Required Coursework

Required courses for doctoral students focus primarily on research methodology. Students enroll in additional elective courses, seminars, and independent tutorials useful for mastering selected fields of study, writing the qualifying paper, preparing for the qualifying examination, and developing competence in research methods. Students are also encouraged to select courses from the rich and varied offerings in other University departments.

All coursework required for the PhD degree in Social Welfare must be completed before or during the semester of the Qualifying Examination prior to advancing to candidacy:

  • Five required Social Welfare Courses, totaling 14 units
  • At least four different courses in statistics
  • At least two additional electives in statistics or methods
  • At least one elective course in social science theory.

Required Social Welfare Courses

All the following courses must be completed prior to the Qualifying Exam:

  1. SOC WEL 279: Seminar in the History and Philosophy of Social Welfare (2 units)
    This course is typically taken in the first semester of the program. It must be taken for a letter grade.
  2. SOC WEL 287: Research Resources and Processes (2 units)
    This course is typically taken in the first semester of the program. It is offered for the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading option only.
  3. SOC WEL 289A: Research Methods and Techniques in Social Welfare (4 units)
    This course is typically taken in the second semester of the program. It must be taken for a letter grade.
  4. SOC WEL 295: Writing and Publication Seminar (2 Units)
    This course is typically taken in the fifth semester of the program.
  5. SOC WEL 299C: Graduate Research Colloquium (formerly SOC WEL 298) (1 unit x 4 times = 4 units)
    This course must be taken a total of four times prior to the Qualifying Exam. It is offered for the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grading option only.

Coursework in Statistics and Methods

Social Welfare doctoral students must complete all the following coursework before or during the semester of the Qualifying Exam:

  • at least four different courses in statistics, taken for a letter grade.
  • at least two additional electives in statistics or methods, taken for a letter grade. These courses are intended to deepen a skill set needed for an ongoing program of research.

Coursework in statistics and methods must be chosen from the List of Approved Courses in Statistics, Methods, and Social Science Theory. Courses that are not listed will not count toward the statistics or methods requirements without advanced approval of the Doctoral Curriculum Committee. To request approval of an alternative course not listed, students may petition the Doctoral Curriculum Committee (see below for how to petition for approval of an alternative course).

Students should work with their PhD faculty advisor to choose the most appropriate set of statistics and methods courses from the Approved List based on student learning needs. Recommended courses that satisfy these requirements are listed below, but students entering the program with previous coursework or background in statistics should choose more advanced alternatives (such as the causal inference cluster).

Basic Course Sequence that Satisfies the Statistics Requirement

Recommended Courses in Causal Inference

Recommended Courses in Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

Coursework in Social Science Theory

Social Welfare PhD students are required to complete at least one course focused on basic-discipline social science theory, taken for a letter grade, before or during the semester of the Qualifying Exam. As with the statistics and methods course requirements, coursework in social science theory should be chosen from the List of Approved Courses in Statistics, Methods, and Social Science Theory. To request approval of an alternative course not listed, students may petition the Doctoral Curriculum Committee (see below for how to petition for approval of an alternative course).

How to Petition for an Alternative Course

Doctoral students may petition for approval of alternative courses in statistics, methods, or social science theory. Before submitting a petition, please confirm on the Approved Courses spreadsheet that your course is not already approved or has been reviewed and denied within the past three years.

To initiate curriculum committee review, please submit the “SOC WEL PhD Course Petition” Google Form (including an electronic copy of syllabus, which you upload to the online petition form) no later than the second week of the term you are enrolled in the course. Petitions submitted after this deadline will not be considered. A course that has been reviewed and denied within the past three years will also not be reconsidered. A decision will be issued within 7-10 days of submission of the petition. The decision of the doctoral curriculum committee is considered final.

Preparation for Teaching

Although it is not required for the degree, completion of SOC WEL 375: Teaching in Social Welfare must be taken prior to (or concurrently with) an initial appointment as a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI).

Students are required to take the course in their home department; it may be taken in another department only with prior approval. If your plans require you to take the GSI preparation course in another department, the alternative course must be approved by petition to the doctoral Curriculum Committee, and the specific use case must be approved by the Faculty Advisor for GSI Affairs. The School of Social Welfare suggests that this course be taken in Year 2 of the PhD Program or Year 3 of the Combined MSW/PhD program.