Visit Request Info Apply

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

The Walla Walla University Wilma Hepker School of Social Work and Sociology has been accredited since 1979 by the Council on Social Work Education preparing both B.S.W. and M.S.W. graduates for the rigors of direct practice. We understand the essential role of outstanding teaching and leadership to transform social work practice in classrooms and agencies. Our online D.S.W. program is interactive, personal, and designed to be accessible for working professionals seeking careers in academics and leadership.  With the working professional in mind, a variety of interactive learning experiences are utilized that will allow you to complete your degree in 18 classes for 10 quarters over 2.5-years. D.S.W. classes are taught in real-time using videoconferencing, online asynchronous course work with a learning management system, and summer week-long residencies. If you are looking for a doctoral program like this, please contact us for more information. 

The mission of the D.S.W. program is to develop experienced social work practitioners into outstanding educators and leaders who engage in the dissemination of scholarly knowledge to invigorate social work practice and advance social justice. 

DSW Learning Objectives:

  • Engage in systematic inquiry that adheres to scholarly conventions. 
  • Use and critically evaluate evidence-based practices. 
  • Develop and disseminate practice-relevant knowledge through a variety of channels, such as teaching, administration, scholarship, professional presentations, and mentoring. 
  • Develop and maintain substantive expertise in teaching and leadership in social work. 
  • Assess the roles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in shaping human experiences and develop intervention strategies. 
  • Apply ethical decision making and professional practices. 

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.  

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


Admission to the DSW Program

Application Deadline 

May 1, 2020 

All admission documents must be in to guarantee a place in the program if eligible. 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:

1. Submit:

  • 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.
  • Recent professional writing sample.

2. Complete a criminal background check.

3. Craft an admissions essay that addresses 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 submitted by
May 1, 2020.


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 include week-long on-campus summer intensive sessions.

Tuition and financial information

Finances for 2020-21

  • Tuition is $1,074 per credit hour  (most quarters are 6-8 credit hours)
  • General Fee is $87 per quarter
  • Two Teaching Assistant positions are available to top candidates which will include a teaching stipend and potentially partial or full tuition waivers. These positions require a College Place campus residency year-round. 
  • The Federal Direct Student Loan is available for eligible students, who can borrow up to $20,500 per academic year. There is a cumulative maximum amount of $138,500, including any other prior Direct Loans.
  • The Federal Graduate PLUS loan is available for eligible students who need additional funds beyond the Direct Loan.
  •  For more information regarding student loans, contact WWU’s student loan office at 800-656-2333 or student.loans@wallawalla.edu
  • Payment plans are available. The awarded financial aid is subtracted from the quarter’s tuition and fees. The remaining balance is divided into three equal payments. One third is due the Wednesday before the start of classes. The next two payments are due approximately one month apart.  International students are not eligible for the payment plan (except students from Canada).  

Learn more about finances for graduate students 

Program Highlights 

  • Teaching and leadership focus 
  • Enrollment now open each summer quarter 
  • No GRE required 
  • Two paid Teaching Assistant positions are available 

Format 

  • Credits: 18 classes for a total of 68 quarter credit hours 
  • Length: 10 consecutive quarters over 2.5 years with two summer week-long residencies  

D.S.W. Faculty

Darold Bigger Ph.D, M.S.W., M.Div.

Interim Dean

(509) 527-2389

darold.bigger@wallawalla.edu

Education

  • B.A. & M.S.W Walla Walla College
  • M.Div. Andrews University 
  • Ph.D. Claremont Theology and Personality
  • ACSW
  • LMFT

Susan B. Smith, Ph.D, M.S.W., L.I.C.S.W., L.C.S.W.

D.S.W Program Director

(509) 527-2443

susan.smith@wallawalla.edu 

Education

  • BS Southern College
  • MSW Florida International University
  • PhD Andrews University
  • LICSW
  • LCSW

Teaching Areas

  • Leadership
  • Social Work Education
  • Mental Health
  • Social Work Practice

Research/Interests

  • Mental Health
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Assessment in Higher Learning

Hobbies

  • Travel and Reading

Other

Service

  • Board of Directors and Volunteer, REACH, Tacoma, Washington
  • Board of Directors, Housing Groups Board, Walla Walla, Washington
  • Mental Health First Aid Community Training

Professional Memberships/Affiliations

  • Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Pi Lambda Theta – Honor Society in Education
  • Phi Alpha—Honor Society in Social Work

Faculty Awards

  • NASW-WA Social Worker of the Year Award 2019
  • National Academic Advising Association, Outstanding Faculty Advisor, 2011
  • Walla Walla University Excellence in Advising Award, 2010
  • Walla Walla University Community Service Award, 2010
  • NASW Washington Chapter, Educator of the Year Award, 2007

Cheris Current, Ph.D, M.A. 

