Message from the Dean

Richard Gelles, Ph.D. - Penn School of Social Policy & PracticeWelcome to one of the world’s leading schools devoted to leadership for social change. Our Masters in Social Work program is in its second century of preparing social workers to become clinicians and change agents. Our four additional degree programs, Master of Science in Nonprofit/Non-governmental Organization Leadership, Master of Science in Social Policy, PhD in Social Welfare, and Doctorate in Clinical Social Work round out our educational mission to prepare leaders to advance human welfare and promote resiliency among disadvantaged populations.

In addition to our five degree programs, we offer 11 dual degree programs that allow students to pursue joint degrees with the Schools of Law, Medicine, Graduate School of Education, School of Design, School of Arts & Sciences, and Wharton.

Our faculty members are among the leaders in their fields, and our school has been consistently ranked as one of the top publishing social work education and social policy programs in the world. More importantly, our faculty and staff are readily available to students for advising, mentoring, and other professional matters.

Our students enjoy the advantages of studying at an internationally-acclaimed Ivy League university; they have the opportunity to live in or around the vibrant city of Philadelphia, which has undergone an urban renaissance in the last decade; and, they have the opportunity to work in a variety of social service, nonprofit and social policy settings that are only available in an urban environment such as Philadelphia. Students also have the opportunity to undertake field placements and internships from New York to Washington, DC. Our global engagement initiative continues to grow. This year I signed an MOU with the Beijing Normal University One Foundation Philanthropic Research Institute promoting the development of collaborative teaching and training programs. This past summer Dr. Ghose took seven students to India for a class titled, “Postcolonial Social Work Practice: International Social Welfare in India,” where students completed a six-week placement with a sex workers’ collective in one of Asia’s largest red light districts, engaging with texts on HIV, sex work, feminist postcolonial theory, and international social work.

Our graduates administer agencies and departments, deliver expert clinical services, and help forge local, state, national, and international social policies. In the words of one of our recent graduates, “…we have been transformed to think about new ways to create sustainable development in whatever field we become leaders in…”

I am pleased that you are considering attending the School of Social Policy & Practice, and I hope Penn will be your choice.

Richard J. Gelles, PhD, Dean
Joanne and Raymond Welsh Chair of Child Welfare and Family Violence