Welcome to the Department of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Over 100 years into the founding of the profession, social work leaders are as important and relevant as ever. As a society, we are facing critical threats to social justice such as increasing wealth disparities and diminishing social safety nets, an untenable system of mass incarceration, local and global health epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, a growing aging population without adequate long-term care, and the proliferation of gun violence directed at communities of color. Through a combination of research, teaching, and praxis, our faculty, students, and alumni are locating and implementing solutions to these problems and many more.

Established in 1947, the Department of Social Welfare currently offers the Masters in Social Welfare (MSW) and Doctor of Social Welfare (PhD) degrees. Our overarching mission is to train the next generation of social work practitioners and leaders in the field, champion the development of knowledge for the social work profession, and strengthen social institutions and services in Los Angeles and beyond. A unique advantage of our programs is their proximity to the faculty and students of the departments of Public Policy and Urban Planning. The Luskin School of Public Affairs integrates students and faculty across the three departments with several key initiatives and research centers such as the Luskin Global Public Affairs certificate program and the recently established Institute on Inequality and Democracy, among others.

I am very excited to announce that as of fall 2017, our MSW program will implement a new foundation and advanced curriculum. In addition to two years of field practicum, MSW students will participate in enhanced leadership and research training and state-of-the-art coursework in social work practice and theories of human behavior and social structure. Our new advanced Areas of Concentration (AoCs) highlight the strengths of our esteemed faculty and offer students specialized training in: 1) child and family well being; 2) health and mental health across the life span; and 3) social and economic justice. Advanced practice in one of these three areas prepares our graduates to be recruited for leadership positions in California and around the globe.

Our doctoral program in social welfare prepares students to become leading social work scholars in the field through mentorship with faculty, coursework, teaching, and extensive research training. PhD students participate in core courses in the social welfare department, interdisciplinary training across the UCLA campus, and in research projects culminating in scholarly publications and presentations. Our PhD graduates routinely accept positions as assistant professors and post-doctoral trainees at major research universities in the U.S. and other countries.

A recent review of our graduate program by the Council of Social Work Education described our department as “among the handful of top-flight programs of graduate social work education in the United States.” Ranked No. 12 in the nation by the U.S. News and World Reports, we are active in research and knowledge dissemination, teaching, training, policy making, and practice. We are also 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.

I invite you to peruse our website or visit us to learn more about the many programs that social welfare at UCLA Luskin has to offer.

Laura S. Abrams
Professor and Department Chair