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University of Southern California - Online Master of Social Work (MSW@USC)

The Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California offers an online Master of Social Work (MSW) with traditional entry and Advanced Standing pathways. Students choose one of three specializations and may also pursue an additional track. The specializations include Adult Mental Health and Wellness; Children, Youth and Families; and Social Change and Innovation. The optional additional tracks are Military Social Work and School Social Work. The School Social Work track is only available to California residents at this time.

After completing the required core and advanced social work courses, students may transition to the Adult Mental Health and Wellness specialization. Students complete seven required courses for this specialization and choose three electives based on their career interests in the adult mental health and wellness field. Mental health field work is required. Particular focus is given to neuroscience and how it relates to the body, mind, and brain.

After completing core and advanced social work courses, students may choose the Children, Youth and Families specialization. This includes seven required courses three electives based on the student’s career interests in children, youth and family counseling. Students also complete field work hours with children, youth, and families. Graduates will be prepared to work with children, youth, and families from a variety of backgrounds and social contexts.

The third specialization is Social Change and Innovation. After completing core and advanced social work courses, students complete seven required courses for this specialization and choose three electives based on their career interests. Students also complete field work in the areas of social change and innovation. Graduates will be prepared to facilitate social change in both organizations and communities. Business courses prepare students to foster financially responsible organizations and programs.

Students in all specializations may add an additional track in Military Social Work. Graduates will be prepared to address issues specific to military personnel and their families, including issues such as PTSD, physical and mental health, military transitioning to and from duty, reintegration into society, military culture and its particular nuances, crisis intervention, and aging veteran issues and advocacy.

Military social work students complete all courses required for the MSW degree and for the specialization they choose. In addition, students take 9 more credits of courses specifically designed to address military counseling issues. Students can also gear their three electives toward courses that would help them work with military personnel and their families, such as Loss, Grief and Bereavement, or the National Military Immersion in Washington, DC.

California residents may add the School Social Work track to the Children, Youth and Families specialization. Graduates will be prepared to offer services to children, adolescents and their families in school settings, with issues such as poverty, problems at home that affect grades and the school experience, divorce issues, mental illness, cultural and socioeconomic issues, neglect, and child abuse.

School social work students complete all core and advanced courses for the MSW degree and all core courses in the Department of Children, Youth and Families, in addition to two school social work courses and additional field practicum of 300 to 600 hours. Students may gear their three elective choices toward courses which would contribute to working with children, youth and families in various school and socioeconomic settings.

The traditional MSW@USC program consists of 60 credits and can be completed in two years on a full-time basis, or three to four years on a part-time basis. Students in all specializations and additional tracks complete a core set of courses before branching out. USC offers multiple start dates per year for online MSW students. The program courses are 100% online with no campus visits required. Practicums and virtual and in-person field experience hours are required.

Pursuing the Military Social Work track adds nine credits to the overall degree. Students who pursue the School Social Work track add six credits and an additional 300 to 600 hours of field work to the overall degree. Note that these tracks add additional cost and time to the completion of the degree.

The Advanced Standing program consists of 37 credits and may be completed in three semesters on a full-time basis, or five semesters part-time. Students bypass the core MSW courses and move right into advanced social work courses. Specializations and optional tracks may then be pursued.

MSW@USC students and faculty meet weekly in live, online, face-to-face class sessions. Class sizes are kept to a 12:1 student to faculty ratio and foster real-time interaction, discussion, relationship building, and collaboration. Between live sessions, students complete coursework which may include research, assigned readings, and case studies. Delivery modes may include video, live chat, webcam interaction, and email.

During the first semester, traditional students participate in a Virtual Field Practicum in which students practice advanced social work skills in a safe online environment. There is a three step process for each advanced skill which includes coursework, class discussion with faculty and peers, and a simulated virtual counseling session in which an actor portrays a client. The course professor also attends the virtual simulated session so that students have access to guidance and immediate feedback.

Core courses for the traditional MSW@USC include Human Behavior and the Social Environment; Policy and Advocacy in Professional Social Work; Science of Social Work; Diversity, Social Justice, and Culturally Competent Social Work Practice; Integrative Learning for Social Work Practice; and Social Work Practice With Individuals, Families, and Groups. Students also complete two Applied Learning in Field Education courses with field hours. Both traditional program students and Advanced Standing program students complete advanced social work courses including Leadership and Management in Social Work, as well as four field work courses.

