He graduated from Florida State College in 1898, and received a Bachelors in Science from John B. Stetson University in 1901. At the University of Chicago, he was a Fellow, 1902–04, and received a Ph.D. in 1905. In 1904-07, he was in charge of the section of foreign law in the Library of Congress. He held a research appointment at Johns Hopkins in 1908-10, in 1910-11 was associate in political science, in 1911-14 assistant professor, and in 1914-15 associate professor of political science in the University of Illinois. After 1915, he was associate professor of political science in the University of Chicago. He served as the second Secretary of the State of Illinois' Legislative Reference Bureau in 1917-1918. He was president of the American Political Science Association from 1945-1946. In retirement, in 1946, Walter Dodd was retained to represent Vashti Cromwell McCollum in her landmark case challenging released time sectarian religious classes in the public schools of Champaign Illinois. The result was the 1948 decision, eight to one, in her favor (333 US 203).
The Revision and Amendment of State Constitutions (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1910)
Administration of workmen's compensation. New York: The Commonwealth Fund; London: H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1936. 845pp. ("This study has been conducted under the auspices of the legal research committee of the commonwealth fund. cf. Foreword.")