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PhD Program Overview


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The Brown School’s doctoral program provides the nation and the world with some of the profession's best scholars, teachers and researchers.

From its roots in the post-war transitions of the 1950s, to its preparation for the challenges of a new millennium, our PhD Program continually offers its students a chance to forge new trails in research and education.

It is an ideal environment for those seeking a program that:

  • Focuses on the student and his or her future
  • Prepares the student for leadership in research in a rapidly changing society
  • Has a personalized and forward-looking curriculum
  • Offers a proven record of successful placement
  • Program Overview

Whether your interest is in family or child welfare, disaster relief, special populations, social and economic development, public policy, social administration, housing, volunteering, aging, mental health, addictions or other social issues, we'd like to hear from you.

To help make your education successful in the classroom and beyond, the Brown School and Washington University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences also offer you:

  • Full tuition remission
  • Generous four-year stipends for living expenses
  • Flexible curriculum options
  • Dedicated faculty and students
  • Advanced research projects
  • New, state-of-the-art facilities
  • Preparation for leadership
  • Distinguished alumni and mentors
  • Pre- and Post-Doctoral Training Opportunities 


We seek highly qualified applicants. Commitment to a research career in the field of social welfare or social work is expected of all students.

All applicants should obtain a master's degree before entering our program. Preference is given to those with a master of social work or social welfare, but we will also welcome applicants with graduate degrees in other disciplines. 

Note: Materials received from applicants possessing only a bachelor's degree (and not currently earning a master's degree) will be forwarded to our MSW program. Our doctoral program enrolls new students in the fall semester of each academic year. Full-time enrollment is required in order to receive financial aid. We do not offer part-time or distance learning courses. Most classes are held weekdays from mid August through early May.


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