The city is your classroom.

USC students are energized by the vibrant urban classroom of Los Angeles, a global city on the frontlines of social change.

 

The school is located and entrenched in the same Los Angeles neighborhood in which the university has been located since 1880. Social work students at USC have been educated to serve this diverse population for over 100 years, and our graduates have advocated for individuals and communities through the Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights Movement and countless other challenging periods in our history.

Our unique position within such a diverse population allows our faculty to combine deep community involvement and scholarship, with decades of participation in research that is embedded and tested in Los Angeles communities. This direct connection to addressing issues that adversely affect the underserved populations of this city fuels our ability to provide the most cutting-edge educational resources to our students.

Partner Organizations

Field placements have been an integral part of the social work program at USC since its inception. 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. Our social work students contribute nearly 900,000 hours of service through their field training each year, and many of our student internships lead to permanent job placements post-graduation.

Partners include:

  • LAPD
  • LA Unified School District
  • Cedars Sinai Hospital
  • LGBTQ+ Centers
  • Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health
  • Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services
  • Veterans Affairs

Research Centers

Our multiple centers for research create transdisciplinary opportunities for our graduate students and faculty to find advanced solutions to the most challenging social problems facing Los Angeles and the world. 

Graphic of connected people

The first research center in the world to fuse artificial intelligence with social work. A partnership with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, the work of the center harnesses technology to advance social good.

 

How can we create an automated, data-driven approach for coordinating scarce resources during the COVID-19 pandemic?

LA skyline beyond a neighborhood

Promotes the discovery and dissemination of evidence-based solutions to reduce homelessness and health disparities.

 

How can we use permanent supportive housing to help older adults experiencing homelessness age in place?

Older adults doing yoga in a park

Advances research, policy and practice to improve the lives of older adults and their families, embracing a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to research that furthers the understanding of the aging process.

 

What is the impact of care disparity for dementia patients in the United States?

Learn more about all USC Social Work research centers

Research Embedded and Tested in L.A. Communities

Helping Women Experiencing Homelessness in Los Angeles

Women experiencing homelessness have compounding health care needs that are largely unmet by existing health care systems. Our SCALE initiative helps to rectify these inequalities and improve health outcomes.