the six regional accrediting associations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The North Central Association is a U.S. membership organization for educational institutions that was created to develop and maintain high standards of academic excellence.

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