The Adult Mental Health and Wellness specialization includes courses such as Research and Evaluation for Social Work With Adults and Older Adults; Policy in Integrated Care; ; Assessing Wellness to Improve Recovery in Integrated Care; Explanatory Theories of Health and Mental Health; and Advanced Practice With Complex Social Work Cases. Students then choose three electives which may include Advanced Theories and Clinical Interventions in Health Care; Clinical Interventions: Evidence-Based Practice in Health and Mental Health Settings; Group Psychotherapy in Mental Health Settings; and Loss, Grief and Bereavement.

The Children, Youth and Families Specialization includes courses such as 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 in Early and Middle Childhood; Social Work Practice with Children and Families Across Settings; and Social Work Practice with Adolescents, Transition Age Youth and Their Families. Elective choices may include LGBT Psycho/Social/Political Issues; Domestic Violence; Global Violence Against Women; and Global Dimensions in Social Policy and Social Work Practice.

The Social Change and Innovation specialization includes courses such as Evaluation of Research: Community, Organization, and Business Innovation; Leadership in the Social Work Profession and Organizations: Theory and Practice; Management and Organization Development; Social Work and Business Contexts and Policies; Organizational Practice and Development in Business Environments; Advocacy Practice and Innovation for Social Change; and Social Policy for Managers, Planners and Community Organizers. Electives may include Global Violence Against Women; Domestic Violence; Media in Social Work; and Consultation, Coaching and Social Entrepreneurship.

Military Social Work track courses include Clinical Practice With the Military Family; Clinical Practice With Service Members and Veterans; and Military and Veterans Policy and Program Management.

School Social Work courses include Social Work Practice in School Settings and one of the following: School Violence or Social Work in Early Care and Education Settings. Students also complete an additional 300 to 600 hours of field education in schools or community agencies that provide services to schools.

The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The MSW@USC program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

University of Southern California

Programs: Online Master of Social Work (MSW), Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - Advanced Standing, Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - Adult Mental Health and Wellness, Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - Children, Youth and Families, Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - Social Change and Innovation, Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - Military Social Work Track, Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - School Social Work Track
Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC); Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

Online Master of Social Work (MSW)

Program Highlights
  • Graduates will be prepared to pursue licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
  • Classes are kept to a 12:1 ratio
  • Students may pursue the Traditional program, Advanced Standing program, and choose one of three departments in which to specialize, plus an optional additional track
Program Overview
Program Structure: Online instruction with no campus visits required; 1,000 field hours are required and include a virtual field practicum
Example Courses: Human Behavior and the Social Environment; Policy and Advocacy in Professional Social Work; Science of Social Work; Diversity, Social Justice, and Culturally Competent Social Work Practice; Social Work Practice With Individuals, Families, and Groups
Instruction Methods: Students meet weekly in live, online, face-to-face class sessions, and complete coursework which may include research, assigned readings, and case studies; modes include video, chat sessions, webcam interaction, email, and other multimedia tools
Degree Requirements
Credits Required: 60 credits needed to graduate
Campus Visits Required: 0
Program Options
Program Start Dates: Mutiple start dates throughout the year
Curriculum Options: Full-time or Part-time
Length of Program: Program can be completed in 2 years full-time, 3 or 4 year options part-time
Admission Requirements and Tuition Costs
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: No GRE required
Work Experience: Yes, people-oriented service work preferred
Tuition Costs: ~$111,780 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $1,863.00

Visit requestinfo.msw.usc.edu to Learn More About the University of Southern California Online MSW Programs

Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - Advanced Standing

Program Highlights
  • Graduates will be prepared to pursue licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
  • Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited program and a Minimum GPA 30 GPA in all prior social work courses
  • Students begin courses at the second-year MSW level; admission is competitive and is not guaranteed solely based on meeting admission requirements
Program Overview
Program Structure: Online instruction with no campus visits required; 1,000 field hours are required and include a virtual field practicum
Example Courses: Diversity, Social Justice, and Culturally Competent Social Work Practice; Integrative Learning for Advanced Social Work Practice; Advanced Applied Learning in Field Education, 6 core courses, and 2 social work electives
Instruction Methods: Students meet weekly in live, online, face-to-face class sessions, and complete coursework which may include research, assigned readings, and case studies; modes include video, chat sessions, webcam interaction, email, and other multimedia tools
Degree Requirements
Credits Required: 37 credits needed to graduate
Campus Visits Required: 0
Program Options
Program Start Dates: Mutiple start dates throughout the year
Curriculum Options: Full-time or Part-time
Length of Program: Program can be completed in 3 semesters full-time, 5 semesters part-time
Admission Requirements and Tuition Costs
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: No GRE required
Work Experience: Yes, people-oriented service work preferred
Tuition Costs: ~$68,931 + fees
Cost per Credit Hour: $1,863.00

