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Graduate: Social Welfare

  • Program Overview

    The Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare

    The primary purpose of the Ph.D. program is to produce scholars who can use systematic methods to develop through research, and disseminate through teaching and writing, knowledge concerning social welfare problems and policies.

    Drawing upon the social, behavioral and health sciences as well as social work knowledge and experience, the graduates of this program will have the skills to expand the base of tested knowledge that can guide the profession of social work in its efforts to address major social problems.

    A second purpose is to develop leaders and educators who can effectively contribute to contemporary social work practice as defined in this school’s mission statement, which can be found at:

    The core of this program is education for scholarly research leading to careers as teachers, researchers, and policy analysts with a focus on the content areas of health, mental health, and substance abuse. The strength of such a program lies in its location within the Health Sciences Center. This is a natural setting in which to bring together the basic sciences and theoretical disciplines in applied policy/program analysis and thereby contribute to research in the social dimensions of health and mental health.


    Social Welfare Department

    Shari E. Miller, Health Sciences Center, Level 2, Room 093 (631) 444-2139

    Doctoral Program Director
    George Leibowitz, Health Sciences Center, Level 2, Room 093 (631) 444-6369

    Degree Awarded
    Ph.D. in Social Welfare

     Health Sciences Center Bulletin


    Admission of new students is currently suspended.

  • Admissions

    Admission requirements of the Social Welfare Department

    Admissions of new students is currently suspended. 

  • Degree Requirements

    Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree in Social Welfare

    A) One year in residence

    B) Satisfactory completion of all required and elective courses (54 credits)

    C) Satisfactory completion of research and teaching practicum

    D) Satisfactory performance on the comprehensive qualifying exams

    E) Advancement to candidacy by vote of the doctoral committee upon successful completion of all course work and the comprehensive exam

    F) Completion of a dissertation

    G) Successful defense of the dissertation

    A program summary booklet is available describing the Ph.D. program in detail, its curriculum and requirements for admission. To receive a copy of this booklet , contact the School of Social Welfare’s Ph.D. program office in writing or by telephone at (631) 444-2138.

    Program Structure and Content
    The structure of this program consists of 12 required classroom courses (36 credits) as follows:

    Statistics I and II

    Research Methods I and II

    Qualitative Research

    Social Welfare Policy Analysis I and II

    Social Welfare Administration

    Knowledge Building in Social Work: The Philosophy of Applied Social Research

    Social Science Theory for Social Welfare

    Seminar and Teaching Practicum in Social Work Education

    Dissertation Seminar I and II

    Also required are three electives (9 credits), a research practicum of 10 hours per week for two semesters under mentorship (6 credits), a comprehensive exam and the production and defense of a scholarly dissertation. Fifty four credits are required for graduation. In the first three years, students take three courses each semester. The full-time program is designed to be completed in a minimum of four years.

    Once all coursework and the comprehensive exam have been completed successfully, students select a preliminary dissertation chair and committee and develop an approved dissertation proposal. The student is then advanced to candidacy and begins dissertation research. The fourth year is spent on completion of the dissertation and defense.

    The Part-Time Option
    Students who are approved for the part-time option take a minimum of six credits each semester until the 54 credit sequence has been completed. However, in order to meet residence requirements, they must take nine credits in each of two consecutive semesters during the program. Part-time students take their comprehensive exam at the end of the semester when 36 credits of required course work are completed (usually the second semester of the third year). Once all coursework and the comprehensive exam are completed successfully, part-time students select a dissertation chair and committee. In the fourth year, they develop an approved dissertation proposal. They are then advanced to candidacy. Dissertation research begins in the fifth year.

  • Facilities
  • Faculty

    Faculty of the Social Welfare Department


    Ballan, Michelle, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin:  Prevention and treatment interventions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families; research focused on sexuality, intimate partner violence and direct practice for individuals with disabilities; bioethics; disability studies; human rights and social justice for underserved populations.

    Blau, Joel, (Professor Emeritus), D.S.W., Columbia University: History of social welfare, poverty, homelessness, the political economy of social welfare, and comparative social welfare, as well as the major U.S. social programs for food, income supports, health care, housing, and employment policy.