Professor of Social Work and Sociology

(509) 527-2903 

cheris.current@wallawalla.edu 

Education

  • PhD 
  • MA

Kari Firestone, Ph.D, M.S.

Professor of Nursing

(509) 527-2462

kari.firestone@wallawalla.edu

BS in Nursing - Walla Walla College - 1994

MS in Nursing/Nursing Education/Clinical Nurse Specialist - Loma Linda University - 2006

PhD in Nursing - Oregon Health & Sciences University - 2016

Clinical Expertise: Pediatrics, Pain & Symptom Management, Health Promotion, Public/Community Health


Neria Sebastien, EdD, MST

Adjunct Faculty, School of Social Work and Sociology

neria.sebastien@wallawalla.edu

Education

  • EdD, Educational Leadership, Concordia University
  • MST, Special Education, Fordham University
  • BA, Childhood Education, Concentration in Science Education, Brooklyn College
  • AA, Childhood Education, Concentration in Special Education, Caribbean Union Teacher's College

Teaching Areas

  • Pedagogy
  • Social Justice
  • Special Education
  • Teacher Preparation

Research/Interests

  • Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
  • Educational Leadership
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Social Justice
  • Computer Science Education
  • Multimedia Learning
  • Special Education
  • Pre-Service Teacher Education
  • Rural Schools
  • Urban Education

Affiliations

  • Seattle University, College of Education, Faculty Member
  • Walla Walla University, Education & Psychology, Faculty Member
  • Fordham University, Graduate School of Education, Graduate Student
  • Concordia University Portland, Graduate School of Education, Graduate Student

Ann Szalda-Petree, Ph.D, M.S.W., M.A., L.C.S.W

Associate Professor of Social Work and Sociology

(406) 721-2075

ann.szalda-petree@wallawalla.edu

Education

  • MSW Walla Walla University, 2005
  • PhD University of Montana, 1993; Psychology
  • MA University of Montana, 1992; Psychology
  • BS Seattle University, 1988; Psychology
  • LCSW

Teaching Areas
Advanced Individual Practice, Advanced Group Practice, Advanced Family Practice, Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused Approaches, Research Methods, Advanced Clinical Evaluation and Clinical Issues in Relationships

    Research/Interests
    I am beginning an investigation into the relationship between attachment and belief in conspiracy theories. I am currently conducting research on decreasing recidivism among people going through pre-release programs. I frequently read about the use of humor in psychotherapy.

    Hobbies
    Spending time with family and in the outdoors, running, radio and podcast production, music writing and production, bicycling and reading

    Other

    Professional Memberships/Affiliations
    NASW

    Service

    • President of the Board of Directors at KFGM Missoula Community Radio 105.5 FM, streaming at 1055KFGM.org
    • Radio show host and producer for KFGM and the Community Radio Network of Montana

    Laurellé C. Warner, PH.D., M.SW., L.C.S.W.

    Associate Professor of Social Work and Sociology

    (406) 549-1050

    laurelle.warner@wallawalla.edu

    Education

    • MSW University of Connecticut School of Social Work, 1989
    • PhD, Loma Linda University; Social Policy and Social Research
    • Certificate: Basic Mediation Training, Center for Conflict Resolution, La Sierra University, 2013 
    • Certificate: Research on Spirituality and Health, Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health, Duke University Medical Center, 2011 
    • Certificate: Addiction, New England Institute of Addiction Studies and Colby College, 1989
    • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). State of Montana, 2016
    • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), State of Connecticut, 1997

    Teaching Areas 

    Practice with Individuals and Field Seminar, Practice with Groups, Practice with Couples and Families, Field Seminar

      Research/Interests

      Resilience in the Lives of Black Women

      Hobbies

      Knowing, understanding, and applying theories from various fields; enjoying the beauty of nature

      Other

      Faculty Awards

      2013 Lifetime Achievement Award, National Association of Social Workers, California Inland Empire

      Service

      • Civically engaged, on a range of committees and fellowship at WWU, pro bono counseling/therapeutic services offered 
      • Phi Alpha National Social Work Honor Society, NASW member 

      Event Details

      Shown in {{ timezone.name }}