Distance Education Demonstration Program

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Project Descriptions - Walden University
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Walden University is a private, for-profit institution that serves adult students. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredits the University. Walden offers Doctorate, Master’s and Baccalaureate degree programs utilizing a number of program delivery models: competency based PhD programs that combine faculty-guided self-directed study with short-term residences; course-based PhD programs that utilize online courses and short-term residences; a course-based PhD program that utilizes online courses, faculty-guided self-directed study, and short-term residencies; and course-based online master’s and baccalaureate degree completion programs. The Department of Education has determined that the competency based PhD programs are independent study rather than correspondence study.

Course-based PhD programs and most of the master’s programs are structured in standard 12-week quarter terms. The MBA program has a slightly different term structure. Students in the MBA program enroll in “accelerated” six-week courses and are encouraged to enroll in two courses during a 12-week term. For purposes of financial aid, two courses per term is considered full-time enrollment. Students register in advance for the full 12-week term.

Master of Science (MS) in Education students enroll on a semester basis. Some specializations within the MS in Education program offer two instructional formats: face-to-face and online. All MS in Education students begin their programs with a specific cohort of students. Walden currently offers two doctorate degrees, seven master’s degrees, and two baccalaureate degree programs online:

  • PhD in Psychology,
  • PhD in Public Health,
  • Master of Science in Education,
  • Master of Science in Psychology,
  • Master of Science in Public Health,
  • Master of Science in Nursing (September 2004),
  • Master of Public Health,
  • Master of Business Administration,
  • Master of Public Administration,
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration,
  • Bachelor of Science in Information Systems.

Both the PhD in Psychology and PhD in Public Health programs do require the completion of short-term residences. In addition, the PhD in Psychology specializations that lead to licensure (Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and School Psychology) requires a practicum, internship and an academic year in residence.

Competency based PhD programs that combine faculty-guided self-directed study with short-term residences include the following:

  • PhD in Education,
  • PhD in Health Services,
  • PhD in Human Services,
  • PhD in Applied Management and Decision Sciences,
  • EDD in Education.

Offered by the School of Management, the PhD in Public Policy and Administration program utilizes multi-instructional formats including online courses, self-directed study and short-term residences.


Walden University has been granted waivers of the 50 percent rules pertaining to the number of courses and students and a waiver of the provision that defines a telecommunications student as a correspondence student when 50 percent or more of the courses are offered by telecommunications and correspondence.

Financial Aid Issues/Alternatives

Walden offers courses in traditional terms (quarters and semesters) and has not encountered unusual difficulties with financial aid regulations and disbursement procedures. Waiver of the 50 percent rules has allowed larger percentages of Walden's enrollments to apply for and receive financial aid packages mainly consisting of subsidized and unsubsidized loans. The student default rates on these loans have been decreasing steadily over the past several years.

Additional Goals for Participation

Walden will collect and analyze both formative and summative data related to learning outcomes, course design/development/delivery and support systems for both graduate and undergraduate programming for all delivery models. Walden has developed quantitative, measurable goals related to matriculation ratios, retention rates (including an assessment of specific strategies to increase retention), graduation rates, GPA measures, course and faculty evaluations, student and alumni satisfaction, and program/institutional assessment (including financial audits and Title IV program reviews).

Corporate Information

Since 1970, Walden University has offered busy professionals the opportunity to earn advanced degrees through distance learning. With nearly 35 years of experience, Walden University is the leading provider of doctoral degrees at a distance and one of the oldest accredited online universities.

On September 16, 2004 Laureate Education, Inc. (formerly Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc.) announced the acquisition of the remaining interest in Walden University giving the company 100 percent ownership of its fastest growing subsidiary. Laureate Education, Inc. is focused exclusively on providing a superior university experience to over 130,000 students through the leading global network of accredited campus-based and online universities. Addressing the rapidly growing global demand for higher education, Laureate also offers a broad range of career-oriented undergraduate and graduate programs through campus-based universities located in Latin America and Europe.

Walden University is the centerpiece of Laureate Online, the new name of the company's online higher education division, previously referred to as Online Higher Education (OHE). This acquisition will give Walden the ability to participate with other Laureate Education, Inc. online and campus-based initiatives, such as the introduction of Walden degree programs into international markets.

Demonstration Program Cohort

Walden University joined the Distance Education Demonstration Program in July 2001 as part of the second cohort.

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Last Modified: 04/16/2007