PhD in Social Welfare Program

PhD student presenting poster to group.

PhD student Ogechi Kalu presents her research at our annual doctoral research poster session.

Research is a means of social change. Our interdisciplinary PhD program will prepare you to conduct meaningful and impactful research in a supportive, collaborative environment.

Program Learning Outcomes:

The PhD in Social Welfare program is guided by our objective of graduating social work scholars and educators who:

  • Deepen our understanding of social problems and their solutions
  • Create and implement innovative methods for studying complex issues
  • Conduct rigorous and original analyses
  • Engage in conversation and collaboration across disciplines, professions and communities
  • Uphold social work ethics and a commitment to social justice
  • Engage in creative and effective strategies to disseminate and impart knowledge in social work and related disciplines

Program Objectives

In the program, you will:

  • Create an individual, fully interdisciplinary program of coursework and scholarship
  • Benefit from a small-by-design program that facilitates meaningful connections with peers and mentors
  • Participate in the intellectual exchanges and scholarly collaborations fostered by UB’s many research centers and institutes and community partnerships
  • Engage with our diverse, dedicated and growing faculty, with particular expertise in trauma, veterans’ issues, aging, social policy, technology in social work, and refugee and immigrant communities
  • Access diverse research opportunities, facilities and support through the Buffalo Center for Social Research
  • Receive stable, generous funding through assistantships and scholarship programs

Curriculum Overview

Our PhD program is for those with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from a CSWE-accredited program or international equivalent. If you do not have an MSW, we offer a dual-degree program leading to the MSW and the PhD in social welfare.

  • Minimum of 47 credits
  • Full time (4+ years) and on campus only
  • Program start: Fall semester only

Funding Package and Fellowships

Funding Overview

All accepted PhD students are offered a competitive standard funding package. Additional funding may be available through fellowships.

All PhD students are guaranteed a graduate assistantship for four years. Assistantships are 10-month appointments, 20 hours per week with a base stipend of $23,000 per year.

Students also receive full tuition coverage for up to 47 credits. This typically covers the required courses for four years.

If students continue past four years (or 47 credits), students must secure their own funding (e.g., working on a faculty research grant, teaching, serving as a field liaison). 

Fellowship Opportunities

Presidential and Schomburg Fellowships are available for academically outstanding new PhD in Social Welfare students. These awards come with a substantial stipend. PhD students will be considered for these at the time of admission.

Learn More

Request a PhD Information Session Recording