Social Welfare, PhD

The PhD in Social Welfare program develops leaders in academia and research. We foster scholarly energy, collaboration, and creativity and offer a confluence of diverse philosophies and approaches to social work, social welfare research, social policy, social theory, and social justice.

View the University’s Academic Rules for PhD Programs.

Required Courses

A minimum of 20 course units are required.

Core Requirements
SWRK 6680Economics for Social Policy
SWRK 8030History and Philosophy of Social Welfare
SWRK 8110Social Theory
SWRK 8520Social Work Research
SWRK 8550Advanced Research Methods
SWRK 8610Policy Analysis
MSSP 6300Quantitative Reasoning/Social Statistics
MSSP 8970Applied Linear Modeling
SWRK 9010Proseminar (at least four semesters)
Additional Courses 1
Select one theory class
Select four electives

Up to four credit units of transfer credit from another graduate program will be accepted.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2022 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.

Sample Plan of Study

Plan of Study Grid
Transfer CreditCourse Units
Four course units of transfer credit 1 4
 Course Units4.00
First Year
SWRK 8030 History and Philosophy of Social Welfare 1
SWRK 8520 Social Work Research 1
SWRK 9010 Proseminar 0.5
MSSP 6300 Quantitative Reasoning/Social Statistics 1
 Course Units3.50
SWRK 8110 Social Theory 1
SWRK 8550 Advanced Research Methods 1
SWRK 9010 Proseminar 0.5
MSSP 8970 Applied Linear Modeling 1
Elective 2 1
 Course Units4.50
Second Year
SWRK 9010 Proseminar 0.5
SWRK Elective 1
Theory Course or Elective 1
Select two electives 2
 Course Units4.50
SWRK 8610 Policy Analysis 1
SWRK 9010 Proseminar 0.5
Theory Course or Elective 1
Elective 1
 Course Units3.50
 Total Course Units20.00

A minimum of four course units of pre-program credits will be granted to applicants with an appropriate master’s degree in social work or a related profession or allied discipline.


At least four of the elective courses in the advanced curriculum must be taken in departments and units of the University other than the School of Social Policy & Practice. Students are encouraged to use electives to develop content and methodological expertise in their area of research. These courses must relate to the substantive content that students select for their individualized program of study, and must be listed by the University as at or above the 5000 level. In some cases, students are allowed to take graduate-level courses at other universities. The student’s advisor will guide the student in the selection of elective courses.