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University of Southern California Master of Social Work online

Gain the clinical skills and hands-on social work experience to excel as a passionate leader in the field.

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About the program

  • Complete in One Year: Advanced standing students may complete the program in as little as one year.
  • Prepare for social work licensure: This CSWE-accredited program gives you the skills and knowledge to pursue becoming a licensed clinical social worker in direct-practice settings.
  • Don’t stress over your GRE: We value fostering diversity and inclusion more than test scores and don’t require GRE scores for admissions.

About USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work was the first elite research institution in the country to offer a Master of Social Work (MSW) online. Today, they continue innovating and extend their legacy and accessibility of social work education to learners everywhere by offering online options, too.

Tuition and fees

Tuition and fees are subject to change and may increase each academic year. Tuition does not include student fees, technology platform licensing, or support services. Learners are also responsible for travel and accommodation costs related to any in-person immersions or residentials.

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Curriculum spotlight: Five optional tracks

The online MSW from USC allows you to focus your studies on an area of particular interest once you’ve built a foundation of social work principles. Customize your curriculum by choosing one of the following tracks:

  • Adult Mental Health and Wellness: Focus on helping to improve the mental health and physical well-being of individuals across their entire lifespan.
  • Children, Youth and Families: Build supportive social environments by addressing the needs of vulnerable children and families.
  • Social Change and Innovation: Solve large-scale problems while driving positive change in community organizations, businesses and government agencies.
  • Military Populations and Settings: Meet the unique needs of active military members, veterans and their families through mental health therapy and crisis intervention.
  • School and Educational Settings: Help pre-K-12 students overcome external factors that affect their ability to succeed in school. MSW learners in all states may pursue this track, but only California-based MSW learners can pursue the Pupil Personnel Services Credential.
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Prospective learners interested in this program should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with an average GPA of 3.0 or better. If you already earned a bachelor’s in social work, you may be eligible for our 27 credit advanced standing program. No GRE scores required. To complete an application, you will need to submit:

  • Official transcripts

  • Supplemental form: “Social work”

  • Résumé

  • Letters of recommendation

  • Statement of purpose

  • Application fee

Field Training

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Gain the hands-on experience you need to confront today’s social work challenges with confidence and expertise. The Master of Social Work from USC prepares you to lead skillfully, in and across communities, through training in two phases: Virtual Field Practicum (VFP) and Community-Based Field Placement.

You will begin your field education with the VFP, an integrated, online experience that allows you to strengthen practice and develop your confidence in a secure environment. You will complete a minimum of 210 field hours through attendance and participation, orientation, and, if applicable, through evidence-based intervention training. 

For your Community-Based Field Placement, placement coordinators will help you find a placement site that’s right for you. This particular placement will enable you to develop the clinical skills you will need to succeed in a variety of work settings. 

During the Virtual Field Practicum and Community-Based Field Placement, you will spend a minimum of 1,100 field training hours online as well as in person.

Frequently asked questions

The NASW defines social work as "The professional activity of helping individuals, families, groups, or communities to enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning or creating societal conditions favorable to that goal.” A Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) is trained to work with families and individuals experiencing distress and are in need of counseling.

Field Education is your opportunity to apply the social work concepts and theories you’ve learned in the classroom to the real world. You will develop your social work practice skills with 1,100 hours of hands-on internship supervised by a USC faculty member (your field education faculty advisor) and a social worker within your placement organization or agency. Learners complete their placements at a variety of locations, from social service agencies to nonprofit organizations, schools, hospitals and more.

Field placements are internship opportunities specifically designed to help you develop the nine competencies established by the Council on Social Work Education. The program, therefore, does not offer credit transfers for previous field experience.

Prospective learners are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships. Enrolled learners will receive an email with a link to apply for the Endowed and Philanthropic Scholarships.

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