Doctoral Degree Requirements and Curriculum

Berkeley Social Welfare’s doctoral program is designed to inspire independence and originality of thought in pursuit of knowledge. Students design their academic pursuits in consultation with individual faculty from the School of Social Welfare and additional distinguished departments across the Berkeley campus.

Program Outcomes

Doctoral students become proficient in research methodology and experts in their area of interest, and ultimately demonstrate scholarly competence by completing their dissertation. Students successfully completing the doctoral program students are expected to:

  1. Demonstrate mastery of a broad base of knowledge in social welfare.
  2. Demonstrate mastery of a deep base of knowledge of their subject area.
  3. Demonstrate capacity to make an original contribution to the field of knowledge in their subject area.
  4. Demonstrate capacity to engage in the activities required of a productive research career (e.g., research, publications, presentations, grant writing, etc.).

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Social Welfare

Students are granted the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy upon recommendation by the Faculty of the School of Social Welfare. To receive such recommendation, the student must have:

  1. Completed a course of study in the school and related departments of the University as specified by the school, designed to achieve proficiency in the areas of social work theory, social welfare policy and/or administration, history and philosophies of social welfare, and social research methods;

  2. Passed qualifying examinations indicating a proficiency in the areas mentioned above in part 1 of this section;

  3. Passed an oral examination before a committee appointed in accordance with rules of the Graduate Council;

  4. Been admitted to candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy according to procedures established by the Academic Senate;

  5. Completed a dissertation dealing with some problem of significance to the field of social welfare and of such character as to show power to prosecute independent investigation; and,

  6. Spent a minimum of at least two years of graduate study in residence at the University of California, Berkeley.

Unit Requirements

There is no minimum total unit requirement for the PhD degree is Social Welfare, but all students must be enrolled full-time (12 units/term) until passing the Qualifying Examination. Because there are no university unit requirements for the doctorate, students may not transfer units from another institution to be applied toward the PhD degree at Berkeley.