USC School of Social Work Graduate

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 was 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 1,000 hours of hands-on field 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.

Our Curriculum

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why should I pursue a master’s degree in social work?

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.

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How long will it take to earn my MSW degree?
  • Fast Track
    12 Months

    Perfect for career-changers who want to go back to school full-time to get back in the workforce as quickly as possible.

  • Full Time
    24 Months

    Perfect for recent college graduates that want time to try different things and home in on their calling.  

  • Part Time
    28 Months

    Perfect for working professionals who need to work around a day job while pursuing their master’s degree. 

  • Online
    Variable

    Perfect for students who live further away or cannot get to campus regularly.

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What dual degree options are available?

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.

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What orientation activities does the school provide for new students?

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.

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Is student housing available?

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.

91%
of alumni are employed six months after graduation
700+
field agency partnerships in Los Angeles County/SoCal
96%
of on campus students receive scholarships

Field Education

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 field training that will prepare you for the real challenges of the work. Many of our internships lead to permanent job placements post-graduation. 

Field Education

Why USC?

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:

Aging
Artificial Intelligence    
Behavioral and Mental Health
Child Welfare
Crisis and Disaster Recovery   
Homelessness    

Human Trafficking
Substance Use
Social Determinants of Health
Social Response to Climate Change
Trauma-Informed Care
Veterans and Military Families

Pathways

Earn your MSW at USC four ways:

students walking

Fast Track

12 Months

Perfect for those already working in a social services setting who want to get their MSW degree as quickly as possible.

  • Graduate faster and get your credential quickly to advance in your career 

  • One internship 

  • Heavy course load 

 

Traditional

24 Months

Perfect for those who want to find their calling within the field and explore different facets of social work.

  • More experiences, broader employment options 
  • Two internships 
  • Moderate course load 

 

smiling gentleman

Working Professionals

28 Months

Perfect for those with a full-time job who need a flexible way to pursue their master’s degree. 

  • Some online coursework + two evenings a week on campus 
  • Second year of study requires one internship during daytime hours
  • Lighter course load overall

 

hands typing on a laptop

Online

Variable

Perfect for students who live further away or cannot get to campus regularly.

  • Time commitment varies based on course load and courses offered
  • One internship
USC MSW Program

What careers can I have with an MSW?

An MSW from Suzanne Dwork-Peck School of Social Work will provide you with many ways to change the world. You can choose the path that you want to take, whether that's working with specific groups of people or affecting policy changes that improve our society for everyone. 

Student at USC
Ready to get started?

Our dynamic, supportive academic environment makes space for you to think deeply, act courageously and explore new ways to create meaningful change. 

How to Apply   

Testimonial

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Alumna Leads Historic Legislation

Rep. Karen Bass, MSW '15, is lead author of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 3. This is a bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, change the culture of law enforcement, empower our communities and address systemic racism and bias to help save lives.