2022–2023 Walden University Catalog (September 2022) 
    Dec 03, 2022  
2022–2023 Walden University Catalog (September 2022)

Doctor of Human Services (DHS)

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Do you want to deepen your impact as a social problem-solver? Walden’s practitioner-focused Doctor of Human Services (DHS) program curriculum is designed to help human services professionals effect meaningful change in the field through direct practice, advocacy, or policy.

In the DHS program, students can gain the expertise to help organizations move the needle on complex social issues. Students can focus their studies through two specializations and complete a capstone project on a topic they are passionate about. Graduates from program feeling energized, confident, and ready to make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

A DHS degree prepares human services professionals to address social problems through evidence-based advocacy and program evaluation.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Assess the needs of clients accessing human services programs using a variety of evidence-supported approaches.
  2. Evaluate the effectiveness of the human service programs using a variety of evidence-supported approaches.
  3. Develop strategies for working collaboratively with interdisciplinary teams of professionals to deliver support services to diverse populations.
  4. Design research that contributes to positive social change related to human services.
  5. Advocate for the needs of diverse populations in order to promote positive social change.
  6. Develop an advanced human services practitioner professional identity.

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • 68 quarter credits
  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Foundation course (3 cr.)
  • Core courses (30 cr.)
  • Specialization courses (15 cr.)
  • Completion of the Doctoral Capstone
    • Communities of Practice and Research (CPR) courses (5 cr.; continuously enrolled in 1 cr. per term for a minimum of 5 terms until CPR completion)
    • Capstone writing courses (continuous enrollment in 5 cr. per term for a minimum of 3 terms until completion)


Specialization Courses (15 cr.)

These courses are dependent upon the particular specialization. Please see the course list on each specialization page.

Completion of the Doctoral Capstone

Course Sequence

The recommended course sequence is as follows:

Quarter Course Credits
1    3 cr.
   5 cr.
   1 cr.
2    5 cr.
Specialization Course 1 5 cr.
   1 cr.
3    5 cr.
   5 cr.
   1 cr.
4    5 cr.
Specialization Course 2 5 cr.
   1 cr.
5    5 cr.
Specialization Course 3 5 cr.
   1 cr.
6+ Capstone Writing Course 5 cr. per term for a minimum of 3 terms; taken continuously until completion

*Students take this course for a minimum of three quarters and are continuously enrolled until completion of their doctoral study with final chief academic officer (CAO) approval. In general, students are continuously registered in the doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the doctoral study course shell.

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 doctoral study on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the doctoral study process in the Professional Doctorate Documents.

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Students who start or readmit to doctoral programs at Walden University in the university catalog for academic year 2017 or later will complete the university’s required doctoral writing assessment. Designed to evaluate incoming doctoral students’ writing skills, this assessment aims to help prepare incoming doctoral students to meet the university’s expectations for writing at the doctoral level.

Note on Licensure

The Doctor of Human Services program, including its specializations, is not designed to lead to professional licensure including licensure as a professional therapist, counselor, social worker, or psychologist.

8-Year Maximum Time Frame

Students have up to 8 years to complete their doctoral degree requirements (see Enrollment Requirements). Students may petition to extend the 8-year maximum time frame, but an extension is not guaranteed.

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