Education changes lives. Change yours. Change others'.

Social problems are complex. The University of Pennsylvania PhD program in Social Welfare is designed to develop leaders in academia and research to identify both problems and potential solutions. We work to foster scholarly energy, creativity, extensive knowledge, and expansive skills.

Social workers are in high demand and many of our graduates go on to faculty posts in Schools of Social Work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of social workers is expected to grow by 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.” As a growing academic field, multiple job offers are common.

Our graduates also are prepared, as some have, to assume positions in government, international organizations, research firms, and think tanks.

Grounded in the core components of Penn Compact 2020 – inclusion, innovation, and impact – the PhD program in Social Welfare educates a new generation of researchers, teachers, and leaders.

Our program is structured so that students can earn their PhD in 4 years.

  • Coursework is completed in the first two years. In addition to learning fundamental content and skills, our PhD students can take courses in virtually any department at Penn.
  • The last two years are dedicated to gaining teaching and research experience while completing the dissertation. The typical student has multiple publications upon graduation and has taught students at the master’s level.

Our graduates are prepared to step confidently into their productive futures.