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University of Pennsylvania

School of Social Policy and Practice

Philadelphia, PA


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The University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy & Practice Prepares Students to be Leaders for Social Change

Penn School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) prepares students to be leaders for social change in their chosen discipline (i.e., social work, social policy, non-profit leadership, or social welfare). The school's five degree programs encourage students to think and work across disciplines, cultures, and national boundaries in their pursuit of social justice. Located in the heart of the University of Pennsylvania's Ivy League campus, SP2 is known for its interdisciplinary focus as well as its emphasis on leadership for social change. For more than 100 years, SP2 has been a powerful force for good in the world, working towards social justice and social change through research and practice. Students are encouraged to embrace the interdisciplinary opportunities that SP2 and the University of Pennsylvania have to offer. Students come to SP2 from around the world to learn how to be powerful forces for good. After earning their degrees, alumni take their gifts, skills, and knowledge to all sectors of society, connecting the dots between issues that are local and international, intimate and institutional.


The School of Social Policy & Practice contributes to the advancement of more effective, efficient and humane human services through education, research and civic engagement. The passionate pursuit of social innovation, impact, and justice is at the heart of the School's knowledge-building activities.

Students at Penn Social Policy & Practice Enjoy Philadelphia's Benefits and Engage Locally to Improve Social Conditions

The University of Pennsylvania is nestled in the historic and vibrant city of Philadelphia-- America's fifth largest city. Hailed as a "city of neighborhoods," Philadelphia offers much to explore, including a thriving arts and culture sector, delicious and diverse dining destinations, iconic historic sites, and one of the Nation's largest City Park systems. 

In addition to these numerous cultural opportunities, students have the opportunity to complete field placements/internships in a variety of social service and social policy settings and with nonprofit organizations that are only available in an urban environment such as Philadelphia. Penn has a strong partnership with many local communities to involve students in improving the surrounding areas. The University seeks to promote safe neighborhoods, attract and support area businesses, encourage homeownership, and improve public education.

The School is proud to offer five degree programs: Master of Social Work (MSW), Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (MSNPL), Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP), Clinical Doctorate in Social Work (DSW), and PhD in Social Welfare

Throughout its 110-year history, the Master of Social Work (MSW) program has emphasized the integration of field and classroom learning. It draws on 600 different human-service agencies for student field placements. MSW students are able to concentrate in clinical practice or macro practice. Fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, the MSW prepares social workers to develop and provide services to individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations at local, national, and global levels.

The MSW program offers opportunities for full-time and part-time study. An Advanced Standing option as well as an Employed Practitioners Program is also offered. Thirteen dual degree programs are offered. These degree programs include: Social Work/Juris Doctor (MSW/JD); Social Work/Master in Law (MSW/ML); Social Work and Business Administration (MSW/MBA); Social Work and Bioethics (MSW/MBE); Social Work and City Planning (MSW/MCP); Social Work and Public Administration (MSW/MPA); Social Work and Public Health (MSW/MPH); Social Work and Criminology (MSW/MS); Social Work and Education (MSW/MSEd); Social Work and Nonprofit Leadership (MSW/NPL); Social Work and Social Policy (MSW/MSSP); Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Social Work (BA/MSW); and MSW/PhD in Social Welfare.

Additionally, the MSW program offers joint MSW/Certificate Programs and Specializations in:

Ann Nolan Reese Penn Aging Certificate (PAC)

Child Well-Being & Child Welfare Specialization (CW2)

Cohen Veterans Network MSW Scholars Program

Criminal Justice Specialization

Goldring Reentry Initiative (GRI)

Social Work in Health Care Specialization

Global Human Rights Certificate

MSW/Home-School Visitor Certificate Program

MSW/Certificate in Jewish Communal Service

The Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (MSNPL) offers full-time, part-time, and hybrid online options for completing the program. This graduate program is designed for professionals who want to assume leadership positions in nonprofit or non-governmental organizations. Four dual degrees are offered, including: Nonprofit Leadership and Juris Doctor (NPL/JD), Nonprofit Leadership and Public Health (NPL/MPH), and Nonprofit Leadership and Social Work (NPL/MSW); and Nonprofit Leadership and Bachelor of Arts (NPL/BA).

The Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP) offers both a full- and part-time option, as well as five dual degree programs. This program prepares students for leadership positions in policy leadership positions in government, philanthropic foundations, research institutes, and more. Students learn to use policy to increase equality, promote equity, and forge social change. The MSSP + Certificate in Data Analytics also provides students with core training and skills in the conceptual foundations of data analytics, programming of data structures, applications of machine learning and predictive analytics, spatial analytics, and the data processing techniques for web scraping and data visualization for a broader public audience.  

The Clinical Doctorate in Social Work (DSW) is intended for clinicians with at least two years post-MSW experience who want to remain clinicians or teach clinical social work practice. Penn's DSW is an intensive online program that enables students to complete the course work and dissertation in three years, without career disruption.

The PhD in Social Welfare is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students to be scholars, researchers, and leaders in the field of social welfare.

Students Interested in SP2 Graduate Programs May Apply For Financial Aid Scholarships

The School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) is proud to offer limited scholarships to prospective Master's and DSW students. SP2 scholarships and fellowships are awarded by the SP2 Financial Aid office; they are not awards for which a student must apply.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Social Work/Master of Science (MSW/MS)
Master of Not-for-Profit Leadership (MNPL)
Master of Social Work/Master of Science in Education (MSW/MS Ed)
Master of Social Work/Doctor of Philosophy (MSW/PhD)
Master of Social Work/Master of Bioethics (MSW/MBE)
Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP)
Master of Social Work/Master of Science in Social Policy (MSW/MSSP)
Master of Science in Social Policy/Master of Public Health (MSSP/MPH)
Master of Social Work/Master of Public Health (MSW/MPH)
Master of Social Work/Master of Not-for-Profit Leadership (MSW/MNPL)
Master of Social Work/Master of Public Affairs (MSW/MPA)
Master of Social Work/Juris Doctor (MSW/JD)
Master of Science in Social Policy/Juris Doctor (MSSP/JD)
Master of Science in Social Policy/Master of Public Affairs (MSSP/MPA)
Master of Social Work (MSW)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
Master of Social Work/Certificate (MSW/Certificate)
Master of Social Work/Master of Business Administration (MSW/MBA)
Master of Social Work/Master of City Planning (MSW/MCP)
Master of Social Work/Master of Law (MSW/ML)

Degrees Awarded

Degree Number Awarded
Master's Degrees 252
Doctoral Degrees 17

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? Yes
Terminal master's degree available? Yes

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirement
Master's Degrees Fieldwork
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE General Test
Thesis Required


Acceptance Rate



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?
Applications processed
on a rolling basis?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline February 1st February 1st Yes

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Requirements GRE, GMAT, or LSAT (MNPL); GRE or GMAT (MSSP)
Doctoral Degree Exam GRE General Test
Doctoral Degree Requirements MSW or master's degree in related field (for PhD); 2 years of post-MSW work experience (for DSW)

International Students

Exam Details
TOEFL: Required TOEFL Paper score: 600
TOEFL IBT score: 100

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Financial award applicants must submit: FAFSA
Types of financial support available Institutionally-sponsored Loans
Scholarship and/or loans
Graduate Assistantships

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino 1.81%
Black or African American 11.73%
White or Caucasian 61%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0.54%
Asian 7.94%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 9.75%
Unknown 0%


Male (14%)
Female (85%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 26
Part-time - 58
Male (37)
Female (47)


Focus of faculty research: Homelessness among veterans, criminal justice, mental health, child wellbeing and welfare, domestic and family violence, social policy, poverty
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year:

Location & Contact

Address 3451 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA  19104
United States
Contact Dr. Sara S. Bachman
Phone: 215-898-5541
Fax: 215-573-2099

University of Pennsylvania