Program Description | School of Behavioral Health | Loma Linda University
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Program Director: Larry Ortiz, PhD, MSW


The mission of the Social Welfare and Social Research PhD program is to extend the distinctive principles of whole person care beyond the individual to include interventions with communities and social institutions. The program's emphasis on an integrative approach to an advanced curriculum in social science, social welfare, Christian ethics, and social research provides students with the theoretical and methodological knowledge and professional skills needed to conduct innovative and interdisciplinary research. Graduates of the program are prepared for advanced administrative and research roles in national and international health and human services, policy development and analysis, and as university faculty.


Students admitted to the program should have demonstrated evidence of interest in social welfare, values aligned with a commitment to social justice, and research interests compatible with the areas of expertise supported by program faculty. Information regarding faculty areas of expertise is available by contacting the program director. Years one and two are largely composed of course work, a comprehensive examination and shaping of one's dissertation question. 

While completing all required course work students choose a dissertation committee chair and committee with whom they work closely to develop and defend a dissertation proposal—following University guidelines. Upon successful defense of the proposal students are admitted to candidacy and actively engage in dissertation research, culminating in the successful defense of their dissertation. Consistent with Faculty of Graduate Study policy, the department requires a two-publication dissertation. More information is available from the program director.

Program Requirements

All course grades should meet the minimum B (3.0) standard, which by university policy indicates satisfactory performance.

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