Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Social Welfare prepares students for work as faculty members, researchers, and leaders in social work or criminal justice. Curriculum tracks are available for each specialty.

The Helen Bader School of Social Welfare includes the Social Work Department and Criminal Justice Department. Our Ph.D. program includes faculty from both departments and serves students interested in either social work or criminal justice.

Ph.D. specializations include:

  • Applied Gerontology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Family and Child Welfare
  • Health and Behavioral Health

We also offer a joint MSW/Ph.D. option through which students can earn the Master of Social Work degree as well as the Ph.D in Social Welfare. Students may apply for either full-time or part-time study.

The goals and objectives of the Ph.D. program reflect the school’s concern with urban social problems, social and economic equity and well-being, cultural diversity, and the empowerment of individuals, families, organizations, and communities to effect change.


Study at a Top-Tier Research University

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is ranked as a “highest research activity” campus by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

This ranking, often referred to as R1, was earned by only 115 of 4,665 U.S. colleges and universities.


Receive Generous Funding

We work hard to provide generous financial assistance that allows students to immerse themselves in their studies.

Full-time students receive 3 years of guaranteed funding, including both tuition and stipends. First-year students are eligible for a $22,000 Dean’s Fellowship, and in years 2 and 3 students are typically supported through teaching and research assistantships. To date, all students have earned internal or external dissertation fellowships.


Build Relationships with Faculty

Our program is small and close-knit, and we strive to maximize opportunities for students to build learning relationships with faculty. Students benefit from accessible faculty and are vital contributors to faculty research. 


Follow in our Graduates’ Footsteps

Our graduates have launched diverse and successful careers as faculty, post-doctoral scholars, research scientists, and program directors.

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