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Join a PhD in Social Work Program That Empowers You From Day One

Are you ready to expand your possibilities in your social work career? Whether you want to solve critical social problems or teach the next generation of social workers, Walden’s online PhD in Social Work program can give you the skills and credibility you need to shape transformative change in the field.

Designed for the working professional, our research-based program incorporates key doctoral competencies right from the start. Get the tools, resources, and confidence you need to navigate the rigorous curriculum and dissertation process ahead.

A PhD in Social Work program prepares a student to pursue new opportunities in the field as a researcher, higher education teacher, or administrative leader.

Why Choose Walden?

Pursue an Education for Good

Walden’s commitment to positive social change is woven throughout the program’s coursework and projects.

Prepare for Your Dissertation Early

Starting with the first course, you’ll be focused on your dissertation topic and the tools you need to proceed with confidence.

Get Support at Every Step

Along with dedicated faculty and dissertation chairs, we have experts in two academic centers who are focused on your success.

Build Practical Skills

Immersive learning technologies and online simulations empower you to sharpen your skills for real-life career scenarios.


The Walden Doctoral Degree Coach™ helps you find the right support when you need it and stay on track throughout your journey.

Program Savings

Receive up to a $5,000 Grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 28, 2022. Contact one of our Enrollment Specialists to learn more.

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Advanced Clinical Practice and Supervision

Gain the knowledge to supervise or mentor Master of Social Work students or advance your current clinical practice.

Impact Leadership in Social Work Administration

Explore the roles of strong leadership and strategic program development in helping an agency better serve its target populations.

Social Work Education

Build a versatile set of essential skills that can help you teach the next generation of social workers.

Program Details

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.

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?

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A Personalized Guide to Completing Your Doctorate

Earning your online PhD in Social Work 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.

Program Outcomes

Earn a Distinguished Degree in Social Work

Walden’s online PhD program in social work is a different way to earn your doctorate. Instead of waiting until the end of your studies to start your dissertation work, you’ll have the structure and support you need to move forward from the very start. Early courses will help you develop essential dissertation skills and choose a research topic . Every step of the way, our faculty are here to help as you navigate the process and lay the foundation for a compelling dissertation.

Career Outlook

A PhD in Social Work from Walden is an elite credential that can set you apart in the market and bring new respect from peers, employers, clients, and students. You’ll be prepared to make a difference through influential roles in research, teaching, policymaking, or administration.

Demand for social work professionals is expected to increase


by 2029—faster than the national average.1

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of Walden’s online PhD in Social Work program, you will be prepared to:

  • Utilize current research, best practices, and theory to promote prevention and intervention strategies that address social problems and needs of social groups.
  • Employ various research and statistical tools to gather data used to address the etiology and dynamics of social problems and social needs.
  • Evaluate the role of research and evaluation in social work in improving social interventions and advancing theory development.
  • 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 the economic and social well-being of culturally diverse clientele.
  • Assess the role of diversity in characterizing and shaping the human experience.
  • Apply ethical decision-making and practices in social work.


Meet Your Academic Team

  • Lisa Moon

    Lisa Moon


    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 older adults, simulative education, and accreditation for social work programs.

  • 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.

  • 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.


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FAQ About Walden’s Online PhD in Social Work


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