2013-2014 Program Requirements for UCLA Graduate Degrees
Applicable only to students admitted during the 2013-2014 academic year.
UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
The Department of Social Welfare offers the Master of Social Welfare (M.S.W.) degree and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.
3250 Public Affairs Building
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656
Leading to the degree of
Admission Limited to
Deadline to apply
M.S.W.: January 15th
Ph.D.: January 10th
Applicants who wish to be considered for graduate fellowships must submit completed applications by December 15th.
GRE (General and/or Subject)
Letters of Recommendation
In addition to the University's minimum requirements and those listed above, all applicants are expected to submit the departmental application, official transcripts from every school attended since high school, and a statement of purpose.
M.S.W.: An autobiographical statement and a professional concepts and goals statement must accompany the application. Although a personal interview is not normally required as part of the application procedure, whenever possible a meeting with a member of the faculty is arranged for the applicant.
The department applies the following criteria in the selection of candidates: personal suitability for professional education and a potential for successful social work practice, a satisfactory state of health, and an adequate financial and personal plan to permit completion of degree requirements.
Applicants are required to have taken a minimum of seven courses in the liberal arts, including three in the sociobehavioral sciences, or a combination of liberal arts and social welfare subjects as prerequisite undergraduate preparation for graduate study in the field of social work. An elementary statistics course with a grade of B or better and one course with human biology content are also required.
Social Welfare, M.S.W./Law, J.D.
The Department of Social Welfare and the School of Law offer a concurrent degree program whereby students may pursue the Master of Social Work and the Juris Doctor degrees at the same time. For admission, applicants are required to satisfy the regular admission requirements of both schools. Students complete their first year of law study in the first of a four year program. Students complete their first year of social welfare study in the second year of this four year program. In the third and fourth years, students meet the other requirements for both programs. Applicants interested in the program should contact the Department of Social Welfare or the School of Law.
Social Welfare, M.S.W./Asian American Studies, M.A.
The Department of Social Welfare and the Asian American Studies Program offer a concurrent program whereby students may pursue the Master of Social Welfare and the M.A. in Asian American Studies at the same time. Applicants are required to satisfy the regular admission requirements of both programs. Students complete the Asian American Studies courses in the first year and the Social Welfare courses in the second and third years. Asian American Studies requires a thesis to be completed by the third year. Students must complete the program requirements for both degrees. Applicants may submit the same statement of purpose to each program but all other parts of the application process are separate to each graduate program. Applicants interested in the concurrent degree program should contact the Asian American Studies Program or the Department of Social Welfare.
Social Welfare, M.S.W./Public Health, M.P.H.
The Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Community Health Sciences (Public Health) offer a concurrent program whereby students pursue the Master of Social Welfare and the Master of Public Health at the same time. Applicants are required to satisfy the regular admission requirements of each program. Studentsin the three-year concurrent program complete their first year curriculum in either Social Welfare or Public Health. During the second year, students complete the first-year core courses in the other department along with certain electives. In the third year, students complete the advanced practice methods and field internship course sequences in Social Welfare, complete requirements and electives in Public Health, and meet remaining requirements for both programs. Students must meet requirements for graduation in both programs to be awarded either degree. Applicants interested in the program should contact the department of Social Welfare or the department of Community Health Sciences.
Social Welfare, M.S.W./Public Policy, M.P.P.
The Department of Social Welfare and the Department of Policy Studies offer a concurrent program whereby students pursue the Master of Social Welfare and the Master of Public Policy at the same time. Applicants are required to satisfy the regular admission requirements of both programs. Students in the three-year concurent program complete their first year curriculum in Social Welfare. During the second year, students complete the first-year core courses in Public Policy as well as their social work practice methods course sequence. In the third year, students meet the remaining requirements for both programs and must meet requirements for graduation in both programs to receive either degree. Applicants interested in the program should contact the Department of Policy Studies or the Department of Social Welfare.
Ph.D.: Applicants are expected to hold a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree from an accredited school of social work with a superior academic record. Students who possess a master's degree in social science and professional experience in a related field may also be admitted under one of the following plans:
(1) Applicants who wish to obtain an M.S.W. are required to complete the first-year M.S.W. program. Students can be exempted from some second-year M.S.W. Requirements via examinations on the basis of preparation received in doctoral courses. This plan is also available to applicants with a BA degree who possess an outstanding academic record.
(2) Applicants who do not wish to obtain an M.S.W. may be required to take certain M.S.W. courses as prerequisites to doctoral courses.
A typewritten statement of professional and educational objectives is required. To exemplify communication skills, applicants may submit any of the following: published articles, a master's thesis, unpublished papers, or term papers written in graduate courses.
