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 hard to foster scholarly energy, collaboration, and creativity.

Most of our graduates go on to faculty posts in Schools of Social Work and Social Welfare. 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 to assume, as some have, 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 four years.

  • Coursework is completed in the first two years. In addition to learning fundamental content and research skills at SP2, our PhD students can take courses in virtually any department at Penn.
  • The last two years are dedicated to gaining research and teaching experience while completing the dissertation. The typical student has multiple publications upon graduation and has teaching experience at the master’s level.

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

SP2 News

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Faculty & Research

New book offers lessons for parents on discussing campus sexual assault

In the guide for caregivers whose child was sexually assaulted on a college campus, Susan B. Sorenson provides advice and...

Chad Lassiter

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Chad Dion Lassiter, SP2 Alum, Receives 2021 Social Worker of the Year Award

On October 26th, the National Association of Social Workers, Pennsylvania Chapter, presented Chad Dion Lassiter, Penn’s School of Social Policy...

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Faculty & Research

Ezekiel Dixon-Román on the Facebook whistleblower

In a Senate hearing earlier this month, former Facebook project manager Frances Haugen testified against the tech giant, saying that...

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Faculty & Research

New Research Underscores Role Museums, Libraries Play to Create Healthier, More Equitable America

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, in partnership with Reinvestment Fund, have released a new study, Understanding the Social Wellbeing...

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