Walden University

Minneapolis, Minnesota

walden university

What is WALDEN UNIVERSITY’s motto? “A Higher Degree. A Higher Purpose.” Learn more about Walden University’s outstanding, online degree programs by clicking this GET MORE INFO link.

School’s History:

Walden University, an exclusively online institution of higher learning, was founded in 1970 by teachers, Rita and Bernie Turner, in order to provide working professionals the opportunity to pursue doctoral studies without having to leave the work force during studies. The Turners, in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley professor, Harold Hodgkinson, sought to create a new model of higher education. Hodgkinson, a year prior, in an essay entitled “Walden U.: A Working Paper, argued that higher education should be an instrument for positive social change and oriented towards students and their situations with the flexibility to allow students to pursue graduate education without the disruptions that more classical brick and mortar institutions entail. Walden’s namesake and inspiration is the book, Walden, by the 19th Century American author, Henry David Thoreau. Like the book that inspired its beginnings, Walden University presents a different ideal of higher education. Walden presents an educational ideal that aims at making education accessible and oriented around the needs and aspirations of its students, forming leaders with strong values who help bring about positive social change.

Landmarks in the history of Walden University:

The first Walden office opened in Naples, Florida. In 1972 46 PhDs and 24 EdDs were conferred at Walden’s first commencement. In 1977, making good on the Walden vision of not merely graduating specialists in a given field, a curriculum called the “Guided Independent Study Program” that emphasized “social change agency,” was implemented. In 1979 the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Board approved Walden’s request for a license to grant degrees in Minnesota, thus allowing Walden the right to confer PhDs and EdDs in the state of Minnesota, and in 1982 Walden moved to its current headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the mid-198os, Walden revamped its curriculum so that a Walden University education would take into account the manner in which social change affects the various professions. In 1990 Walden received accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In 1999 Fast Company gave Walden the only A grade in its review of online schools. And in 2001 Walden began offering MBA, MPA and PhD degrees in Public Policy and Administration. In 2002 Walden began offering a PhD in Public Health and a master’s of Public Health. In 2006 Walden’s master’s degree program in nursing was accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. In 2008 Walden hosted a debate between President Barack Obama and then-candidate John McCain. Fifteen new bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees were added in 2009, and in 2010 the former president of South Africa and civil rights pioneer, Nelson Mandela, was awarded an honorary doctorate by Walden. In 2011 President Bill Clinton addressed graduates at Walden’s commencement ceremony, and several degrees in the business school received accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Currently, Walden University comprises the following 10 schools, providing education and training in a wide variety of fields and disciplines.

  • The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership
  • School of Counseling
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Information Systems and Technology
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Management
  • School of Psychology
  • School of Public Policy and Administration
  • Barbara Solomon School of Social Work and Human Services
  • College of Undergraduate Studies

Walden offers a full range of certificate and degree programs:

  • Doctoral
  • Master’s
  • Bachelor’s
  • Education Specialist
  • Endorsement Program
  • Certificates
  • Individual Courses

The nine schools have given certificates and degrees in multiple fields. These include:

  • Business and Management
  • Communication
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Health
  • Information Technology
  • Nursing
  • Psychology and Counseling
  • Public Policy
  • Social Work and Human Services

Walden graduates from each of the schools have gone on to achieve high levels of success. For a lengthy presentation of Walden alumni accomplishments see link.

The growth of Walden University throughout its almost 50 year history has been spectacular. From a handful of students in the beginning, by 1990 Walden enrollment had grown to 550 students. By 1996 enrollment rose to 1,000. In the following half decade (2001) Walden enrollment increased to 2,000. By 2009 the University’s enrollment skyrocketed to over 36,000 students, and current enrollment is 52,799. This rapid growth suggests that Walden is meeting a fast growing demand for distance education and is operating according to a successful model.


Walden University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1990. The HLC is one of only six regional accrediting associations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Walden University has accreditations in the following areas:

  • Education: Walden is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education, which is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
  • Social Work: The Master of Social Work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, also recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. 
  • Nursing: Walden’s DNP, MSN and BSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Project Management: The MS in Project Management program at Walden University is accredited by the Project Management Institute-Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs.

For more information on accreditation at Walden University see here.

Prominent Online Programs:


Walden University was founded with an emphasis on education and received its first accreditation in this area, its first graduates being in the field of education. Walden still offers dozens of degrees and certificates to pursue administrative or leadership roles in education. Walden’s educational degree program includes 56,000 students and alumni, including more than 100 state teachers of the year. Education is an enriching field of study at Walden University for adults pursuing advancement in their career of educating others from the level of early childhood to college as well as specialized areas of study.


Giving students the opportunity to study with doctoral-level faculty members and also including a practicum for hands-on experience, Walden’s School of Nursing offers theoretical and practical experience that makes knowledgeable nurses. It also can take one into different avenues of nursing qualifications such as consulting, educating, administration or executive careers.

