Doctor of Social Work (D.S.W.)

Why should you earn a D.S.W. at WWU?

Our online program is focused on teaching in higher education and leadership skills as practitioner scholar. We are the only D.S.W. program in the Pacific Northwest. Study with us to earn your D.S.W. degree and enjoy a low student to faculty ratio. 

The D.S.W. Program at Walla Walla University School of Social Work and Sociology has grown out of a strong undergraduate and graduate program—both accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and by the Northwest Commission on College and Universities (NWCCU). 

At this time, CSWE does not accredit any doctoral program. 

What Walla Walla University D.S.W. students say about the doctoral program

In a world often telling us who we are, who we ought to be, who we should aspire to be, I have found Walla Walla values and honors authenticity, which is a significant part of why I chose Walla Walla for my DSW.
- Jona

Having a cohort with diverse experiences represented is providing valuable depth to my practice and research.
- Dustin

I was most attracted to WWU DSW’s accessibility and the program being ideal for professionals already in the field of social work. Social workers are inherently teachers and change makers. To further my education in both of these areas was what I was looking for at the next stage in my career.
- Stacy

Program Highlights

  • Online format
  • Teaching and leadership focus 
  • Entry term – summer quarter 
  • No GRE required 


  • Credits: 52 quarter credit hours
  • Length: 8 quarters over 2 years with two summer week-long residencies
  • 2024 Summer Residency - June 24-27, 2024

What’s the difference between a D.S.W. and a Ph.D. in Social Work? 

Both are doctoral degrees, both advance an individual in their social work education and careers. The difference lies in the focus of the programs. Ph.D. programs generally focus on quantitative research and are most appropriate for students interested in careers conducting social work research. A D.S.W. is a practice doctorate in social work and the emphasis at Walla Walla University is on teaching and leading. The WWU D.S.W. values practice and research with the aim to engage our students as practitioner scholars.  

Admission to the Online D.S.W. Program

Application Deadline 

March 1, 2024 for early decision, completed files will be reviewed early with acceptance offered to at least half the cohort size

May 1 final deadline
Admission for summer quarter is dependent on available positions in the program. Eligibility does not guarantee a place in the program due to limited yearly enrollment. You may be placed on a waitlist if accepted. 

Admissions Requirements 

  • Hold a Master’s degree in social work from a program that is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) or a CSWE recognized international program.
  • Minimum of two years of excellent post-MSW direct practice experience. 
  • Active license in clinical social work preferred. 
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 in graduate education and 3.0 in undergraduate studies. 
  • Professional level skills in the use of technology and reliable internet access. 

Applicants who meet the minimum admissions requirements will then do the following:


  • Application
  • All transcripts for graduate coursework and transcript showing a conferred bachelor's degree.
  • Current curriculum vitae/detailed resume.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s professional and academic abilities.
    • Academic reference from a teacher
    • Past or present work supervisor and/or a volunteer position
    • If you have any questions about obtaining these references, please contact Graduate Admissions
  • Professional writing sample. Examples of professional, scholarly writing:
    • Published article or book chapter
    • Master’s thesis
    • Unpublished research report or white paper
    • Term paper written in an upper level graduate course
    • Grant application
  • A criminal background check
  • Admission Essay
    • Address the following:
      • Discuss your professional experiences and the factors that led to the decision to apply to the D.S.W. program at Walla Walla University.
      • Describe a situation that you dealt with in your professional role as a clinician, administrator/manager, or teacher and how you used practice knowledge, skills, and values to intervene successfully.
      • Address your future professional vision and how the pursuit of a D.S.W. degree will aid you in achieving your goals.
      • Discuss an area of in-depth study that you intend to pursue in this doctoral program and how this will aid the field of professional social work.

All materials must be received by the deadline.

Important to keep in mind:

  • Application should demonstrate a commitment to teaching and leadership in social work.
  • Personal interviews may be requested by the D.S.W. admissions committee.
  • Residential requirements may include week-long on-campus summer intensive sessions.

Tuition and Financial Information

Financial Information

  • Tuition is  $925 per credit hour (most quarters are 6-8 credit hours). Total program cost is approximately $49,000, or $24,500 per year.
  • General Fee is $121 per quarter

Learn more about finances for graduate students 

External Funding Resources