Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Social Welfare prepares students for work as faculty members, researchers, and leaders in social work or criminal justice. Faculty expertise and course curriculum reflect a number of substantive areas within social welfare.

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

PhD areas of faculty focus:

  • Applied Gerontology
  • Child and Family Welfare
  • Criminal Justice & Criminology
  • Health and Behavioral Health
  • Mental Health
  • Resilience and well-being across the lifespan

We also offer Joint MSW/Ph.D. and Joint MSCJC/Ph.D. options through which students can earn the Master of Social Work or Master of Science in Criminal Justice 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 130 of 4,338 U.S. colleges and universities.


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.