    Brisbane, Frances, Vice President for Health Sciences Workforce Diversity, Ph.D. Union Graduate School and University:  Substance abuse and addictive behaviors, culture competence, childhood trauma, aging, veterans and their families.

    Leibowitz, George, Ph.D., University of Denver: Research on trauma and victimization among child welfare and juvenile justice involved youth; Addictions and public health issues in the criminal justice system; Assessment and Treatment with Sexually Abusive Youth; Global mental health.

    Mondros, Jacqueline B., Dean and Assistant Vice President of Social Determinants of Health, D.S.W., University of Pennsylvania:  Social work education leadership; application of social capital and social network theory to social work practice; social work determinants of health; study of urban neighborhoods; community social services; community development and community organization.

    Associate Professors

    Fineberg, Iris Cohen, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Ph.D. Boston University:  Palliative and end of life care, oncology, family-oriented health care, interdisciplinary education and teamwork, advance care planning, clinical and research ethics, qualitative research methods, mixed methods, evaluation.

    Hayward-Everson, R. Anna, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore:  Child welfare, undocumented immigrant children, family-centered practice, research, program evaluation, environmental social work.

    Monahan, Kathleen, Associate Professor, Director of the Family Violence Education and Research Center and Director of the Trauma Specialization, D.S.W., Adelphi University: Sexual abuse; sexual abuse and adult health issues; Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), battered women and Traumatic Brain Injury; domestic violence shelters; disability; aging and trauma; children exposed to domestic violence and siblings.

    Robbins, Charles L., Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, Dean of the Undergraduate Colleges, Stony Brook University; D.S.W. Yeshiva University:  Violence in intimate relationships and as a public health problem, health-care policy, health care disparities, social work and health care, the use of complementary medicine, men's health, cultural competency. 

    Assistant Professors

    Bessaha, Melissa L., Ph.D., University of Maryland: Adolescent and emerging adult development; educational and health equity; multicultural and immigrant issues; mental health services research; higher education policy; program development and evaluation.

    Hammock, Amy, Ph.D., University of Michigan:  Intimate partner violence intervention and prevention; Community-based participatory research; Community practice with immigrant populations; Qualitative methods; Feminist theory and practice.

    Malik, Sana, Ph.D., The John Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Social determinants of health, international public health, health systems strengthening, health disparities among minority, immigrant, and refugee populations, health education & behavior, culturally and religiously tailored programming, maternal & child health and welfare, program design & evaluation

    Morris, Zachary A., Ph.D, University of California, Berkeley; Disability policy; comparative social policy; social isolation; poverty; program evaluation; management and leadership in the nonprofit and public sectors

    Clinical Professors

    Peabody, Carolyn, Ph.D., Stony Brook University: Advocacy/empowerment theory and practice, feminist theory and practice, mental health, lesbian and gay issues, development of political identity among oppressed populations, impact of sexual abuse histories among mental health populations.

    Clinical Associate Professors

    Morgan, Richard, Ph.D., Fordham University: Child welfare policy and programs; child sexual abuse and juvenile sex offenders; research, ethics.

    Velázquez, Suzanne, Director of the Undergraduate Program, Ph.D., Stony Brook University: Community Development, service-learning, cultural competency, leadership, transformative learning, higher education policy, organizational culture management, women's life work issues.

    Clinical Assistant Professors

    Rabeno, Stephen, Ph.D., Adelphia University: Poverty, homelessness, and the political economy of social welfare; substance abuse; intimate relationships; gender studies.

    Cohen, Shelly, D.Phil., Oxford University:  Criminal justice research, problem solving courts, substance abuse, program evaluation and statistical analysis.


  • Contact

    Social Welfare Department

    Shari E. Miller, Health Sciences Center, Level 2, Room 093 (631) 444-2139

    Doctoral Program Director
    George Leibowitz, Health Sciences Center, Level 2, Room 093 (631) 444-6369

    Degree Awarded
    Ph.D. in Social Welfare

     Health Sciences Center Bulletin


    Admission of new students is currently suspended.