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School history

Walden University was founded in 1970 by two teachers in conjunction with Harold "Bud" Hodgkinson, a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley. One year prior to the university's founding, Hodgkinson had published "Walden U.: A Working Paper," an article that initiated the concept of the student-centered university. The idea held great appeal for Bernie and Rita Turner, who were interested in helping adult learners earn doctoral degrees without having to leave the workforce to accomplish their educational goals.

Within two years of its founding, Walden University had granted 46 PhDs and 24 EdDs. Today, the university boasts over 71,000 alumni from disciplines including:

  • Management and technology
  • Information systems and technology
  • Psychology
  • Counseling and social service
  • Public policy and administration
  • Education
  • Health sciences
  • Nursing

According to employer feedback, 84 percent of Walden master's degree earners obtained a promotion within one year of graduation. Additionally, 89 percent of alumni earned a pay raise within one year of graduating. In the field of online education where students have to be on the lookout for scams and unaccredited institutions that over-promise and under-deliver, the accredited online degree programs available at Walden University are a welcome sign for working professionals.


Currently, Walden University has over 50,000 students from all 50 states and over 145 countries. The vast majority of these work full-time. Walden University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and has been for 25 years. The HLC is one of the six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

In addition to its institutional accreditation, Walden has also earned specialized accreditation for some of its professional programs. This means these programs are well-regarded by professionals and certifying bodies within their field or discipline. Walden's specialized accreditations include:

  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
  • The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)
  • Project Management Institute (PMI) Global Accreditation Center (GAC)
  • ABET Computing Accreditation COmmission

In 2011, President Bill Clinton was the speaker at Walden's 46th annual commencement ceremony.

Cost to attend

Walden University's tuition varies by program. Here's a breakdown for several programs based on data for the 2013-2014 academic year available on Walden's website:



Number of credits required

PhD in Education

$645 per quarter hour

96 quarter hours

PhD in Nursing

$700 per quarter hour

74 quarter hours

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

$895 per semester hour

36 semester hours

MS in Nonprofit Management and Leadership

$455 per quarter hour

51 quarter hours

MS in Information Technology

$790 per semester hour

30 semester hours

Most programs also charge a technology fee of $160 per term, and there may be additional costs in terms of books and materials in some cases.

Financial aid

Because Walden University is regionally accredited, students are eligible for federal loans and grant programs including:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
  • TEACH Grants
  • Federal Direct Loans
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans
  • Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loans

Students may also be eligible for state-based aid in their state of residence. Walden University also offers more than one million dollars in merit-based scholarships. Examples include:

  • Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership scholarships ranging in value from $4,000 to $25,000
  • College of Health Sciences scholarships ranging in value from $10,000 to full tuition
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences scholarships ranging from $5,000 to full tuition
  • College of Management and Technology scholarships for full tuition
  • University-wide scholarships ranging in value from $2,500 to $25,000

There are also other potential sources for funding, such as:

  • Higher Education Professional Development Program
  • U.S. Military and Veteran Benefits
  • Monthly Payment Plans

International students may have resources at their disposal as well. It's also worth noting most Walden students are full-time professionals in addition to being graduate students. As a result, they many not experience the same loss of income many full-time students at traditional universities do while pursuing their degrees.

Online offerings

Today, Walden University offers online degrees exclusively. In fact, they were the first university to offer a fully online master's program in education back in 1995. Their programs include:

  • 18 doctoral degrees
  • 40 master's degrees
  • 18 bachelor's degrees

Walden also offers 11 Education Specialist degrees, an education endorsement program and an extensive selection of graduate certificates. Note that non-degree students may not be eligible for financial aid. Delivery of coursework is managed by Laureate Online Education.

Because of its focus on online education for more than 20 years, Walden University has focused on creating online learning communities that enable students to be successful. This includes features such as syllabi with learning objectives and assignment deadlines clearly outlined so students can structure around their existing work schedules.

While tests are delivered online and scored immediately, providing instant feedback, paper and project submissions are managed via a drop-box system. This allows student and teacher to view and exchange feedback in a private environment. Certain online programs do offer academic residencies with an in-person component. Interaction with classmates is also built into each course, and because everything takes place online, it's possible to learn from and with students across the country and even the world.

Highlighted programs

PhD in Education

Since Walden was founded by educators seeking to help school administrators earn doctoral degrees while remaining active in the workforce, its offerings for educators remain one of its featured curricula.

Walden's PhD in Education offers coursework in assessment; educational technology; leadership, policy, and change in education; and learning, instruction and innovation in a purely course-based format. They also offer mixed-model format specializations within the degree for student/professionals whose interest lie in the areas of adult education, community colleges, early childhood education, higher education, and more.

This flexibility enables students to choose not only the subject area that most interests them, but also the method of delivery that best caters to their preferred learning style. Course-based specializations are ideal for students who prefer structure, while the mixed-method format enables students the opportunity to perform independent research on a specialized topic.

MS in Leadership

All of Walden University's is committed to positive social change, regardless of which program a student enrolls in. To this end they organize global days of service and encourage students and faculty to give of their time and be leaders in their community.

Walden's MS in Leadership perhaps best encapsulates this spirit of social change. According to their website, "The need for strong leadership across all sectors has never been greater, and the nature of leadership in the 21st century is changing." This degree is intended to create both globally competent and ethical leaders, regardless of organization or industry.

Students in this degree can either take the general program, or specialize in human resource leadership or leader development. There's also an option that enables students to design a curriculum customized to their interests and goals. Students also have access to live streaming presentations of a variety of events and conferences that take place all over the world.

Student life data

Broken down by demographic, Walden's student population breaks down, according to 2013 data from the National Center for Education Statistics IPEDS database, as follows:




Grand total men



Grand total women






Black or African American






Two or more races






American Indian or Alaska Native



Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander



Broken down by age, Walden's students fall into the following categories:

Age bracket



Age 18-19



Age 20-21



Age 22-24



Age 25-29



Age 30-34



Age 35-39



Age 40-49



Age 50-64



If you're interested in finding out more about Walden and the programs it has to offer, scroll back to the top of the page and click the "Request Info" button.


"Walden University," December 19 2014, http://www.waldenu.edu/

"Tuition and Fees," Walden University, December 19, 2014, http://www.waldenu.edu/financial-aid/tuition-fees

"IPEDS Data Center," National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2013, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/

Disclaimer: Information on this page was not provided or commissioned by the featured school. Information has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the featured school.

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