Admission criteria include quality of performance in previous undergraduate and graduate study, capacity for doctoral-level scholarship, ability to express oneself clearly in writing, success in professional employment and other pertinent experiences, results of the GRE, and other qualifications indicating eligibility for advanced study and research.
On entering the program, students are assigned an academic adviser whose responsibility is to counsel them concerning their program of study and progress toward the fulfillment of the degree requirements. Students may request a change in advisers at any time during the course of study by submitting a request directly to the chair, or to the chair through the current adviser.
Each quarter, a written summary of the student's grades in Social Welfare is provided by the Graduate Adviser. Since no official grade is entered for the practicum course until Spring Quarter each year, an unofficial in-progress grade of satisfactory or unsatisfactory is maintained within the department to effect action to help achieve graduate standards. The overall assessment of progress is monitored by the Graduate Adviser.
Students are expected to meet with advisers twice each quarter and more frequently if they are experiencing difficulties in their coursework or if situations in their personal life are affecting their studies. Faculty working with the student may enter in the student's departmental academic file written evaluations or other information relevant to the student's academic progress, including specific recommendations for advising or remedial action. For students whose grade-point average falls below the 3.00 required by the University to be in good academic standing, a faculty committee consisting of the student's adviser and at least two other faculty members is convened to recommend appropriate action to the dean.
Areas of Study
Social work practice in organizations, communities, and policy settings (SWOCPS), and social work practice with individuals, families, and groups (SWIFG) are offered as social work methods concentrations. Specializations (subconcentrations) are available in gerontology, children and youth services, health services, mental health services, and nonprofit sector services.
Foreign Language Requirement
A total of 76 units of coursework in the department is required, including two courses in the sequence of social welfare policy and services, three courses in the human behavior and social environment sequence, eight courses in methods of social work practice, two courses in social welfare research, and six quarters of field practicum. Appropriate substitutions or waivers may be requested. With the consent of the chair, students may take courses in other professional graduate schools or academic programs of the University in fulfillment of course requirements for the degree.
With the consent of the instructor and chair, tutorial studies of comparable material in the 500 series may be substituted for either required or elective courses. A maximum of nine units of 500-series courses may be applied toward the entire graduate course requirement for the degree.
While no University-approved specific thesis is required for the M.S.W. degree, the curriculum requires theoretical courses in research methodology. Students have the option of substituting the second-year required substantive social welfare research course with the satisfactory completion of an individual research project, or participation in a group research project concerned with a social welfare problem. This research option requires approval of the departmental chair and faculty research adviser.
Social Welfare, M.S.W./Law, J.D.
The equivalent of 10 quarter units of law coursework may be applied to the M.S.W degree. The equivalent of 12 semester units of Social Welfare coursework may be applied to the J.D. degree.
Students complete a total of 66 quarter units in Social Welfare and 75 semester units in Law to achieve both M.S.W and J.D. degrees. Students must qualify for graduation in both Law and Social Welfare to get either degree.
Social Welfare, M.S.W./Asian American Studies, M.A.
A maximum of eight units of coursework in Social Welfare may be applied toward both the M.A. degree in Asian American Studies and the M.S.W. degree.
Social Welfare, M.S.W./Public Health, M.P.H.
Students who pursue the concurrent degree program with the Department of Community Health Sciences must complete a total of 67 quarter units of Social Welfare coursework and 52 units of Public Health coursework. The remaining nine units of the regular 76-unit requirement for the M.S.W. degree are fulfilled through research and policy courses taken for the M.P.H. degree and are applied toward the M.S.W. program through a pro forma petition to the Graduate Division upon application for advancement to candidacy. A maximum of eight units of Social Welfare coursework may be applied to the M.P.H. degree.
Social Welfare, M.S.W./Public Policy, M.P.P.
Students who pursue the concurrent degree program with the Department of Public Policy complete two courses in the sequence of social welfare policy and services, two courses in the human behavior and social environment sequence, nine course in methods of social work practice, and six quarters of field practicum for a total of 67 units. The remaining nine units of course requirements are fulfilled through policy studies courses taken for the M.P.P. program and are applied toward the M.S.W. degree through a pro forma petition to the Graduate Division upon application for advancement to candidacy.
Practicum Requirements: There is a concurrent field placement in each of the two years. Time spent in placement may vary according to guidelines established by the program. The overall time requirement is approximately 1,300 hours.
Comprehensive Examination Plan
All M.S.W. candidates must pass a comprehensive examination in Spring Quarter of the second year of study. The examination covers the entire range of the student's program of study.