Visit requestinfo.msw.usc.edu to Learn More About the University of Southern California Online MSW Programs

Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - Adult Mental Health and Wellness

Program Highlights
  • Graduates will be prepared to pursue licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
  • After completing core social work courses students transition to the Department of Adult Mental Health and Wellness, where they complete required courses for this specialization and choose electives based on their career interests in the adult mental health and wellness field
  • Particular focus is given to neuroscience and how it relates to the body, mind, and brain
Program Overview
Program Structure: Online instruction with no campus visits required; 1,000 field hours are required and include a virtual field practicum
Example Courses: Research and Evaluation for Social Work with Adults and Older Adults; Wellness, Recovery and Integrated Care; Explanatory Theories of Health and Mental Health; Clinical Interventions: Evidence-based Practice in Health and Mental Health Settings; Leadership in the Social Work Profession and Organizations: Theory and Practice
Instruction Methods: Students meet weekly in live, online, face-to-face class sessions, and complete coursework which may include research, assigned readings, and case studies; modes include video, chat sessions, webcam interaction, email, and other multimedia tools
Degree Requirements
Credits Required: 60 (Traditional) or 37 (Advanced Standing) credits needed to graduate
Campus Visits Required: 0
Program Options
Program Start Dates: Mutiple start dates throughout the year
Curriculum Options: Full-time or Part-time
Length of Program: Traditional: 2 years full-time, 3-4 years part-time; Advanced Standing: 3 semesters full-time, 5 semesters part-time
Admission Requirements and Tuition Costs
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: No GRE required
Work Experience: Yes, people-oriented service work preferred
Tuition Costs: ~$111,780 + fees (Traditional), ~$68,931 + fees (Advanced Standing)
Cost per Credit Hour: $1,863.00

Visit requestinfo.msw.usc.edu to Learn More About the University of Southern California Online MSW Programs

Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - Children, Youth and Families

Program Highlights
  • Graduates will be prepared to pursue licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
  • After completing core social work courses students transition to the Department of Children, Youth and Families, where they complete required courses for this specialization and choose electives based on their career interests in children, youth and family counseling
  • Graduates will be prepared to work with children, youth, and families from a variety of backgrounds and social contexts
Program Overview
Program Structure: Online instruction with no campus visits required; 1,000 field hours are required and include a virtual field practicum
Example Courses: Research, Data, and evaluation for Social Work 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
Instruction Methods: Students meet weekly in live, online, face-to-face class sessions, and complete coursework which may include research, assigned readings, and case studies; modes include video, chat sessions, webcam interaction, email, and other multimedia tools
Degree Requirements
Credits Required: 60 (Traditional) or 37 (Advanced Standing) credits needed to graduate
Campus Visits Required: 0
Program Options
Program Start Dates: Mutiple start dates throughout the year
Curriculum Options: Full-time or Part-time
Length of Program: Traditional: 2 years full-time, 3-4 years part-time; Advanced Standing: 3 semesters full-time, 5 semesters part-time
Admission Requirements and Tuition Costs
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: No GRE required
Work Experience: Yes, people-oriented service work preferred
Tuition Costs: ~$111,780 + fees (Traditional), ~$68,931 + fees (Advanced Standing)
Cost per Credit Hour: $1,863.00

Visit requestinfo.msw.usc.edu to Learn More About the University of Southern California Online MSW Programs

Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - Social Change and Innovation

Program Highlights
  • Graduates will be prepared to pursue licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW)
  • After completing core social work courses students transition to the Department of Social Change and Innovation, where they complete required courses for this specialization and choose electives based on their career interests in the social change and innovation field
  • Graduates will be prepared to facilitate social change in both organizations and communities
Program Overview
Program Structure: Online instruction with no campus visits required; 1,000 field hours are required and include a virtual field practicum
Example Courses: Evaluation of Research: Community, Organization, and Business Innovation; Management and Organization Development; Social Policy for Managers, Planners and Community Organizers; Direct Practice and Behavioral Health Services; Social Work and Business Contexts and Policies; Acvocacy Practice and Innovation for Social Change
Instruction Methods: Students meet weekly in live, online, face-to-face class sessions, and complete coursework which may include research, assigned readings, and case studies; modes include video, chat sessions, webcam interaction, email, and other multimedia tools
Degree Requirements
Credits Required: 60 (Traditional) or 37 (Advanced Standing) credits needed to graduate
Campus Visits Required: 0
Program Options
Program Start Dates: Mutiple start dates throughout the year
Curriculum Options: Full-time or Part-time
Length of Program: Traditional: 2 years full-time, 3-4 years part-time; Advanced Standing: 3 semesters full-time, 5 semesters part-time
Admission Requirements and Tuition Costs
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: No GRE required
Work Experience: Yes, people-oriented service work preferred
Tuition Costs: ~$111,780 + fees (Traditional), ~$68,931 + fees (Advanced Standing)
Cost per Credit Hour: $1,863.00

