USC Master of Social Work
Be an agent of change.
The social challenges of our time are real. The demand for social workers in Los Angeles is high. On any issue you can name — justice, education, housing, healthcare — we need smart people to champion equality and challenge the status quo.
So, are you ready to reimagine the future?
Social workers make a real difference, driving change at a policy level, within an organization, or by working with individuals one-on-one.
USC’s Master of Social Work will empower you to pursue bold, compassionate solutions to complex social challenges. Our program will prepare you to enter the workforce and immediately engage with the issues that matter most to you.
Our MSW Program
Our 42 credit hour MSW program is created for people like you who cannot wait to change the world. We have streamlined our courses and made our program more customizable so you can focus on your unique interests.
All students take 42 credit hours of “core” courses. This intensive program also includes 1,200 hours of hands-on practicum education to practice and apply the skills you learn in class. After you complete this program, you will be prepared to find meaningful work that makes a difference.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you care about changing the world for the better, a degree in social work will give you the skills and experience to make a real difference in the lives of individuals and society as a whole. It prepares you for a wide variety of career paths — in the public, private and nonprofit sectors — and the flexibility to move from one setting to another with ease.
Perfect for career-changers who want to go back to school full-time to get back in the workforce as quickly as possible.
Perfect for recent college graduates that want time to try different things and home in on their calling.
Perfect for working professionals who need to work around a day job while pursuing their master’s degree.
Perfect for students who live further away or cannot get to campus regularly.
We partner with four other prestigious professional schools at USC, in addition to Hebrew Union College, to offer eight options for a concurrent degree. While obtaining your MSW, you can earn a law degree, MBA or master’s in public health, PhD, gerontology, planning, public administration or Jewish nonprofit management. A dual degree option requires separate admission to each program.
We require all new students to attend orientation sessions that introduce you to campus resources, support services, curriculum, financial aid, field instruction and technology. An international student adviser also is available to help foreign students become oriented to the school.
Yes. Around the University Park campus, USC Housing Services offers a wide variety of housing options for graduate students, from residence halls to apartments. Most MSW students do not live in university housing since the Los Angeles area has numerous interesting communities in which to live, many within a reasonable commuting distance from USC. If you decide to apply for housing, we recommend that you meet the Priority Deadline for the MSW program so that you can receive your admission decision as early as possible — housing applications may only be submitted once you have been admitted to USC.
Our students are energized by the vibrant urban classroom of Los Angeles, a global city on the frontlines of social change. We have partnerships with some of the largest providers of social services in the country, so there is no better place to get the practicum training that will prepare you for the real challenges of the work. Many of our internships lead to permanent job placements post-graduation.
The University of Southern California consistently ranks among the nation's top accredited social work graduate programs in U.S. News & World Report. Our cutting edge research makes us a go-to program for students interested in:
Behavioral and Mental Health
Crisis and Disaster Recovery
Social Determinants of Health
Social Response to Climate Change
Veterans and Military Families
MSW students also have the option to receive training in an area of specialization based on client populations, settings, or systems.