Students are expected to be in full-time attendance and to work without interruption toward the degree. The requirements for the M.S.W. degree should be met ordinarily within two consecutive academic years (six quarters). Course scheduling is predicated on this understanding. In special cases, students may be admitted for study on a part-time basis which permits completion of the academic courses and field instruction over a period of three academic years.
On entering the program, students are assigned an individual adviser. To the extent possible, the student's interest and background are considered in the assignment of the adviser. The assignment is made by the chair, in consultation with the doctoral program committee. Students are sent written notification of their assignment of adviser prior to entering the program. Students ordinarily continue with the initial adviser until successful completion of the written qualifying examinations and until they choose a dissertation chair, usually in the second year. Students may request a change in advisers at any time during the course of study by submitting a request directly to the chair, or to the chair through the current adviser. Once the doctoral committee has been appointed by the Graduate Division, consent and approval of the committee, department, and Graduate Division are necessary for any change in committee structure, including a change in chair.
The student and the adviser establish a schedule of meetings that includes a conference at the beginning of each quarter regarding the student's program of courses. The adviser's written approval is prerequisite to enrollment in all courses. The student and the adviser are expected to meet regularly to review the student's progress.
Each quarter, a written summary of the student's grades in Social Welfare is provided by the Graduate Adviser. In addition, the adviser or instructors may present a written report to the student, if necessary. Overall progress of doctoral students is reviewed regularly by the doctoral program committee.
Major Fields or Subdisciplines
The program trains research-oriented scholars to advance the field of social welfare through research and knowledge development, and to assume leadership roles in academic, policy, and practice settings. The curriculum is organized into three major areas: (1) specialization in a substantive area of social welfare, (2) integration of social and behavioral science knowledge into social welfare, and (3) research methods. Programs of study are planned in relation to the special and individual needs and interests of students.
Foreign Language Requirement
There is a minimum core of required courses which includes: a three-quarter sequence of seminars on on the craft of social welfare scholarship; a three-quarter sequence of seminars on the foundations of scientific inquiry; and two graduate-level courses in statistics. In addition, students are required to take (1) at least three graduate-level courses in the social and behavioral sciences outside the department related to their specialization in social welfare; (2) a combination of at least four additional courses in advanced research methods and statistics; and (3) three quarters of research internship and a two-quarter dissertation seminar.
Every effort is made to individualize the curriculum around a student's area of interest and plans for the dissertation. In order to achieve this goal, a variety of patterns is utilized, including tutorials, small seminar groups, special courses in the M.S.W. program, and courses in other departments and schools of the University.
Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations
Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass University written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations the University oral qualifying examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to University requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.
The written qualifying examinations consist of two sections:
(1) An examination in social welfare policy and practice, reviewing current theory and research. The examination is given at the end of the third quarter of the first year.
(2) A major publishable scholarly paper on a social welfare topic, demonstrating the student's mastery of social science theory and methods of scientific inquiry. The paper will be evaluated by a three-member committee appointed by the chair of the doctoral committee.
The qualifying examinations are graded on a pass/fail basis, and passing them is prerequisite for pursuing the dissertation. Students who fail both sections of the examinations are reviewed by the departmental Doctoral Committee, which makes a decision about whether the student is allowed to continue in the program and retake the examination. Students who fail one section of the examinations will be allowed to retake that section. Students permitted to retake the examinations must develop a written remedial work plan with their adviser and have it approved by the chair of the doctoral program. The examinations must be taken no later than the end of Fall Quarter of the following academic year.
Advancement to doctoral candidacy follows successful completion of both the written qualifying examination and subsequently the University Oral Qualifying Examination, which covers the dissertation proposal and related areas. It is administered by a doctoral committee which consists of three members from the department and at least one faculty member from another department of the University.
Advancement to Candidacy
Students are advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.
Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student's ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.
Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation)
Not required for all students in the program. The decision as to whether a defense is required is made by the doctoral committee.
Normative time-to-degree is between four and five years (12 to 15 quarters). Time for completion of the degree cannot exceed seven years (21 quarters). Students are expected to complete all course requirements, defend their dissertation proposal and be advanced to candidacy within three years (nine quarters). Time for completion of the dissertation varies from two to six quarters after advancement to candidacy. A student who has not completed the degree requirements within the maximum seven-year (21-quarter) limit is not allowed to continue in the program without the permission of the departmental Doctoral Committee.
Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination
A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.
Special Departmental or Program Policy
In addition to the standard reasons outlined above, a student may be recommended for termination for failure to demonstrate in course work, field instruction and professional relations, those standards essential to the responsible practice of social work, even if the student's academic work is satisfactory. Such action is taken by the chair, only on the recommendation of a committee composed of at least three members of the faculty. A student is permitted to appear before this committee. A student may appeal a recommendation for termination to the chair.