Welcome and About this Handbook


We are delighted you have selected Berkeley Social Welfare for your doctoral studies!

The University of California is widely considered the nation's premier public university system and Berkeley ranks consistently as the world’s leading public university. The goal of graduate study at Berkeley is to inspire independence and originality in the pursuit of knowledge. Our students are trained to study professional practices, policies, and programs that seek to address a wide range of contemporary societal problems. They synthesize and create empirical evidence to inform practice and transform lives.

With over 300 graduates of our doctoral program, our School produces top-notch professors and researchers for some of the best social work schools and policy centers throughout the country and around the globe.

Our Social Welfare faculty reflects the excellence of Berkeley as a whole. The last Chronicle of Higher Education rankings for social work/social welfare ranked Berkeley Social Welfare faculty as #1 in scholarly productivity. They are highly respected scholars who represent a wide range of disciplines and specialties that will provide you a doctoral education of the very highest caliber. Through your classwork and individual study with faculty, you will have the opportunity to develop research skills and an in-depth knowledge about society’s grand challenges and the interventions at the cutting edge of social change. Our program places great emphasis on individualized education, the development of research skills, and the creation of original and significant new knowledge. In addition to providing the educational climate conducive to creating innovative research scholars, we also train future educators who can inspire the next generation of social work practitioners and researchers.

About this Handbook

The Doctoral Student Handbook is your major resource and reference guide to the doctoral program. It provides practical advice about School operations; courses and curricula; advising and administration; degree requirements and grading; and the stages of student progress toward the qualifying examinations and dissertation. Your student handbook is meant to be viewed online so you can readily access the active links to the resources and other campus units included in this guide.

The Handbook also sets forth the obligations that you have, not only to the School, but to the faculty and to your fellow students in terms of academic and professional conduct and ethical standards. We encourage you to become thoroughly familiar with the School and university policies, procedures, and information resources outlined in this Handbook, and also the Graduate Division's Guide to Graduate Policy.