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USC Masters of Social Work

USC Masters of Social Work

The University of Southern California, one of the top research universities in the world, fosters a vibrant culture of public service and encourages students to cross academic as well as geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge. The School of Social Work, one of the 10 top-ranked, accredited social work graduate programs (U.S. News & World Report) in the nation, offers a rigorous, research-supported and mutually responsible learning process that nurtures innovative, principled and insightful leaders and practitioners. The University of Southern California School of Social Work is the first among elite research universities to offer its highly regarded Master of Social Work degree online. Available nationally through our Virtual Academic Center, the MSW@USC engages students in various web-based learning activities and hands-on, supervised traditional field instruction in local communities where they live and work. Taught by renowned faculty and leaders in the field of social work, the MSW@USC curriculum mirrors the academic rigor of the on-site program.


The MSW@USC is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC). Accreditation is a rigorous process that verifies degree programs meet the high standards considered essential to providing a quality social work education and ensuring that every student graduating from a social work program has the same requisite skills and knowledge.


The MSW@USC is the first top-ranked MSW program offered nationally. Many online programs are limited to certain geographic areas or the availability of courses, making it necessary to travel to campus. Our program can be completed from virtually anywhere without the need to relocate to Southern California. The USC School of Social Work works with selected agencies and organizations across the country that represent the complete range of social services. This provides MSW@USC students the opportunity to apply what they learn in class and a chance to work with real-life clients in the community. The MSW@USC gives students the opportunity to earn the same quality education on-campus students receive. Our robust virtual environment provides the latest web-based technology for a highly interactive experience that mirrors the stringent curriculum of the onsite MSW program delivered by the same faculty. The USC School of Social Work offers a 35-credit advanced standing MSW program with both full-time (three semesters) and part-time (five semesters) options. Admission to the advanced standing program allows students to complete their MSW degree in less time than the traditional MSW program by waiving the first-year foundation course requirements. Students applying for this option must demonstrate their readiness to perform at the level of a second-year MSW student.

Financing your Education

USC administers one of the largest financial aid programs in the United States. The USC Financial Aid Office provides applications and information about need-based financial aid, departmental grants, and long-term financing options including the following federal and private programs.

  • Federal Direct Stafford Loan
    (Subsidized or Unsubsidized)
  • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
  • Private Financing programs

Families and Children

This concentration emphasizes a “family-centered” model and prepares students for practice with families and children in multicultural urban communities. Students learn developmental/preventive services, problem solving, crisis and remedial services, and protective services for children and adolescents.

Mental Health

Students develop skills in the psychosocial assessment of commonly encountered mental health problems, design of appropriate intervention plans and delivery of preventive and rehabilitative mental health services. They learn to deal with issues relating to outreach, advocacy, program evaluation and organizational or governmental policies.

Community Organization,
Planning and Administration

COPA prepares students to become administrators, planners and community organizers in urban settings. Emphasis is placed on a macro practice – one that focuses on the big-picture service improvements and policy changes that aid individuals and enhance the well-being of communities. Students develop skills in management and finance, program development and evaluation, and community organization.


Students will learn to offer culturally responsive services in a variety of health care systems and settings to a range of diverse consumers. The curriculum emphasizes interdisciplinary practice and integration of ethically driven psychosocial services that promote health and improve quality of life.

Military Social Work

This specialized area of study prepares individuals to provide a full range of human services to the nation’s military personnel, veterans and their families, helping them cope with the stresses of military life. The military sub-concentration can be integrated with any of the three major concentration areas offered through the Virtual Academic Center.

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