Statement of Purpose Instructions

The keystone of the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck Master in Social Work application for admission is the Statement of Purpose. Your Statement of Purpose should encapsulate your motivation in seeking an MSW and demonstrate an ability to synthesize your professional/personal experiences and desire to enter the field of social work. This statement will be used to assess your creativity, critical thinking, self-awareness and writing skills.

This material is considered confidential and will be used for the purposes of rendering an admissions decision and directing your educational experience.

Statement of Purpose instructions


  • A comprehensive essay encompassing ALL TOPICS.
  • Question and answer format will not be accepted.
  • Five double-spaced pages in length, with 1-inch margins, and 12-point Times New Roman font.
  • Uploaded into the Supporting Documents section of the online Graduate Admissions Application.

Topic #1: About you

  • Describe your understanding of the social work profession and its core values. How have you incorporated social work values in your human service experiences and interactions with others?
  • What significant relationships and life experiences have you had that motivated you to enter the field of social work?
  • What personal qualities equip you for the social work profession?
  • Please discuss your career goals. Include why the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work is a good fit for your goals.
  • The rising cost of higher education today is a key concern for the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and we work closely with our students to ensure they understand the financial implications of graduate study.  Given the variety of ways to fund your education, please describe in detail your personal plan to finance your education including what steps you have made to obtain necessary funding. 
  • Field education is a core pillar of the Master in Social Work program.  Our curriculum includes 1,000 hours of field placement conducted over 4 semesters.  What is your plan for managing your personal and professional obligations while completing the required field placement?

Topic #2: About the Grand Challenges

Topic #3: Special Consideration (Optional)

  • Please address any special academic or other considerations that you would like the committee to take into account in the review of your application.

Transfer Applicants Only

  • Please explain why you are transferring to USC. List any leadership roles you had at your previous MSW Program. How will this transfer assist you in reaching your educational and professional goals?

International Applicants Only

  • Briefly discuss how you plan to use your USC MSW degree in your home country.

Dual Degree Applicants Only

  • Please explain how you plan to use each degree/training to address the issues identified above.