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school of social work

Research represents the lifeblood of everything Boston College School of Social Work does. We approach social welfare and social work with the same intellectual rigor with which medical schools pioneer new stroke treatments, physicists explore the fabric of the universe, and business schools analyze best practices in investment finance.

We bridge theory and practice by systematically testing ideas and methods in research settings and translating the results into the field. This empirical approach enriches our academic programs and advances social policy and practice.

Our wide-ranging research appears in a variety of academic publications and makes headlines in mainstream media outlets. View News & Events to see where our faculty have provided expert commentary or been recognized for their contributions and expertise in their field.

Our research centers, institutes, and labs are renowned for conducting groundbreaking work and providing critical services. See our most recent research news stories in our News & Events section.

Center for Social Innovation

The Center for Social Innovation promotes "innovation from within." Our mission is to foster effective, sustainable social innovations that enhance social justice. We strive to build capacity within the social sector by preparing tomorrow's social service leaders, promoting the capacity of existing social service agencies to respond to current and future social issues, and building the evidence-base for social innovation.

Center on Aging & Work

The Center on Aging & Work focuses its research on one of the defining issues of the 21st century, to help the business community promote workplace flexibility and prepare for the opportunities and challenges associated with an aging workforce.

Immigrant Integration Lab

The Immigrant Integration Lab (IIL) is an applied research lab exploring the intersection of social work, social policy, and immigrant inclusion. IIL is committed to social justice, working toward the well-being of immigrants by pursuing a rigorous academic approach that seeks to understand the appropriate services and delivery systems that lead to full social, civic, and economic integration of the foreign born in the United States.

Institute on Aging

The Institute on Aging is headed by James Lubben, the Louise McMahon Ahearn Professor of the Boston College School of Social Work. Lubben is a leading scholar in social gerontology with an active research agenda examining social support networks among older populations. He is also the National Director of the Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program in Geriatric Social Work.

The Institute on Aging provides an integrated framework for fundraising, research, teaching, and knowledge dissemination for three aging research centers at Boston College, two of them housed at Boston College School of Social Work: the Center on Aging and Work and the Center for the Study of Home and Community Life, as well as the Carroll School of Management's Center for Retirement Research.

Research in Social, Economic, and Environmental Equity (RISE3)

Research in Social, Economic, and Environmental Equity (RISE3) is a collaborative at the Boston College School of Social Work that brings together researchers from BC and beyond with practitioners and policymakers to better address the root causes of social, economic, and environmental equity.

Research Program on Children and Adversity (RPCA)

The Research Program on Children and Adversity (RPCA) focuses on understanding trajectories of risk and resilience in children facing multiple forms of adversity, including poverty, conflict, and infectious disease. Through quantitative and qualitative research methods, the program investigates key mechanisms shaping child development and mental health. The program develops targeted psychosocial interventions that support positive life outcomes that can be effectively delivered at scale in low-resource settings. Overall, the program team works to develop evidence-based, transdiagnostic interventions that are feasible and cost effective, to support positive life outcomes.  These outcomes are key to child health, social services, and the economic development agendas. 

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