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Fall 2024 On-Campus MSW Application FINAL Deadline: July 16, 2024

Practicum Education

The key to success is in practicum.

Community-based practicum training has been an integral part of the social work program at USC since its inception – over 100 years ago. As the first full-time professional social work program in the western United States, we infused practicum work into our curriculum and established a strong, hands-on program. We have never looked back.

Decades later, our students participate in one of the largest networks of practicum education in any school of social work. Our curriculum continues to emphasize the importance of practicum placements in becoming a highly-skilled social worker. Our students benefit from our partnerships with the most active social-service agencies in Los Angeles and the Southern California region. The city is your classroom.

1,200 hours
required practicum training for an MSW at USC
practicum agency partnerships in Los Angeles County/SoCal


My internship was very influential in bridging the gap between my limited understanding of homelessness and the true realities of homelessness.

- Nikita Hearns, MSW ’12 | HUD-VASH Social Worker | U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


All of our practicum internships are guided by the Educational Policy and Educational Standards (EPAs) and the Nine Core Competencies of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). Through practicum education students apply and integrate the knowledge, theories and concepts of social work practice learned in the curriculum.

To achieve completion of the 1,200 hours of practicum experience required to receive an MSW from USC, internships are a commitment of 16 – 20 hours per week throughout the program. Students are matched with social service agencies, government entities, private organization or nontraditional settings based on career goals, specialization, professional interests and agency needs.


My practicum placement at an immigration legal service provider allowed me to explore ways in which I could apply our profession’s holistic problem solving approach to improving the access of legal services for immigrants.

- Vanessa Ceceña, MSW ‘13 | Human Rights and Justice Fellow U.S. Immigration and Policy Center | UC San Diego

What can you expect in your practicum placement?

Omar Lopez, professor of practicum education, explains.

USC MSW graduate
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