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Brasão da PUC-Rio

Social Work Graduate Program

More information

+55 21 3527-1290
+55 21 3527-1291

Departamento de Serviço Social
Rua Marques de São Vicente, 225
Vila dos Diretórios, casa 209
Gávea, Rio de Janeiro - RJ

Office hours:
9:00am to 11:30am and
2:00pm to 4:30pm 

General Information

Program Overview

The Graduate Program in Social Work aims to develop critical and analytical capacity consistent on social reality, assuming as central nucleus of analysis Social Work in its historical articulation with social issues and its relation with social rights. Historically thinking about social issues and their forms of combat, a particular emphasis is gained by the fields of insertion and the interventive character of Social Work in the perspective of effectuation of social rights in Brazilian society. In the dynamics of its development, the Program aims to articulate pluralistic perspectives, research-teaching integration and graduate with undergraduate activities.


Observing the difference between Master's and Doctoral levels, the Graduate Program aims to:


The academic project of the Social Work Department was initiated in 1937, with the creation of the second undergraduate course in Social Work in the country. This was one of the units that allowed the constitution of the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro itself, in 1941. In 1972 its academic activity was enriched with the creation of the Master’s Program - the first to be officially accredited by Federal Education Council (4.428/76) - aimed, mainly, at the formation of professors and researchers. Its objective was to qualify for critical analysis of social reality and to the development of intervention strategies of Social Work.

In 2002, with the consolidation of the Master’s Program, the Doctoral Program was approved on December 30, 2002 (ordinance 3949, MEC), creation the Graduate Program in Social Work. The first Doctoral class was implemented in 2003.

The Graduate Program in Social Work has been systematically demonstrating its innovative capacity in teaching and research, in order to face new theoretical-methodological and ethical-political challenges. A knowledge area inscribed in the human-social sciences field, the Social Work program of PUC-Rio, has a tradition of forming qualified professors and researchers, whose activities were linked to successive concentration areas that directed its Program. These were: in 1972-Social Work of Group cases and works, in 1986-Contemporary Social Work, its Fundaments and Policies and, finally, in 1997 - Social Work, Social Issues, Social Rights until the present date.

When in its beginnings in 1972, the Program prioritized objects and research objectives focused on the construction of the Theory of Social Work following the theoretical and methodological questions that oriented the professional debate at the time. The national repercussion of the first defended dissertations was immediately felt, as these have been transformed into the first national publications of production of knowledge in this basic field. From 1986, with  the re-dimensioning of the course and the introduction of a new concentration area, the Program turned to the analysis of Social Work in its inter-relation with social policies, with emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach.

Through a redefinition process of its concentration area, initiated in 1995, the Program assumed as its central nucleus the analysis of Social Work in its historical articulation with social issues, and its relations with social rights, implanting in 1997, a new curricular project articulated around Social Work, Social Issues, and Social Rights concentration areas.

The Graduate Committee has considered, in 2010, the necessity of elaborating an update of the proposal and description of the new lines of research and the restructuring of the Research Groups. It was also verified the necessity of the evaluation of discipline contents and their articulation with themes guided by researches of faculty members and students.

The Social Work Department of PUC-Rio, by proposing a curricular revision of its Graduate Program, seeks to maintain itself in a permanent effort of renewal in order to face recent social and political processes and transformations’ challenges to the University, without, however, abandoning the articulation with the Program’s concentration area, according to the Research Groups’ interests and themes, as well as with the demands brought by students, having as central nucleus the historical articulation of Social Work with social issues and social rights.

Concentration areas and lines of research

Concentration area: Social Work, Social Issues, Social Rights

Emphasis of Social Work as an area of knowledge of interventional character with social issues and social rights in its historicity, as well as incorporated environmental and sustainable development issues as emerging investigative fields in Latin American Societies.

The Program has been preserving its tradition of research directed towards fields of Social Work insertion, supposing as constitutive element of professional practice the comprehension of the formulation, implementation and impact of sectorial social policies in intervention process.

Line of Research 1: Labor, Social Policies and Collective Subjects

The categories of labor, social policies and collective subjects, considering their importance for social work, in view of the social processes that currently redefine the social question.

The precarious conditions of labor, the labor market and the process of segmentation of the working class.

Social policies and their institutional reorganization in Latin America and Brazil; approach on issues linked to the advancement of privatization as well as the challenged posed by decentralization and municipalization of policies, with the reemergence of extremely archaic political-cultural phenomena.

Line of Research 2: Violence, Rights, Social Work and Inter-Sectorial Policies

This line of research has as a proposal to deepen the understanding of the multiple manifestation of the phenomenon of violence, as one of the most signifiant expressions of the social question present in the various segments of society, in family, institution and community contexts. Its focus is on the development of research that can subsidize social policies and public policies in their inter-sectorial relation as well as strategies of action aimed at promoting, protecting, defending and guaranteeing citizen rights.

Line of Research 3: Social-Environmental, Urban Issues and Forms of Social Resistance

The questioning of social-environmental issues should not be confined to the reflection on the protection of biodiversity or the conservation of renewable resources; it must above all articulate these issues with the challenge of reducing poverty and social inequalities, promoting greater social justice, valuing cultural diversity and finally, consolidating the democratic process in the country.

The environmental articulation of the urban space raises a historical reflection on the clash between technification and the politicization of space.

Broadening the horizons of reflection on the city, incorporating the contemporary challenges of the construction of citizenship arising from the changes and continuities of the socio-spational and institutional order of the Brazilian metropolises.

From the point of view of the current forms of social resistance, those related to gender and racial relations stand out as the object of “feminization of power” as an object to be studied.

With regard to efforts to overcome Brazilian racial inequalities, it is necessary to know the scope and limits of public policies that specifically refer to the black population.

Recognition of the Course

Master’s and Doctoral Degrees

CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Eduction Personnel; from Brazilian Ministry of Education) evaluation: grade 5 (in a 3 to 7 scale) for the 2010-2012 period.
Approved by the CNE/CES MEC n.288/2015 of July 08, 2015.
Granted degrees: Master and/or Doctor in Social Work

Requirements for obtaining the Master’s and Doctoral degrees



Admission and Enrollment

Required Documentation:


The selection consists of three stages:


The selection consists of three stages:

  1. Evaluation of project draft evaluation, which will be examined for its academic merit and feasibility in this Department (eliminatory);
  2. The homologated preliminary projects will be selected to the subsequent stage of interview (eliminatory) that will observe the following criteria:
    1. Curriculum vitae exam;
    2. General questions about the applicant’s academic potential;
    3. Information on the presented project draft
    4. General questions about the forming and the objective conditions for the development of the thesis from the proposed theme;
  3. Approval in 2 (two) foreign Language exams - English, Spanish or French; only for classified applicants.