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 Requirements for PhD Degrees.

Required Courses

A minimum of 20 course units are required.

Core Requirements
SWRK 803History and Philosophy of Social Welfare
SWRK 811Social Theory
SWRK 852Social Work Research
SWRK 855Advanced Research Methods
SWRK 861Policy Analysis
SWRK 968Social Welfare and Social Economics
SOCI 535Quantitative Methods in Sociology I
SOCI 536Quantitative Methods in Sociology II
SWRK 901Proseminar (at least four semesters)
Additional Courses 1
Select one theory class
Select five 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 2018 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
First Year
SWRK 803 History and Philosophy of Social Welfare 1
SWRK 852 Social Work Research 1
SOCI 535 Quantitative Methods in Sociology I 1
SWRK 901 Proseminar 0.5
 Course Units3.5
SWRK 811 Social Theory 1
SWRK 855 Advanced Research Methods 1
SOCI 536 Quantitative Methods in Sociology II 1
SWRK 901 Proseminar 0.5
Elective 2 1
 Course Units4.5
Second Year
SWRK 968 Social Welfare and Social Economics 1
SWRK 901 Proseminar 0.5
Theory Course or Elective 1
Select two electives 2
 Course Units4.5
SWRK 861 Policy Analysis 1
SWRK 901 Proseminar 0.5
Theory Course or Elective 1
Elective 1
 Course Units3.5
 Total Course Units20

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 500 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.