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

Dakota Becker MSW

Student Life

MSW Student Selected for Yale Child Study Center Fellowship

Dakota Becker, a student in the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice...

TJ Ghose

Faculty & Research, Global Engagement

Toorjo Ghose Receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to India

The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board are pleased to announce that Dr. Toorjo...

Soumya Mittal

Student Life

MSSP Student Applies Data and Advocacy Skills to Child Education Development

Soumya Mittal, a student in the Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP) program at Penn’s School of Social Policy...

Scott Giacommuci

Alumni Stories

DSW Alum Publishes First Book on Social Work, Sociometry, and Psychodrama Intersection

As Scott Giacomucci explains, psychodrama—a form of group psychotherapy rooted in aspects of theater, psychology, sociology, and mysticism— has, in...

Discover More