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 MSSP 630 and 897 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. At least one of these electives must be an advanced methods course, such as advanced statistical methods or qualitative research methodology.

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 History & Philosophy of Social Welfare

SWRK 852 Social Welfare Research Methods

MSSP 630 Quantitative Reasoning

SWRK 901 Proseminar
SWRK 811 Social Theory

SWRK 855 Advanced Research Methods

MSSP 897 Applied Linear Modeling

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.

**At least one elective course must be an advanced methods course taught at the graduate level, chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.

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

Ezekiel Dixon-Roman at his book launch and discussion in fall 2017.

Faculty & Research

New Institute in Critical Quantitative, Computational, & Mixed Methodologies

This month, Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) Associate Professor Ezekiel Dixon-Román, PhD, and others announced the launch...

Richard Gelles Receives SSWR Award

Faculty & Research

Richard Gelles Receives SSWR Social Policy Researcher Award

Richard J. Gelles, PhD, former dean of Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), was honored for his distinguished...

Jeff Oppenheimer at ALS Association Dinner

Student Life

NPL Student Shares Advocacy Story at Annual ALS Dinner

“I bear witness to the strength of people who can’t move a muscle,” said Jeff Oppenheimer, addressing a gathering of...

Ram Cnaan of The University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice

Faculty & Research

SP2 Professor Selected as Best Reviewer

Professor Ram Cnaan, MSW, PhD, director for the Program for Religion and Social Policy Research, was recently chosen as Best...

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