Master of Social Work

MSW@USC

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is the first among elite research universities to offer its flagship Master of Social Work (MSW) degree online and is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

The program focuses on collaboration with small, seminar-style classes taught by USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work faculty. The online classroom features tools, such as breakout rooms, live chat and document sharing fostering close, intimate discussion.

MSW@USC students complete field placements in their own communities. Placements are managed by the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, ensuring sites meet the school’s standards and student’s educational and professional goals.

Program Overview

The MSW@USC curriculum is the same as the on-campus MSW program. Students in the online program are held to the same high academic standards. MSW@USC is organized into three departments of study. Students will elect the department they choose to focus their studies on. The departments are as follows:

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

Core Classes
  • Research and Evaluation for Social Work with Adults and Older Adults
  • Policy in Integrated Care
  • Wellness, Recovery and Integrates Care
  • Explanatory Theories of Health and Mental Health
  • Clinical Interventions: Evidence-based Practice in Health and Mental Health Settings
  • Clinical Supervision and Consultation in Social Service Organizations Serving Adults
  • Leadership in the Social Work Profession and Organizations: Theory and Practice
 Sample Electives
  • Advanced Theories and Clinical Interventions in Health Care
  • Brief Therapy and Crisis Intervention
  • Clinical Interventions: Evidence-Based Practice in Health and Mental Health Settings
  • Group Psychotherapy in Mental Health Settings
  • Loss, Grief and Bereavement

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. Students will complete seven core courses, three electives and fieldwork for the Children, Youth and Families curriculum. Core classes and electives include,

Core Classes
  • Research, Data, and Evaluation for Social Work with Children, Youth, and Families
  • Introduction to Social Work Practice with Children, Youth and Families
  • Social Work Practice with Children and Families Across Settings
  • Social Work Practice with Children and Families in Early and Middle Childhood
  • Social Work Practice with Adolescents, Transition Age Youth and Their Families
  • Policy and Macro Practice in Children, Youth and Family Services
  • Leadership in the Social Work Profession and Organizations: Theory and Practice
Sample Electives
  • Consultation, Coaching and Social Entrepreneurship
  • Domestic Violence
  • Global Dimensions in Social Policy and Social Work Practice
  • Global Violence Against Women
  • LGBT Psycho/Social/Political Issues

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. Students will complete seven core courses, three electives and fieldwork for the Social Change and Innovation curriculum. Core and electives include,

Core Classes
  • Evaluation of Research: Community, Organization, and Business Innovation
  • Social Policy for Managers, Planners and Community Organizers
  • Management and Organization Development
  • Direct Practice and Behavioral Health Services
  • Social Work and Business Contexts and Policies
  • Organizational Practice and Development in Business Environments
  • Advocacy Practice and Innovation for Social Change
  • Leadership in the Social Work Profession and Organizations: Theory and Practice
  • Grant Writing & Program Development
Sample Electives
  • Consultation, Coaching and Social Entrepreneurship
  • Domestic Violence
  • Global Dimensions in Social Policy and Social Work Practice
  • Global Violence Against Women
  • LGBT Psycho/Social/Political Issues
  • Media in Social Work

Request more information about the MSW@USC program.

Career Options

The need for qualified clinical social workers is growing. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the field will experience 19 percent growth between 2012 and 2022, faster than the average of all other occupations. The growth can be attributed to many factors, from America’s aging baby boomers to increased concern about safety in schools to military service members returning from combat.

Trained social workers are in a unique position to create real change for schools, families and communities through advocacy and support. Social workers provide services in a range of settings, including mental health clinics, schools, hospitals, community outreach organizations, substance abuse recovery facilities and veterans affairs offices.

Learn more about careers in social work here.

Instructional Services for Enrolled Students

The MSW@USC offers access to USC’s online library services as well as tutoring and writing coaches for students who need additional support. Virtual one-on-one writing sessions are also available.

Professors are fully available to online students and encourage ongoing interaction by inviting students to attend one-on-one video office hours. Faculty members also serve as academic advisors, providing students with professional guidance, mentoring and assistance with individualized educational plans and career goals.

Student Services for Enrolled Students

MSW@USC students are supported throughout the enrollment process and during their time in the program. Our student support team works with new students to acclimate them to the online learning platform. Each student completes an orientation to learn the features of the platform, including how to access coursework, the virtual classroom and student groups. Students can reach technical support 24/7 if they encounter difficulties while completing coursework or during live class sessions.

Faculty Spotlight

Devon Brooks Dorian Traube