Master of Social Work online

The online Master of Social Work (MSW) program prepares students to effect positive change at the individual, community or macro level through weekly online classes and an innovative virtual and in-person fieldwork approach.

Alumni of our online MSW program are making a difference worldwide across a range of fields, including mental health, family counseling, and military and community advocacy. The online MSW program is available both full-time and part-time. You can earn your MSW online in 12 months through our accelerated Advanced Standing track if you have a bachelor’s in social work.

Program Overview

Traditional Program: 42 Units
If you hold an undergraduate degree that is not in social work, you will complete the traditional MSW program. The program can be taken full-time or part-time.

Advanced Standing: 37 Units
If you hold a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from an accredited institution, you may be eligible for the advanced standing program, which can also be completed full-time or part-time.


The MSW@USC curriculum explores emerging needs in the field to prepare a new kind of social worker who can meet the demands of 21st-century society. The online MSW program at USC features a rigorous curriculum that is the same as that of the on-campus program. Courses are delivered online, taught by our award-winning faculty and designed to enable you to focus on the population that interests you most.

The MSW curriculum explores content relevant to today’s employers, expanding on the program’s historic strengths while emphasizing early intervention, prevention and wellness, leadership and effective collaboration, core competencies (evidence-based practices, evidence-informed interventions), and implications of new findings in neuroscience.

Hear more about the MSW program curriculum now.

Field Education

The MSW@USC program prepares you with crucial hands-on experience to tackle today’s social work challenges. You will spend more than 1,000 hours completing field education.

  • Virtual Field Practicum: Online group sessions that provide a clinical simulation with an actor portraying a client. Guided by an experienced professor and only required in the traditional MSW program.
  • Community-Base Field Placement: Hands-on, in-person training with real clients under the guidance of a supervisory practitioner.

You will work with a coordinator to choose a placement site that’s right for you.

Credentialing Information

The MSW@USC Social Work program leads to a Master of Social Work degree. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited program is designed to meet the eligibility requirements for the Association of Social Work Boards exam and not an initial license. Licensure requirements, including levels of licensure vary by state, and students should contact their state licensing board to determine the state specific requirements for licensure, including any additional requirements beyond the scope of the program.

Program Concentrations

Students will complete seven core courses, three electives and fieldwork for the Adult Mental Health and Wellness curriculum.

Adult Mental Health and Wellness
The Adult Mental Health and Wellness curriculum explores human behavioral theory. Students will consider the role of neuroscience as it relates to the mind-brain-body system as well as family, culture and community.

Children, Youth and Families
The Children, Youth and Families curriculum prepares social workers who can advocate for children and youth in the social environments in which they live and create service programs that support families of diverse backgrounds.

Social Change and Innovation
The Social Change and Innovation curriculum focuses on social change and innovation in a global context. Students will explore evidence-based research in either business or community development by choosing classes that focus on either area of study. Community Development and Social Change courses teach students to think critically about communities and organizations, and how to facilitate change within them. Social Work and Business courses prepare students to build corporate social responsibility programs and guide businesses to nurture positive community relationships.

Optional Program Tracks

  • Military Social Work
  • School Social Work
  • Medical Social Work

Earn your Master of Social Work degree online. Request information now.

Career Outcomes

Graduates of USC’s online Master of Social Work program will have completed the requisite education to prepare for a career as a clinical social worker. Graduates are responsible to research licensure requirements in the state they wish to practice. Graduates may pursue roles in a variety of settings and functions, including working with individuals, groups and families.