Psychology and Counseling:

With many accredited degrees offered, Walden’s Psychology and Counseling School offers unique opportunity among online counseling and psychology programs. Some of the degree programs feature face-to-face residencies with special support from faculty and opportunities to strengthen skills by collaborating with peers and staff. These residencies are held in various locations in the U.S. and in other parts of the world.

Course Presentation and Flexibility:

The model of learning at Walden University is oriented toward a busy lifestyle. Students can participate in online dialogue on a weekly basis whenever it’s convenient for them. Students can follow and contribute throughout the week and refer back to comments easily to use them as a reference. The Syllabus for each class is readily available in the online classroom. Walden also has a program called MobileLearn which conveniently enables students to download lectures to their smartphones or MP3 players. The classroom can be accessed from an iPhone or iPod touch by downloading the Walden app from iTunes. Other resources can be also be accessed through Walden’s channel on iTunes U. Another unique program that Walden offers for certain degrees is Tempo Learning. Tempo Learning allows students to learn at their own pace by building on their existing skills, knowledge and experience.


Walden University professors are diverse. One of the benefits of online education is the ability of the institution to hire highly accomplished professors from around the world. In order to foster academic excellence among its professors, Walden has developed 5 awards by which the university recognizes faculty of outstanding quality.

Because of the pace of online education, faculty interacts with students on a continual basis. It would seem from the statistics of a 2014 survey that the students of Walden University were generally pleased with the interaction, availability and style of teaching of the faculty. Around 35% of students participated in the survey. 79% of the students answered that they were pleased with all or most of the faculty that they had interacted with. The teacher to student ratio is quite low at 18:1.

Financial Aid and Scholarships:

Walden offers a variety of avenues for acquiring financial aid. Walden employs a full-time staff of enrollment and financial aid officers to assist students in securing the necessary funding. Walden also maintains a financial aid resource page to assist potential and current students in determining available aid sources as well as calculating education costs. If someone is in need of aid, Walden acknowledges that this is a common situation and notes that two-thirds of Walden students receive some form of financial aid.

The financial aid available at Walden includes:

  • Federal Financial Aid
  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Fellowships
  • And Other Funding Options
  • U.S. Military and Veteran Aid Programs

Of particular note, in addition to the various grant and loan options available to students, Walden offers scholarships and fellowships. Fellowships emphasize research in leadership and social change as well as distance education.

School Awards and Recognitions:

  • In 2014, Walden University’s master of social work video series, “Session Episodes,” received a 2014 Silver Award in the 35th Annual Telly Awards.
  • Listed by The Best College as well as College Values Online as one of the most affordable online schools.
  • Innovative programs of Walden’s Writing Center and Center for Faculty Excellence were recognized in 2016 by the Online Learning Consortium.


The following table is based upon data from National Center for Education Statistics comparing the net yearly cost for 31 online schools, colleges and universities similar to Walden University. Walden University costs just over $12,000 per year: about $1,700 less than average. The table shows how the cost of Walden University instruction for full-time undergraduate students is just below the average yearly cost across comparable institutions.


Career Advancement:

The graduation rate at Walden University is only 18%. However, according to a survey conducted in 2015 of employers who had hired Walden graduates, 87% were satisfied or very satisfied with the employee’s performance. Ninety-seven percent (97%) of employers answered that they would hire another Walden graduate. The survey also showed that employers have noticed an improvement of the skill level of the graduate’s of Walden University during their education. Eighty-one percent (81%) of employers of Walden University graduates considered the online degree to be equal to or more valuable than degrees earned face-to-face. Walden also offers many resources to assist their graduates in acquiring a job and advancing their career.

Below, you will find many notable rankings and articles in which Walden University is featured:

Top 20 Online Schools for Bachelor’s in Political Science

Top Accredited Online Colleges

40 Online Degrees Most Likely to Get You a Job

Best Online Schools for Students with Disabilities

40 Online Degrees With High Salaries

Top 20 Online Schools for Doctoral Nursing Degree Programs

Top 20 Online Schools for Master’s of Education Degree Programs

Top 15 Online Schools for Master’s of Human Services Degree Programs

Top 10 Online Schools for Bachelor’s of Human Services Degree Programs

Top 15 Online Schools for Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

Top 20 Online Master’s of Nursing Degree Programs

Top 20 Online Master’s of Healthcare Administration

Top 15 Online Master’s of Business Administration

Top Online Bachelor of Business Administration Programs

Top Online Bachelor’s of Communications Degree Programs

Top 15 Online Master’s of Management Accounting

Top 10 Online Masters in Sustainability Degree Programs

Top 20 Doctor of Psychology Degree Programs

Top Online Masters of Criminal Justice Degree Programs

Top 20 Online Accounting Degree Programs

Top 20 Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Programs

The 30 Most Innovative Online Colleges

Certificate Programs offered at Top Online Schools

Top 10 Accredited Online Colleges – Online Focused