Coursework

Coursework is designed to provide students with core knowledge and skills as well as the opportunity to develop an area of specific expertise. Papers and projects in the core courses combined with the strategic selection of electives allow for a broad understanding of the field as well as deep study in the theoretical and empirical aspects of an area of specialization.

The first six core (required) courses – SWRK 803811852, and 855, and SOCI 535 and 536 or an approved equivalent sequence of statistics courses – typically are completed in the first year.  Students are next required to take SWRK 861SWRK 968 and a theory course selected in conjunction with the advisor. The proseminar, SWRK 901, is required each semester until the dissertation proposal is successfully defended.

Students work with their academic advisors to develop an individualized plan for five electives. Electives can be taken (on the graduate level) in any department at the University of Pennsylvania.

Courses, in the suggested sequence, are listed below. Click on the course number to see a description of a course.

 Fall SemesterSpring Semester
First YearSWRK 803 Advanced History & Philosophy of Social Welfare

SWRK 852 Social Welfare Research Methods

SOCI 535 Social Statistics I

SWRK 901 Proseminar
SWRK 811 Social Theory

SWRK 855 Advanced Research Methods

SOCI 536 Social Statistics II

SWRK 901 Proseminar

Elective
Second YearSWRK 968 Social Welfare & Social Economics

SWRK 901 Proseminar

Theory course or elective

Elective

Elective
SWRK 861 Policy Analysis

SWRK 901 Proseminar

Theory Course or Elective

Elective

Courses may be offered in varying order and year of program. Students are notified of such arrangements well in advance.

*subject to change

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

View the course descriptions for PhD classes.

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Research

Research

Research

Students devote 10-15 hours per week during the first year and 15-20 hours per week during the second through fourth years to a research apprenticeship.

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Teaching

Teaching

Teaching

SP2 provides students in the PhD program with an opportunity to gain teaching experience through our master’s programs.

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Exams

Exams

Exams

Upon completion of the first six core courses, all students must take a preliminary exam.

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Dissertation

Dissertation

Dissertation

The dissertation is the product of careful and searching inquiry into a significant problem or issue in the field of social welfare.

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Advising & Dissertation Committee

Advising & Dissertation Committee

Advising & Dissertation Committee

Review information related to advising and the selection of a dissertation committee.

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Graduate Group in Social Welfare

Graduate Group in Social Welfare

Graduate Group in Social Welfare

View the faculty who sit as part of the Graduate Group in Social Welfare.

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Recent Dissertations

Recent Dissertations

Recent Dissertations

View a list of recent PhD dissertations.

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Awards & Honors

Awards & Honors

Awards & Honors

View a list of recent PhD awards and honors.

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SP2 News

School of Social Policy & Practice sign on the Caster Building seen with pink azaleas.

Faculty & Research

Several SP2 Experts Listed as Top 100 Most Influential Contemporary Social Work Faculty

Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) faculty members Richard J. Gelles, Steven C. Marcus, Phyllis Solomon, Ram A....

Jennifer Plumb

Alumni Stories

What I Did With My DSW Degree: Jennifer Plumb

For years, social work professionals have furthered their careers as innovators, educators, and leaders in the field with degree programs...

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Student Life

Support on the Ground: PhD Student Examines Where Faith Organizations and Social Work Intertwine

Faith-based organizations often offer tangible forms of aid through initiatives such as disaster relief efforts and financial assistance programs. But...

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Student Life

Toward Equitable Education for All: MSSP Student Channels Social Policy Theory into Social Good

For Alice Cooper, an MSSP (Master of Science in Social Policy Program) student at Penn’s School of Social Policy &...

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