We welcome your interest in the UCLA Department of Social Welfare. The mission of the program is to train the next generation of practitioners and leaders in the field, to lead in the development of knowledge for the social work profession and to strengthen social institutions and services in Los Angeles and beyond. Although graduates of the program serve all segments of society, the Department is especially committed to enhancing human well-being and promoting social and economic justice for disadvantaged populations. Educational and research endeavors undertaken by the faculty seek to improve human functioning in the social context. The program has special emphases on reducing disparities in access to resources for individuals, families and communities and improving the effectiveness of public and private programs that serve populations at risk. As professionals and scholars at a great public research university, the faculty have a responsibility to train the next generation of practitioners and leaders for the social work profession and to advance the knowledge base for social work policy and practice. To this end, the program seeks to educate the most promising students, drawing on knowledge from social and bio-behavioral sciences and evidence-based perspectives from policy and practice arenas.
Established in 1947, the social welfare program offers the MSW and PhD degrees. The professional degree for both direct practice and administrative positions in social work, the MSW is required for independent practice. The PhD degree is designed for individuals seeking careers in research and teaching. A unique advantage of both programs is the proximity to the departments of public policy and urban planning, within the context of the over-arching mission of the School of Public Affairs.
The social welfare program draws students and faculty from diverse ethnic, cultural, and educational backgrounds who are attracted to UCLA's rich and varied resources and opportunities, within the gateway city of Los Angeles. Recent reviews of the program by the Council of Social Work Education and the University of California have described us as "among the handful of top-flight programs of graduate social work education in the United States," and have lauded the "scholarly reputation and productivity" of the faculty and the richness and effectiveness of the field program. The social welfare faculty are active in research in areas as varied as welfare reform mental disorder, child and family welfare, HIV and drug abuse, school social work, independent living for people with disabilities, and social supports for older populations, among others. Faculty serve in editorial roles on such important journals as Children and Youth Services Review, Social Work, Social Service Review and the Gerontologist. The faculty also actively collaborate with the practice community, not only through field instruction, but also by studying policies and practices in social welfare settings, developing and testing interventions in health and human service agencies, and providing technical assistance to service professionals and policy makers in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. The Department is increasingly focused on international social work, and faculty and students participate in research and training in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. Graduates of the MSW program assume leadership roles in social work practice and address the social, health, and mental health needs of diverse populations. MSW alumnae are highly recruited, primarily by public and nonprofit employers in human service and health care settings, in California and elsewhere. PhD graduates routinely accept positions as assistant professors and post-doctoral trainees at major research universities in the U.S. and other countries.