May 21, 2022
Return to: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
The Doctor of Social Work (DSW) is a postgraduate program designed to prepare students as advanced practitioners who employ action research to design, implement, and assess social work and social welfare programs and policies for suitability for the diverse needs of families, communities, and society. This program may prepare students to design culturally and contextually relevant social services; mentor others in their efforts to provide social services to individuals, communities, and society; and provide leadership and advocacy in the social work profession regarding needs of individuals and communities with schools, governments, health services, criminal justice systems, and mental health organizations.
The DSW program specifically differs from the PhD in Social Work because the development and training in the DSW is focused on providing advanced development for the practitioner-scholar. The PhD program is focused on developing scholar-practitioners for service as researchers, agency leaders, policy analysts, and educators.
At the end of this program, graduates will be able to:
- Apply current research, best practices, and theory-based prevention and intervention strategies to address social problems and needs of social groups.
- Address etiology and dynamics of social problems and social needs by using research in the field.
- Apply results from research and evaluation to improve prevention and intervention strategies in social work practice.
- Critically examine the history of social work, its mission, and its core values.
- Promote social change by collaborating with clients, various professional agencies, organizations, and communities to advocate for the needs of culturally diverse clientele.
- Design and implement culturally-responsive prevention and intervention strategies.
- Apply ethical decision making to social work research and practice.
Changing specializations may increase a student’s expected time-to-degree completion and cost.
- Professional Development Plan and Program of Study
- Foundation course (3 cr.)
- Core courses (35 cr.)
- Specialization courses (15 cr.)
- Elective course (5 cr.)
- Completion of Doctoral Study
- Doctoral Study Action Research Project (5 cr. per term; taken continuously until completion)
- One face-to-face residency
Foundation Course (3 cr.)
Specialization Courses (15 cr.)
These courses are dependent upon the particular specialization. Please see the course list on each specialization page. Changing specializations may increase a student’s expected time-to-degree completion and cost.
Students choose a course to support their Capstone research project.
- Complete one residency face-to-face as soon as you begin your program; required before you begin your action research project.
Doctoral Action Research Project (5 cr. per term; taken continuously until completion)
*Students take this course for a minimum of four terms and are continuously enrolled until completion of their Doctoral Study with final Chief Academic Officer (CAO) approval.
To complete a doctoral study, 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.
Walden is committed to providing the information you need to make an informed decision about where you pursue your education. Click here to find detailed information for the Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program relating to the types of occupations this program may lead to, completion rate, program costs, and median loan debt of students who have graduated from this program.