Placeholder image for Social Welfare

Social Welfare, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
University rank #101 (ARWU) Cleveland Heights, OH, United States
The purpose of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social Welfare degree program at Case Western Reserve University is the preparation of scholars, teachers, and leaders to generate new knowledge on the policies and programs of social welfare and the practice of social work.
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Accordingly, we emphasize the creative and evaluative skills necessary for independent inquiry. The program prepares students to be knowledgeable in the following:

  • Relevant areas of the social and behavioral sciences
  • Research design, statistics, qualitative methods, mixed methods, and the philosophy of science
  • Theory-building and theories of social welfare
  • Methods for the application and transmission of knowledge in the human services

In addition to this foundation knowledge, students develop specialized expertise in program planning, evaluation, or social work practice theory and in one or more substantive areas of social welfare. An effort is made to provide an educational climate in which critical analysis and creative thinking flourish. The program core emphasizes philosophical and scientific approaches to theory development, the content and boundaries of theoretical social welfare, statistics, and advanced research methodologies, and the social and behavioral science foundations underpinning social welfare programs and social work practice.

The area of specialization enables the student to apply social science theory, analytical approaches, and research tools to a social problem or issue in social work. Students are encouraged to focus on a substantive social problem during the period of specialization. This facilitates the development of a dissertation proposal. Permeating the content of the entire program is a focus on the development and transmission of knowledge as a part of an educational process.

To prepare students for academic careers in social work education is an integral part of the educational plan. Teaching mentorships and classroom teaching experiences are available.

Students can pursue special interests through individual reading and research projects. In addition, regular course offerings in other departments of the university are available to students. Practical experiences in faculty-conducted research projects are made available to doctoral students.

A total of 43 credit hours of coursework is required, plus 18 hours of dissertation credit. A qualifying examination, given after completion of coursework, determines each student’s eligibility for degree candidacy. The degree is awarded following successful completion of the dissertation.

The school reserves the right to require additional courses, which may not be credited toward the doctoral requirements if the faculty believes the student has insufficient knowledge in core areas of the curriculum, or to assist students in their intellectual and professional development.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Credits
    38 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Philosophy of Science and Theory Building
  • Advanced Research Design
  • Social Statistics and Data Analysis

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test
  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL®PBT is administered in a paper format and measures your ability to use and understand English in a classroom setting at the college or university level. It accurately measures how well you can listen, read and write in English while performing academic tasks.

Academic Requirements

You need the following GPA score:

Required score: 3

Applicants for graduate programs must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA equivalent to 3 on a US 4.0 grading scale. Admitted applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of or better on a 4.0 scale. No exam grade should be lower than 4.5 (European grade scale) or D (American grade scale).

Your GPA (Grade Point Average) is calculated using the grades that you received in each course, and is determined by the points assigned to each grade (e.g. for the US grading scale from A-F).

General Requirements

  • Students are admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree upon the successful completion of the qualifying examination. To be admitted to candidacy, the candidate also must have maintained a grade point average of 3.0 and received not more than one course grade of C or lower
  • Statement of Objectives
  • Academic Transcripts
  • Documents in languages other than English must be accompanied by certified translations in English
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • Application Fee: A non refundable application fee of $50 is required for each application submitted
  • Test Scores
  • Applicants must have a good academic record
  • Applicants will be expected to meet all of the undergraduate prerequisites for the proposed field of graduate study

Tuition Fee

  • International

    1450 USD/credit
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 1450 USD per credit and a duration of 36 months.
  • National

    1450 USD/credit
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 1450 USD per credit and a duration of 36 months.
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