Visit requestinfo.msw.usc.edu to Learn More About the University of Southern California Online MSW Programs

Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - Military Social Work Track

Program Highlights
  • Graduates will be prepared to address issues specific to military personnel and their families including issues such as PTSD, physical and mental health issues, military transitioning to and from duty, reintegration into society, military culture and its particular nuances, crisis intervention, and aging veteran issues and advocacy
  • Students complete all courses required for the MSW degree and for the department they choose, and then take 9 more credits of courses specifically designed to address military counseling issues; students may gear their electives toward courses that would help them work with military personnel and their families
  • Various military situations are explored including active duty, guards and reserves, and veterans
Program Overview
Program Structure: Online instruction with no campus visits required; 1,000 field hours are required and include a virtual field practicum
Example Courses: Clinical Practice With the Military Family; Clinical Practice With Service Members and Veterans; Military and Veterans Policy and Program Management
Instruction Methods: Students meet weekly in live, online, face-to-face class sessions, and complete coursework which may include research, assigned readings, and case studies; modes include video, chat sessions, webcam interaction, email, and other multimedia tools
Degree Requirements
Credits Required: 69 (Traditional) or 46 (Advanced Standing) credits needed to graduate
Campus Visits Required: 0
Program Options
Program Start Dates: Mutiple start dates throughout the year
Curriculum Options: Full-time or Part-time
Length of Program: Traditional: 2 + years full-time, 3-4 years part-time; Advanced Standing: 4 semesters full-time, 6 semesters part-time
Admission Requirements and Tuition Costs
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: No GRE required
Work Experience: Yes, people-oriented service work preferred
Tuition Costs: ~$128,547 + fees (Traditional), $85,698 + fees (Advanced Standing)
Cost per Credit Hour: $1,863.00

Visit requestinfo.msw.usc.edu to Learn More About the University of Southern California Online MSW Programs

Online Master of Social Work (MSW) - School Social Work Track

Program Highlights
  • Graduates will be prepared to offer services to children, adolescents and their families in school settings with issues such as poverty, problems at home that affect their grades and school experience, divorce issues, mental illness, cultural and socioeconomic issues, neglect, and child abuse
  • This track is only offered to California residents
  • Students complete all core courses for the MSW degree and all core courses in the Department of Children, Youth and Families, in addition to two school social work courses and additional field practicum of 300 to 600 hours
Program Overview
Program Structure: Online instruction with no campus visits required; 1,000 field hours are required and include a virtual field practicum
Example Courses: Social Work Practice in School Settingsand one of the following: School Violence or Social Work in Early Care and Education Settings; 300 to 600 hours field education in schools or community agencies that provide services in schools.
Instruction Methods: Students meet weekly in live, online, face-to-face class sessions, and complete coursework which may include research, assigned readings, and case studies; modes include video, chat sessions, webcam interaction, email, and other multimedia tools
Degree Requirements
Credits Required: 69 (Traditional) or 46 (Advanced Standing) credits needed to graduate
Campus Visits Required: 0
Program Options
Program Start Dates: Mutiple start dates throughout the year
Curriculum Options: Full-time or Part-time
Length of Program: Traditional: 2 + years full-time, 3-4 years part-time; Advanced Standing: 4 semesters full-time, 6 semesters part-time
Admission Requirements and Tuition Costs
GPA Requirements: Minimum GPA 3.0
Testing Requirements: No GRE required
Work Experience: Yes, people-oriented service work preferred
Tuition Costs: ~$128,547 + fees (Traditional), $85,698 + fees (Advanced Standing)
Cost per Credit Hour: $1,863.00

Visit requestinfo.msw.usc.edu to Learn More About the University of Southern California Online MSW Programs